Introducing: KolterJanuary 24, 2023
Upbeat and optimistic, Johannes Kolter is beginning a new chapter of his musical career. The Cologne-based German producer had been crafting a notable reputation within house music, under his DJOKO moniker, and has the third a final act of his Endless Explorations LP series dropping soon on the mighty and acclaimed imprint Berg Audio.
However, he was told to start operating under a new alias after being given a cease-and-desist letter. This would usually be a hammer blow for an artist but Kolter is determined that’s not going to be the case for him. “I’m going to take it in a positive way and see it as a fresh start,” Kolter explained in a jubilant manner to Beatportal.
This is a mark of the man’s undeniably positive attitude and perspective. It’s easy to hone in from a business perspective and look at it as a bad move, but conversely, it’s also a chance to charter new waters and that presents a great opportunity to showcase your skill set as a producer.
With any change, there comes a degree of fear and uncertainty about how the future might look but Kolter made the bold step and was buoyed by the kind words of support. “It was refreshing to see promoters saying they enjoyed having me over and would continue to book me,” Kolter reasons. “It’s nice to see upfront that people are standing with you and appreciate this kind of move. I’m looking forward to starting this and seeing where it goes.”
Along with the new alias Kolter also enthuses about the new imprint he has established, Koltrax. He has chosen this name because it is going to act as a personal hive to showcase all the musical gold oozing out of his studio. He is also looking forward to assuming full creative control over all the releases. “I can just put out stuff which I like, and I also have a lot more freedom when it comes to the artwork.”
Kolter is no stranger to the business of running a label. He is already involved with Hoove. The key difference which is quite pertinent for him is that with the aforementioned label there are four of his friends also helping out. Now that he has a platform all to himself, he admits it is “liberating” and there is no more hassle trying to identify a track that resonates with everyone. And whilst the door isn’t closed completely if he hears something cool from friends or other producers he talks to on the internet, the onus right now is just on his own work.
If you’re an artist and trying to attract the attention of labels the danger can be that you end up making records that all sound too similar. That is not an issue for Kolter who is able to let his imagination run wild and then share it with the world. “They usually want all the EPs to sound a little bit belonging together,” he says. “For me, I don’t have to care about this stuff because, in the end, it’s just all me. It can be breakbeat, house, or whatever else I decide.”
The German artist is not only starting again under a new moniker but has also recently welcomed a new addition to his family. Juggling parenthood with his line of work can be a challenge. “It was easier when I didn’t have a girlfriend and a baby,” he jokes.
This new responsibility has changed Kolter’s workflow in recent months and that is something that is taking some time to get used to. “Usually, I want to get the track that I’m working on done in one session, so I don’t lose the flow. Now I can’t do it like this anymore and I have to work my way around it somehow. Every challenge is nice and I need to see it in a positive way.”
Kolter has previously uncovered his best ideas when he committed to finishing a track in the same session. After that, he tended to lose the flow and the idea never saw the light of the day. As the conversation continues about the challenge of juggling being a parent alongside making music he makes a plea to his other half. “Maybe I can make a deal with my girlfriend somehow to go somewhere else to work so that I’m not distracted for a long period of time.”
Handling this new challenge in the right way is going to tee up Kolter for an exciting next chapter of his career. Over the past few years during the Covid-19 pandemic artists were suddenly stripped of their ability to play shows out to their fans. However, what it did do was give them plenty of time to work away in the studio.
Kolter admitted he had relieved the pressure on himself since becoming a parent because of the amount of music he has stored away. “I produced so many tracks in the past,” he continued. “I could probably go through the next two or three years from the music which is just sitting on my hard drive waiting to be released.”
Despite the potential to focus on the negativity around the forced alias change it is clear Kolter is doing exactly the opposite as the topic moves on to how 2023 is looking for him. He confesses that the schedule will be a little less intense than usual and it will be just one gig per weekend because of the baby and he wants to raise the child in a good way with his girlfriend. He is taking in various UK destinations visiting Leeds to play the Mint Warehouse whilst also heading over to Gillingham for Dream Valley festival.
The show which he gets giddy about when mentioning it is the one halfway around the world in Japan. “In a few months I’m going to Japan which has been on my bucket list for quite a few years,” he adds. His appreciation for the country started out when he used to watch all the anime. He shares his plans whilst over there with intense excitement. High on the agenda will be taking the night train from Osaka to Tokyo closely followed by sampling a certain local delicacy. “I will also have a little sushi as it would be rude not to whilst over there,” he continues.
Musically there are lots of reasons for fans of Kolter to get excited over the next 12 months. As well as the debut Koltrax record “Please Don’t Call Me” which has just dropped, he is also eager to share details on a huge remix coming out on Hot Creations, which proved to be an early inspiration. “The label was my first contact with this kind of music so it’s good that it’s still around and it’s always good to have Jamie supporting your music,” he says proudly.
And while details of that record are still under wraps, Kolter finishes the conversation with Beatportal by joking that his girlfriend approves of the remix, which is a good omen and a sure sign that you’re properly onto something.
Kolter’s album Endless Explorations Pt. 3 drops on February 3rd via Berg Audio. Buy it on Beatport.
Jack Wynne is a freelance music journalist based out of Liverpool. Find him on Instagram.