Interviews Reviews

Interview With Umek

Dive into the mind of techno legend DJ Umek in this exclusive interview. Discover his musical journey, production secrets, and vision for the future.

Interview With Umek
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  • PublishedJanuary 12, 2024
  • Reading Time: 8 Minutes

In the electrifying world of techno music, few names resonate as profoundly as DJ Umek. Born and raised in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Uroš Umek‘s (DJ Umek) early life was a symphony of eclectic musical influences. From the tender age of adolescence, Umek found his calling in electronic music, a genre that was, at the time, burgeoning in the underground scenes of Europe.

His early encounters with techno music were not just by chance but a destined affair, as he quickly gravitated towards the beats that would define his career; with a career spanning over three decades, his journey is a testament to innovation, dedication, and an unyielding passion for music. But, who really is DJ Umek? Let’s see blow…


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UMEK (@umek_1605)’in paylaştığı bir gönderi

From Humble Beginnings to Global Acclaim

Umek‘s musical odyssey began in the early 90s, a period ripe with change and new possibilities in electronic music. Driven by an insatiable curiosity and a deep love for techno, Umek quickly emerged as a key figure in the underground scene.

His unique sound, characterized by pulsating rhythms and hypnotic beats, catapulted him from local hero to international superstar. His contributions have earned him numerous accolades, cementing his status as a pioneer and innovator in the world of electronic dance music (EDM).

Awards and Festival Triumphs

DJ Umek‘s talent and hard work have not gone unnoticed. He has been the recipient of various prestigious awards, each serving as a milestone in his illustrious career.

His performances at major festivals and clubs around the globe are not just gigs; they are electrifying experiences that showcase his mastery of the craft. From the sun-kissed beaches of Ibiza to the colossal stages of Tomorrowland, Umek‘s presence is a guarantee of an unforgettable musical journey.

DJ Umek's Awards
DJ Umek’s Awards

More Than Just a DJ

Beyond the decks, Umek is a producer, label owner, and musical innovator. His tracks are a staple in the playlists of techno enthusiasts worldwide, and his label has been a launchpad for numerous emerging artists.

Umek‘s influence extends beyond his music; he is a symbol of artistic integrity, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of techno. His story is one of relentless pursuit, creative evolution, and an undying commitment to his craft.

Also Read: Top 10 Techno DJs of 2023.

Below, we would like to share with you one of the best performances of DJ Umek, from Creamfields Music Festival 2019.

Interview With DJ Umek: 10 Q&As

We asked DJ Umek ten questions, and he was kind enough to answer them; now, without further ado, let’s get on with the interview!

1- What inspires you the most in your life, and how do you incorporate these sources of inspiration into your creative process?

Answer: “What inspires me in life is a different story. What inspires me in life for the music is basically, the clubs and the crowd. That’s what’s most important for my music. I make music for the clubs, and I make music for dancing, and that’s my aim. I try to be as effective as possible. So basically, have a great idea, have a great riff, have great drums, and that being mixed perfectly into a blend of an amazing track, and actually, my aim is to get a maximum out of the speakers.”

2- What period or event in your artistic journey has had the most significant impact on you?

Answer: “At this point, I would actually point out a moment where I was listening to MTV, yes MTV Stamps for Music TV station, and back then I actually played a lot of music, and there was this program called Party Zone, maybe something else, even a little bit older. This is when that moment changed my life actually. That’s when I heard “Can You Party” from Royal House and this literally was a WTF moment, it was like “Oof, what is this?” This really touches my soul in a different way than anything else, and that was the moment where I actually decided to listen to the club and electronic music.”

DJ Umek

3- Which three words would you use to describe your life, and why?

Answer: “Studio, Planes, and Family. So basically, I spend most of my time in a studio or on a plane going to gigs or what’s left of the time with the family, and these three things are really important in my life. They are really kind of all of my life. Obviously, there’s playing music as well, but this takes the most of my time, the most of the percentage of my daily routine, the most of the percentage of my year, for example.”

4- Can you share some insights about the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how you overcame them?

Answer: “So basically, I think the biggest thing is staying relative after 30 years in the business. It’s hard because people are coming, people are going, and there’s some of us who are staying, and right now, there’s another thing that is challenging. Hard techno, it’s so big, it’s so fast, so dirty, and it’s kind of tempting to go there, but then again, I still want to be where I am just for what I love, not because it’s a trend. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t go into faster and harder beats, but I would really love to love it. But at the same time, the most important thing is that I feel good with the music and still stay relevant through all these years.”

DJ Umek

5- How do you aim to interact and communicate with your audience or viewers throughout your life?

