Q&A with Lutzenkirchen

(Introduction by Nihil Young)
Tobias Lutzenkirchen. What could i say about this man. I don’t know, maybe too much. But he has a biography on Billboard AND on Wikipedia AND a VEVO channel on Youtube (whaaat?).
So i will quote here:

Lützenkirchen’s roots in music go back to 1992, when he first appeared on record as a singer. He subsequently worked as a promoter in Ibiza in 1995, worked as a professional background vocalist and songwriter on some projects from 1996 to 1999, before moving to the house and techno scene. It wasn’t until 2006 he began his DJ career, and adopted Lützenkirchen as his professional name. By 2008 he had switched to performing pure live sets.

The single “3 Tage wach” (“awake for three days”) was the 60th best-selling single of 2008 in Germany. As summarized by Spiegel Online, the vocoder lyrics describe “how it feels to party for three days without sleep, ingesting lots of alcohol and drugs”. Lützenkirchen has described them as satire and as a humorous “mirror of the [Techno] scene”, and rejected claims that it was advocating drug use. He has been stipulating in contracts that flyers and posters must not mention “3 Tage wach”, being concerned that the hit would define his image too much.

I still don’t get (even if i do… but whatever) why he’s not as globally recognized as much as i would expect from such an artist. He’s a brilliant electronic artist and sound designer, his tunes are different and original, meant to be enjoyed at home AND on the dancefloor (oh wait, maybe that’s it?). One might speculate, and i for one think Tobias is just too much of a free thinker and he certainly didn’t give two shits about following just one “genre” and get easily “big” with that.

Anyway, we’ve had the pleasure to have him right here on Frequenza and Moveubabe Records (Valentina Black) a number of times now, and he’s getting aboard again soon. So i’m here doing my small part to restore faith in this man. Enjoy this very interesting Q&A with Tobias Lutzenkirchen:

Q1: So, what’s going on in your life right now :)

Too much. For once I will move my studio again into another room, because
where it is right now is just not working out for me.
I had to relocate to another city in July and I also had to move my studio one year before,
so that means I will move the fourth time within a year. Which sucks big time.
This time however I will customize the shit out of the new room
to make sure this will be it then.

Also I want to redefine my work so that I can put as much room
between my own work and everybody else in the 4-On-The-Floor business as possible.
I am completely sick of all the same loop-based, sample-based stuff everybody and
his mother uses today. 100000 “producers” buying Loopmasters, Sample Magic and Vengeance
precreated Loops and “Construction-Kits” and don’t even care if every other guy uses the same samples
in their records like they do in their own. What the fuck.
I am also sick about the fact that 1000 promos arriving in my inbox per week
and all sound the same, arrangement is the same, synths are the same and tempo is the same.
Again, what the fuck.


Q2: What are we to expect from you in the near future?

Well, because of what I said before its really hard to predict what to expect.
Even I don’t know what to expect because I am  experimenting a lot right now
and I will try to get some new shit going.

Besides that, what will happen for sure is at least
one new downtempo project will emerge, which will sound more
like “real music”  and some other stuff in that direction.
But again, at this point I really don’t know what  will happen under my own name
and when, because things need time to develop.

Q3: what happens when you sit in the studio, how does your flow work? Is there some element you usually like to start with when producing?

Depends on. For a long time I used to start with beat programming all of the time.
Then add a baseline, searched through some loops then go from there, because for a long time I was very beat oriented and
used a lot of drum loops myself as well.
Right now I am working always with a standard beat with standard
drum machine sounds out of NI Battery and immedialty start playing lines, chords or melodies
or write some lyrics or whatever. Then build the groove around the stuff thats there.

Sometimes (for other planned stuff I am working on) I start with working on a chord progression
and harmonies first. Thats more the classical songwriters approach. Now this obviously only makes sense
if you are writing real songs.

Q4: What is your favourite piece of software?

Hmm. Very hard to say. I switch a lot between everything right now and I am not really happy with all of them.
Doesn’t matter if we are talking DAW, Synths, Samplers, Effects or whatnot.
I am after something special right now, some kind of unique combination of things and as I said,
I am experimenting a lot, so that involves digging really deep into stuff
(Which costs me tons of time right now,but I think its the right moment for me to take that time.)
And then you basically find flaws in everything.

Q5: And hardware?

Thats easy. My new bass guitar, my new Telecaster Guitar and my new Roland Drum Kit.
I bought that stuff a couple of weeks ago. Never had any acoustic instruments for way more that
10 years. Never learned any instrument either, but I can honestly say I have quite some talent when it
comes to musical instruments.

Q6: Is there something in particular you can’t live without, “toy”wise?

