Terminal V Podcast 050 || Sara Landry

Music is an outlet for Sara Landry in more ways than one. She has ADHD, which makes her hyperactive in both body and mind, and she finds that crafting hard, dark techno is a great release for it. The American has been relentless in her mission since she first emerged, playing all over the world, hosting her own events back home and serving up searing sounds on labels like Techno Germany, RAW and Possession.

Here we speak to her about her warehouse and livestream series KLUBHAUS, the techno talents she looked up to coming through and the benefits of being a self-taught producer. She also serves up a scintillating mix which is packed with new tunes from her HEKATE label. Stick it on while you read up about one of techno’s finest contemporary talents…

 

 

How are you, how has the year been so far?

My year has been amazing so far! This is my first year of hard touring, complete with my first real festival gigs, and I am so beyond excited and grateful to be able to tour as much as I am. I also just moved from the US to Berlin 2 months ago (a long time dream of mine) and even though I’ve just started to feel settled it still feels so right to be here.

What draws you to the dark side of techno? Are you a dark person? Do you have a dark sense of humour? Have you always? Or is it more that music is where your darkness comes out and by day you are a happy-go-lucky person?!


I love the harder styles because they are more complex and more of a challenge to make, which is the best possible outlet for my ADHD/OCD. I also tend to write and enjoy darker melodies, but people always tell me that I am way nicer and happier than they expected me to be based on my music (haha)! I definitely have a dark sense of humor but I try to keep that to myself (don’t always succeed at that though).

Is representation important, so young people of all backgrounds, ages, races, colours, sexualities and religions can see themselves on stage and aspire to be the same? Who did you look up to? Who were your role models coming through? Were they important or inspirational to you?

Yes, I think it’s important to see people like you succeeding at high levels because it shows you that anything is possible! I’ve always been incredibly inspired by women like Paula Temple and Rebekah for the sounds they make and the risks they take, and Amelie Lens for how fearlessly she has fought misogyny and for everything she has built for herself. Really all women who have stood up to misogyny and exclusion and said “fuck you, I deserve to be here, watch me win” inspire me deeply and I work hard to channel that same energy every day.

You are a self-taught producer. Would you recommend that? I guess it might have taken you longer than a crash course but will have also given you a broader understanding of the art?

I would say yes, but my journey is my journey and it’s the only perspective I have, so maybe I’m biased. I think being self-taught has allowed me to develop a very specific way of doing things, and that’s contributed to my unique sonic fingerprint that people tell me they can really hear in my tracks (which is what you want as a producer). I’m just shy of the 10,000 hour mark now and feel like I have a very broad and deep understanding of a lot of topics, but of course there’s always more to learn, and the best way to learn is by doing. I recently had a great conversation with my mastering engineer Conor Dalton about classical training vs self-taught, and he made the excellent point that, even if you know all the specific rules for how everything is “supposed” to be done, the magic still almost always happens when you break the “rules” and try something weird, which aligns with my goal of always breaking the rules in new ways!

Despite the US being the birthplace of house and techno, many American artists have told us they feel more accepted in Europe than at home, which is still a more rock and hip-hop oriented country. What’s your perspective? Is it an improving situation?

The US has changed a lot since I started, but it is definitely a few years behind the European scene. There are a number of promoters in the US who have been throwing incredible parties for years (like the 6AM/Synthetik/Work crew in LA and the Basement / Unter crews in NYC, and obviously Detroit which is its own animal), but until recently this style of music hasn’t really gained enough traction to make it onto more mainstream festival lineups. When I played CRSSD this year (at 150+ bpm, obviously), the stage was packed for my whole set and that’s when I knew that things were really starting to change in the US. I’m very excited to see how the US scene grows over the next few years!

Tell us about why you started KLUBHAUS, what the thinking was, how it has evolved, who it is for?/strong>

Techno warehouse parties like KLUBHAUS didn’t really exist in Austin before I started throwing them, so I just wanted to start an event that felt like the events I had been to in Europe. The parties were both for me (so I could finally play what and how I wanted to) and for the real techno heads in the scene who couldn’t make it to Europe but were looking for a more authentic underground experience. It was a little daunting to become a promoter, but it feels good to have complete control of the night and to be able to book talented friends to play what they love to play.

What does it/do you have coming up for the rest of this year?

This year is very busy for me, especially since I moved to Europe about 2 months ago. I couldn’t tell you when I next have a weekend off, which I am very grateful for (but also am still adjusting my routine to take that into account). I’m really hitting it hard with releases for my label HEKATE and then touring a lot around Europe. I’ll also be back home in North and South America this fall, which I’m super excited about!

Tell us about your mix, the aim you had with it, what you wanted it to say?

I mainly wanted to showcase a lot of upcoming music from my label HEKATE, as well as play around with more looping. I’ve been experimenting a lot with how I mix and it was really fun to take some more risks while recording this. This was also my first mix on my new CDJs and it’s been so fun to get to know the 3000s better.

What gear did you use, is that important to you in any way whether in the booth or studio?

This mix was recorded on Pioneer DJM900NXS2 and 2 x Pioneer CDJ3000s. Gear is very important! Muscle memory is a real thing as a DJ, so even slight changes in the gear you’re using can throw off your performance. This was my first mix using the 3000s and I really love them, mostly because of the improved looping functionalities, butter-smooth jogwheel, and larger screen.

 

Interview by Kristan Caryl