Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives, including the artists on your label?
Collaboration is great! To exchange ideas with your friends is always a good thing. Earlier this year I released a collaboration with my mate Milton Bradley aka Alien Rain. The forthcoming Dame-Music is also a collaboration in some way – it’s a melting point between 3 artists – KiNK, Thomas P. Heckmann and myself. The idea was for us to create 3 acid tracks, showing our own take on the acid sound. It’s amazing to melt our creativity on the same EP and I really love this concept. I’m hoping to make a vol. 2 in the future, following the same concept with different artists, because working on this one was a real pleasure.
Can you take me through your process on the basis of a release that's particularly dear to you? How do you decide to release it, what did you start with, what sources did you draw from for all tasks related to it and how did the finished product gradually take shape?
There’s plenty to talk about because each release has its own story. My main influence is about my life and how I’m feeling at the moment I make the track. But sometimes I also have a concrete process, which is what happened for the release I did on Ovum last September. After chatting with Josh Wink and knowing the history of the label, this was the first time I went for a full acid EP. It was a great experience for me to work on 3 acid tracks with the same base construction – I really love it. It gives a nice colour to the full release and I’m planning to make more EPs like this in the future.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do the label and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I need to separate my work each day because I prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time. The only routine I have is my coffee and yoga course early in the morning. Every week is different, it really depends on what I have on my plate. I always set aside one day for record shopping and for selecting tracks before the weekend. It’s important for me to listen to music every week before travelling. The rest of the week is spent between the office doing label work, and the studio. I do everything myself, which at times can be a bit crazy because there isn’t enough hours in the day. I’m at my most creative in the morning, so after yoga I love to spend hours in the studio. If I’m behind the machines I put all my focus there and can’t work on anything different – if I open one email, it’s over. So this is why I prefer to separate my days of work as this way I feel more relaxed and productive.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
As I mentioned before, the ideal state of mind for me to be creative is in the morning, with a clear head (preferably after a yoga class, as this helps me to focus). Staying far away from my computer and phone is the key. I’ve always made music in my studio, but I’ve also dreamed of having the opportunity one day to take all my hardware gear with me in the countryside and to write music there. I think having a beautiful, peaceful view would be magic for composing music.
How is listening to the actual music and writing or reading about it connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
Music is made to be listened to, not to be written or read about.
There has been an exponential growth in promotion agencies and there is still a vast landscape for music magazines. What's your perspective on the music promo- and journalism-system? In how far is it influencing your choice of artists, in how far is it useful for potential buyers, in how far do you feel it is possibly undermining your work?
Press & radio for sure can help to promote your profile as an artist. Nowadays, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it has anything to do with vinyl sales. As a vinyl label, I already have my buyers and to this day the quantity we press always stays the same. Many labels are complaining that they’re unable to sell any vinyl. As an artist, I believe it’s important to support and push what you believe in. That means if you want to sell or promote vinyl, then the best place to start is by actually playing and supporting the format yourself on stage. I’m a vinyl DJ, and a vinyl lover, so this is what I communicate to the public.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art?
Not sure about the social and politic role. I decided to make music for a living because I try to not be too involved in the system. I like my freedom and the way I can express myself via my music. Everything changed when I started producing music – I feel stronger and more relaxed about my life as I use music as an outlet to express myself and my emotions.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of labels still intact. Do you have a vision of labels, an idea of what they could be beyond their current form?
Times have changed. Many labels are putting all their energy into becoming brands, rather than focussing on the quality of the music. Personally I think record labels should remain focused on being a record label only. Running the label and ensuring quality output is enough work, and I think this should remain the sole focus of any label.