Downtempo with Kruder and Dorfmeister

<em>Time Out</em> celebrates as DJ Peter Kruder heads to the New Asia bar. He has left Dorfmeister at home but will be bringing a big bag of downtempo tunes.

DJ feature

It doesn’t start well. Though polite, Peter Kruder’s responses to our opening questions are laid-back to the point of laconic. We shouldn’t be surprised – after all, as one half of production pair Kruder And Dorfmeister, he revolutionised downtempo and chill out music in the ’90s. Still, there’s only so much you can do with one-sentence answers, and that’s all we seem to be getting until we shift topics from his expectations of the Dubai gig to the music itself. Suddenly, the Viennese producer/DJ springs to life.

‘I’ll definitely be playing more upbeat house than chill out, that’s for sure,’ he enthuses, his voice picking up speed with every word. ‘I made the transition from downtempo to drum ’n’ bass in 1997, and after experiencing the energy you create with that, I couldn’t go back. Then I progressed through house music and electronic sounds into deeper stuff.'

'Peter Kruder the lone-wolf deep house DJ’ doesn’t mesh with the popular perception of the man as a chill out remixer joined at the hip to long-time music partner Richard Dorfmeister. But Kruder doesn’t much care. ‘That’s one perception people have of me, and when they see my gig they may get another perception of me. But that’s fine.

‘From the moment Richard and I started working together, we found that we could also work completely on our own. It was never essential that we work together to make that sound. People think that duos work best when they’re together, which is in most cases not even true. We certainly did a lot of things individually that ended up being released under Kruder And Dorfmeister. A lot of songwriting partnerships end up like that – they take it in turns to write songs, yet both end up credited as partners.’

There’ll be no danger of that on Kruder’s current project, a new album that he’s produced under his solo name of Peace Orchestra. Describing it as ‘very, very far away, deep, electronic space music’, Kruder says that he’s produced far more tracks than he needs, and must now ‘carve out’ the record by shearing away the chaff. It sounds like an arduous process, and is presumably why this is his first Peace Orchestra album for nine years. Clearly being prolific isn’t on his ‘to do’ list.

‘I only put out records if I’m 100 per cent sure about what I have,’ he says firmly. ‘I have no interest in putting out something that is unfinished. I am the same when I’m producing other peoples’ music. I encourage them to slim it down to just the essentials and get rid of any ideas that aren’t working to their fullest potential. There’s enough bad stuff out there. I don’t want to contribute to that.’

The ‘bad stuff’, he says, is the result of the decreasing cost of production technology and software making it easier than ever to move into production. ‘It used to be natural selection – only the people who needed to make the music did it. Now people just do it as a career option. And people will put out anything if it gets a good reaction in a club, even if it needs work. Now it’s hard to find the good tracks between all the bad ones.’

Kruder might be exacting when it comes to his productions, but nothing in life is perfect or completely under our control; especially when it involves roadies. Laughing, he admits that he’s had his fair share of stage problems over the years, to the point that when something goes wrong, his first reaction is to work out how to keep the show going rather than to panic.

‘Recently Richard and I did a very big show in Kiev and the generators powering most of the stage just died. Richard was playing CDs and I was using Serato’s Scratch Live [a computer program that allows DJs to ‘scratch’ and manipulate MP3s using a special piece of vinyl], but when the power went, the computer got confused and the sound became weirder and weirder. So I had to play to over 20,000 people with just my five emergency CDs. The visual effects screen was still working, though, so we put up a message saying, “Sorry, there is a problem with the electricity supply and we just need to put some coins in the meter.”’

At least their lives have never been in danger, though. Oh, no, wait… ‘We were playing The Big Chill in London and all of a sudden the monitors caught fire on stage. They ran on with a fire extinguisher and soon the whole stage was covered in white foam. Which was great, actually – we’re the only act to ever set The Big Chill on fire!’

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