Lawrence is Peter M. Kersten, the much-loved DJ, producer and Dial label head. Growing up in Hamburg, Germany, he heard his first house track in 1987, namely Mr. Fingers' "Can You Feel It," and became enchanted with the "strange minimal loop, with no song structure and the melancholic deepness," he recalls in an earlier RA interview. "I had never heard anything like it before. Scouring through Lawrence's discography, and it's apparent that Larry Heard's 1988 number formed something of a sonic blueprint for Kersten's sumptuous deep house and techno sound.
Kersten began making music in 1998, shortly after he finished working as a gardener, and shortly before he founded Dial alongside friends Carsten Jost and Paul Kominek (a.k.a Turner). He'd been DJing deep house at local Hamburg parties for some time before that, learning the ropes with a little help from Dixon, who was pre-Innervisions and experimenting with a wider palette of sounds. It was Dixon who played Kersten the first Moodymann single.
Kersten has since established himself as a key player in this deep house movement. His melodic productions are warm and soothing, but groovy enough for dancefloors. He's released three albums to date, the last of which landed in 2016 via Mule Musiq, while much of his other work has come through Ghostly International, Spectral Sound, liebe*detail, and, of course, Dial. His work in the booth is similarly sublime; his vinyl-only free-flowing sets are captivating, sensual affairs, encompassing deep house, minimal techno, and wistful electronica. His podcast for XLR8R, recorded live in Berlin last year, is a snapshot of Kersten's work: smooth, energetic, and deeply melodic, it features tracks from S.A.M., Afriqua, Steffi, Burial, Peter Gordon, and more.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been working on releasing Portable's new EP and the second DJ Richard album on Dial Records, which both make me more than happy! Also, I've spent quite some time with my experimental outlet Sky Walking; we just published two records by Schluss and Eve Essex. I've spent a lot of time in the studio over the last six months, and my contribution to the KANN label compilation is the first result to listen to.
When and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in February at Griessmühle in Berlin where we're hosting a series of Dial nights that started on April 30 with Afriqua, Uchi, Fred P, RNDM.
What equipment did you record it on?
Just a regular club set up, nothing fancy, but on a proper sound system within the club environment.
How did you select the tracks that you included?
The mix is inspired by some beautiful nights and festivals including a Mule Musiq night in Tokyo, where I played at Contact Bar, and another set after the amazing Eli Verveine at the Squat in Tel Aviv, a very special sunrise moment at Comunité festival in Tulum followed by sets at my favorite new club in Mexico City, Yu Yu, and an incredible night in NYC with Resolute. These wonderful times built the mix.
Was there a particular idea or mood you were looking to convey?
Obviously, you can't beat the magic that occurs in a club during a four-hour set, so I decided to choose new and old favorites and tried to transfer some magical matches and moments from the party world and beyond to the mix. Starting with some stretched out sound experiments and ending with a wonderful song by Peter Gordon from 1981 out for the first time on my favorite label Foom.
What’s your process for discovering new music?
I guess I discover most of the music by going out to clubs and concerts and hanging out with friends.
Can we expect some more material from you soon?
Yes, definitely, I'm just about to finish my next album. It will hopefully be released anytime this fall.
What else have you got coming up?
With my friend and label mate Christian Naujoks I'm organizing a series of Sky Walking Events at Acud Berlin including my favorite experimental musicians, such as Konrad Sprenger (PAN) and Nika-Son. Also, I'm very excited about the next Dial event at Griessmühle, where you can hear Portable, Roman Flügel, and myself on the same sound system this mix was recorded. It's gonna be awesome!
01. Afriqua "Aleph" (R&S)
02. Lawrence "Nowhere Is A Place" (Smallville)
03. S.A.M. "Brooklyn Nights" (Dis&Dat)
04. Daniel Paul & Audio Werner "Tocker" (Cabinet Records)
05. Marcelus "Utopia" (Deeply Rooted House)
06. Afriqua "Thanksgiving" (R&S)
07. Tracey "Earthrise" (Voyage Direct)
08. Robert Hood "Escapes" (Peacefrog Records)
09. Atom TM "Future Nights" (The Bunker New York)
10 Population One "Out Of Control" (Rush Hour)
11. Steffi "Different Entities" (Ostgut Ton)
12. Burial "Rodent" (Hyperdub)
13. Achim Maerz "Experiment III" (Don’t Be Afraid)
14. Peter Gordon "Condominium" (Foom)
Intro, Outro, Interludes:
Lawrence "A Day In The Life Edits" (Mule Musiq),
Sollmann & Gürtler "Gegen Die Zeit" (Sky Walking)