Chipped Antiquities Podcast Number 4 - XDB (Metrolux Music, Sistrum Recordings, Deep Space Media)
Kosta ‘XDB' Athanassiadis curates Metrolux Music, and has over the last few years become one of my favourite DJs. As usual with the Chipped Antiquities podcasts, there’s no track list, but read on for some insight into Kosta’s life and loves in an exclusive interview.
Kosta, you’re originally from Greece, but moved to Germany. Is that correct? How long ago did you make the move?
My parents moved to Germany in 1972. One year later I was born in Göttingen, the place I still live nowadays with my family. Not the best timing, but my parents moved back to Greece recently and they now live in Thessaloniki.
Ah ok, I was close!
You’ve been DJing since the early 90’s. In what way has your sound altered since those days? What kind of music were you playing back then?
I always preferred to spend my money on records, and the result was that until the late nineties, I never had enough money to purchase my own Technics turntables. But when I had the first ever chance to mix two records with a mixer at my best friend´s apartment in 1992, I brought half of my record collection to his place. We started to mix our favourite tunes on his turntables day by day and it was an exploring expedition. To mix, the US-imported house and techno stuff amazed me most but also European labels like Warp, R&S and so on. It is still lovely to play old house, electro, EBM, synth-pop and techno records and combine them with the powerful new releases. Back then I pitched them faster than normal, but nowadays I prefer to slow them down.
Which are your favourite clubs to play in and why?
No name dropping, but those who are run by lovers and not mainly for the money are the best ones. When they give you a warm welcome and you feel that they do it with passion for the music and for this special moment during a club night. Those are my favourite clubs to play in.
Of all the places you’ve traveled to via DJing, which did you like most for reasons not related to music?
Jerusalem’s old town impressed me a lot and I guess Copenhagen is a beautiful place to live.
How long have you been coaching tennis? Were you a player before a coach and do you still play now?
I used to play soccer for many years in a club, but at the age of nine, tennis also became a big part of my life. To be honest I cannot remember what my motivation was, but it was great to spend hours and hours with friends at the tennis courts of our university. Students were only allowed to play there and a guy came several times a day to check the verification cards of everyone who played. When we saw him coming, we jumped over the fence to hide ourselves behind the trees. Minutes later he was gone and we came back to play for a few more hours again. At the age of twelve I told my parents that I would prefer to play tennis in a club instead of soccer. They accepted this decision and right up until now I’ve had many years of fun with this sport. I used to play league games and a few local tournaments. At the age of twenty-two the club told me they need new coaches. They even pay the fee for the license school. It was a good idea to agree and since then I’ve been coaching, mostly kids. Music in conjunction with tennis gives me a good balance.
You mentioned you used to play soccer. Do you still support a team?
Yes, I used to play soccer each and every day when I was a kid.
Borussia Mönchengladbach was the team I supported ever since. The 1970s were the most successful in the club’s history with 5 national championship titles. Lucien Favre and the whole team did a good job recently and the result is that we have qualified for the playoffs for the UEFA Champions League 2012/13.
Back to music for a moment. The Escap EP on Sistrum Recordings was the first of your productions that came to my attention. How did that release come about? Did you know Patrice beforehand?
Patrice Scott contacted me and asked for some tracks for his quality imprint. I loved his label from the beginning and was glad to become a member of the Sistrum family. I gave him my two favourites and he signed them both immediately for the Espac release, which came out February 2008. A few months later I met him for the first time in person. He performed at a Smallville party in Hamburg. Excellent track selection and one of the tightest mixing DJs I have heard in my life so far. I’m looking forward to playing with him in a few weeks again - June 7th 2012 at Cookies in Berlin.
But your first release, the Jackintosh EP, was on your own Metrolux imprint. Was it always your intention to release your first tracks yourself?
After producing music for more than five years I just wanted to bring out some of those tunes. Who knows, maybe they will like them out there and who knows what will happen? The Jackintosh EP featured Ainama, Mystic Vibrations and Sweet City and they fitted perfectly together for a first release. It was mastered at the Exchange, and I decided to press 500 units stamped with the issue number on each copy. I contacted Diamonds & Pearls in Berlin for a possible distribution. They liked it a lot and we brought it out in November 2006. The follow up, the MLM002 Descap EP, came out in 2007 and Francois Kevorkian licensed two of the tunes for his Deep Space Media imprint. I guess those releases, plus the Espac EP on Sistrum in 2008 were a good starting point for many forthcoming things.
The last Metrolux was in 2009. Are there plans for a new one soon?
Yes, of course. I already waited too long with the follower and I’m sorry for the artists on this EP who are also waiting for a long time now. I wanted to bring it out last year already but anyway…
The new one will be the MLM 06 V/A Edition 2, featuring tracks by the super talented Jitterbug from London, who also brought out some exceptionally good music on Uzuri Recordings; Naoki Shinohara, who is a DJ / Producer I met in Japan. He has been releasing tracks on Panrecords and has a forthcoming release on Fred P´s Soul People Music; and Markson, who’s an excellent DJ and long time friend of mine from Hamburg City. When I listened the first time to his tune “Skyrocket” it blew my mind. He played this tune from a CD at a gig we played together and I knew this one fits perfectly into the compilation. The 4th track will be a new XDB track called Cielop. The tracks have gone for mastering and pressing and the release date is June 2012.
Can you tell me a little about what influences and motivates you?
Many things have influenced me in my life. Good things and bad things. Everything resulted in something positive at the end though.
Currently my daughter is a big influence. She makes me laugh and amazes me in so many situations. It is a great feeling to be influenced by children.
Can you tell me a little about the mix and how it was recorded?
This mix was recorded late night at home while my family slept CA
To contact Kosta’s booking agent go to the following link: http://uzurirecordings.com/uzuri-management-and-bookings/xdb/
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