Breaking New Soil – Gregor Tresher chats to 909originals
Having kicked off his career on Frankfurt’s club circuit back in the 90s, Gregor Tresher has been a figurehead in Germany‘s electronic music scene for several decades now, with releases on labels such as Datapunk, Electrix, Terminal M and his own Break New Soil imprint over the years.
He’s been a longstanding collaborator of Sven Väth‘s, having produced the Cocoon label head’s most recent album, Catharsis, as well as working with Pig&Dan on both a collaborative single, Granular (2022 Mix), and a forthcoming long player. His most recent release is a Bart Skills remix of his own Quiet Distortion, a track first released in 2016, which can be purchased/streamed here.
909originals caught up with him.
Hi Gregor, thanks for talking to us. What are you working on at the moment?
I was on the road until NYE, and now I’m taking a few weeks off to work on new music in the studio. I have been working on quite a few new song ideas and am looking forward to getting back to finalise them. There is a new album somewhere on the horizon in late 2023, early 2024.
You have worked a lot with Pig&Dan recently, including working on an album together. What does each of you bring to the table, how do you complement each other production-wise?
Most of the songs we did were done quite quickly and the same way – Igor (Pig) sent me some melody lines and song ideas, I added my bits to it and arranged them and Dan did the final mixdowns and took care of the sound. We found quite a good work routine and came up with a lot of songs in a pretty short period of time.
You have collaborated with Sven Väth for a long time, and recently produced his latest album, Catharsis. How did that project come about?
Sven pretty much called me out of the blue in January 2020 to ask if I would have time to work on a new song idea he had – the track that later became Feiern, the first single off his album. We sent ideas back and forth, and soon after Sven came to my studio in Frankfurt. We realised pretty quickly that there was more music to be done, since the vibe and our chemistry felt right.
Catharsis blended both electronic and ‘organic’ sounds, ambient lullabies and peak-time tracks. What was the ‘vision’ for the project?
The album was realised in kind of a creative rush. Sven had a good idea of what he wanted to do and we luckily managed to create an atmosphere where the ideas came along pretty naturally. It was just magic!
You first came onto 909originals’ radar with your remix of Sven Väth and Anthony Rother’s Komm, which was one of the biggest techno tracks of the summer of 2005. What are your memories of that time, which was largely dominated by a more minimal sound?
I have great memories of the time. It was when my DJ career started to kick off and when I was able to play abroad more then before. I luckily managed to create some kind of a trademark sound at the time, with the signature sawtooth basslines and melodies on top.
You have remixed artists as diverse as Depeche Mode, Moby and Laurent Garnier. What to you makes a good remix?
I think a good remix takes the original track to a different area in terms of style while respecting the original creation.
I know you’re a huge fan of 80s music, and recently went to see The Cure in Cologne. What artists/tracks from that era were particularly influential on you?
Oh, so many! Of course Depeche Mode, but also Heaven 17, New Order, Anne Clark, etc. I’m a huge fan of The Cure, their 1989 album Disintegration is my favourite album of all time. I’ve seen them twice on their current tour and they just sound as perfect as always.
It’s coming up on 15 years since you founded Break New Soil. How has your approach to the label changed from when you founded it?
At first I wanted to create a label where I had total artistic freedom for my own music, but then it quickly grew to be a platform for friends and like minded musicians. It’s kind of surreal we’re heading towards catalogue number 100 next year.
What new artists should we look out for on the label?
The next release will be another edition of the Breaking New Soil various artists release, with new and established talents alike, like Phyrgian from Colombia, Lad from Geneva or my good friend Harvey McKay from Scotland. I try to find a good mixture of new talent and artists we all know and love.
You recently revived your Sniper Mode production alias. Does Sniper Mode represent a different side of your production personality?
Sniper Mode was my main project before I started to release under my real name. The recent release was supposed to be a life sign from the project, as I love to produce electro now and then. Maybe there will be new releases in the future, but my main project is my Gregor Tresher releases obviously.
Over the years your style has evolved, so much so that it’s difficult to associate you with one genre. I take it that you take an approach of continually learning, trying to push the boundaries?
Absolutely! I try to not repeat myself and not rely on formulas, only because a certain approach ‘worked’ or was popular. I hope people will still recognise a production of mine in a way, no matter what direction I go sound wise. That is kind of my goal.
Is there anything about the dance music industry that you think changed as a result of the pandemic – or anything that you would like to have changed?
I think everything changed, but change can be a good thing of course. Electronic music always was, and hopefully still is, about change and I hope good things might surface even from a bad situation.
What are some current tracks that don’t leave your record box?
Paul Ritch – Infectious (Revolt)
B.Riley – In Through The Outdoor (Deraout Remix) (Cmd Cntrl)
Laurent Garnier – Liebe Grüße Aus Cucuron (Code3 QR)
Marcel Dettmann – Batteries Not Included (Dekmantel)
Heiko Laux – Procrastinator (Kanzleramt)
Gregor Tresher – Quiet Distortion (Bart Skils Remix) (Break New Soil)
Thanks to Gregor for talking to us. You can buy/stream the Bart Skills remix of Quiet Distortion by clicking here.