David Meiser: The Evolution Of Forging Timeless Techno Exclusive InterviewSeptember 20, 2023
Interview Mike Moggi Mannix
Transcription Raphaela Pauwels
Introduction: In the realm of electronic music, few artists have carved out a niche as distinctive and enduring as David Meiser.
Hailing from Spain, this techno maestro has consistently produced a sound that transcends trends, seamlessly blending darkness with rhythm. With over two decades in the industry, Meiser’s work has not only influenced countless artists but also ignited a fervent following, particularly in South America. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Meiser’s remarkable journey, his upcoming projects, and his thoughts on the ever-evolving techno landscape. Join us as we explore the mind of a visionary artist committed to the essence of techno and the boundless energy of its new generation of fans.
“I always say that I never get out of trend because I never intend to be on trend, I just do my thing.”
Mike: Hey David, how are you? Long-time no hear!
David Meiser: Yes, it’s true! I see that things are moving, that you keep doing your thing with the magazine, I always see your posts.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, what a couple of years it’s been. For a period there it kind of looked like nothing was happening, and people were talking about giving up music and getting a “real job.” I don’t know if it was the same in Spain, but in the UK and Ireland, the government was really trying to push us out. Like “music’s finished, time to get a real job,” and a lot of people left the industry. Obviously, for a period of time it was devastating on people because there was no sign of this ending in sight, no hope, so I’m sure it was something that you experienced as well over there?
DM: Yes, in fact, I think there was a reset in the market, many people were down and quit that, but many other people came in too. I don’t know, it was a kind of refreshment of the scene in some way. Maybe the new generation is coming in, what I saw is that many people in the range of 30 to 40 years old left the scene in terms of producers but also the public and the younger generation that was never into the scene before the pandemic came in. It’s a new time of opportunities too.
Mike: Yeah, that’s it, we have a phrase saying “one door closes and another opens” so it definitely did garner people, music was an outlet for a lot of people to push through and just focus on something as well. A lot of new blood is coming into the scene, like here in Dublin there’s a lot of little startups kicking off all over the place now and the appetite for the scene is the best I have seen in years. Even if COVID had never happened, the wave that’s happening now is really encouraging.
DM: Yeah, it’s true, this new blood, new generation is pushing the scene, and I am seeing many people that are not there only for the money but for pure feeling. It’s a bit like the rave period in Europe in the 90’s and 2000’s, and I see this coming again. In some ways they are bringing the new rave music back, really quick and not really making anything amazing in terms of producing, but they are bringing energy and they are bringing the rave period in some ways. I don’t know, I think it’s very interesting in a way.
Mike: It is, absolutely. And to see how fast the BPM has gone back up again, the count has gone back up again, and it’s great for the kids coming in. They have this boundless energy, they fully embrace. We have all lived through the different cycles where the BPM speeds up and down, I’m sure you did too, and it’s great to see the energy at the same time as we are coming out of COVID. The kids love it.
DM: Yeah, that’s it. I mean, I haven’t always been trying to keep up in BPM in my work. If you see set throughout my career they are pretty constant. I mean I have always been moving in the same type of techno, but you see artists that had been moving a lot depending on trends, and I understand that because some producers start changing their sounds and want to keep playing fresh stuff; they have to adapt to the new sounds, speeds, atmospheres, and whatever.
“The best definition of techno music is something that is always futuristic.”
But I think that with some other artists we have been keeping the old 90’s and 2000’s sounds the whole time. I mean it has been a good time for this sound, when you were talking about the pandemic and that many people were quitting the scene and so on, to be fair, for me, it was only rising, rising, and rising. Not only for the streams and streaming that were really fine but also keep doing what I was doing for the past years. It was some way to keep it real and say “this is my sound, I keep doing that,” and suddenly people say that this sound is cool. But it was always the same sound, my sound, so I don’t know, people move a lot but you should keep doing what you do. I always say that I never get out of trend because I never intend to be on trend, I just do my thing.
