In 2013 the time had come for Berlin’s infamous music club Ritter Butzke to launch its own label. Under the leadership of DJ and producer - and not least - good friend Mario Aureo Ritter; Butzke Studio came to life, based on the club’s motto: “Try new things, look for new horizons, discover new artistic expressions”. Throughout the last years this label has been shaped by intense cooperation with resident artists and Ritter Butzke family friends. The label walks the same path as the club creating something substantial, taking risks, staying native and authentic.
We caught up with the man in charge of implementing the clubs vision through the record label Mario Aureo to talk about their upcoming 6YL remix package release, his exclusively recorded mix and what the future holds for the Berlin club scenes. Ritter Butzke are also offering you the chance to download Mario's remix of Kuriose Naturale's "Can't Decide". Not only that anyone who downloads the brilliant free track will be automatically entered into the competition to win one of two guestlist spots for you and a friend, for the upcoming label showcase in the infamous Ritter Butzke nightclub!
Hi Mario, thanks for taking the time to speak to us, how are things for you right now, what have you been up to recently?
My pleasure! I'm fine and have nothing to complain about! Right now I’m doing an interview with Juno – I guess you have already heard about the UK-based record and download store! ;)
For those uninitiated with the record label please tell us about the Ritter Butzke Studio sound and family.
Like you've already read in the introduction our label is related to the well-known Berlin club Ritter Butzke and that’s why we are working with our residents mainly which doesn't mean that we aren't looking for new family members all the time. A good example is the young Hanoverian producer Iorie who joins the RBS family without any previous connection to the club. So the roster is still growing and all of our artists are always happy if they can welcome new faces to the family! About the sound I can't say that we are releasing just Deep House, Tech House, Techno, Minimal or whatever – The Ritter Butzke club contains 3 (main-)floors besides to some smaller rooms that we open for special events like our club anniversary or NYE and it wouldn't make sense to play the same kind of music at all floors. That's why our residents and label artists represent a multifarious range of music which you can hear in our label catalogue as well!
Did you personally source the remix artists for 6YL yourself? Was this a long process in terms of selecting the right remixer for each track or did some names instantly spring to mind?
No I never choose a remixer myself – I always talk to the original artists and we make the final decision together! For me it's just important that the remixer is able to construe the original in a different way/style because nobody wants the same track once again when there is just an additional shaker in it ;)
How did the label concept come about? Were you asked to take the helm and lead the label or was this something that naturally developed?
As a club which is running well you always have a good base to start a label and that's why the then-booker Kristian (who is also part of Kuriose Naturale) asked me if I could imagine to take care of this project. It was an easy decision for me because I was already a resident at the club and especially Kristian is a close friend that I really like to work with from every point of view. And that's the story how Ritter Butzke Studio was born...
This week sees the release of the remix package for last year’s brilliant “6YL” how pleased are you with the way it has been received by your peers, critics and of course on the dancefloor?
I'm absolutely satisfied with the result – Every single remixer did an amazing job! It was just tough work for me to coordinate everything but when you receive the first positive feedbacks from some big names (DJs, Magazines, Radio Stations) of the industry you know that it was worth every single second!
Your track on the original 6YL release “Can You Feel It” was written with Switzerland’s Manuel Moreno, someone you have worked with fairly frequently in the past. How did this collaboration come about?
I met Manuel first when he was in Berlin approx five years ago. Our mutual friends Gorge and Chris Lattner were playing this day and introduced us to each other at the party. We had a really good chat there and from this moment it was clear that we are on the same wavelength. But it took a while till Manu came up with the idea to do a collaboration. He had two unfinished tracks and didn't know how to finish them alone so he sent me the stems and I put my stamp on them. The results were “Autumn Bell” and “Arosis” – Both original tracks of RBS001! From this moment we decided to work on new tracks mainly when I’m in Switzerland, I stay a few days longer at Manu's place. But we still send us stems and ideas from time to time.
“Can you feel it” gets the remix treatment from Russia’s Spieltape on the remix release, how happy are you with his interpretation?
I'm more than happy with it! I really like all of Alex' works and already did some tracks with him too. That's why I asked him for the remix because I thought it's a funny idea to have some for the remix I’m working with on another project. And we'll also have Manu on remix duties for one of our upcoming releases so that the circle is complete!
You have of course been busy remixing yourself, as the label will be giving away a very special remix of Kuriose Naturale’s “Can't Decide” remixed by your good self! Tell us a little about your work on the remix.
