Fischer & Kleber shared some behind the scene stories about their latest release on Souvenir Plus.
This EP gave an impression as if it was expressing the four seasons, starting off with the track “Air” with its winter atmosphere..
Kleber: Well, we didn’t construct the EP that way, but It is a nice interpretation for it! So if “Air” feels like winter, then “Wonderful Life” would be our spring, reflecting the darkness and beauty of the winter paired with the colours of spring and the hope for “Warmth”! It is even reflected in the title! “Wagner” would stand for summer, with it’s sweaty and tropical groove, evolving into a big thunderstorm with a happy end! And finally “Euphorium” feels like fall. Things get dark and gloomy and the coldness supersedes the warmth of summer. In the big break, all the bright colours of fall are shining through!
Fischer: It was important to us, that the EP would not just be 4 common club-trax put together! We wanted a sort of diversity that would make sense to us and reflected our love for music & sound in general, independent from the rules of “what works best in the club”.
There was a good combination of melodies, vocals, baselines, and the effects on the punchy track “Wagner”. Do you guys have a specific part to take when producing music? Also speaking of the track, is there a reference to the composer Richard Wagner?
Fischer: There are no necessary rules for Who’s doing what, but our history sets the general working-field automatically. Being a guitar-player / Composer, Niklas (Kleber) is the general man for harmony, melody, textures, colours etc. Being a drummer / sound-engineer, I’m the general man for beats, arrangement, mix, effects etc. But as I stated before, there are no rules!
We make music together for 15 years, been on the road together a lot, with different projects, so we trust and know each other 100%. For me, trust is one of the key-aspects of making music together.
Kleber: Actually the title is not a reference to “Wagner” the composer, but a reference to a friend who is carrying the same name. We sampled the piano and the chopped up vocals from a track he wrote.
‘Wonderful Life’ is on a slowest tip, with its heavy vocal crawling on the melody. At some point it gave a feel of a Baroque music. Do you get a large inspiration from a classical music?
Kleber: Every kind of music and sound & noise in general is an inspiration for us! Both of us have several other bands/projects, playing different styles of music, which is really important to us. In this case, the sound of the viola di gambas inspired me to sing the dark vocal-line, which holds controversy within, calling Life wonderful, but also asking why it is so sad!
Fischer: We love controversy in music, or let’s say in art in general! Which is also the key for this track, connecting deep electronic & percussive elements with a baroque & symphonic vibe. These opposing elements combined, create a sort of controversy that makes music exciting and unique for us.
‘Euphorium’ boosts the EP with its well balanced tempo. Since this is the most club-feel track in the entire EP, this release gives an impression as being more matured compared to ‘Minas’.
Fischer: I wouldn’t put it that way necessarily. We make music in the moment! So it’s possible that our next thing will be a straight up club-feel again! :) We don’t know because we don’t plan or analyze these things. Music is way to important to us, we try to stay pure with it. That’s one of the reasons we enjoy releasing on Souvenir Music. Freedom of art, Controversy & Uniqueness are appreciated and celebrated here, which is exactly our way of celebrating music & art.
Kleber: The first time we played Euphorium live, was on a Souvenir Label Night at Watergate in Mai 2012. It was one of the best tracks within our set! The vibe was great, when I started playing the Mandoline-Textures over the pumping Bassline that Rob (Fischer) had created! With this energy in mind, we immediately locked ourselves in the studio, when we returned home, and recorded the track Live in the studio :)
After nailing a life-take together, we started editing and adding details & textures, and pretty quick it was done!
Kicking off the podcast in 2013 by our leader brothers Tiefschwarz. Be aware of all the releases we are coming up this year..!
