Gianluca Caiati better known as Kaiser has quickly become a household name within Europes techno circuit. The Italian born, but Berlin based DJ and producer thrives on pushing the boundaries within the skeleton of minimalist and sincere techno. Taking inspiration from Italian techno stalwarts and using Berlin as a catalyst for his eternal growth as an artist. We caught with Kaiser to speak about production methods, inspiration, his label KSR & much more.
Italy has been a breathing ground for some of the most forward thinking and distinctly funky sounds to come out of techno within the history of the genre. While the Mediterranean home of syncopated funk has had a shift to big room sounds, there’s a new generation making unrestrained minimalistic groove, that seem’s like a love letter to the Neapolitan techno of old, while still propelling the Italian rhythm into new territories. Gianluca Caiati also known as Kaiser is very much the catalyst for this new wave of real techno from Italy.
Kaiser has become a champion of modern day techno, instigating a new generation of hungry and direct techno productions, with an undeviating focus on the genres desire for movement. With releases on pinnacle imprints of today’s trail blazing techno catalogues such as Key Vinyl, Planet Rhythm, Mord, Voight and more, it’s blatantly obvious that Gianluca Caiati is ticking all the right boxes, and earning respect from today’s heroes of techno.
While Kaiser keeps the torch lit for an avant-garde generation of techno faithfuls, his eyes haven’t always been solely focussed on the music of the motor city. Growing up in a small town in Italy, Gianluca was first exposed to more commercial sounds of gentrified deep house and tech-house. These were the sounds of the sun and warehouse’s and gritty basement’s seemed a far cry from beach clubs and cocktail bar’s. A trip to Berlin changed it all for Gianluca, and like many before him this journey down the rabbit hole ignited a life-long passion for darker sounds. Berlin now act’s for a playground of inspiration for Kaiser, finding creativity in each corner of the cities vast lust for hypnotic sounds.
Kaiser’s breath-taking back catalogue of records proclaims an undeniable amount of expertise, and sheer tenacity within the studio. Like many celebrated techno producers, their prowess in the studio can somewhat overshadow their skill behind a pair of decks, and like many others this is where their career once began, and where their heart ultimately lyes. Kaiser’s ability to rock multiple deck’s to an unforgiving crowd at peak-time in some of Europes most desired clubs is indisputable. Gianluca also likes to bring it back to basic’s with two turntables, a mixer and an immaculate knack for selecting records, a somewhat forgotten art in the age of technology. Kaiser’s heart belongs with DJing and his desire to bring crowd’s into enigmatic places, this is evident by how much time Gianluca still spends on the dance-floor as a punter. It’s clear Gianluca Caiati is head over heels in love with techno, and the fundamentals of what makes the genre so celebrated.
You’ve had a pretty busy touring schedule lately. How have you been managing keeping your set’s fresh, while on the road?
I dig everyday between digital and vinyl stores. I don’t like to play the same set in different venues, my goal is to bring my vibe at it’s best in every different club playing different music otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. DJing is the thing that makes me happy in my life, it’ my biggest passion and my only job. This is why I give my best in every performance, every weekend. I have no reason to do it superficially.
Has it been difficult balancing production sessions with your hectic touring schedule?
I must admit that it is currently not easy for me to be able to balance myself as a DJ and as a producer. After two and a half years of the pandemic, I am certainly much more focused on playing music than producing it. I have released a lot over the last few years and am happy now to be able to devote myself to playing. If someone asked me: do you feel more like a DJ or a Producer? I would say that I feel more like a DJ. However, over the next few months I will surely find the perfect balance in order to dedicate time equally to both arts.
While you’ve been extremely busy on the gigs front, your release output has been exceptional. Can you tell me a bit about your workflow in the studio and how you’ve managed to churn out so many records within the last couple of years?
First, thank you for the nice words. Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes I am so inspired that I close tracks in 3-4 hours and there are other times when I need to work on them for a month to be satisfied. My biggest inspiration is the club. When I get home after gigs I always try to spend hours in my favourite club, especially if there is a DJ playing that reflects my inspiration. I find it easy to create my music 1-2 days after dancing in the dance-floor.
