All Mixed Up with Daniel Steinberg
Berlin beatmaker Daniel Steinberg’s recent album ‘Left Handed’ on his very own Arms & Legs imprint certainly caused a stir across the globe with it’s heady mix of electic house sounds. Daniel started the label with Nils Ohrmann in 2011 as a way to showcase the pair’s undoubted production talent without any commercial pressures, and this release was the perfect example of that cross-genre freedom that many artists aspire to.
Just when we thought it was safe to step back on the dancefloor after the original success of the album, Daniel decided to drop the whole album completely remixed, with a plethora of dope producers going to work on what was already a stand out long player.
The remix album features re-rubs from such dance luminaries as Robert Armani, Paul Johnson, 808 State, Crazy P, Nick Holder and Bushwacka. Their input brings a really raw freshness to table, as each producer puts their own unique twist on Daniel’s already outstanding original concepts.
We took a moment to sit down with the Berlin-based producer to get the lowdown on his hometown, how the remix album was created, his favorite DJs and producers, plus much more, as we get all mixed up with Daniel Steinberg.
Was the remix album already planned when you dropped the original LP?
No, all my focus was on the original album, I wasn’t thinking beyond that at all. I didn’t have enough brain space!
You didn’t collaborate with anyone on the original ‘Left-Handed’. Was this with the remix album in mind?
No, to be honest I don’t usually have anything in mind when I produce and I’ve never really sort out collaborations with other artists in the past. I love to make music spontaneously, without a plan whenever it strikes me.
Some producers work alone, others in a team. How do you find working with other producers on the same track?
I’ve actually only done it a twice with my label partner Nils Ohrmann on remixes. He’s a very close friend and we understand each other musically so it was a real pleasure and lot of fun.
How did you select the producers who worked on the remix album?
After the album was released and so well received, my manager asked me to write a list of producers that I would like to remix the album, she said “dream big!” so I did. The tracks on the album vary quite a bit stylistically, I really thought about each track and who had inspired me within that genre. Making that list was a lot of fun!
There are some serious players on the remix album, including a few old school names. How did 808 State and Robert Armani get involved?
My manager contacted them, honestly they’re such heroes of mine I’m not sure I would have had the balls if she hadn’t handled it. I was over the moon when they agreed.
Were you a big fan of their respective early music back in the day?
Of course! I’ll never forget the first time I heard Robert Armani ‘Ambulance’; it was in 92 in Berlin at the Bunker Club during a Gabba set. If you can imagine that siren pitched well up in a tiny concrete room with 4 massive speakers in each corner, my mind just exploded. I have all of his albums; I love his rough sound he was a big inspiration for my tracks like Punch, Bones, Lion Clap and Radical Fear.
808 State I discovered on Monika Dietl’s radio show also in the early 90ies. Their output was always inspiring for a producer like me that is predominately 4 to the floor. I was so excited to hear the Crucial remix because I knew Massey would deliver something completely unique & different.
Who is your favourite remixer of all time?
Is there anyone that you would love to remix?
As my other alias’ Harry Axt’, I would love to remix Emmanuel Top.
What other producers or DJs influence your musical direction?
Metro Area, The KLF, Chicken Lips, Eric B & Rakim, M.A.R.R.S, Laurent Garnier, Emmanuel Top, Joey Beltram, The Timewriter, Steve Pointdexter, Todd Terje, Prince and so many more. I could go on for days!
Who has played the best set you have ever heard?
Jeff Mills on 3 turntables at Tresor. I remember one of his records had a scratch and he mixed it in with the scratch, my jaw was on the floor for his whole set.
Which is your favourite country to play away from Germany?
I love Japan.
As a Berlin beat maker, how has the city changed since it recently became so popular?
There’s a lot of fancy coffee options now days and I’m seeing quite a few hispster beards popping up in my neighbourhood previous populated by East Berliner grannies!
Do you see the influx of international producers moving to Berlin as creative competition?
No, not at all. A flower doesn’t think about the flower next to it, it just blooms.
Everyone talks about Berghain, but are there other lesser-known Berlin clubs that are just as good, yet less internationally renowned?
Absolutely. What constitutes ‘good’ is in the eye of the beholder. If the industrial intensity of Berghain isn’t for you, maybe the magical village vibes of Sisyphos is. There’s never a reason to complain in a club here, you just leave and go some place else; it’s a smorgasbord of fun whatever your taste.
With these two albums out in quick succession, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Earlier in the year I released an EP on Waze & Odyssey’s W&O Street Tracks label. They’re a real pleasure to work with, so I’d like to do another release with them and I have a new EP coming out on Arms & Legs in June.
Do you have anything that you would like to achieve away from music?
No I’m obsessed. I have been since I was a child; very little else interests me unfortunately!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
In the studio!
As you can see, a man totally dedicated to the cause! Be sure to check out Daniel Steinberg’s ‘Left Handed Remixes’ album to listen to the spin some seriously heavyweight dance producers have added to his original Berlin beats. It’s always great to see an artist at the top of his game and we look forward to seeing what else Daniel and his Arms and Legs imprint have in store for us in 2016.