Part 1

Name: Recondite / Lorenz Brunner
Nationality: German
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Daemmerlicht on Plangent Recordings.
Recommendations: I definitely recommend “Homo Deus” by Harari because it makes you think about our present world, what led to it and what the future could be like especially regarding things like computers, data, algorithms and social media. Also I really like the austrian rapper “Yung Hurn” as he has this spontaneous, almost dadaist simple approach to his craft which feels good to me.
My favourite tracks are “bianco” “nein” and “K. Ronaldo - Kurt Cobain (wieso bist nicht du)”

Website / Contact: If you enjoyed this interview with Recondite, check out his facebook page and soundcloud profile for tour updates and current news.

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I started about 2007 at a point where I realised that digging and looking for music just was not enough for me anymore. I came to a point where I said – ok, I'm looking for such a specific type of music - in order to really find a lot of it, I ll have to start making it myself. After this realisation I put a lot of focus on this goal.

For most artists, originality is first 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? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?

Like I said the “digging phase” was quite important at first, basically to get me on track to kind of find a musical path. As soon as I got more specific and I found my way from hip hop like J Dilla, Wu Tang, all the aftermath and stuff I moved more into trip hop like Tricky and Kruder&Dorfmeister annexing up with Lawrence from Dial or the Wighnomy brothers. I'm sure all that influenced me.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

Learning the basic theory of synthesis and the handling of a DAW. Also learning to listen closely to harmonies and putting sound in tune. Basically learning to mixdown properly.

What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your setup evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?

My first studio was in a basement garage in lower Bavaria. It had a separate entrance from the outside which was good as I was able to keep it open while working and having always light and fresh air in there, but also having the option to completely lock my self into that room by closing the door. I had a few hardware machines, but those basically were mostly important for me in order to learn the techniques of production. I had to learn how a sequencer works with a jomox09 drum machine and how synthesis works with an Access Virus A.

How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?

I just recently read a book about this topic which is called “Homo Deus” by Yuval Noah Harari. This was kind if an eye opener towards a possible future which will completely change into what you just mentioned. Technology created by humans will eventually itself get more complex than humanity itself and therefore kind of take over …This makes you think.

Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?

Tools are tools. I use them in order to achieve something specific. I don't want to use them for the sake of it. I try to focus on few tools otherwise I get distracted and I loose a lot of time and focus. But that's just one way of seeing it. Other producers will work completely differently.

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?

My favourite approach to human interaction regarding music basically is just verbal. I like to talk to people about music and how they perceive or interpret certain moods. Direct collaboration is not that easy for me as I'm a very introverted, cerebral type of producer.

Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? 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?

First rule, I never make plans and set specific “working hours”. This would be the worst approach I could possibly imagine regarding my personal work flow. This would narrow my creativity and put it into cuffs. Sometimes I get up to make a coffee, sit there in front of my monitors and work on a beat for 15 minutes in my underwear. In these 15 minutes, the key momentum of the whole track might happen.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?

My most recent LP Daemmerlicht is the work I spent the most time on. I wanted it to be able to breathe and get many different influences of my life summed up in one continuous production. I had different phases in there. Starting in Berlin during a time where I was on the road A LOT. As a counterpole kind of … Then moving back to Bavaria, where I did not really find the expected harmony and peace which I was looking for … Then a move back to Berlin where I ended up realising a lot of things that have been or are going on in my life. Explaining all these influences within this album would explode the frame here. Maybe I'll get a chance to talk about this separately in more depth somewhere in the future.

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?

The ideal state of mind for creativity for me is an easy going one. Already almost being bored in general. Like having nothing to do, no one is bugging you, zoning out ... Like a kid getting lost in LEGO. That's my ideal state for being creative.

How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?

I see the work in the studio more like a creative process as the work on stage. The studio is the space for creation. the stage is the place for displaying the results.

How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?

Sound is definitely a form of inspiration to me. In the way I work, sound and timbre come first - composition and arrangement second.

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? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?

To be honest I don't think there is a general answer to that. For example a blind person develops extraordinary tactile, audible and olfactory skills in order to compensate the missing visual component. Another person has very good individual hearing skills and will perceive his surrounding slightly different than a person with poor hearing skills. Both will come up with all kinds of different cross associations and cross links of perception. But on a more personal basis, I can't say that I m aware of specific overlaps to
be honest.

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?

First of all I don't take the word art too serious - I even sometimes feel weird when I'm called an artist. I see myself as a human being who brings out his creativity more than others - although everyone could do it (and even SHOULD do it in my opinion). Art can't really be judged because it's completely subjective and individually perceived. And if that is the case, there is no “wow that is great art“ or "aaah this sucks” anymore. Which results in not taking it too seriously, basically. I mean – complete nonsense can be great and the most ambitious piece of art can somehow be nothing.

It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?

I don't think just music itself will be changing. It's a fact that we will have completely realistic VR possibilities in probably not even too distant future. I'm talking about putting yourself into a capsule which takes care of your nutrition and disposal and lets you exist for days in a hyper realistic, controlled and staged virtual reality. So this means you will be able to experience what it feels like to make a jump shot like Michael Jordan or to play a complex piano sonata like Mozart … It's scary actually.