Mr. Techno: the untold story of Stephan Bodzin
In the second half of the 2000s everyone was talking about Stephan Bodzin . Along with Oliver Huntemann , Boris Brejcha , Marc Romboy or Dusty Kid, he was one of the main stars of European techno scene of those times. Powerful minimal techno sound with bright melodies is the patented sound of artists of that wave. At some point, the popularity of such music has become incredibly wide. Melodic minimal techno ha s been loved by absolutely everyone! Those who listen ed to it before and those who previously had no interest in electronic music at all.
Needless to say, at this point, the true adepts of techno turned away from the commercially successful sub-genre, and its “first persons” became common characters. This s tereotype partly touched also Stephan Bodzin . To the credit of the musician himself, he smoothly and steadfastly passed as a period of insane popularity and painful way out of the current trend. He just continued to do what he loved more than anything else - to write music.
On closer examination of Bodzin’s career, you understand that you were simply mistaken about him. This is not a "pop star from the techno scene", but a quite serious, solid sound producer, who has an impressive composer talent and vast experience in the technical part of music production. Stephan has a classical music education. He was born in the family of a musician in Bremen in 1969. After all, the Bodzin family hears jokes about it so far. This fairy tale is popular also in Germany. As a child, Stephan spent a lot of time in his father`s studio, where he kept an impressive collection of records and synthesizers. Father constantly experimented with the sound, but never achieved wide recognition. He taught his son the opposite: stick t o the basics! As soon as Stephan reached for the flashing buttons, his father handed him a bass guitar: music starts with rhythm and bass. Play an interesting part and only then sit down at the synthesizer. This lesson he has learned forever.
"My earliest childhood memories look like this. We sit with my father in his big studio and listen to music. We listened to music day and night, I grew up with this. If someone decided to remove music from my life, I would just die. This is a very serious thing for me ," says Bodzin . He began his career in the theater , as a full-time composer for stage productions. Theater in Bremen was only one. There was a lot of work! Stephan wrote piano pieces one after another until his senior colleague discovered the world of el ectronic music for him. It changed his perception of sound forever. Now Bodzin could hardly wait for the end of the working day and raced to his home studio, where he could compose newfangled club beats.
"We started with a trance. In those years it was in credibly popular in Europe, and we just tried to copy the famous records of those years like The Age of Love," recalls Stephan. It was at that time when he met his team-mate of many years and colleague Oliver Huntemann . The boys created an electronic duet Pulzar and even released one famous trans-track. It was called "Evolution". Soon they were joined by another young producer – Kim Lakur . The three guys organized the KayCee project. Things were not going bad! Their two tracks "Sunshine" and "Love Stimulati on" miraculously reached Ibiza, where they became local hits of the season. But the producers themselves quickly lost interest in trance and plunged into the search for a new sound. Everyone went their own way.
It took Stephan almost 10 years to find hims elf in music. It`s hard to believe, but he learned to be a DJ only in 2006. At that time he was 36 years old. His older brother gave mixing lessons to Bodzin . Together they trained on turntables, which were left at their house by the longtime friend (and a t that time already successful DJ) Oliver Huntemann . Stephan was suddenly fascinated by a new activity, although he had previously treated DJ very condescendingly. For two months he studied eight hours a day and finally decided to play his first set. It wa s at a festival in Hamburg. There were 400 people in front of Bodzin . He was wildly agitated and complexed about his rather mature age for raves. But everything was perfectly. At that moment it became clear to Stephan: his career was just beginning!
In th e same year 2006 Bodzin founded his own label Herzblut . He saw it as a kind of the creative community and, at the same time, a platform for the publishing house of his music and music of his friends: Dominik Eulberg , Max Cooper, Marc Romboy , Pig & Dan duet . The label was destined to become a powerful phenomenon on the German electronic scene. Herzblut still has an impact on the techno scene and continues to delight with new releases. Today there are more than 70 releases in the label discography.
In the sa me place Stephan Bodzin released his debut album “ Liebe Ist ” on Herzblut in 2007. He prepared for a long time, weighed and hit right on the target. It was on this album that he presented his signature minimal-techno sound to the world. The very thing that made many people go crazy beyond the techno-party scene a little later. Famous German musicologist DJ Hell even coined the term in honor of Bodzin – "Bremen sound" at that time.
