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Behind The Headphones: Drumcomplex

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Drumcomplex aka Arnd Reichow is a techno DJ, producer and label head of Complexed Records. Active since the late ’90s, he is one of Germany’s most dedicated techno purveyors with a body of work reaching crowds in his home country as well as beyond.

Hoarding two and a half decades-worth of music experience under his belt, Arnd Reichow has been crafting his space within the techno industry, an artist and producer and adding label owner to his accolades since 2014.

We recently heard his latest EP on the famed Eight Records and decided it was time to sit him down and find out what is behind the headphones.

You have been involved in music for the last 26 years and you have had the Complexed label for the last 5. How do you think the music industry has changed for good & for bad in this time?

It has changed a lot in recent years, and it now is very fast paced. Before we used to make vinyl’s and it was all about holding something which was your own, it seems now with the digital age, that the life span of music is so short, this is due to the introduction to everything being so accessible and digital. When I look at my release schedule sometimes it scares me to see another release in just a few weeks’ time, but then I realise this is now totally normal.

Social media, of course, has to be mentioned here, it has taken over and not just the music industry but everything in life. Anyone can access anything at any time of the day – the reach is HUGE when done right.

Of course, as I have read in my interviews recently a lot of artists feel that profile polishing an image on social media is taking over more than the music, which is very sad as I think it has left some people unable to cope with the continuous need for content, and the lack of actual talent and time spend on music, lending themselves to their craft. I am so grateful that I can still call this a job, and not only enjoy playing and producing but everything else that it has bought me.

We know you are studio obsessive spending most of your free time working on productions. Every producer we speak to has their style and set up. Can you run us through your studio equipment and how you use it?

I think that I work in a very minimal but effective space. I have been working with Ableton for many years which I have running on my MacBook, so it enables you to be very flexible at home as well as on the road. In my studio, I bought the Yamaha HS8 as monitors and I work a lot with various VST instruments like Arturia Bundle, U-He Diva, Serum etc.

Many of my last productions were made on the Korg Minilogue and I record the individual sounds directly into Ableton and the process them again. As a mixer I use the Mackie console. For many years I have been working together with ALHEK Mastering from Berlin, who actively support me with the mixdown and mastering. After I have a title for my track, I send over all the individual parts, and they mix and master it for me. So therefore I have found that a very concise sound have emerged from Drumcomplex in recent years.
You have a new EP on EIGHT coming out. Finding the right label is important for any artist when releasing their music. How did this EP come about?
Oh, I was very happy when Eats Everything contacted me last year and asked me for some new material. Initially he only said that there would be a new label happening, and of course as I have been a fan of his music for a long time I immediately sat down and started work for him. I later realised that Andres Campo was also involved with the label and it was a collab project between the two of them to make EI8HT. That made me even more happy to be part of such an amazing new project with two outstanding guys!

There is a real focus on health & wellbeing in music at the moment. the stress of touring and the excess that comes with partying can have a serious toll on your health. We have been told you are a big fan of a Saunas, is there anything else you do to keep mentally and physically healthy?
Yes I regularly do sport and in the mornings during the week, after breakfast I spend about 1-2 hours in the gym or outside in the forest where I live. After that I go into the studio at about 11am and spend the majority of the day in there doing admin, emails and making tracks. As for the use of a Sauna, if you haven’t heard about the HUGE health benefits, then google it! I personally find it the best way to switch off, recharge my batteries. I also try to take some days completely off during the month – where I turn off my phone, take a trip into the country, go for a long walk or hike, and do some reading along with eating healthy!
I like to have a regular routine from Monday to Friday and I always work during the day and never at night which is what you tend to be always doing at weekends when on the road. Being on the road is not easy, no matter how long you go away for. It’s not easy to eat well, so during the week I try to keep a healthy diet to counteract this a little. Now a days I eat very little meat and try to have a mainly vegetarian or plant based diet.

You are friends with Carl Cox and were one of the lucky few invited to play at the final Carl Cox Revolution parties at Space Ibiza. This must of been an emotional experience. What did it mean to you to be asked to send off arguably one of dance music most famous venues?

It is still a great honour that Carl invited so many amazing artists to come and play the Space closing Fiesta. And of course, being one of them – wow. That was a gig that I won’t be forgetting in some time, and I am endlessly grateful to him for inviting me. Playing at Space has always been on my wish list. Roel Salemink and I have been releasing for many years on Intec, Carl’s label and we get so much love and respect from the team – extraordinarily lovely people and I am very thankful!

We mentioned your label Complexed earlier. We would love to know what you have planned for the future, is there any up and coming talent we should keep an eye out for on the label?

We’re trying to publish a new release every 3-4 weeks and I just signed a new artist from Brazil under his name Raphael Piperno. I met him last year on a masterclass panel during ADE where he approached me and handed me a USB stick with all his demos. Furthermore, I have a new EP coming out from a Complexed regular artist – Omis, who is from Italy. He is one of the new names in the last few months to join the label, who I am excited to have – he’s got a lot of talent. Lastly, Shaun Moses, Linus Quick and a new Drumcomplec are all in the pipeline for summer!

Drumcomplex’s ‘Disco’ EP is out now on EI8HT – Purchase

You have played an impressive list of venues and festivals around the world. Space, Awakenings, Gashouder is there one that stands out above all the others and why?
Probably Awakenings Festival as well as Awakenings at Gashouder stand out! They are just such mind-blowing shows to attend and play. The team are so professional, and the production is on the most high-end scale you’ll see in Europe or beyond. Everything from the artist liaison, sound, lighting and more – just perfect year on year.

Of course, we touched on Space closing, so I think that is another for me which felt like another world experience. The unity of the crowd, artists and industry was very special. There are also some shows I have now which are so much smaller, but so close to my heart like last Sunday for my 3 hours set at Sisyphos in Berlin – that place gives me goosebumps!

How is this summer looking have you got any tours lined up or is it all studio work for the foreseeable?
I actually had a bit of a break from the studio in the last few weeks after realising that I had a lot of stuff planned as releases from the start of the year. I just released on Janowitz Records where I remixed a track by Makism Dark. For now, my ‘Disco’ EP on EI8HT came out last Friday with 3 original tracks which I’ve been playing a lot on the road.
Playing many festival’s this summer of course and also have a trip to Cape Town for the first time which I am excited about. I heard the scene there is really growing, which is always good to hear.

Finally, if you could collaborate with any artist past or present on a track who would it be and why? Since I have been a big Placebo fan for the majority of my life, I would be very happy if Brian Molko knocks on my door to ask me to collaborate with him!


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