1. Francys / Solitude (Souvenir Plus)
2. Sonodab / Less Is More (Souvenir Plus)
3. David K / Sneakers & Playground (NAU)
4. Re.You / Lonely (Souvenir)
5. Fischer & Kleber / Euphorium (Souvenir Plus)
6. Tiefschwarz feat Jaw / Hurricane 2012 Rework (Souvenir)
7. Kenny Leaven / Rocket (NAU)
8. Marco Freivogel feat .Elif Bicer / 11 am (Before) (Souvenir)
9. Chris Wood & Meat / Cock Robin (Souvenir)
10. Strangers in Heaven & Jonny Cruz / Set me free (Souvenir)
11. Tiefschwarz feat Argenis Brito / No Message (David K Allegro remix) (Souvenir)
12. Hollis P Monroe & Overnite / If I´m alive (NAU)
To kick things off seems like we have to ask how you managed to craft such an intimate sounding record. Every vocal snippet on the EP seems to convey a message…
For “Insanity” I worked together with LIA. She has a very good taste in music, so I asked her to do some vocals for my track. We only had contact via mail as she doesn’t live in Berlin. It was a bit complicated but I really love her voice on my track. It makes it more special – like an insane journey.
For the “Closer” track I worked with Vonda7, DJ based in Berlin. She did some rough vocal phrases and I just chopped and looped it. Come closer. I think it’s quite catchy.
‘Insanity’ seems like such a fitting name with its syncopated, tribal drums is underpinned by a hypnotic bass and mysterious female voice. It’s pure sexual energy. What were your working methods to achieve this?
I worked quiet a while on this track. The sound is very rough and together with the voice it’s kind of mystical. It’s always the same procedure with my productions. I work on some layouts and while traveling I get more ideas. I worked very long on the background atmosphere and of course on the bass tone.
‘Lonely’ continues on in a more introspective manner. That feeling of being in club and closing your eyes in the crowd..
Yes, I wanted to create a slower but more intense track. At the moment I like “Lonely” the most. This dark atmosphere is perfect for club nights!
‘Closer’ is more on a house tip, opening things up a bit after Insanity’s claustrophobic feeling. Is the choice of syncopated rhythms prevalent throughout the record deliberate? And tell us a bit about Amine as the remixer?
Yes, the syncopated rhythms are the engine of this EP. I wanted to create a complete journey. From a1 to b2!I met Amine at a gig in Heidelberg. He’s pretty cool, so I just asked him if he could do a remix for me. It’s good to have him and his partner DANCE on board. They’re giving a totally different vibe to “Closer”… And it’s great to have a totally different remix. Otherwise it could be boring for the listeners.
I’m happy with this EP. I hope the people also like it!
This time round we have an extended Focus On with one of our favourite in-house vocalists, Daniel Wilde. The native German has provided us with his fabulous vocals most recently on ‘Time and Space’, an original production on the 50th Souvenir release from Tiefschwarz. He also recently got bodies moving with his contribution to our podcast series. We met him in the cosy environs of a Kreuzberg bar to learn more about what makes him tick…
Hi Daniel. First off let’s clarify where you got your name. Is it after Tony Curtis’ character Daniel Wilde in the Persuaders TV series? Were you a fan?
You know, the ‘Persuaders’ was kind of my favourite TV show when I was a kid. I never was allowed to watch it alone, just with my mom because I was very young. And it was either for Brett Sinclair or Danny Wilde. I didn’t like the short form ‘Danny’ too much because I was called ‘Danny’ as a kid. So I thought Daniel Wilde will be more appropriate. You know… I wouldn’t say “it is 80% reason for that” – I was really a huge fan of the series, cos I like the cool and slick style of this 70’ series, maybe it’s also part of my persona as Daniel Wilde – but there are many other reasons, too.
You started out as a pop singer. How did you get into the electronic music scene?
I guess I didn’t start as a pop-singer, I was in electronic music even before. The thing with the pop-singer was with a band that I had before, named Bullmeister. We started out doing electronic-pop music, mostly influenced by Daft Punk for instance. And other influences, like Roxy Music, this kind of stuff. In the end, it turned up with the productions going a bit more into a pop direction. First we found it was a good decision, but at the end it was a bit to ‘pop’ for all of us. It was also the reason we decided to split, and quit the project. I mean, the love for electronic music, I had it since like 13-14 years, but it was more the production part on it, for the listening part, I didn’t start like a DJ. I just started DJing five years ago.
What was your first contact with electronic music?
