Name: Ludwig AF aka Ludwig Aaron Freimund Röhrscheid
Occupation: Producer, DJ, Live Performer
Current Release: The new Ludwig AF single Aqua is available via his bandcamp store.
Recommendations: “Barry Lyndon“ a film by Stanley Kubrick and I really like this old producer duo called “Chestnut People“. Their stuff is really hard to find but I’m reissuing one of their records on my label.
If you enjoyed this interview with Ludwig AF, stay up to date on his work on Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud. Or visit the Ludwig AF Spotify account for more music.
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 can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making music / noise of some sort. But it really started when I was around 12 when someone at a dinner put me on to Ableton Live, version 6 at the time. The same man gave me all his samples on a hard drive sometime later.
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?
Yes this is very true and I think it’s a process that never stops, it only changes.
When you’re doing this music thing for a while you get to a point where you know how most things work, you explore less. Your result is less of a compromise but at the same time you also trade in a little bit of naivete which is a beautiful thing in music. I think I am very drawn to naive music in a way and I had a moment where I really had to take a step back and realize that art is not about perfecting everything but about letting things flow and expressing yourself. So from that perspective there’s a lot of technical stuff you can learn if it helps your creative process but hard work sometimes does not pay off if you’re focussing only on the technical bits.
I only release the music I make in a state in which I am not thinking about how or why I make it. I think if you learn how to do this you will automatically be original if that makes any sense?
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
I think Identity and creativity are part of the same thing and every part of creating something essentially means recombining things. So your outlook on the world and your style plays a big role in what you’re creating.
That’s why I really profit from doing things like cooking the same recipe a hundred times so I get to know the differences and see what effect it has if I change one ingredient each time. Or I like to look at fashion and then I see how someone is combining crazy patterns and it makes me want to do the same thing in music. I do this kind of stuff a lot, activities that are similar to making art.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
First you experience things like a technical block and I think later it’s all about shutting your brain off from time to time and finding back to your creative ideas from when you had all these technical problems.
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?
My first tool definitely was my computer together with Ableton Live and later I built this whole studio with all the hardware.
But I am now in a luxurious position to say that If I had to do it all again I would definitely start with a DAW again and in addition to that I would buy a pair of the speakers that I am working on nowadays. I have learned quite late that the more I hear the less equipment I need.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Yes, improving the room acoustics and the monitoring system of the space I work in has revealed so many new things to me. When I got my Kii Three speakers I heard details in my music and other people's music that I had never heard before and I got a completely new sense for dynamics and things like spatial image. It was very profound to the point of me having to re-learn how to do certain things.
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?
It can be a great thing because sometimes you surpass yourself and feed off the energy of another person. I really want to be in the same room with the person though.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
By now I know the times in which I am creative so I use that knowledge and do all the creative things in the morning and in the evening. After 3PM my brain just stops working and at around 6PM it’s coming back again. So that’s when I try to do the emails etc. Also arranging music works well because I think you need to use a different part of your brain for that maybe.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
My first EP Velocity which I released in 2018. At this point I had already been making music for a very long time and I am still happy that I chose this as the first work that shows my name on it.
I started working on this track sometime around spring 2017. I was still renting a space in a studio complex in Offenbach, close to Frankfurt and I still remember it was one of these moments in which you don’t think at all and things are just coming together easily. Basically I made the whole thing in 40 minutes and then I arranged it the same day.
Another breakthrough work for me personally is my debut LP which I am working on at the moment.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I can’t really work late at night because I fall asleep all the time. I know a lot of people work well around that time because they don’t get distracted. Honestly I don’t have the solution but I think it’s good to build a space in which you don’t get any distractions and maybe put your phone away?
I sometimes need hours to get to a place in my head where the ideas are coming and one person saying hello can ruin it all.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
I get a lot of messages from people that tell me how my music has helped them in all sorts of situations which is always beautiful to hear. And for me it’s also something very healing, if I make something good. If I make something bad it can be quite exhausting. I’ve learned not to judge things too much though.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
It’s a very complex topic but I think it’s all about respect and research when it comes to cultural exchange.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
All senses are definitely connected and I think about this topic a lot.
I am a big perfume nerd and I love to dissect perfumes into their basic ingredients trying to find out what makes them special. There are big compositions with an immense amount of notes like the old Guerlain classics and some modern perfumes that only make use of a single molecule. I love both approaches and I also approach music the same way.
You connect moments or feelings with them and then you’re imprinted and can’t get the connection out of your head.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
My approach is leaving a lot of space for interpretation in what I do, simply because that’s always how I wanted my music to feel like.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
How would I be able to express this with words?