[KRTM], or Casimir Desmet, is an electronic musician with deep roots in hardcore and techno music. Pushing the envelope of industrial dancefloor music. Playing hybrid DJ sets and distinctive live sets from the underground rave scene to the biggest hardcore festivals.
Below is a short read about his current attitude towards the impact of the COVID pandemic as an artist, his view on genres and his view on the changes in the electronic music industry caused by the worldwide restrictions. Listen to the special podcast he made for us here too, and read more about this mix at the end of this page together with a tracklist.
Reading this while playing the podcast is adviced.
| COVID IMPACT
As we all know one of the most affected businesses is the electronic music industry. Artists were forced to pause their most favorite and fundamental activities. Or economically spoken, forced to cut their incomes. Read how Casimir handles the unreal situation below.
Casimir: “I’ve been talking to a lot of artists the last couple of months during the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a lot of them have similar troubles finding a reason or motivation to keep making music. Even artists that had stellar touring schedules and tremendous drive and output feel completely unplugged and have gone into an existential state of limbo. I hope most of them find a way to sustain themselves, as I believe we will get through this, maybe not soon, but after some time. There is an opportunity to find the flow again if you’re willing to change your habits, which is very hard to do, especially if you have been on a non-stop touring schedule.
While being in lockdown, it’s too easy to get into your head and start contemplating. To start questioning everything. Especially for people that tend towards anxiety. It’s essential to stick to a vital schedule at some point, maybe on a different tempo, but still a schedule. I’m not very good at it either, but I try to eliminate distractions during the day. Like, when I’m working on music, I switch off my phone or switch it to airport-mode. Focus and clarity is everything for me these days, as it has been quite a diabolical year already.
I’m longing for being on the road again. I think most of my colleagues are missing it too. It’s just that clubs and their dancefloor-energy and the people interacting with your music summons the right amount of adrenaline, which will then translate into the music I’ll be making the days after. That’s how I’ve been working for the last five years. So right now it’s an entirely different dynamic of finding my way without all the adrenaline. It’s more like when you want to make dancefloor music, but there is no one to dance to it but yourself, so you have to create that adrenaline from scratch without any reference but your own memories.
This pandemic takes away the flux and stream of daily life and its paralyzing if you don’t stay active. Therefore: time to focus on that thing that you always wanted to get your head around, but never found time or patience for.”
| Headache of genres
As a techno DJ and producer coming from the hardcore scene, Casimir knows both. Aspects such as cliches, wide-ranging opinions and expectations make people think inside of the box he says.
Casimir: “Exposing, mutilating and bending the connection between techno and hardcore has been my daily dish, at least intensively for the last five years. As I was mainly operating in the Hardcore scene from around 2008, it’s almost impossible to let go of that background. That energy will always remain.
Nowadays, hardcore music in the techno scene mostly is a hype which lost its roots. However, there is a lot of good music out there too. But this quickly gets overshadowed by the vast amount of released music, which in my opinion needs more work or character at least.
In addition to what is stated above, I think that those genres are pushing each other these days. Nevertheless, hardcore has always been an outsider and hyperbole of techno music. It’s not separated from each other. At the same time, I don’t want to emphasize too much on the negative effect of hardcore music becoming more popular, as I’m just as guilty nowadays, I guess.
by Phillippe Gerlach
Actually, I’m lucky that it turned out that way, as I am now able to gain a reasonable living from doing the thing that I love the most. And that’s what I wanted for years: to make music every day and keep the flow of playing shows, coming home and turning that energy into new music. It’s just the best thing.
But who knows how this Pandemic is going to turn on us, financially, mentally, etcetera. That might change our future perspective quite a bit.”
Casimir: “Maybe it’s time for a change. Perhaps it’s time to allow ourselves to drift away in a more autonomous musical landscape as we are all trying to compete in techno nowadays. In the end, it’s not about the genres anymore either. Or it has never been about the genres. It’s just strange that we have this habit of categorising music in such a way that we start to believe that techno is so different from hardcore or even other electronic music genres. All the dancefloor music has one thing in common: It wants you to dance and to feel fueled by its energy. I can exactly feel the same demanding energy and mood changing pulse when listening to Autechre‘s live sets or when watching a Mr Oizo music video. It’s this quirky energy with its indefinite spasms that make electronic music so appealing.
It’s about having confidence in your undeveloped skills too. To find something new, we have to make a lot of crap first. The art of being fine with trial and error. Like with skateboarding. Breaking your legs but getting back up as fast as you can to get back on your deck. The same goes for working on a sound until it has an impact. Sometimes it takes ages. But it hurts when getting too perfectionistic. It might even suck the life out of your music. It is this strange battle between naivety and confidence, for me at least. I believe electronic music can be an infinite landscape of possibilities when you play like a kid, but with the intentions of a serial killer. Haha. It’s addictive.
by Phillippe Gerlach
We don’t have to think square all the time. But I get the excitement of seeing a flyer with a techno line-up. The word ‘techno’ creates a sense of community. Community and people that obsessively share their passion is something very important to me, but also something I’ve sparsely experienced since the dawn of social media. Maybe it’s happening somewhere else now. Perhaps I’m ignorant. But, if there is anyone out there with better knowledge, please text me.”
| the scene is streaming
While the whole scene is turned upside-down and inside-out, a lot of organisations and artists are trying their hardest to collaborate, improvise and gain a small income to keep existing. This asks for resolute solutions and therefore, an insane amount of creativity. How does Casimir think the electronic music scene is gonna unfold during this restrained period?
by Ozan Tezvaran
Casimir: “I hope the music industry takes the much-needed rest positively and gains insight about the bottomless freedom there is when everybody is healthy and when things get back to “normal”. But patience will be needed. I don’t believe the endless live-streaming and phoney attention-seeking should be the only things that are left from our scene. There is a lot we can do online, but it is scary to see online streaming events where only DJ’s are present behind the booth surrounded by a vast space of emptiness. No crowd is no party.
