Back in his native Australia for the first time in over two decades following a…
Photo Credit: Oscar Wellenstein
Dennis Ihm, the co-founder of LOK Recordings, got to know house music with his move to Berlin at the age of 14. Coming from a classical piano education the will to implement his taste and ideas led him to start producing his own kind of electronic music. His love for disco and funk formed his style and so the foundation was laid!
We had the chance to talk with Dennis Ihm about his new EP ‘Obsession’ via LOK Recordings and some of his current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Dennis, thanks for your time today. Where are you right now and how was your weekend?
Dennis Ihm: Hi, René, thanks for making this happen. I’m sitting right now at the University in Berlin where I will graduate next year with my Master’s in Development Economics. I love to have these two fully contrary parts of my life. Music production, spinning records and label work on the one hand, and my development economic studies on the other hand. It balances me in a good way which I wouldn’t want to miss. My last weekend was pretty nice. Since I’m not playing that often anymore, I had a weekend off and spent my time at the club Heideglühn listening to Frank Wiedemann, Henrik Schwarz, and Loco Dice. It’s always a nice place for inspiration.
Electronic Groove: You are about to release a new EP, ‘Obsession’, via LOK Recordings. Can you let us know where it was recorded and what was the production process?
Dennis Ihm: I produced this EP in my apartment in Berlin which is more or less a studio with a big bed and some clothes. From time to time I try to focus on my productions on just a few elements and be as minimalistic as possible, but still very powerful. This is what I’ve done for this EP and it worked out pretty well with two groovy tools in the end.
Electronic Groove: Any special meaning about the EP’s title?
Dennis Ihm: The title of this EP comes from the first track ‘Obsession Tool’ and it shall describe the constrained ‘obsessive’ process of the production in terms of being minimalistic.
EG: The abstract artwork looks very good. Who did it? Where did you meet him?
Dennis Ihm: Thanks, the artwork was made by Pablo Benzo. He is a great painter and I was more than happy that he agreed on doing this for LOK Recordings. I met him a few years ago through my friends Björn Heyn and Kevin Lüdicke, who are both as well contemporary artists like Pablo.
“From time to time I try to focus on my productions on just a few elements and be as minimalistic as possible”
EG: LOK recordings is co-run by you. What was the reason to create your own label?
Dennis Ihm: My label partner Noah and I experienced a lot of bad treatment of artists and literally no communication from labels even though it were bigger labels you’ve signed an EP. We both had the feeling that many labels don’t care anymore about the artist and this is something we wanted to change. The artist and especially her or his art should be again the focus of everything and shall be treated and paid as they deserve it.
EG: This would be the eight release. What’s the imprint’s philosophy and how you would describe its sound?
Dennis Ihm: LOK Recordings is a Berlin-based record label founded at the end of 2015. LOK represents the music and art of upcoming artists and tries to provide them with a wide range of listeners by using our contacts and adding remixes by well-established producers. LOK allocates a scope for artists and producers to provide a space for collaboration, innovation, and experimentation. We stand for social interaction, whereby as I said before art should again be the focus of all. Regarding the artwork, for example, the concept is to have one artist who is responsible for five covers to create apart from the music a structure throughout our releases. Those proper artworks will be not only for the releases itself, you will be able to purchase them in the future as well. This is part of our philosophy to be all in all more than “just another typical techno record label”.
How would I describe our sound? It is hard to describe it since we release what we like and therefore no genre matters. However, basically we have two main directions. On the one hand, our more or less club-oriented main catalog, and the fully floor-oriented compilation series ‘Steam Machines’; and on the other hand, our listening oriented album catalog, LOKin and the compilation series ‘LOK Across’ for outside the club.
EG: Label wise, what else is planned in the coming months?
Dennis Ihm: Shortly ahead of Christmas we are going to release our second compilation series ‘LOK Across’ which I have mentioned before. Within this series, we will have no boundaries in terms of genres. There will be pop next to house, disco, lo-fi beats, funk or whatever we like and think it fits. This series will be especially for listening outside of the club and we are really excited to share this with you.
EG: What about you? What are your plans for the Winter season?
Dennis Ihm: Well, I guess I have to focus a bit on my studies but there will be for sure some time for a couple of new tracks since I have a pretty good flow these days and I want to keep that. Gig wise I’m looking really much forward to a special birthday party of this beautiful young collective Sarasvati who made it happen to celebrate at the infamous Funkhaus in Berlin on Nov 16th. I think for every artist it is an honor to play at such a historical place and I guess it’s gonna be a wild one.
” LOK represents the music and art of upcoming artists and tries to provide them with a wide range of listeners by using our contacts and adding remixes by well-established producers“
EG: As part of the industry, do you like its current state and what would you like to see improve in the coming years?
Dennis Ihm: That’s a good question. In my opinion the majority of labels lost their focus by releasing too much. I mean, some of them are releasing nearly every week. It feels like some are just releasing to have something released. Anyways, fact is that the focus should be more on the art itself. I think this the main improvement I would like to see in the coming years.
EG: What’s your favorite thing of being a DJ?
Dennis Ihm: Looking in happy faces.
Dennis Ihm’s ‘Obsession’ will be out November 15th. Grab your copy here.