After having the pleasure of world premiering “Pattern Movement” featuring Geneviève Marentette from Berlin techno producer Michael Klein’s brilliant Drawing EP released last week on Pan-Pot‘s Second State label, we have a special treat for our readers. The duo — Thomas Benedix and Tassilo Ippenberger — sat down for an intimate chat with the latest edition to their label’s growing roster of talent.
In this revealing interview, Pan-Pot ask Klein about his music-making process and the array of creative activities that are on his plate.
“I always end up running multiple projects at the same time,” he confesses to the guys. “Once I have an idea in my head, I cannot stop until I release it. It’s a curse and a blessing but with less sleep, good time management and pure selfish drive to finish what I have started, I get it done somehow.”
Pan-Pot: Hey Michael, we are very happy to welcome you with your Drawing EP on Second State. You are truly a man of many talents: a product designer at Native Instruments; you just finished together with Mino Kodama the Dubfire documentary Above Ground Level; and you produce music. What is the driving force behind all of your creative endeavours? And how do you manage your time with all your different projects? Are there any priorities?
Michael Klein: Thanks for the kind words, Tassilo and Thomas. Coming from you two multi-talents, it means a lot to me, and I’m very excited to become part of the Second State family. I always end up running multiple projects at the same time. Once I have an idea in my head, I cannot stop until I release it. It’s a curse and a blessing but with less sleep, good time management and pure selfish drive to finish what I have started, I get it done somehow.
As you already pointed out, the projects are from totally different fields. This means that for some projects it requires a lot more time to learn about the tools and techniques to make it happen. But I learned that even if something might take more time than I expected — which is the case most of the times —I still enjoy explore and learn new things along the way. With so many projects lined up, of course, I have to set my priority — which is music. All my projects have a strong relationship if not even the core in music. When I get in my studio producing music sometimes I end up being stuck for hours, which can be really frustrating. I use other projects to clear my mind and find new inspirations for my number one priority: making music.
“This project is more like a personal statement of the maturity I have achieved till now, a way to show to myself that I have grown, going into deeper atmospheres.”
How do you feel about your EP, and why did you choose Second State as label?
For me it was important to find a label for my music where I would feel like at home. I remember how I already met you guys years ago through my daytime job at NI. We instantly got along so well, not only because we are sharing the same background in technical music education but also because you guys are so down to earth and just great fun to hang out with.
At some point we started test listening some of my productions after work or during a lunch break in your amazing studio, and after some time I think we just clicked musically. Later on I learned about the other talented people you guys already had signed to your label, and when I saw how closely everybody was working together, I really felt and understood the unique vibe you all had: like in a family. From that moment on it kind of became a goal to join this family, and I am very thankful to feel so well received.
Tell us something about the inspiration and idea behind your Drawings EP.
The inspiration came from many long nights DJing or simply by hanging out going at deep and dubby techno parties, especially at my favorite club Stattbad where I had the honor to have a residency. These nights, to some degree, educated me and defined my taste and influences in techno.
Drawings is my first EP after some time of silence. This project is more like a personal statement of the maturity I have achieved till now, a way to show to myself that I have grown, going into deeper atmospheres — at least compared to some of my previous productions. The title “Drawings” is coming from the fact that I am a very visual person. Every time I hear a good track I can close my eyes to actually “see” it. It might sound a bit odd and hard to follow but I perceive music as “drawings,” squiggles of thin and thick lines, open and closed shapes, from abstract to concrete sketches. I liked this analogy so much that I had to name my first ever EP this way.
The exclusive track on the EP is taken from your LED art installation that you just finished. Give us a little insight of the concept behind this project and the music that you produced for it, and especially this exclusive track.
The idea behind my drawings installation was born like six months ago. I wanted to create live “drawings” for a specific piece of music. The intention was to share my view of music and give to “drawings” the needed depth in 3D space rather than just being a flat animation. That’s why I developed a piece to be set in a space, a three-dimensional triangle made out of 91 LED bars mounted on a solid construction. I already knew that to make this installation special it had to come with a piece of music that is specifically composed for it. So I took my time getting into this, for me, completely unexplored territory of noise which then ended up becoming the “live drawings” piece. Finally two weeks ago I was able to find a warehouse space in Oberschöneweide where I could actually translate all the ideas and sketches into the physical construction and basically prove my concept.
What are you working on currently? Any new projects coming up? Tech, art, music or anything else you are passionate about?
Currently I am working on pulling all strings together on my installation and exploring paths of how I could further make use of that technology and new knowledge. In parallel, I am getting back to the studio to work on some more pieces for the dance floor as well as diving deeper into the topic of noise and atmospheres.
Michael Klein’s Drawings EP is out now on Second State.