Eric Sneo’s illustrious history has seen him through several generations of the underground techno scene, each time playing a crucial role in it’s growth and encouragement.
Eric, thanks so much for stopping by the site today! Your history in the techno scene started back in 1998, a time period when DJing, producing, and being involved in underground shows was quite different. Can you tell us a bit about how you came into the music then, and what from that tradition you bring with you now into the modern era as an artist?
In 1992 I started to go to the Omen club in Frankfurt almost every Friday to listen to Sven Väths sets. At the Omen club I really felt the impact of the music and I felt like expressing myself within techno music, because it has that power I was looking for. At that time the music was so colourful, everything was possible and Sven played amazing sets the whole night. In 1995 I released my first record on Energized records, which was a quite famous label from Frankfurt. More releases followed on different labels and then also the DJing developed more and more. I experimented to include live instruments during my performances and started integrating the electronic drums. Later on, more and more instruments followed, such as the electronic accordion, the theremin etc.
You’re known as a very fluid musician, with abilities in a variety of different instruments. Given your classical music background why did you choose techno?
I was always looking for a music with energy and rhythm and therefore it was the right choice for me. At the moment more and more melody comes into my productions again and that means I can include my musical background, not only programming beats but really do compositions and play around with harmonies and chords.
You’re known for your “live” sets, incorporating DJing, acoustic, and electronic instruments into the show. Can you elaborate a little on what your current setup is for us and how this best conveys you as an artist?
My basic setup is Traktor in 4 deck mode with an MOTU interface, Firevox controllers and of course the Roland SPD sampling drums on which I do my fills and percussions. This setup has the right possibilities for me especially the 4 decks and the loop functions are amazing for me as a DJ. When I remember back the times I played with 3 turntables, this technology is an amazing step forward and gives you more creative space. To that basic setup, I add the other instruments depending on the event and the requests. Therefore I use another little submixer to connect those instruments and that’s it !
What are some of your favourite places to play, and why are they so special?
I always like the events at the Palazzo, because I was resident in this club from 98 till 2004. And of course the Nature One festival is one of my favourites. There I first did my big art of live show in which I included also a live percussion setup with congas, timbalis and lots of other stuff.
You’ve had your hand at owning and operating several different record labels throughout your career, each garnering a significant amount of respect from many of the world’s premier artists. Your most recent label, Mudra Audio, has been a hit since it’s inception in 2011. What is your philosophy behind label management, development, and releases? What do you look for in new artists and tracks, and how do you end up selecting what get’s released?
At the moment I focus on my label Mudra Audio a lot and restart in October with fantastic releases. The tracks all have a kind of spiritual atmosphere or theme and I prepared 2 releases of myself with influences from world music especially from India and the Asian world with their typical instruments and percussions! Tracks for my label Mudra should have that spiritual dimension in it. The label Masters of Disaster is straight techno and I run it together with Klaudia Gawlas. We both listen to the tracks and then decide what we gonna sign.
For aspiring producers, is there a best way to reach you to submit demos for the label? In addition, do you have any fundamental do’s and don’ts for new and upcoming artists when it comes to submitting to your labels and others?
I check all mails that I get on Facebook, so it´s possible to send me a direct link to the tracks there. Please no download, because it takes to much time to download all the links and then listen. And please don´t send me tracks where you sampled my own tracks / vocals and put them on a different beat 😉
What are your feelings on the current state of the label business?
The business is not a real business any more, because it´s very difficult to get money out of any label. We all have discussed the various reasons over and over, so it´s clear why the situation is the way it is. For many DJs, the label and their releases are just a part of their DJ promotion and that´s a strange development.
You’re released your 5th album “Intensity” on Tronic a few months ago. Can you tell us why you chose Tronic and how this album differed to your previous work?
The tracks mirror a wide range of techno and you will find very groovy stuff from tech-house to straight techno beats. I had really great feedback on the album and it´s definitely a step in the right direction! Christian Smith is a cool guy and we talk about all the tracks together and develop ideas for releases, remixes etc. It’s really a pleasure to release on this label.
What’s up next for you gig, production, and collaboration-wise? After the album, do you have any immediate plans for new projects lined up? Or perhaps some yet unannounced news you’d like to share with us?
Lot´s of new releases are planed for example a new Masters of Disaster together with Klaudia Gawlas, a release together with the Minicoolboyz, one on Neverending records incl. Citizen Kain remix and so on. Watch out for it on my Beatport page, so you won´t miss any of the releases and I would highly recommend to listen my weekly podcast “Let´s go Techno”, of course, haha. What else is left to say… “stay tuned to techno music !!!”