Johannes Kolter, better known as DJOKO, has been enjoying a steady, upwards trajectory since 2016’s Solace Rhythm, a collaborative single with Luca Secco. In the years since, through releases on some of electronic music’s most revered labels, he’s become recognized as one of Germany’s latest talents in dubby and hypnotic house and techno, which he flavors with funk, soul, garage.
Kolter grew up in Erftstadt, a small village near Cologne, Germany, and moved towards electronic music through movie soundtracks, which made him want to learn more about the genre. When he heard Justice for the first time, it “blew my mind,” he recalls, but it wasn’t much more recently—about nine years ago—that he really began to follow these urges.
While studying graphic design at college in the south of the country, he found himself with too much time on his hands and downloaded Ableton to “fuck around, with no real intentions.” As he delved deeper into the sounds that interested him, he found himself drifting towards the deeper and minimal shades of house and techno. He taught himself to produce using Future Music’s In the Studio tutorials and began uploading his first sketches to Soundcloud. “Blew Up the Aquarium,” one of his first completed productions, came out in 2013, exhibiting a curious tech house sound with sharp synth stabs and vocal shots.
It was in 2016 that DJOKO really became DJOKO. After Solace Rhythm, he put out a stomping two-track EP on Rawsome Recordings, then there were five slices of infectious, feel-good house infused with 2-step, garage, and breakbeat energy on PIV Records. In 2020, he pressed down the pedal with releases on Shall Not Fade and Rutilance, and he released his own HOOVE label with a split EP of smooth deep house alongside Thalo Santana.
Now, in celebration of his second release on HOOVE, Kolter has recorded his EDMjunkies podcast—90 minutes of house, breakbeat, and raw ’90s textures that’ll be sure to get your feet moving. He’s filled it with his own productions, many of them unreleased, plus more music from labels and artists in his orbit. Towards the end, you can expect some deeper, darker cuts but this is a feel-good house mix that makes you want to move your feel and smile while you’re doing it.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I quit my job some days ago so I am figuring out on how to tackle that “full-time” music thing properly. Apart from this, I’m having a little break in the studio right now. I am trying to try to get into a healthy habit of doing some sports like tennis or football in the week between the gigs.
02. What have you been listening to during lockdown?
During lockdown, I started to listen to podcasts a lot and that’s something I’ve never done before. In terms of genres, it’s hard to say. I wouldn’t say lockdown changed my preference for music; it depends on the mood of the day. It ranges from electronic music to some alternative rock and film scores.
03. What have you been listening to recently?
Django Reinhardt “Belleville“
The Beatles “Yellow Submarine“
Princess Mononoke “Legend of Ashitaka“
Pilot Wings OST
The Sims Buy Themes
Junior Senior Move Your Feet
Bran Van 3000 “Astounded“
The Shapeshifters “Lolas Theme“
Phats & Small “Tonite“
05. What drives you to make electronic music?
What drives me is the hypnotizing rhythms, the simplicity, the deepness, and the ability to shake your hips to it. The sudden changes of moods, the groove, and raw drums. The element which is the most fun for me to play is definitely the bassline.
06. When and where did you record this mix?
I recorded it in my apartment in Cologne while being constantly reminded by a heavy jackhammer that the refurbishment of the house next door is still going on.
07. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?
I started the mix calmly and worked my way up, worked myself down, up, down, up, down. Breathe in, breath out. Some pepper some salt. Finished.
08. What can the listener expect?
Some laidback house, breaks, more rave house, and then some deeper stuff towards the end, and it’s finished by one of my current favorite Italo tracks.
09. What’s next on your horizon?
Make more music, enjoy the coming months of traveling, and of course every second with my lovely girlfriend.
Also, I would like to take my label HOOVE to the next level with some EPs and events.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Kolter “Same Old Loops” (HOOVE)
02. DJOKO “Lost in Time” (Shall Not Fade)
03. Miguel Migs “Let This Go” (Large Music)
04. T.Jacques “Javi’s Revenge” (Nuances de Nuit)
05. Don Carlos “Play It Again” (Paradise Mix) (Irma Records)
06. DJOKO “Freestyler” (HOOVE)
07. Jacob London “Regular Absorbency” (Classic Music Company)
08. DJOKO “What Happens in Cologne, Stays in Cologne” (HOOVE)
09. DJOKO “Get Sexy Honey” (Unreleased)
10. DJOKO “Take Me Back” (Shall not Fade)
11. DJOKO “Sonic” (Unreleased)
12. DJOKO “From Now On, Down!” (Unreleased)
13. The Captain “Dreamland” (Stickman Records)
14. DJOKO “Cosmic Interference” (Berg Audio)
15. DJOKO “Eternal” (Berg Audio)
16. Kolter “Forest” (Pilot UK)
17. Cube “Concert Boy” (Nocolors)