Ahead of their back-to-back set this weekend Roberto and Roman Lindau got together to talk production routines, but when they linked up, their conversation started by discussing how music brought them together.
Roman Lindau: I think we started the conversation on Facebook, because we liked the sound of each other’s music. One day Roberto sent me a track called Rings of Smoke, and it blew my mind. Sascha Rydell and I had the idea of releasing it on Fachwerk. In the late summer of 2013 we met in person for the first time and made plans to release this bomb of a track. From the first moment I met Roberto I liked him, because he is cool and level-headed. To be honest it’s not only the music that makes you want to work with other artists. The result is a friendship since that initial meeting.
Roberto: The first time I saw you play was in the second room at Corsica Studios. The way you took control of that room was hugely impressive. The crowd were going crazy in there! After that, I contacted you online and we got talking. I think we may have met a couple of times when you were over in London before I met you in Berlin to discuss Rings of Smoke. As you said, it was initially the music which brought us together, but it was clear that a great friendship also developed as a result. We seem to have similar tastes in the music we play. I’m interested to know how that developed. What are your influences?
Roman Lindau: I remember that night at Corsica! I’m influenced by so many styles of music: house, techno, funk, jazz, and especially hip-hop from the 80s and 90s. I´m a big fan of funky, fat and deep bass and I think a bassline is the key to make a track rolling and grooving. Fossil Archive has been a great success since its inception. Did you ever envision this?
Roberto: No! The label was only ever really intended to be a platform for my own music, so to see it grow organically since 2015 when I started, and to be in a position where I can also release music by my heroes is overwhelming. It’s been a dream of mine to do a label showcase at fabric for many years. Room Two has been hugely influential on how my sound as a producer, and the music which is released on the label has developed. For example, Gurleyi from the first release was made specifically with Room Two in mind. I wanted to create a deep hypnotic track that still had the weight in the low end for a specific period of a DJ set. Every time I hear that track, I have memories of playing it in Room Two for the first time and seeing a sea of people moving to it. To be able to do the showcase for the label at fabric with my favourite artists is a dream come true. Do you ever produce tracks with specific places or moods in mind?
"Producing didn’t interest me when I was younger" - Roman LindauRoman Lindau: When I work in the studio, I don’t have a set plan. Every track I make is different. I try to create the feeling and idea that makes it sound great. Sometimes this can happen a long time after creating the track, and sometimes it can happen on the first day. It’s always different. I just go with the flow and work with whatever sounds good! It’s like a journey I do every time; lost in space, lost in time. Would you say you have a tried and tested formula for making tracks?
Roberto: I'm much the same! There's no major formula, although I tend to start with the drums first. I find the best tracks I've made are the ones which come together the fastest. Everything just flows nicely. Often the ones which I toil for days over never really make the cut. I set myself a rule to finish everything though, no matter how bad it is! Where did you learn how to produce?
Roman Lindau: My first contact with producing was through Mike Dehnert. He showed me how much fun you can have if you create your own stuff, and that inspired me a lot. Mike began producing very early, when he was about 18. Producing didn’t interest me when I was younger. I would watch him turn all these knobs and press all these buttons, but I wasn’t really into it. But in 2002 I started to produce my own stuff because I think if you have an intense relationship with music and DJing, usually you will reach a point where you want to create your own stuff. But it took six years to come to release my first track. Raumgestaltung was released in 2008 on my home label Fachwerk, and it appeared in Len Faki’s Berghain 03 mix one year later. Following that, Ben Klock invited me to contribute an exclusive track for his Berghain 04 mix in 2010, around the time he was starting to play more regularly at Berghain. I´m still really happy and proud about that. When did you start to create your own stuff, and how long did it take until you could say “this is my own sound that I want to show other people”? Do you think that young producers today take enough time to develop their own sound or release tracks too early?
Roberto: A long time! I've been learning about production since I was 16. I would say it took me around 10 years before I started to feel more confident and develop my own sound. I think it varies a lot now with how quickly young producers develop though. I think a major factor in that argument is also how technology and production tools have changed over the years. Being original is still very difficult though, and it takes a long time to perfect. How has technology affected the way you DJ and produce music?
"A great track shouldn’t be messed about with using lots of effects" - Roberto
Roman Lindau: I´m delighted that digital DJing is possible today, but I use it in a leaner form. In my opinion there are too many technical opportunities that can distract you, and that can take away from what DJing should stand for. A DJ should decide which track is best in the right moment, rather than how many effects and loops they can use in 5 minutes. I think that if a producer isn’t creating tracks with good arrangements, and DJs are cutting them in and out of their sets again and again, then we could all produce loops rather than tracks with interesting arrangements. That’s not for me. I’m a big fan of vinyl – I still spend money on records, and use vinyl when I play longer sets. One of the best advantages of playing digital is that I can travel without suffering from back pain! I´m also so happy to have the chance to play unreleased stuff. It’s a great thing to test your studio work. Recently a lot of people are coming back to analogue, but often when I listen to it, the sound is cold and soulless. Whenever I worked with it, I got lost. I began to sample all my own stuff, and now my workflow is much better. Ableton has been my companion for the last 10 years, and I still love it. To be honest, it’s not a question of what you use! The ideas and creativity come from your mind, not the machine. Less is sometimes more! Work with limits and you’ll find out how creative you can be. What do you think of the analogue revival?
Roberto: I couldn’t agree more with your comments about arrangements! I also think that a great track shouldn’t be messed about with using lots of effects. The arrangement should be interesting enough to keep the listener engaged. You’re right about using what tools you have to your advantage. Only recently my 15 year old PC which was running Windows XP and Cubase eventually died! The setup was so limited it forced me to be more creative with what I had. Too many options can distract from the creativity. I also use a mixture of hardware and software in my studio. The sound of some of the hardware synths cannot be emulated with software, but you still have to work the sounds once they are in the computer to stop them from sounding too dry and dull. I’ve always worked with samples, so even when using the hardware, I record everything and play around with the audio. The process is the same. I’m so happy to see you on the bill at fabric for the first time. You’ve played a number of times in the UK, as well as other countries over the years though. Do you think audiences differ between countries?
Roman Lindau: I’m very happy to be on board at fabric! I'm particularly excited as it's my first time playing there. That’s a really good question, but also really hard to answer. I would say the way people celebrate and party differs a bit between the countries, as the world is getting more intercultural. Our society is characterized by cultural pluralism, especially in larger cities and capitals of the European countries. That’s why it’s difficult to differentiate between the audiences in the varied countries. The best experiences of playing I’ve had have been in France. The French enjoy meeting and celebrating together. You can feel their "joie de vivre" when you play, especially the younger ones, who are really open to electronic music. My experiences with English people were also good. In England, I also had a very good experience with the crowd. The people there celebrate in a crazy way and they know to party. Let’s have fun together! So what’s your plan with the future of the label?
Roberto: I would love to keep building the label and be in a position to put out more music from artists I admire. Recently I have been collaborating a lot with friends. I don’t want to reveal any names at the minute, but I’m super excited about the music we have created so far! It would be nice to release some of those tracks. I would also like to do more label-related events around the world. Of course, doing this event at fabric is a dream come true and I feel incredibly lucky to be in this position. Who knows what the future holds?