"The digital age has changed a lot about finding music," says Âme's Kristian Beyer in our recent conversations. The German DJ-producer—who co-runs the prolific Innervisions institution alongside Dixon and Frank Wiedemann—has forged a wildly successful career out of mind-bending sets with uncanny timing. Core to this is of course his skill in being a selector. It is because of this magic equation that he has become something of a regular in the top 10 DJ's of RA's year-end poll, finishing number two in 2014. And being an exclusively digital-format DJ, it seemed most relevant to ask Kristian to lay out his top tips to finding the best tracks for your sets.
Find the Right Headphone
I mainly search for my music on the laptop, and so I would always recommend that you find the right headphone. Your set of headphones must give you a picture of how it will sound in the club. Very often in the old days, it sounded great in record stores on the headphones but it would never translate to the live situation. Finding the right headphone can stop this from happening.
Do a Good Preselection
It's obvious that there is much more music out there to play compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Back then, there was a list from the various distribution companies and you went through that and ordered the stuff that you wanted. Per week, there were no more than 10 good records—but now it is very different because all these filters are now missing. These filters are important. I used to run a record store for more than a decade so this is easier for me, but I think it is very important to do a good preselection.
Even after this filtering process, you need to be very patient and careful as you will have to go through a mountain of tracks. I will always remember seeing Ricardo [Villalobos] in a record store in Frankfurt at 1pm going through every record in the shop—and at 8pm he was not even finished. That is how you find the little nuggets that nobody else checks. It could be the dub version of a commercial record or the beat version of a really crappy song.
Create a Network
One of the main things is always to have a good network. It's not good enough to check one or two record stores like in the past. First, I will check all that I receive from friends, then promos—and this is already a lot. After that, I check the main record stores to see what they have new in store, and after that I might go to Beatport / Traxsource / iTunes to find the final missing gems. This is what we do during the week or on a flight. This is the work that nobody sees and only a few recognize—but if you love that job then you have to do it with passion!
As with all things, it eventually comes down to experience—but that is something everyone can work on, in my opinion. Why is this cover looking like that? The record may be interesting even if it is an artist you normally don't like—sometimes it really is that simple. Be open and don't think about categories and styles.
Âme are playing DGTL Festival in Amsterdam this Easter weekend.