Mike: You always have been consistent, even back when I spoke to you first all those years ago. Your sound has always been consistent, and you had the same energy and pace and drive in the tracks 7 years ago and you still do. One of my favourite clips is Dave Clarke in Awakenings where he plays a couple of your tracks back to back, and that was in 2014. It’s nearly 10 years ago, my god, and the energy is still there.
I show it to some of the kids because they think it’s this new thing. To them it’s brand new and they think that this is the latest thing, and I’m like “listen to this!” and I posted it periodically with your tracks on it and they can’t believe that this was 10 years ago! But obviously when you are hearing something for the first time and you are coming up it seems brand new but no kids, here is some education. Go back a few years and check what the lads were doing at the time! Fair play to you, this was one of the questions I was going to ask you, but you got to me first.
You are always consistent, your sound was always consistent, you never followed a trend and always had a hardcore following, whilst we watched the rise of the other kind “business techno” trend were it was more mundane and it did its thing and yet you just kept going, you stuck to your sound, and South America embraced you!
DM: Yeah! You know what? I started playing around 140 BPM, and then the scene moved to 128 and whatever, and I kept with my 140, and now its more 150 and I keep 140! And you know the thing is not going too slow but not focus only on speed and the rave you need to do something consistent. The best thing that I do and not only in sets is trying to make timeless things. Just focus on a specific era in the history of techno and try to make something that sounded fresh 20 years ago and that will sound fresh in 20 years. I think that the best definition of techno music is something that is always futuristic.
For example, you can hear the Bells of Jeff Mills and it always sounds fresh and 20 years from now it will always be something that sounds fresh and feels like it’s from space haha. So I’m trying to do something kind of similar because when I’m doing music I try to make the essence for example, having this spirit from the people dancing, surrounding the fire and dancing in the forest with these tree patterns and at the same time making music that is coming from space with the alien space seats and just thinking like that. It’s like mixing the future music with the music of the past and mixing the most primal part of the brain with the more advanced one, the more futuristic part of the brain. I think it’s the best definition of techno.
“They do it with passion, all their money goes with the events, they keep doing it, and they enjoy the night a lot so they are pretty much doing what Europe were doing 30 years ago.”
Mike: It certainly is, and I think as well that your sound seems to have captured an entire country. You exploded over in South America, can you tell us a little about that journey? Columbia and all the other countries you have played in there really seem to have embraced your sound.
DM: It’s amazing because all these countries have so many young people, young generations. One of the things I see more when I travel there is that Europe is kind of an old continent because people don’t have so many kids. We don’t have such a big scene in terms of young people but there, they are amazing. So many young people and for the first time in some way they are having the same type of techno and raves than we had in the 90’s with these great movements. They are doing it right now!
So there are many raves, collectives, or people that are not even earning any money with that, they are making legal and illegal raves in the same night so you have 2 events in the same city in one night. They are doing it with their hearts, and they are creating these new movements because they don’t have what we had. They do it with passion, all their money goes with the events, they keep doing it, and they enjoy the night a lot so they are pretty much doing what Europe were doing 30 years ago. It’s amazing how to see some things growing from 0 almost.
Mike: Yeah, you’ve kind of broken the ground for them over there. When was your first trip over there? 5/6 years ago?
DM: Yeah, it was in 2016.
Mike: You are kind of one of the main European hard techno producers to export there, and the amazing thing is that they welcomed you with open arms. I don’t know how many times you have played there. How many countries did you go to in South America?
DM: There’s like 5 main countries, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. But there are many other countries like Panama, Guatemala, and Bolivia that are asking me to start making events there, and one of the things I love doing, because I can afford it, is to sometimes go to places where there is a very small scene just to open it and give the push it needs to maybe grow in the next few years. I’ve done this a few times, but this last tour I was playing in places where there were 2000 people, 1000 people. It was amazing, but I also went to Lima, for example, where there were like 200 people, and it’s ok for me. I mean, it’s not about making the most money in every gig I do; it’s about opening the scene and just putting effort for the future for sure.
