I didn’t want to produce music just to get gigs. (THNTS)
2. Top 3 of the artist’s music
3. Interview on a selected topic
THANATOS, MORE GERMAN THAN GREEK
THNTS refers to “THANATOS”, personifying Death in Greek mythology and symbolising the “Death Drive” in Freud’s theory; that instinct of self-destruction, often privileged during the hard times when pleasure prevails over health… but let’s remain positive.
Hard times? The Berlin-based artist experiences them through the gravitational aspiration of his numerous activities or while observing the fucked up world… Pleasure? His family, his mates, his music… and a delicious freeeeesh beer!
Yes, THNTS’ darkness is also linked with black metal, his – not so secret – treasured vice, which inspires him deep and charismatic atmospheres. And no, besides beer, he doesn’t wear dirty lumberjack shirts and his hairstyle remains clean & short at the moment.
At home, the guitar of his wife, an old mixer, two turntables & two XDJs: THNTS is what purists would call “a real DJ”, the type of dude who learned the art form with dusty overplayed vinyls, who’s far better than Shazam at recognising tracks, who often talks about labels you never heard of and who builds brilliant mixes, just with the instinct, the talent and a flawless technique.
Victim of his success, he receives many demands for venues & podcasts, and being often behind the decks, he created two unavoidable events in Berlin: ESCH since 2016 and ://Elements since 2017, with their dedicated podcast, starring great artists such as Luigi Tozzi, The Gods Planet, Blazej Malinowski and MTRL.
OUR TOP 3 OF THNTS’ MUSIC
Chart established from his first release until the publishing of this review, in December 2019.
THNTS’ approach to mixing is usually to prepare the intro carefully, and then let the flow inspire the rest of the journey. Technically, he can rely on the countless hours spent behind the decks, giving him the ability to build constant precise transitions.
The ambient intro is particularly immersive, for those who take the time to listen to it in full. At 6 min 25 come the percussions in a very natural way, with “Blowing The light”, a mesmerising tribal track from Owl. The mix then takes its ascent to the energy THNTS is accustomed to: the techno reminds deep but the groove deploys its strength.
In the middle of the mix, the spirals gradually take place and get optimised by Dino Sabatini’s version of “Dispersion” from Joachim Spieth, a track which went a bit under the radar this summer, while being one of the most charismatic productions of the pioneer.
Regarding global energy, THNTS follows the “hills pattern” (up and down and up and down…), well appreciated by the club owners regarding the rotation between the bar & the dancefloor. The mix could be listened under such an angle, but THNTS is in fact more “techno” during his shows, while the Suburban set is first and foremost a deep journey, made to catch the soul more than the body.
The mix ends perfectly with Tekra’s epic track “Output”, in a high-pitched version that suits it very well.
Here comes probably THNTS’ most surprising podcast: while the artist usually brings his fascinating textures on top of punchy techno kicks, he slows down the tempo here – at least in appearance – offering a new interesting spatial playground for the mind. It’s particularly unexpected that Owt’s Podcast is more hard-techno oriented, but there are exceptions and 086 is definitely “exceptional”. THNTS announces after the first quarter his intention to build a shamanic connection, with the deep incantations of “Dancing With A Tambourine” by Svarog, who left a very creative imprint with this captivating tribal piece. While the trance slowly makes its way into the mind’s meanders, “Uniforms” by Nuel reminds that shamanism is first and foremost a maturation of dancing, as announced by Svarog’s track name. The connection culminates with the percussions, highlighted in between quieter vibes. Such a process is repeated and amplified along the whole journey, bringing the listeners from one painting to another, from nature compositions to electrifying DnB. The regularity is torn apart, the body is caught and rejected, the impact on the emotions is palpable, and without noticing it comes the end of the mix.
The list of podcasts released by THNTS is phenomenal and as if it wasn’t enough, he also takes the time to record couple of mixes for himself on occasion. “Hypnosa” is a creation “to feel” more than “to listen to”; it’s undoubtedly THNTS’ deepest & most consistent journey. It illustrates perfectly Victor Hugo’s famous quote “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Words are indeed not very talkative compared to such an artistic expression, while being used to compliment it.
The mix has its own language, which can’t be analysed track by track, but which is revealed through the whole development; a puzzle made of pieces perfectly combined to form a single picture. Don’t expect to see it though; the atmospheric layers blur it very efficiently and distract the mind, almost instantly sent into its inner life. This is what Daniel Avery calls “a mix where I can get lost in”; you are invited to listen to it with the light off, but with your inwardness wild open.
INTERVIEW ON A SELECTED TOPIC
THNTS being both a well-experienced DJ & promoter, we chose the topic of “booking”.
Please bring us back to the moment when you went from a room DJ to a club DJ…
That was quite some time ago haha. I was mixing at home for quite some time already, mostly with friends. Some of them were also organising parties and then after a while, they asked me to play, so this is how I came to my first gig. Afterwards, I quickly started to organise my own events with a group of friends, it seemed natural to me, because I always used to put up black metal and hardcore shows back in the days.
Is it easier to get gigs when you live in Berlin?
I think it is easier and harder at the same time if that makes sense. There is much more going on in terms of parties, so there is more opportunities to play, but at the same time the competition is much bigger and there is always more coming so you have to be on top of your game.
How did it all start with ESCH and ://Elements?
ESCH started out at the beginning of 2016 and was mostly to reflect my changed preference of Techno towards the Hypnotic style. Before I was mostly into Industrial/Experimental Techno and for me, booking is just like playing always something personal.
We kept going with ESCH events at Griessmühle for two years until this didn’t work out anymore. We’ve been doing smaller events around the city since then and kept on doing podcasts.
://Elements is an official party series of the club ://about blank, which has always been my extended living room in a way, so when the opportunity arose to do something there, I was thrilled.
Putting up big events is not only about curation but also about the financial paperwork: the budget must be big enough to reach the goals. My partner and I share the same values as ://about blank, so we were more than happy to essentially work for the club and organise this event series as club-owned.
As a booker, how do you select the DJs you want to work with?
Booking artists is linked with my personal preferences in different ways, which my guests depend on, but of course, the economic reality has also to be taken into account: in general, I try to keep it balanced between more well-known names and exciting – under the radar – talents.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to room DJs to get gigs?
Do your thing, do what you like and perfect your craft. For example, I was never really into producing and I didn’t want to produce music just to get gigs; there is enough Techno out there. So for me, the way was to organise events and record podcasts, which is also something that I love to do, but that’s not for everyone. Also, social medias can definitely help when used wisely, especially if you are not in an epicentre of Techno like Berlin. I guess in general it is important to stick out somehow, in an original way.
THNTS: Facebook, SoundCloud, RA
ESCH: Facebook, SoundCloud
://ELEMENTS: Facebook, SoundCloud
://ABOUT BLANK: Homepage, Facebook
GRISSMUEHLE: Homepage, Facebook
WRITING BY: CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 21 DECEMBER 2019