Where are you currently based?
Hello. I live in Berlin, already my whole life.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid/Isolation experience been so far?
In 2020 I was pretty busy releasing my music. There was the double 12″ AI on CLIKNO, then Post Techno Crisis on Goldmin Music, two EPs with my project rand with pianist Jan Gerdes, then my album Drones & Tones For The Free II under my alias Anomali and various podcasts, the last one, Yarncast072, came out just before Christmas. I also re-released seven previous EPs and albums on my own Bandcamp page. And of course, I’ve been spending time making new music. I haven’t felt lonely at all, although I’ve reduced my contacts extremely. I have to say that I live together with many people in a cool house in the middle of Berlin. That turned out to be an advantage in a situation like this. Living alone on my own is not my thing anyway.
Your new EP Muaco is out now on CLIKNO, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
Last year I read the book “Jaki Liebezeit” about the former Can drummer, which explains his rhythm system. Without being too theoretical, I adopted it intuitively and composed a number of percussive layers to achieve that mesmerizing sensation of polyrhythm that we also know from gamelan and a lot of African music. The pulse and flow were important. Another influence is Burnt Friedman, who also worked with Jaki Liebezeit, and Fela Kuti, but also drone music and techno a la Voices From the Lake, for example. Sonically, there are no influences other than the sound of the acoustic guitar itself. The acoustic feel was a premise.
How did you go about writing the EP?
I didn’t conceive the EP. I just had the idea to make a techno track with sounds of my acoustic guitar, that’s the title track Muaco, which is just a short name for MUsic Against COrona. I had so much fun with the samples that I ended up making three tracks. I wanted to release them as an EP right away, but pushed back the release date since the last year was already filled with releases. Now it feels great to launch with the Muaco EP in 2021, even during another lockdown period.
What programs/equipment did you use?
First, there’s my Höfner acoustic guitar, which I simply recorded with a Sure SM 58 microphone. All the rest – processing, sound design, arrangement and mixing – was done in Ableton Live and with the help of several plug-ins.
Where and when did you record/produce/master?
The complete music was recorded and produced at home. The mastering was done by Sebastian Mehl, a good friend with great mastering skills.
Did you work with anybody else during the creation of Muaco?
Please describe your creative process and why you create music?
The creative process usually starts with a recording of real sounds from the real world or I dig into my archive of those recordings. It’s more fun to start with something fresh and new, it triggers my curiosity about what I can do with it. The samples are imported into my computer and Ableton Live, where I assemble, disassemble, cut, tweak, modulate, pitch, stretch the material until I get stuck on a particular sound or segment. That might be a rhythmic or melodic phrase or just a textural sound. I’m looking for emotional content, at least for me. From there I add and explore, playing around with the sound clips until I have an idea of the track. I then do the arrangement live in a recording session.
I can’t answer the other question of why I make music. It’s an inner urge that drives me to do it. I can’t live without making music. I’m a sound nerd and fascinated by the impact that sound and music have and how music connects. I’m also very amused when I see people dancing to my music because I know how I created it and it might just be a random noise or a very childish, dubious instrument or just an object that I like the sound of.
Has Covid resulted in more webstreams/home-clubbing/listening?
Yeah, people are listening to more music at home now, or on their headphones on their walk or way to work. Home clubbing sounds kind of sexy to me. It’s something new to explore. I mean, are people really dancing at home? Possibly. I do, I can’t wait for the clubs to open! Web streams are very welcome, of course. There are way too many, I think. Even when Facebook launched with its livestream feature before Covid19, I quickly got bored of webstreams. It’s not just about the music or the sound anymore, there should be a narrative and a reason to do a stream and the images should reinforce that. It’s a new form of entertainment. There are interesting projects on the way. For example, what the CTM Festival is doing right now.
What has been motivating you in the last year or so with no live shows to play?
I lacked a bit of motivation, the pressure to produce. But as I mentioned before, last year I focused on releasing and re-releasing. But I know that one day there will be parties again and it’s better to be prepared. For the Muaco EP, the motivation actually came from picking up the guitar and recording some new acoustic sounds. The idea was still to produce some groovy tracks, but with a different sound concept. So I was curious how it would sound in the end and if it might work.
How do you think Covid has changed the path of music culture?
Well, apart from the crushing of any performance, I feel that many producers who felt trapped in a production process have now allowed themselves to break out and be more explorative and creative. I hope and wish that electronic music and music in general will become more free from all these commercial rules and guidelines. There is a great opportunity for music. After Covid, it won’t be the same anymore.
What do you have planned post Covid?
Kitchenparty is the first thing that comes to my mind. It’s a private event I usually host once or twice a year in my kitchen, more or less an informal gathering with friends and guests. We have DJs, live acts and visuals and usually international guests. The next one will be remembered for a long time. I also want to travel again, somewhere to get out and discover new places. I’m also curious where my next booking will take me.
What do you like to do away from music?
I’m quite interested in cultural things, art exhibitions, performances, concerts and so on. During the lockdown, a lot more happens on the net now, so I try to balance my time on the computer with going to the river and lakes and woods with someone, and I love hanging out with my girlfriend.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Last year I discovered the London label Well Street Records. I’m very excited about that. I’ve never heard the names of their artists, but I just love the music.Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Laurine Frost’s album Lena, Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, Bohren & the Club of Gore’s Geisterfaust, Wang Inc.’s Mediterraneo EP and in between music from Hubble, Steevio, Steve Reich, Burnt Friedman, Jan Jelinek, Villalobos…. ah, too many to mention…. I listen to a lot of music.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
My favorite way to spend time is at home or with my girlfriend and housemates. My other friends are getting the short end of the stick at the moment, but I hope that will change in the summer. My favorite food has to be fresh. I love raw vegetables, hummus, good bread, salad, fruits. Now in winter sometimes a hot soup.