Now and again - you come across a set that without any mind altering substances, alters your mind! Such is the case with Plagium, a Hungarian-born producer and dj who will play the Contort event in Berlin this coming weekend alongside Samuel Kerridge and Huseyin Evirgen from Cassegrain among others. Sometimes playing alone or with his musical partner Bandiko Miko, this deeply moving electronica acts as a transport to higher dimensions. I wanted to know more about this musical transportational device called Plagium! Here's a little traveling companion!
CGNY: Attila – tell us a bit about you? You grew up where? And moved to Berlin when?
P: I grew up in Siófok, a famous holiday spot at Lake Balaton in Hungary. After finishing my studies, I was living in Budapest, where most of the stuff I've been through has happened. I moved to Berlin recently, along with my friend for professional and personal reasons, to develop myself, getting involved into new fields of life and last but not least, to have an obnoxious amount of fun!
CGNY: How did you get into making music and in particular this kind of experimental ambient edm – if that’s what you call it – I’m never sure!
P: I was always a techno-head. Ambient and experimental music in general was a soft spot for me through all my life - seeing a special live PA of Orbital in 1994 on MTV was a jaw-dropping experience. Right away I knew that this was something I'd like to do. I started to make computer music just for myself. By a mere accident a friend of mine - Ákos Mesterházy, head of Hungarian experimental music label Syrup.hu - came across one of my home sets recorded on a tape as he had no CD-player in the car en route to an Autechre gig in Graz. He needed something to listen to. He asked ‘what kind of fuckery is this?’ - I said 'this is my kind of fuckery'. He signed me to his label right away, under the pseudonym Mike_Rosoft with a debut album "An Hour" in 2006. Plagium started out years later as a two-man band during a gig for Plug and Lay (facebook.com/plugandlay). My partner in crime is Bandika Miko, who is the other founding member of Plagium, also my oldest friend. It turned out, that without any particular former practice, our thoughts about music making are 100% alike, and we started to do sets together. As I moved to Berlin, it got pretty complicated to play together, but Plagium as a name and entity grew close to me, so I continued playing under this pseudonym.
The Hungarian Ultrahang Foundation (www.uh.hu) and Balázs Pándi of Fucktothemusic Booking were also digging my sound and also very much contributed to my musical development. With their help, I’ve played several times on their events in Budapest and Berlin as well.
CGNY: What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Who are your musical heroes?
A: As I've mentioned, I was always deeply in love with techno, and different sides of electronic music. As a teenager, and in my early twenties, the biggest influences definitely were Autechre, Biosphere, Plastikman, Future Sound of London, William Basinski and of course, Kalapács Józsi of the well renowned Hungarian metal band, Pokolgép. There is a Hungarian artist Tigrics who has contributed so much to my stuff with his wonderful music and with his friendship and technical advices all along! He is a mastermind in all levels, assembling modular synths at home alone from piece to piece. And what an amazing sound he has... def worth the attention... I truly admire him! They are still my heroes, but of course the range is much wider, it is hard to pick only a few.
CGNY: This particular kind of music I think requires a certain mindset or way of thinking because it’s not about driving people onto a dance floor. So what is behind your thinking or your inspiration when you sit down to make this or play a set?
P: Mostly patience.. and the ability of understanding micro-structures; for myself, and for my audience as well. To get back to the good old days of being able to get lost in soundscapes and stop the brain. Teaching yourself to be patient this way is rewarding. I am also a proportion-fetishist, and this type of music, I think crucially relies on proportions. Did I mention, that I immensely like fidgeting? And driving people crazy.. kind of testing them this way. I guess I am a problem child.
CGNY: Now that you’re living in Berlin – do you feel that being there has helped your career – in terms of being immersed in a city famed for its electronic music scene?
A: Definitely. Berlin gave me a lot.. before, and since I moved here too. I guess the biggest help I've had after I started living here is my caring friend, Szilvia Lednitzky a.k.a. Lower Order Ethics. She introduced me to many people, artists, dj-s, promoters.. including the Kerridges at their last Contort event.
CGNY: Yes! This Contort event sounds very cool – besides yourself also featuring another CGNY notable – Huseyin Evirgen. I don’t think anything like this exists in New York. I heard your mixcloud set on the FB invite for this which was really beautiful.
P: At the last Contort, they asked for a demo from me. I was absolutely blown away by Samuel's liveset. I gave them the same live set you have heard, and that is how I got the chance to play on the upcoming Contort event on November 25th, along with many interesting artists. As they say on the events site: "This is NOT just "another" techno/house party". (www.facebook.com/events/484580134906752/)
Basically I'm at the very beginning of my international music career, but I hope that the last couple of events I've played or will play in Berlin will serve a great hand in moving this forward. I am massively thankful to all these wonderful people - I don't even understand why did I deserve it, but I'm very happy with the direction my bedroom art is going to.
CGNY: Are there any particular challenges to playing something that people are not necessarily dancing to – in terms of your energy and the crowds. Because in some ways this music is more like a ‘concert’ event isn’t it?
P: Most of the events I/we play at are by and for people who are actually aware of what they are going to hear. The challenge is actually to accept the challenge of showing something new and lovable for "those who know", for those, whose mindset is a lot more structured and abstract than the crowd of other genres of electronic music. The venues are mostly theaters, chill-out zones, seated concerts, so the setting helps a lot. Although I've heard people nagging six minutes after starting our set at an outdoor house-techno festival as the last live act at Sunday 8 am: "is it going to stay like this, or it's just the intro..? is this happening for sending us home now, or what?" ..but they started to enjoy it after..:)
CGNY: Haha – yes wonderful. That’s where the patience comes in I guess from the audience side. Is this the only kind of music you play or have you be known to bang out a 4 to the floor dance set too?
P: Mostly. Sometimes I DJ under the name of "DJ Fakepitch", playing less or more intelligent '90s stuff like Coco Jambo, through Blümchen, 'til Squarepusher. I party crash birthdays, wedding parties and housewarmings.
CGNY: If you weren’t producing/playing music- what other career might you have followed?
P: Actually I have an established career in the fashion industry. I am a hair stylist since 14 years now. That's my other passion. It's just as related to patience, structures and proportions as music.
CGNY: What is next for you as human and as a musician. Any burning ambitions for 2013?
P: Just continue staying alive, I guess. I'm a pretty happy person. Looking forward excitedly whatever comes in the way.
For more information check out Plagium here and the Contort event in Berlin here