Name: Ian Pinnekamp aka Ian Pooley
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Nationality: German
Recent release: Ian Pooley's Studio A Pt.3 is out via Rekids.
Recommendations: I’m reading the Biography of Walter Gropius at the moment. It’s really amazing what he created such a long time ago and how the first world war and the changes in Europe's society have also reflected on his life and work.
Secondly, Manuel Göttschings Album E2 E4 because it’s a perfect example of getting (spontaneously) in the perfect flow in the studio and it was groundbreaking for today's House music as we know it.

[Read our Manuel Göttsching: E2-E4 review feature]

If you enjoyed this interview with Ian Pooley and would like to find out more, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.

For an interview with one of his collaborators, read our DJ Sneak interview.

If you are interested in more interviews with artists on the Rekids roster, check out the following:

[Read our Mark Broom interview about Production]
[Read our Roman Flügel interview]
[Read our Dustin Zahn interview]
[Read our Dustin Zah interview about Production]

[Read our Arjun Vagale interview]
[Read our DJ Hell interview]
[Read our Larry Tee interview about Fashion]
[Read our Josh Wink interview]
[Read our Joaquin Joe Claussell interview]
[Read our Joaquin Joe Claussell interview about his creative process]

[Read our Marco Faraone interview]
[Read our Cromby interview]
[Read our Chris Liebing interview about creative process]
[Read our Mathew Jonson interview]
[Read our Mathew Jonson feature about the Rhodes Chroma]

[Read our Yves Tomas interview]

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I started in 1987/88. I was so young back then, 13 years old. It’s hard to say what drew me into it. I basically grew up with a special interest in electronic music.

Before I switched to early Chicago House and Detroit Techno I was a huge fan of Yello. I bought every one of their releases that I could find, even the rare US Imports.

When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

For me it’s moments, atmospheres and sceneries (cities, countries etc.). Also, sometimes feeling like a different person in a different era.

But this is mostly with music I’ve listened to when I was younger or with other genres of music, like Funk or Jazz, that I don't produce myself. With Techno or House, I’m always too analytical when I hear a new track.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

I’m lucky to have been around for more than 30 years as a DJ/Producer. People tell me that I've developed my own distinctive sound which makes me happy (not so easy to achieve) and I try to follow that path but also keep it fresh.

The hard part is that  I'm never 100% satisfied with a new track, I always need to tell myself, “Ok that’s it, no more changes!“

I love challenges when I'm looking for samples, like finding a good sample on an impossible record. It’s so easy to just pick a Herbie Hancock album for example and sample a riff.

I also enjoy shifting the equipment around in my studio, switching drum machines etc.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

I see myself as an immense lover of music who is very lucky to do this as his main job. I never stop searching for new songs. I think about music nonstop.

When it comes to creating new music, I have the best ideas when I let a new track play in a loop and go to another room to make a coffee for example. Or just before I fall asleep I think about a track I was working on during the day and what I could change or add.

Sometimes I dream about a completely new track, it is already finished in my dream. When I wake up in the morning, I try to write the key elements down straight away.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I like to take an approach that is honest and real.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I’m continuing my tradition, but as a DJ I'm very interested in brand-new styles.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

The Akai MPC3000, released in 1995. It’s the heart of my studio. Everything sounds better with the MPC. Beats, Basslines, Stabs and of course Samples.

Another machine that basically has a life on its own is the Roland Space Echo. It never fails to add that weird extra feeling to a track.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

I work on music usually from 11 -  6pm with a break where I go outside for a walk or a bike ride.

It’s not everyday that I need to get something done. I also allow myself to be like, “Screw this, I'm taking a day off!“ and go to see an exhibition, go to the cinema or something similar.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

My album Meridian from 1998 which is just me and my machines.

Listening can be both a solitary and communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

I cannot work with everyone, mostly because my approach in the studio is very different compared to the workflow in a modern studio. But when I click with someone it’s a lot of fun. It’s also nice when I can learn something from the person I'm collaborating with.

For example, my arrangements tend to be a little too overloaded, so I’m happy to listen if my collaborator tells me “We don’t need this … and that we also don’t need.”

It’s very refreshing.

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

It’s better to ask that to the people that have supported me over the decades.

As a DJ I can say that music connects people that normally would never meet, but I’m sure many people have mentioned this before me.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

Many many times for me both as a DJ in a club and a producer but I really don’t want to go into details because it’s too personal.

Over the years I've met a lot of people that have experienced trauma in childhood, or they had to fight in a war and music helped them to let their emotions out. They’ve opened up to others whereas in normal circumstances they wouldn’t have done that.

I’ve experienced conversations on the road that quickly went very personal, and I was always happy to talk or just listen.  

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

Similar to the question before, I think music has the power to heal people mentally.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

It’s super hard to explain that. When is that magic moment when you know you’ve made a good new track? Sometimes I get in a flow and sometimes I'm stuck for weeks.

I really don’t want to over analyse the whole thing because I don't want to lose the magic moment.

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our eardrums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it is able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

It’s what the brain does with the information afterwards.

It’s really interesting to hear what friends think about a new track. It can be a completely different experience for them compared to what I think.