How was 2018 for you?
Jeff Derringer: 2018 was a mixed bag for me. It has been a long, slow climb to regaining some semblance of normalcy after last year’s intense battle with cancer. I’m not the same as I was before, but I’m trying to get close. That said, I had a lot of great gigs in 2018: Berghain, Bassiani, debuts in Armenia and San Francisco, etc. I put out releases on my own Oktave Records label and on Coyu’s Suara label out of Barcelona. It wasn’t one of my most productive years, but at the end of the day I’m grateful to still be alive and to continue contributing to the techno landscape.
Seeing Oktave Records off the ground, with releases from Iori, myself, and a V/A with great artists like Sophia Saze, Altstadt Echo, Christian Gerlach, Motionen and Jose Alberto Luna. The weekend in Tbilisi and Armenia was also a big highlight for me. James Ruskin remixed me for the Suara release – he delivered a great track, and it was an honor to have him on board. The same with Cassegrain, who also remixed the Suara record. Those guys are huge talents, and I’m proud to work with them. Look for a Cassegrain-related release on Oktave Records in 2019.
The state of the American political system is still a huge stress for me. I try to tune it out but I also feel obligated to know what’s going on, and to be active in the fight against the GOP slash Trump administration. Some of the racist, anti-Semitic hate crimes I’ve seen this year in my own country truly shocked me. America needs to get its priorities together and start acting like the country I grew up in.
I’m also not thrilled with the state of the techno underground. Everyone’s trying to tell me where I can and can’t play, what techno music should and shouldn’t sound like, who’s a good person and who’s a villain, etc. So much judgmental negativity, it makes me sad.
Social media plays a huge part in this atmosphere and for that reason, I’ve spent a lot less time combing through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, particularly in the second half of this year. It’s become overwhelming. Facebook in particular is increasingly depressing to me, and I’m thinking strongly of abandoning it. Between the overall tenor of what’s posted there and the increasingly dubious ethics of its owners, it seems like Facebook in particular is living on borrowed time. If it wasn’t such a useful tool to promote things like records and performances, I’d already be gone.
Song of the year?
Every year I do this, I say the same thing – I can’t name just one track or artist that I liked best this year. Highlights for me came from Blawan, Anthony Linell, Cleric, Setaoc Mass and Iori. I’m biased toward Iori because the release I liked so much was on my own label.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
Despite putting out two EPs this year, I wasn’t productive for long stretches of 2018. Some of this has to do with my health, which has hurt my overall stamina. It used to be a lot easier for me to work into the night on production projects. Not so much anymore. In 2019 I plan on getting back into a more focused studio regiment, as well as putting out more releases and podcasts from Oktave Records. This may come at a cost of reducing my travel for gigs, and perhaps playing less in general. If that’s the case, so be it.