INTERVIEW | Pleasurekraft

Pleasurekraft’s Kaveh and Kalle became prominent figures in the tech house community when their track “Tarantula” topped Beatport’s charts in 2010. Since then, the Austria/Stockholm-based duo has been busy releasing tracks, touring frequently, and running the Kraftek label. We caught up with Kaveh and discussed his favorite books, the relationship between cooking and dance music, how the Pleasurekraft sound has evolved over the years, and more.


In your interview with the DJ List, you said you sent “Tarantula” to about 25 different labels before the small Spanish label Eklektisch finally gave you on offer. Why do you think so many labels passed up on this top-selling Beatport track? What did Eklektisch say they saw in “Tarantula” that made them want to sign it?

I think a lot of labels didn’t even bother to listen to the record – and the few that did I believe just didn’t want to take a chance on a brand new unknown act.  Furthermore – it really isn’t a record that you hear once and you think “Hit!”.  It’s a strange record and in hindsight its easy to see how it became a hit – but we were all shocked when it started climbing so high on the charts because it really was unlike anything else that was hot at the time. You never know when you hear a record how the masses will react to it. Eklektisch ended up wanting the record because Uner who was (and still is) a friend did a remix of the record and Edu Imbernon first heard that version and that’s why he wanted the record.

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Tell us more about your relationship with John Acquaviva. In an interview with Low-Life, you said that he was somewhat of a mentor when you were coming up. How did you become acquainted with Acquaviva? How did he motivate you and Kalle to stick with it before “Tarantula” came out? You are clearly talented artists, but what do you think he saw in you?

I first met John when I ran a label called Brandnewvibe Recordings and once we started having some notable success on Beatport – one of John’s companies signed a publishing deal with us – and it was through that arrangement that I got to know John.  He was instrumental in adding fuel to our fire when we were ready to give up after trying so hard – and if it wasn’t for his advice and wisdom things may never have turned out the way they did – to this day John is one of my favorite people I’ve met in this industry.

Would you say that your sound has shifted from tech house to techno? If so, what brought about this change?

Yes definitely.  I would say some of it is just personal evolution – not that techno is more evolved than tech house – not getting on a high horse here – just that personally techno just piques my interest more these days – as I found tech house quite repetitive and boring and way too loop-based an circular. Techno is often sparser but harder and its just what we’re feeling at the moment.

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In that same interview with The DJ List, you said nothing too crazy has happened at an event yet and then proceeded to recount how a man in Dublin hopped over the decks at a show and you ended up cutting open your wrist and bleeding all over the mixer – I’d say that’s pretty crazy! Has anything else wild happened at a show since your interview with The DJ List?

That’s probably still the safest one that’s OK for print 🙂

In an interview with Soonnight, you mentioned that outside of music, you enjoy eating and cooking. What are some of your favorite foods? What is your favorite dish to cook? What is the go-to meal that you prepare on any given night, especially when you’re pressed for time? Do you have any good cooking techniques or tricks that you can share with us?

I love thai food as far as cooking it and eating it. The only problem with cooking (like making music) – is you spend all this time to prep and cook, in relation to how little time it takes to actually eat and enjoy the dish – much like how long it takes to make a dance record and only 7 minutes to sit and listen to it.

In your interview with Decoded Magazine, you said that you were a film major. Where did you study film? What are some of your favorite film categories? What are some of your favorite films and directors? Are there any films that inspire your music? If so, how do they influence your music?

I studied film at the University of Maryland (College Park). I love so many films and directors its quite difficult to name just a few – but I guess director wise I’m quite fond of Woody Allen (yes he makes a lot of mediocre films – but then again – he has been making a movie almost every year since the late 60’s – if he didn’t have any clunkers in there it would be a miracle.  Still his films “Crimes & Misdemeanors”, “Deconstructing Harry”, “Husbands & Wives”, “Hannah & Her Sisters”, and of course “Annie Hall” & “Manhattan” are all among some of my favorite films.  As far as recent things go – I think my favorite films the last three years respectively were “Her”, “The Trip”, “The Trip to Italy” (sequel to The Trip), “Birdman”, and “Ex Machina”.  But there’s also so many great TV series these days as well – and with so much more time to build characters and plot lines I find TV shows have picked up the entertainment torch and run with it at a time when Hollywood has become so lazy by just continuously ramming comic book and video game movies down our throats.

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In that interview with The DJ List, you mentioned that reading and writing are hobbies of yours. What are some of your favorite books? Who are your favorite writers? What do you enjoy writing? 

Well hopefully one day I’ll actually sit down and work on something using my experience in this industry as a backdrop for a story – but right now there’s too many other things that are much higher priority.  Again as with films, I love so many books so its hard to narrow it down to just a few – but if pressed I would say “The Magus” by John Fowles is one of my favorite books, “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk is incredible. In fact, Palahniuk curated an anthology of short stories called “Burnt Tongues” which is a phenomenal little collection and the last story (even to my surprise) is written by a gentleman who lives in Washington DC named Daniel Broallt. Excellent stuff. Non-fiction – “The Devil in the White City” is a must read (especially if you’re from or love the city of Chicago) and I believe Leonardo Dicaprio recently bought the rights to it and will be working with Scorsese (again) to develop it into a feature film.

What is the most creative or unique band name? What is the most ridiculous band name? In that interview with Low-Life, you said that you started out in rock and metal bands – what instrument did you play? How many different bands have you been in and what were their names?

I started out playing drums, then switched to bass, and eventually to guitar which to this day is still my favorite.  And we never gigged out even to have to come up with a name – just jammed after school every day and made a lot of noise mainly haha. As far as artist names go – quite often promoters will book hotel rooms under the name of the act and not the actual of the artist – so its always a bit odd having to tell people the name of a reservation is “pleasurekraft” – but I can only think of the kinds of looks acts like Crazy Penis or Thugfucker must get when they go to check in.

 

In multiple interviews, you’ve mentioned that El Paso has a good dance music scene. How so? What conditions make El Paso conducive to dance music?

I think because of the city’s majority Mexican heritage – and Mexicans love their dance music and are much more visceral about showing it hence why the atmosphere at shows in El Paso is so electric.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us – we look forward to seeing you the next time you pass through DC.

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Author: Patrick Blinkhorn

Born, raised, and now based in Washington, DC, Patrick Blinkhorn is a man of many talents. Patrick is a computer science student at Georgetown University with a B.A. in music from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. While not studying computer science, Patrick writes for Blisspop, focuses on music production and DJing under the moniker "Blinkhorn," and tutors children in mathematics. Patrick also enjoys running and swimming, reading long Russian novels, and practicing mindfulness and meditation. While there are many facets to Patrick, music is the driving force in his life.