Running off the back of last year's Input-Output—his third studio album—Smith will play LIB alongside a cast of techno heavy-hitters including Richie Hawtin, Stephan Bodzin, Nic Fanciulli, Joel Mull, and Hernan Cattaneo for the festival's Woogie Stage. The Woogie stage will also play host to, among others, tINI, Leon Vynehall, Guy J, Monolink, Julia Gover, Eagles & Butterflies, Lauren Lane, and Marques Wyatt.
Ahead of his LIB appearance, we asked Smith a handful of questions on the mix, the festival, and what's on the horizon for himself and Tronic.
Tickets and more information on LIB can be found here, and you can stream the mix in full below.
Where and when was the mix recorded?
This is a live recording from a recent gig I did in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was a proper old school warehouse party for around 4,000 people in one room. The vibe was amazing and I’m really happy to see that the Brazilian scene is embracing techno again.
How do you prepare/select your music for a gig?
I usually make a playlist before each show. That playlist normally has around 150 tracks in it. However, I often also open previous playlists during my gigs because I don’t want to be confined to what I plan in advance. It’s important to me to play the right track at the right moment and always do my best. So being prepared and always seeking new music and tracks most other DJ’s don’t play is very important to me.
You just released a collection of cuts from your Input-Output album on 12" vinyl, do you still dig for and play vinyl regularly?
I do over 100 gigs a year in 20+ countries, so, to be honest, I mostly opt to play digitally just because I have such a wider and bigger music selection handy. However, I started touring in the vinyl-only era and do appreciate playing with wax from time to time. At the end of the day, it’s like driving a different car. Most important is the music that is played now, not how.
You usually seem to play all the top nightclubs when you come to the USA on tour. Have you ever played at a West Coast festival like LIB? Will you approach this performance any differently than your past American gigs?
I am really happy to be playing at LIB for the first time this May. The North American scene has improved a lot in the past few years and I think it’s cool that techno is being appreciated again as well. Not just the superstar guys that have always been playing in the USA, but also the other guys like me that tour the world on a yearly basis and play less commercial music. I will definitely spend a good amount of time preparing my set, but also enjoying myself at the party! It’s also nice to be playing right before my good old friend Richie Hawtin.
Are there any artists on the lineup you've been particularly influenced by? And will you stick around to catch any other sets?
I have been friends with Richie Hawtin for over 20 years and it’s always nice to catch up in different parts of the world. Last time we played together was in March in Guatemala! I am also good friends with Stephan Bodzin and am really happy to see that he is also getting momentum in the States. I will also, of course, see many artists that I don’t know or maybe haven’t seen before at a show or festival. I think this is one of the best things about open-minded festivals—to be able to explore new music and performers.
It must be hard to find the drive and time to run Tronic, Tronic Radio, studio time, and your touring schedule, how do you manage this?
A very understanding wife. I try to balance things by having a good team around me. It takes a lot of work to have a well-oiled machine these days. My career demands a lot of travel and time away from home, but if you love what you do it’s not bad at all. I feel privileged to be working with friends and also being able to push careers of new artists through my channels. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now and I feel it’s still getting better year by year.
Tronic is reportedly one of the top three selling labels on Beatport, what would you put this down to?
Passion, talent, and hard work. Also, I never looked at Tronic as a source of income. It was a hobby that turned into a very successful label. I still have the same criteria when choosing what tracks to sign as I did the very first day that I started Tronic. If I like it and play it in my sets, it qualifies for release.
What's next for Tronic?
Lots of Tronic branded events ranging everywhere from Tokyo to Barcelona. Artist albums on Tronic by Japan’s Drunken Kong and Brazil’s Victor Ruiz. I really enjoy working on album projects because it gives the artist a chance to think outside the box and make more interesting music that you would normally not expect. It also helps the artist evolve. And of course a ton of rocking techno singles in between.
What else do you have coming up this year?
Besides flying around like a madman every weekend gigging, I am also working on a big collaborative project. I will be releasing an album in late September with around 15 collaborations. So far, I've made really cool tracks with Harry Romero, John Selway, and Victor Ruiz. I am also planning on working together with Pig & Dan and Drunken Kong and a couple more. All about keeping busy and doing what I love.