Producing electronic music is his passion since 20 years. He performs Digitakt dawless tracks, scores ambient music for contemporary art projects, teaches music performances and co-hosts the monthly podcast “The Life Of Music”.
59 Perlen - Interview with MinimalMag
Tell us briefly about you, what’s your background?
First of all, thanks a lot for the invite guys, I’m pretty excited about this cool opportunity!
I was born in Germany back in 1975, but I’m in Switzerland for about 10 years and my profession is actually graphic design.
Oh yes, I like to do everything that somehow has to do with creativity 🙂 With my music project, it all comes together nicely and I can bring the full potential of my skills.
How and when did you decide to start music-making?
This question takes me way back to my childhood! At that time the C64 computer was just coming into fashion.
It had insane 3 simultaneous voices and I was fascinated by the possibilities it offered musically.
Artists like Chris Hülsbeck created real classics with those few 3 voices and if I think about it, that was total pioneeric in terms of minimalism!
Who can still manage with 3 voices today? Haha. I should make an album concept out of this!
I think this fascination has never left me for the rest of my life and it gave me the fuel to dive deeper and deeper into music-making.
But I didn’t produce actual tracks until the mid-90s, it was all still purely a hobby and a release was unattainable back then.
That only changed with the launch of “59 Pearls” 2 years ago!
59 Perlen - When Left Alone - On SoundCloud
What’s your Studio Setup like and what’s your favorite piece of kit?
59 Perlen has changed in the last 12 months from a Dancehouse- to a Minimalhouse project.
I emphasize that because this change has come with a whole new workflow and more importantly a whole new mindset.
After releasing some polished tracks I got tired of “clicking” music together on the computer!
It all sounded so stereotypical and interchangeable to me, and I was always struggling to find something that musicians call the „Signature sound“.
I got lost in all those millions of possibilities the computer offered!
That’s why I started at the beginning of 2020 to abandon the computer from my creative process and produce with a focus on hardware.
The tactile work allows me to let much more of my feelings flow directly than a mouse ever could.
The most important piece in my setup is (currently) the Digitakt from Elektron.
I’ve recorded entire albums with this piece and have been completely focused on this one machine for the last few months.
My new Album „When Left Alone“ was created entirely with the Digitakt too – it also gives me the opportunity to perform my music live!
But I also have other synths in my studio that I use more and more often, including the Novation Peak with its wonderful textures, a Roland TB-03, and the Digitone of course.
What’s your routine when creating a new track?
Since I’ve been producing without a computer, I’ve become much more productive and my workflow has completely changed.
Most of the time I have an idea or a new technique that I would like to try out, sometimes I just sit at the machine and start, sometimes I browse through samples and get inspired.
Then I program the pattern on the Digitakt, which usually takes 2-3 hours.
Usually, I play with the pattern for a few days and refine it more and more.
Then I record a performance with the help of Overbridge and mix it a bit on the computer. When the track is released, some mastering and editing are added.
When that’s all done, I record a lot of my tracks on an old tape recorder and then sample the recording back.
This adds a touch of warmth and crackle to the recordings. I love that.
It also comes from my roots, I was a real „Power Tape“ guy in the 80s!
Garagen Live Experience - I & II | 59 Perlen
When Left Alone Live | Minimal House Digitakt Album | 59 Perlen
Minimal House Digitakt Performance at 112bpm | 59 Perlen
You live in Zurich, Switzerland. What is the electronic music scene like there?
At present, of course, the situation is also a disaster in our country, the landscape has virtually come to a complete standstill.
I hope the clubs are allowed to reopen soon because we have a fascinating variety here in Zurich and especially for fans of electronic music there is a lot on offer.
For instance, we have a little area in our quarter with a culture organization.
During summertime, they organize little open-air concerts where you can connect to other electronic musicians and artists, I really love that.
What are your favorite music artists at the moment?
I follow a lot of great Digitakt artists on YouTube, it’s impossible to name them all but their work is really incredibly inspiring and versatile.
They are really my favorites! Another minimal house artist is also Jan Jelinek, his work influenced my process a lot.
Apart from that, I really like listening to the music of acts like Moderat, Tiefschwarz, and Trentemøller.
They do very fine electronic stuff.
What would be the setting time and place for the perfect gig?
My music tends to be more on the quiet and relaxed side, and I need very little to get going.
In fact, all I need is the Digitakt and a speaker, and I’m off.
I can do that practically anywhere, I don’t need a special setup for entertaining a group of people.
Of course, it’s nice to play in front of a bigger audience and let the mood of the people flow directly into the performance.
I’ve received a few requests to play bigger parties in the future, so we’ll see what happens as soon as we can travel again.
On a more personal level, what would a typical day look like?
I have actually 1,5 jobs. I think many musicians know this situation 😀 During daytime, I work as a Social Media Manager for a B2B company full time.
After work, I go for my music project – preparing the next podcast episode, give private Digitakt lessons, work on a new soundtrack or prepare promotion material for my next album.
I have no real typical day as you might think. My days are just usually looooong.
Any plans for the upcoming months?
The year started very busy for me! I released an EP with my Friend “Atlas Castle” from Copenhagen, and my own Album “When Left Alone” drops Friday Feb 19.
After the Album release is done, I have a couple of scoring projects I’m working on right now.
These are soundtracks for contemporary dance projects, an area of music production that is very new and very exciting to me and I want to do more of this in the near future.
I will also continue to grow my YouTube community and in autumn, I hope that I can finally make it to Denmark for „Sonic Playgrounds“, a party I planned with my friend and producer Atlas Castle.
It was canceled because of the Corona Situation.
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