Kickflip Mike DJ Mix – Skinned #14

Bushy-tailed Berliner Joschka Seibt, aka Kickflip Mike, steps up for our mix series ahead of a new EP and date at Gottwood – hot stuff all round

Feature by Daniel Jones | 03 Jun 2016

Joschka Seibt has been putting out quality productions for the past few years, mainly in tandem with good mates milling around Oye Records in Berlin.

Now on the verge of a slick four-track EP out this month as well as a tantalising live appearance at Gottwood with the Max Graef Band, Seibt offers up a tight hour of house for our mix series and spills the beans on his transition from drums to MPC... and back to drums.

The Skinny: So you've recently taken up the role of drummer in the Max Graef Band – when did you first start banging pots and pans?

Joschka Seibt: I started playing the drums when I was 13 years old. I must have had lessons for about one and a half years but then stopped playing for some reason. My interest was still there but other stuff was getting more important to me back then. When we formed the band in 2015 I hadn't played drums for eight years so it was pretty hard to get comfortable again around the drum set. I still have a lot of practice ahead to get where I want to be.

Any particular rudiments you like to practise?
I'm practising a lot of technical stuff at home these days. So I'm doing paradiddles, single strokes and all the other exercises. I've got a little metronome at home and a pad to work on timing. That's the main focus.

Which drummer(s) do you admire the most and why?
Currently it's definitely Yussef Dayes. I mean that guy is on another level. He makes everything look so easy and has an incredible sense for timing and tempo. I have to admit that I don't have a lot of knowledge about drumming. I know that there are legends like Tony Williams but I'm not into the scene too much... I was too young to gain any knowledge back in the days when I was going to the drum lessons.

Listen to Kickflip Mike's Skinned mix

Does your sense of rhythm translate easily from a real kit to drum machines/MPC?
I think it definitely helps as you have more sense for rhythm, especially when Max [Graef] and me are playing our live set. I'm doing a lot with the MPC and the feel for rhythm and groove definitely helps a lot when I'm producing. I always try to make the groove in my productions as organic as possible. So I'm playing a lot of drums live with my MPC and then recording it into Logic. I think it's really important to not always make a 4/4 kick and a clap on the 2 and 4. Of course that's not for everyone, but for me it's an essential method to produce music.

You've got a new EP out on Tartelet soon with Julius Conrad. How did that come about?
A couple of months ago Julius called me, I hadn't seen him for a year or so. He asked me about doing a jam together. So he came to my place and I prepared some drums for the MPC and he brought his guitar and bass. Then we jammed for two hours and the track Three Turtles was created. We really liked the working flow so we decided to do more tracks and build a little studio at Julius's place. Four weeks later the record was done. I showed Emil [Muff Deep] the EP and he loved it straight away. So we decided to put it out together.

How did you first hook up with Julius and what's your musical relationship like?
When we did the Three Turtles jam I was really surprised how natural it felt. I prepared a groove and he just played over it. Easy as that. As we were in the studio for three weeks we discovered minor complications. Sometimes it was quite hard to connect the bass and guitar sound with the MPC drums. But we worked through it.

I see myself as more of a producer right now than as a drummer. So there was a natural understanding between me as a producer and him on the bass/guitar. I was really happy to try out new stuff. As I can't even read notes it was cool to have such an amazing player like Julius who can just hear a chord and play a bassline straight away. When I'm producing myself I always have to search for right the note for about half an hour!

Are you looking forward to playing Gottwood this year with the band?
Really looking forward to it! I'd never heard of the festival until a couple of weeks ago but I've heard amazing things about it. We will also do an improv session a day after our gig, I think. Glenn Astro is also coming so it's a little family trip!

What other projects are you currently working on?
Currently the focus is on the Max Graef Band. We've got a big tour coming up in June/July. So we have to practise a lot. Besides that I don't really have the time or energy to produce other stuff right now. We are in our band room nearly every day and after a five-hour jazzrock session my head is always empty. Saying that, I managed to produce another EP a couple of weeks ago which is not quite done yet…

What would you like to improve or get better at, music-wise?
I'd like to improve everything, basically. From being more precise to being better at keeping the tempo. Most important for me right know is to get more confident while playing. I think that it's really important to not play with any insecurity. You can always hear that and it's really bad for the feeling... It should always be about having fun when you are playing music.

Can you tell us a little bit about the mix you've recorded for us?
I recorded the mix at home with my turntables. As I recently only did jazz or Brazilian-style mixes I was really in the mood to make a proper house mix as I hadn't recorded one at home before. These are my current favourite house tunes strung together.

Kickflip Mike plays with the Max Graef Band at Gottwood Festival, Anglesy, Wales, 9-12 Jun. His new EP with Julius Conrad is out this month on Tartlet – snap it up