In this weeks feature interview we spoke with veteran techno DJ Fossil Archive on his early inspirations, favourite party spots, and challenges of running a label.
Fossil Archive, otherwise known as Roberto, has been a prominent figure within the UK techno scene for time now. Throughout his career he has played at some of the best venues on the planet including Fabric, Tresor, and Berghain, and has had his mixes featured on seminal radio shows such as Rinse FM and Slam Radio.
His raw, desolate, Detroit-inspired approach to techno production has seen him release on labels such as Rekids and Nechto, as well as his own imprint Fossil Archive to name a few. With an upcoming release set for 2022, the producer kindly went through his archives and shared a little part of his past, his present, and what he has in store for the future.
Interview: Callum Martinez
What were some of your earliest inspirations and when did you first realised that techno had you hooked?
My dad had quite a few different jobs when I was younger, but one of them was driving coaches. He used to take kids home from the local secondary school and I used to tag along when I was about 10 years old. The kids used to play their rave tapes on the coach, and one of them which I absolutely loved, was by The Prodigy. Once I got to secondary school, I started collecting rave tapes and really got into jungle. That lead me to buying a set of turntables, a mixer and collecting records. After spending the best part of 10 years being a DnB obsessive, I moved to London and started going to fabric on Saturday’s. I then realised that all of the sounds I loved in DnB came from Detroit Techno. That was nearly 15 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since!
What do you think about the current state of the techno scene here in the UK?
Obviously the UK has had many challenges with navigating Covid. That’s not exclusively a UK problem though. Overall, I think it’s really healthy at the moment. There’s some really exciting new artists breaking through. There’s still a big demand for techno which is great to see.
What do you prefer: hardware or software, and why?
I like a combination of both. For creating warm and rich sounds, I love to use hardware and record it into the computer live. That gives the tracks a more human feel. In doing that, the computer is used more as tape recorder. I then use Cubase to arrange and mix the track. I’ve been using Cubase for about 20 yeas now. You can get a really nice sound with it.
What are your top 3 favorite tracks outside of Techno?
That’s such a difficult question! At the moment though, I’d have to say:
Sade – The Sweetest Taboo
Omar – There’s nothing like this
John Holt – For the love of you
Why did you decide to create Fossil Archive Records and what is the most challenging aspect of running the label?
I started the label in 2015. I’ve always wanted to run my own label, but felt the timing was never right. In 2015 I came up with the concept and spoke to some friends to get some advice about how to do it. At that time it seemed like a good time to launch and I’m really glad I did. Having the full control over the entire process, from creation of the music, to the artwork and promotion etc, I found really liberating. It also meant that I could plan my release schedule better, as relying on other labels to deliver could be problematic sometimes. I would say the most challenging part is trying to sell 300 vinyl records. Each year the sales in vinyl outside of the mainstream seem to reduce and costs increase. When you are making heavy financial losses on each release, it starts to become unsustainable. Dealing with that has been very challenging, especially when you have a deep love of vinyl records.
Can you explain the creative process behind your upcoming Motionless EP?
With the label taking a break due to Covid, I wanted to present some tracks I had been working on during lockdown. The Ep is quite varied and there were some different concepts used to create the tracks. For Motionless and 601 Electro, I used a new synth that I bought at the start of 2021. I recorded in the sounds from the synth over the length of each track and performed all of the automation by hand to give it more of a live feel. For Schwer and Trench, I used only samples, but experimented with using lots of filtering and other effects to transform the sounds, so that they become unrecognisable from the original samples.
What is your favourite party memory?
There’s been so many magical experiences, but as a raver, it was probably the first time I ever went to Berghain in Berlin. Seeing Sterac, Skudge Live as well as Dettmann and Klock play do a 12hr b2b was a life changing experience.
As an artist, I recently played Live in Kyiv under my new R.M.K alias at a 4,000 capacity rave hosted by NECHTO. The crowd were so warm and receptive. It was a fantastic experience and you really got the impression that something really exciting is happening there at the moment.
If you could work with any artist past or present, who would it be
Without question, Sterac (Steve Rachmad). He’s my biggest inspiration and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
You can check out more from Fossil Archive here.