The co-owner of celebrated German label Kompakt talks to Zul Andra about being a musical sponge for 60s Iranian psychedelia and 70s Namibian disco funk.

What’s your area of responsibility at Kompakt and what’s your job like?

I take care of a multitude of things here at Kompakt—most prominently I'm the A&R for the label and its offshoots. This involves maintaining a close relationship with the artists, plotting out ideas or sometimes even helping out with the production work. I really enjoy my office life on the most part—it's a healthy counterbalance to my nocturnal DJ life.

Share with us your thoughts on the current dance music scene.

Obviously, the scene has never been this big, colorful and successful. On the other hand, I'm under the impression that there's sort of a backlash in terms of creativity. The underground mainstream became pretty formulaic as there's a lot of history repeating going on. The house revival that is upon us doesn't really push the genre into new spheres; most clubbers seem to prefer this conservative approach.

Do you think this is happening for other genres too?

Same goes for techno where it became so serious and uber-correct again … reminds me of the days when you had to wear a UR sweater to be credible. All this goes a bit against my nature as I'm always looking for new, exciting and unexplored ways to play 4/4 music.

Sounds depressing.

But there's also a lot of light between the shadows. Among others, people like Fourtet, Matias Aguayo and DJ Koze radiate a sense of freedom and vibrancy. This year, I've been buying more music than ever. There are a lot of great things going on but it just got increasingly difficult to find them.

DJs and producers’ taste for music differ and sometimes they stake their claim on just one particular genre. What about you?

I'm a musical sponge, sucking up any kind of music that challenges and entertains me. This could be pop music from Sumatra, Indonesia (there's some great stuff, really!), 60s psychedelia from Iran (check out the amazing Forge Your Own Chains compilation on the Now-Again label) or 70s disco funk from Namibia ... I don't care.

And in that sense, your music has always been deemed eclectic in every sense of the word …
I guess as a result of this constant quest for inspiration, my DJ-ing has become more eclectic. The ratio between functionality and musicality has changed a lot in favor of the latter. Anything goes as long as it's fun—be it house, techno or disco; new or old. It's the emotional intensity of the music that interests me most.

That was some mad speech chief! Right on so many levels. What about DJs that we should look out for?

Seth Troxler is really on top of his game and Rebolledo from Mexico is totally awesome as well.

It’s Zouk for you soon; is there anything we should be worried about? Don't worry, I'm not going to torture the Zouk crowd with weird world music! I'm all set for a fun party at this beautiful club and it has always been a pleasure to come back.

Michael Mayer will be dropping some proper tunes on Sep 18, 10pm. Velvet Underground, 17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988. $28-35 includes two drinks.


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Out with the old, in with the new. We clue you on the latest labels and collections to get your wardrobe up to speed.

Denim Demon

The Swedish label aims to protect and serve the rich historical value of blue jeans and their latest collection is heavily inspired by the Sami culture (the nomadic people from Northern Europe—you know, the guys that made Luhkka winter garb all the rage). Regular, slim and loose fits are all given a twist with their cross European and Japanese denim materials and stitches. Teach yourself some Sami words while you’re at it, as the jeans are given indigenous names: Aajja (Grandfather), Aahka (Grandmother), Juvvie (Belt) and Niejte (Girl).
Available at The Denim Store, #03-09/10/11 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd., 6733-3608.

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair

The fashion house duo of Astrid Olsson and Lee Cotter (more Swedes!) founded the acclaimed label with the aim of reintroducing traditional tailoring and pattern making. As always, the devil is in the details: The label focuses on using only the highest quality textiles and garments for its creations, which are pieced together in a well-layered and brilliantly crafted ready-to-wear collection of dresses, shirts and pants. Prices start for $299 for clothes and $229 for accessories.
The flagship store is located at #02-13/14 Hilton Shopping Gallery, 581 Orchard Rd., 6836-8413.


Famous for both their fashion and their music, super-cool Kitsuné are currently the label to beat. The preppy-chic French brand has risen to notoriety not only with their stable of artists like Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club and Digitalism; they have also shaken up the clothing scene with their bold and outspoken line of T-shirts, knitwear, sweatshirts, coats, jackets, trousers and accessories (phew!). Thankfully, for all of us here who felt like we were missing out, these offerings are now available at multi-label store Blackjack.
Blackjack, #01-10 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd., 6735-0975.

MoMA by Y-A

Inspired by architectural trends, South Korean designer Ju Y-A has been turning heads with his latest collection. By adapting the flexibility of sportswear and the swanky style of semi-suits, and tailoring a perfect silhouette, his designs really stand out from the crowd. The ready-to-wear series of jackets, one-piece dresses and trousers are made for those who prefer to avoid the hassle of overtly-technical dressing without compromising the need for style—perfect for the modern executive. Prices start at $475 for dresses and $425 for jackets.
Available at Actually Actually, 16 Purvis St., 6336-7002.

Sidian, Ersatz & Vanes

Three American friends decided to rework their everyday shirts, and in the process  created one of the hottest new menswear labels around. Designers Sidian, Ersatz & Vanes first hatched the idea while driving down the winding open roads of Cape Mendocino, and the designs hint at their inspiration back then: simple cuts and geometrical, color-blocking and tonal schemes—it’s the Jack Kerouac look updated for the modern age. From $400.
Available at Surrender, #02-31 Raffles Hotel Arcade, 328 North Bridge Rd., 6733-2130.


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