[Interview] Get Physical label boss, Roland Leesker, tells us the history of Wild Pitch and DJ Pierre.
Tell us the history of you and Pierre and what the club name Wild Pitch means to you?
This is a good question and the answer is a long story since my first contact with DJ Pierre´s musical genius was in 1991. I was a seventeen-year-old young house music, loving kid in Frankfurt, Germany. I was doing everything to realize my one and only dream; to become a DJ and to make a living with it and through my love for music. I was still in school, but using every chance to dance and to listen to new music. Sven Väth was the superstar DJ in Frankfurt at this time, as he was the first DJ in my town who started to play house and techno all night long. He was the resident DJ at a club called OMEN, where I spent more of my youth than in church. *chuckles* One night in 1991, Sven played Photon Inc. "Generate Power." I was on the dance floor as always and this track hit me straight into my body, mind and soul!
Totally blown away, I found out that this track came from a guy called DJ Pierre and from there on I started buying every single record he released. Soon, I started working at the local record store, Delirium Records, and with the Delirium crew we started our own house music club night. Our love for Pierre's sound was so intense that we decided to call our event, Wild Pitch Club. It was a legendary club night with ATA, Heiko M/S/O, ND and I as resident DJs. A lot of international DJs came to play for us as well. Cajmere aka Green Velvet, to give you an example, even flew in on his own costs to play there for my birthday night! The fact that Bobby Konders did a club night in NYC with the same name years before us was something I only learned to know a long time later.
One day a good looking and very well dressed gentlemen showed up in our loud and sweaty basement located record store and asked me to play for one of his house parties. It turned out that this man, Horst Maus, was the creative director of a huge ad agency who tucked away a lot of money from big accounts. He convinced them to book the DJs from the USA and he wanted to hear them playing for himself. *laughs* He is an even bigger music freak than I am. We became friends and as he moved to New York. I visited him there and moved over to New York to start Delirium Records. We became neighbors in SoHo downtown which was still affordable in those days, and went out almost every night to dance at places such as Sound Factory Bar, The Tunnel and Robots. One day there was the man, DJ Pierre, DJing at Robots. I went of course and danced the night away with a few fellow house maniacs, but I still did not speak to him as I was way to shy to speak to such a legend.
Another favorite record from Pierre that I and my friend Ricky always used to play these times was "What Is House Muzik." When I had the chance to license it for a re-release on Get Physical. I actually had the first real contact with Pierre, and he was super kind and funny and so supportive from the very first moment. We still did not meet personally only until last year. Can you believe that? Now I am super happy and proud to get the chance to fly over to Atlanta and to work together with him and his team and to play a few records at the real Wild Pitch Club!
What does the average day look like for the Managing Director of the label Get Physical?
Wow. Everyday is always different. Although, I have installed a certain routine for the most important processes behind the curtains, as well as a strict routine for my private life which I try to follow as much as possible in order to stay young and open in my mind. Please be so kind and let me rather try to define the my ideal vision of an average day in my work life; Chilling with my team, drinking excellent espresso and listening to fresh music all day long!
How should artists approach getting their music released on Get Physical?
Usually this process is based on a personal and long, built-up network of relationships of my partners, their best friends, my team and myself. Ideally we meet and greet somehow and learn to know each other on a friendly level before we start working together. My partners and I do believe that money follows passion, so money and the business around the music are nothing more or less helpful tools to realize your dreams. That's why we think it is always better to get a feeling for the human being behind a project first of all. It´s not always possible of course due to physical distances and timing issues. Some people might laugh at this attitude but for us music means more than just making a little cash. It´s our one and only real love! So, let's Get Physical.
What are people saying about Atlanta's music scene in Europe?
Good question. It's not really on the map of a lot for people over here, The main focus right now are places such as Ibiza, Croatia, Berghain and so on. I will tell everyone about it when I meet all of you, for sure and promised!
You are set to be a guest speaker at ADE this year. Can you give us any hints or sneak peeks about what you'll be discussing?
Ha, oh, I did not even know that. You are better informed than I am! In general I really love to do these guest speaker jobs and I will fly to every place on this planet to join in if i am given a chance. This year, I was at the very nicely done Rio Music Conference, run by a cool team around the visionaries Claudio Rocha Miranda and Pedro Nonato as well as in New Delhi by invitation of one of the coolest dudes in India, Akshai Sarin, acting on behalf of the Prime Minister, to speak on a panel about the process of creative disruption. It is such an inspiring way to learn to know new people, learn to know different cultures and ways of thinking and to join mutual visions of doing something good through the power of music.
We spoke with M.A.N.D.Y. back in May. What can you tell us about working with these guys?
M.A.N.D.Y. and I, that´s like a life-long marriage based on our love for music and our wish for world peace.
What are some upcoming projects we can look forward to seeing from you?
Our great team and I are working on a lot of new releases every day and night. Just today I realized that we as a team and consequently as label are getting better and better every year. It is difficult to mention all of them without forgetting one, but my personal highlights, where I can contribute a little of my own experience in the next weeks and months are clearly the upcoming DJ Pierre Wild Pitch album, the first M.A.N.D.Y. album, as well as a new album by Francesco Tristano called Surface Tension to be released on Derrick May´s label Transmat Records. Besides that, there will be a new Roland Leesker single called "Bones" with remixes by Jazzuelle and Azimute.
Event info and tickets here.