Vienna’s rising forTunea label has released a cluster of quality tunes over the past year, and 2018 is filled with big plans and amazing new music. Label don Klaus Benedek has crafted an excellent DJ mix showcasing some of the label’s sounds from 2017 as well as output from artists in forTunea’s orbit. It’s a pleasurable dive into upfront deep house sure to get your seat swiveling. Have a listen:
We asked Klaus Benedek a few questions about forTunea, the house scene in Vienna, and this mix.
What inspired you to start the label, and when did it begin?
Klaus: I was tired of waiting for my tracks to get released. After signing contracts with various digital labels, it took about a year until my tracks finally came out. That's why I started my own label in 2014. And of course, I always wanted to release vinyl, too. At first I worked alone and there were only songs released by myself. But after a while I received demos from fellow local DJs/producers and so I signed them. The vinyl is always limited to 300 copies (except the first release "Still Daydreaming", 350 copies). If they are sold out, then they are gone. There will be no repress.
Tell us about the Vienna scene, specifically the underground house scene. How are you a part of it? Who are the standout artists? Who's making moves? Anything to let us know about what's happening in Vienna (or Austria as a whole) that makes it special right now.
Klaus: Clubbing in general got its boom since the Pratersauna opened in 2009. However you can't compare the nightlife with other metropolises like Berlin or Amsterdam. Venue owners have to follow regulations and they are strict. So do not expect massive sound systems in every location. They are mostly locked on a certain db limitation. Afterhours parties exist, but they only take place for a few hours. Other than that there is a closing time for bars till 4 AM and clubs till 6 AM.
Before the Pratersauna, electronic music was always more a niche market in Austria. In Vienna, we had only a couple of venues where techno, house, and, at that time, the minimal sound was played. Those were Flex, the Camera Club, the Fluc Wanne, and occasionally some huge, more commercial events in the Volksgarten and the Gasometer. Other than that, drum n’ bass, downtempo, and indie rock were more popular in the Austrian capitol. But since the beginning of the 2010s and the popularity of certain individuals and movies that became a pop culture phenomenon (such as Berlin Calling) that all changed. Techno parties are well attended now. Especially since more locations opened (Grelle Forelle, which has the best sound system in the city) or relocated (Werk) on the Danube channel.
The house scene in Vienna is relatively small compared to the techno/tech house crews. If you really wanna hear Chicago style, deep, garage, lo-fi house, or even disco you need to visit smaller locations like Celeste, Spark, Elektro Gönner, or Sass. Many fellow DJs have their home bases now. For example, Roman Rauch organises the event series Manifest - Spritzwein Session with Nico Nesta and Maaki for more than two years. It’s where you’re most likely to hear DJs that don’t come to Vienna regularly like Move D, Red Rack'em, Hunee, Fouk, and Terrence Parker. Besides forTunea there are a handful labels that have been established or had a breakthrough during this decade. You should check them out, regardless the genre: Luv Shack Records, Secret Crunch, Life Is For Living, Schenkelspreizer, Schönbrunner Perlen, Affine, Step Back Trax, Sama Recordings, Luv Lite Recordings, Morbid, Yoshi, Driving Forces Recordings, Footwork Frenzy.
What is on deck for 2018 for forTunea?
Klaus: In January my Consequences EP will be re-released digitally. After that we will expand our artist roster. In March we will finally release an EP by my good old friend Alex Kolodziej. I think it took almost two years for him to finish the tracks. That’s because he had almost no time. He works in catering and has a 60+ hour a week schedule. Appropriately the record will be called Workaholic. Peletronic will deliver a remix too. In May/June Munich/Bavarian-raised Anatol, who has lived in Vienna for quite a while, will release a 12" vinyl single. And in summer we plan, for our 10th issue, an eight track compilation.
How does the philosophy of the label tie in with your DJ’ing and production?
Klaus: On forTunea not every release sounds the same, and we want to stick to this philosophy. The tenor is always house music. But it shouldn't be monotonous. We’ll release a deep house record, then the next one will have a disco vibe to it, and others will be more techy, broken beat, or with Chicago or Detroit influences. My DJ’ing is similar. I never liked to just play one (sub)genre the whole night. I upload a promo mix on my Soundcloud page bi-monthly to introduce new tracks/vinyl that I picked up and present them in a way that makes sense.
I am making music on Ableton Live, combined with Reason as a master/slave combination. Most of the time I use VST Plugins. But I also work with hardware pieces like a Waldorf Pulse, Microkorg, or my newest baby in the studio, a Korg M1R.
Tell us about this DJ mix.
Klaus: Most of the tracks that I feature in this mix came out in 2017. Of course, you will hear some tracks that have been released previously on forTunea amongst other artists like Nick Höppner, Ponty Mython, Space Echo, and Demuja. I’d like to highlight Demuja! This guy comes from Salzburg and 2017 was definitely his year. He even released an EP on Jimpster's label Freerange Recordings. In this mix you will hear a track from his current EP on Life Is For Living. Enjoy!