Meet the man behind the label serving up the finest in techno and house from deepest Luxembourg
Certain places are known throughout the world for their contributions to dance music history. Chicago, New York and Detroit, obviously, but also London, Berlin, Paris, Manchester, Rome...
Luxembourg - not so much. But that's where you'll find the headquarters of Lauter Unfug, an events company and record label that over the past few years has been quietly releasing slab after slab of house and techno dancefloor gold.
The label was set up four years ago by native Luxembourgians Thierry Loesch, AKA Riven, and partner-in-crime Pierre Bellion. Though relative newcomers to the scene, they've quickly built themselves an enviable reputation and, with Riven's DJ sets having been heard in prime locations such as Tresor and ADE, that rep only looks set to grow.
With Riven's own Acid Break EP currently riding high in the tech-house charts, and sporting a remix from no less a personage than old school hip-house don Tyree Cooper, we caught up with Thierry to find out more…
At just 14 releases deep, Lauter Unfug is still quite a young label. Tell us a bit about how it came into being?
"Yes, we are pretty young, we started out about four years ago as a small event collective, for the love of house music and with the drive to revive the local scene. Nevertheless, our motivation, passion and the diversity of our events made Lauter Unfug a household pretty rapidly and the long list of international collaborations through our event agency have set the scene for the many in-studio conjunctions we are now proud of while looking forward for the many to come."
What was your DJ/production background prior to setting up Lauter Unfug?
"I started DJing in 2006 and I got into production a few years later - let’s say about seven years ago. At the time the techno scene in Luxembourg was in need of a serious shake-up, hence our strong motivation behind setting up Lauter Unfug as a collective and reviving our local techno culture. Moreover, when my production work started to become serious, after having difficulties reaching other labels, I realised that having our locally based label will be much more productive than getting across on my own from Luxembourg."
Yes, Luxembourg isn't exactly known as a hotbed of house and techno... or has the rest of the world got that wrong? What's the dance music scene like there?
"Well, as I mentioned, building our local techno culture brick-by-brick was our initial motivation, and still remains our main drive regardless of the many hindrances along the way. When we first started out the scene was pretty static but I can now say that it is getting thirstier, with more demand for DJs, a finer taste for house music and quite a handful of techno festivals in the area."
Can you describe the music policy or ethos behind the label?
"Our mission is to promote Luxembourgish DJs and producers abroad, it’s another important angle in reviving a country’s music culture. It's not an easy business, that’s for sure, but our initial vision is taking nice contours, our broad and melodic house to tech- house musical directions are definitely getting across with more and more talented artists joining the family."
The Acid Break EP is only your second release on your label. Is it important for Lauter Unfug not to just be a vanity project, but to support (or break) new artists?
"Yes, it’s true, with Acid Break EP as my second release, I must say that aside from my individual production and studio work, I do dedicate a lot of time to welcoming and promoting new artists, and setting up collaborations between well-known producers and talented new ones. In the end, the artists make our label. The possibilities are multiple and we aim for good chemistry and cohesiveness in our final selections."
The EP features a remix from Chicago legend Tyree Cooper [super-duper producer]. How did you come to hook up with him?
"Yes, indeed - as a big fan myself I couldn’t be more honoured! Tyree Cooper played a few times in Luxembourg at our events. As I mentioned before, our passion and dedication to events organising has led to many bonds over the years, and he was one of them. Last time he played for one of our events I simply asked him and the rest is... good music!"
And what about the other two remixers on the EP, Timid Boy and Andrew Martin?
"They are good friends."
If you had to 'review' their remixes for iDJ readers, how would you describe them?
"Andrew Martin’s Remix pulsates with quick stabs, a hyperactive bassline and rushing rhythm, all wrapped in the original track’s acid notes. In his turn, with his second remix on the Label, Timid Boy focuses on the main vocals, whilst adding a smooth, rhythmic and uplifting groove on top. Thus he manages once again to deliver a solid mix and to seamlessly melt together the different elements of the track."
What other releases are coming up on Lauter Unfug that we should know about?
"We are soon to release the second Lauter Freunde album, a 24-track compilation that includes tracks by residents and friends that helped shape the label over time including Makz, Stanley, Matchy & Bott, Matthias Horn, Haste Midi, Alberto Stocco, myself and many more.
"With this release we aimed at merging the musical influences of the label and reaching out from the deep and soulful house to tech-house and techno. Each track has its own individuality and the quality shows the chemistry between the label’s taste and drive and its artists. Lauter Unfug has also given the artists the opportunity to experiment and release some tunes that sound different to what you might expect given their past releases, so expect some surprises along the way."
Finally, anything else you think iDJ readers need to know about the label?
"We sure have more to tell, but we'll let the artists and music speak for themselves!"
Words: Russell Deeks Tyree Cooper pic: Marie Staggat
Riven's Acid Break EP is out now on Lauter Unfug. The Lauter Freunde 2 compilation follows on 15 October.