Marcel Fengler Launches New ‘HARDPROOF’ VA Project

Marcel Fengler is a renowned figure in the world of techno, known for his penchant for surprises and his appreciation for variety. Techno is not just a passion for him; it's an essential part of his identity.

Stepping into the summer of 2023, Marcel Fengler is eagerly anticipating the launch of a fresh and distinctive compilation project. This endeavor will deviate from the label's previous releases, taking a more independent direction in terms of style and approach. The inaugural 'HARDPROOF' compilation makes a bold statement of intent, showcasing a collection of remarkable productions right from the start.
The compilation includes fresh and exciting tracks from talented artists such as Danny Wabbit, Grace Dahl, vrov, STEYA, and Sigvard. Each artist brings their unique sound and perspective to the compilation, contributing to its diverse and captivating atmosphere. With its impressive lineup and strong selection of tracks, 'HARDPROOF' establishes itself as a must-listen for techno enthusiasts seeking an underground and cutting-edge musical experience.

We talked to the artists to find out more.

What inspired you to create the 'HARDPROOF' VA project and focus on tracks by younger producers?
Marcel Fengler:
First and foremost, these artists deserve recognition for their exceptional talent and ability to produce incredible tracks, despite potentially having a shorter tenure in the music industry. Personally, I am a huge fan of their music and find it truly captivating. Furthermore, each artist presenting their own distinct musical style that is undeniably convincing.
Can you tell us more about the selection process for the tracks featured on the first 'HARDPROOF' compilation?
Marcel Fengler:
On one hand, I received a multitude of tracks from gifted emerging producers that I was eager to release. However, my vinyl schedule on the esteemed IMF platform is already packed until 2024. Additionally, I reached out to several artists personally, inviting them to contribute to this project, resulting in over 30 incredible tracks. While all of them are geared towards the dancefloor, they possess distinct styles. To maintain a balance, I roughly clustered the tracks, ensuring each HARDPROOF edition possesses a unique yet cohesive track listing.
How would you describe the overall sound and vibe of the compilation, and what do you hope listeners will take away from it?
Marcel Fengler:
The first edition of HARDPROOF exudes an electrifying sound and vibrant style that perfectly encapsulates the tougher end of the VA project. It's a sonic journey that showcases the immense talent of all of these emerging artists and I hope listeners will be captivated by the infectious beats and production skills. Above all, I aim for this compilation to ignite a sense of high energy in peak time moments, connection, and pure euphoria, leaving listeners with an insatiable appetite for more.
As someone who has been a part of the techno scene for over two decades, what do you find most exciting about the current state of the genre?
Marcel Fengler:
What captivates me the most is the relentless evolution and innovation within techno. Artists are fearlessly pushing boundaries, fusing diverse influences and experimenting with new sounds and textures. Witnessing the rise of talented emerging producers and the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology further fuels my enthusiasm. The future of techno is brimming with endless possibilities, and it's an exhilarating time to be a part of this ever-evolving sonic landscape.
Could you share the story or inspiration behind your track 'The Girl With The Red Hair'?
Danny Wabbit:
I made this track back in 2022, driven by a wager I made with my girlfriend, whom I had recently encountered and wanted to impress, hence the title "The Girl With The Red Hair." Drawing inspiration from her fondness for techno music and her vibrant red hair, I envisioned the direction I wanted to take with this project by immersing myself in her experiences at Berghain.
Throughout the creation of this track, my intention was to emphasize the creation of a sinister, captivating, and pulsating atmosphere that not only mesmerizes the listener but compels them to move.
What was the creative process like for 'Let Me Be Your Medizin,' and what message or feeling were you trying to convey through the music?
Grace Dahl:
When I began working on this techno track, my primary goal was to create an immersive experience that would allow listeners to escape their everyday lives and enter a state of liberation and euphoria. I wanted the music to serve as a transformative force, transporting people to a place where they could let go of their worries and find solace in the power of music.

The creative process for this track was an exploration of soundscapes and rhythms. I started by crafting a progressing synth line that formed the backbone of the track. It provided a steady and hypnotic foundation that would drive the energy and movement throughout the piece.

As I constructed the arrangement, I carefully considered the pacing and progression of the track. Aiming to build anticipation and release at strategic moments, guiding them through peaks and valleys of intensity. Throughout the production process, I constantly fine-tuned the mix, ensuring that every element found its rightful place in the landscape. I wanted the track to be rich and immersive, allowing the listener to lose themselves in the layers and hopefully be able to discover new nuances with each listen.

As I delved deeper into the production, I became more conscious of the emotional journey I wanted to take the listeners on. The title, "Let Me Be Your Medizin," encapsulates the essence of what I wanted to convey through the music. It symbolises the transformative power of music itself, acting as a remedy that heals and uplifts. The word "Medizin" serves as a metaphorical prescription, inviting listeners to embrace the track as a healing and empowering force.

Ultimately, my intention with "Let Me Be Your Medizin" was to create a journey that would transcend, offering an escape into a euphoric state of mind. Through carefully crafted soundscapes, pulsating rhythms, and emotive shifts, I aimed to transport listeners to a place of liberation, where they could find solace, healing, and bliss with the transformative power of music.
'Sunday Dynamics' has a distinct sound. What influenced your production choices for this track, and what emotions were you aiming to evoke?
Influenced by the raw sound of 2000’s techno, 'Sunday Dynamics' pulsates with pounding kicks and driving patterns. It aims to evoke a nostalgic atmosphere, transporting listeners to the energetic dancefloors of the past, where raw energy and relentless rhythms ruled the night.
'Trigger Me' is a captivating title. Can you elaborate on the concept behind the track and what inspired you to create it?
My track is heavily influenced by the early 90s and early 2000s Missile productions, specifically artists like Nico and Tim Taylor. It's astonishing how, even after all these years, the bass lines in those tracks still trigger a powerful response within me. Their timeless style brings me back to those unforgettable moments I experienced on the dance floor. The primary objective here was to create a danceable track with a tool-ish vibe, favouring simplicity over intricate break constructions. The goal was to mesmerize the audience and ensure they remain in the groove on the dance floor.
With 'Aeon,' what was the main idea or theme you wanted to explore, and how did you approach translating that into a techno?
In 'Aeon,' I wanted to investigate limitless energy and velocity. I intended to take listeners on an endless journey through pulsating sounds and enthralling rhythms. For this techno production, I designed a dynamic environment. I constructed numerous layers of throbbing sequences and thumping basslines to portray motion. The OB6 improved the Syntakt sequence, which indicated the track's continuing evolution. I kept my energy up by carefully balancing tension and release. The constant flow created a sense of ferocity.

Editor: Olly Kuskova

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