Checking in with Guenter Råler

Thank you for taking the time to check in with us. We’re delighted you will join us this year for Orbit Festival, as last year’s performance sadly had to be cancelled. Of course, you are also very much involved in FLUID, one of the concepts of WAS., we’re curious to know where it all started for you, so let’s dive in.

𝑮𝒓𝒐𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒖𝒑 𝒊𝒏 𝑰𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒚, 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝑬𝒍𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒄 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒍𝒖𝒃 𝒔𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒆?

I started gaining an interest in electronic music in high school, which was the moment I started producing music on my computer. I was going to many live concerts already; music was a big part of my life. The real shift towards electronic music for me was when I started attending a local electronic music festival called ‘roBOt’ every year. I discovered a lot of artists and music there, and it was a very cherished moment in the year for me, something I would look forward to. It also made me feel less ‘alone’ in my interest in weirder sounds and genres. After High School, I did a bachelor’s in Electronic Music. I started getting more familiar with its history, origins and modern developments. The club scene and DJing are some things that I got acquainted with later in life, probably because I didn’t have friends who would go dancing regularly, and I didn’t know many clubs that played music I liked.

In 2016 I lived in Stockholm for a year. There, I got the chance to meet some producers and DJs who were playing hard dance, gabber and experimental music, which sparked my interest in me to be more involved with a certain type of clubbing, intended in a more liberating way as a space to move your body and be overwhelmed by sounds and let experimentation run free. It also showed me how communities can grow around music and club spaces. It was a precious experience that laid the foundation for what I do today.

The scene in Italy is quite different from the North European one: big festivals weren’t so frequent, so there was a prominent underground movement, which left more freedom to push boundaries and experiment outside of mainstream sounds.

𝑰𝒏 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒊𝒆𝒘, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒏 𝒂 𝒏𝒆𝒘 𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇. 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒅𝒊𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒕𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝑮𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝑹𝒂̊𝒍𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒆 𝑪𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒊?

Guenter Råler started as a music project that set a new beginning for me. I had different names before that, mainly when I was still young and producing in my bedroom without any precise idea or expectation. Today it’s an integral part of who I am in a way. It allows me to push boundaries and let myself go a bit more on and off the stage: it’s like having a blank space that I can fill with different interests and influences. A fun fact is that Guenter Råler was a fake name I found on a music production tool, and it immediately resonated with me for some reason. It felt more natural to use an alias rather than my name. I probably have a bit of a fantasy that we are two different people in the same body ahah. I imagine Guenter Råler being exuberant and extravagant while the real me is just chill and shyer. Many people ask me how they should pronounce it, so it’s becoming a bit of a ritual listening to all the different variations of it or having to explain it a few times to someone.

𝑩𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂 𝑫𝑱, 𝒚𝒐𝒖’𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒓, 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒆𝒓, 𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒖𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒕, 𝒔𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓. 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕’𝒔 𝒒𝒖𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒙𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒎 𝒕𝒐 𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒊𝒏. 𝑫𝒐𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂 𝒅𝒊𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝒕𝒐 𝑫𝑱’𝒊𝒏𝒈?

It does; being a music producer informs much of my DJing because I know how much work goes into producing all the club bangers I play. It makes me pay attention to crediting the artists and supporting producers and labels.

On a more political level, when I play somewhere, I need to be aware of venues’ attention to their safer space policies and their local communities, the variety and diversity of the lineups and how welcoming they are for queer and non-white people. Being involved in collectives, organizing events and playing gave an overall view of how things work ‘behind the scenes’ and how easy it is to create unwelcoming spaces for gender minorities if no effort is explicitly put into these issues. Most importantly, I love how much fun DJing can be, especially when I get to meet new artists and DJs, book them for my events and keep the network of collaborations growing.

𝒀𝒐𝒖’𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 ‘𝑸𝒖𝒆𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝑾𝒐𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒅’, ‘𝑭𝑳𝑼𝑰𝑫’ 𝒂𝒏𝒅 “𝑪𝒍𝒖𝒃 𝑯𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝑫𝒊𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒕’. 𝑯𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒑𝒕𝒔 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒐𝒏 𝒂 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒍𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒍, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒚?”

