Filed under: Interview
He started his DJ career at the age of sixteen and since his first international gig almost 15 years ago Frank Lorber has gone from strength to strength. Listen to his latest mix CD for Cocoon Recordings “Frank Lorber In The Mix- Play” and his last mix that was released five years earlier and you will notice that Lorber isn’t one to let his musical style stagnate.
As well as manning the DJ box in a plethora of different countries, as a brief glance at his current world tour schedule will reveal, Frank is also quite busy in the studio. For just over ten years he has been releasing original productions on labels like Coccon and Delirium Red quite often choosing to team up with other artists including fellow Deutschlanders Pascal F.E.O.S. and Johannes Heil.
Now, through his own label Nummer-Schallplatten Frank releases some of his own works as well as trying to help along other artists such as 2 Dollar Eggs who he counts among his personal friends. Just after his set at ageHa Lorber chatted to us about the label, the business of music and traveling as well as offering us a brief but informative German lesson.
Interview & Introducion by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : We wanted to ask you about your label Nummer…Can you help us pronounce that?
Frank Lorber : Schallplatten. Yeah it is difficult for English speakers to say.
HRFQ : Does that mean records?
Frank Lorber : Yeah it means records. When I thought about the name I thought I wanted to keep it in German. That is the reason why I chose Nummer, that means number and Schallplatten, that means records.
HRFQ : In 2003 you started the label, why then? Was it something you just decided suddenly or had you been wanting to start it for some time? Because you’ve been working in the industry for a while.
Frank Lorber : I produced my first record with Pascal F.E.O.S. in 1994. You know, I did a lot of productions but after a while I was getting tired of that whole system. Send the stuff to some labels and then wait for an answer. Sometimes they don’t answer. So in 2003 I was really pissed off with that fucking system so then I thought with more than ten years in the scene you know how it works. So to do it by yourself is the easiest way. To keep it in a way so that afterwards you can say, “That was good”. I was happy with the releases I had on different labels but it took so much time.
HRFQ : As you said your first release was with Pascal and you’ve had a lot of other collaborations. Do you prefer working with others to working on your own?
Frank Lorber : Yeah I prefer to work with other people. I’m not that studio maniac you know. I would say 80% I am a DJ and 20% I am a studio maniac. I have my own studio but I think it is interesting to get some influence from other guys. I know Pascal’s style or I know Johannes Heil’s style and I think it makes a good mixture. That is why I prefer to work with other people.
HRFQ : Your studio is actually where Eye Q and Harthouse used to be. Were those two labels very important for Germany?
Frank Lorber : I think not just for Germany but for the whole techno scene, worldwide. The stuff from Harthouse and Eye Q in the early nineties…The sound they put out really influenced a lot of people, including me. They were really important labels, yeah. They had a huge output, a really big name and really good artists.
HRFQ : Do you hope the same thing will happen with Nummer-Schallplatten?
Frank Lorber : I hope so. I spend all my time on the label. I work a lot because I do everything by myself. I do the artworks and everything.
HRFQ : You have a few artists now like 2 Dollar Egg and Sikora. Are you thinking of releasing more artists or just concentrating on the ones you have now?
Frank Lorber : Releasing more artists. For example there is San Lebowski, that is an artist called Agaric. He is a really well known artist at the moment but I don’t want to choose really well known artists. That is why I asked him to do a new alias. It is easy for me to say “I have that guy Agaric on my label” but I think music has to sell because of the quality not because of the names. That is why I told him I didn’t want to do it under his Agaric alias, I wanted a new alias. Now, I think it works really well. When I choose artists, I take a look at my record collection say from the 90’s or whatever. And like there is a guy called Kit Clayton he is from San Francisco and he was a huge producer in about ’95 or ’96. So I called him and told him that I was a really big fan of his older stuff and asked him if he was interested in doing something for Nummer. But I asked him if he was interested to do something for the dancefloor because he used to do ambient stuff. He did something more techno oriented and I am going to release it at the end of the year.
HRFQ : Will it be under a different name?
Frank Lorber : No, it’ll be under Kit Clayton because he wasn’t interested in using an alias.
HRFQ : Is releasing under different aliases something you do?
Frank Lorber : Most of the time it is under my name or I also have a project with Johannes Heil called Project 69. That was the same thing, it was too easy to say it was Frank Lorber and Johannes Heil so we chose another project name.
HRFQ : Back in ’93 or ’94 you had a residency at Omen but you got your first overseas gig. How did it feel to get to play in another country for the first time?
Frank Lorber : It was amazing because I was really green behind the ears. I was really young, now I am 31 but when I started as a resident at the Omen club I was 16. I started really early and my first gig in London was when I was 17. I was really nervous but it was exciting for me. I was so amazed that somebody booked the ticket for me, paid for the hotel and gave me a fee to play in a club. It was so new for me.
HRFQ : Is it still exciting for you now when you come to somewhere overseas like Japan?
Frank Lorber : Yeah, of course. Japan is one of my favourite countries to travel to. It is always nice to travel and I’m not bored of it. Maybe some DJs think, “Tomorrow I have to play in New York and then the next day Tokyo, uhh”. But I am not that kind of guy. I always enjoy it. This time I have one of my friends with me and sometimes I take my girlfriend and it is always a great experience.
HRFQ : It’s great that you haven’t lost that after ten years.
Frank Lorber : Yeah, I will never lose that. It keeps me young to always see and learn new things. I am so happy to do this job, honestly. I pray to god everyday to say thank you for letting me do want I want to do. It’s my hobby and my job so I am very thankful.
HRFQ : Your new CD, “Frank Lorber In The Mix- Play” has just come out four or five years after your last DJ mix. Why has it been so long? Why did you wait?
Frank Lorber : I don’t know. The last one was in 2001 or something like that and then I was traveling a lot and the idea of starting the label came up so I didn’t think it was time to do a new mix CD. I had so many things in my head. I’m not the type of guy that is always thinking about business. Like thinking about heading into the studio or putting out mix CDs to make my name big. I don’t know why but it took some time. A year ago the guys from Cocoon asked me the same question and said it might be time to release a new one because I have changed my music style. That was the main reason for me because the stuff I recorded in 2001 was something completely different to now. My music always changes because I am always looking for new records and stuff. I thought because I have changed my music style and it is time to show people what I am playing at the moment. That was the main reason I decided to bring this CD out. But at the moment I spend most of my time on the label.
HRFQ : So you are putting a lot of energy into the releases from other producers on the label?
Frank Lorber : Of course. For example 2 Dollar Egg are good friends of mine. They are two guys…That’s the reason why they are called 2 Dollar Egg. After work they don’t have the energy to go into the studio because they are tired and they have their lives. But I know they have a lot of talent. I always try to keep them in a good condition and get them to continue their work. So I talk to the guys and try to motivate them.
HRFQ : Do you see it as a business though or is it just fun?
Frank Lorber : It’s fun. Well of course it is a business but the main reason is fun. I really like music and now after ten or fifteen years I know a lot about the music scene and I know how it works and that makes it easier for me. So I don’t feel like it is a hard work or a business. Of course it is hard work but if someone has to go to a regular job at 8 o’clock in the morning and paint some walls for eight hours then that is a hard job, because you don’t really like it.
HRFQ : Well thank you for your time, we’ll let you get back there and watch some of the other sets.
Frank Lorber : Thank you.
End of the interview
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