The techno music scene is booming all across the world. One of the most prominent areas where the genre has been emerging from the underground is Asia.
Over the past few years, Asia has seen more and more techno acts frequent its mainlands. The techno scene in Thailand is growing starkly as well and one of the main person’s who has been at the forefront of the scene is Hexer. Originally from Istanbul, Hexer was influenced by acid infused 90’s techno which made him take a plunge into the scene. After playing multiple shows in Turkey and parts of Europe, he then relocated to Bangkok in search of inspiration and swiftly became an established name in the underground scene. He currently is signed to multiple reputed labels and is also single-handedly responsible for the proliferating techno scene in Thailand. We speak to the main man and get him to answer a few questions for us about the scene, the music, his plans for the future and a lot more!
Shivani – Hi Hexer! It’s great to be speaking with you! How has 2018 been treating you till date?
Hexer – Hey! Thanks for this interview and opportunity. 2018 has been quite fine. After years of DJing, I finally made my first release on Rebellious Records with ‘The Rave Method’.
That EP got followed by ‘Between Spaces’ which became my most hyped EP with hundreds of downloads an,d stayed on techno / hard techno charts for a couple of weeks. So I am really proud of this EP.
Also, it gave me the chance of working with legendary Ramon Tapia. And after months of hard work we have a release coming on Say What? Records. EP will be 4 tracker. 3 of my tracks and 1 Ramon Tapia remix.
Release date: Sometime on March
I also changed my style to ‘more’ techno this year. Which gave me great gigs at great clubs such as The Factory / Koh Tao, Temple / Istanbul, Up Shot / Antalya. Up Shot was my best gig ever so far. Can’t wait to go back there.
Also, I’ve joined the ranks of Berlin’s Elektrotribe Records and released a minimal techno track ‘Sparks’ on their Tribes VA album series.
And I got headliner position of Synergy / Chiang Mai festival and will be doing my debut at Vietnam’s amazing venue ‘Arcan’ on 22nd December this year.
Hah almost forgot to mention, I also did one album release this year on Sound on Sound records. Which is quite experimental and 90s inspired with long, trancey acid tracks and received great comments for The Great Blue Sky and So My House.
Shivani – Before we move further to discuss anything else, you will be headlining Synergy Fest this New Years! Congratulations! What exactly can fans look forward to from your set at Synergy?
Hexer – It’s a big ‘wow’ for me for 2 reasons. First, it’s awesome to see techno is headlining now and second, it will be my first open air and big stage gig after almost 5 years.
I will surprise the crowd a bit with an unusual set. It will be hybrid and traditional DJ setup will be supported with a few pieces of equipment from my studio. So, obviously, it’s going to be fast and dark.
Shivani – You will also be making your debut at Arcan as well! How did that happen?
Hexer – Frankly, I am so pumped for Arcan, which is my debut show in Vietnam . Expanding beyond Thailand is a part of our future plans with my lovely PR manager Didi. Our achievement is to grow Techno / Detroit Techno and Acid Techno in Asia region. It will start with Vietnam and will be followed by other countries such as Hong Kong, Laos, Taiwan, and Japan.
To do that we’ve decided to start with Vietnam. And luckily through local contacts, we got in touch with one of the key players in the Vietnam market, Haustek Agency. Even though their roster and schedule are quite busy they connected us with one of the leading venues in Ho Chi Minh City, Arcan. We are hoping to collaborate with both Arcan as a venue and Haustek as an artist agency more in the future with artist exchanges and ‘together’ events.
Shivani – 2019 is already looking up for you. You’ve already got releases lined up on a few noteworthy labels and an upcoming Asia tour. Could you tell us more about it?
Hexer – As mentioned, I have one release coming on Say What? Records. Which will be my biggest release ever. But before that, we have 2 release plans with Bach Music and Rebellious Records.
At 7th January I will have ‘Dis-connect EP’ on Rebellious and it will be followed by ‘Aberrations EP’ on Bach Music on 14th January. Both EPs have their own character and I hope fans will be enjoying them as much as we do.
