Eventually, his obsessive curiosity about US house and disco music saw him hop the pond to be directly immersed in it all – he ended up in New York, for a life-changing trip that introduced him to a variety of friends that he still holds dear to this day.
Upon returning home three months later, with a whole new back catalogue of influences, a full address book and a fresh perspective, Bug and his friends began throwing a weekly party at Bremen's largest club, Maxx. These themed parties ("Heaven And Hell," "Rome Is Burning," "Party Til The Doctor Comes," to name a few) led to Bug securing a residency at Maxx and, not long after, residencies the globe over. These days, as a DJ, producer and label owner, Bug is credited as being a fundamental instigator in the movement of house, techno and that ever-present word, minimal, in Europe.
Steve Bug: Well, I'm traveling a lot, DJ-ing and also being back in the studio, because it's finally set up after nine months of working, I'm working on some new tracks, and that's what I'm doing right now.
Beat Factor: At the moment you own three record labels: Poker Flat, Dessous and Audiomatique. How do you still have time and energy to maintain each of them?
Steve Bug: Luckily I have a partner and we have many people working at the office. So my partner is doing the administration side, taking control of everything that's happening at the office, and usually I just get a few questions every day, that I have to answer quickly or something like this. I spend most of the time on the labels doing things like the A & R side, new ideas for the artworks, or new future ideas for compilations; things like this. So I'm more on the creative side, and I take care of lot of these things when I'm on the flight or have more time.
So I'm out of the daily business; I mean I have to listen to the demos too, but I also have the time to go to the studio and spend some hours working on tracks.
Beat Factor: So how much time and energy involves owning three labels?
Steve Bug: The only label I was running on my own for some time was Dessous, which I did for nine releases, without my partner. In between we started Poker Flat already, so after nine releases I thought it's impossible to do the label on my own, besides DJ-ing and producing music. At the beginning it's quite easy, but after one year we start to see there's so much work and you definitely need one person who works just on statements, if you're running a label for a longer period. It's a lot of works, but at the end I always find time to do it.
Off course this also takes some of my social time, but I'm passionate of what I'm doing and I'm really happy to do this job. And I have no regrets at all.
Beat Factor: After the acclaimed Bugnology 2 and Fuse mix compilations, you have just mixed the latest installment from Fabric. This mix is simply a snapshot of how you play at the club, or you wanted to build something bigger?
Steve Bug: I try to see it as a snapshot of what I'm playing in the club; not by choosing the tracks that I am going to play, is more like trying to create the vibe that I would create in Fabric, and then trying to convert it down in 70 minutes.
Beat Factor: So how big a deal was for you to mix Fabric 37?
Steve Bug: I've done a lot of compilations in my life, and I enjoy making a mix CD. My first mix CD were made back in the days, in '96, we called it Minimal Funk and was released on Raw Elements. I always liked to put a CD together, because you don't have the crowd in front, and you can choose the tracks you want to choose, without being interfered by the public. Because I usually interact with the crowd when I'm playing, but when I'm doing a mix CD at home, there's no interference; it's simply me and what I'm feeling at that point.
I always thought it's interesting to do a mix CD, and recently I'm doing the compilations like Bugnology, Fuse or even Fabric with the software Ableton Live. This gives me the opportunity to mix tracks together in a totally new way that I would never be able to put together in a club, because I'm editing a lot of the tracks.
Beat Factor: So you totally embrace the new technologies.
Steve Bug: I'm not a nerd of new technologies; I like it and I try to use things that I feel that I can take something out of them. I'm not a slave of technology; I don't have to buy every single new software or hardware. I check a lot of things, some of them I don't like and I don't buy, and some I do. Sometimes you can't make a decision without even knowing.
I decided to play with Tracktor Scratch these days, because I still can control everything with vinyls, and I like this and this is how I want to do it. I don't need so much different things in addition to create a good set, but for the moment I think I have the perfect setup. That's more important than always use new technologies.
Since a few years, I started to play from the computer, because it was just easier to carry around the tracks, and I always have them with me and never get lost on flights; I also have the opportunity to carry around with me even 2000 tracks if I want.
Beat Factor: Yes, but have you ever thought of a crash on the computer? Then every single data will be definitely gone.
Steve Bug: Off course I've been thinking about this. I spent many years on the computer, and I only had one crush, or maybe two, but no big crush. There were some problems with the early software, if there was dust on the computer, or vibrations from the turntables, but compare to traveling five years the way I travel to the world, I would have lost my records every year five or ten times. And I think this is definitely a better choice for me.
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Steve Bug: A lot of the guys are friends of mine, they live in Berlin, so we see each other for dinner once a month or something like this. Off course we speak on the phone, write emails to each other, there's a lot of ways to communicate with the people. Outside Berlin we use emails, with some of them I chat all the time, with some I just speak to them on myspace.
Sometimes people complain a little bit if I don't answer fast enough to the new tracks, but I always say, please give me some time. Maybe sometimes I'm off three weeks on tour and I don't have time to check all the tracks.
Beat Factor: What's the story of your artist name? I know you're real name is Stefan Brügesch.
Steve Bug: I started DJ-ing under my real name, back in '91. And then I started to produce records, and the first record I put out was made together with a friend of mine from Hamburg, called Phax. So we were thinking Phax + Stefan Brugesch sound a little stupid. So we had once a nice evening, drink some wine, sitting around and having laughs about names, and suddenly we came to Steve Bug. And everything just made sense, so we decided that it's ok Phax featuring Steve Bug. And in little time, people wanted to book Steve Bug, even we were still thinking like that as a joke. So it would be stupid to put on the line up Steve Bug aka Stefan Brugesch. So I decided to play as Steve Bug, and now all my friends call me Steve. Sometimes people in the club who think there are really knowledge and they know everything about me, and they say "hei Stefan", and I'm like "Please, say Steve, I'm comfortable with this these days".
Beat Factor: So you're not really into music for bugs
Steve Bug: No! (laughing), I'm not. And I hope I'm not getting bugged by any bugs on my computer in the future too.
Beat Factor: How would you define the Bugnology sound?
Steve Bug: I think the idea of Bugnology was that I was using a lot of technology instead of turntables, and that's why we came to the name "bugnology". I thought it was a good game, playing with the words. So it's still a mix CD, but it's done with different technology.
Beat Factor: You started off as a DJ back in 91 in Ibiza. Do you happen to remember how was it back then?
Steve Bug: Yes, I totally remember; there were a lot of big clubs, like Privilege back in the days, which was playing more commercial stuff, like Snap – I've got the power and stuff like this, or some big club tunes, whatever. I think Space was one of the places were you could hear some more underground music. It was a lot of Belgium techno back in the days, Chicago, old Detroit techno, classics; and also influences from Italian techno too. And the terrace was very small, the same terrace which now has a big roof; it wasn't really crowded all the time, sometimes I remember there were very few people outside and also the music was made up by more sunny tracks.
Today the music definitely attracts more people than it did back in the days. Back then it was definitely a bigger percentage of gay people than it is right now and this kind of took something from the positive energy it had back then. It's a summer island, it's a party island, there's a good energy but it's different to what it was.
Beat Factor: What else keeps you busy when you're not into music?
Steve Bug: I like to do sports, I do some yoga, sometimes if I have the time I go and play something with friends; just normal things which take me away from the club life.
Beat Factor: At the end, what's your opinion about the Romanian clubbing scene, electronic music from here?
Steve Bug: Romania it's still a fresh scene, it's still developing and it's always good to play there because the people have an appetite for music.