Name: Nils Hoffmann
Nationality: German
Occupation: Producer, songwriter
Current Release: Nils Hoffmann's A Radiant Sign is out via Anjunadeep.
Gear Recommendations: I love the Universal Audio plug ins and the Spitfire Audio libraries. They've really elevated my sound.

If you enjoyed this interview with Nils Hoffmann, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.  

What was your first studio like?

My first studio was a small room in a basement in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I shared it with a friend and we owned two synthesizers to work on there.

The neighboring studios were also rented by friends, that’s why we had a really nice vibe there, too.

How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?

I worked mostly in the box for the last years, so I made most development when it comes to plugins. When it comes to gear, I really enjoyed working with the Korg MS-20 and the Prophet 6 Sequential.

The Korg MS-20 is very helpful for baselines and FX, the Prophet 6 Sequential more for pad sounds.

Some see instruments and equipment as far less important than actual creativity, others feel they go hand in hand. What's your take on that?

Very much agree with that. It doesn’t really matter how you realize a certain idea, it’s the idea itself that makes the difference.

A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?

I always feel the most focused when I’m just working on my laptop with headphones. I realized I’m less productive the bigger the studio is because I always feel forced to do something great. So things come more easy to me the more chill my environment is.

In the light of picking your tools, 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”?

For me it’s important to find my own sound that sticks out of the mass of music being released.

At the same time I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my productions. So it might be a combination of those two things.

How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? Using a recent piece as an example, how do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?

To me this goes hand in hand as I work mostly in the box.

I really like the flexibility that technology offers and it helps my creativity to get fast results.

Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.

I save every project hat I do and sometimes I remember projects after one year or even longer so that I get back working on them again.

It’s more random in the end though.

How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?

I think creating presets yourself and actively trying develop your sound further helps a lot.

Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?

I could never do this. All melodies and harmonies are done by me and I’m also quite picky about them.