As a part of the celebrations around the 20th year of Poker Flat, the label has been revisiting some classics from the back catalog and asking top-flight producers to reinterpret some of the key moments. Here, one of Alex Niggemann’s biggest tracks, the 2014 techno classic Materium is treated to a rework by Argy, Ernest & Frank.
The Greek-born Argy has built a long and varied career making and playing quality tech and deep house, as well as having collaborated with legends such as Kerri Chandler or Manuel Göttsching. For the remix, Argy teamed up with the Italian/Spanish DJ and producer duo Ernest & Frank. We invited him to chat with us about his career, the remix, health restrictions, and much more.
Hi, Argyris. How are things with you? What keeps you occupied these days?
I'm good, it's the first time in my life that I haven't been in a club for so long. Six months already! It's refreshing, to be honest. I'm working on a lot of soundtrack projects, sound design, and product campaigns. I have also been busy remixing a lot of interesting artists.
The year 2020 has truly been a special one but, unfortunately, not for the good things. How are you dealing with health restrictions which pretty much shut down the whole music industry around the globe?
I'm trying not to stress about it too much. Personally, I needed a break after 15 years of non-stop touring. For the lockdown months, I moved to a countryside property in Ibiza, and other than not being able to go to the city, it didn't feel too restrictive.
Do you think that things will go back to normal or we’ll be facing a new reality, a reality that will be completely different and new to all of us?
Things will go back to normal but it will take some time. What will change are the things that we didn't know we didn't need all these years. During this massive restart, the unnecessary or outdated things will be exposed and many people or concepts will become obsolete. It will be a fast cleanse and maybe unfair for many people.
Let’s talk about more pleasant stuff now. You’ve remixed Alex Niggeman's “Materium” as a part of Poker Flat's 20 years anniversary remix series. How did you get involved in this remix? Since this is a respectful milestone for the established label, did you approached this remix differently than others?
Same procedure with all other remixes! I always love to start without parts, just with sampling the original track. Maybe a weird habit from my early mashup days! They gave me a bunch of stuff to remix and Materium was quite far from what I normally do, that's why I thought I could put my own spin on it. If a track is too close to my groove or aesthetic, I would usually not remix it.
You’ve had your first release almost 20 years ago, how much did your music evolve throughout the time? Did you always produce whatever you liked or did you pay attention to trends as well?
15 years actually...you are trying to make me older than I am! In the beginning, I was obsessed with trends, but later on, my focus was to fight the trends and go against them! Go figure...
You haven’t had any new releases on your label These Days since 2016. Is that a closed project or are you waiting for the right moment to release fresh music?
Yeah, I reckon that's done now! I would only run a label now if it was exclusively for my own music. I don't love the whole A&R thing.
Cocoon, Defected, bpitch, ViVa, and Bedrock are just some of the legendary labels that you’ve worked with. Do you have a release of yours that will always have a special place in your heart?
My album 'Fundamentals' on Ibadan records, is the jewel in the crown when it comes to my discography.
Tell us a bit about your studio environment. What are your go-to toys? We saw that your studio is full of hardware stuff but do you do most of your tracks with machines only or do you combine it with software?
I mostly use the machines for alias projects such as Zodiac Free Arts Club or for soundtrack purposes. For dance music, I work a lot on my laptop these days. I am an EQ aficionado and that helps to make things warmer even if working exclusively 'in the box'.
Even though we see a new festival cancelation pretty much every week but still, do you have any gigs lined up ahead of you? Talking about gigs, what do you miss the most now when you’ve had a long period without them?
I have zero shows lined up at the moment and I have made peace with the idea of not performing at all this year. I am very busy in the studio and I also have real estate projects ongoing so I'm not bored, although I do miss hanging out in other cities. I miss the urban jungle vibe!
We like to keep things on the positive side so please, share with us some encouraging words for the end.
Use Covid-19 as an excuse and change your life forever. There is never going to be a better alibi.