Einmusik is German artist who has well and truly proved his credentials a long time ago in the studio. A producer who is highly lauded by most of his peers, any new production from him comes with eager anticipation from the masses.
Now with his ‘Serenade’ LP about to drop, that exciting is even more so, so we sat down with him to discuss how the LP came together, his inspiration behind it, and also how he is going to go about celebrating the 10 year anniversary of his label over the coming months…
“I’m happy to have a studio full of lovely outboard synthesizers from different time periods.”
Why now for an album? What made you think it was the right time, was it that you had plenty of ideas?
I had a great year with a lot of inspirational moments and I was super productive in my studio. In the summer time I had like twenty well produced songs ready. So it was clear for me to bring Serenade. I didn’t make any straight plans about releasing my music at a right time.
Tell us what inspired or influenced your new album – did you have an idea for it from the start?
I spent a lot time on an airplane, where I always have my noise cancelling headphones on and listen to diverse music. My favourite albums where symphonic music from Rachmaninov, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and ambient music from Riley and Ulrich Schnauss, I listened to a lot of old Depeche Mode longplayers, the new Feist album and Ry X stuff. Bonobo not to forget – great last album! All these impressions I always brought with me when I was back again in my studio after the weekend. I’m actually really happy with my studio setup and all Serenade album songs came up naturally and without a bigger concept in the back.
How do you combine electronic music and classical? What are the similarities between the two?
I’m happy to have a studio full of lovely outboard synthesizers from different time periods. If you treat each one as similar as a single musician in an orchestra, you really can create classical music based on chip sets. But you have to know your instruments, what is good for what kind of sound and so on. What is most exciting is to combine both. For example classical symphonic strings together with a warm Moog sub bass is awesome. A real flute combined with an Oberheim pad in unisone is mind blowing. And this is how I combine both sections, layering elements and find out what makes the sound complete.
How different is it writing for an album vs a single?
When you produce a remix it is clear where you’re ending with it. When you writing and composing your own music I don’t make plans before I finish a song. The result is normally telling you what content is right for it. A single has to be more focused on it’s own identity, album work should fit together and present a nice and decent range of your musical diversity.
How much thought goes into making sure the album plays out as one coherent piece, with ups and downs, and works at home as much as the club?
The idea behind Serenade was to bring an album of 5-7 songs, this is what a serenade is traditionally standing for. In the end I wanted to release more, so we came up with the idea of a serenade in two movements. Movement I is clearly for the clubs and open airs and to have a good time together. The Movement II is the more listening part of the album, to have enjoyable music on your headphones. You simply can dream away with it, while having a long travel ahead.
You play live in the club – is that how you wrote the album, just jamming in the studio then editing down recordings or…?
At the most events I’m presenting my recent output on releases, like an album. It could be interesting to develop together with the audience complete new music on the fly, but in most content it is requested to do a good show, too. When I’m producing a song in my studio I often listen to single sections again and again. I think this process could be a bit unbalanced to the most people in clubs, who are basically there to have a good time. But of course my music changes while performing live – I can react on the people and the mood of the event, because I know the versatility of each song and it’s possibilities.
When you do play live, is it all improvised and on the fly or are you playing loops and stuff?
My liveset is a hybrid between stems and loops, and and additonal elements from drum machines and analog synthesizers. For example the bass sections of kick drum and bassline has to be super tight and controlled with equalizers and compressors, otherwise most PA systems worldwide deduct your whole output level. They simple are not trained to handle an open signal from beasty analog gear. This section is based on own loops of my songs. But I’m still able to improvise the most melodic sections with synths and jamming with additional drums during the set. In this case you are sure about the volume level and feel free to bring new unheard segments at the same time.
What’s the hardest bit about it? The fear of it going wrong? Concentrating for so long?
When I started to play live shows 13 years ago, I only had a really bad laptop pc, the first edition of ableton was not running stable and syncing via midi/dynsync was alsways really fragile. Based on these experiences I still keep my equipment super organized and clean and always double check everything before leaving to gigs. If there is a fear, it’s more about a fear the gear is loosing its purpose. I easely can play a 3 hours livesets, that’s fun.
Are you formally trained? How helpful is it that you can play piano and stuff? Should all electronic producers be able to?
I learned to play different instruments during my life. I played a bit violin, some years guitar and some basic piano techniques. And playing piano is what I’m still practising nearly every day. If you produce exclusively straight Techno music, where you basically arrange and program drums and bass loops and maybe just dropping from time to time a hook sound into your songs, then you maybe don’t need to play any instrument. But in the most circumstances it is recommendable to know a bit theory of harmony, otherwise your creative output is really limited in depth and diversity and the development stucks.
Your label is ten years old – how has it evolved in that time, or are you still on the same path as you were when you started?
The imprint did crazy steps further the last years. I never expected that this baby will get so serious and big. I created Einmusika Recordings as a playground and this is, what it is still today. Me and the whole team are trying to keep the label well balanced between big producers and new talents. Seeing smaller acts growing remembers me how I started and I would love to make it a bit easier for upcoming and passionated musicians. But to be honest, I didn’t even recognise that it’s 10 years already, my management had to tell me – I think that means it’s still fun for me to do all this things :-)
What have been the highs and lows in that time, what’s been challenging, what’s been rewarding?
The most challenging was the time management. To be a producer, live act and label A&R means nonstop focused work, if you want to be succesful with all work. From time to time I got sick of too many to-do-lists, but I brought new young people to the label to work with me and now all is fine and organized.
How will you celebrate the ten year anniversary?
Some things are secret. There will be a special release with names you maybe wouldn’t expect on Einmusika, but if you could listen you know why I chose them. We will have 10 big showcases, as well, with really outstanding line ups and they will happen all over the world, New York, Berlin, Barcelona, Beirut just to name a few.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
I have a lot of remix requests – so first I need some time to listen to all the tracks and check what I would like to work on. Sometimes remix work can be really inspiring. I am already working on some finals for some Eps, which are coming out on other labels. Top Secret :-) of course. And I’m working on my side project Valsa, as well on my 3rd label Happy Pink Pills and I launched EIN2 a while ago. A smaller label with a bit more freedom for tryouts on the market. Maybe some collaborations will appear in 2018 as well. So … a lot on the list, but first I celebrate my new album with the people around the world :)
‘Serenade’ LP is out on 6th October PRE ORDER