LIGHTWORKS marks 10 years on FRISKY with a 10 hour “best of” special
LIGHTWORKS has always been an epic show, filled with deep cutting edge sounds of underground electronic music, and mixed by Ingo Vogelmann and his selective group of guest DJs, many who have gone on to become FRISKY show hosts of their own. Beginning 10 years ago, LIGHTWORKS has remained a consistent favorite of listeners around the world, constantly appearing in the weekly top 10 and as a staff pick due to the seamless and harmonic mixing of a unique blend of genres that combine together for an massive and well crafted multi-hour journey.
To celebrate this amazing accomplishment, FRISKY will be airing a 10 hour long LIGHTWORKS special, featuring a brand new mix from Ingo Vogelmann and a “best of” series of mixes from the archives.
Ingo has been a part of FRISKY behind the scenes as well, his obvious skill for finding talent making him the perfect fit for A&R for the company. He also hosts two other shows on FRISKY (Time Out, Release Promo Hype Charts) along with running his own label and businesses. A busy man with massive passion and dedication, I was excited to get some of his time to hear about the history of LIGHTWORKS and what it takes to run the show throughout the years.
What is the LIGHTWORKS origin story?
I always believed that music is a very spiritual thing, a universal language that leaps across limitations of the usual human communication. Music is many things, but especially a transportation, messaging and education system, but I don’t want to become to scientific now, hehe … light is not only the fastest carrier of information, it also lets us see in the dark and the beauty of things, gives us access to information. That whole concept got me to name the show “LIGHTWORKS” back then, not to forget that I was much more of a spiritual living hippie those days.
The name of the show is like one of my tattoos: I never stopped loving it. I still think the show name is perfect for what I do, my guest DJs do, FRISKY does. I couldn’t be more proud of that old Lady “LIGHTWORKS”. We have achieved incredible things, and most of all: LIGHTWORKS has never become a “has been”. It’s still fresh every month, with new sounds, new directions, and the show and me have always developed with the scene and fans. LIGHTWORKS is still kind of a “progressive” sound, but has become more Techno and less what I would call “dreamy”.
But always hypnotic and taking you on a journey. At least that’s what I wanna do.
Really, sometimes when I think about all those years, all those fabulous moments, I get the feels … hahaha!
You’ve been a part of FRISKY nearly from the beginning, with A&R, and as host of multiple shows. What brought you to work with FRISKY personally, and as a DJ? Do you have any favorite memories from the early days you could share?
Back then recording DJ sets to offer them for download was not that much of a big thing due to the lack of centralized services that would either stream or make your mix available for download. Like FRISKY does today. Well, FRISKY was existing, but it was walking in (not baby but) youngster shoes, and honestly, before my old mate V-Sag introduced me to the station I had never heard of it before.
These really were the beginnings of underground electronic music radio as we know it today.
I did record DJ sets before and offered them for download on my artist website, which went very well. I had a series of Ambient/Chillout mixes called “TIME OUT”, hence the later show name on FRISKY, that achieved well over 200,000 downloads. That was a sensation, imagine that was around 2003/2004. And my website certainly hasn’t been a centralized institution.
2003 was also the year I launched my own label L2 Music. So I had some really good artists and releases, and one of them was V-Sag who introduced me to Faisal, the founder of FRISKY, and FRISKY Radio itself. He suggested I’d become a host on the station, so Faisal asked me if I’d be interested, and I totally said yes.
LIGHTWORKS started as a typical 2 hour show and became quite popular pretty quick, and I think it was less than a year later that I said to Faisal “Hey, I could easily fill 8 hours, mostly with guests but also sometimes alone”, and he was like “Sure, why not? Let’s do this!”. That’s when LIGHTWORKS became an 8 hour show. And then I also started the first regular Ambient/Chillout show on FRISKY, “TIME OUT”. Later “Release Promo Hype Charts” added up, and one year ago I realized that I can’t handle this anymore, so I cut LIGHTWORKS down to 4 hours.
As for the history part, oh dear, too many memories to put them in here … I remember like 300 listeners at a time, and due to our team efforts, proper A&R work and always staying true to our “mission”, and Faisal always tweaking and optimizing on the technical part of things as well, as the geek and streaming technology expert he is delivering just the best in underground electronic music and never making any foul compromises for the sake of attention we quickly grew from kind of a hobby project to a real company and the #1 in our field. I remember us jumping out of our socks when we reached 2,000 or 3,000 listeners at a time, and just by the way, LIGHTWORKS was a record breaker multiple times. That was always some kind of a breakthrough moment. Today FRISKY has multiple times more listeners, steadily growing.
