Ian Pooley re-inventing himself

Ian Pooley was born 'Ian Pinnekampf' in Mainz, Germany. He started DJing at the age of 12. Pooley was inspired by the electric tech-sound of Detroits Derrick May and Juan Atkins. These influences are clearly present in his first real artist album 'Meridian' (1998, V2), but the love for funkier house was already present in his sound. The track 'What's my number' featured on this album is one of his biggest successes to date.

In his second album 'Since Then' (2000, V2) Pooley brought the funky, latin side of his music more to the forefront. Escpecially '900 degrees' became a big clubhit. For his last album 'Souvenirs' (2004, Ministry of Sound Germany) Pooley went to New-Zealand and collaborated with some big names in the bossa, soul and jazzgenre.

In 2003 Pooley started his own record label 'Pooled' as to produce his music more freely and independently. At Groove Cityy, Pooley was scheduled to open the Houseroom. After his gig this nice chap freed some time for a little chat.

As producer it comes to the point that you'll have to sit down and really think about what you want to do. You just don't want to do whatever to compose your new album. For me as a producer I really want to re-invent myself every time again. Do something new all the time.
BeatFactor: Hi Ian, had fun today?

Ian Pooley: Yeah, it was nice. But somewhat strange too...it seldomly happens that I have to play first. But I had fun.

BF: The people were just coming in while you were doing your set because of the snow and a huge traffic Jam on the highway...

I.P. Right, I heard about that. It was like... 'mixing a record', looking up... and ok... another 200 people.

BF: You were watching Kevin Saunderson who did the next set in the Houseroom.. Do you like what he does?

I.P. Yeah. I like it, but I was just surprised that he plays so fast, you know, it's like techno-speed. It's really funny. When he plays a track on CD, he has the track on two or three CDs and he constantly mixes the same song with the different CDs. That was really impressive.

BF: Kevin Saunderson plays a lot with CDs, have you already made the change to CD or do you stick to vinyl?

I.P. I play 50/50. Because normally I play a lot in clubs and there people really admire it more when DJs take the effort to playing real records and especially buying the records... you know... who else should really buy the records but the DJs? And for me as a person who runs a record label (that wants to sell records), I would definitely support other labels by buying their albums.

Nowadays I don't get promos sent. I get links to download them. Sometimes this is handy because I used to receive piles of shitty records... Now I can download a promo if I really like it and just throw it away again if I don't. But on the other hand... you lose the overview! When you receive a record, you have the record and if you want to switch records you remember the artwork and so on. But with CDs people just write something on it... so you never remember the track anymore. For me as a DJ I normally memorise the records. Now it's harder. I sometimes download a track but it would always try to find it on vinyl first. Another positive thing about the internet is that you can buy records from all over the world! You should just have the patience to look and wait for the vinyl to come out in order to support other labels...

BF: When we left the houseroom earlier we heard Kevin Saunderson play 'Stupidisco' by Junior Jack. Would you play that kind of commercial stuff or do you rather play underground tracks that are harder to get?
I.P. I wouldn't play a commercial track just for the sake of it! But I understand that on a night like this the people want a somewhat easier approach, because you have a very diverse and mixed crowd and you can't just play whatever you want. But in any kind of style of music I like some records that are more commercial and if they fit in my set I would play them...but not just the top 5 of the moment that everyone is playing.

BF: Are you in the first place a DJ or a producer?

I.P. It's exactly in the middle: half-half. It both has its cool sides. It's two different worlds you live in. As a DJ you can travel the world to play in all kind of different parties...

BF: As a producer sometimes too. You made your last album in New-Zealand...

I.P. Yeah, but as a producer it comes to the point that you'll have to sit down and really think about what you want to do. You just don't want to do whatever to compose your new album. For me as a producer I really want to re-invent myself every time again. Do something new all the time.

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Ian Pooley re-inventing himself

December 10, 2005 at 1:12 AM CET


Dieter Geernaert

BF: Have you re-invented yourself with 'Souvenirs' in that way?

I.P. I think so, yes. The whole concept of the last album was to get a lot of guests involved and do something completely different, you know. For this idea that I had, doing stuff in Australia, doing stuff in New-Zealand, working with Brazilian people...it really worked out well. I think it's a good sign when I can put an album in a CD-player and listen to the whole album, even when it's my own work (cause only as the artist you sometimes don't like to listen to your own music), and I think it's really nice from A to Z.. Then I'm happy.

BF: You said it yourself. In your last album you had a lot of guests involved.. how important has live music and interaction with live musicians become in your music?

I.P. A lot. I wouldn't like missing it anymore. For example if I would speak about my next album, I would still have a lot of guests but maybe not so much vocals anymore. I would have guests who play one instrument or percussion or play a keyboard live, because it's a big difference to have a keyboard played live instead of programming it. So, that would be my next goal. But it's really fun for me when you produce so many years alone, like 10 years, it's kind of... some new chemistry is going on...and you are like: 'wow, yeah I can do this too'. It's really cool.

BF: In 2003 you started your own label: 'Pooled'. How is it doing now? A success?

I.P. It's doing fine. Not selling major numbers yet, I started it two years ago at the time the market was getting down and sales where slow. But for me it's not really a profit thing, more of a fun thing to do. First it is a platform for my own productions to release, secondly for people that I know and give me stuff to do something with and also for new artists that I try to give some support and advise on their productions.

BF: Do you have the feeling you get more freedom, working independently now with your own label than you used to have with V2records?

I.P. Yes. Well, I licensed my last album to Ministry of Sound in Germany and they are totally different to the English people. For example, with MoS Germany I could say: I don't want to have so many remixes done and I don't want to do video(clips) of my records, because video is just a waste of money, I think. With this sort of deal I have more control over things and I get those people not to spend so much many which is unnecessary.. .

BF: Do you have any tips for us? What artist in the genre will make it... has the potential, but is not entirely there yet?
I.P. There is a really good act from Hamburg that is called 'Digitalism'. They work with a French label called 'Kitsuné'. Really good guys. They produce kind of a crossover between rock and house and also some electro-house. They do lot of excellent remixes too, and then you know they are hyped up. They already did remixes for Daft Punk and so on... and I think from next year they will really blow up!

BF: Finally. You've done deep house, tech-house, broken beats... What is next for Ian Pooley?

I.P. Ehm... I am moving to Berlin next year, that is really cool. There is an interesting scene going on in Berlin, a lot of producers moving there. So I just want to work with some of these people. I don't what the future will bring, we will see...

BF: Thanks!
I.P. No problem guys.

Interview: Dieter Geernaert (aka d-Fonque)
Photography: Kristof Morlion (aka Eddie Morlingus)

Thanks to Ian Pooley and Inghe @ Jazztronaut.
(c) d-Fonque 2005.

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