Map.ache was a hidden treasure during the years, a Leipzig based DJ with high reputation amongst those who had heard him in the Conne Island club. But, doing everything step by step, he has rightfully risen to prominence in the last two years. His real name is Jan Barich and for the most of the record diggers he is known as part of the KANN imprint that he co-runs with Sevensol (Alex Neuschulz) and Bender (Dennis Knoof). For DJs he is undisputedly talented producer with releases on KANN, Permanent Vacation, Souvenir and everybody’s favourite Giegling. These days you can find him playing all night long, sometimes alone, sometimes with Sevensol as DJ duo Manamana or organizing day and night label parties. As we are all freaking out to his and their music, Jan is super busy, but as he is a very kind persona he answered my call and joined Christallization with a quiet deep sad hangover trippy Monday like mix as he delineated it. To make it legendary, we spoke about his records, his label and the path he took towards becoming map.ache.
Let’s imagine you are playing in Belgrade next weekend on Friday at our beloved 20/44. We usually call it the boat, because it is a boat, you know. It’s a very intimate, small and I love to say porno club. Then on Saturday at our huge and dark techno cathedral Drugstore. What would you say are some of your favourite opening tracks and how would you proceed in these two very different venues?
Honestly 20/44 sounds more comfortable to me on the first view. I grew up with parties that had an extraordinary family-feeling in Leipzig. The vibe in small places can be very very special, as well there is a good chance to get a connection to every single person in the room. But I guess it’s also all about staying in your comfort zone, because the imagination of playing a crowded pumping techno club can be the biggest on the other side. So it’s hard to name opening tracks, because there are too many and it always depends on the moment either you wanna start something new with your set or be able to keep the fire of a good vibe burning without a break. But maybe you can find some present opening tracks in the quieter mix I made for the radio.
Would you have the same approach in clubs where you play regularly, when there are a lot of friends and known faces on the dance floor? Do you try to balance between surprising them, but also trying to make them happy with records you know they would love to hear?
It’s a curse and blessing at the same time playing parties with a lot of friends. The best thing is when people you know quiet well, can be a bridge to the rest of the crowd as they can multiply and push the energy as much as they can if they are into the sound and not bored. Sometimes good friends and family are the foundations of special night. On the other hand – and that’s like the question about bigger or smaller venues – anonymous settings can be more free in choice of records. Maybe you don’t think to much about people you know and what they could think of the next track. Generally, its hard to stop thinking too much, it doesn’t matter how many people you know. But I prefer support!
You are running KANN with Sevensol (Alex Neuschulz) and Bender (Dennis Knoof) together, right? Do you often play with them or are you sometimes in charge for the all night dancing show?
Yes, that’s right. And yo, Sevensol and me are playing together most of time as Dj Duo MANAMANA about 70/80 percent of our weekends. We love to play long extended sets and keep control of a whole night including a nice warm up and a sometimes crazy ending. As well we are up to having all night or day specials, as a label or just a DJ team. It’s the best, as we could feel past November when we did a label double 33h madness in Leipzig @ Conne Island together with Giegling. If I tell from the night it often feels like I was camping it up, but unfortunately it was the best party experience of my life. Having the opportunity to design a whole night (or day, or both) can eclipse other more random club experiences.
How did you guys meet each other? And how did you start the label, I mean, what was your vision for it or let’s say do you have a mission?
Sevensol and Bender met in school and discovered their passion for house music very early. I met the guys later around the millennium during parties, at record shops and around common friends. Sevensol and me were booked together more often as DJs, as we decided to start something on our own. We “were” all kinda shy bedroom producers who were afraid of sending out tracks to other labels. Instead of spreading out our music, we decided to make our own platform for friends and our music. The mission is not really a mission and maybe that’s the mission :). Simply releasing music we all like and wanna share with others. Making music not only for dancefloors and keeping up the idea of a familiar but open minded come-together, without taking yourself to serious and pushing things at the same time. I mean obviously the pressure increases over time and you have to get more and more attention to survive in the big techno jungle. So it’s a permanent balance act of wanted success and the fear of losing your impulse, while joining and playing the game more intense. But we still kept the lust for music, which is our basic requirement for running the label. But I guess the biggest impulse always was and still is: We love to DJ and spend the weekends in clubs :). Either as dancers, promoters or as DJs.
What’s your approach to the label? How does it look when you are choosing what is going to get released? Do you try to get new people on it or do you try to keep it like a label for friends and family?
All important decisions need a so called consent. We decide everything together. If there are any doubts about tracks, artwork or anything else we discuss that for a long time as we all stand behind the stuff we are going to do. Sometimes it can be a hard process to make up ours mind, but the result is always what counts the most. To collect and regard different perspectives on things and figure out what can be the best way for everyone is a good way to continue common projects. I learned that way of collective working at the Conne Island the club where I used to work for many many years. The club’s collective with many more persons running the venue has been acting like that and has been successful until now for almost 25 years. So in KANN with 3 people it’s much easier and faster to get to the point.