Yeah, my Razor R.A.T. Mouse. Its a high performance gaming mouse which is awesome to work with
and I have pretty big hands, so finding the right mouse for me always was a challenge.
I tend to use trackballs a lot but they are just not so “hands-on”

When you work hours a day at the computer for decades you WILL get problems in your hand
and wrist. You have to be aware of that as soon as possible.
So thats why stuff like this was always the most important to me.

Q7: What is the one track you made that defines you the most?

Probably “3 Tage Wach” but I don’t want to talk about that.

(Nihil Young: Guess what? I’ll link you to that tune)

Q8: Where do you come from? Why do you produce electronic music today?

Ironically (or not) I am coming from a very strong black music background. I have tons of black music records ranging
from old Motown stuff like Otis Redding to Reggae like Pete Tosh to gangsta rap like Above The Law and so on.
I also  always listened to rock music, which I grew up with because my Mom is deeply connected since the early 70ties
with that music and we used to spend hours together listening to her favorite records.
Thats also why I have a huge extensive knowledge of rock music history.
But then, at some time in my early teens there came up stuff like Prodigy and KLF and I was totally blown away.
That basically set my roots for electronic music.

Q9: What’s going on in the industry? How do you expect YOUR music to become?

The (electronic music) industry right now is fucked up beyond every recognition, thats for sure.
You get spammed with tons of crap every day. The same shit over and over again not only by the
1-man-show “labels” run by some kids, but also by the big players as well. The sell out completely
right now like there is no tomorrow. 

Besides that, who would have expected Snoop Dogg rappin on Guetta EDM records and stuff like that
ten years ago. Thats also a good example how confused and fucked up everything is.

Music these days is ultra-repetitive, no innovation or new combinations on the horizon,
no matter which style you look into.
And “Styles” get more stupid as we speak (The “Trap” Music style  for example, “Twerking” or
the general new trend of one-word refrains 100 times in a row, braindead bollocks like:
*versace,versace,versace,versace* , *hooptyhooptyhoop*…etc and so on, and so on serve
as good examples here.

Q10: Are you an analogue aficionado or a digital enthusiast?

Digital. Its cheaper, and faster to work with. Still have some analogue stuff, but
right now not using it a lot. But will probably use some of the stuff again,
as soon as the new studio room is up and running.
The biggest thing on my mind right now regarding the analog world would be an analog mixing desk.
*Now* we are talkin analog.
I really want to buy one again at some point, but the good ones are (of course) stupidly expensive, even
when they are more then 20 years old. So I have to have some kind of bigger success again first,
not only to be able to buy one but also to justify it.

Q11: What is your best show / travel experience so far?

Too much, to many, on all freaking continents on that planet. Don’t even know where to start.

Q12: What is your WORST show / travel experience so far?

None so bad that I would remember it.

Q13: What is your favourite country / city to play in?

There are so many awesome places on this planet, I really can’t say.
I am very grateful however that I saw all that and that I meet some awesome people in my life
from all over the world in the most unexpected places.

Q14: Do you have any memory of your first show ever?

Yes, I was nervous as fuck. The first show I ever officially played was  immediately an
international gig.  It was in a small club but that was a still a lot of pressure, because I never played
in front of an audience before. Imagine that, right out of the studio with no experience at all
you get booked internationally, get paid and have to perform like a pro, but you never ever did that before.
Well, at least it turns out I have a talent for playing as well, so everything went fine.

(Nihil Young: same shit happened to me. I fucked it up completely.)

Q15: Biggest show you played at in term of crowd?

Potentially the fourth time Nature One om Tiestos Stage. Don’t know the number.
Nature One overall lies around the 50000 people.

Q16: Besides from your own genre, what is the music you love and listen to?

Lately I listen to a lot of old rap again like EPMD, Bone Thugs & Harmony,
DJ Quik and DMX. Also to a lot of classic rock tunes
like Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac for example.
I love especially a new relatively unknown californian surf rock girl band called La Luz.

Q17: What role do substances play in music / genre evolution? 

Like it or not, substances always had not played only an important rule
in every kind of music but also musical styles have emerged out of a complete
drug culture more than once. Most prominent examples in the new era are especially
gangsta rap, wich would not exist without the crack based roots from the Westcoast it rose up from.
(Very interesting videos on youtube about that.)
And of course the MDMA/ecstatsy rave culture of the late 90s which defined rave and techno music until today.
But there are tons of other examples, like the LSD based 70s psychedelic rock music and
the weed based reggae revolution mid to end 70s as well. And theres more. Just read a bit into it. Its worth it.

Q18: What is your own genre’s all time favourite tune?

Moby – Go.

Q19: What is your all time favourite song, genre-aside?

There’s more than one, theres a lot, but here are at least my top 5  for starters:
Leonard Cohen – Waiting For The Miracle.
Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing
The Doors – Riders On The Storm
DJ Quik – Tonight
Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay.

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