If you've been involved with dance music to any degree over the last several years, chances are you're familiar with Wolfgang Gartner. DJ, producer, label owner, and one of the pioneers of modern day electro-house, he's been a driving force in the scene since his first EP, 'Shapes,' was released in 2007. We caught up with the San Luis Obispo-born, LA-based artist just in time for his Hounds of Hell tour stop in San Diego this weekend with tour mates CHARLIE DARKER, BASS KLEPH, & TOMMY TRASH (tickets available HERE).
You launched your label Kindergarten Recordings in 2008, the same year in which you produced "5th Symphony." Both being major contributions to your career, were you prepared for everything to take off shortly after?
By the time I had set up the infrastructure of my label, I had already released quite a bit of stuff on other labels, and things were starting to take off which was the impetus behind starting my own outlet. 5th Symphony came a year after running the label and having a lot of chart success on Beatport in the top 10, and I was prepared for everything that came with it. It was a lot of work fielding requests for licenses and everything else that came pouring in but certainly not too much to handle at the time.
Like many other label bosses, you hired someone to do A&R for Kindergarten, as your busy schedule doesn't allow you the time to sift through countless demos. How difficult is it to find someone whose taste you trust in?
Extremely difficult. You'll never find somebody who has the exact same ears as you, but if you find somebody who's got a great ear, even if it's not a clone of your own, the system works. He just casts a wider net when collecting music to sign to the label, so that some things he might not love are included, and maybe I end up loving them and signing them. I could never hand over the A&R reigns to my label 100%, because then it wouldn't be my label. So my A&R basically does the 95%, and then that last 5% is just me filtering through what he presents to me and us figuring out which signings we agree on. Luckily his ear really is very similar to mine and the system flows about as smooth as one could possibly hope for.
Aside from electronic artists, you've collaborated with Jim Jones, Cam'ron, and Eve. Can we expect any future collaborations within the same realm? What hip hop could we find in your music library?
Having no definite projects in the works with rap features, I think I can pretty confidently say yes, you'll see more of them from me in the future. It all depends on the music I make - the music always comes first, and then we decide on what kind of vocal and who in particular we hear over it, me and my manager. My music library is pretty much only hip hop, except my DJ music library of course. You'd find everything from Wale, Wiz Khalifa and Wu Tang to Dipset, French Montana, Slum Village, Nas, Tyga, Vado, Slaughterhouse, I could go on for a long time.
You've mentioned before that you have two indoor waterfalls, and would eventually like to have a river running through your house with a koi pond. If you had no limitations (cost or location-wise), what else would we find in Wolfgang's dream pad?
Hmmmm. An indoor lap pool, a big garden inside with a sunroof, I have everything else I'd want I think. I haven't built the river yet because I know I'm gonna sell this house at some point in the next few years and move somewhere closer to the ocean and more permanent so I'm waiting.
Earlier this year you released a 90s house mix covering an assortment of classic tracks, from Richard F to Olav Basoski. What was your relationship with dance music during that era?
Just a kid in a bedroom playing records making tracks, trying to get my tracks on records.
You recently tweeted about getting platinum status with American Airlines. With so many miles under your belt, you must be near mastering the art of travel. Any tips you can share?
That tweet was a joke because I don't really fly American. If you want travel tips? Don't travel. It sucks. If you have to, bring mouthwash and lots of extra socks. And your phone really doesn't affect the navigational equipment of the aircraft.
What's in store for you once you complete the tour?
Back to the studio to hit it pretty hard for the next few months. Tommy and I play a slew of Hounds Of Hell tour dates in Mexico, I play some sporadic fly-dates throughout the next couple months, and the cycle continues.
$25 tickets still available HERE!