As we brace ourselves both mentally and physically for the return of Sven Väths colossal Cocoon takeover this Saturday, there is one artist taking preparations into his own hands. Working up a sweat before his live show in Room One, we caught up with the notoriously low-key producer, Christian Burkhardt to discover why right now, he doesn’t consider himself to be a DJ. Digging deeper, we get a unique insight into the intricate programming of his ever-growing, floor driving live show and find out what really gives him goosebumps…
Spreading the ripple of excitement further, we’ve also got our hands on two prizes to be won both containing Christian Burkhardt’s "Bass Horse EP" and “Stopover Goa EP” pressed on 12" vinyl. To be in for a chance to win email the answer to the following question to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What label was the Revolver LP released on?
Hi Christian, thanks for speaking with us today. Where abouts in the world are you?
Actually I am in Offenbach at my place and just back from a run. I'm sweating like hell.
Who were your early inspirations and what inspires you today?
My older sister was listening to Front 242, Depeche mode, EBM stuff and wave music in the early 80s and this was my first contact to electronic music. Later came the usual suspects like Sven’s club night… I don`t have to list the rest of them here, you will know those names already….
Nowadays a lot of inspiration comes from my friends, when we play showcases together I listen to what they are playing and I try to keep the vibe of the night in my mind. It can also come from a vintage funk/soul/hiphop snippet or chewing gum! I recently recorded myself chewing because it fitted to the track…
When you go to a record store, can you describe what it is you’re looking for and what are some of your most recent purchases that have got you excited?
I only go to the record store (Freebase) to meet my friends - I'm not really collecting music/records that much at the moment - actually I'm not a DJ any more, I play live only. In the past I was and maybe in the future but at the moment I keep the focus on my own music and try to keep my head free from a music overload.
You keep a low profile while producing some of the most exciting and creatively inspired music to played in the clubs. Has it always been your plan to keep things underground away from the hype?
For me it’s about doing music and playing live. We (labels and myself) never did big promotion or such things and I am also lazy with interviews, I think this is my fourth or fifth one….? It isn`t a plan or kind of style, for me it’s more fun to spend the time with tweaking kick drums and basslines.
How does producing music in the studio compare to playing it live in the clubs for you?
Since I use Ableton in the studio, producing is similar to my live show because in the studio I produce new loops direct in my live set, then I play them out in my liveshows and the best of them I jam, record and adjust back in the studio and the result is the release. When I am producing with friends, it can be a the same party vibe like in the club.
Could you give us some insights in how you approach your live performances? How do you go about selecting your tracks and what gear do you use for your live performances?
Yeah it’s Ableton, 2 times 6 tracks: kick, bass, snare…. another 6 tracks for add on vocals, FX….. and the NI machine packed with samples to jam around. Everything is controlled by 3 times faderfox which are fitted in one box. For years I carried an Electribe Er-1 with me, but it’s broken no so I use an Ipad to control the effects and also for clip manipulation.
You kicked off 2011 with the Cocoon release ‘Stopover Goa.’ It had been working the floor in Sven Väth peak-time sets long before. How did you respond to the massive dancefloor reaction it received?
Yeah it’s still a cool feeling to see when a track of mine moves the asses of a few thousand people, sometimes I get goosebumps.
What's it like being part of the Cocoon family and how do you prepare mentally & physically for the summer ahead?
Like I said – I’m just back from running, so this and lots of water, I go to bed sometimes and it’s super cool to play and spend time with the Cocoon gang.
What have you noticed that’s changed most about clubbing, club culture and techno as a genre in recent years?
It’s going bigger and bigger and for this reason more commercial. On one hand it’s good because more people are into our kind of music. On the other hand sometimes I am loosing the overview - so much music, so many DJ’s…. but I am happy "techno" is still alive, or better than alive.
If you could sum up the Cocoon party at fabric this Saturday in three words what would they be?
A BIG BANG
So what’s on the horizon for you?
After the ‘Revolver’ album which I did together with my mate Einzelkind, I'm now working on a Christian Burkhardt long player.