Interview: Acid Pauli
Synonymous with a certain aesthetic and approach towards the culture of electronic music, Acid Pauli (aka Martin Gretschmann) is as eclectic and determined an artist can get.
Known for transcending traditional House and Techno sounds with sonic elements across genre, Acid Pauli is equally comfortable performing at the deepest, darkest of Berlin techno dens as he is producing radio hits or scoring cinema. Acid Pauli’s foray into music started in the late 80s whilst performing in indie punk bands. By the mid 90s, he had found electronic sounds and began to produce under the name Console, eventually leading way to the (originally) live concept that is Acid Pauli. Since, Acid Pauli has found his DJ sets and productions the talk of the industry, frequently gaining comparisons to the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Mr Scruff and Björk in his artistry.
Now, Acid Pauli returns to the realms of the long player with his latest – “BLD”. This second full length builds on Acid Pauli’s already impressive back catalogue, which featured a debut LP on Nicolas Jaar’s Clown and Sunset imprint. “BLD” covers a range of moods and emotions, from dystopian vibes to moments of high intensity, through to deep melancholia and synth laden ambience, all connected by Acid Pauli’s deep love of sampling.
With this great release already available, we caught up with Acid Pauli to discuss the album, his experiences here in Amsterdam, and way more.
“I definitely think it is important to bring this music and mindset to places struggling with difficult political systems.”
What was the very first aspect of “BLD” that occurred to you? I know the title is a reference to a modular synth but was that what you wanted to build around or was it something else entirely?
The start was a one hour DJ set I had done, which only featured the breaks from tracks. I took bits of music that had no kick drum and, out of this, evolved the idea to make an album from the same concept…to leave away the main beat.
How did you see the comparison of the approach as a DJ vs in the studio?
An album is always more of a listening experience. I’m not really into albums that contain only club music so it is very mellow. All these tracks originally were club tracks but now they are stripped down. Leaving out these important elements made it more of listening work.
From a practical perspective, what was a primary piece technology and/or equipment used on the album, I read a lot about sampling but would you say that is the primary practical aspect you built the album around?
It’s two things: on one side are the samples, and on the other is my modular synth. Sampling is something I grew up with musically and is always a very important aspect of my work. In this case, with the modular synth, I tried to familiarize myself with it a bit more, so I combined the two onto the album.
If I asked you the same question about your last album, how would your answer compare?
I was using a lot more samples actually. That album was made up of 80-90% samples. The idea was to work with my DJ set, making combinations of samples and tracks to make new sounds. Then, the only things I added were (sometimes) a synth for the bass and a kick drum through a module called BLD, and that is the connection between the two albums.
Why did you decide to self-release this album?
I didn’t really think too much about it. It was just obvious. We (alongside Nico Stojan) were just founding the label so it made sense.
Each of the eight track names is personified by a personal identifier. Why did you decide to “name” each track, and what do the names represent?
Somehow my music contains aspects from all different cultures because I don’t really care for borders. The names of the tracks are all people who gave some inspiration for that particular song. This could be anything…basic inspiration or specific samples or anything really…