One-on-one with Retza

“When I think back to when I first started making music, I didn't even know how to load a kick drum into Ableton… and forget about being able to beat-match a tune!” – Retza.

As we close in on our Melbourne house and techno showcase at New Guernica on Friday the 20th of October, we sat down with arguably one of the most exciting and talented electronic music producers in Australia today.  Retza (a.k.a. Niklaus Retzler) has enjoyed huge success with releases on international labels Watergate, and Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream, and shows no sign of slowing down.  Here we talk about his most recent release with YokoO, the key to success and advice to upcoming DJ’s and producers in Melbourne.

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First of all, congratulations on your recent release with YokoO – “Euneirophrenia”.  What is Euneirophrenia, and what was the inspiration behind the music?  

By definition, ‘Euneirophrenia’ is a good state of mind after sleeping – the track name coined by none other YokoO himself. When we were working on this track we were on opposite sides of the world, so it was most likely the morning when he named it… for me, personally, I draw inspiration from listening to other music and general life experiences.  Nothing overly deep, just enough to get my creative juices flowing.

The last three years have been particularly successful for you.  What would you say has been the key to that success? 

Being consistent is important; working towards, and not losing sight of, my short and long term goals.  It’s a never-ending road, so staying motivated and enjoying the process along the way is important.

What are you most proud of in your career to date? 

How far I’ve come as a producer and DJ. When I think back to when I first started making music, I didn't even know how to load a kick drum into Ableton… and forget about being able to beat-match a tune!  Now I’m able to put a half-decent track together which is pretty neat.

What advice would you give to upcoming professional music producers and DJ’s in Melbourne?

Just to put in the hours and you’ll see the results. Try not to get sucked into trends and just do what you feel – there are no rules.  You are entitled to nothing, so be humble.  Also, don’t listen to my advice – be unique to yourself because that’s what people want to hear.  If you like it, someone else will too.

What is your favourite genre of electronic music to DJ?

This is a real tough one as I love all types of music.. anything with a groove is never unwelcome!

You’ve had some huge original releases, and offered up some wonderful remixes in the last few years.  What has the support from labels like ‘Watergate’ and ‘All Day I Dream’ done for your career? 

It has helped my profile quite a lot. I’m terrible at any sort of self-promotion, so having the opportunity to release music on some respectable labels definetly helps.  Hopefully the trend continues!

What albums were you listening to growing up?

I got into electronic music kind of late.  Some of my favourites growing up were (and still are, btw!) Tool – Lateralus; Jeff Buckley – Grace; QOTSA – Rated R; Radiohead – OK Computer; Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders.

Favourite movie soundtrack?

Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard.

What can we expect from Retza in the near future?

I have so much music that never sees the light of day (and probably for good reason), but I would like to release more of it.  It has no use sitting on my computer gathering dust, and somebody might like it!  I’ve got a bunch of gigs over the summer in Melbourne and interstate, so I’m looking forward to a few beers!