Mike: That’s it. You mentioned something there, and I like how you phrased it, you’re planting seeds. You know that once some of those kids have experienced it, say one of those kids in Lima where they may not have that access before you’ve gone to play there and definitely that would start a spark where they can collaborate together and be like “ok, we need to have this guy over and people of similar style” so that’s gonna be kind of the part of your legacy David. Down over the years, you are now one the main European Techno DJs thats had a massive impact in South America!
DM: Yeah, I think it’s something that you don’t or can’t really think about it on the moment that it is happening. The best thing is that you see that you connect with the people there. I would say that if you are humble, that you go slow, take time with the people, that you just enjoy what you are doing, you kind of mix in with their lives, they see it and appreciate it a lot. Then it’s not just you as an artist but as a person, I have always been that way, but when I go there I spend a lot of time just talking with people, staying in the events after playing, eating with them, partying with them, and this creates a kind of family.
“I think I just need to keep doing what I have been doing all these years which is preparing the streams, new EPs and just create a solid background and for me I know that it is just a matter of time.”
It’s the best thing you can do because in some ways when you the time goes by and it’s time to leave what you remember the most is that, the relations you created, and it’s something I think they value that and I do too.
Mike: Absolutely, like you said many DJs fly in, do the gigs, and leave, obviously for logistical reasons often, but I always found that when you are able to stay and you are able to connect with the people, party with them, socialize with them, hang out with them, and so on they become lifelong relationships as well. It transcends the music and I suppose it puts them in a place in your heart and vice versa.
DM: That’s it, totally. And I forgot to send you some new demos! I wanted you to listen to them, I think it will be very interesting for the interview too. I want you to listen to the new stuff I did because it can be interesting to know why I’m working on this type of tracks. It’s true that I have been releasing less music over the years but the reason is that I only make music released on vinyl, and the market at the moment is going really slow.
All the big labels, Sony, Warner, and whatever they all releasing all their famous artists’ albums, like pop music, rock music, or whatever in vinyl, and the factories are going really slow with small series like 400/500 copies, which is usually the amount of vinyl made for techno tracks. So what I’m doing is that I am focusing on releasing new tracks but really well and putting all my efforts on that. I think less is more, so I’ll send you the folder of the demos. I can tell you a little about them before you listen to them.
So I have a new EP coming on Subsist Records, a label from Spain, and they released a kind of dark atmospheric techno but this EP is more focused on rhythm and patterns. I have always tried to mix darkness with rhythm so sometimes you have these atmospheric tracks that many artists do with dance frequencies and really low frequencies and its nice specially if you have a good sound system you can really enjoy them but I have always tried to add the rhythm patterns and feeling the whole time. It’s for this reason that my tracks are so rhythmic and at the same time you use a synthesizer or whatever on top, always remembering that techno is music for dancing and feeling it in your body. And I have another new EP that will be called Structures of rhythm and I am really happy with this one. I’m really happy with this one because it’s completely different.
It brings all the people, artists, and sounds that motivated me throughout the years. There are some tracks coming from the Birmingham sound, this broken patterns instead of the usual 4/4 pattern, you have the 6/4 pattern and people like Surgeon, all these people that brought this sound in the 90’s. There’s also another track in there called Dance, Move, Repeat and it’s influenced by the sound of Oliver Ho, the UK artist, he was the guy that brought the techno with these African voices with those rhythmic structures, he was the tribal techno man! So this track was heavily influenced by him.
“It all comes down to consistency and just doing what you love even if it doesn’t seem to be getting the audience that it should be getting, it’s still getting to the people that appreciate it and respect you for it.”
