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 music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I have to confess that I am generally not that much of a morning person. After having a hard time to get up, I usually take time for my family and organize business stuff during the day. For me, making music is a nocturnal affair. I don’t know why, but I only get really creative when the sun goes down. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to let go then.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
Ok. A tough one. The more I think about it, the more it comes to my mind that it’s always the last or current project that is dearest to me. So well, we just released an EP on our own label Perplex: „Fade into you“. It’s an atmospheric track, almost moody, but nevertheless driving and mixable. Takis, my partner, threw in a catchy vocal - et voilà! The flip side is a remix by Boronas, who actually won a remix contest we conducted together with MetaPop. Most of the time, our production process follows a certain pattern. Most of the time, we have some ideas - or drafts - in the drawer that we recorded loosely while jamming. After some time, we go through these drafts and decide which one might have potential and which one we feel comfortable with. In this case, we got the opportunity to work together with MetaPop and therefore, we needed a finished track. We went through the drafts and choose „Fade into you" - or it choose us, I never know. Then the work begins. From my point of view, it’s absolutely necessary to build up a solid base in the first place, to solidify the drafted idea. Without this base, it’s not possible to build a house. In this phase it’s all about perfecting the bass, the drums, the whole groove. Afterwards it’s easier to find fitting bricks to build the house, for example harmonies, vocals, and so on. In the end it is the whole mixing procedure that I really love because it kind of brings the song to life, it’s like the birth of a baby that beforehand was nurtured in the uterus.
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?
Well, that’s pretty philosophic. In my opinion, the only path to being creative is letting go. And - I already mentioned that - to let it go music-wise, it is crucial to know your tools from scratch. Another thing is to free yourself from the constant urge to think about ugly stuff, like having to do your taxes (laughs). This, let’s call it daily business, is what distracts me most. But let’s face it, it’s part of the deal. One thing that really helps me to focus is meditating which I only started recently - since I integrated it into my routine, I feel much more balanced and goal-driven.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
In the past, playing live and being in the studio were two more or less separate things for me. Now, my studio is set-up in a way that allows me to record everything while playing and composing. That’s good for me because I don’t get lost in the endless possibilities of my computer that much anymore. I really enjoy the restrictions that come with hardware-based production. Like that, the music I am making in the studio itself feels more live. It’s more spontaneous and dynamic. As a result, creating a live set is easier as well. Nevertheless, it surely is a different experience to - on the one hand - sit in the studio by yourself or with your co-partner and - on the other hand - to please a crowd in a club.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
That’s a 50/50 thing for me. In my opinion, the sounds are at least as important as the composition. In fact, it often happens to me that it’s the sounds that make up my composition. I generally put a lot of effort in creating sounds. I often work on a single sound until it inspires me to a composition. I love the character of anlog sounds. They give me the feeling that the sound, the music is alive.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
Ok, that surely can’t be answered in one sentence. I studied graphic design and besides my musical identity, I am a very visual type of person as well. Personally, I get a lot of inspiration from visual stimuli. That might be paintings, movies, graphical artwork, typography - as a graffiti artist I was specialized in writing big, colorful murals. Back in the days, I wrote the letters and Siriusmo, who is also a musician, painted the characters, faces, animals, whatever. With that background, it’s no surprise that I take care of the artwork for our own label Perplex. I want it to reflect the music and that it’s recognizable.
But I am getting off topic .. back to the synaesthetical experiences that can be unleashed by music. I think music touches everything, it’s nature is purely emotional: You hear it, you feel the bass, it might be moody and dark, sad, aggressive, happy, sunny, relaxing or activating. It’s everything. And I think - but please note that I am not holding a degree in perceptual psychology - that our senses can’t be seen independently from each other and that music might be the stimulus that holds everything together. And at it’s outmost boarders? I don’t know. When does music reach its outmost boarders? I believe it is as mysterious and unfathomable as the universe.
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 and being an artist?
Well, to stay with the truth: I don’t see myself as a political artist. I make techno and house and its main purpose is to get people on the dancefloor. But - and now we close the circle to the first question - the origins of electronic music have been political in their own way. For the development of the electronic music scene in Germany, the political unfoldings in the early 1990s have been crucial. And the scene also had an political message: Love, peace and freedom for everyone. Even though it was often laughed at, I mean, this message is everything - as simple as it is. And in today’s times, this is more true than ever. And not to mention the beginnings of techno in Detroit - but as I am rooted in the Berlin scene it would feel cocky to talk about it (laughs).
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Maybe, there will be some form of personalized music that provides ad hoc productions based on algorithms. Every single person could be a musician for him- or herself - without any knowledge or skills. But actually, when I think about it, I don’t believe that this will completely replace „normal“ music as we know it. Music is a social experience after all: We go to concerts together, we dance in clubs together, we enjoy a nice dinner with classical music playing in the background together. But you never know, maybe - one day - we will become entirely individual beings without social needs. But that’s certainly not what I hope for.