For the twenty-first installment of our interview series, we introduce Slak & Datafive.
Slak & Datafive are both Berlin-based artists united through a mutual love of IDM, Drum & Bass, Techno and Breaks. They started their own record label ‘Lab Music‘ back in 2019.
Slak’s production style can be described as atmospheric and punchy, driven by rhythmical 909 hi-hats, bleep, broken beats mixed with classic influenced techno. On the other side, Datafive defines his style very eclectic, a vision of electronic music that takes root from Dub Techno, IDM, UkStep, Glitch, Sound Design, Trap, Ambient, Cinematic, and Deconstructed Pop.
Now, in this new chapter of ‘Lab Music’, the two minds behind the label collaborated on a record that represents the two souls of the label. The break-techno-ish dance-oriented Slak vision, and Datafive introspective sonic adventures. The ep has two tracks from each producer and one collaboration by them.
We chatted with them about their recently released EP ‘Patience‘, plus a few more aspects of their career. Read the full interview below.
Hi guys, Luis from Living Techno here, it’s a pleasure having you in our interview series, thank you. First of all, how are you and where in the world are you taking this interview?
Hi, we’re Slak & Datafive, we’re both doing fine thank you. We are taking this interview from Berlin where we have been living for about seven years now.
How did you know each other, and how long have you been working together?
Well we’ve know each other since we were young kids, as we both come from the same hometown, Matera in Italy, so yeah, we’ve known each other a very long time now. That is where we started to get in touch with electronic music.
What led you guys to start your career in the electronic music scene, how, when and where did you get involved, did you guys start this journey together?
The journey for us started when we were getting into the whole club culture, listening to a lot of Techno music and eventually making our way into DJing & Producing. We decided that we needed to move to Berlin for our love of the electronic music scene, which is where we both agreed to start the label, Lab music. We wanted to express and share with you our vision of the electronic music that we love.
How did 2023 begin for you and what plans do you have for the year?
The year started well, we’ve already had one release out, which was a split EP called ‘Patience’, on our own label. We also have more music scheduled to come out later in the year, which we are really excited about. Then we are also planning a small label showcase during the summer.
Tell us a bit about Lab Music, what is the story behind the label and what is the main goal?
Labmusic was created in 2019 as an output for sharing our vision of the music we love. Working with other labels you don’t have complete control over the project, and it is complicated as a newcomer to find labels that want to invest in you, so we decided to start our own label and to invest in ourselves. We enjoyed working together so these were our first steps into the music world.
Can you guys tell us about some of the highs and lows of running a label?
Oh yes, there are many highs and lows, especially when you run a small vinyl label. We want to say that if you do it, don’t expect to earn a lot of money. You do it because it’s your passion. In our case we don’t think about the economic return, we invest to create a quality record, working with great mastering engineers and graphic designers. Sometimes we have doubts and we ask ourselves if it is worth all the effort, but we love music and we love to share our music with other people and that keep us doing what we love.
Congratulations on your recently released ‘Patience EP’. What is the concept, inspiration and meaning of this record?
The purpose of the Ep is showing our quality and different styles. Honestly the featured track, which is the name of the record, came out spontaneously. We were listening to some music in the studio, we got inspired and we nailed the track in a few days. After that we decided to release it, so we did some other tracks separately to complete the EP.
In your own words, what makes the difference between the tracks produced by DATAFIVE, and those of Slak?
Our styles are pretty different but have something in common.
Slak: I am more club oriented in my production and I like to use more hardware synths and drum machines. The arrangements are functional to the dancefloor, because I am a dj and love to do that.
Datafive: I use mostly my laptop to produce. I am working as a composer and audio engineer in more fields because I like to challenge myself in different genres. My sound is inspired by a lot of different styles and I use techniques from many traditions.
Can you tell us about the production processes and inspiration behind each track of the EP?
We prefer to not answer because we don’t want to share our secrets. Hehe
Any other upcoming releases already scheduled that you can give us some details about?
We can’t give you too many details but lab004 is already on the way, it’s a solo EP from Slak, we’re waiting for the final master and we have a special remix from an artist we’d prefer to keep quiet for the moment until closer to the release date. It will be released this autumn.
Are there plans to invite other artists to your Lab Music label, or do you plan to use it exclusively for your productions?
Yes, there are plans to invite artists here. The priority is to release our music, but inviting artists that share our music vision can just help the label to grow. We can’t reveal anything, but there will be a surprise in lab004.
To this moment, what do you guys would consider your most significant achievement in your career as an artist?
Datafive: I’m a music producer and I don’t DJ, for me knowing that my music is listened to and played by other people is a great achievement. Receive the appreciation of great artists and music lovers, share with more people possible my art, that’s my goal.
Slak: I think for me, my biggest achievement so far was hearing my music being played in world-renowned clubs like Berghain and discovering that my music was also being played in Bassiani amongst other clubs around the world through the new platform created by DVS1, Aslice. Also having my music recognised and played on BBC Radio 1, was really rewarding. I must admit that setting up the label was also a huge achievement for me. Now my next goals will be to play more show’s and to keep releasing more music.
Thanks for your time, to close the interview, can you guys tell what the purpose of your music is?
Thanks to you, our purpose is to express ourself through music, inspiring people and sharing it with other music lovers around the world.
Listen ‘Patience‘ full EP below.
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Great interview! It’s always interesting to hear from artists about their journey and creative process. I love how Slak’s style is more dance-oriented while Datafive’s is more eclectic. It’s also cool to hear about the highs and lows of running a label, and it’s inspiring how your passion for music keeps you going. My question is: What inspired the name “Lab Music” for your label?