Text by CLOT magazine
The next mixtape comes from the mighty DJ DTEKK, a Polish DJ, promoter and cultural activist, with a meditative mix inspired by the late Angelo Badalamenti.
DTEKK (aka Jędrzej Dondziło and originally from Białystok in Poland) first stepped behind the decks in 2000. He’s known for his relentless techno sets. DTEKK is also the originator and program director of the Up To Date Festival and co-founder of the Technosoul record label. The Up to date festival is a unique event that takes place in Białystok, the heart of north-eastern Poland, and which for over a decade, UTDF has been visited by over 10,000 guests from Poland and abroad.
As true music lovers, UTDF supports independent music and is known for its unique creativity and strong roots in the local community. The festival always welcomes the current needs and trends, at the same time reminding the audience about the most important elements of life.
A few months ago, the festival introduced Business Techno: The Game, a board game for two to six people in which you trade techno-properties, elements of the T-Corp corporation, and all this to build your own Techno Empire, whose currency is the infamous Techno Coin. The board of Business Techno: The Game covers all the important locations vital to today’s club and festival circuit: Detroit, London, Amsterdam, Ibiza, Berlin, Dubai and, of course, Białystok. Each city hosts a number of business key to the scene: clubs, festivals, institutions or media. Managing them is only one of the steps to success.
The mix he’s prepared for us is heavily inspired by the artistic output of the late Angelo Badalementi and the meditative and therapeutic aspects of certain ambient records. A few tracks from the mix were composed for organs or used similar sounds. Seemingly monotonous and simple, they require more attention to be experienced in full. I grew to appreciate this kind of sound and noticed how deeply it affects me. I believe it also affects others. The “Badalamenti element” in the mix is his music’s touching, blissful tone that I always track in other artists’ music.
You are behind the Up To Date Festival, which takes place in Bialystok. The Up To Date festival is not only about music – it is a platform that bravely combines various creative activity fields: sound, stage design, and on- and offline communication. The festival is also about social actions, such as Business Techno: The Game, a board game; could you tell us more about this? How was the idea incepted, and what was the main catalyst to start the project?
The motivation and inspiration for this project came from various sources. We’ve been frustrated with the state of the scene for a while. We were very hopeful that the scene would become more responsible and stronger after the pandemic, but, unfortunately, certain harmful trends and tendencies only gained momentum. Our festival, like other similar projects, is in a difficult situation because of the pandemic. At one of the festival’s emergency meetings, an idea connecting our need for survival and expression came to life: we decided to create a product that would support the festival and would comment on the reality of the scene.
Up To Date Festival takes place in Bialystok, in the very heart of north-eastern Poland. What have you been most excited about recently about the Polish scene? And how do you think Up to date festival is contributing to it?
What I’ve been closely observing is the diversification of the Polish scene. The scene has grown considerably over the past few years. New projects appear almost every day, and it’s difficult to keep up with them – that’s a very good sign. More and more artists become recognized abroad, and there are some new promoter collectives that focus not only on the most visible trends. Up To Date Festival has always been looking for fresh faces, trying to support what’s authentic and worth presenting – no matter the hype that surrounds the artist.
You are also very well-known for DJing activities; what have been your main inspirations for your DJ sets lately?
The biggest inspiration for my performances has been my family. They are also a source of energy and motivation in these difficult times. Last year, their support made me believe in myself more than ever. I am very grateful for the people that surround me – my colleagues, friends, and music friends. They are more meaningful to me than they realise. I would be lost if it wasn’t for them.
And where would you like to take the Up To Date Festival into?
The idea is to bring stability to the festival without compromising artistic integrity. I’m sure that we can do it. And to do it these days is to introduce changes – the pre-pandemic shape of UTDF is no longer valid.
What is your relationship with technology nowadays? And how do you cope with technology (screen/digital) overload?
I won’t lie – I struggle a lot in terms of work/life balance and my work involves loads of screen time. I’m fed up with e-mails, social media and texts. I’m not reluctant to use technology, but the amount of stimuli is overwhelming. Maybe that’s why I remain primarily a vinyl DJ 🙂