Compost 20 Years Interview With Rainer Trueby
This year Compost Records celebrates 20 years of releasing music! This is a massive achievement for any label, especially for one that releases such a diverse range of music. Someone who’s been there since the beginning is Freiburg based DJ, producer and wine aficionado Rainer Trueby. He’s contributed tracks, remixes and compilations to the label (and sub-labels) from the very first days until now. Trueby has been running his own Root Down parties since the mid 90s and is known to have one of the most enviable record collections in the world for anyone with more than a passing interest in jazz, soul, funk and electronic music.
This year Compost have been celebrating their anniversary with a book of praises from musical friends, a three pronged digital compilation and a select number of parties (no bloated 30 date world tour with fashionable names here, this is the real deal). The UK exclusive party sees Rainer Trueby spin at Roots Before Branches in Manchester for a satisfying 4 hours. Ahead of the event, I caught up with Rainer to talk past, present and future…
How would you describe your Root Down parties to someone who hasn’t been and what are the challenges/advantages of doing these events in Freiburg as opposed to a larger city in Germany?
We started our party series back in 1996 in Freiburg, which is a university city in the black forest/south west Germany. At that time we mainly played an eclectic mix of soul, funk, jazz and boogie, combined with brasilian, afro and latin music, spiced up with some so-called current trip hop, nu-jazz and even some drum´n bass. Over the years, deep house became more and more important so these days we play a lot of house and electronic music as well combined with our beloved roots. Every guest DJ has the complete freedom to play HIS sound because that´s basically why we invited him/her. I believe you can have a good party in every city no matter what size it is. We always tried to educate our crowd and luckily enough they have been following and trusting us over the past 20 years.
How do you approach playing long DJ sets, such as the one you will play for Roots Before Branches?
I never really plan a set. I just bring loads of music from all genres that I like and then I try and go with the flow. I do enjoy playing long sets a lot. I tend to start on the slower side and then just build it up step by step and take the listeners on a musical journey.
Which of your own productions/remixes do you play the most in your sets?
I do play the more recent ones quite a lot such as my Truccy collaborations with the young Italian producer Corrado Bucci. I also sometimes still play tunes like Ayers Rock or To Know You which were produced by Danilo Plessow a.k.a. Motor City Drum Ensemble. I did some collaborations with Marlow from Weimar in East Germany as well, such as aremix for Tosca and another one for The Soul Session cover of the America classic, A Horse With No Name. With both Marlow and also Corrado under the Truccy guise, we have new productions coming up soon. Sometimes I might revive an old Trueby Trio tune or remix as well….
I actually enjoyed doing all of them. In terms of a DJ mix CD, I still dig our DJ Kickscompilation with the Trueby Trio for K7 records, which was released in 2001. Another one called Abstract Jazz Journey for the US house label King Street still stands the test of time listening back to it. The Slouse compilation focusing on some slo-mo house tracks is more showcasing my current musical preferences. But then again, they are somehow all my babies so it´s difficult to pick one. Let me put it like this: I don´t regret any of them…
How do you dig for vinyl in the age of the internet? Are the best places 2nd record shops? Flea markets? Online?
You still can´t beat the magic of diggin´ for vintage vinyl in a good record shop or at a flea market. That continues to be my favourite form of record diggin´. But then again, I really enjoy finding albums or 12 s that I have been looking for, for a long time, via discogs. It is very convenient and definitely makes the hunt a lot easier.
How do you feel about Compost reaching 20 Years, especially considering you have had such a close relationship with Michael since the beginning? Did you see the label lasting 20 years+?
Considering that I have been part of the Compost family since day one in 1994 with my first project called A Forest Mighty Black, I am really happy to see Compost still being around after 20 years. It hasn´t always been easy for record labels due to distributors going bankrupt and the whole new forms of music buying via downloads in the past couple of years. Music somehow almost became free, so the labels had to adapt to that new situation somehow. I always say in comparison to that fact: You cannot download a bottle of wine…happy anniversary Compost! May it last another 20…
Do you think that the late 90s/early-mid 00s really were a golden era for nu-jazz and jazz derived electronic music or was it more of a hype/press concoction? Is the influence of jazz always there in electronic music?
That was surely our very own “golden age“. We survived Acid Jazz, we survived NuJazz and most of us are still around producing music that we believe in, and jazz somehow has always been a major influence, such as in soul, funk, boogie, disco, afro, latin and brasilian music. At the moment I can see a whole new young generation like Max Graef, Fouk and many more with their new interpretations of the Rare Groove thing that think similarly. They take these organic samples to a new level! It all comes in circles I bet and there is still room for us veterans.
You have been doing Beats & Öxle events since 2004 and your compilation of a similar name with Jazzanova (Beats, Bites & Öxle) even had a wine collection and cook book. For you, what is the special relationship between wine and music?
I came up with the idea of Beats & Öxle in 2004 because I thought it would be a nice combination of presenting talented winemakers (you can find quite a lot of them here in the Baden area) in a younger musical party setting, rather than going to classical wine tastings, which always seemed a bit too conservative for me. We normally play more of the old school musically, some jazz, soul, funk and latin, which matched really well with the consumption of fermented grapes and it proved to be a good concept, especially for a lot of my-age 40 + people. Will start workin’ on a second edition of Beats, Bites & Öxle soonish, with a cookbook again plus some wine recommendation and a CD for the Sonar Kollektiv label.
The full interview can be found at: http://freersounds.tumblr.com/post/129436332445/compost-20-years-interview-with-rainer-trueby