Bodzin spent his “finest hour” under the sign of numerous collaborations. He even recorded too much music and honestly admits that sometimes he himself is confused in his discography. In addition to solo works, Stephan often participated in collaborative projects with his longtime friends – Oliver Huntemann and Marc Romboy . Bodzin & Huntemann , Rekorder , H-Man, Luna. One-time projects with Thomas Schumacher and Caitlin Devlin. Further were more! Bodzin released one after another successful dance remixes for the singles Depeche Mode, BookaShade , The Knife and many others. Herzblut di stributors simply did not have time to produce so many releases and Bodzin "went on tour" of Europe`s leading labels. His records were produced on Get Physical, Systematic, Gigolo, Datapunk , Giant Wheel and many other friendly labels.
At some point, Steph an Bodzin just got tired of himself. He realized that he was too much, and the pace of his life between endless projects and tours accelerates to a dangerous speed. At this moment he took a pause and realized that he needed to "cool down" a little. But the pause turned into a complete reinterpretation of himself and his role in music. Bodzin began to recall more frequently his father’s guidances and his attitude to music as a certain sacrament. He suddenly realized that he had lost that piety with which he related to the sound in his youth. The industry swallowed him up in his millstones, and he went with it about, turning his special talent into a mass market. When Stephan decided to raise the level of quality of his music and stop producing 10 releases pe r month, he suddenly realized that he was not satisfied with himself and with his current level. He understood that there was still a lot of work ahead and the groundwork for improvement was still great. He did not immediately submit a new level. At som e point, the producer was desperate and completely lost interest in working in the studio. He did not manage to do anything fundamentally new. And he did not want to produce anymore the hundredth track of the same type.
2014 was a turning point. Longtime friends – duet Super Flu turned to Stephan. They asked him to remix their fresh track "Jo Gurt ". Being absorbed in deep thought, Bodzin gave out not quite the thing that they expected. He had a melancholic, hard, monumental track with a progressive melody. Super Flu were startled up but decided to include this version in the release. “Jo Gurt ” in the version of Stephan went off and became one of the best-selling techno records of that year.
Following it Bogzin’s solo track called “ Sungam ” was produced. Mix mag called the release the best in the German`s career. The evolution of Stephan’s sound during the absence was clearly audible here. His music has become more meaningful, thoughtful and restrained. There was more depth in the melodies, in the far layers o f the track there were glitches, noises and effects that filled the general sound landscape with new interesting details.
Stephan recalls that period: "I remember one emotional day that I spent with my daughter Lila. I was so excited that I decided to try to set to work. I felt like inspiration was coming back to me and I wanted to work in the studio again. I did everything very quickly, following the initial idea. I wanted to finish the track within two days while this emotion was still alive and the proc ess itself did not get boring. Then I told myself that it looks like I am ready to record the second album. I was excited. 7 years have passed since the release of my debut album. It was a serious step, and I decided on it without a doubt." Bodzin always pointed out that he considered himself as an emotional person. He focuses on the fact that none of his melody was never born under the influence of external factors – fashion for any sound or fascination of someone`s records. Melodies always come to him fr om within and reflect his own emotional state. "I feel himself naked, when I hear that my music is playing somewhere," the producer admits.
In the seven years that have passed since the release of his debut album, Stefan gained a lot of new life and creat ive experience. And when the inspiration came back to him, he just let his emotions and memories run away. "In winter my family and I flew to South Africa. I understood that I had only two months to make a new album. I knew that as soon as I returned home , work on the album would no longer be possible. A lot of business, travels and all that. It is important for me that the album fixes the state, be integral. So I just walked around the incredibly beautiful places and again set to work. And when the new id eas were over, I began to analyze a collection of sketches from different years."
Among those demo recordings was a fragment that formed the basis of the track “Sputnik”. Bodzin recalls: "I remember flying from Mexico City after the DJ set. I had a very h eavy hangover, a difficult flight. I don’t even understand why I opened the laptop and started recording something. But suddenly I realized that there was something more in this sketch! I reworked it 30 or 40 times, until I have squeezed out the demo neces sary result.”
The new album by Stephan Bodzin was called " Powersof Ten". It was produced on the Herzblut label in 2015 and was dedicated to the memory of Robert Moog, an inventor of Moog synthesizers. The album itself was named after the book by Philip Mo rrison that describes the structure of our Universe. The album elicited universal acclaim from critics and completely restarted Bodzin’s career.
Today he is one of the top artists of the world techno scene, leading the lineups of leading raves and festiva ls. Bodzin amazes the audience with his live sets, in which his vast experience helps him to create music right before the audience`s eyes. He went a long, winding road, and bit by bit recreated the reference sound, in which he is all himself. From gatheri ngs in the father’s studio to the future important live show at the CHI club in Kiev.
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