Name: Pachakuti & young.vishnu
Members: Matthias Hinkelmann (Pachakuti), Milan Cosmos Zonneveld (young.vishnu)
Occupations: Musician, producer (Pachakuti), producer, DJ (young.vishnu)
Current release: Pachakuti & young.vishnu's Dédalo is out via Melting Pot Music.
Recommendations: Space is the Place, the Biography of Sun Ra by John Szwed and Religion and Nothingness Keji Nishitani.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Music has that magic energy, it takes you to a place of refuge and shelter. For us it has always been a source of positivity in our lifes.
For Matt (Pachakuti) the earlies influences are a blend of Classical European with Latin and Carribbean Music, Salsa, Rumba, Chacha, Troba, Bossa, Andean and Pacifican Rhythms, Folk, Rock and Jazz, through his parents.
For Milan (young.vishnu) Dub, HipHop and Jazz, but also lots of music from all around the world. In many ways our early passions in music also haven’t changed much. We still like to listen to and play music all day long.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
It’s just feeling it really, no special recipe. Just listening and appreciating it.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
The biggest challenge is probably to find time to practice! Really it is mostly oneself.
The biggest breakthroughs on the other hand have been in just trying out new things, going new paths, like that of starting to record the approach of going outside of our comfort zone, to try big and exiting things. Receiving our first music grant for our work on Dédalo was a great opportunity to expand our sound and our work.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
As musicians, we like to listen to all kinds of music. There are things worth being appreciated and to be learned from all over the place.
I (young.vishnu) believe thats part of the beauty growing up with HipHop. There is a part in it that has a lot of respect for the act of recording itself, and people recorded music all over the globe. For me it was the gateway to show me beauty beyond most Western production.
For me (Pachakuti) it is also that metaphorical melting pot, that "mestizo" history and essence of HipHop, Jazz, Funk and Soul just as that of most Latinamerican music genres, that very much feed my feeling and understanding of music.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Spontaneity, freedom and curiosity. Repetition, play, transformation, being in tune.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
They're all good, innovation is indispensable, as are traditions. Timelessness is the destiny of all real music, past or future. And this is also what we are after, be it by continuing and playing some type of musical tradition, if we could claim that at all, or by inventing something new. We got the call to beautify this world, to cherish the day, to dip into that place that music can catapult us into.
In a way these opposites aren’t quite functional though, perfection doesn’t mean timelessness, and originality and innovation don’t blend every time. Timelessness can also arise from so called imperfection. The recording process also always plays with that issue to some degree. On the other hand it’s originality. We are always tradition, we’re always transition.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Pachakuti: the piano. Be it in producing or in spending time by myself, playing the piano is one of my favourites. I love playing with the possibilities of harmony, rhythm and velocity.
Personally I had my breakthrough with the piano once I stopped taking piano lessons after many years as a teenager. I started playing along anything I liked, and have been learning to improvise and to find my own technique ever since.
young.vishnu: space and texture. I can't say that I have a favorite tool or starting point. I love bass to get me into the foundation of a tune, but in the end, every sound could be the inspiration for a song. It's mostly a question of texture and space how it feels.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
There is not much routine there, just getting up at some point, having a coffee and breakfast, and then sitting down to work on whatever it is that needs to be done. And of course, the work never stops.
But luckily, it’s an activity that can be done while having friends over, to listen through things together or also to jam and record of course.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
The creative process is always in the now. There is so much stuff piled up from the last years, and new tunes in the making constantly. It’s not a particular song that would be an appropriate answer, but the right vibe that in those moments of jamming and recording sends us on to that journey of building that moment.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Both are great, but we really enjoy sharing music, be it listening, jamming, recording or producing.
We also extended our collaborations for this coming body of work, and invited some true magicians on their instruments to record with us, and the results have been just beautiful. It gives a piece of work even more soul and richness, when I know that this or that homie has left a mark on it as well.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
The role of music in our society today is largely somewhere between entertainment and propaganda, and therefore caught between profit interests and instrumentalisation.
We just wish to approach music from another angle, from being merely what it is, a positive force of harmony for ourselves, our friends, families and listeners.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
These issues have always been closely related for us. Music has always been a healing and transforming force, and a place of refuge in difficult moments.
Being confronted with these big questions ourselves we found that music not only reduces the pain, but also provides many answers. It’s a good place to be at whenever life strikes at you.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music is a science itself, a world of sciences. From playing instruments, the technical aspects of producing and reproducing, to the laws of rhythm, frequency and harmony, the sciences of presentation and listening. There are its multiple uses, kinds, genres, dances, interpreters and origins. It runs based on trial and error, on experimenting, playing and daring.
In our world and society, both whom are so overtly governed by "rational" arguments, an imperialism of European reason, market rationality, money and numbers, we would make the case for music as one of the last remaining realms that transcends and simultaneously holds together our global culture of separation, consumption, functionality and rationality.
Thank god there are not as many restrictions in music today as there are in our sciences.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing 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?
There are similarities in these two activities.
Just like, in the coffee, various elements need to cook together under heat to bring forth a tasty and vitalizing brew, so they need to in music. Harmonies, rhythm, melody, specific instruments and frequencies, undergo a process of amalgamation and transformation in space and time.
In both cases we are being productive with what is being given to us, we enjoy ourselves and if we share it with others, the mundane task gains an even bigger meaning.
Also spirituality is mostly carried by mundane tasks, which music also is. It receives its meaning by our approach to it.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Everything vibrates, everything sings in its way, everything carries meaning.
Music is of the most beautiful dimensions of vibration, of energy and matter, but it definitely goes beyond the dimensions of matter and physics. It connects, maybe comes from the spiritual realm. It is a cosmic force in and of itself, weaving, expressing, preserving and transforming emotion, beauty and truth.
The music is not ours, in that sense, we are just lucky to spend so much time with it, giving birth to it and being counter-alimented by it.