Interview: DJ Abyss – deep dive into the singles and upcoming album

Electronic music in all its facets seems to be ingrained in the genes of this remarkable artist. Abyss is DJ since 1991 and shaped the electronic music scene of Germany in the 90s and early 2000s with his innovative ideas and new sounds. He was born in Frankfurt (Oder) but moved to Berlin 1995 becoming more and more famous. 1994 he was listed as one of the top 10 most popular German DJs and one of the only East German DJs that gained international popularity and recognition.

At the latest, when he was hired as resident DJ at the Berlin cult club Tresor in 1995, he rose to the upper league of German DJs. From 1998 he releases several tracks on the Berlin label MFS, where Paul van Dyk, Cosmic Baby, Kid Paul and many other world-famous acts were also signed.

In 2004 DJ Abyss ended TenDance Magazine and also retires from the active DJ & producer business for now, in order to focus more on his family life. Since 2012 he returns with regular mixes on Soundcloud. In recent months, Abyss again delighted with more releases and currently announces new albums for the end of this year.

You are around in the music scene for a long time now. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings in the music scene and how things developed for you?

My beginnings in the club scene go back to 1989, when the first Acid House parties were held in East Berlin, mostly on a small scale in various venues. Of course, we had already heard about the scene in Chicago and Detroit.

At that time I was not yet of age and was not really allowed to go to such events. But luck is with the brave and so we went to one of these early parties. Since these parties took place also mostly illegally, one took it at the door also not so first with the age. These early parties shaped me very impressively. Because to the love to the music now the completely new and up to now unknown world of the parties came in addition, which were naturally extremely delightful and overwhelming for a 16 year old.

When there were the first techno parties in Berlin around 1990, we were there, too, of course. Thereby the Crowed, with which I was on the road, developed the desire for own events. This idea turned into a first event in the fall of 1991, which developed into a regular club project in the course of the year and at which I DJed for the first time.

This project ended in the first half of 1992, but it was the first regular club for techno in the former GDR and formed the basis of all other event projects that were to follow in the years to come. It was also the start of my DJ career. Since I was one of the first German techno DJs, I was able to help shape the emergence of techno and house in Germany, which makes me very proud today.

We’re pleased to be chatting with you following the release of your latest single on Grooves.Land. Congrats on a the release here, how would you describe the single in your own words and what was the inspiration behind it?

“Hadrium” is a return to my DJ roots. The inspiration behind it is probably my now more than 30-year career in the club scene, which I now see a little more differentiated and I think also more objective, since I have pulled myself out of the live business. When it comes to certain things, like producing music, I think it’s a big advantage for me to take a step back and see things in a more nuanced and expansive way with a little bit of distance. That gives me a lot more creativity, because in the club business only a small part of the whole musical variety of electronic music takes place.

This new single is also an announcement for your new album Hadrium in 2023. What can we expect? How does it differ from your last album Into the Abyss?

The single “Hadrium” is the inspiration for the album of the same name, both in name and musically, which is very club-oriented in contrast to “Into The Abyss”. My early releases were all very driving and hard and exclusively produced for the clubfloor. In the meantime, I now also take some time for productions with other stylistic influences. But I am always drawn back to my roots.

Although I had a classical music education with instrument and music teaching in my younger years, my musical roots do not lie there, but in my first contact with house music at the end of the 80s. And that’s where all my excursions into other musical realms always bring me back, because that’s where I feel musically at home.

Is it true that you have another album in the pipeline?

Yes, at the end of 2023 another album of mine will be released. But this album is a pure Downbeat album and contains mainly TripHop and Downtempo tracks from me. For me chillout, ambient and downtempo are as important part of electronic music as 4-to-the-floor tracks. With this album, which is called “Drizzle”, I show another side of my musical love.

What do you love most about working in the studio and what are your biggest time burners during the production phase?

I love the phase of creating the tracks, when you intuitively transform moods into music. This is a time of great satisfaction for me because I can transform my feelings, joys, fears, worries, etc. into music.

The whole process that has to come after that is torture for me. The time of the final production, when you have to listen to the song over and over again – endless tunings and little things. And in the end you don’t like your own music because you had to listen to it hundreds of times.

That’s why it happens quite often that I don’t release ready arranged productions, because I don’t want to lose them in the mastering process by overhearing them. Unfortunately, I’m also too particular about handing over tracks completely for final production. I don’t want to impose that on anyone, because I’m very hard to please when it comes to final production.

How easy is it for you to let go of a finished album?

Very simple to be honest. It takes a while to finish an album. With the current album, there were some tracks that I kept remixing after mastering because I was dissatisfied. It’s also not uncommon for a track to be mastered 3-4 times. So I’m happy when it’s finally done. I often help myself through all the final track production by working on new tracks on the side.

What else can we expect from you in 2023?

I think with the 2 albums and a little more than 15 single releases I was quite hard-working this year. Although, of course, these are all productions from the year 2021 and 2022, which appear this year. There are already some tracks for the year 2024, which I have already made in the current year, but currently I make a little break and do not go into the studio. I also have my music publishing company, which needs some attention from time to time, even though I have a fantastic team that does an excellent job here and keeps my back free.