Where are you currently based?
Steve Rachmad: Amsterdam born and raised and never left J
How and when did you get into Djing and producing?
Steve Rachmad: When I got into music, as I was just a small kid, busy with toys and school. At the age of 12, my dad got me my first very simple mixer, so I started playing around and taught myself how to mix. I bought my first record, and soon started with simple editing, cut-and-pasting with a tape recorder. Music took an important place in my life already at that stage—so school started suffering. I was busy with music every single day, sometimes not even coming out to eat or shower. At the age of 15 I had my first gig in a small Amsterdam club. That was the time of 80s disco, dance and electro. Soon after, all of this started bringing some concrete results: DJ and producing-wise. Music has at that point become a number one thing in my life, and it has pretty much not left my head ever since. Over time you grow and learn, your reality gets some new colors. But music is an everlasting thread that in big part defines who I am…
What equipment and programs do you use?
Steve Rachmad: My studio consists of lots of synths, drum-machines, effects, etc. Here comes a list of some things that I use in producing; the list is not complete:
Nord Lead 2
Roland: Juno 106, JX8P, U20
Roland: MKS 50 (2x) + programmer, D550 + programmer, JV 1080, MC 202
Yamaha: TX 81Z, FB01, DX 200
Elektron: Sidstation, Monomachine
Dave Smith Evolver
MFB: Synthlite, Synth II
Oberheim Matrix 1000 + programmer
Roland: TR 606, TR 808, TR 909, R8M
Oberheim: DMX, DX, DX-stretch
Seqential Circuits: Drumtracks
Linn: LM1, Linndrum 2
Peavey Analogue Filter
Electrix Filter Factory
EMU E64 sampler
Roland RE-501 Chorus Echo (tape echo)
Moog Mooger Fooger analogue delay
Alecto AE-500 Analogue Echo
Notron stepsequencer version 2
Akai ME 20A arpeggiator
Tascam: DA 20 MK II, DA 302, CD RW 700
Speakers: Yamaha NS 10M, Genelec 1032 A
Mixer: Soundcraft ghost 32-8
Computer: Mac Book Pro with Ableton
Who or what influences your sound?
Steve Rachmad: Bands and artists as D-Train, The System, Human League, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis from the 1980s, Derrick May, Joey Beltram, Maurizio; albums as Kraftwerk: Computer World and Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygen.And many more.
Favourite show of the year and why?
Steve Rachmad: Bassiani in Tbilisi, Georgia for sure. It was an unexpected surprise: this big Berghain-ish style club with passionate people who really went for the music, in a way you don’t see as much these days at other places.
How has the scene changed since you started?
Steve Rachmad: The whole machine has professionalized immensely. Times for producers and DJs have changed. Producing records is a must if you want to DJ. Back in the days, I could live from production and royalties, but the times have changed, I earn my bread by touring. There’s also too much of everything: too much music, too many parties, too many DJs, which makes it very difficult to make it as a starting artist. I am grateful I could be in this business for so long and build my own heritage, as I don’t want to do anything else than music. My heritage allows me to build upon it further, and more than ever, I have to be alert and stay focused in order to secure my own future in this business.
Please tell us about your remix on http://www.suara-music.com/releases/lights-ep/ what influences your remixing? How do you choose each track to remix?
Steve Rachmad: Suara wanted my remix for a long time and they had a particular EP in mind. I chose the elements which worked for me and did my own interpretation like I always do. This lead to different outputs; I found out I could also work with the vocal in the Sterac Electronics context. In general, I need at least one element which I like in order to be able to remix something. It sometimes happens I cannot remix at all – either because no elements of the original work for me, or because I sometimes like the original so much that I cannot add anything to it. But very often I take a whole new direction, picking a sound or a baseline and then building a whole new track around it.
Favourite collaboration of your career and why?
Steve Rachmad: I don’t do many collaborations as I really need to be on one line with someone if we are to work together in the studio environment. We need to be able to complement each other, and it cannot be about ego at all. In the end, people I went into studio with have always been my friends too… I always enjoyed making music with my buddies Joel Mull, Heiko Laux, Petar Dundov, and I did one try with Ricardo Villalobos. We are trying to find the moment to do this again. I also entered the studio with The Advent this year and a lot of cool stuff will come out of that collaboration.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Steve Rachmad: Many things. Floating Points for example.
Analog or digital?
Steve Rachmad: Analog
You released https://voyagedirect.bandcamp.com/album/things-to-think-about on the 10th of July 2017, how has the feedback from the public and media to the album been?
Steve Rachmad: This album is more of a concept album on which you can dance, than a tool to trigger bookings. I actually explicitly asked my booker and manager not to book more than a few shows around it. I simply want to keep it special, something for the open-minded music lovers. The reactions were fantastic on all fronts.
What inspired this album?
Steve Rachmad: It’s the 80s disco, electro, boogie that are my roots, and that can always be heard in all of my music, but I guess mostly in my Sterac Electronics productions. Back around the mid 2000’s, when the whole minimal thing was taking over, I lost a direction for a moment. Techno was not cool any more for the masses, and I didn’t quite understand that. I didn’t want to follow the trend, but also I had to satisfy myself from the inside. This is the time when I made most of the tracks from this album.
Do you have plans for future recordings? If so what can we expect?
Steve Rachmad: Always. I have put a stop on remixes and am making as much of music as possible. I have a lot of tracks lying around that need to be finished too, I have enough material to compile at least one album. I also did a lot of new material with The Advent that needs fine-tuning and finishing. I am not announcing anything concretely yet release-wise, but tracks have been sent to several labels. Stay tuned J
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Steve Rachmad: I am a foodie, do I have to name one favorite food? J Japanese, Thai for example. I love hanging out on Ibiza, Tokyo, Australia for example, or just at home.
When and where are you playing next?
Steve Rachmad: I play several shows every week, touring almost all the continents. The only month I don’t take bookings on is January, when I try to make as much as possible music and go on holiday. Best idea is to keep an eye on my online agenda: http://www.steverachmad.com/schedule/
Bookings World: www.ad-sound.com