Though there are a few videos online, that got the right attention. Mostly the videos that have a rough, unpolished visual aspect to them. The guys from RAW did a fantastic job on the online A/V show for I Hate Models, and people starting to make podcasts and interviews are a blessing these days. I love the little toilet room from HÖR as well. But I hope that this is not the only future that we can look forward to. There might be a way for promoters if they still can find a physical medium that fits the purpose. And the best way to do that is by using a massive sound system and some hungry pigs that are up to no good.
Meanwhile, I hope to discover a lot of unusual music during these quarantined periods. I’m starving for it. And someone has to make an album that just questions our existence as producers. But then I might not listen to it, as it might be too distracting.”
| Pandemic podcast
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of things for DJ’s have changed. Where they used to share their newest club bangers instantly at their upcoming gigs, they have been craving to unleash some of those vibes to a crowd for months now. Therefore, Casimir gave this one a twist and added his most favorite pre-pandemic dancefloor tracks to the podcast.
Casimir’s home studio he used for recording the podcast
Casimir: “To me, this podcast is more of a dancefloor mix. It includes many tracks that have dragged me onto the dancefloor for the past 14 years, and contains records by some of my most beloved people and artists whose music has become a reference for me today. Two new unreleased tunes are in the mix as well. One which will be on the next release of my label SSSPCR. The other one, played earlier in the mix, will stay with me for some more time. I hope this podcast shows the synergy and the extreme, uncensored burst of energy that hardcore and techno can inflame without its predictable cliches or cheap thrills.”
Casimir: “I know that Intercell has an almost infallible style of marketing throughout their designs. Nevertheless, I still wanted to work my way around this, as I’m always working on all my artworks independently. Pink is the way to go. And when the typography is almost illegible, I’m a happy man. This podcast artwork still has the original design structure, but everything seems to be washed out, just as my brain is these days.”
1. Caretaker – Late Afternoon Drifting (Original Mix) [History Always Favours The Winners]
2. Nasenbluten – Intellectual Killer (Original Mix) [Bloody Fist Records]
3. Clouds – Complete Control (Original Mix) [Soma Quality Recordings]
4. Tymon – Woodsman (Original Mix) [Perc Trax]
5. Joefarr – Big Jeff (Original Mix) [Turbo]
6. [KRTM] – ID
7. Animal Holocaust – Istanbul (TWAN Remix) [Gomboc Records]
8. Regis – Baptism (Original Mix) [Downwards]
9. E-Man – XTC Express (Higher Level Mix) [Dance Ecstacy 2001]
10. Ghost In The Machine – Cold Rush (Original Mix) [Perc Trax]
11. Manni Dee – Do What They Don’t (Original Mix) [Perc Trax]
12. Opal – Dominator (Remco Beekwilder Remix) [Voxnox Records]
13. [KRTM] – ID [f/c SSSPCR Records]
14. Scalameriya – Eidolon (Original Mix) [47 Records]
15. Hadone – ID
16. Ybrid – Tripodia (Original Mix) [Ark-Aïk]
17. [KRTM] – I Need You (Original Mix) [ARTS Records]
18. Ansome – Hunger (Original Mix) [Perc Trax]
19. Catscan – WOIII (Original Mix) [Derailed Traxx.Black]
20. Scalameriya – Tainted Voltage (Original Mix) [47 Records]
21. [KRTM] – Placebo (ft. Thrasher) (Original Mix) [PRSPCT Recordings]
22. Hadone – Optical Glasses (Original Mix) [Taapion Records]
23. [KRTM] & Limewax – Fingers (Original Mix) [PRSPCT Recordings]
24. Tommyknocker – The Aftermath (Original Mix) [Traxtorm Records]
25. N-Vitral – Bonck (Original Mix) [The Third Movement]
26. Dr Macabre – Danse Macabre (Original Mix) [Haunted House Records]
27. Ophidian – Dissimulation (Original Mix) [Enzyme X]
28. Noize Suppressor – Noize Gang (Original Mix) [D-Boy Black Label]
29. Ophidian & Hamunaptra – Whispers Of A Nameless Fear (Original Mix) [Enzyme Records]
30. Catscan – Cre8tiv Counter (Original Mix) [Traxtorm Records]
31. Speedy Q’s vs L. Condo – Al Atone (Original Mix) [Epileptik Productions]
32. Tymon & Negative A – Extrasensory Perception (Original Mix) [Industrial Strength Records]
“P.S. But what in the end are cheap thrills right? … This podcast might even be a glorification of cheap thrills :)”
Pictures by Phillippe Gerlach, Ozan Tezvaran and VMaitre
Groove shoot managed by Shilla Strelka
Sources: Groove, Mixmag and Tapage Nocturne