In early 2017 Tosca, the venerable Austrian downtempo project led by genre stalwarts Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber, released their eighth album, Going Going Going. After inviting vocalists to collaborate on 2014’s Outta Here, the pair streamlined their creative process and returned to the deep, dubby roots.
Speaking to Big Shot after the album’s release, Dorfmeister underlined the importance of going back to basics: “The dub element is perhaps the one thing that glues the album together, but if you scan all the little musical elements which make up a Tosca track you will discover all different kinds of influences – jazz, blues, funk — but also music from all the different corners of this world. Combine that with our own homemade vision and freethinking attitude and that translates itself into the typical Tosca music language.”
On February 9 Tosca will present Boom Boom Boom (The Going Going Going Remixes), a companion remix collection. The tracks were crafted by an all-star crew composed of Brendon Moeller, Shanti Roots & Scheibosan, Pacifica, Steve Cobby, Stefan Obermaier, Megablast, Second Sky & Thomas Blondet and Stereotyp.
In this exclusive interview, we asked the remixers to interview Dorfmeister and Huber. The fascinating conversation touches on the creative process, studio gear and blockchain technology.
Which instrument would you say has been a constant throughout your years as a composer and why?
Rupert: The piano. It is the ultimate acoustic instrument and there can be so many sounds made with the piano — soft and ambient, loud and noisy, harmonic or groove. I can also use it as a drum kit or play directly on the strings. It is an unbeatable invention, and it is clean and pure — needs no energy like electricity.
How would you describe a perfect day?
Rupert: Sleeping late, nice breakfast, back to bed afterwards. It’s sunny and warm enough to hang out outside or have the windows open. Later to the studio and just jam around, and be with somebody I love in the evening.
Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?
Rupert: I would like to go deeper in terms of music space and architecture.
Discuss: technical prowess makes music better or worse?
Richard: The production process has become quicker compared to the ’90s or early 2000s. But at the end of the day it all comes down to the good ideas no matter what gear you use!
Which would you prefer: A band or somebody on a laptop with a controller?
Rupert: At concerts I often close my eyes so basically I do not care.
Do you ever use any mobile (iOS or Android) apps in your music?
Rupert: Yes, currently: IKaossilator, DXi, Musaico, Electronic Piano Synthesizer XS (useful for tuning) and Notion, a mobile score application.
Favorite dub-reggae record of all-time?
Richard: Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry anthology box set.
Why make music?
Rupert: While my hands are busy playing music I can’t use them to beat somebody up. So music is just the best — it is a great gift for humanity.
The question since 1000 years ;): Will there be ever an album by Kruder & Dorfmeister? You are now DJing again with Peter Kruder.
Richard: Great to team up with Peter again. It just feels right now to do some DJ shows and to continue to do new music together.
Downtempo is coming back with several new artists — I mean the slowhouse genre. Could you compare the ’90s style with nowadays downtempo or is it completely different to the ’90s?
Richard: The slowhouse genre I enjoy a lot. It is cool to move a crowd with a mid-tempo groove! Producers like Be Svendsen and Crussen are strong!
What do you think could bring back income for artist in the future, because selling music is hard at the moment and streaming is the future. Do you think the blockchain system like DSound could change the game or are the majors still the big players who don’t want to change the system?
Rupert: In general, blockchain technology might allow a personalized and direct business communication between musician and audience. However, it stills needs some time until people understand or accept this as a way of distributing music.
What’s the future of music? Will only big names like you survive or is it also hard for you to survive?
Richard: It definitely has become harder to survive, but the enthusiasm for music is apparently stronger. But it was much easier some years ago to make a living with music production.
Knowing Rich for almost 25 years I am still impressed of the quality he represents after so many years. The remix files for “Supersunday,” for example. Which are your main synthesizers you use for your productions?
Richard: We’ve always combined analogue and digital equipment. The synthesizer we used for a very long time is the Korg MS20, an excellent piece of equipment.
What you guys do for coming down/relaxing between being a family man and touring?
Rupert:I like to read and listen to music and also just do nothing.
How you usually start a track? Is it the melody or the groove that has priority?
Richard: In fact, we rather try to catch a certain mood and try to translate that feelings into a musical language.
Do you still look out for new technology like the latest plugins or new AD/DA or new synths?
Richard: Still crazy about new equipment. There are constantly new plugin synths/effects so knowing the originals it’s always interesting to check them out. But honestly there is still a magic about these old original synths. Perhaps it’s because you have to treat them more like a human being.
What is pushing you most?
Rupert: Merging two strong individual artists with a similar musical background and a quite different artistic profile for such a long time (and still having fun doing it) is kind of unique in music history …. and bringing pleasure to the people has always been a strong motivation to keep on doing it as well.
Every Tosca album has its own story, vibe and mood. Do you still select special sources of inspiration as part of the current concept like at “Suzuki”?
Rupert: Yes. Sometimes we have a basic idea/concept before we start producing — sometimes it comes up during the process, but at the end there is always a general idea that defines an album. That does not mean it is an “ideological” one: often the idea turns out as something completely different
You and Rupert have lived in different cities for a long time now. How has this affected your workflow?
Tosca: Having studio time together is definitely more precious because of that situation. It is harder to organize. When it happens, we very much enjoy that strictly dedicated music time. The good thing about that setup is to know that our mutual studio time is limited so we really try to use that time effectively.
Where do you feel more at home: Vienna or Zürich?
Richard: Both cities are my home now!
Recently Matthew Herbert played at the Club Zukunft in Zürich. He travelled by train to be more ecological. Can you imagine doing such a long travel by train as well?
Richard: Yes, I could. Long travels can be highly inspiring if you have the time.
Do you still play the traverse flute?
Richard: Yes, sometimes. It is such a good and warm-sounding instrument, especially when you treat it with some effects in the studio.
Why are you still humble guys who’ve kept their feet on the ground?
Richard: It’s the family that keeps you grounded!