INTERVIEW: Purple Disco Machine

Purple Disco Machine interview: “I’m a great believer in staying true to the music that influenced you”

Purple Disco Machine is spinning the decks for all of his peers as he leads the charge in redefining dance music. A prolific figure in the club scene who was personally invited by Lady Gaga to play a Zoom set for her ‘Chromatica’ album launch party, and, has also received the seal of approval from disco giant Mark Ronson.

CelebMix caught up with the DJ to have a chat about his forthcoming album, the inspiration behind his moniker, and his career goals.

Creatively, what are you looking to achieve with your music?

I always want that each track, song, or remix truly reflects me as an artist and can find an audience in whichever style I’m creatively inclined to work with at that time. Sometimes this can be pure club tracks or more artful songs I guess.

Was the electronic style always a calling for you?

Yes. I’m not a singer or a rapper or a great instrument virtuoso player, so I don’t think I would have cut it in jazz, soul, hip hop, or rock music! And I was always drawn to the club sounds so the DJ/Producer role felt more comfortable. However, as I progress I hope I can be defined as a musician too.

Could you ever envisage yourself experimenting with totally different sounds?

I’m a great believer in staying true to the music that influenced you to start out in music in the first place and of keeping your core audience on side as you progress. I am definitely starting to spread my creative wings on my second album with more soulful and mid-tempo tracks as well as synth-pop, but I feel that these are evolutions from my sound, not revolutions.

Your artist name pays homage to the late Prince, as well as Gloria Estefan’s ‘Miami Sound Machine’. How did this idea come to you?

As a kind of funny idea for me and my friends to be honest! I never thought I would get this far so my reasoning was to put out some records under a name based on two artists I liked and which would be amusing to those who knew me. It was not deep thinking!

After you release new music, do you ever listen back and think, ‘I could have done that better’?

What artist doesn’t? I will always strive for perfection, but I’m mostly happy with my output to date. I maybe do find it easier than most to finish a track and move on to the next one, so I don’t get so hung up. The good thing is I don’t mix and master my own tracks and once I gave the track to my mixing engineer I know that I can’t change it anymore! 

Your hometown is Dresden, Germany. Talk us through the electronic scene over there?

Back in the 90s, we had loads of underground Techno parties as Dresden is pretty close to Berlin and was quite influenced by Berlin. This was the beginning of when I realized I wanted to be a Dj full time. A little bit later around 1996/1997, a club called ‘German Club’ opened its doors in Dresden and this was the first real House/Disco event in my hometown. I remember really well that the first time I went to one of their events was actually alone because all of my friends just liked Techno and didn’t want to join me.  I danced all night and I felt like I was reborn. This was exactly the music I loved. It was a mix of original Disco and this upcoming new thing called French House. A month later I met the resident DJs who also had a record store and from that day on I was their best client I think.

Who are your favourite DJs right now?

It is hard to name a good new DJ as it is quite easy to become a DJ nowadays with the technology and amount of available music to choose from. So I still have to go into the past as the best DJs and better music selectors are Carl Cox and Sven Väth. Even though they are not usually my style of music I respect them so much. I’ve seen Carl Cox live in 1998 playing on 4 decks. He’s a true legend. Listening 3 hours to a Sven Väth set is like watching a great movie. He is telling stories with his sets and this was always fascinating and inspiring to me.

Top three career goals… GO! 

To be the best artist I can be as Purple Disco Machine.

To produce seminal albums for seminal artists.

To find the perfect balance between studio time and playing shows / on the road time.

So, earlier this year Lady Gaga invited you to play at her Chromatica live stream party. That must have felt pretty surreal?

Firstly I would actually like to thank her for actually inviting me to play it! She’s a world-class artist and it was an honour and a privilege. But yes – playing a Zoom party to her hardcore superfans during the lockdown – a lot of whom were in tribute Lady Gaga outfits – will always remain a memory of these strange and crazy times.

You have a new album coming out next year titled ‘Exotica’. Where did the name come from?

Like I said Dresden’s music scene is influenced by Berlin’s and was always all about Techno and Minimal. But producing and playing Disco music and preferring to dance at glamorous glitter parties is a bit like being the ‘exotic’ version of a DJ from Dresden. I still feel a bit exotic in my hometown and ‘Exotica’ is the little world I built around me. Also, the whole 80’s club scene seemed exotic to me growing up and that plays a part too.

Musically, what are you looking to build on?

My second album is definitely influenced by the music of the 80’s I loved – Italo disco, electro-funk & soul, disco boogie, synth-pop, etc – but I’m not sure my third album will be? So I hope to evolve the Purple Disco Machine sound, but I don’t yet know which way. Plus as I said above, I’m excited to help other artists realise their creative vision as their producer. I’m taking the first steps on this and really enjoying it.  

Thanks for speaking with us today. Any last words for our readers?

Stay safe out there!

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Written by Alister

I am a journalism student at Robert Gordon University. Follow me on Twitter @ross_alister