Raised in THE UK and now based in Vienna, MOTSA is a rising star of broken beat, bass driven electronic music with a point to prove. Real name Valerio Dittrich, the last few years have seen the half-Austrian/half-Russian break through in enviable fashion.
Established artists such as John Digweed, Adam Freeland, Nick Warren and Maribou State have all recognized MOTSA as a talented young gun, whilst Sasha even included MOTSA’s Sleepless Nights on his August 2013 Mixmag compilation.
The support has extended to the media, with Beatport naming Untitled as one of their top tracks of 2013, and other reputable platforms such as i-D, THUMP, Eton Messy and XLR8R also showing their support.
Firstly can you tell us more about your musical upbringing? How did you start getting involved in making music?
I started playing piano when I was about 8 and with about 12 I decided I wanted to switch to jazz rather than classical. At the same time I started playing my second instrument, the oboe. Between 16 and 17 I started my first attempts at making music on the computer using programs like “Dance Ejay” (this was free with some cereal) and a bit later “Magix Musik Maker”. At this time it was all sample and loop based. About 2 years later a friend of mine from Scotland showed me “Logic” and that opened whole new worlds for me.
What caused you to move from Scotland to Vienna? And how do both differ musically?
It was actually semi-voluntary. Since I am an Austrian citizen, it was obligatory for me to do either civil or military service once I finished school. This was the reason I came back to Vienna. If this had not been I would have gone on to study biochemistry in either Dundee or Glasgow. So I put my spaces at both Universities on hold for one year to come back to Vienna. As it turned out, I did not return to Scotland.
At the time of moving here, being able to go out to clubs was a whole new experience. My friends and I would go out to heaps of random parties. At the time I really loved breaks and that was something that was not so appreciated here in Vienna. There were very few clubs with nights in that direction. The club scene was largely either house/techno or drum & bass oriented.
For me the main difference for a long time was that Vienna seemed to just always be years behind in terms of what was happening in the UK. In reality of course there were little “movements” in Vienna that where on the ball and innovating, but not in a larger scale.
Now I think Vienna is great. There is a great radio station (FM4) which has been a platform for Austrian acts including my self. There are more and more producers who are doing great music and are also being recognized internationally. I feel that there is a lot of innovation and drive to build something that is also audible outside of our borders and I feel that the listeners and club goers are also open to new music.
There is a lot of eclecticism within your sound. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any artists you can name who have particularly influenced your style?
I draw inspiration from very many places. When I am on the train to or from a gig, on the beach in Sicily or walking on the Danube Canal here in Vienna. I find great food really inspiring as I feel it is like music for your stomach. A good conversation can also be a big inspiration as well as my friends. I have a lot to thank my good friends who also make music, who have always encouraged me, given me feedback and with which I have learnt a lot in production. Some of these are Dizzy Womack, Andrea Fissore, Roy Green & Protone, Functionist, Julian & Der Fux, Space Echo and Emil Berliner.
My style in working has evolved through my experimenting in very many different genres. I guess what I do now is just a combination of all the things I have learnt and all the music that I have listened to in my life so far. I can’t really say this artist or that artist. There are very many producers and musicians, from all kinds of genres, who’s work I find inspirational.
Can you tell us more about your live performances? What equipment do you use?
Currently I DJ in clubs, so I can not say anything about performing live. This is something I will be looking into in the near future.
You have had some early support from some enormous names already. How did your relationship with Sasha come about?
I wouldn’t really say that a relationship came about as I was never directly in contact with Sasha. I first noticed that he was interested in my music after I got the email from Mixmag saying that he wanted to use my 2nd release Sleepless Nights for his cover mix. At the time I was absolutely over the moon as I had only been doing this project for such a short time. Later I found out that he had in fact supported one of the tracks from my first EP, which was Lupo’s remix of my track Untitled. A couple of months later I got an email from his management asking if I would like to do a remix for his label ‘Last Night On Earth’.
Finally what’s in store for this year? Have you got any forthcoming releases that you would like to announce?
I’m going to produce a lot more original music and take MOTSA into new directions. I’ll be doing some interesting remix material and getting over to the UK to play some debut gigs around the EP.