Name: Patrik Berg
Occupation: Producer, performer
Recent release: Patrik Berg's remix of Kai Tracid and A*S*Y*S's "Rave the Planet" is out now via Rave the Planet.
Recommendations: As far as books go I can highly recommend “Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wild. When it comes to paintings, it's hard to narrow down but I love the art of Picasso and Otto Dix
If you enjoyed this interview with Patrik Berg and would like to discover more about him and his work as a producer, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.
For a selection of interviews with other artists from the drumcode- and terminal m roster:
[Read our Gregor Tresher interview]
[Read our Dustin Zahn interview]
[Read our Wehbba interview]
[Read our Pig & Dan interview]
[Read our Marco Faraone interview]
[read our Josh Wink interview]
[Read our Lilly Palmer interview]
[Read our Kaiserdisco interview]
[Read our Rachel Palmer interview]
[Read our Moby interview]
[Read our Kevin Saunderson interview]
[Read our Pleasurekraft interview]
[Read our Jeff Mills interview]
[Read our Stimming interview]
[Read our Julian Wassermann interview]
[Read our Florian Kruse 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 producing right around 2010, I had been a longtime listener before and visiting raves was one of my early influences. Even as a child I was very passionate about dancing even going as far as performing in my kindergarten. Initially we had no clue where to start and the tutorials available were not really specific to the type of music I was trying to make so I had to learn through trial & error.
As far as artists that influenced me go I’d have to name Daft Punk, Chris Liebing, Sven Väth and Michael Jackson.
Though I was making progress I felt as though I really had to understand the technicalities of making music and thus I started studying at the SAE institute in 2012.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colors. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
It depends on so many factors, both the music itself and my own mood going into it. Music is incredible in that it can both dampen and increase certain emotions.
As far as the effect I want to achieve with my own music goes I’d say it should put people into an activated and expressive mood where they don't feel restricted by anything externally and internally.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Already starting out I had the ambition of pursuing music even without a concrete perspective ahead. Over time, as I got a better understanding of both music and what it is I’m looking for, my focus sharpened.
The biggest step was developing my own sound and understanding what makes my music unique in terms of composition, sound selection and mixing.
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.
It's always difficult to tell to what degree the way you view yourself affects the way you act and vice versa since you lack the critical distance to analyze yourself to that degree, I think being an artist forces you to confront your emotions and thus making music has helped me even in my social life when it comes to being empathetic.
As a listener I think the fact that I’m a producer heavily plays into the way I listen to music as it's difficult to turn off that critical voice in your head where I instantly start judging what I hear according to my standards.
But on the other hand when I hear something that really appeals to me I get very euphoric about it.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Being open minded even if something doesn't make sense to me initially or doesn't appeal to me for whatever reason.
Generally speaking, art always draws me in in all of it's facets and I try to take inspiration from anything from art, movies to everyday conversations I overhear.
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”?
If I’m forced to make a choice, I’d pick music of the future though that's probably unrealistic to uphold as a standard.
In my opinion, traditions are not to be understood as rules. Both things are codependent and even when you try to create something new it helps you when you are aware of what came before it and what the general attributes of it were and what made it work aesthetically.
Originality is a complex topic, I think nothing is ever created in a void and every cultural and societal progress we’ve made was based on taking an existing concept that was proven to work and then expanding on it in some way. The same is true for art. So my form of originality is drawing influences from anywhere and trying to think outside the box when it comes to how I process my instruments, how I transition from one section to the other etc.
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?
Taking time when it comes to making music, trying to take the pressure of having to create at all costs out of the process as well as always trying to rethink and question my approach constantly in order to not become set in my ways and work based on habit rather than being creative.
It may be the most obvious answer but social media has also been a factor in how my career has gone thus far. It has allowed me to make many friends and connections and gives people an insight into my creative process which is huge.
I would say the most promising strategy is consistency and interaction with people who follow you.
Having a good balance between music, the administrative work and taking care of myself through sport and taking time off is also very important. Listening to music outside of my niche and taking my mind off having to be productive helps me stay inspired.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I get up around 9am and typically I first go for a 3km run before having breakfast. Then I go to the gym for a 1,5 hour workout. After that I drive straight to the studio to work on music and deal with the administrative part.
On weekends where I have shows booked I have no set schedule as everything depends on how far I have to travel and when my time slot is.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I think my track “Latakia” is a decent example.
My father had sent me a picture of my aunt's house which got destroyed in the Syrian war in the city of Latakia and I made that track with the subconscious thought of probably never getting a chance to see the Syria I know again. I think that shines through with the sound selection as well as I used the Arabian vocal sample and the quickly retriggered synth that almost sounds like a machine gun of some kind.
From a technical perspective I don’t have a set approach when it comes to the order of things. I most often start with a basic rhythmic / percussive backdrop that gives me a groove to base my melodies on. Then I create the chord progression and melodies, ear candy, FX etc come last.
Creativity is an odd and fleeting thing and typically I need some external impulse and new experiences before I make music.
Listening can be both a solitary and a 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?
Listening to music is most fun to me in a group setting, when it comes to making music. I mostly work by myself although I realize the benefit that having someone to bounce ideas back and forth with and that creative synergy of having another person there can have on you.
I think exchanging ideas is elemental and I constantly try to rethink and refine my creative process. In that regard it's important to get outside impulses and perspectives as well.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I think music and dance are some of the most profound and instinctive ways of communication and thus a unifying factor among all people. I’d like to see my role in this as providing a framework and an atmosphere where people are at ease, comfortable and want to engage with each other.
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?
I think being a musician has helped me being open and honest about my emotions and knowing how to express them since that is also an essential part of making music. I think most good musicians are also receptive when it comes to the feelings of others.
When it comes to listening to music it can definitely alter your perspective and also provide an escape from the daily struggle. Which in itself is very important.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
If you break it down fundamentally, music contains a lot of math and leans heavily on the principles of proportion and geometry. Thus I think that trying to understand these technical aspects can give you a better grasp of music as well.
When it comes to the adverse - music giving you a better grasp of scientific concepts, I don’t think I’m qualified to answer.
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?
I think ideally, a song can capture your emotional state at any given moment and preserve it allowing others to relate to it and get a sense of who the person behind the music is, what drives them etc and transfer emotions which are otherwise almost impossible to express.
In that sense I don’t think it's comparable to daily tasks like making coffee or cooking where you are thinking mostly functional.
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 definitely fascinating how even simple melodies can evoke deep thoughts and feelings. But when it comes to the question why that is I don’t have an answer. But it probably has evolutionary reasons.
Since our body has evolved to perceive and decode them in such a manner, if we want to be technical we have to say that light is equally just vibration perceived through our eyes.