Jacob Groening, Berlin-based producer, joined us in a conversation following his ‘Nican’ EP release on the newly launched label from events brand Zero.
How are you, what has it been like in the part of the world where you are?
Hello, I’m healthy and greatfull with my life right now. I have been in Berlin during the last 2 years, actively helping the last 9 months in a vaccine center, hoping to get back to a normal life soon and help that indoor events like ADE are possible again. This makes me feel more alive after a challenging period of my life. Actually i am focussing on music and on my Label Kamai Music that i am running with my friend Zigan Aldi.
How did you first get started in music, particularly the electronic music industry?
Music has been present since my childhood. My family always surrounded me with Music. My father played guitar, my sister was a fan of psychedelic trance music and my brother bought himself turntables that I was using when he wasn’t at home. At the age of 13, I started playing the drums in my own band and started to learn to produce beats with reason and Cubase sx for a hip-hop project.
Then I moved to Hamburg, where I was a promoter organizing events at Solomuns former club called “Ego”. Two years later I started producing my first ep with ableton. It got picked up by Delicieuse records, a french label.
They pressed it on Vinyl and it sold out rapidly. I was surprised. Since then I felt like creating music instead of organizing events.
If you could share one figure in dance music who has been the most inspirational for you, who is it, and why?
I have a vinyl collection at home of different genres that inspired me. My preference goes from Daft Punk, Nicolas Jaar, Buena vista social club, to Lennie Tristano. But also I get inspired by America or Santana. But for dance music, it’s definitely Daft Punk
Over the past 18 months or so, it has been difficult, has this changed your approach to the music you produce?
In the beginning, I couldn’t get out anywhere, so I spent my days in the studio isolated from my music. Normally, I used to travel and record sounds and collaborate with other artists. But with the pandemic I found myself creating my own sounds, playing guitar and experimenting with other instruments. I also produced my first DIY music video, Leslie, and I think under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have happened.
Zero, obviously a formidable events brand out of NYC, now established itself as a label. How does it feel to be the first music released on the new project?
I felt honored, they asked me to provide the first release for their new label after i showed the ep to them. This felt familiar and good to me because I know them for many years now. To be honest, this release was planned for April 2020. The pandemic hit us in an unexpected way, and we were suffering together from the effects of the pandemic in the music industry. Somehow this created a bond between us.
When jamming in the studio, is there any particular hardware or software you are a fan of?
I work only with analog gear. Since I started this it changed the way I produce as I am a very haptic person. I like the Moog Subsequent and its monophonic synths a lot for monophonic sounds. For polyphonic sounds, I like Dave Smith for example.
What track or release is one that stands out for you, and will always be special listening back to you?
My fav track at this point is Leslie. I created this track during the first lockdown, it is the result of recordings I did before the pandemic and finished them during lockdown isolated in the studio.
I have a deep connection to it!
What more can you tell us about future projects you are working on?
I am working on a crypto based video project together with a friend, which is one of the the most exciting projects at the moment. As well i am secretly dropping a tune the next 2 months via a platform of choice and i am finishing a beautiful ep the next 2 weeks that i cant wait to finally share as well. My Mexico Tour will start end of October. It is the first time after 2 years.