Sara Landry has no fears of staying true to herself, and creating her own unique brand of techno. Based out of Austin, TX, Sara does not confine herself to just being a DJ. Despite a career that is still relatively new, Sara runs her own record label, promotes her own local party brand in Austin, is a master audio engineer, and of course, destroys dance floors with her self-described brand of witchy-warehouse techno. She is at the forefront of America's burgeoning techno scene and is one to watch.
How would you describe the type of music you create?
Witchy Warehouse Techno
What kind of music did you listen to as a kid/was playing in the house?
Classical music and hip hop by my mom, new wave/Queen/Fleetwood Mac by my Dad.
What do you remember about your first gig?
It was in a condemned party house on the East Side of Austin during SXSW 2016.
How did you discover techno and what about techno pushed you to follow it professionally?
I took a journey through other vintage electronic genres before eventually finding the harder style of techno and falling completely in love with it. I went to Berghain when I was in Berlin in 2017 and that was it for me. I was forever changed.
How does having a background as an audio engineer influence your production?
Having a deep technical skill set enables me to push the envelope and create things that are complex, innovative, and unique, which I really enjoy doing. Plus I can make my mix-downs sound exactly how I want, and that’s very important to me. The best thing I ever did was focus on engineering mastery because now I can do anything.
Can you tell us about the KLUBHAUS project that you started? It felt like it was really on the shoulders of the artist to stand out during the shutdown and your streaming was just one example of maximizing your time.
I had started KLUBHAUS as a warehouse series in 2019 as a way to throw more authentic warehouse parties and they started to do really well here in Austin since that didn’t really exist before. When everything was shut down, I wanted to find a way to move them online, and I was lucky enough to have friends at CPD that were willing to collaborate on something different to pass the time while we waited for things to open back up. Creating those KLUBHAUS streams definitely kept me sane during a very challenging time, and I am so grateful to the team at CPD for their help and contributions. I see those sets as art pieces and am immensely grateful that we were able to create them.
You recently announced the launch of your own label, Hekate. What was the inspiration behind starting a label and what challenges have you faced so far in getting it off the ground?
I wanted to own my masters, independently flesh out my creative concepts, and have the ability to take whatever creative risks I want without having to filter that through someone else. As far as challenges, the current vinyl production delays are a huge challenge, and also it’s just a lot of clerical work to start a label. It was worth it though and I’m thrilled to have seen such a positive response.
What were the years like from when you first started DJing to that release these most recent releases?
I spent every possible waking moment in the pursuit of music production mastery, sitting in the room I am sitting in now for the last 6 straight years, for over 9000 hours. It’s not very glamorous; you have to put in the work, and that’s what I did.
There are so many women making waves in the world of electronic music, and especially in the techno scene. That being said, there is still not enough representation at festivals and large events. Are there any fundamental changes you see that need to happen? And have there been positive changes you’ve observed throughout your career?
There’s so much misogyny. It’s inescapable; it’s exhausting. I still have people accuse me of having a ghost producer, and I’m a fucking Ableton beta tester who was just featured in an Ableton editorial, who has done live masterclasses before! There’s this weird undercurrent that if something is “good” then a man must have made it, and it’s SO annoying to hear that when you’ve spent 9000+ hours working toward mastery. That misogyny is everywhere and it’s a problem: “she doesn’t deserve that slot,” “she fucked her way to the top,” “she doesn’t make her music,” and other sexist shit that every woman has heard 1000 times from jealous misogynists.
How do we solve this problem? Get more women in the industry. Give chances by taking “risks.” Give women the opportunity to prove themselves. Larger US festivals are (mostly) not even touching the hard techno, even though it’s HUGE in Europe and South America, and is really starting to catch on here. The problem with the US music industry is that it’s more about the money than it is about the music, and until people are willing to put the focus back on musical innovation and give new things a chance, they will stay the same. Of course, COVID has really fucked a lot of things up and everyone is playing catch up/rollover and I completely understand that, but for 2022 I really hope we start to see new names and more underground representation.
Movement Detroit has done an incredible job curating a festival that has something for everyone with excellent representation, so we know it’s possible, it’s just a matter of the people with the agency to affect change choosing to do so. There’s so many talented women right now who have fought tooth and nail to get where they are, and they deserve a shot! Shit, every gig I get is like 8 mile for me; I don’t take anything for granted and put my full heart into every set, but it’s much easier to kick a door open if someone on the other side is willing to crack it open for you beforehand. The opening of doors falls on the bookers. It’s up to them to investigate new talent, talk to their communities, and commit to trying new things to deliberately push the industry forward, and I’m seeing a lot of positive signals that things are changing and will continue to improve over the next few years. In the meantime, all we can do is keep demanding more representation and advocating for each other however we can.
You’ve spoken previously about how your sound has changed over the years. You recently described it as witchy warehouse techno. Do you plan to stay in this lane for the near future or are there sounds you are eager to experiment with?
Yes, I love this sound and have a lot of fun making it, so I will be staying in this lane. Any other experimenting would be done as a separate project under another alias.
What’s your plan for releasing music the rest of this year and are you planning on touring anytime soon?
Have a lot more music coming out, including a remix on Sept 24 and another HEKATE release before the end of the year. Sadly, due to vinyl production delays, my two releases that were slated for September and October have been pushed back, but I promise not to leave you all without another SL release for long!
If you could headline a large room and have whatever production you wanted, what would your show look like?
Very very similar to the production that CPD and I collaborated on for the DJ Mag and Insomniac streams, so I would want to bring that entire team with me, since we all work so well together.
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