Actualites Electroniques - Your daily dose of electronic music  
Actualites Electroniques

You will find in this category each week, an interview or a biograhpy of a Dj or artist which is breaking the news. All styles are on the “menu” of this category: minimal, house, electro, techno or even trance in some cases.

The topic will be supplemented by other Djs following the latest electronic music news.

Fritz Kalkbrenner - Interview

It’s no secret that Fritz Kalkbrenner is a full-fledged soul boy. But with a voice like his, how could things have turned out any other way? Soul music is the foundation of all his musical endeavours. And like an emotional and aesthetic thread that he weaves through his music, soul, in fact, holds together his diverse musical influences such as hip hop, techno and house. At the beginning of the 1990s his older brother Paul and his best friend Sascha Funke went crazy for techno beats, while hip hop artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, KRS One and Wu-Tang Clan were Fritz’s heroes who could do no wrong. He studied their flow, memorized hundreds of lyrics and learned how to tell stories – all basic research that would later benefit him. The interview followed notably the ones of other famous German producers like Marc Romboy, Extrawelt, M.A.N.D.Y., Thomas Schumacher, Butch or Solee. First, I wanted to thank these Fritz who answered our questions.


"Hello Fritz,

Honestly, it's a real pleasure and honor to interview you because you are one of my favorite German producers and singer.

Thanks to H.I.M. Media we have the chance to interview you notably because of your upcoming album “Sick travellin’” that will be released at mid-October and that has been recorded in the Suol-Studios in Berlin- Kreuzberg. Could you please give us more information about your second album with 13 tracks that follows your first album “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” published in 2010. How did you work on this album and how the project was born? 
> The idea of having a second album started pretty soon after the first album “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”. Like 4 months after the release in October 2010, I started to produce the first ideas and sketches, so maybe about February 2011. You have a lifetime for the first album and for the second album you have just about a year. So it can be quite a hustle. But I think if you have a red line and a general idea how you want to do the album, it's a lot easier, and I already knew then that I wanted to include a lot more real musicians – bass players, guitarists, Rhodes players and so on. So yeah, that's how the idea for “Sick Travellin'” was born.

Is there any anecdote to tell us about this new album, maybe about one the track presented on it ?
> I think the most notable anecdote about a track for the album is definitely about the cover version of Gil Scott Heron's “Willing”. I had the idea in my head for a long time, the original was produced by Gil Scott Heron and Brian Jackson in 1980, and it already had a very strong four-to-the-floor... let me say “flavour” back then. When Gil sadly passed away last year, it got me into a kind of back-and-forth position if I still wanted to do it and if I could still do it from an ethical point of view. I was at the point of dropping the idea, but I gave it sometime while producing the rest of the album, and after re-thinking it, in the end I decided to go for it.

What have been your musical influence concerning this album?
> The musical influences for this album where basically the same musical influences that have always been important to me. We're talking a big club music influence here, and of course Soul and Hip Hop. Maybe Hip Hop more on a technical and production level – for example Hi-Tek and J Dilla, I love how the “flip” their samples and work with them, and I love the structural aspect of Soul tracks.

“Get A Life” will be the first single right? Why this track? Is this the one you prefer?
> Yeah, it'll be the first single. Well, basically I picked it because it's quite a catchy song with lyrics, playable on radio and therefore show my variety of production, you know.

Concerning the place where you recorded the album, Berlin, could you please tell us what is specific concerning this city? All the main artists of electronic music, especially for minimal and techno movements are in Berlin. Why? Do you have some explanations?
> Me personally, I have a slightly different view on Berlin as I was born and raised here, it will always be my hometown. But I think the reasons for everyone to come here are just the opportunities that Berlin gives you, like low rents, a prospering music scene and a yeah, just loads of chances. And I guess that's the reason everyone comes here and wants to try to do their thing.

The first half of 2012 is over. If you look back to it, what can you say about it? What is your vision of the couple past months? Mainly focus on the album we can imagine?
& Plan for the next year?
> Well yeah, quite split into two halves really. Half of the time I was working on the album, half the time I was touring. From October on I will do fewer shows and start preparing myself for the album tour starting in January.