Labelwise we try to keep the label circle small enough but not too closed. It’s much more important to support and continue work with a little crowd of people than only focusing on tracks. For us it’s important trying to show artists with all their many characteristics.
At the end of last year, you released a record on that mighty label Giegling. Were the tracks already finished before or did you produce new tracks for the label?
Giegling and KANN are close friends since 2008. We almost started both labels at the same time. Weimar and Leipzig are not that far away, so we met, danced and played together regularly. Konstantin was always asking for music for the label. So honestly he was the first – except my KANN guys – I send out some unreleased tracks. Some of the tracks are pretty old and almost forgotten on one of my hard drives. Out of around 30 tracks they choose a couple and we collected the EP together with some new material.
Are you going to work more with Giegling in the future?
Hopefully! It’s a big honor to be a small part of Giegling finally. It’s not only about giving them music. We also meet each other, share thoughts, music, time and energy. I already played some beautiful showcases in Georgia and Praha with them and Panoramabar is coming in a month. So I’m glad to have found another family next to KANN, but both labels together are another family already. 🙂
How have the labels been communicating after you released the amazing Giegling record, are they eager to start working with you? How much has your popularity changed since 2009 and how has this effected you music career?
I don’t know. I am pretty bad in calculating the steps for more success as some people think about decisions quiet carefully. If someone is asking for music or playing, most of time the first impetus is always: Yes. Because for me it’s always again and again a magnificence if someone asks for having me to do things I like to do most in life. But nevertheless you can not satisfy all the people.
Can you name some of the people that have you inspired you the most?
I guess all the people I met influenced myself less or more and treated me right.
How do you maintain a constant level of quality when you produce music? Do you release only tracks that you are completely satisfied with?
Often I think I think to much about the music. Sometimes I wish I could switch off the head that makes you always doubt and think about music, instead of just letting go. But it’s not good to try to be someone else, so I try to release all the stuff I am feeling good with – not sure if this is the best quality control. It’s always a very intuitively act of finishing music that takes from two hours up to two months. It also depends on sentiments that you like so you need a double or triple check. If you like your music after 1, 2, 3 years then it’s a good sign I guess.
How often to you look back on your previous releases?
Strangely enough I still like most of the tracks and remixes I have released. It doesn’t fit into my permanent scepsis about things. But after the Giegling EP there is more confidence about older tracks, which I discover more and more when I get back the carefree feeling.
What type of music do you listen to that is not electronic?
There is a lot. I grew up with mostly non electronic music like noise, punk, postrock, indie stuff. I used to play in several bands as well, hitting the drums. All this music squires me until now. So my first contacts with making music were bands and people. To discover all the possibilities in electronic music while being your own band was an incredible revelation for myself. But these days the want of making music again with other people increases.
What motivates you to keep producing on a regular basis?
Put simply: For me, music is the best and most sensible thing in life.
What are you thoughts on GEMA?
It would take to long to examine the issue of copyright. Maybe the idea behind is not bad but as everywhere else in the world the outdated structures coupled with old perceptions how music is distributed these days makes GEMA like a dying art party. Its a complex topic, where you need to discuss the meaning of property among others.
Who do you feel has given you the best advice that you were able to use in you career?
There is no business like show business. This won’t change I think. There is a lot of advice but in this fast moving shark tank there is no guarantee for success. It never was. I guess everyone has to find his way and focus on what you can do best. It doesn’t make sense anymore to try to make things without facilities, talent or passion, just because you think you need to do that. But as I said I’m very bad in thinking about the right steps to make it in the industry.
What’s coming up from you and your label in this year?
First of all the label is going to release some good new records this year constantly. Since Sevensol and me let behind all the other things we trying to push things forward again to present the KANN family the best we can. So some EPs and maybe another album is coming in 2016. And we will set up some Label Nights and Showcases, what we always wanted to do more.
Next to KANN we established a more DJ focused sub-label called “Mana All Nite” that should represent the DJ team MANAMANA and follows the idea of a big range of music during an all night long DJ set where you can go up and down and mix all the different styles of music. We release tracks we like to play. So “Mana All Nite 03“ is coming in a few weeks from a nice guy from Frankfurt who is doing pretty diverse but characteristic stuff.
As map.ache I am working on some remixes and its hard for me to say no, but I have to take care not to get lost with all the deadlines. But I’m looking forward to the year a lot. Good parties and festivals coming up where we will be a part of almost every weekend from now.
Listen back to map.ache’s guest mix right here.