In Deep: Pleasurekraft on Production Approach & The US Underground
Self-described as a “simultaneously visceral and cerebral experience,” Pleasurekraft has been laying down dark basslines and intricate grooves to legions of fans since the release of the 2010 tech house smash “Tarantula.” The elusive duo—comprised of Kaveh Soroush and Kalle Ronngard—has since won three Beatport Awards and forged a legacy of off-kilter releases that have torn up clubs on a global scale.
Now, the pair juggles their heavy touring schedule with a consistent stream of releases and managing their own Kraftek label. We chatted with Kaveh and Kalle in between Pleasurekraft’s US summer tour dates to talk about their production approach, the explosion of tech house, and their upcoming plans.
DJ Times: You’re in the midst of a US tour. How has the tour experience in the US been this time around?
Kaveh: I love playing the states. The hospitality side is always amazing as you always get the royal treatment from the clubs and promoters, and—to be honest—I think the underground scene is getting better and better after a long hiatus.
DJ Times: Tomorrowland is coming up. How’s playing to a festival crowd different from your club sets?
Kaveh: Well you can’t play some records that are more intimate and cerebral, as festival sets are usually shorter. Each DJ tends to play the tracks they want to showcase most, and these usually end up being bigger tracks than what they would play in a club if they had 3-plus hours to really take the crowd on a journey.
DJ Times: What goes into running your label Kraftek and balancing it with your touring and production duties?
Kaveh: The love of music itself and finding those gems from up-and-coming producers that inspire us to stay hungry because there is so much good talent (amongst the crap).
DJ Times: Your basslines are always rich with unique tones. What specific approaches and synths do you tend to create them using?
Kalle: This varies greatly from track to track but we have a couple of go-to synths for bass like U-he Diva, NI Absynth 5 and DSI Prophet 08. There’s usually a lot of processing going on; with everything from guitar amplifiers, reverbs, and stereo expanders to name a few. We think it’s important to not be afraid of experimenting with the signal chain.
DJ Times: The ‘deeper’ sounds of tech house and seem to be gaining a fair bit of speed in the US right now. What differences are you noticing playing/releasing music to a US crowd compared to other places on the globe?
Kaveh: I think it’s actually even more specific than US or non-US based. I mean I can go to El Paso and play whatever the hell I want and the crowd is up for it, whereas some other cities (and I won’t name names) stand relatively still unless there are massive breaks and drops in a track. But it’s cool, I don’t mind because I think in the long run as you mentioned we’re— generally speaking as an entire scene, not us personally—gaining momentum on the underground side.
DJ Times: What’s your current setup for producing?
Kalle: Macbook Pro running Logic Pro X, Event Opal and Mackie monitors, Sennheiser HD-800 headphones, M-Audio Axiom 61 Midi keyboard, DSI Prophet 08 module, a rarely-used Access Virus TI, and a Neumann U87 mic.
DJ Times: Live setup, gear-wise?
Kaveh: Laptop with Traktor, 2 CDJ-2000s, Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus, and a Native Instruments Maschine controller.
DJ Times: What particular tracks, releases, and artists have you been listening to recently?
Kaveh: As far as electronic music goes, I’m loving Whyt Noyz & Paride Saraceni’s EP on Snatch and &Me’s newest EP on Keinemusik “After Dark” is just on another level.
DJ Times: What’s in the pipeline for the rest of the year from both Pleasurekraft and Kraftek?
Kaveh: A remix of Format:B’s “Gospel” will be forthcoming in August, a remix for Pete Tong in September, and 1 last remix for the year for Stacey Pullen’s Blackflag imprint. We are also hoping to have 2 originals out before the end of the year as well, as we did a few too many remixes this year. As far as Kraftek goes, lots of great stuff, including a track by a Sicilian producer named Paul Ursin that is just incredible and is out July 21. We’re also welcoming to the Kraftek family Paul C & Paolo Martini, Smash TV, Bimas from Desolat, Oliver $, Harvard Bass, Hanne & Lorre, Piemont, and one really big one I can’t say anything about yet!
Stream Pleasurekraft and Tiger Stripes’ remix of Cajmere’s “Satisfy” below.