After you give us these info about your music news we would like to go back to your musical roots. Could you briefly tell us how did you become singer and then producers?
> I think I first started producing when I was about 17, and back then Paul already made music in our home then. So I started using his AKAI sampler and an SB12, making some really, really low stuff. The whole singing thing only started later when a really good friend and mentor DJ Zky asked me to do vocals for his track “What I Can Say”, which got released in 2004 I think. He just said to me “Hey Fritz, here's your chance to prove to me that you can really sing!”, and in the beginning it was quite awkward for me, the first time in a studio, and I had to ask the guys if they could maybe leave the room while I was recording. I was a bit shy about my voice back then. But that changed luckily. Now I can actually record with other people in the studio!

At the beginning, did your family understand what you did for a living? And now are they proud of what you achieved along the years?
> My parents we're very quite relaxed about it because they already had experienced it with Paul, who had his first successes by that time. So it was a bit easier with them for me than for Paul. Just because they already been through that with him and they kind of knew that it would work out for me too.

Concerning your family, everybody knows your brother Paul. What is your relationship musically speaking? How important was he to your career? Or was it the other way round?
> Me and Paul still have a very vital musical relationship. When one of us produces something we always go to the other one for advice, you know like “Hey, what do you think about this break or synth?” or whatever. This time around we decided that we would only show each other the finished project though, and it was kind of “Hey man I made an album!” and the other just said “Yeah me too!”.

If you agree, we can say you hit the ceiling of the electronic world with your vocal on the classical track “Sky And Sand” in 2008 that has been published along the release of the movie “Berlin calling”. How this track was born and why Paul asked you to work on it? Was it the first time you did a duo with your brother?
> It was the first and last time we worked on a track together, to this day. I just recorded some vocals when I was at his studio, originally for a different track. Two days later Paul called me and said he had worked back and forth with that vocal and I had to come in to listen what he did with it. It was a really fast process. In the end it just took us about two days in whole to finish that track.

Can we say this track was a first big step forward in your career?
> It gave my career a certain push, obviously, and I am thankful for that. But I don't really like being associated only with that track, because I released two albums now and a lot of EP's and it's not that nice if you talk to people and for them it's all about that one track you know.

More and more people are asking us about the material DJs and producers used. How did you produce your album? Which software or instruments?
> Most of my ideas start in Ableton Live 8, that's where I jot down the first drafts. The next step, finalizing the track, happens in Logic, which is also the point where we go into a studio and use an ADD mix unit, one of those huge mixers. I also use a lot of tube compressors like Teletronix, Ampex or Tube Tech, because I just really love analogue gear and the distinct sound it has. I love that stuff so much more than any VST or Software.

The interview will be published on a website mainly read by French people. So, what do you know about the French electronic music scene? Are there some artists that you personally know or especially love their music?
> I know that the French electronic music scene is a very vital one. Whenever I am over I always had a really great time. Paris, Marseille and Lyon were some of my favorite shows. When it comes to names, I honestly can only think of those big names that are popular outside of France as well, as I am not as informed on the underground scene as I would like to be.

Besides music, what are your hobbies?
> I collect mechanical watches from the late sixties and seventies. I know that sounds like a freaky hobby, but it's really my passion and I’m really into the mechanics and aesthetics they have.


Fritz, before we conclude this interview we have a few more questions. Sometimes one word is enough!

The track you advice us to listen to in your discography? 
> I would probably pick “Monte Rosa” which is on the new album. Yeah, that's the one. Give it a listen!

An artist you would like to work with one day?
> A big dream of mine would be to work with Al Green. Unfortunately that will probably stay a dream... But one should never give up hope!

Craziest or best live souvenir?
> Last year I played support on Paul’s tour, and in Leipzig suddenly some women's high heels flew onto the stage! I nearly got injured quite badly. There were three pairs of them on the stage. First I thought that they were intentional attacks, but after the show we met those ladies and they said that that was their way to show their appreciation!

One word about France?
> Love! Hey, I love you guys and I'm looking forward to coming back!

Do you sing under your shower?
> Yes. Yes I do.

Fritz, thank you very, very much for the time you devoted to Actualités Electroniques and particularly for this full and exclusive interview. We will wait for sure for your next productions and your new album. A bientôt!”

Dj Aroy


Written by Dj Aroy
Article en Francais       
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