This week we caught up with Frank Bogdanowitz aka Dr. Nojoke, a producer and performer renowned for his live sets which continually bring new and unique sounds to the table. His work, a combination of field-recordings, self-made sounds, and highly conceptual production aim to redefine electronic music. A Berlin native and leader in directional minimal techno, Dr. Nojoke has now launched his own label CLIKNO, a platform for his unique sound.
Tell me about your label CLIKNO – what inspired you to start the label?
I've been thinking about a label for a couple of years already. I launched CLIKNO as a platform for my productions and experiments, where I could do what and how I want. I wasn't sure about whether to go vinyl . On one side I did ask myself, if the time is right for my music on vinyl, if I can sell it, on the other side it looks like that everyone is doing vinyl labels right now so what´s the reason for another one? I changed my mind in early 2017 when two albums got cancelled, that were planned to be released on a certain label. I was disappointed and also annoyed so I said to myself: Let's do it now!
Do you have a creative vision for the label?
It was important for me to launch CLIKNO so I can unfold my own vision without any compromises. It gives me freedom. I would like to breakup things, cross boundaries. I love to challenge myself and the audience as well. I love irritation, confusion, provocation, humour – a bit Dada and a bit punk is always present in my work.
It took a while to nail the artwork for the first two EPs – zero.one and zero.two. Both will be on transparent vinyl in a transparent sleeve. The thing here is the artwork on the A-side: It shows a few of my instruments, objects and gadgets, I am performing with, which aren´t usually considered as serious instruments nor are they electronic ones. So there is a contradiction between things that don´t belong together usually: trash and lo-fi versus high tech, acoustic versus electronic.
For future vinyl releases I would like to combine my music with art and text and wrap it in silver foil. I have to find a way to do that. I feel like each release should be a surprise and it could become a nice collector´s series.
How would you best describe the sound you want to bring to the world using your label?
Well, the sound is Clikno! I use that term for thirteen years now. So it was pretty obvious to name my label Clikno. It is put together from the words click and techno. I was and still I am a big fan of clicks & cuts, a small sub-genre in minimal electronic music, that got its name from a compilation series on the former Mille Plateaux label. The term Clikno offers many possibilities to create music. It´s just not defined except through myself. Nearly all sounds I record myself with the microphone. They are then reworked, tweaked and transformed in my preferred program Ableton Live.
It's hard to describe my own sound as it is quite open although characteristic and constantly evolving. Mainly it is a form of complex minimal techno, quirky and detailed, made of percussive lines, clicks, glitches, unsquare loops and echoes to get some hypnosis going on and then adding deep basslines, more echoes, random tones and chords and drones etc.
I love opposites so when there is a heavy element I am looking for a light one as well.
It's like searching and finding the balance - pretty much like in real life – unpredictable randomness included. Be surprised!
Will you have other artists on the label or is it a platform mainly for releasing your music?
It's reserved for my production only, although I´m thinking about a remix EP.
I have some artists in mind, who I would love to get their hands on my music.
What’s the plan in terms of releases for this year?
Next will be "zero.two“, the accompanying second part, which I would like to release until June, but to be realistic it will come after summer as the pressing plants are at the limits of their capacity.
I would like to start then the above mentioned editions with art and text in silver foil, but it´s all a matter of resources and the right ideas. Let´s see. The music is done already.
Will the label remain vinyl only?
I'm not a vinyl purist, CDs sound great, but I prefer to listen to vinyl at home myself. I would say I'm a sound purist definitely and I totally enjoy a great packaging and artwork.
I will put out also digital releases via the Clikno bandcamp page from time to time. Each format can be good. I just want to keep the best pieces now and present them on vinyl. There is a lot of quite experimental material on my hardrive, works for theatre and dance. I would like to press some on a 10“ series, but it´s a matter of money.
Tell me about your production setup– how did you make your current release?
As I work mainly with acoustic sounds it all starts with the microphone. On the way I use a Yamaha pocket recorder, sometimes with my binaural OKM microphones, which are perfect for catching ambiences. For instruments and objects and home recordings I prefer a condenser microphone. For quick audio-snapshots the little field recorder is my first choice still.
The production set-up itself is super simple: As hardware I use a Motu Ultralite MK3 audio-interface and a Sony Vaio laptop, as software Ableton Live, Max 4 Live and diverse plug-in effects. That's it! I do not even use controllers in the production phase. I feel more free that way.
The track Copipo on the A-side is based on sounds I recorded for a theatre-piece for instance.
When you go into the studio do you usually have an idea in mind before you start, or do you just jam and see where it goes?
Usually there is no idea in the beginning. It´s more or less a mood. This mood sets the tempo and which sample-folder I grab first. It's a very intuitive process. Nothing is really defined. I kind of explore my archive of recordings, which is organised after the years of the recording.
Once I grab a sound, I start to play around with it until something gets my attention, then the next one and so on. I immediately start to jam around with the stuff so I get a first impression, where it can go. When I think I have everything I need for a track, I record the arrangement in one take and edit it until I am OK with it.
Do you have any pieces of equipment that you’d like to add to your production setup?
My production set-up is very reduced and I don´t really want to change that. If there is a need for me it would be more microphones. I would love to have a hydrophone (for underwater explorations) and a high quality contact-microphone, which you directly attach to the surface of the material. And I am always looking for objects, toys and noise-makers for my performance, which I then also can use for a new production.