Writer: Hans Hess
You guys launched in 2012 with Steyoyoke and what were your initial plans for the label?
MPathy: We started off with the idea to create melodic and special music around 118BPM. At this time there was a huge wave especially in the Deep House genre and we wanted to show people our take on it. Of course our sound has changed a lot since then.
How would you describe your sound as I read somewhere that it’s described as ‘Ethereal techno’ and what does that sound like?
Dahu: Ethereal Techno was a term we came up with when we were thinking about the Steyoyoke sound as a whole. We are all still our own producers individually, but I think everyone on the label can identify with Ethereal Techno to a certain degree. I like to think of it as techno with an emotive, floating or otherworldly quality.
Nick Devon: It is not Techno with the hardcore term but it is not electronica or progressive. There are a lot of techno elements but with melodies and ethereal/eerie sounds or soundscapes. One could say that it combines the punch of a techno track with the progressive melodies and atmosphere of electronica and sometimes ambient. It can be dreamy, trippy or dark.
You pride yourself on your artwork and can you tell us a bit about the team behind this ? Do you have any favourite sleeves or artwork and what makes them so special?
MPathy: In the last 5 years we’ve worked together with various highly talented illustrators. To connect music and art is part of the Steyoyoke concept and we’ve even done artwork exhibitions in the past. The visual impression is as important to us as the music and we love art.
Nick Devon: Every artwork of Steyoyoke is special and unique. There are real artists that work behind every artwork, from illustrators to graphic designers. My personal favourites are the latest artworks made by Emmanuel Lafont. Extremely surreal and detailed, they immediately catch the eye and they go along with the title and the theme of each release.
Dahu: My pick would be the work Emmanuel did for my ‘Hesia’ EP featuring an anthropomorphic dog. From the moment I saw it I knew I would want it as the art for the release. The image is eerily gripping and surreal and went perfectly with the tone I had in mind for the EP.
How did the launch in 2014 of your sub label Steyoyoke Black differ from its mother label and what was your thinking behind this new project?
Dahu: Black was a very natural evolution in a way. We had a lot of music we wanted to put out that didn’t really fit into the sound we had imagined for Steyoyoke. Steyoyoke Black created an outlet for the more menacing kind of sound we felt didn’t fit the main label.
MPathy: We wanted to give a home to the darker more technoish material we were producing at the time.
Nick Devon: Personally, I felt really happy about it. I am more into darker sounds, more aggressive yet still melodic and ‘ethereal’. With the launch of Steyoyoke Black, the road was open to experimentation and I could tap into my twisted/darker creative side. This resulted in some amazing tracks that found their way to the dance floor and were supported by DJs around the world.
What have been the pivotal or key releases on both labels so far and who’s been your main supporters or champions of the labels?
MPathy: I’ve always liked our ‘Family Affair’ and ‘Couple Affair’ releases. Two label artists would work together on collaborative projects, and we were very pleased with how these turned out. One of my favourite releases was SYYK010. The first release on Steyoyoke Black from Animal Picnic was also very special.
Nick Devon: My key releases on Steyoyoke are definitely ‘The Poem’ EP and the ‘Cosmos’ EP on Steyoyoke Black. Both EPs have the power and the melody and made my sound more recognisable to the crowd. I could name a lot of big name DJs that supported Steyoyoke releases but I am also very thankful that our sound was supported by a lot of music lovers and common music listeners.
Dahu: ‘Sedated’ was a pivotal moment in terms of recognition. For my personal development as an artist, ‘Hesia’ was a release that made me understand a lot about my own process.
Do you think Berlin adds something special to your labels and sound and what makes it so unique.
MPathy: Except for the impression Berlin makes worldwide as the capital of techno I wouldn’t say so. We are based in Berlin, that’s pretty much it, other than that we focus on ourselves and on our musical approach.
Nick Devon: Berlin is the centre of art, the place where you can explore and expand your creativity. With the use of internet and networking nowadays you can achieve the same result from any place on earth but for sure having the headquarters in Berlin was a great place to start this journey.
Dahu: Berlin is probably one of the better places to be a producer. Great clubs to test your tracks and a great community of producers and artists. I can’t say if it’s shaped our sound especially – I think it’s more the fact that we’ve collaborated very closely among ourselves for so many years that’s made the sound of the label very recognisable.
You run your own agency? it’s a clever move – how did this come about and what artists are on the roster and why ?
MPathy: We started off with a booking and promotion agency which was part of the initial concept and helped us grow the label naturally and do things our own way.
With your debut showcase coming up at Berlin Berlin; The Birthday on Saturday July 15th at Egg London and how do you feel your current support base in the U.K. Is looking and what can we expect from you guys on the night?
Nick Devon: We’re all really excited about this as Egg London is one of the most respected clubs in London and we’ve heard only great things about it. Steyoyoke has a good fan base in the UK from our feedback and we also have many good friends and supporters in London we know personally so I am sure it will be a great night full of happy vibes, melodic, dark and energetic tracks with a lot of unreleased and upcoming material from all 3 of us during that night.
MPathy: I like London a lot and used to live in Hendon for a couple years when I was younger so for sure British culture had some impact on me and I always like to come back. I’m really looking forward to playing in London for the first time and to present our approach to techno to the party people at Berlin Berlin.
Dahu: Very much looking forward to lay it down for a London crowd. The response from the UK over the years has always been great, can’t wait to experience the Egg in the flesh.
Steyoyoke Recordings’ Nick Devon, Dahu and MPathy make their debut at the Berlin Berlin: The Birthday on Saturday July 15th with Sisyphos in the Main Room featuring the legendary electronic music pioneer Daniel Miller (Mute Records), Yetti Meissner, Fidelity Kastrow and Jonty Skrufff at Egg London. On The Terrace you can connect with Rumpelkammer featuring Peter Schumann, Bo Irion plus the Egg London Residents Ireen Amnes, Kyle E & Fidel whilst n the Loft the Homostash DJs celebrate with Tafkanik, Carly Fox, Pavline and JVP. Performers on the night include Plastic Sister, Luke Harris, Beatrix Carlotta, Gregory Kara, Bliss Theadora, Kokaine Tyson, Ruby Bird and Syban and rounding off in the Apothecary catch the Kuntskammer cabaret with Lewis G Burton, Kassandra Powell & Guests. All info at …