INTERVIEWS

Phonique Interview

Hello Michael. We are happy to have you virtually here on Altroverso.
Hi!

You said: “An album Should be a pleasure to listen to, even in five, ten, twenty years, I know it can not just be a club for 60 beats minutes. I need vocals, warm melodies and stories “, then how do you approach to keep these characteristics?
The reason why I said this is because all of my older vocals tracks are still getting uploaded frequently on Youtube and people are still showing me their phones at gigs showing me those tracks like ‘You That I’m With’ or ‘For The Time Being‘ from my 2004 album. What that means is people might like a club track for 1-3 years, but you don’t listen to that at home or in the car anymore after a while. And for the digital download age we are living in, it is hard to sell an album with 4 vocal tracks and 7 club tracks, as the DJs will download 2-3 club tracks they fancy for their dj sets and the normal house fan will download the 4 vocal tracks for home listening pleasures. So I rather release a few club eps in between albums and focus on a full vocal album these days. It might take a little more time to get enough great vocal tracks together, but I think it’ worth the wait.

Is there a difference between producing club music and listening tunes?
The whole starting process is very similar. You go to the studio with an idea and work on it and then you make an arrangement. With club music your track might already be finished by that point. You test it out at a club and maybe make a few changes. But with a vocal tune, you send it to a vocalist, who will send you the vocal recordings back in something between 2 weeks and 3 months and then you work on the track again and adjust your instrumental again and then instead of listening to it at the club you listen to the track 100 times on your headphones, on your Macbook speakers, in your car and with 10 different friends and always feel the need to make little adjustments until you reach the point where you are 100% satisfied with your track.

Your musical career is full of great satisfaction and it has a twenty-year history now, what do you remember of the beginning, of your past? Would you have imagined to arrive where you got now?
When I started I was very skeptical and I kept studying chemistry at university. There were already so many great DJs in Berlin and I didn’t feel like competing with them- I just wanted to do what I did, because it gave me great joy, but I wasn’t sure it could also provide enough money to make a living.
In the early years I promoted a club night at Berlins Pfefferbank, a small house club for about 200 people. That one was called ‚Club Paris‘ and on a monthly base I invited DJs from Paris or DJs who were releasing on labels from Paris. So it happened that I was the first one to bring Joakim to Germany, whose career kicked off shortly after that. Just recently I was playing a gig with Joakim at club 88 in Brazil and I was thinking ‚who of us would have thought to share the stage at a great club in Brazil 16 or 17 years after I first got Joakim over to Berlin?‘. I am pretty sure nobody could have seen this coming.

When you enter in a studio where do you get inspiration from? Do you ever listen to other artists’ music?
Usually I already go to the studio having an idea. My inspiration often comes from other music. It is mainly that a lot of things are going on in a song on the radio or at a track I hear at a club and it is always a little melody in the background which inspires me to build a whole track around that.

From a sound point of view, which is the element that you find changed the most in your music, if there is, and what instead is steady in your DNA?
In my early years I was very inspired by those little freaky evil melodies Brett Johnson used on his releases on seasons recordings. I produced a lot of tunes with cold tech beats paired with little freaky melodies. Nowadays I still love these little Casio melodies, but I combine them more with warmer sounds.

In your diary you can count many performances. Throughout the world where did you find yourself more comfortable and what memories do you have?
I love to travel to countries where you have no expectations. When you go to Armenia, Jordan or Bangladesh, what can you expect? And then you arrive there and meet great people and a small scene for electronic music and you find out there are people following your work for many years. It’s an amazing experience to play for those smaller crowds in countries where they don’t have 4 big parties every weekend. But on the other hand I have a strong relationship with Brazil. I travel there about 6 times a year and there they have especially during the new years and the carnival season big parties every day, but they never seem to get tired of it. I love to play there because of the energy the people got there. They also know a lot about music and they appreciate the balance between deep and tech house.

You think that Ibiza is an important place of an artist’s career?
I am not the biggest Ibiza fan myself. Besides the beach, everything you get there, you can get in Berlin 4 times cheaper and cooler (without having bouncers in suits in every corner). I played maybe 8 gigs in Ibiza my whole life from DC10 to Space, all gigs were ok, but nothing too special. I am pretty sure Ibiza was way more important 20-30 years ago.

Do you ever do clubbing with your friends?
Oh yes. Just last Saturday I went to Watergate to see Marc Romboy and Oliver Hunteman and later downstairs Kotelett & Zadak and I just couldn’t leave before 10.30 in the morning. I think it’s very important for a DJ to go out and experience other DJs. How can you work on your style if you don’t get influenced, if you don’t see what else is possible?

Will you promote your album Greene Supreme with a tour? If so, do you have any place in your mind?
We are just starting to get the tour together. First confirmations are coming from Brazil, Georgia and Armenia. But if possible, I would love to play everywhere.

To end, what advices do you feel to address to those who want approach the “electronic music”?
There is so much good music out there. Just keep searching for those special tracks, which touch your soul. I have tracks in my folder, tracks I never heard anywhere else since I found them and they stay in my music folder forever.

We thank you for this interview Michael and we wish you the best.
Thanks!

Buy Green Supreme Here: https://phonique.lnk.to/GreenSupreme

 

Labels: Ladies & Gentlemen, Katermukke, Bunny Tiger, Dessous, Poker Flat, Systematic

 

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