Kvarteret Interview w/Dave Clarke

August 8, 2019

In June 2019, we had invited Dave Clarke at our venue in Stockholm as part of Kvarteret′s Summernight sessions to play one of his legendary sets that have made him a worldwide recognisable figure in the electronic music scene. Luckily, we spent some afternoon hours going around the city of Stockholm for sightseeing, managing to get an impression of Dave Clarke – who has been called as The Baron of Techno and who truly lives up to his title. Dave Clarke is an artist that respects his craft by remaining authentic to himself and to the music that has been part of his life for almost 30 years now. These questions were answered after the gig in Stockholm.
What did you think of Stockholm as a city on your last visit? 
I have a soft spot for Scandic countries and their capital cities, I love Copenhagen for example, I was blessed with good weather for Stockholm. Obviously it is very beautiful and dignified, I have never really spent very much time there, last time was after being near Bolnas staying with a friend, so really I have only had day trips, from what I have seen there much more to explore, the architecture is something I love, I would also love to go to the archipeligo as my Swedish yoga teacher keeps teeling me about it.


As you have previously expressed, photography is one of your biggest passions. What drives you to it and what do you aim to express through your shots? 
I am just at the beginning to be honest, when I was a child I was lucky enough for my father to lend me (and eventually give me) a lovely Minolta with a Rokkar 58mm lens and a series 1 Vivitar zoom, trouble is I could not afford to have film developed and then I had to sell the camera to eat as I chose music as a career. I have now just picked it up again and I am really enjoying it. Amsterdam is great as there are many galleries here showing photography and selling very cool books….I am excited to see how this carries me forward.
A lesson that you have learned throughout the years that you would say to your younger self when starting to get into the music industry? 
Just be friends with people outside your job description, there is either jealousy or fakeness to try and gain position. I only have perhaps two friends that are DJ’s others are lovely to see from time to time.

3 things that you find very pretentious in contemporary society? 
Narcissism, a trait that has always been there, but now is rewarded in full, when in fact it should be the opposite.
Capitalism actually, status anxiety really forces pretentiousness to the fore, whereas the driver is insecurity.
Back stage entourage….do I really need to expand on this? 🙂

A sub-genre that deserves further recognition? 
Reggae, not a sub-genre but definitely written out of the music books.

If someone asks you to define techno from a personal point of view how would you define it? 

3 principles that you follow in not being a ‘sell-out’?
Be true to yourself
Try to listen to your instinct
Do not rebrand something at the cost of destroying heritage

Your favourite piece of literature and why? 
Tough one, I really do not have the mindset to read many books due to being exhausted, if in the right mood and setting I can devour anybook, from the history of Punk to Time/ Space and Super Nova’s…… but right now nothing truly springs to mind.

Can you name a person or an artist that aided your vision as an artist? 
John Foxx, Juan Atkins, The Damned, KRS1 , the list is endless, truly.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement till now?
Not selling out, I had so many ″opportunities” to do so and robustly refused, 90 percent of artists do not anymore.

 Thoughts on Music, Technology and Culture
Do you think that more people are into techno nowadays because of the efforts of DJs, marketers, managers and club promoters or rather because more people are becoming disillusioned with the current state of things and choose to follow alternative music? 
Techno, as it has been rebranded is 90% commercial, there is nothing alternative to it, it only presents a sensible alternative to Timmy Trumpet or Steve Aoki, but it (rebranded Techno) finds the audience that we never wanted, the non fanatical, the political unaware, the people at school you went to clubs to to get away from. They are into an accessible, business minded Tech House, not Techno.

What do you think will be the influence of ArtificiaI Intelligence on music production? Do you perceive it as a positive emerging change or as something to be cautious about?
Every single tool has an advantage and disavantage, it depends on how humanity develops it…… compare Myspace to Facebook for example. The book can present knowledge or reinforce bigotry,the internet can link people together for positive action or manipulate the voters for very unstable politics. In many ways we are seeing the lack of knowledge through education (I got most of my political knowledge through punk and hip hop not school) which has been advantageous to politicians now in how they bring countries down. So AI (which I was supposed to leave school and study) can both be positive and negative, I feel currently it will be more negative, on music, well there is enough cookie cutter univentive music to suggest that perhaps it will spice things up, but I doubt it. Music / Art needs a soul.

What would you say to the younger people who choose to be identified with ‘counterculture’ movements and consequently are sometimes labelled as ‘strange’ and ‘weird’?
Go with it, if you are truly part of a counter culture that has a good outlook I salute you.

Without a doubt, the advancement of technology has aided in the distribution and recording of music as well as ensuring a fairer pay to musicians. Do you agree with this statement or are there moments that you feel nostalgic about how things were when you started DJing in the early 90s? 
It is good to know where you came from but not remain static. Without any doubt technological changes both in performance and distribution has some positive things, but also it has killed ″the chase” as everything is instantly obtainable, which means it has also become far more throw away. A dj chart used to mean something, now it does not for example.
By Maria Pelagia for Kvarteret