In this new EP, I tried to just review who I am thinking about the people that I have been listening to all these years since the beginning of my career and in some way make it my own. Of course, always giving credit to all these people that made me who I am today in my music. The best thing you can do after the interview is to listen to them and you will understand what I’m talking about. There’s one track that I uploaded yesterday with a video, called Generation Anthems.
This is a pure 90’s sound, I mean it’s kind of like Umek for example. I’m really happy with the new sound I am making now because I think for the first time in my life I can say that I know how to sound in terms of creation but also in terms of sound design. I am very happy with the frequencies, all the lows, mediums, highs; I think this EP is going to be a turning point in my career because all the tracks I’m like “wow, I made that!” so I’m really really happy with it.
Mike: That’s amazing, I’m really looking forward to hearing them. Can you tell us what events you have coming up now for the rest of the year?
DM: So now I have a few in Spain. I have one next weekend in Galicia, which is in the North of Spain and then I’m playing here in my city in Zaragoza. After that I’m going to Talavera and Barcelona. So now I have the next month in Spain and after that, I’m going to Switzerland in Basel and also near Brussels in the North of France in May. Then during the summer I will play at festivals for the first time in Spain.
This is something I have been looking forward to because I always played in clubs and so on but from a promotional perspective it can be very interesting for me to play in festivals. My manager is having many promoters asking me to play. It’s quite interesting because promoters in Spain are getting interested just when I’m starting to focus more on Europe. I was playing in Naples in Italy a few months ago and also in Prague but I have to put more effort into Europe. Every week I have a couple of promoters in South America asking me to go there but in Europe for some reason there are some territories where I have to work more on. I hope this interview also helps me with that haha.
Mike: No problem! That’s great to hear for me David. You’ve got your hands full, and you are busy, I’m delighted to see you are having more gigs in Europe because that was always one of the things where I always felt it was a bit weird. I always loved your sound, always been consistent in posting your stuff, but I used to kind of throw my hand in the air thinking “why are they not listening to it in Europe and why the promoters are not getting on board?” so it’s good to hear that they do at last!
“I see many people that are not there only for the money but for pure feeling… They are bringing the new rave music back.”
DM: Yeah, it will be hard because they are many more artists here in Europe than South America, I mean really famous artists. As I told you before I cannot be out of trend because I never intend to be on trend so I think I just need to keep doing what I have been doing all these years which is preparing the streams, new EPs and just create a solid background and for me I know that it is just a matter of time.
When you are not in a rush and you are focused it will work. Pretty much the same as you with the magazine, you have been doing a lot of interesting things and have created solid foundations and now people are like “who’s that guy?” and go check out who you are, what you do and so on. You have been consistent all these years so it’s not like a new brand, Facebook page posting stuff no there’s a whole background to it so it’s the same for me. They know you because you have been adapting to the new ways of reaching audiences but at the same time you kept the standard of quality.
Mike: Yeah, that’s it. It all comes down to consistency and just doing what you love even if it doesn’t seem to be getting the audience that it should be getting it’s still getting to the people that appreciate it and respect you for it. Even in our case as well, as each cycle comes around new ears and new eyes come to it, new listeners come to it, and then they look back and go “oh my god, what’s this stuff?”, and they dive back in through the archive.
DM: Yeah, and in some ways I like that. If I have been listening to a DJ from my city that has 5000 followers or whatever and I think he’s a great DJ it’s like I have found something that’s not very known, and it’s like a little treasure. You always find something new to play, some tracks to discover, so for me, it’s nice that way.
Mike: Yeah, it certainly is. Alright, David, thank you so much for your time today, it was an absolute pleasure to talk to you.
DM: My pleasure Mike, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you and I hope to see you soon around. Take care, mate.
Mike: Take care of yourself, and thanks again for coming on.
DM: Thanks to you! See you soon.
“I am very happy with the frequencies, all the lows, mediums, highs; I think this EP is going to be a turning point in my career because all the tracks I’m like ‘wow, I made that!'”