“Can’t Decide” is a great track and in the past I have often done stripped back remixes and they have always got nice feedback from those who like their dance music on the simpler side, a bit more reduced. So I already knew how to do it and it was actually pretty easy ;)
When we heard you were recording an exclusive mix as part of the takeover page we were very excited down at Juno HQ, can you tell us a little about selection process etc?
As always I took care that the tracks build an arc of suspense because I don't like podcasts or mixes that just go straight on from the beginning till the end. So I always start my sets a bit lower, build a peak in the middle and end with an emotional track. Hopefully you can hear what I just told you when you are listing to the mix and like my way how I build up my sets!?
Is the musical policy of the label directly dictated by the club or even vice versa? Would you be happy if the label and the club took a different direction from each other in the future?
I guess I already answered the first part of this question above – And about the “different directions” I would say that this won't make any sense for a club label because you would confuse your visitors when you don't release the sound that they danced to in the club and even the other way round a buyer of the label would be disappointed when he visits the club and won't hear any connection to the label sound.
The label is of course named Ritter Butzke “Studio” is there an actual studio space that the artists share?
That's something I got asked a lot of times but no we don't have a communal studio at the club. We were just thinking about an appendix for the label and didn't want to use “Records, Recordings, Audio or Music” - But we thought that “Studio” sounds like a collective and that's what we are even if we don't share a studio.
Berlin has now long been regarded as a hub of dance music culture, particularly in the Techno and House scenes. Do you expect that reputation to continue into the distant future?
Yes I really think so! For sure other cities are also really important for the scene but I know no other city that has so many nightclubs and artists living there relative to the population like in Berlin. And that won't change fast because it's great for the artists to have a kind of exchange with like-minded people, do collaborations and get new inspiration if they hear an outstanding set from somebody at one of the almost countless clubs. And these multifarious clubs are also the reason why so many people come to Berlin to party. I would say we have a space for everyone here – From fancy to underground, from clean to dirty and from big to cosy. And not to forget to mention that parties in Berlin are almost endless because we don't have a curfew here which is also a good argument for people from other countries where they have to leave the clubs at the best time!
Now that the city is becoming somewhat of a pilgrimage for dance music fans, how do you think the international interest and commercial success will affect the current creative atmosphere within the city?
I don't see this as problem to be honest – actually it's pretty good because every single person from another country brings his or her own spirit and influences to the city and sometimes people stay here and focus on own projects that they are still missing here! So I would say it's a good thing for the creative atmosphere here...
You yourself have a released on a long list of quality Minimal House & Techno labels over the past few years, so clearly your productions are in high demand, being the label manager, do you ever feel tempted to save your strongest material for Ritter Butzke?
No definitely not. As I already said I mainly release the collaborations with Manu on RBS - The remix for Kuriose Naturale was the first solo work because Manu was on vacation and we had to go with planning for the release. But even if I would be involved as a solo artist I would always consider which tracks make sense for the label and which fits together for an EP. Sometimes you can't even decide by yourself which of your works is really strong. ;)
Please tell us the talented upcoming artists and DJ’s that you feel we should keep our eyes and ears open for this year?
I already named one above which is Iorie – He is just 19 years old and for this age his production and DJ skills are unbelievable because he is into a huge range of music and always try to show this influences in his productions and DJ sets. He just started a “Slomo” label called Serafin Audio where he releases tracks that can be under 100bpm also. Another one is Tim Engelhardt who isn't a real newcomer anymore because of his release on labels like Poker Flat but I always have to name him when someone is asking me this question because he is just 17 years old and I promise that he'll be the next David August or Nicolas Jaar one day.
What do you have planned for yourself and the label for 2016 and beyond?
To capture global dominance :D
Juno Download Guest Mix: Mario Aureo
Upcoming events at the infamous Ritter Butzke Nightclub
Hamburg's Diynamic are back with some pretty fierce tracks on Four To The Floor 06, quite a departure from the label's usual deep house sound. Pig&Dan's "Growler" is a storming peak time techno weapon with a furious beat, slamming synth stabs and a big drop: all you need really. Israeli progressive house hero Guy Mantzur appears too with "Trees Of Eden" which goes more for the Life & Death style moody and melodic journey track style. Brazil's ANNA serves up a driving, tunnelling and restrained groove on cruise control with "Odd Concept" while Jonas Rathsman serves up one of the most epic arpeggiations of the year on his monster "Cobalt".