Oh. I remember somebody gave me a tape, I was 13 years old, and it had a track called ‘James Brown is dead’ and another named ‘Everybody is free’ on it. It was the firsts ‘electronic’ songs I listened to. After that, I guess KLF and Snap. It’s like that area around 1997. It was my first contact with electronic music, before I discover Daft Punk’s sound and so on.
Did you start out in Berlin?
No. I’m from Heidelberg. I just moved 4, 5 years ago to Berlin. Heidelberg is small, kind of neighborhoody, but also with a small but nice scene.
How and when did you start working with Souvenir Music?
It was at the time when tiefschwarz was working on the album “chocolate”. They were looking for vocalists for some of their demos, and didn’t seem to have found the right one yet, so they asked a friend, who then passed over the demos to me, without them knowing.. I recorded a vocal track to that the same night, my friend passed it back to the guys and they loved it. The track was “Home”. Funny thing that I had known Ali and Basti for some years at that time, but they didn’t actually know that I sing.. But they loved it =) Right away they asked me to do another track, I recorded it the next night in a night session, that track became “stones”, and as they also liked that, I did a third one – “It’s Time” – the next night. 3 nights, 3 tracks, I’d call that a good workflow, haha..
After that, you collaborated with Tiefschwarz on more tracks. What were your working methods?
First they recorded the stuff, like some loops of the tracks, and then they gave it to me. So I did kind of my feelings on these. I always record 3 or 4 different demos, and then I say “yeah, feel free to pick one”, because sometimes I think “that one could be right, but the second could be too”. I always leave the responsibility to Tiefschwarz to pick the best one. Then they can put it on the way they like to improve the playback more. And when it’s done, sometimes it’s coming back to me to do some overdubs. Actually I work in my studio a lot, because I often prefer to be alone. I need this way to catch the vibe, especially when I’m writing lyrics.
Let’s talk about lyrics. Where do you get inspiration? ‘Time & Space’ for example?
Good question. I guess it just comes when I start singing. Ususally I start with melody first. And then I try to think of what kind of syllables could fit into the melody. But the demo I got from ‘Time & Space’ had a really spacey and techy vibe. My first feeling for this was like being on a Space Odyssey, something like science fiction. You know, with the other tracks that are more housey, I prefer to focus on topics about a relationship, about you and me, love and hate etc. and so on, somehow to stay in a house tradition etc. But ‘Time & Space’ was really particular, almost atmospheric.
You did one of our latest Souvenir Podcasts. Talk us through it..
I wanted to have the real feeling like “I can listen to it at home”. But it’s also pretty groovy, a bit dark, and deep. I though it could have been the perfect podcast to do at this time. I’m not sure, but with the cold weather here in Berlin, the shorts days, etc. It’s a ‘summer is over’ podcast! The podcast does fit the Souvenir vibe, but it’s also my vibe. It’s somewhere in between. I collected the tracks for a long time, and I thought “you have to do a podcast” and Souvenir gave me the opportunity to express it.
What do you prefer: a gig or a party?
Mmmh. I don’t know. I prefer to do a concert and after going on party!
Would you like to collaborate with other singers? And if so, what vocalist would you most like to work with?
For me when one person sings it’s enough. I prefer this way but, when you say it now, maybe it could be interesting with female voice. That would work! I mean, I really love the Florence and The Machine’s voice, but I’m also a big fan on Kate Bush. They are the kinds of voices I would most like to collaborate with.
What can we expect from the future of Daniel Wilde?
Actually I’m focused on my ‘live’ sets. I want to take some time for my own stuff. I think I have some good things coming up. I will try to stay in studio for the winter. But I also love to play, so I’m excited about my gig in Austria with the Souvenir team!
Let’s first talk about the track ‘Montre’. How did you come to work with Vargas?
Well, Vargas is actually one of my good friends, Oscar Quiroz. The same guy I used in my other Souvenir track, ‘Fortuna feat. Quiroz’. Oscar is born in Mexico, but has been quite around – France is one of the destinations, and he speaks (and sings obviously) French very well. His voice on ‘Fortuna’ came out perfectly, so I thought it would work with him singing in French on my next project, which I think it really did. To avoid any kind of confusion because of the French lyrics, we decided to give him a different alias, ‘Vargas’.
