Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to become a soloist?
I was always into music because we were a very musical household. My father played the violin, my mother organ and my brother plays guitar. He was a big influence back then, because he is ten years older than I am and listened to the stones, beatles and all the other greats of that time.
Introduce us to you and your musical history?
Since I am into music – and that is a long time (laughs) – I have played in rock cover bands. In the beginning, when I was sixteen or so, there were the typical school band projects, then later bands with people from various backgrounds. One day, my brother introduced me to the record “Switched on Bach” by Wendy Carlos. Boy, I was blown away by the sound of the Moog synthesizer and wanted to have one. These things cost more than a house, so buying one was out of discussion (laughs), but my father supported me in building a kit synth called the Formant. It was a modular system and over the course of a few years I built it bit by bit. I suddenly was the cool kid on the block, because I was the only one in town with a synthesizer. I’ve played that thing live on stage and gave classes on electronic music in my school, because, frankly, the teachers had no clue about synths, nor did the school have one. Then with twenty two military service and my first jobs came and the band projects sadly went away. At twenty seven I decided to spend a few years abroad and sold all my gear, amongst that was a beautiful Moog Polymoog which now would be worth a fortune, but hey, at the time I needed the money (laughs). What stayed was my love of synthesizers! After I came back from abroad in 1998 I joined a rock cover band in Munich and played regular gigs with them. My main instrument was a Hammond organ and I still love that sound. But then Covid and the lockdown hit in 2020 and suddenly we could not rehearse nor gig. That’s when I started to work in the studio again and that’s where my last electronic album “Moon” was created.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Actually none, so far I have never gotten an annoying question.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Don’t get me going! (laughs) I think it is unbelievable how much rubbish is out there, and the internet allows this nonsense to be spread widely. I believe in science and what can be proven by it. The only thing which I am not quite sure about is the first moon landing. That could have been staged. Then again I was a little boy back then, being woken up by my parents in the middle of the night to watch the first landing live and found it so inspiring – whether it was staged or not!
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Do you mean toilet paper? (laughs) The only stuff I bought was a bunch of synths for the studio and so far I have used all of them.
What useless party trick do you have?
I only do the detachable thumb. That is an all-time Laurel & Hardy favorite!
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
With one of my bands, we played a lot of Saga songs and the music teacher asked whether we would like to have a big choir in the background and of course we agreed. So we rehearsed the Saga song “How Long” and the choir sang the chorus “How long did your dream carry on, How long did your dream spin around”. That was massive! When we performed it live the audience loved it, and we had a blast! And it was a one-off!
What was the worst experience on stage?
Exactly on the day when we performed “How Long” with the choir, our FOH engineer forgot to switch on the tape machine! That was a real bummer, because now there’s no record of this massive performance.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
Hmmm, I repair and service all synthesizers myself. And with twenty-five or so synths in the studio there’s always something to repair (laughs)
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
That is a difficult one, I have been influenced by so many great artists. Wendy Carlos, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, but also Pink Floyd and lately the great Christopher von Deylen with his project “Schiller”. I guess my style is a mix of all these influences. In general I love deep basses and wide, evolving soundscapes. Some call it cinematic or ambient music. But then again, I do not want to be put into a category drawer. I play what I want and what I feel. Take my previous album “Moon” for example. It is a real concept album with ambient songs like “Sea of Tranquility”, the song “Chang Ngo” which sounds almost like Chinese classical music or “Vallis Bouvard” a French House style song a la Daft Punk.
What makes you stand out as a artist?
My music makes people dream and be relaxed. I often get the feedback that fans find my music relaxing because they can swim in the oceans of sounds I create. And that is cool feedback. Especially in a time where so man crazy, threatening things happen around the world.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
What currently happens in Ukraine! I thought we were over that kind of crazy shit! You know, I look at my Spotify statistics and see that many of my die hard fans come from Russia and Ukraine. And then I watch TV, see all the sadness and suffering and I think to myself, how can it be? There are people on both sides who love the same music, yet they kill each other. That is just so sad and mind boggling!
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
When I was still in the rock cover band I loved to play the song “Hold the Line” by Toto – I am a big Toto fan by the way! Another all-time favorite is the old Bill Withers classic “Ain’t no sunshine”.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
Yeah absolutely, the new single is called “Calm” it is a song about the craziness of life and that sometimes you just don’t want to run for another day, which is also the hook line of the song. It combines an ethereal female voice with soundscapes and hip hop rhythms. The cool thing is that my brother Edi composed and played the guitar parts. In fact, there’s an extended mix of the song which can be found on the album “Afterglow” which is set to be released on 10 June 2022
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
One day my brother Edi approached me and asked whether I would be interested in doing a song together and I found that this was a great idea. Especially given the fact that Edi is playing totally different music, mainly Irish folk. Bringing together electronic music with acoustic and electric guitars posed an interesting playing field
What was the recording process like?
I started to create the basic tracks with wide synth soundscapes so that there is breathing room for the guitars. For the sounds, I usually use a mix of physical synthesizers and VST plugins in Logic Pro X. For Calm I have used Quantum from Native Instruments for the first time. What a great synth engine! It won’t be the last time I have used it. When searching for the right vocals I came across the vocal sample which is now used in the song. “I don’t want to run for another day, a million words left to say” and found that this fits perfectly with the song. The drums are a mixture of Latin instruments and Logic’s fabulous virtual drummer. After basic mixing, I sent the track to my brother who then recorded the guitars in his studio. Then I chopped and merged his tracks and started mixing the final version. Edi then did a more guitar-heavy, pretty awesome remix of the song in his studio. Then all tracks go to a mastering studio. I am not doing my own mastering, because then the risk that I never finish the track is too high (laughs).
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
I have already learned with the last album “Moon” that I can only produce one album per year and instead of releasing all songs on the album it makes more sense to release some tracks beforehand. “Thanks” to Spotify people just don’t take the time to listen to an entire album once it is released, they want to have singles. I am from the generation where you would have to buy vinyl in a store and then of course you did consciously listen to all of it. Nowaday music is more a background thing and you have to cater to this listening happit, whether you as an artist like it or not.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
After a track is mastered I am not listening to it anymore until it is released. Mastering for me is the final step in the creation process and after that I don’t think about changing anything. Maybe creating a shorter radio edit, yes, but otherwise I don’t want to change anything anymore.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I am looking forward to the release of the album “Afterglow”. That is the next important milestone. But I have already some new songs lined up for the next album, so there’s enough work ahead – (laughs)
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Folks, live in peace and harmony, listen to good music, dance, and have fun, regardless of your religion, the colour of your skin, and religion. We have only this one life and there is no space for violence and hatred in it.
Thanks for doing us today folks, send this back on a word document and ill get it all ready for you.