Since we’re already talking about Amsterdam. I think one special connection to Amsterdam is 4DSOUND. I was actually able to enjoy your recorded set a while back you had the opportunity to play on the 4DSOUND system here in Amsterdam. Can you tell us a bit about the experience and how do you think can this be adapted in the future?

I love the whole project. I really enjoyed working with it and doing the shows. Another central principle of my music has always been immersion. I love these constant long parts and long bass lines that envelope the listener, so there’s this sort of warm wash all around you and I love working with psycho acoustics. I did a lot of work in terms of stereo panning. What psychoacoustics does is trying to give you the impression that the sound are in a real space around you. I do a lot of binaural recording and interesting psychoacoustic tricks to try to create this abstract space that immerses the listener. So the 4DSOUND system is the perfect real extension of that principle. I could literally immerse people and surround them in sounds and make this complex wash of sounds that you can explore. I loved working with it. It was a lot of fun and really nice just to be inside the system, walking around and experiencing it. I’m planning another show with it some point soon.

Well that’s good to hear! Will it be in Amsterdam again?

I think it might be moving cities. I’m not sure if it’s going to be in Amsterdam or somewhere else. I think the system is hopefully doing a bit of touring, because so far it’s been really difficult to tour with, because it’s a really big thing. I think it’s something really special and much more than the surround sound systems other people do. This is much more than that, because you can actually walk past the sounds and it’s not just the sound coming from the edges. You can actually interact with them. I think it has a lot of potential. I hope it continues and grows, because there’s so much interest. Everywhere I go all around the world people always ask me about that system. They’re really excited about the idea and they want to experience it. I want to continue working with it and it would be great if it more venues are equipped to put on that experience.

Can you tell us a bit about your Emergence tour? I’m a huge fan of visuals in combination with electronic music. What is the connection between music and visuals in your eyes and why is it important?

I’ve always loved visual art as much as I loved music and I’ve always made a big effort to work with video artists trying to bring that element in. When I create music it is done in a very visual way. Sometimes I’ll have a picture or a certain scene in my mind or some other visual, which will actually guide the creation of the music. So I’ve always had that connection between the visual and sound. I think the two go hand in hand really.

The combination of having the right visual with the right sound is more powerful than having either of them alone. I’ve had lots of music videos stocked and lot’s of interesting people to work with, so I realised I should do a visual show where I could also bring in my science interest. I came up with the idea of a show called Emergence, which would be about the idea that you have natural, scientific law that gives rise to everything around us through this process of emergence.

So the idea of emergence is kind of similar to the idea of combining visual and audio but whenever it unfolds in reality the thing that comes out is much more complex and much more rich than the original idea which spawned it. So it’s like these simple natural laws can give rise to this amazingly rich and complex world around us. And that happens through this process of emergence and it happens over a billions of years. It starts off with fundamental law before the physical universe arrived, with looking at the structure and distribution of the prime numbers and looking at ideas of dimensionality and hyperdimensional shapes. So it begins with looking at those real fundamentals of nature and from that you get the big bang. You get the universe and stars formation and eventually early life forms and evolution. Humans arrive, there is modern society, capitalism and the digital age starts. It goes right through the pre physically universe existence all the way to the future, through all these different stages of the evolution of the universe. It’s tied in with a lot of science ideas but it’s also primarily about making something beautiful where the video and audio combine to a story so the audience can experience the story line. I do some shows where the audience is in seats and they can sit and take it in and some shows are a bit more dancey. It is somewhere between a sit down show and a dance show.

You can feel that storytelling is quite important to you. What is the biggest difference between a club night and a festival, where your time is limited and where you have other visual support, for you?

Yes it’s true, the festival show is a bit more restricted. I’m just cutting down the show a bit and try to condense the important bits. It also depends on the festival. For example, I’m doing Latitude Festival in the UK this Friday and then Dour Festival in Belgium after Buiten Westen on Saturday night. On those two festivals I’m doing the visual show but very different. For the first one they specifically wanted me to come and do the ambient version of the show. It’s a sort of visual-chill-out-room and I guess it’s more of a sit down audience format.

For the Dour Festival, I’ll have to reduce the ambient part and make it little bit more banging. I’ve got that flexibility within my show to do that and the tracklist isn’t even defined. I’ve got different options for different visuals, tracks and ways to perform. But in general, for festivals, I’m playing the more compact, dance oriented show.

You mentioned before that you have a background in science. Did you always see yourself doing what you do today? When did you realize that you can live of your music?

I always thought that I would be a scientist. Music was always something that I hoped I could make a job, because I always loved DJing, but I never assumed that I could. I just decided to put in as much work in as I could to what happens. It was just one of those things that happened quite naturally.

I tried to do both things and eventually I started releasing on Cologne based label Traum Schallplatten. That was in 2007 or 2008. I saw a lot of the guys on there like Dominik Eulberg, Extrawelt and Minilogue. There were these guys who were really successful and touring and I thought “well, if these guys are releasing records on Traum and they’re making a living from it, maybe I can do that to”. So I set my mind to focus on releasing as much as possible. That basically set me up for going full time with music.

Dominik Eulberg was actually one of my first steps into Electronic Dance music. It’s nice to hear that you mention his name because he also has this natural science background and his LP’s have a strong concept too.

Dominik is a legend. I knew him long before I was releasing as well. Riley Reinhold who runs Traum really encouraged me to use concepts. It’s a great thing that I owe to him. He was always really proactive and asked what my concepts were and how they relate. He encouraged that way of thinking, which is great.

Do you see yourself going back to science when you’re getting older?

I don’t think I’ll be going back to the sort of science that I used to do, but I like working with artists, doing installations, doing my visual show, doing 4DSOUND and this sort of post classical live electronic music. I’m pushing more and more into a world where it’s not as much about touring and club gigs. There is also always the option to move more into the direction of psychoacoustics and just art in general, because I’m really interested in that interface between arts and sciences in general. A lot of the stuff I’m doing isn’t really about club shows. So I can see myself eventually having that as my main thing, which would be tied in with academic work but not the strict science I used to do.

You’re also working on a new LP. As we already talked about concepts a lot what will be the concept of the LP?

I can’t reveal too much yet as we haven’t announced anything. But I guess the one thing I can say is that I’m taking it back to the fundamentals of what music is about for me and really stripping it down. The last album I did was really conceptional and very driven by abstract concepts at the time. I really wanted to display a whole range of things that I’m interested in and it was step away from “I’m only an artist doing dancefloor 12-inches”. For the next one, I’m going to condense things down a little and focus on what music is about for me.

You said that there will be a lot of recordings of “strange instruments” to bring as much of that life in as possible to combine with electronics. Can you tell us a more about this idea?

It’s something I’ve been getting into alongside the use of analogue instruments. Working with people like Tom Hodge and I recently had a collaboration with Jazz musicians pushed it a lot. It’s just like a fusion. There’s so much amazing content out there, and richness in the musical world. I don’t want to restrict myself to using computers and synthesizers. I wanna try to bring in everything and use live instrumentation when I can. I’ve been experimenting a lot with this and hopefully it will come together for the album.

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18 July 2015 | Buiten Westen | Tickets | Westerpark