Earlier this year you released on Freddy K’s coveted Key Vinyl label, an absolute honour for any techno producer. He wrote via his social media that he was looking for ‘a different touch’ from yourself and something that was tailored completely to his label. What was the creative process for that record, when you’re striving for something that is utterly unique?
Yes, it’s true. I made that record especially for him. I have known Alessio for a few years and I have studied his musical taste well, listening to his DJ sets many times and digging into his label. So I mentally realised the kind of synths and drums he might like. I just opened my mind and let the creativity come out of itself. It took me almost a year to compose the three tracks that were then released and I must say that I am very happy and satisfied because apparently the album was very appreciated.
A lot of your records seem to be heavily influenced by seminal 90’s techno, but your release on Sèks Tapes sticks out as heavily influenced by this era. Was there any producers you were taking inspiration from when writing this record?
Yes definitely, my music is very influenced by the techno genre that was released in the 90s and 2000s. The record on “Seks Tapes” was another release produced specifically for the label and I must say that there was an influence from our days. I tried to keep up with our times because I don’t like taking a single position, I try to find quality in everything. However, there are so many interesting artists releasing great music currently that have helped inspire me.
Italy has a rich history for producing high quality techno records, with some notable producers being Gaetex, Danilo Vigorito, Rino Cerrone, Marco Carola and more. Were they a source of inspiration to you growing up?
They were and they are. I collect many records coming from these names and I’m proud Italian artist have been doing great for the international techno scene. Nowadays there are so many good electronic music techno stars raising and I wish Italy will be contributing with their artist for the next generations and forever.
Can you give an insight into how you were introduced into techno?
I introduced myself to the techno scene after my first trip to Berlin in 2015. Until then I was immersed into deep-house and tech house. I come from a small town near the sea coast in southern Italy and when I was a child I used to enjoy playing for beach clubs, that’s why that music choice. There was a trip to Berlin that changed my identity. During that trip I got the opportunity to visit a club that gave me such strong emotions that it made me understand, musically, the path to take and to follow. Now I live in Berlin, the city that gave me these emotions and I think I will not leave it for now…
Moving onto your label, KSR. When did you make the decision to set up your own imprint and what’s your vision for the label?
My label was officially born in early 2018 but it had been present in my mind for a few years before. There were years when I was very focused on the art of production. I used to spend whole days and nights producing music so I finally decide to release my first EP on KSR. It has given me a lot of satisfaction. Initially I created the label out of the need to release only my music but after a few years I decided to open up to other artists as I discovered that I also love to release the music of others.
One release from KSR that stood out for me recently is by South African producer Justyn Nell. How did you get introduced to the 17 year old’s music?
When I discovered Justyn I said to myself: what a brilliant guy. At the tender age of 17 he was able to perceive the quality in music by digging and discovering the records from which he draws inspiration. I saw talent in him and he reminded of myself 10 years ago, so I didn’t hesitate to give him a chance, he deserves it and I’m sure he will become someone.
You teased an image of a test press from a collaborative EP with Matrixxman on KSR. How did you find working with Charles?
Charlie is the big brother I never had. A wonderful, humble, cheerful person, capable of making you happy no matter what. We worked on this EP for a few months during the pandemic and we got along incredibly well. We travel on the same vibe, we have the same artistic vision and we love each other. This is how KSR009 was born, it will be released in just over a month. The pre-order is already available and we can’t wait for the record to be out.
Staying on collaborative projects for a moment. Your work alongside Kwartz as Force Reaction is some of the most highly regarded techno within recent time. Have you got any more plans for the project?
Yes, we are working on a new EP. that’s taking longer. We are trying to reach “the next level”, working hard every day on this music. Mario is one of the best producers I ever met on my way. I learn everyday from him and I’m proud to have this “Force Reaction” project. We will definitely keep everyone posted about…
Do you have any expectations for your Dublin debut?
I have great expectations for my Dublin debut! I’m very looking forward to share my energy with all of you and I’m sure that we will reach “that point” together. See you on the dance floor!
You can purchase tickets to Kaiser in Wigwam tonight HERE.