WITH INFLUENCES FROM EARLY PRODIGY & A TIP OF THE HAT TO AN EDGY HORROR CHARACTER, ADRIAN LEONARD, AKA SUTTER CANE GIVES US THE LOW DOWN ON THE STATE OF TECHNO TODAY, UPCOMING GIGS AND THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND DRIVING FORCES RECORDINGS...
Hello Adrian, thanks for taking the time to speak to us at Virtus, where in the world are you right now?
Hi Virtus community :) I’m actually back home in Vienna, Austria, enjoying some calm days after my last party with DJ Rush, J.Fernandes and Reflec.
Is there any particular meaning behind your artist name 'Sutter Cane‘?
Indeed there is ;) Sutter Cane originally is the main evil figure in John Carpenter’s movie „In the mouth of madness“ who is opening the doors to hell or another dark dimension with his horror books. Back in the days I was fascinated by the idea that the author Sutter Cane was able to turn regular people into crazy creatures just by the might of his written words. I transformed that main idea behind the movie into the power you can create with music and there you go. The Techno version of Sutter Cane was born.
Tell us about how you first discovered electronic music & what influenced you to start producing techno?
Well, that’s a pretty long story as I was fascinated in electronic sounds since I was very very young. Synthetic pop and synthetic oriental music already caught my attention during long car drives with my dad. In the end it was The Prodigy who taught me a side of music I’ve never heard before. From the first moment I’ve listened to that kind of new music I knew that this is was I love and feel. I was really never into acoustic music, the typical guitar sounds was always something annoying to me. From The Prodigy the ride took my over Hardcore, to Acid, Psytrance and Hardtrance to Techno and Hard Techno. Since then my big love are Techno and Acid. I will never get annoyed by the singing 303 acid sounds :D
With almost a decade since your first release, what would be your favourite piece of music you have written? You can only pick one!
Wow, that’s hard. there is so much love and hate with all the music I’ve written over the last years. But of course I will never forget the impact of my very first EP and it’s main track "Outer Limits" Nachtstrom Schallplatten. That release simply kicked everything off for me and people still keep asking me to play that tune during my sets. crazy!
Onto your label now & you must be proud that Driving Forces has become somewhat of a stalwart of the techno scene...what plans for the label do you have moving forward in terms of releases and/or showcases?
The international success of Driving Forces Recordings still flashes me when thinking about it. Especially when you know that Austria is not any of the main Techno countries if you think about electronic music. But for some reason my team and I we really did something unique in 2009. A time when clubbers and Djs started to get annoyed of the typical Minimal sounds nearly everybody played at this time. So in the end we did not do more than just having a good timing with starting a new Techno label :D 9 years later you start constantly overthinking the direction. times and styles are changing year by year. But I try to keep it as real as possible, and the output is always directly connected to my personal taste. But of course I had to create sub labels such as Driving Forces Digital Series to not lose fans just because I also enjoy more groovy or melodic stuff. Not necessarily during my sets, but for me Techno in general is so much more than just straight and dark club bangers. Anyway to get back to your question, I have a lot of outstanding stuff in the pipeline to be released on Driving Forces and its sub labels over the year, but my personal focus actually lies on my new label Unpolished Music as i can expand my vision of Techno without thinking too much about the DFR fans. Great if they like the new label and output, but if not there still is Driving Forces for your pleasure ;)
It seems that many artists & labels are releasing much softer, 'techier' music in the 'Techno' charts which has forced more full on, straight up techno to be pushed into 'Hard Techno'... How do you feel about the current state of the techno merry go round?
Techno labels moving into Hard Techno just because they fear the competition with more commercial „Techno“ labels are in my eyes as commercial as their competitors they fear so much. Just because of Tech House labels ruining our genre we now go and ruin another genre as well? seriously? that can not be the solution of the problem itself. Stay proud and fight for the music you love and represent and stop changing genres just to create more attention to your releases. Me personally rejects all release or remix requests from labels acting like that.
Back to Sutter Cane as an artist...what is next for you in terms of upcoming releases that we should keep an ear out for?
Well, for some it will definitely sound like a joke but I’m still working on my debut artist album. I started working on that several times, and somehow year by year never finished for different reasons. but actually Techno is pretty back there where i feel it and I’m already pretty far with 10 tracks almost finished. So it’s quite realistic that i will make it happen by end of 2018 to finally release that piece of music that really means a lot to me. Probably the main problem why i did not finish earlier. It’s all about the perfect feeling and timing and i think i would not have been happy with earlier results. Next to this i finished some collab originals and remixes with my bros Dimitar Georgiev and 50mA which will be released step by step over the next months. Watch out!
When in the studio, what is one piece of hardware/software/plug-in that you just love to use in your productions?
Well it all really started back with Ableton Live 1. Of course i already used Cubase and hardware workstations like the Yamaha RS7000 but my sound and especially the creative process exploded when i started to work with the first version of Ableton Live. So well, without Ableton Live there would be no Sutter Cane as you know me now. So this is definitely my main tool. most of the creative process happens during sound diving and manipulation. most of the synths or plugins i used over the years were extremely manipulated in sound as i often just take audio recordings from jam sessions and tweak them till they fit my needs. so in general i think i can get every sound i need out of everything or nothing haha but of course i still love and often use all various kinds of 303 emulations. as i mentioned before, i will never get sick of that specific acid sounds.
What is one piece of advice you could give to anyone starting a career as a DJ/Producer?
Well nowadays most people think it’s getting easier for young artists. but i definitely do not think so. of course it’s easier to get your first gigs or first releases, but never forget, there never was such a big competition out there than we have nowadays. everybody using Ableton, Traktor or CDJs for a few months believes he or she is the next big thing. social media tells you that you can be the next big super star. but in reality it’s the managements and big promoters who decide who will make it and who not. So the main and most important advice i can give to you, is, believe in yourself, never give up and most important, try to create something special and unique. nobody needs another copy of already existing talents. copy kills music and copy cats will never stay.
Where can we see you play next?
My next dates will be:
at Flex, Vienna with Headless Horseman, Janice and Ctrls on March 24th
at Grelle Forelle, Vienna with Sterac, Alexander Kowalski, Heiko Laux, Moor on April 06h
at Arena Club, Berlin with Emmanuel, Joachim Spieth, Ricardo Garduno, Abyssal Chaos on April 20th
at Dom im Berg, Graz with Charlotte de WItte, Niereich on May 12th
at Lehman Club, Stuttgart on June 08th
at Summer of Love Festival, Vienna on July 14th
Keep up to date by following Sutter Cane on Facebook here