Queer in Wonderland, FLUID and Club Hits Different were all born from the necessity to establish new spaces for queer people and bring together communities who needed a safer nightlife experience while being interested in discovering new music and genres. I found myself in that situation and was craving a change, especially in Utrecht, before the pandemic. The most significant influence and change personally is the attention and care I dedicate to my surroundings and the community around me. It’s fundamental to continue to learn about socio-political issues that touch us, listen to other people’s experiences and be accountable for the spaces I/we help create.

Musically I love to be challenged when I go to the club. I love unexpected turns and shifts in energy, so I immensely value having a sense of ‘discovery’ when organizing events.

Club Hits Different is the newest concept/collective I got involved with, together with two friends who are also DJs interested in unconventional club sonorities. The collective allowed us to book artists we love and go crazy with our track selection. It’s so much fun to do it with friends and loved ones.

Queer in Wonderland and FLUID by now are essential references and pillars of the queer nightlife in Utrecht, and I’m super grateful to be able to keep giving my input and witness their growth. These spaces are vital for anyone looking for a space to understand, explore and express themselves, a space created to welcome and protect its visitors. Queer in Wonderland has been my ‘baby’ project since day one, and the idea that anyone can feel inspired to find or create their communities means the world to me. I hope to share my music production and DJing knowledge and help other people begin their journey in music.

𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒅𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑵𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑸𝒖𝒆𝒆𝒓 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚. 𝑰𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒊𝒏 𝑰𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒚 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒂𝒚 𝒐𝒓 𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅?

Absolutely! I would love to bring the Queer in Wonderland format to other countries, and I organized one in my hometown Bologna last year. It was almost surreal to see it take life in Italy; I hope to do more of it in the future. I’m really fond of the connections and possibilities that creating such events creates, mainly because it allows me to (re)connect with local queer realities in Italy and their artistic communities. I explored my queerness primarily while living in the Netherlands, and It’s also been a recent curiosity to explore the Italian context.

𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒂 𝒏𝒆𝒘 𝒂𝒍𝒃𝒖𝒎, 𝑨𝒔 𝑳𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑻𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝑾𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓 [𝒗𝒊𝒂 76666]. 𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒑𝒕 𝒐𝒇 “𝒂𝒔 𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝒘𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓” 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄 𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒍𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒘 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒔𝒕𝒚𝒍𝒆𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒐 𝑬𝑷?

‘As light through water’ recalls the phenomenon of refraction: the bending of light as it passes from one transparent medium into another.

When light refracts in water, objects appear distorted and closer than they are. While this could be interpreted as an illusion, refraction is also a phenomenon that makes room for possibilities, imagination and experiencing things differently.

This third EP allowed me to explore feelings of loss, change, vulnerability, and self-discovery, especially after almost three years of the pandemic. The sound choice and design reflect this search and create a complex, layered, and textured sonic world, going from deep, haunting, and visceral sounds to softer, distant, dreamy melodies. I like to express vulnerability in my music, sounding harsh and fragile simultaneously. I love music that keeps evolving while listening, as it gives me a sense of narrative, a storyline that unfolds. Music is like a language, and it keeps changing with me.

I’m looking forward to presenting the EP live next year while working on many new pieces of music.

𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒕 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝑶𝒓𝒃𝒊𝒕 𝑭𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒂𝒍. 𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔?

I can imagine playing on a sunny July afternoon in the beautiful festival setting, opening the dances before all the legends who will play after me.

I will look for a specific vibe that is peaceful, joyful and gradually more rhythmical. I had a similar experience at Lente Kabinet and loved skimming through all the music on my USB, almost freewheeling.

For people who don’t know my DJing style already, I love going through many genres and jumping between different BPMs, rhythms and vibes. I keep people on their toes, and for Orbit, I will make sure to have a nice buildup to start the festival in the right mood.

Blijf op de hoogte

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