Name: Michael Bihler
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: The new HDSN 12'' "I House You But Love" is available now, and so is his single “Alright”, both out via NBAST. Also still available is his EP Back In The Days, which comes with five carefully curated remixes. Both tracks display the wide range of styles Bihler is capable of subsuming under the HDSN umbrella – on the strength of his impeccable production skills and dreamy, bittersweet mood work.
Recommendations: This is a hard one as I got too much on my mind but these are some things worth checking out in my opinion:
Book: Napoleon Hill (any worth reading)
Painting: Simone Florell (these paintings brighten my day every day)
Record: Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes – What Kind Of Music (helped me cope with lockdown, pandemic and personal struggles a lot. Especially “Lift Off” is an incredible body of work. Everyone who's into real music should listened to it once. Go check out the video shot on reel it's just amazing.
[Read our Yussef Dayes interview]
Music Video: Kanye West - "Runaway" (This one's from 2010. I do not feel the album that much but this video was so ahead of its time and still is an artful masterpiece today.) Just to give an example for a great audio visualization)
If you enjoyed this interview with HDSN, visit the project's official website. He is also on Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I wouldn't describe my way into music as the typical procedure. I do not have a musical background and I grew up in a little village near the Austrian border far away from the electronic dance music world.
When I was around sixteen I got introduced to trance and stuff. It was the older generation like the older brothers of friends that got us into it. We ripped CDs from their cars and listened to them when we were out on a bender over the weekend that's how we were slightly tapping in this whole wide universe of electronic music and we liked it. Back then we've been listening to Extrawelt, Deadmau5 or Paul Kalkbrenner through a radio station called Sunshine live as this was an easy way to get access to this music. Two years later we decided to visit a festival that we found out about and that's when it really clicked for me. At this time, I didn't know that I want to become a Deejay or producer I was just fascinated by this new world I discovered and wanted to be part of.
When we came back from the festival, we started doing illegal raves where we were “deejaying” if you want to call it that way and I developed a knack for electronic music and fantasised about becoming a Deejay. I must have been round about nineteen when the passion for all this really took over. I never knew what I wanted to do in my future. I come from a very conservative and traditional place where a lot of people just follow their parents jobwise but I couldn’t identify with that. Music gave me a perspective, a direction and pulled me out of this void, it made me happy … so I was like I wanna do music! It's the love for the music that drew me to it and still does today - it changed my life.
My inspirations and influences switch constantly, sometimes it's even hard to focus on what I want to do as an artist because I am inspired by many different kinds of music. But this passion that's deeply rooted in the love for music never faded - that's what keeps me driven.
I make music because I feel like I'm here to do this I'm all about music.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
That was always my main goal: making music like my heroes do and injecting my own vibe into it to; expressing myself through music. I think that's just the way it goes. You like certain artists and try to emulate their work and as you do you learn … and develop your own style - it's a process.
Starting off with playing records I was already fascinated about how tracks work, the production and techniques behind them. That's what got me into making music. I thought if I love playing music for people so much it must be a hell of a joy producing it. I taught myself how to use Ableton and started making beats. The beginning wasn't that much fun though. You got to master the art of accepting that your first tracks will sound like shit and stay motivated enough to keep on doing. But in the end, it's like every new skill that you want to learn in life … the reward needs to be owned.
Joy really took over when I got comfortable with software and the ability to transform an idea in your head into an actual project. Music for me is all about emotions and feelings, so whatever I feel on a particular day I'll try to find a way to express in an artful way. It can be sadness, happiness or a message that I want to put out in the world and I think this is how I found my own voice.
My music was never a money driven product, I make it to make life a little better for me and the people around me. That's my signature.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
I have an identity crisis all the time so I try not to be influenced by all these too much ha ;)
In the end it's the process of an artist that shapes him towards the real self-inside and makes him better. So, I would say music wise, it has a positive impact - personally it can be tiring though. ;)
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
The biggest challenge has always been to implement all these ideas stuck in my head. It's probably one of my biggest frustrations; not only in music production but also in any other part in my life as an artist from graphics to videos and other stuff: I have so many ideas but oftentimes lack the know how to realise them.
On the other hand this is what brought me here; that constant striving for getting better in what I do so I'm able to create the very best art I can and bring all these visions to life.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
I already told this before and I'll stick to that: In today's world with no boundaries and endless possibilities it's just a matter of being creative and inventive. I started out in the bedroom in my mother's house with two little Yamaha monitors, a controller and my laptop and basically nothing's changed since then. I never had the opportunity to get myself a studio outside of my walls but I'm not mad (my neighbours are sometimes) but I'm happy with that it's not an essential.
The only thing I really need is uninterrupted time for myself. I think It's better to keep your list of equipment small and focus on your creativity. Many producers out there spend way too much money on things they do not need, nerding around instead of just getting in the studio and making music. It's just an ego thing you know and I think ego kills creativity. In this industry, everyone wants to sell you the piece that does the magic trick buy that does not mean it does.
For me it's all about efficiency … making the most out of the tools that i have. I bought myself a Roland 909 over the years but this was more a personal thing as I love the sound and always wanted to own one, that's pretty much it. My choices are influenced by how I can create certain sounds that I heard somewhere else and after I am hundred percent sure that I need this or that I get it. Everything else is just accessories or budget that can be invested on other ends.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Theo Parrish once said: I am not convenient with technology replacing artistry and I really feel that.
Of course, there are definitely some tools out there that influenced my way of making music like Ableton but I feel like I am the artist that's making the music and not the tools. All these tools are just an enhancement of my mind. That's how I see it.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
I haven't collaborated with other artists that much over the last couple of years because music for me is something very personal and honest and I really got to fuck with your energy to go and make music with you. There are not that many people I'd like to work with here in Munich and the whole file sharing stuff is pretty impersonal I feel.
Fortunately, I have met a bunch of cool and very talented people over the last year which drew me to the whole thing and I am slightly getting more into it. I never lacked of inspiration but I think it's always inspiring and refreshing to talk to other artists about music.