I will also have another track on Elektrotribe’s Tribes series and we will have our first EP release on the same label around March.
And finally, I can’t give the name yet but expect another release on one of the big labels around April. It’s still under development and hopefully, I will finish all tracks by the end of 2018.
Both Arcan and Synergy festival, I will drop a few of those upcoming tracks.
Shivani – You also curate “The Room” which gives people a chance to come and experiment with Techno and meet like-minded people who love the same music. How did the concept originate and from where did the main idea stem from?
Hexer – Actually, it’s not ‘The Room’. It is “Hong” (which translates into Room in Thai) – Room. Which I think what Bangkok really needs. We are providing a hub for Thailand’s creative minds to gather and meet at Bangkok’s legendary venue Culture Cafe (Old ‘Cafe Democ’, one of Thailand’s most iconic nightclub which had played a vital role in the growth of underground music scene in Thailand).
To be honest, I really can’t tag Room with ‘techno’ only or only as a music event. It’s more like monthly meeting which both local and international audience can meet with each other while our guest DJs are supporting it with their music.
The main idea came from Amsterdam’s Red Light Radio and in future, we will be boosting ‘Room’ with similar live streams and extra events.
The room is 100% non-profit organization and our only goal is to grow a bigger, better audience.
Shivani – What criteria’s do you normally look for when you curate acts for “The Room”?
Hexer – Excellent question. As mentioned, we don’t want to have only one genre or only DJs. Actually, my goal is to have more live acts than DJ sets and have more producers than regular DJs.
So being a musician is our first and only criteria, I guess.
Shivani – If you had the opportunity to change one thing or aspect about the Techno scene in BKK, what would it be and why?
Hexer – If I can give an honest answer to this question, first I would want to create a ‘techno scene’ in Bangkok. We don’t have it yet. We have independent DJs who actually don’t support each other and we don’t have many techno DJs here. So it’s kind of a weird situation.
Tbilisi is a great example which all artists work hard to grow their scene better and bigger. Bangkok is more selfish and there is so much ego here. Most events and venues are money oriented and music quality is not their top priority.
I would change that I guess.
Ah also it’s everyone’s dream, I would change that unfair club closing times. 2 AM is just enough for anything and it’s slowly killing Bangkok’s infamous nightlife tourism. I’ve seen so many tourists with big disappointments when they forced to leave clubs at 2 AM here. I feel like time has come for authorities to make some changes.
Shivani – Considering you hail from Turkey and you now are settled in BKK, how starkly different is the scene there as compared to BKK? And what inspired you to delve into Techno on the whole?
Hexer – Turkey scene is more mature with more producers, club owners who know what they are doing and of course more European-like scene. Things are more serious there and usually, venues don’t let hobby DJs have their decks.
I really can’t say what pushed me into Techno. It might be a classical answer but one day I watched Jeff Mills and one of his magical hybrid sets and it hit me hard. Since that day, I am a techno guy.
If you had to describe your style of techno in a sentence, what would it be? Whom do you draw your influences from?
I do techno which is eclectic like nature. Instead of imprisoning myself with few specific sub-genres I play and produce everything techno.
As mentioned above, Jeff Mills, also Carl Craig, Perc, Emmanuel Tops are my biggest influences as producer-wise. Lastly, Adam Beyer is one of my heroes whom I hope to work with in future.
Shivani – Apart from the releases and the Asian tour, what else does 2019 hold in store for you?
Hexer – 2019 holds great things in store. First, I will work harder for Room and grow an organic audience here. Which will surely bring new collaborations and maybe an SEA Compilation Album?
Also, I will be doing a Europe tour with Elektrotribe which will hopefully happen around next Summer.
Shivani – Do you have a message for your fans/followers out there?
Hexer – The idea of having fans is still unusual but if there are any, they should support their favorite artists more with social media shares, purchasing their releases, attending their shows and many other alternative ways.
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