Ekkohaus is the work of one of Greece’s brightest musical exports, Kostas Tassopoulos. With the accolade of having two of his own tracks opening last month’s Claude VonStroke helmed fabric CD, we caught up with him to learn a little more about the ghostly monikered producer.
Can you give our readers a brief introduction about yourself?
I was born in Greece, where I got my early inspiration about music and culture. I have a deep passion for a lot of things, and have tried quite a few of them, but music has been the most expressive language for me so far...
How would you describe your sound, to the uneducated?
The Ekkohaus project is based on contemporary electronic music (somewhere in the borders between house and techno) with extreme use of vocals (not in the traditional songwriting way), a certain amount of... jazziness, and indirect references to subjects around politics, philosophy, but also the unexplored dark corners of our souls, which is the erotic part...
How did you get into music? We read that you played quite a few instruments growing up…was music your first love?
My parents decided that I should start learning a musical instrument when I was 6. I was unaware at the time what a big present that was…because, after 6 years I stopped the piano lessons, but the synthesizer stayed at home.
Painting was my first love. I became more and more attached to music after the age of 12. Started with piano/keys, and later moved on to drum kits (rhythmic composition), and orchestral percussion (vibraphone/marimba etc). My thirst for new grounds in sound led me into electronic music in the mid nineties.
Why did you initially move to London?
I was disappointed from the courses on music production in Greece, and I wanted to push my limits and knowledge further, so London was a natural selection for me to expand my conscience and continue my musical research…to get inspired, influenced, lost and eventually found.
And what made you make the move to Berlin?
Again it was the love for music and the search for a more humane, artistic and creative surrounding. I am interested in politics, philosophy, contemporary arts and the study of sub cultures. Berlin seems to be hosting the most interesting, uncategorized, unspoiled, free thinking individuals in the world at the moment.
Tell us a bit about Strictly No Dancing…
"Strictly No Dancing" started as an ‘ironic’ take on England's questionable politics, laws and licenses concerning entertainment and fun. The essence of the night though is: more soul, less mathematics, more songs, less loops. It is traditionally on a Thursday, so you can receive the necessary musicality and intriguing fresh sounds from the past...before you expose yourself to the big ego of the DJ in the club on the weekend.
We read that during the SND nights, “the guest DJs offer a journey in the past of their record collection rather than their latest hot tracks....” – can you talk us through a journey into your personal record collection?
I am too, one of the crate-digging geeks you know.....you can find some funny and quite diverse stuff in my collection, from Nina Simone and Thelonius Monk to Syd Barret and Sonic Youth...from King Tubby and Burial to Arthur Russell and Theo Parrish...
What inspires you, beyond music?
I like conversation a lot. I also have a deep appreciation for the arts; I get inspired quite a bit from visual representations and environments.
What are your plans for Ekkohaus for the future?
I do not plan things ahead. However, I still a have a lot to learn, topics to improve, things to say, melodies to compose... I am now working with a few people I respect and admire, and I am very grateful for this. I want to give people a good time and at the same time, make them think, without spoiling their entertainment...