New Hivern signing Cleveland - AKA up-and-coming producer Andrea Mancini - is living proof that there's more to Luxembourg than tax-dodging corporations and trilingual residents. Certainly, this is an assured label debut, packed full of atmospheric, off-kilter compositions and ear pleasing, analogue-sounding deep house. He begins with the starry synths, bubbly electronics and scattergun drums of the colourful "Shine", before melding electro sounds and breakbeat drum patterns on the similarly melodious "Mercury". He successfully strips back that track on the superb "Early Dub" - think Wolf Mueller on anti-depressants - while "Atlas" sounds like a deep house tribute to vintage Detroit futurism. It's the finest moment on a pleasingly strong EP.
Manchester hero Chris Massey is back with the Pink Flamingo EP. He serves up some high octane disco on "You Are Devine" featuring none other than The Emperor Machine aka Andy Meecham of Chicken Lips fame. "Floor To the Four" is pretty jacking electro house for the peak time hour. Berlin's ROTCIV steps us to deliver an even more acidified take on things also with his killer remix.
Colin McBean originally rose to prominence as the B-boy member of The Advent, but as this compilation shows, his Mr G project is his most valuable work. The premise behind it is simple but deadly effective; create a rolling groove, bolster it with tough kicks and nagging percussion and throw in some vocal samples to give it an edge. On "Pepsi" and "Did You Know", he impresses with just these elements, with the latter's wailing soul vocal impressing most. On other occasions, he throws a squealing sax and churning chords ( "Jet Black") or acrid acid ("Zam Zam") into the mix, but the result is nearly always the same - peerless DJ tools with a killer punch.
On this fine release, Kompakt has recruited a crack team of high profile remixers to rework tracks from Dave DK's 2015 album, Val Maira. First to step up to the plate is German veteran Isolee, who delivers a woozy, hypnotic version of "We Mix At Six" full of his trademark percussion, minor key melodies and typically teutonic attitude - plus, of course, some rather odd but endearing, dubbed-out synthesizer refrains. Ulrich Schauss reaches for the grandiose, wall-of-sound chords and glistening guitars on his picturesque, deep tech-house interpretation of "Kronsee", before Portable pays tribute to long Ibizan sunsets on his beautifully poignant - if likeably tipsy - deep house-goes-synth wave remix of "Nueva Cancion".
Monaberry is a label run by Halle-based tech house hooligans Super Flu, who also appeared on Herbert's Best 06. There they collaborated with Viktor Takling Machine on "Plastik" which samples Lil' Louis' classic "French Kiss" on this epic Innervisions style house excursion. The bittersweet and glitchy deep house jam "Number's Station" by Robot Love sounds like classic Stimming, not bad! Martin Waslewski's "Kwaiet" or Parra For Cuva's "Borneo" are the kind of dreamy and ethereal journey music you'd expect to hear at one of Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream parties. Nice one fellas!
Emmanuele Nicosia and Martino Bertola aka Hunter/Game were already known thanks to their releases on Innervisions and Last Night on Earth. However, it makes perfect sense that their debut album, Adaptation, issues on Kompakt, the Cologne home to techno-trance experts like Gui Borratto. Certainly the title track's crashing drums and tunnelling melodies are reminiscent of Brazilian Borratto's most epic moments, but it would also be a mistake to assume that the pair are only interested in tripping the light fantastic. "Hexagon" sees them venture down a tougher, harder techno route while the reflective "Intro" and the slower, shimmering "Origins" show that Hunter / Game aren't a typical trance-lite outfit.
Hot on the heels of his 2015 debut album come these remixes of tracks from Matrixxman's Homesick. Charles 'Matrixxman' Duff and frequent collaborator Vin Sol's take on "Necronomicon" is a typical acid-heavy affair, but the other reshapes follow an unpredictable path. The Instance reshape of "Earth Like Conditions" is a breathy deep techno jam, while Mike Parker applies a dense wall of bleep bass to "Opium Den". The real coup here is Spectral persuading Larry Heard to provide three remixes as Gherkin Jerks of "Augmented". There's the melancholy 'Bass Vibe' version, and better still, two old school acid-fried 'Lab Chaos' takes.
Berlin legend Daso is still at it and showing off more to his ever evolving style. "No Lead" is dark cyclical techno, surprisingly in the vein of Stanislav Tolkachev with its gnarly SH-101 style lead and not a high-hat within earshot. Second track "Decide" is a bit more like the old Daso we know: dreamy deep house that is melodic and just made for drifting; you could imagine Lee Burridge playing something like this. Finally the Chymera remix of "No Lead" uses that awesome 101 lead to great effect but turns the track into a dark and journey like Life & Death style track. Nice one!
