I was back in Brazil digging last year when a street vendor caught my eye. He was selling a super sick pile of 7”s that’s pretty hard to find these days. Naturally I went through it and at the end of the batch I came across a name: Dietrich Perreira Melo. Upon listening to the record on my portable player, my ears were blown away.
The man behind the 6th entry of our Mix Series has a lot going for him at the moment, not least of which is his upcoming performance at Strange Sounds From Beyond 2017. Our editor Lounes Doulache caught up with the Bufiman to get us up to speed on all things Jan Schulte.
Hi Jan, how’s it going? What are you up to these days?
Goedendag! I am fine; looking forward to a very promising summer with a lot of nice travels and festivals. At the moment I am still working a lot in my studio thanks to my annoying hay fever, which will hopefully end soon for the year…
When did you decide to go for music full time and what led up to this decision?
After completing my apprenticeship for voice-overs in a recording studio I decided I didn’t want to work 9 to 7 for five days a week like I had done those three years. Luckily the studio offered me a job there for 10 hours a week with a salary that covers my rent and health insurance, allowing me to focus on record digging and producing.
The first years were pretty rough, trying to dig deep into records without much money and trying to produce music with almost no equipment, but somehow I had my vision of sound and wanted to realize it.
Still, I would have never imagined ever sharing a stage with the Sun Ra Arkestra or Selda Bağcan, so thank you guys so much in advance! This makes me incredibly happy.
Salon des Amateurs has brought a lot of interesting artists and projects to life. Why do you think that is? Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for?
When I look back now, I can somehow remember that our crew at the time (which later became the TFGC-Posse) was really searching for some deeper things in music, for more magic and emotion than the music we had experienced in clubs.
The Salon Des Amateurs was lucky to be at the right place and time for the Düsseldorf scene, had the right vibe and attitude, encouraging us to do our music through it all. Without the Salon and Detlef’s (Tolouse Low Trax) input there would be no Wolf Müller, no Themes For Great Cities, no Young Wolf.
And yes, the influence goes on. The Aiwo Rec. guys are on fire now, with really young talents like Aki Aki and Rasputin from the Candomblè crew, and also great DJs like Jules, who runs a show at NTS Radio.
Situated at the heart of Düsseldorf’s art community, music and art are heavily intertwined at the Salon. What role do you think the Salon plays in art? Do you use art as an inspiration for your music? If so, which artists inspire you?
I cooperated a lot with artists from the art academy and its influence is omnipresent. Tolouse Low Trax studied there, Lena Willikens too, and of course Aron Mehzion the founder of the Salon. A big part of my favorite music from here has a connection to the academy.
Still, I am not too deeply involved in the art world and my knowledge is rather limited. What definitely inspires me and my music are cartoons; I watch as many as I can. I love how you can create full universes out of your imagination and bring them to life.
Tell us about a classic Salon moment. What soundtracked that moment?
Tolouse Low Trax playing the whole A-side of Gianni Bella’s Io Canto E Tu album at peak time. It’s an unbelievable mix of cheesy Italian pop, prog rock and disco funk from the 70s with a lot of emotion and a fascinating vintage studio sound, and the a-side takes 20 minutes to go from a disco song in 13/8 rhythm over a heartwarming slow ballad to incredibly relieving disco funk.
After Vladimir discovered that record it made the rounds within our friend circle and it almost became a ritual to listen to the full A-side if someone had not listened to it before (Thank you, Basso :* )
… So, Detlef (TLT) took it to another level and showed it to the whole Salon crowd, in full.
Your compilation Tropical Drums of Deutschland on the Danish imprint Music For Dreams recently saw the light of day. It seems that you have a lot in common with the people who made this music back in the days. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
A lot of songs in that compilation are long time favorites of mine; and yes, they definitely influenced my music. Music that describes imaginary places is fascinating to me in general; musicians describing travel through the cosmos, underwater sea life or exotic forests and wildlife like in this case.
While digging I came across more and more of these records made by Germans and Europeans with access to a high-end recording studio, an agile imagination and huge collections of percussion instruments. When Kenneth Bager from Music For Dreams asked me to do a compilation the idea to collect these tracks was my first thought, and I am very happy that we were able to show this music to a bigger audience.
You’ve let on that you like to use your imagination when making music, letting it run its course. For this mix, what did you imagine?
This approach of using imagination and flow that I try to follow while producing music cannot be used while recording a mix. When I record mixes or play DJ sets the tracks that I use are already finished and they have a specific tempo and express a certain image and mood. So I try to sort those tracks as a small tale plays out in my head; sometimes with smooth transitions between the settings, sometimes with sudden changes.
Furthermore, mixes are always a sort of resume of recent months, featuring a selection of music I discovered or rediscovered recently. For example, the first track is from a record I found in Jakarta back in March and has become my emotional dream theme since then.
At King George, a bar where you regularly play, you get to showcase music that need not fit classic dance floor rules. Can you share some examples with us?
At that place – which used to be a strip club in the 80s and still retains the style of it – I had some of the most wonderful nights of my life. It’s the coziest bar I know in Cologne, and the best place to listen to all kinds of music played by all kinds of music collectors, while getting heavily drunk.
It’s a pity I don’t get around to playing there anymore as my schedule is mostly too busy nowadays.
Some of my favorites to play there were the Ramases LP (“Life Child” or “Hello Mister”), Lucio Battisti’s Anima Latina LP, Gary Wilson, Yusef Lateef, Nina Simone, and I could play my favorite big pop hits that are usually not very common in my sets… like Queen (“Radio Gaga”!), Rick James or Spandau Ballet.
What’s your favorite record of all time? And why?
My favorite song might be Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman”. It is one of the most intense recordings ever made.
When in Amsterdam, where are your favorite places to hang out?
I remember from my first trips to Amsterdam when I was young that I hated the red light district because of all the rude men and the aggressive aura. Things have now changed and I hang out next to the Oudekerk almost all the time with my friends from Redlight Records and Redlight Radio and all the lovely music heads passing by.
What’s coming up in the future, release wise, label wise, DJ/Live wise?
I am working on an album with Niklas Wandt (Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt), to be released on Basso’s Growing Bin Records. We hope to be finished in July. After the Bufiman EP on Dekmantel a collaboration with DJ Normal 4 on AIWO Records will be next.
My friend DJ soFa from Brussels made a dream come true for me and sent me on a journey to Kalimantan (Borneo, Indonesia) for Brussel’s Europalia Festival. Later this year I will be presenting my recordings, collaborations and discoveries with a series of live shows and a release.
Furthermore, I have a whole list of really nice gigs and shows upcoming this summer. I’ll try to add all the dates and information on my website.
Thanks Jan, any last words?
Thank you, and see you in a few weeks!
Bufiman will be performing at Strange Sounds From Beyond 2017 on Sunday June 25. Last release tickets are available here.