Bread & Butter talk with Lawrence


Peter M. Kersten aka Lawrence aka Sten launched the Dial label in 2000 together with his friend Carsten Jost. With releases on Ghostly International, Kompakt, Mule Electronics, Pampa,  his deep and functional Detroit-ish technosoul hit the DJs choice from the first 12″ to his Film & Windows album in 2014. His deep love to house and techno music made him launch the superb Smallville record store in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district. It is no secret how much the Dial label co-founder loves the classic emanations of the Motor City, always adding his own melancholic twist to Detroit’s legacy. Bread & Butter got in touch with Lawrence to talk about Dial, Hamburg, forthcoming projects and his all-time classic top 5 chart.

How’s your year been so far, what have been the highlights?

L: 2014 was an intense year.  My two personal highlights regarding music production have been finishing the debut album of our new band Sky Walking (with Christian Naujoks and Richard Schulenburg) and a full length Lawrence album, ambient works, in cooperation with my friends Stefan Marx and Toshiya Kawasaki.

Talking about your background, What kind of music were you listening when you were young and when you were first introduced to electronic music?

L: As a teenager in the 80ies i listened to mainstream radio music which back then included The Smiths, Depeche Mode, the Cure, Talk Talk, Kraftwerk. In 1984 Breakdance introduced me to the combination of music and dancing for the first time. I was a bad breakdancer though :). The starting point regarding House Music and Techno was the Front Club Hamburg in 1988

front club hamburg

How would you say your tastes have evolved since the start of your own imprint Dial? Have there been any specific big shifts?

L: Eventually my taste of House Music shifts the least- “Can You Feel It” by Fingers Inc. among a few other tracks marks a standard already in ’86. The challenge is more to create that magic feeling over and over again. It’s still single tracks and moments in music that feel more like a change rather than trends or general taste.

Some of your tracks are very reflective and almost experimental with a distinctive ambient-hypnotic sound. Where does that come from?

L: Uncountable musicians influenced my work. Probably most of them prefer seeking something interesting and new rather than the authentic and real.

You’ve proved to be a very proactive person managing labels and a record shop in your city, producing music and ultimately running an art gallery in Berlin. What is the secret to be successful in each of these different projects?

L: I’d love to show you the key to success but i really don’t know how this all happened, it’s a true miracle and sometimes pure craziness. My colleagues Bianca, David and me seem to be attracted to the assumed unrealizable, if it just feels right and essential.


I’ve read that your “Mathew” gallery in Charlottenburg (Berlin) will also open soon in New York..are there any particular exhibitions worth to check?

L: Each and every show is worth to check! And I do not only say this only as a gallerist, i deeply mean it in regards of the the artists and their works.

matthew galley

I’ve always been attracted by the artwork of each Dial, Smalville release..Do you believe these unique little pieces of art donate an extra “value” to each release?

L: The visual world of music is not exactly filled with beauty. Looking at most of the artworks, websites, download portals… it is rather depressing. Our mission was always to create elegance and beauty. To display art on a record indeed is a nice gift.

What’s happening in your city – Hamburg?

L: Hamburg is a small city, slow but intense, everything here seems to have a certain rhythm. With the tiny Golden Pudel Club you’ll find one of the most ambitious places ever. The space is open seven days a week and offers all kinds of extreme music from Black Metal to Contemporary Classic. The community is politically engaged and welcomes artists and musicians from all over the world. Then you have institutions like Rote Flora, the infamous Golem Bar, Park Fiction, the Smallville record shop and many others- quite an extraordinary scene.


You’ve been around a long time, what are the biggest changes you have seen? Also where do you think the ‘industry’ is at right now?

L: The industrial part of creating and releasing club music was never that interesting- what counts is the people taking care of it, the music itself, the parties and music lovers. And these are still as crazy and hot as in the beginning, i don’t feel a massive change.

What can we expect from Lawrence and the Dial, Laid, and Smallville families in the near future?

L: A lot of exciting projects are waiting to be released in the near future: the debut of Sky Walking in October, Ambient works by Lawrence on Mule Musiq in November and a Lawrence 12inch to come soon on Smallville to be followed by a Smallpeople single. After Efdemin Remixes Pt2 and another Roman Flügel EP, Dial is going to release the album by Dj Richard in early 2015.

Top 5 all-time classic:

Convextion – Astrum

Theo Parrish – Lake Shore Drive

Pépe Bradock – Deep Burnt

Timeline – Conscious Dream EP

Maurizio – Domina (C. Craig’s Mind Mix)


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