“I have a true love for 80s rock. I love Steely Dan, Dire straits, Paul Simon and so on”
In 2013 Kölsch caught the attention of the international dance scene with his album “1977” which was released by Kompakt. As a producer, he’s not to be underestimated as he’s been around for more than two decades. While some of us were busy finding an office job, Kölsch or Rune Reilly Kölsch was busy developing his unique sound, which to this date has suffered little changes. He produced various musical styles like Progressive, Tech-House, Techno, Minimal or House under numerous monikers as his sense of style remained the same. In 2007, under the alias Rune Rk and later Enur he produced one of the summer’s biggest hits, Calabria, reaching the ears of millions of people worldwide. Read through the interview and see what Kölsch has to say about his past influences, Kompakt as a label and family and how he sees the music industry change as more artists will start playing live sets.
Seeing that over the past 2 decades you’re released an impressive number of tracks under various aliases. For starters, we’d like to know who exactly is Kölsch and what does he stand for?
Kölsch is the first time I’ve let myself become more personal. I’ve always loved concepts, and I have done my fair share. Kölsch is my last name, and it’s all about me and my childhood. 1977 is my birth year, and all tracks have strong links to my years in Germany when I was young.
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Your first ever release was under the alias Artificial Funk back in 1995. It’s fascinating to see that over the past 15 years you remained true to your sound. You found a sound that is somehow timeless and needs very little adjustment as trends tend to change every two to three years. Where does that timeless inspiration come from?
I’ve always loved the classics. The fist time I heard techno was through Detroit and Chicago, and the Romantic way they composed has just stuck with me. It’s so important to add emotions into your productions or else they are pointless. The beauty of Techno Music, is that it is so pure. It’s one persons emotions translated through a computer. It is very comparable to Classical music, where it is mostly also only one Composer.
I read somewhere that in your early years you were producing funk and hip hop. After a couple of years you chose the electronic sound more and more, while having several monikers. Tell us a bit about Artificial Funk and your album “Sleep Less, Live More” as I noticed every album of yours tells a specific story.
Sleep Less, Live more was an album I did with my brother. Our dad had passed away two year before we started working on it, so a lot of it was an ode to him. We tried to incorporate a lot of live sounds and drums, as we wanted to explore that route. It was great fun.
What do you listen to in your free time?
I have a true love for 80s rock. I love Steely Dan, Dire straits, Paul Simon and so on. I also love the new wave of “folk music”: Bon Iver, Asgeir or Jose Gonzales.
When it comes to electronica I’m into Apparat, Cloud Boat, Beacon, Four Tet, When Saints go Machine, Troels Abrahamsen. But there’s so much great music out there, I like a lot of things.
Prior to your last album, you released two EP’s on Kompakt out of which all four tracks were included in your following album. What exactly did you wish to underline with these tracks in the album and what does it represent for you as an artist?
Well, basically Michael Mayer and I spoke about it, and we decided that all the tracks fit very well in to the album concept. It would seem silly not to include them.
You’re also planning a new album, if I’m not mistaking. What will you have in store for us?
I really don’t know yet, it’s still a bit too early in the process.
In all the videos you appear in while behind the decks you’re always being overly excited, dancing even harder than the public sometimes. Where does all that excitement come from and how does playing a live set compare with playing a DJ set?
I’ve always enjoyed dancing. I’m really bad at just standing there. I also want to enjoy the party. “It’s a party not a lecture”.
The live show is limited to the tracks and remixes I’ve done, so i cant really adopt to the time-slot or mood of the party. I try too keep it very improvised, but the tracks are the tracks. DJing is much more free. You can play a lot of different music. It’s a different challenge, and just as exciting in my opinion.
This Easter you’re back in Amsterdam for the DGTL festival and you’ll be playing at the Kompakt stage alongside Gui Boratto, Michael Mayer & Terranova. Your last time in Amsterdam was at Valhalla Festival. What stands out most regarding the Amsterdam crowd according to you, compared to other countries you have played?
I love playing in Amsterdam. It seems you guys have really taken the album into your hearts, and it just makes me feel so humbled to feel the reactions every time. I’ve never played a bad party in Amsterdam, and I can’t wait to play this one.
In 2013 you also played at ADE for a Kompakt showcase put together by DGTL. What was your impression of the event?
Hopefully just as amazing. The DGTL event at ADE was absolutely amazing. Probably one of the best gigs last year.
In a previous interview you mentioned that Kompakt is a label like none other. Could you tell us a bit about your relation with Kompakt and what makes it so special?
I’ve never felt I had a second home, but with Kompakt I do. The relationship we have is more like a family then as business partners. They encourage me to experiment more, and are not really interested in “hits”. They want me to evolve, and are fully behind what I’m doing. Its like having a Mentor that is also your label.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I’ve noticed you ran a couple of labels before. Do you ever plan of leaving music production behind and focusing only on releasing and researching music?
As I see it right now, I will keep my focus on producing. I’m best at doing one thing at a time, and running a label is great, but it is also time-consuming. I think in five years, I’ll be making music and touring. Just like I am now.
Twenty years in the industry is quite a lot. Along this time, was there ever an artist that caught your attention and hasn’t been recognized to this date?
Too many to mention. So much talent is wasted in this world. It just shows that you need a strong work ethic to make it in this business. No one is going to do you any favours.
What is your favorite production of all time, made by another artist?
Vangelis – Blade Runner Soundtrack. It has influenced me more that anything.
Thanks. See you at DGTL!