Releasing his new LP “1989” on Kompakt on 22 September, we asked several questions to Kölsch about the genesis of his autobiographical trilogy started with “1977” and “1983” and conclude with “1989”. Another significant step was his set on the infamous Eiffel Tower on 16 October, to celebrate his close relationship with France.
1989 is probably the most poetic and melancolic one from the trilogy which came out on Kompakt. How can you explain that? Considering that the first it, 1977, is a reference to your year of birth.
The 3 albums are autobiografical, so with 1989 we have ended up at a more sad and melancholic time in my life.
At that time is was living between my parents after their divorce, and i had a big impact on my life. I would use Skateboarding and music to escape the reality. It was the first time i realized that i needed escapism in my life.
It is very much about an internal struggle, and understanding how life is in constant motion. Replacing emotions with music, and using the city to define a new way of life.
How did the recording of the album unfolded? For « Serij » track you were assisted by multi instrumentist and compositor Gregor Schwennelbach and by the singer Aurora for « In Bottles ». You worked in a studio or separatly?
It was a bit of both. Gregor and i worked very close on creating the string parts for Serij. He also conducted the Heritage orchestra, when we went to the studio to record with them in London. It was an amazing experience to hear 30 people play something i had created.
All in all, it all came from demos i had been working on over the last 3 years. A look stuff was re-recorded, to give it a more human touch. I love the idea of using musicians as plugins.
What can you say about the opening track with the voice of your Grandfather, Ludwig Kölsch, on the opening track?
My aunt has a large collection of cassette tapes recorded by him, where he tells the story of his life. I was given some of the recordings, and i felt like i needed to include him on this album. It is is voice you hear on the intro.
Did you ask for other musicians help to produce the rest of the album? If not, which musical instruments and engines did you use?
I had some stems re-recorded with live musicians, but it was all written by me. i work a lot on the road, so i use ableton a lot. Its the perfect way for me to get ideas down very quickly. I dont work very well with other musicians, as i feel that it dilutes the emotional purity of a piece of music, when too many people are involved. Gregor is the exception here.
What’s your approch to your work? We also think about the work on a LP who’s is different than a work on a EP. Do you focus on it once for good or twice?
An LP is a much longer process. Its very much about finding a personal story one wishes to tells nd then executing that in the best way possible. Its a long and sometimes hard journey from beginning to end. To create 1989, i had around 35 demos and i ended up with 13 tracks, that i felt were good. it took 3 years, so there is also a level of sadness to handing it over.
Few Dj’s and artists, in a extended way, had the occasion to produce themselves on the Eiffel Tower. How did it feel?
It was a great experience. Ive always had a very close bond to Paris and France. A lot of my favorite techno came from the early days of French electronic music. Releases on Fnac and F communication had a huge importance for me. I felt this was an opportunity to give a little back to the city that has given me so much. A very emotional moment.
Now that your triptych is done, do you have projects to come? Also autobiographic or with other influences?
I honestly am not sure what the next project will be, ill have to think about it for a while. Lets see what inspires me in the future.