Third time’s the charm for our new series with Digitally Imported, The Digitally Imported Dial, where we highlight some of the best channels and shows available on the web’s premier electronic music streaming radio platform. Every channel is curated by hand, so we’ll hear from the men and women behind the scenes how they bring us the music we love to hear.
This time we’re taking a closer look at the DI Electronics channel, a newer channel with a fresh take on programming that is redefining what it means to be an electronic artist. We spoke to the channel director, Ronny Krieger, to find out more about what makes the Electronics channel so unique.
Ronny’s musical experiences have taken him to virtually every corner of the electronic music industry, including Beatport and several German labels:
I was born in a small town in the former GDR (East Germany) not far from Berlin. Since a very young age I spent hours in front of the radio and taped as much interesting music as I could. One radio show in particular was very important for me ever since it started around 1987. There was a radio station in East Germany called DT 64, and a man named Olaf Zimmermann was running a regular show for electronic music. I already knew bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, and certainly Depeche Mode, but Olaf Zimmermann’s show exposed me to many new names. I also had quite a progressive art teacher who once brought Tomita’s Pictures At An Exhibition (an electronic rework of Mussorgsky´s Classical composition) to school as an inspiration while we were all drawing. I must have been 10 years old or so at the time.
Shortly after I was a founding member of a synthpop band and started DJing at various events and for my school radio as well. In the GDR you could do absolutely nothing without approval and a certificate, so I made an actual DJ license that officially allowed me to perform as a DJ and regulated how much I was allowed to charge. Later, I moved to Berlin and started to work as a promoter for print and radio at EFA Distribution. Since then I have been the label manager for successful German techno label Kanzleramt, worked with Tresor Records in PR, and done significant work for the BPitch Control label, Native Instruments, and even Beatport as the European label director and VP of Content. Now I’m an advisor with Digitally Imported and I curate the Electronics channel to bring people new music to enjoy and expand their minds, just like Olaf was able to so many years ago.
His process for defining what belongs on the Electronics channel is fascinating:
Everything that has a certain unique quality and uses electronic sounds works for the channel. It can be a techno track, an ambient piece, pop, something very avant-garde, or even a post-rock song that features heavy electronics. I am aiming at the mature and open-minded fan of electronic music with the electronics channel. While the segmentation of electronic music into genres does make sense for some people to describe their preferences, I am not a fan of strict genre definitions. The lines blur anyway. I also don’t like to support this trend of short life cycles of music. Every piece of music is hot for one listen or a week and then on to the next. I believe there is so much incredibly good music out there from 10, 20, or even 30 years ago, so the playlist of electronics reflects that and plays the newest music right next to classics.
Programming is not quite as built-out yet since the channel is newer, but it does have one exciting new show:
We recently started Groove, a collaboration with German Groove magazine (more info here). This partnership is especially exciting to me, as I have been a fan of the magazine for over two decades now. Their music selections are great and fit very well with the channel. I hope to add several new shows; we are already considering various options.
He takes a level, fair approach to selecting tracks for the channel:
All of the roughly 2,500 tracks I have curated for the electronics channel are playing in shuffle, that way it’s always unpredictable and surprising for the listeners, as well as myself. I am not a big fan ofhaving tracks on heavy rotation; it has killed a lot of tracks I really liked rather quickly for me, so Iregularly update the channel to cycle in new content and take other tracks out. As far as recent additions, there’s new music from Max Cooper & Tom Hodge, Ryan Teague, Christian Löffler, Dasha Rush, Slewis, and many more.
He also has an inspiring message for DI listeners, and fans of electronic music in general:
I can only hope that as many listeners as possible have the same curiosity for interesting music that I have. Don’t be afraid of the new and unknown; embrace it and you might discover something you never thought existed or didn´t like before. I’d like to recommend to our listeners to browse through the 80 or so channels at DI and listen to some of the music they normally wouldn’t. If you like techno, great–there are plenty of channels that aren’t techno channels, so play music that is related and will most likely interest you. If you are a trance fan, don’t just get stuck on the multiple trance channels on DI. They are all great, but there’s so much more to discover.