Umek is one DJ that cares an immense amount for his music. You can tell just by listening to him play that he puts an unbelievable amount of time and energy into giving his fans the best musical experience possible. He travels so much that there’s a running joke about Umek having the most skymiles of anyone in the business. Because of that he has become comfortable with producing on-the-go while flying from show to show.
When we do big tours like this one in America I usually leave myself a few days off. I will play something like Thursday, Friday, Saturday, then leave the next days free. I also do a lot of producing on the plane. I am flying all the time so I have gotten really good at just using Logic with headphones. A lot of other producers have trouble working with headphones but I have to do it. Also, I really hate flying so it is a really nice time for me to make music.
Umek also puts in insane amounts of effort while performing. He is known for playing off 4 decks at the same time which requires a great deal of concentration.
You have to be totally concentrated on the decks. When you are playing 4 tracks at one time and one track falls out of sync you don’t know which one it is. You have to be completely focused. It was so exhausting. I still do it but I don’t use decks, I play it with 4 channels in Traktor. It is so much easier.
This year, on the final day of the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, a handful of techno and tech house legends, including Umek, took the main stage. These are acts that one wouldn’t generally expect to see headlining a major electronic music festival, so Umek applauded EDC’s decision, which he considers groundbreaking.
Somebody has big balls to make a move like that. But then again somebody needs to be the first. Somebody needs to have the guts to do it because obviously the sound is becoming bigger. I think it just gets boring hearing the same tune 10 times because you have similar DJs. I guess it is the right move to pick someone different. I am not going to go there and download the top 3 tracks on Beatport. There’s no way.
Along with traveling around the world, playing 4 decks at once, and DJing main stage at EDC Umek also manages his 1605 label. The label is moving along at an impressive pace with Umek hand picking each and every release.
The label is going really well. I think we have something like 130 releases now. We have a lot of new tracks. It is all me, I always choose the tunes. I get on soundcloud once a week and I get around 40 to 50 tracks a day. I probably listen to about 300 tracks a week. I will pick them out then I will have a few weeks of testing them on the road. After that if I like them then I sign them. I will always pick the tunes on my label. It is my signature.
Umek also creates very unique sets. He is one of the few DJs you can see multiple times and never know what’s coming next. He spends a lot of his time searching for new and interesting music that he can use to craft truly original sets.
I listen to a lot of music. I get a lot of promos and I go to Beatport every week and go through every single tech house release. I find all this crazy music that I can play. There is a lot of variety in my sets because I find a lot of music. I think when you play a set it should be different, it should be original. Why? Because then people will know. When I release a mix I try to make sure it is always something new, something fresh. I don’t want it to always be the same tunes, that is boring.
These days you cannot be just a DJ or a producer, you really have to be both. I love to go into the studio and make music then I love to go into the club and play it.
Sometimes I go into the booth knowing what I am going to play. I listen to all these tracks and I choose which ones are good and I want to play. Outside of that I don’t really know what I will play.
Umek is really someone that every DJ and producer should vie to be alike. He stands for the music he loves and does not waiver. He is hands on with his label and constantly searching for music he can use. Electronic dance music is his life, his passion, and it shows in every aspect of his work.