Answer: “So basically, again, me being in the business for 30 years, the only communication that we had back in the day was music. You communicate through music, first of all, your production, what you made in the studio, and then there was a language that I spoke, and people on the other side were listening and understanding the language that I spoke, and exactly the same thing happened when I was playing as a DJ. I played through tracks, I played through sound waves, through speakers and then that translated into emotions on people on the dance floor. But these days it’s a little bit different. You have to speak with your audience on your social media, and they really love to see who you are, how you are, and whether you are a dark person or a smiley person. It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re genuine, and if they can feel what kind of artist you are, then they support you.”

6- How has your artistic approach or style evolved over time?

Answer: “Yeah, so if you kind of follow my career back in the days, it was much darker, even faster, it went a little bit more tribal-ish, a little bit more houseier, and then back to techno. So it’s kind of always evolving. So I just need to love what I do. That’s the only thing. You need to enjoy the music that you play and enjoy the music that you make. No matter what kind of style I did throughout my career, at that moment, I loved that style. That’s one thing that’s for sure.”


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UMEK (@umek_1605)’in paylaştığı bir gönderi

7- Which of your works holds a special meaning for you and why?

Answer: “I mean, there are big records like Gattex, Lani Core, Vibrancy, and actually, those records mean a lot to me because they kind of put me on a map, and because of those records, I got recognition. I got to play all around the world, so I’m super happy. But at the same time, I am a little bit bored with the tracks because I have heard them so many times and let me explain that: When I was younger I was listening to pop musicians, and when I heard their concerts, they were playing exactly the same song like every single time. They had to play those big hits, and I was like, oh my god, this must be so boring. That’s not my future, and I want to be a DJ, where I’m going to present fresh music, where I’m going to present new stuff, where I’m a selector, and I’m going to educate people on the dancefloor. And still today, I believe in this form, but as I see, a lot of DJs these days just play their own stuff, which can be heard on Spotify and everywhere. So for me, that’s not interesting, but then at the same time, I’m old school, and that’s coming from a school where I’m coming from, not this new thing.”

8- What are your thoughts on the role and impact of your life in society?

Answer: “Yeah, you definitely have your fans, and you are a role model for them, so basically, they can find themselves in the way you live. Some of them would love to have gigs like me, and some of them would love to have a life like me. So it is very important, but then again, you know fans love you because of who you are, not who you pretend to be. So, for me, it doesn’t really matter if I would be that I don’t know a dark guy like going crazy acting like I’m always in a bad mood to attract the crowd. I think it’s the most important thing to just be who you are, and then your fans will follow you no matter what because they love who you are in the end.”

DJ Umek

9- What does your creative process look like, and do you have any routines or rituals when working on a piece?

Answer: “Yeah, back in the days, I always started a track with a beat, and then I built around it. These days I’m searching for a riff. It’s not in the sense of a guitar riff or something, but it needs to be a synth riff. It can be like a super rhythm, can be a vocal, something that’s memorable, you know. So I love to have tracks that you will whistle, maybe sing, maybe hum, or just have that rhythm section in your head. So I love those tracks that stick to your mind, and then you kind of remember it for a long time, and you cannot wait to hear it again. So that’s the process. I try to find that riff, and then I build everything around it. That’s something that I’ve been doing lately.”

10- What are some projects or goals you hope to achieve with your life in the future?

Answer: “So I’m actually really happy with what I achieved till now, and I’m just gonna continue. I’m still gonna have the same formula as I did before. I’m not gonna change it much, you know. I really enjoy being in a studio, and I really enjoy playing music in clubs, and it didn’t change at all. So I’ll just keep this formula and change basically nothing but the goal is to make really cool tracks and to play really cool sets around the world. That’s all it is, it’s very simple.”

Conclusion: Wrap up

As we conclude our exploration into the dynamic world of DJ Umek, it’s clear that his influence on techno music is profound and lasting. DJ Umek, a maestro of rhythm and sound, has not only shaped the genre but also touched the lives of countless fans worldwide.

His journey, from the underground scenes of Ljubljana to the grand stages of global festivals, mirrors the evolution of techno itself – vibrant, ever-changing, and full of energy.

Umek’s story is more than just a tale of musical success; it’s a narrative of passion, perseverance, and innovation. Through his unique style, he has forged a connection with his audience that transcends the boundaries of traditional music experiences.

His interviews reveal a man deeply committed to his art, constantly evolving yet staying true to the core elements that define him.

In the ever-fluctuating realm of electronic music, DJ Umek stands as a pillar of creativity and authenticity. His legacy is not just in the tracks he’s produced or the awards he’s won but in the inspiration, he provides to aspiring artists and the joy he brings to fans around the world.

Also Read: Techno vs. House Music.

What do you think? Do you have anything to ask DJ Umek, or have we missed anything? Let us know in the comment section below.

You can also follow DJ Umek on Instagram.

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Written By
Techno Airlines

Founded in 2018, Techno Airlines is an online music publisher and community platform that is dedicated to exhibiting the worldwide techno music genre. Techno Airlines creates a service ecosystem and content for more than three million music fans per month by combining high-quality videos, music, and content with online tools.

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