New label SOUND is off to a pretty decent start when you consider they've commissioned the current queen of techno Nicole Moudaber for a track on their debut EP. She offers us the bumpy minimal groove of "Avocado In My Belly". If that was not enough, Hungarian tech house hero Jay Lumen also appears with the funked up peak time tribalism of "Good Woodoo" which is just killer. Also featuring are Roman upstatrs Nice7 with the cheeky and jazzy Kater Blau style of "Pussy" and Quito's Crespo with the dark and tunnelling techno of "Machala" for fans of the Drumcode sound.
Rainier Zonneveld is a Dutch house and techno producer who likes to keep things tidy and deep, and who has been closely associated to the awesome and long-running Trapez label. This week, he's up on Still Vor Talent with three fist-pumping, head-twisting woofer-shakers, and "Sharp Burst" sets the scene with a rolling kick beat, airy melodics and a little FX trickery, while "Rushchamber" is slower, dustier on the percussion groove, and boomy. "Flatchat" is a puristic tech house roller for the floor, backed by a quirky, wavey ocean of low-ends.
Highly engineered tech house for the majority of Berlin dancefloors by Englishman via Sydney Garry Todd following up his well-received debut album on B Pitch Control last year. "Time Goes On" is a pumping and adrenalised groove for the peak time at Ritter Butzke with Nat Page's epic vocals. "Go Green" is an epic journey track with rich, swirling and immersive synths and pads hypnotising you into submission: there's a lot going on in this track that's for sure. Finally the extended version of "Anniversary Track" gets all sombre and mysterious on us with yet more layers of rich pads and strings doing most of the work effectively well over a sturdy beat.
Miyagi likes to bounce around between tech house and deep, and the producer's tunes always come with a tight groove, and a myriad of funky melodies to warm up any sort of DJ set. This time, the artist is up on the growing SOSO label, and these three tunes are exactly the sort of thing you want to vibe out to; "The Dust" itself is a stone cold killer with a progressive kind of flare, and grainy percussion flex, and remixed into a more brooding electro monster by Anouka and Mr Loi. "Apollo" is a nasty club banger that brings us back to the days of Fedde Le Grand and Gigi d'Agostino, thanks to its heavy, mutant bassline.
First track "Shinto" is funky feel-good minimal which uses tabla drums and human handclaps alongside that wicked bassline and it sounds impressive. "Moksha" is deep down and dirty with its buzzing synth lead, rolling bassline and fierce shuffling rhythm. Finally "Sadhama" is equally suited to the main room at peak time with those Matthew Dear style synth squeals that sound from outer space and will totally trip out the crowd.
You know that summer isn't too far away when Petar Dundov re-appears. Every year, the Croatian producer delivers a sun-kissed , tranced out groove that captures the beauty of his home country. "Dancing Sun" is no exception - what begins as an understated, bleep-laden track builds and builds with subtle melody changes until it reaches a gentle but hypnotic climax. Remixer Forever Sound faces a tough task to rise to the occasion, but he achieves it by adding in some bleeping bass and shimmering synths that sound like they were designed to be played at an open air party on the Dalmatian coast.
Berlin legends Smash TV are still at it and you'd best know are sounding better than ever on some of their more recent releases. "LFO My Ass" is such late noughties minimal it's not funny, but they get away with it by sounding fresher than ever. With its ping pong delay melody and rolling reductionist groove. "Ram" is an intergalactic peak time thriller, sounding somewhere between classics by Seuil and Reboot: have a listen and you'll know which ones! Wicked stuff!
Berlin institution Kater Blau's in house label serves up everything you'd expect really: fun loving tech house that doesn't take itself too seriously but is definitely made for mischief! Marco Biagini aka Kellerkind is back! The bumping and trippy early evening groove of "The Heat Of The Night" will get the crowd in the right mood, "Breath Me In" however is more suited to the post peak time to usher in those mischievous after hours moments just perfectly with its androgynous vocals and tunnelling bass driven groove. Finally things end on a lighter note with "Viola" which is perfect to play when the sun's out with its uplifting melody, percussive groove and smooth white noise build ups.
Leftwing and Kody have been a studio partnership ever since their debut on Suara back in the summer of 2014, and their diligence has paid off thanks to this latest appearance for London's mighty Rinse label. These two fit perfectly into the label's existing catalogue and "Pressure" is precisely the sort of cool, stripped-back tech house that the imprint is going for these days. "Just Be Yourself" is the heavy-hitter, though, and its humongous kick drums bang away with fury and might...the one that gets the floor going.