‘Montre’ flirts between the sensual (particularly the vocals) and a chillier atmosphere. It almost sounds like a modern tango?
It could be a modern kind of Tango, I wouldn’t know But the idea was to make it sexy and cheesy without losing its drive. The drop makes up for the long sensual break I think. I’m confident
‘Turning Point’ is much more direct with the rhythm taking centre stage. How does your previous career as a drummer influence your production methods?
Working with drums/drum machines is one of the best parts for me, it brings me back to the days where I was a rockstar in my own band (I wish) . In the beginning I used a Spanish vocal as a main part of the track, but it came out too latino so I removed it, and continued the track with percussive elements. And with the chunky bassline it doesn’t get too balearic.
‘Leftroom’ ends the EP quite violently. A deep voice accentuates the chunky, icy chords. The song nicely heralds the arrival of winter. How does the Danish climate influence your music if at all?
Denmark is cold about 8-9 months a year, so if I adapted my music inspiration with the weather conditions, I would release some really sad tunes Long time ago I bought my microkorg, which I haven’t used in a while. So I decided to do all the synth parts with this particular synth. All the sounds made me go in a aggressive and evil direction. Thats why the track came out so deep. FYI the vocals on ‘Turning Point’ and ‘Leftroom’ are made by me Another experimental thing I had to try.
How are you feeling since the release of Souvenir+ 16? Have you had a chance to try the tracks out in a club?
I already played the tracks in my sets, and the feedbacks from the dancefloor are always so good! I’m really happy for this, now I can’t wait to try the stuff mastered!
The EP is really upbeat. Was it a conscious decision to crank up the tempo?
I was in my studio working with my drums, looking for a strong groove. When I found what I wanted, I put some vocals, and the combo was really nice!
What was the inspiration behind using a Michael Jackson vocal sample on ‘Always with Me’? The track title implies a tribute perhaps?
Yes! ‘Always with Me’, because I love Michael Jackson since I was a child, his voice gives me a lot of inspiration: he open my mind to make music. So I tried to put his voice inside my track, and finally I found a really good combination.
There is a lot of attention paid to the drum programming and bassline, particularly on ‘Feel the Reaction’. Is this a reference to your family background (Benin) and a desire to connect your African roots with your love of house music?
The African rhythm is inside me, because my father teaches me a lot about African groove and percussions… And for sure I will come back soon to Benin because the real groove is there! X
Welcome back to Souvenir! How do you feel this EP differs from your previous release on our ‘In The City 2’ Summer compilation?
Yes, luckily is not the first release on Souvenir and we hope will NOT be the last Musically we changed a little bit our style than our previous 2 tracks on “In The City #2″ compilation. In this release we play a little more with synths, we changed the bassline, more deeply and we raise 3 or 4 BPM.
You guys run your own label but last year was a little quieter production wise. Would you say this year you’ve found new musical inspiration?
Follow our label and follow its musical evolution is important for us like follow our personal releases, so in 2011 we preferred to run mostly our label to understand what was the sound to produce and play. After that in 2012 we come back with new musical ideas and new release and we hope that Souvenir +16 can be a launch for this new sound!
Souvenir+ 16 features some particularly hypnotic grooves. How did this come about?
For us this sound it’s a natural evolution of our musical trip, a maturation of our sonorities. We hope the people can appreciate it!
What makes your two contributions seriously pop on this EP are the driving vocals. How do you come across new ideas and sounds?
The voice for us is like a supplement thing that make complete a track! Sometimes we listen to incredible tracks that however missing a little thing that can make that track a real bomb. Usually we missed a huge vocal. Every day we spend several hours in our studio to try to find new original ideas. Originality for us it’s a factor that can never miss and then the originality in the voices in our track is like a ticket to take off in our musical dimension.
More important than the parties, the plane rides, the magazine covers or the money, every great DJ is first and foremost, a collector. A discoverer of music. A traveller weaving through a sea of new sounds and honing down the multitude of records to those that matter most. It’s this drive for sonic exploration that’s responsible for Souvenir, the Berlin label spearheaded by Tiefschwarz and their french partner Arthur Vélasquez. In little over a year the label has...