Name: Julian Wasserman
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current Release: Julian Wasserman's new EP "Glow Ignition: The Missing Piece", a collaboration with Florian Kruse, is out on the 16th of July on Spectrum.
Technology recommendations: Omnisphere as a plugin and Clavia Nord Lead as an analog instrument.
If you enjoyed this interview with Julian Wasserman and would like to find out more about his music, check out his profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud.
You can also read our Florian Kruse interview to find out about the views of his current collaborator.
What was your first studio like?
My first studio was at my parents' house in my former children's room. I wouldn't necessarily call it a studio (laughs). I had an iMac, a small MIDI keyboard and my headphones. Sometimes you can reach your goal that way and less is more.
Among other things, I wrote and recorded one of my most successful tracks, "Sol" here.
The digital studio promises endless possibilities at every step of the process. What is it that you actually need from these potentials and how do go about you selecting it? How do you keep control over the wealth of options at the production stage?
For the creative process, it's great to have a lot of options. But it can also be difficult sometimes, because you can completely change a project again afterwards. With analogue technology, you record your take and, in a way, commit yourself.
I divide up studio sessions so that in the first session I record the idea with many different elements. In the second session, I can hear much more transparently which elements fit or whether it is better to cut some parts off again.
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
As already mentioned above, technology is not everything, much more important is one's own creativity and the will to learn and improve.
I produced exclusively on headphones for almost 10 years. It was a big change for me when I got my new monitors 3 years ago. It's nice to have both options and compare the track on different monitors.
With my new studio I have learned a lot and feel very comfortable here.
From traditional keyboards to microtonal ones, from re-configured instruments (like drums or guitars) to customised devices, what are your preferred controllers and interfaces? What role does the tactile element play in your production process?
I am still a fan of simple and quick work. That's why I primarily use my MIDI keyboard. For drums, I now have a Maschine+ - that's a lot of fun and expands my creative work. I also have Faderport 8 for mixing.
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? Using a recent piece as an example, how do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
I use some Max Live tools for arps and chords. Some of them create random melodies. This can often serve as a good basis.
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
Over the years, of course, a few ideas come together. I have always produced in a very label-related way and tried to send out stylistically appropriate demos without losing my own signature. That's how it comes about that a few tracks don't make it.
A great example was my most successful track "Surreal" which only found its way to Einmusika after a very long time. Before that, I thought that stylistically it might not fit. But luckily the guys saw the potential.
Despite the aforementioned near endless possibilities, many productions seem to follow conventional paths. How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?
That is a difficult question. My goal is always to sound unique. That's why I always choose my elements differently. It starts with the fact that I always choose a different kick drum for every song. For me, it's more the search for special sounds and sometimes using them in an untypical way.
Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?
I think I always go into the studio with a plan and almost always the idea of the song comes up in the studio itself. Of course, it usually deviates from the original idea. I would therefore tend towards the second.
How important is it for you that you personally create or participate in the creation of every element of a piece – from sound synthesis via rhythm programming to mixing?
This plays a very big role for me. Every element should have its place in the mix.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
I switched from Logic to Ableton after a few years. That was a big change that I still don't regret.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
Absolutely! I also think it's very important for me and my process.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artifical Intelligence in your music?
There must always be a good balance. In the end, you should listen to your own hearing. (laughs)
What tools/instruments do you feel could have a deeper impact on creativity but need to still be invented or developed?
If only exporting a song with a tape machine didn't take so long. (laughs)