PABLO DISKKO | Do you even archive?
Greek-born, Amsterdam based Pablo Diskko brought his grimey Athenian sounds and joined the ranks of Amsterdam’s darker side alongside the likes of Dollkraut, Das Ding , Interstellar Funk, all of whom emphasize a rhythmic dread that’s both captivating and nerve wrenching. As a DJ and producer he’s not one to stray away from weird sounds, he merges everything from mutant techno, obscure house, acid to left field experimental. Pablo amassed releases on vinyl and cassette including Electronic Humming on the Snuff Trax sub-label “In The Dark Again” and his EP These Robots Are Here To Help – a mirage of dirty acid and dark beats. He’s also a regular for Red Light Radio, and has recently done a show at NTS Radio.
When he’s not DJing or producing, he wears the hat of musical director and co-founder of HIS DARK Elements (HDE). In it’s four years, HDE has grown from an obscure DIY night residing in squats to one famed club RADION’s most unique nights. In a recent Ransom Note feature, co-founder and creative director, Calliope Mettas notes, “our parties provide a space where all races, genders and sexualities can dance, connect and learn from each other”. Keeping their strong sensibilities and ideology, the collective around HDE differentiates itself by expanding far beyond music, utilizing moving image and visual arts to emphasize the party’s dark utopia.
Keeping all this in mind, we approached him and picked his brains to get insights on his archiving method and practices and ask; Do you even archive?
How do you manage your digital files? Do you use Rekordbox or iTunes or another tool? Do you keep backups of your digital audio files?
I don’t use Rekordbox, iTunes etc… Not a big fan of these (although I want to try Rekordbox at some point). I started, managing my digital files back in 2013, after I quit burning cds. Since then I categorize all the music I buy, promos, unreleased friends’ tracks etc by month/year. For example on my hard drive there is a 2014 folder, with a November 2014 subfolder where I keep all the music from that month. Same goes for the next months, years, etc etc… I do keep a backup of all my digital audio files on an external SSD drive that I try to update every first week of the month with the latest additions. I also regularly update two 120gb usb sticks that I bring to gigs, along with my records. Now, for managing and categorizing my records I keep a different approach. I catalogue by genre and how special these records are for me. So, you can find my favourite records on the shelves close to the turntables, and all my jazz records together, albums and LPs together, one shelf with all the 7”s, etc. Most of the time I’m able to find what I’m looking for.
Do you tag your material / give it enriching metadata like “slow jammy” “fast banger 3am stuff” “morning set sunrise ambient”, bpms, genre, label etc.? What’s the thought process behind these tags? are they evolving or you try to be strict?
I create and name folders that usually describe the vibe of the tracks but I also create folders that correspond to a gig/venue. For example, I have a “RADION” folder that I use when I play at that club (or used to play before corona-crisis). This folder contains various subfolders one of which is “Start” which contains more slow, warm up tracks that I use to set the tone for my set. Another one is “ARP” that includes all the tracks that have arpeggiated bass, synth-lines, whether these tracks are techno, electro or house-y if there’s an arp involved, it goes in there. In “Kick” you can find tracks with very dominant and steady 4/4 kick drums. I always try to categorize the music according to some production/technique level and avoid doing it by genre. The tracks that are hard to categorize (e.g. some old Greek electro-ish tracks and such) I just save on a folder with the random name “++++.” Those are just a few distinctive examples of one main folder but you get the picture. I am always flirting with the idea of categorizing my music by bpms but so far I haven’t.
You must have a backlog of past tracks that either are works in progress or have been abandoned. What kind of folder structure do you use to manage your production library – are they organized by time period, style, potential album etc. What about titling about labeling stuff you’re working on and their different versions, like nicemelodyneedsdrums.v1.2 or lksjdfklsdfl.v1.5, or something in between?
I have too many unfinished projects that are just sitting around on my laptop. I always title my tracks at later stages, usually before I get to release them. So very often my projects are saved with random titles like “shhh”, or after the drum machine I used, eg. “606.A”. Very recently I created a folder with a few almost-finished projects, and named it “please finish me”, to push myself. So now every time I turn on my laptop it’s there, I see it and feel kinda “bad” about it haha. During the process of creating, I save projects under a name that reminds me the situation under which I made the track. Eg. if a friend was visiting I save it with his/her name, or very often by just the date, e.g. “14march”. If there’s a different version of one track, then I name it depending on what I changed, adjusted etc. eg. “14march.lesstoms,shorterbreak”
What do you wish you were better at or is there a tool / software you wish existed that would make your life easier?
One that finds the duplicated files and deletes them.. But I think there should be a few out there lol.
Have you ever lost any material that was never backed up? What and how?
Once I lost some unfinished projects I was working on Ableton, because of a lost external hard drive.. but in the end I thought it was a great opportunity, to just leave all that behind and focus on new projects.