Name: Martin Druzella aka Doctor Dru

Nationality: German

Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Doctor Dru's New Moon EP is out via Jeudi Records.

If you enjoyed this interview with Doctor Dru and would like to keep up to date with his work, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

Music is my form of expression. Sound, any form of vibration is triggering me. When something swings, clinks, makes noises. Doing something creative is for me the ultimate form of happiness and, vice versa, if nothing is happening or flowing, there is frustration.

Surely my surrounding is my source of inspiration. What I do, whom I interact with, what I eat. It’s not always a conscious thing. I have my daily mood of all what influences me and, in this state, I have to sit down and get inspired by actually doing something.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualization' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

It varies … I do go to the studio with intentions. But in the end, most of the time, something totally different comes out. Of course, one criterion is: I mainly do dance music so my intention is to give people a good time on the floor, to put them in a state in which they can release their energies, tingle their emotions and open their hearts.

I like to go with the flow, and I like the state of playing and not thinking and limiting myself.

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?

Cleaning up your studio helps to start with a fresh mind. To clear the old chaos allows for something new to happen ... To change some settings brings new ideas to the table as well.

The synths or tools you want to work with should be cabled and ready to use. Nothing more frustrating than stopping in the process because the machines are not responding.

Also, I like to sit and look for samples or listen to music other than dance music to get myself in a certain mood or inspired.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I try to follow rituals as I know they help me to be in a good, open and focused state when creating. I learned that if I don’t follow these rituals my days are less effective and focused, I am less happy.  It doesn’t mean I’m always super strict with this but I know at least what is bringing me in the right mindset.

First, I need to do some sort of sport in the morning. Running, working out, yoga and most importantly meditation which I got back into recently again. It’s helping a lot to set a good foundation for the day. Then I need sufficient sleep. Not too much coffee ... no coffee would be best, but I am addicted. Would love to leave this ritual but I love it too much.

I like working early hours. Between 3 to 6pm I am useless doing anything creative. Best time for napping or emails. Really, my day is so different if I don’t follow these rituals. My brain is everywhere, and I mostly I don’t get around to anything.

What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?

Not particularly. If I don’t have an idea, I just open an old project and mix it up. Or I start with sorting some old stuff. There is always something to discover.

Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?

I need to be very fast as long as I am inspired. So, I mainly throw ideas in and it’s more like a chaos and then I have to sort it out and the hardest part is still to come: To evaluate your result and to leave it, improve it or delete it.

That’s where I would love to have a partner. I mean, you are constantly evaluating yourself. Is it a good idea or just for the trash? So many thoughts are coming. Is it cool, is it fresh, is it cheesy, whatever. I think every writer can relate.

Sometimes you have good days with a lot of self-esteem, some days you are insecure if anything is good what you did at all.

Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?

I would say: let it flow and trust in the process. To keep control mostly get me stuck. Then the evaluating process, the thinking sets in and this is breaking the creative flow. At least for me …

Evaluating is for later. During the writing process I like to collect ideas and then later carve them out.

Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?

It happens all the time to me and I think, it is a big mistake not to follow them. Because this is exactly where you want to be as a creative, isn’t it? In the unknown just guided by the moment. That’s where playing and feeling comes in. You want to be in this zone, in “the zone”.

Also, you can always save your project and go back or you can save these little ideas for later.

There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?

Creating is a lot of craftsmanship as well. I mean writing a song is truly a craft. You need to learn a lot of skills, and you follow patterns. You have a certain workflow.

But then there is this state you can’t explain, a state which is hard to fathom. There are strong energies flowing between you and your surroundings. There is also an energy between you and the machines. The vibe you are in is projecting to the machines and the machines are giving you inspiration and new ideas as well.

The creative state is for me some kind of meditational state. What I described with being in the zone. Only in the now. It’s fascinating.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

You feel it. It is something you need to be honest about to yourself. I always tend to look for the maximum I can get out of a sound, an idea or a mix. And then I overwork things and it loses its soul.

My best recommendation is always to save your first idea and frequently the steps in between. Thanks to the digital age you can undo and go back a few steps.

Also, I don’t have too much stuff on my computer. Most of the synth plug ins I have I do really use. I see a lot of producers having thousands of cracked plugins of all kinds but struggling then to finish anything as the possibilities are endless.   

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?

Normally I would work for a maximum of three days on a track and then let it rest for some time. Cause I really can’t evaluate it anymore after having listened to it for like 6 hours each day for three days in a row.

Currently, I tend to work less per day on a track. I feel like a max of 4 hours is enough and then it's time to do something else. For me then it is really hard to improve or refine a track. Basically, what I had to say is said. It’s hard to refine after that and it’s not a job I really like. It’s the polishing, adding highlights, evaluating again and basically finishing the track for release. It’s hard work always.

For me the most fun process is done when you did the basic composition. What I like is mixing but not so much my own tracks as I don’t have a good distance to them. But I don’t like giving them out of hand either. (laughs)

What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?

I am doing everything from start to finish. Except mastering, which I like to hand to someone else. It’s a very special field and a good mastering engineer can be worth their value in gold for your tracks. And it’s also a good reinsurance for me that all frequencies are in place as I don’t have the best listening environment. I have my favorites engineers now whom I can trust blindly.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

For me it’s the other way round. When something is finally released or finished, I am super motivated to start or finish something new. It’s like a rush. The feeling like you have finally cleaned up your closet and everything looks fresh. It feels so good to have old projects finished and gone from your desk and make space for new adventures.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

It is utterly satisfying to make a great cup of coffee, which includes knowledge, craftsmanship and passion. Of course, it also includes hints of taste and energy you put in. I think you can express yourself in many ways. Most importantly do it with love, curiosity, passion and flexibility. There is always something to discover.

At the moment I can’t imagine another field other than music to express what I have deep inside of me. But I’m sure my life will show me what is has on the plate still.