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Solomun’s Wisdom- DIY & Dressing as Schoolboys (interview)

Reported by JontySkrufff on July 26, 2012

With all proceeds from sales of his new label compilation 5 Years of Diynamic going to Children’s hospital charity Kinderhospiz Sternenbrucke, label chief Solomun is clearly not your regular money obsessed superstar DJ, though his recent crossover success, he admits, has polarized perceptions.

“Sure it’s changed things, people around me recognize it and the good ones are proud of it and they congratulate me. But be sure there are also jealous people or people who talk bad about me,” he shrugs. “That's unfortunately in the nature of people, the weakness of our art.”

Bosnian born Diynamic founder Mladen Solomun started his label with a close-knit team of like-minded Hamburg friends and family just 5 years ago, though nowadays is recognized worldwide as one of Germany’s most in-demand-and credible- DJs. Back home in Hamburg, however, not everyone is quite so ecstatic.

“There was one incident when we were featured on the cover of Groove magazine’ last issue- the May/ June edition,” Solomun recalls.

“The cover story title was 'the New Hamburg School' and the theme of the image was that we were all dressed like schoolboys and it looks like a schoolboy class photo. When it came out, some Hamburg scene people started bad-mouthing it, and so did another label owner. We found that both very surprising and sad.”

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Starting with the compilation which celebrates 5 years of the label: how much does the Diynamic of today match the original vision from when you started?

Solomun: “When we started the label there was no big plan behind it. It was all about following our philosophy of D.I.Y.- do it yourself. We had our own music that we loved and wanted to release ourselves from a personal platform. This was successful enough. Everything kept progressing naturally and we've growing more and more over the years. Luckily it seems most of the decisions we've been making have been the right ones.”

Skrufff: In the last 5 years many labels have folded or gone bankrupt; what’s the secret of running a successful label today? (How does your model work?)

Solomun: “To be honest, if we were only running the label, we wouldn't be surviving. Diynamic is the basis and platform for everything we do but my partner is also running the agency DIY booking with only our artists on the roster and as a DJ I'm lucky enough to be on the road almost every weekend. Besides that we have our own club called Ego in Hamburg which we are both running plus my sister is a partner as well.”

“We have built up a strong brand over the years with Diynamic and we have a large fan base so the artists we are signing are developing a good reputation and promotion since we can spread the music. This is the most important thing for an artist; that they get the chance to make people listen to their music. So we are trying to take a lot of care in doing what’s best for our artists. This doesn't mean that we'll earn more money that way. The label is always about + - zero (just about breaking even).”

Skrufff: Why did you film the video for your recent track Kackvogel in Berlin as opposed to your home town of Hamburg?

Solomun: “Basically the original plan was to film the video in Hamburg, but you know how it is with low budget projects. The director, normally from Hamburg, moved to Berlin and all his contacts like the cameraman and the main actor Friedrich Lichtenstein, live in Berlin. Besides that we didn't have so much time for planning. Watergate was very happy about it. After all the Berlin bear gets punched in the end.”

 Skrufff: What are the key differences in the club scenes between Hamburg and Berlin?

Solomun: “It's hard to describe. The Hamburg scene is much smaller that's probably the only real difference. Berlin is outstanding in the volume of electronic music culture. There are so many artists and clubs.”

Skrufff: How concerned are you about the GEMA plans to charge massive fees to the likes of Watergate & Berghain and your club in Hamburg; what impact will these changes have on you?

Solomun: “This situation is super hard for all of us even more for the bigger clubs. In the end we also have to see what this will meant for us. Our club is running well, but what we earn is not as much as that. It could mean we'll have to close the club.”

Skrufff: How easy is it to keep on top of DIynamic/ Ego business now that you’re in such huge global demand? How do you avoid getting stuck on the treadmill of DJing 3 or 4 gigs a weekend, flying non stop and becoming totally exhausted?

Solomun: “If I wanted to I could play almost every day, it's unbelievable how many requests I get. But I’m trying to find the right balance. Sometimes I play three or four gigs and sometimes I confirm only one day per weekend.

Besides that I'm in the lucky position that I fly mostly business class and I only confirm gigs, where the traveling is acceptable. I hate this traveling and all the waiting at the airport and the rest of it but this is part of the game. To play in the clubs is fantastic and I love it. I’ve actually decided that I will not play the months January and February. I need a small rest without playing at weekends.”

Solomun: “diynamic neon night every tuesday at sankeys ibiza. haha

5 Years of Diynamic - the charity compilation (All Proceeds For Kinderhospiz Sternenbrucke Charity) - is out now. Solomun is also DJing in Ibiza throughout the summer, both at Pacha and every Tuesday at Diynamic neon night at Sankeys (Playa D’en Bossa).

Jonty Skrufff: