Members: Martin Schneider, Moritz Graßinge
Occupations: Drummer (Martin Schneider), guitarist, pianist (Moritz Graßinge)
Current release: KIDSØ's Fir is out via esc/ctrl
Gear recommendations: We can recommend all Spitfire Audio labs libraries. These are free soundbanks with really good instruments. Besides that, the Moog Grandmother is our absolute favorite synth on stage and it's impossible to imagine our setup without it.
If you enjoyed this interview with KIDSØ and would like to explore their work in more depth, visit their official website. The duo are also on Instagram, and Facebook.
What was your first studio like?
As a teenager in 1993, Moritz already had an AMIGA home PC in his parents' loft, which could already sample and make 4-track recordings. It was there that the first electro tracks were created.
The highlight were 2 very large green (!) loudspeaker boxes from the junkyard, which entertained the parents very well one floor below ....
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
We started with a Roland Loop Station. We looped synths and guitars live there. Martin then played live drums. The downside was that it was difficult to get real songs ready.
When we switched to Ableton, we started working more and more with samples and plugins. We now have a huge collection of samples and tools. It's also a curse sometimes when you have so many options. We then try to reduce ourselves and deliberately only use a few sound sources.
On Fir, we used the Prophet 6, Electron Digitone, and the Moog Subharmonicon, among others, for example in the song "Finja".
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?
Since Ableton always runs on the same laptop, we have both options, and use them.
Some song ideas came up on the road with a minimal setup and were then finalized in the studio environment. It's a huge advantage to be able to work like that with electronic music.
The song "Plain", for example, was largely recorded on the go.
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?
Sometimes technology stifles creativity, especially when you're more into technology than music. Unfortunately, It is often the case that the technology does not do what you want it to do and you have to deal with latency problems, broken cables and sync problems.
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.
When we're not in the studio, we often use the time on the train or on the road to spend hours searching through sample collections with our cell phones to find that one special sound.
We usually upload song ideas to a private soundcloud account so that we can listen to them over and over again on the go. Most of the time it quickly becomes apparent which song idea is worth pursuing further.
Presets of your own effect chains, instruments and sounds can be easily organized and collected in Ableton. In order to develop your own style and sound, it is also important to use similar elements over and over again and not to lose yourself in the endless possibilities. On the other hand, coincidences and surprises are very helpful for new creative ideas.
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?
It's more of a feeling or a mood that we want to capture with a new song. There is usually no right concept. Sometimes we build a song around a sample we like, such as vocal samples. That's how we did it with the song "Hide".
A lot actually happens by chance. At some point we get into a real flow, forget everything around us and then everything is mutually dependent.
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 is really important for us. The production process and the mixing are not separated. We choose the sounds so that there is a good mix throughout.
It would be rather difficult for us if someone later changed something in the mix.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative provess. 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?
If AI made mixing easier, for example, you could then focus more on the actual creative process. So, yes, AI tools can be quite helpful.