Of course, there were also bumpy parts of the road, but after all, we are still the core team, plus some really fantastic additions (like you, hehe), and I believe we still do outstanding work.
I can’t really recall exactly how I became a “behind the scenes” team member, but as far as I remember it was because of the artists I tore into the station. That was happening organically, without having an agenda or so. I was A&Ring talent all the time anyway, and some of the best artists eventually became FRISKY hosts. Today, as you know, we are a well-oiled mechanism as a team, and I’m really proud and happy to have the honor of working with such passionate and generally awesome people.
How do you think LIGHTWORKS & FRISKY have changed since the beginning? What has stayed the same?
As mentioned before, first of all the sound in electronic music always develops into one or the other direction. I think I, as a DJ and host, have been able to adapt to “today’s sound” without giving up the certain touch that makes LIGHTWORKS unique. I bet many people can hear when a LIGHWORKS set is on, without looking at what or who is playing, at least when it comes to my own sets. The show has a very own “flavor”, but also always changed a bit with the times. You won’t hear a LIGHTWORKS set, no matter if my own or by a guest DJ, that isn’t harmonically mixed in key, or too fast or slow, badly recorded or mastered … all of those things that seem like irrelevant details to some people are super-duper relevant to me. Short: I won’t air anything that doesn’t meet the high quality standards of both LIGHTWORKS and FRISKY. I’m extremely picky there, and it happened more than once that I had to tell someone “Sorry bro, I can’t air this”. So yeah, you don’t always only make friends this way, haha …
LIGHTWORKS also changed with FRISKY, and vice versa.
I always felt that LIGHTWORKS is a ship on the waters that is FRISKY.
The station makes that ship able to float across the ocean.
I said it already, FRISKY has become a global player in the industry, a bit like the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. The show itself and FRISKY as a station always kind of cheered for each other and grew together, like with many other dinosaur shows on FRISKY. After all, I learned that consistency is very very important, and I’m always happy when people talk about the consistency of both FRISKY and LIGHTWORKS. Quality always wins.
And this is what always stayed the same: our mutual idea of quality.
Of course, within the team sometimes opinions on what is quality and worth airing are different. And we discuss that, sometimes very passionate. And I’m absolutely sure it has to be this way.
We’d rather not do something that we’re not 100% sure about than do it for the sake of … erm … doing something. That doesn’t mean we only sail in safe waters. I think we have done and do some stuff that we felt is a bit “risky”, but most of the times that turns out to be a success. Probably because we had the right gut feel.
Can you give us a little insight into the process of creating an episode of LIGHTWORKS?
I receive hundreds of promos each and every week. And really, I have already cut this number down to the most important promo services (for me and my sound). It’s impossible to listen to and filter out more than this. So, when I have like 500 promos a week to go through, that’s the limit of what I can do. Once a month I sit in the studio and select the best out of those for LIGHTWORKS. When I have filtered out the best tunes, the next step is looking at the “moods”, keynotes and tempi of the tracks, and I try to imagine a scenario … how it would all sound together and such things. Probably a bit like a movie director or so. That’s why when it comes to my own sets you can always feel my own mood at the time of recording the show. My sets very often reflect my very own mood.
When I have selected the best tracks I record the entire set as a live mix in my studio. That’s why it sometimes happens that not every transition is perfect, but that’s okay. I’m a DJ, not a machine, and I think that’s also what people want to hear: real human DJing.
Yes, it’s quite a process every time, but on the other hand the experience and routine helps me a lot to be pretty fast with everything. I’m hosting 3 shows, I’m touring, I produce, I do mastering, I’m busy with FRISKY and other projects, and I still do 3 fresh shows a month. And sometimes I’m really in trouble getting my shows recorded, especially when I’m traveling a lot. If it wasn’t for the support and understanding from the team, I’d have been in real trouble much more often. So, thank you team! Especially Faisal saved my ass more than once, hehe.
What’s it like celebrating 10 years of LIGHTWORKS?
10 years of doing this is a looong time, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize what I have been doing. I’m really proud of this, it’s one of the most enduring things I did in my life, and I love it more every day. Not only LIGHTWORKS as a show, but FRISKY as a whole thing as well. It’s more than a “job”, it’s dedication, passion and a bit of a true romance. On top of that I’m constantly working with some of my best friends. How many people are able to say this? I think I’m really in a very lucky position, and I’m grateful for everything that FRISKY allows me to experience.
Here’s to the next 10 years, haha!
Indeed Ingo! Cheers! 🙂
Be sure to tune in to this special broadcast Saturday October 31st @ 9AM EST [convert timezone]!