Known as Planctophob, Nik Matern is a beloved and long-time friend of Plazma Records. His first appearance on the label dates back to 2014 when he did a remix for Mogo‘s track in The Labyrinth of Drugs EP. Not long after, in 2016, Planctophob remixed another track, this time for Rausch&Metrik’s release “Into Darkness”. Eventually, six years later, he is back with his own 4-original-track-EP “Existent Place” which perfectly defines his distinctive minimalist style. Find more on that later in the article.
Officially, he is the founder of Plankton Repellent and Matern Archive. Unofficially, he is closely related to the foundation of several more labels but he can’t reveal which ones. The same about all of his other aliases: he prefers to keep some of them secret as his personal island of freedom and impunity.
In this interview, we catch up with Planctophob to learn more about his influences and discover some interesting facts as well as some technical details. Read on!

To begin with; where are you now and what is outside the window?

I’m plugged into this simulation just like all of us. I see hopes, dreams, fears, and wishes mixed together headed to the Great Attractor.

What is your full name and where you come from?

Sure, it’s Nikita Matern, officially I was born back in 1993 in a small city located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

How did you find music production in your life?

I made my first steps in producing when I was probably about 12. I remember how I discovered Prodigy and was stunned by their music and energy, they rocked my world and changed my tastes instantly. So one of my older relatives noticed me listening and childlike dancing to them and said that I actually could do this type of music myself at home. I was shocked by this information as I couldn’t imagine that, so I’ve started to discover my first DAWs and invent creative ways of working with them (ignoring all the manuals).

What is the meaning of (or how you came up with) your alias “Planctophob”?

Planctophob wasn’t my first (or last) alias, but it was one of the most thoughtful ones. While coming up with it I pursued two goals: first was a simple idea of creating a new word that will give zero results in Google (so in the future all ‘Planctophob’ searching requests will be related to me); the second idea implied the presence of meaning in this word: Planctophob is someone who has a phobia of allegorical plankton or becoming a plankton (office worker who has no interest in life).

Can you name a movement or people who pushed you to where you are now?

I will be eternally grateful to my first and only team of like-minders known as ‘Mischkonsum‘ who supported me at the very start of my production and believed in my art. Sash Liq, Dopamin Synaps, and Freddy Hetzinger are my personal heroes.

Try to imagine, what you would be doing if music was never been introduced to you?

Most probably I’d be expressing myself through paintings or poetry.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Well, as a child, I wanted to be a graffiti artist.

Aside from music, what do you like to do in your free time?

Playing video games, watching series, and reading books. In fact, I’m an extremely lazy bag who prefers to stay home.

Tell us about your city, what kind of music scene does it have?

Some people here are confusing Techno with Tech House. I’m afraid I can’t call it a ‘music scene‘.

What is your favorite time of the year, and how does it influence your creativity?

All seasons are pretty cool, some more than others. I’d choose summer as I’m a pretty warm-blooded being. Rainy autumn is great too: it opens some other chakras which make my music more melancholic. Nature changes my mood, mood changes my music. Would be awesome if my music could change nature to close this loop.

What does your typical week usually look like?

Usually, it’s full of laziness, smoke, and beats.

What does music mean to you and how it evolved since the beginning?

Well, music is pretty much everything for me. It’s my personal reality control panel in many ways. It’s changing and evolving through the years but stays honest and naive – just like me.

Can you tell us about your debut as a DJ, where did it happen and how did it go?

My DJ debut took place in Stuttgart club ToY in 2013. It was a memorable night. Imagine a 19-years old big-eyed guy whose musical idol brings him drinks while the crowd goes crazy. That was unbelievable. It’s still unbelievable.

How would you describe your production and DJing styles?

My production style is somehow chaotic and depends on the flow state. But it also has some common steps. Usually, I record some random sounds using my phone’s voice recorder (+ my little gears f.e. Korg monologue), edit them, and put them in the ‘right’ order. That’s it.

My DJing style is simple: I just put together everything I personally love. No matter how old, or how popular/unpopular are the tracks, if it causes my pleasure, I grab it.

What is the biggest challenge or sacrifice you have made or have to make in doing what you do?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I lost all of my projects. Just everything I was doing last decade: hundreds of finished and unfinished tracks by different aliases. That was probably the most terrifying experience for me which is forcing me to start with a clean slate now. It’s also a good and simple lesson: you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in one basket.

There are bad days for everyone; how do you keep yourself motivated creatively?

I just wait, allowing time to restore all my creative manna. My wife and my cat are also helping me with that.

How do you usually prepare before a gig, how much space do you leave for improvisation in your sets?

Improvisation is a high-level skill, a conversation between the artist and the Universe. Unfortunately, I’m not this Pro to leave much space for improvisation while the other ears are around.

What is your standard or most preferred technical setup for the performance?

Just a pair of any Pioneer CDJ models plus a multi-channel mixer. Classic.

What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you heard it?

It’s a very complicated task to choose just one track. Let it be Spitfire by Prodigy, but I could actually name dozens of other immortal compositions.

For the last one on this note, name three new artists you recently discovered!

Auggië – truly stunning music, one of my favs at the moment.
Regno Maggiore surprises with his beautiful vision.
Also, Ankobo + Kaboo is a real discovery for me.

Planctophob | Plazma Records

Of course – looking back at the pandemic period, do you have any special moments, personally or professionally, that made an impact on you?

As I’ve already said – home-sitting is my favourite condition. Pandemic period made it legal, I was thrilled.

Nik, this is your first your-own-EP on Plazma Records. Could you share with us who inspired you for this kind of a sound? Can you tell our readers the story about the Lithuanian vocals in the song you mentioned to us?

Well, it was pretty weird but interesting coincidence. Sometimes when I don’t have any new field recordings of my own – I go to Radio Aporee and choose among those uploaded by thousands people around the globe. This time I clicked randomly on the map and heard these voices having no idea what language it was and what it was saying. I just liked how it sounded and grabbed it, then manipulated it and put in the project.
Only after confirming the release on Plazma I was told that those words were Lithuanian and people behind the label were Lithuanians themself.
Also the words I cropped and looped can be translated as ‘cancel the status of war‘ or something like that which makes a political statement. That’s crazy how the matrix pushed me to this point and line of coincidences.

According to the original idea, Existent Place is all about circular movement. Some say that being is a circle, and therefore all knowledge also proceeds as a movement in a circle. After all transformations, I’ve found myself making some good old Dark Minimal as we know it, some classic Plancto sounding comes back with new details. It also tries to represent what’s around us and how we can interact with it.

  1. 01 Planctophob - Existent (Original Mix) Existent Place EP by Planctophob
  2. 02 Planctophob - Sad Place (Original Mix) Existent Place EP by Planctophob
  3. 03 Planctophob - Nonexistent (Original Mix) Existent Place EP by Planctophob
  4. 04 Planctophob - Reverse Existent (Original Mix) Existent Place EP by Planctophob
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