/ Monday 17th May, 2021 12:59PM
As the mantra goes: hard times call for hard techno. Launched with the aim of creating "a space to shelter against oppressive economics," Klang celebrate their third anniversary with a much-deserved late night extravaganza on 5th June. Bringing hammering techno rhythms back to Tāmaki Makaurau’s underground Whammy Bar / dungeon, Three Years Of Klang will showcase sets by special guests Diesel, Shane Seydoux, Uday and Klang founder Samari. We felt now was an ideal time to chat with Samari about the revolutionary ideas that sparked Klang, the recent rise of sonically abrasive electronic dance music in Aotearoa’s clubs and more…
Three Years Of Klang
Featuring… Diesel, Shane Seydoux, Uday, Samari
Saturday 5th June – Whammy Bar, Auckland
Tickets available HERE via UTR
Chris Cudby: Who are the core Klang team?
Samari: It’s pretty much just me. I have a core team of confidants that I work with to run things by, secure music gear, organise set design, check promotion, and so on. The Whammy staff are part of the team, they have always been amazing. Love those guys!
Were there any Aotearoa events / organisers / artists that helped inspire you to start up Klang, or that you recognise as forerunners to what you’re up to now?
Well that’s the thing, when I came back from Germany, I didn’t see any events that were supporting local techno. There were parties bringing over internationals and that was cool but nothing growing a local scene. For me that’s where it’s at. Especially as bringing in heavy-weight internationals, whilst cool, is often financially crippling. That’s not to say we won’t be bringing over Internationals in the future… wink wink.
What specific inspiration did you draw from Detroit’s Underground Resistance to start Klang?
There was a specific UR interview with Mad Mike for Red Bull [read / watch it here] where he said:
"There’s so much production and guys like Just Blaze and Ango and all these people back there working behind this artist. Some of the artists, this many of them: Truly talented. Most of them is frauds. And they just build them up, like a lot of these DJs out there, like my man from PCP was telling you, they frauds. They build them up, they get publicity agents, they pay them $10,000 a month. Anybody can be a top DJ. Don’t believe that s—. You need to make your own s—, put it in your own city, make your own club, put your own records out and somebody will come to it. You gotta have faith. And that’s what I see. All y’all moving to Berlin, it’s too late. [laughter] Berlin already did it. You need to go somewhere, Warsaw, Poland or Brisbane, Australia. Take your ass there and start something. You know they already… It’s down, they got it. You can pay $5, come on in the club, they got you. What you looking for here, it might not be here. You need to do something else. I’ve been listening to y’all dreams and stuff, you come back to Detroit, you see what that music could do for your own city."
This interview really stuck with me. At the time I was looking to move back overseas and yet, you could feel this decay beginning to happen around the world. I decided fuck it I’ll stay here and find my purpose for doing music instead. For me I picked the Housing Crisis.
I know there’s a lot of other issues, this one stood out to me because, when housing is as expensive as it is in Auckland, there is no art. When there is no art there is no resistance. We rely on disposable income to run the nightlife and what is going on here is fucked. Like really bad. And I think a lot of people aren’t aware that their freedom is being taken away from them.
So the party for me is about providing a safe space away from that oppression and about bringing awareness to the problem. That’s what motivates me to keep doing this.
There seems to be a lot more appreciation for abrasive and experimental sounds in Aotearoa’s clubs in recent times. What changes have you witnessed in our local club-going community over the past few years?
You’re right, there’s definitely been an uptake of the more darker ends of the spectrum.
Recently I saw a tech-house night put on a techno-specific event which was cool to see. The music scene here is seeing more events in general and of a higher quality. Better poster design, set design and experience at the gigs. Plus the artists performing are solid quality acts.
I think this could be coming from a couple of angles. Firstly, Covid — this has forced us to look inside our country for our artists rather than looking overseas. Helping our locals grow and perform more often as well as New Zealand experiencing the elation of being allowed to dance next to someone else. That’s pretty special. Something I feel very lucky to be part of.
And as our economy becomes harder to live within people will turn towards tougher and more visceral forms of music, as this reflects the internal feelings people are grappling with.
What are some highlights from the past three years of Klang?
The last three years seem to have been some of the most turbulent New Zealand has seen. So running a party, especially last year shaved a couple of years of my life (ha ha) .The highlight has to have been last June when we had the first Saturday out of lockdown. This after having postponed our event, being the first weekend of the lockdown. I believe that weekend was Whammy’s biggest ever in history. The line was an hour and a half long (all the way up the stairs onto K Road and down past Lord Of The Fries) and the vibe was unbelievable. People were so happy to be out dancing. So kind and considerate and so pumped. I’m not sure you could recreate that at any other time.
Some friends highlighted to me that that gig was potentially the only techno party happening in the world. Mind blown!
You’re an electronic music producer as well as a DJ and events organiser. Are you thinking of live contexts when you’re creating your own music, or do you find the sounds you make as a producer tend to have their own set of priorities away from the dance floor — or somewhere in between?
I find the music I make has to connect with some kind of subject matter. My first album looked at Capitalism and its demise — Music as Protest. Now I’m looking at how we manufacture our preferences. From cars to sport to mortgages and catharsis — how we can let go and how maybe we never wanted those things in the first place. Music as Process.
I relate that back to the dance floor. So I’m always keeping that in mind when I write. I guess it’s a balance between concept and functionality right?
I was asking my metal buds this question the other day: is there much crossover in appreciation in heavy metal for industrial techno (and / or likewise) — as there’s a similar love for sounds at the harsh end of the spectrum?
Yup, for sure, we have dancers come from the heavy metal scene and really enjoy the experience. I was at Monster Valley the other night for an exhibition and this metal band smashed it. Really enjoyed it.
A lot of techno artists border on the post punk sound as well. Phase Phatale, Silent Servant and it goes more into industrial goth areas. The cross-over happens. Kontravoid is pretty rad too. Ya never know maybe there’s room for a side project…
I really love the cosy black box environment of Whammy Backroom — how have you found using this space over the past few years?
The Whammy Dungeon is the best place in Auckland for what we do. The sound system is top-notch, the toilets are barely working, the walls are rough and scraped, it’s hot and sweaty and the drinks are well priced. There’s no place like home.
What artists are informing the sound of Klang right now?
So many! It’s an amazing time for the sound. Some highlights are SNTS’s latest album, anything from Endlec. There’s an amazing new EP out of Falling Ethics by Uncrat, and Demand For Pleasure by Militiā to name just a few.