The Brvtalist is proud to present a new mix from Kareem. The alias of Patrick Stottrop, Kareem is a Berlin based DJ and producer focused on brutal, almost menacing technoid sounds - which are not only the main element of his productions, but also the essence of the label he founded, Zhark Recordings.
Our own Maria Bungau caught up with Kareem and the two discussed everything from Zhark's illustrious past to what's next. Please find our Q&A below.
The Brvtalist: Zhark Recordings has quite a history. Tell us a bit more about how it all started. What did you and Rachel had in mind when you decided to start this label?
Kareem: I think we had nothing in mind and no clue about what we were getting into, I think we felt confident enough to go through releasing our own material, we had the right attitude and a clear vision, but that was about it. Back then there wasn’t much you could do anyway, just press a record and try to find someone who would buy / distribute it or pray for it to happen. There were no viral campaigns, just us with 800 copies in my apartment in the NYC.
TB: At the beginning, Zhark Recordings was quite an experimental label, releasing from breakcore to techno and even noise. Why did you decide to narrow down the focus to techno after the split from Zhark International?
K: I believe I did not narrow it down. We only did these 2 releases together (cat 01 and 02) and they had a technoid feel. It was Rachel who began to focus more on noise, breakcore and vocals. At that time the direction question became rather political, like what camp do you belong to? I wasn’t on anyone’s team so I did my thing, call it whatever, Techno, Industrial, I wanted to keep an emphasis on darkness and evolve my production and yes I was probably more Techno Influenced cause of my experiences in Berlin between 92 to 94, you can not just leave that behind and why would you?
TB: Last year saw the 20th anniversary of Zhark Recordings, which came after quite a long hiatus and it looks like the label is back on track again. What can we expect from Zhark in 2017?
K: There is no release pressure at this point. The quality of the content is essential. It has always been this way. We do what feels right, but there is no plan.
TB: 2016 was quite a busy year for you as Kareem, with releases on labels like Total Black, low income $quad or Noiztank, some in collaboration with David. What does the title "Le 17 Janvier Los Angeles, USA" fof the Noiztank 12” stand for?
K: To be honest there is no meaning. Dave came up with motive. It is from this documentary, DES MORTS, the name was part of the frame and so we kept it as the title for the EP. I think the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was what I might have done that day on the17th of January 1979 or 78 when this was shot.
B: You mentioned before that you used to listen to a lot of hip-hop. You even did a remix for Dälek’s Distorted Prose, which seem to be part of a new wave of a so called industrial hip-hop. Are you planning on releasing more similar stuff?
K: I did a couple of Hip Hop releases, there was also the Shadowhuntaz and Kareem "Irreparable Damage" LP from 2007 and 2 years ago The Bonk https://hardwax.com/37949/the-bonk/the-bonk/) a collaboration with Jaeda Glasgow. Hip Hop is tricky as it has a certain format. You have to play by the rules even if you want to bring it to another level and yes I am struggling with that once again at the moment.
TB: What hip-hop artists would you recommend to all the brvtalists out there to listen to?
K: I have been always a big fan of the Shadowhuntaz Collab with Funckarma, all their releases, you know Nongenetic from the crew is from LA. For me still unsurpassed is the Rubberoom release ARCHITECHNOLOGY from 1999, the German rappers Audio 88 & Yassin are really dope.
TB: What can you tell us about the mix you did for the Brvtalist? How did you choose the records?
K: That could be the first hour of a Kareem DJ Set, the warm up before things are getting more serious, no just kidding, I don’t warm up…
I like the fact that I know a lot of the artists featured in the mix personally, it wasn’t like that back in the days when we were all bunkered up…about the mix: I try to let the tracks breath and if it makes sense I play them almost till the end, I like complex arrangements and detail work in a productions but it can also be limited to just a few sequences and the way they interact with each other or how they blend or build to an inseparably unit. A good example is the Threatening Developments Track Intet Sju. This one won’t make it out of my playlist in a while.
TB: What do you have planned for the coming months that you can share with us?
K: Well in the mix you find already a little hint of what is about to happen.
Constantine - Erebus (Bedouin Records)
Orphx - Pitch Black Mirror (Sonic Groove)
MRTVI - IVUKTON (Jezgro)
Threatening Developments - Intet Sju (Kallkällan)
Casual Violence - Machine are (Aftertaste Recordings)
kareem - Your Markets are Volatile (Zhark Recordings Berlin)
Blush Response - Beyond Flesh (Sonic Groove)
Shxcxchcxsh - MRRRWRRRDS (Avian)
Dronelock & Ontal - Ultimate Question (Shadow Story)
Shifted - Arrangement in Monochrome 1 (Avian)
Positive Centre - Microlith (SNTS)
Zosima - 151025_x25 (Noiztank Vienna)
Headless Horseman - Her Black Wings (Headless Horseman)
Snts - Disappearance of Fate (47)