Interview: Lars Wickinger

Lars Wickinger (by Dejan Patic)
Lars Wickinger (by Dejan Patic)

With the influx of DJ’s in today’s techno-obsessed music industry, it is more and more difficult to find musicians that truly classify as artists. Lars Wickinger is a breath of fresh air in that regard – the Berlin-based DJ offers a unique spin on avant-garde electronic that is at once both groovy and melodic. Wickinger’s newest upcoming album, The Unknown Side of the Moon, serves as both a club-suitable dance album and an emotional soundtrack that speaks to intimate details of Wickinger’s personal life.

The Unknown Side of the Moon is set for release on April 17. I had the pleasure of speaking with Lars beforehand to give Local Suicide readers an intimate look at how his unique sound came about, and what to expect on the album.

LSD: “The Unknown Side of the Moon” offers a groovy, upbeat yet minimalistic spin on techno. What was your goal in creating this alternative techno album?

Above all, to put my ideas in order. In addition, to transport feelings and moods with the tracks.

LSD: What was it like using the Elektron Analog Keys and Elektron Analog Rytm to create this album? Did you have the influence of avant garde composers like John Cage or Milton Babbitt in mind when using such minimalist machines?

With the flood of digital possibilities I found it exciting to limit myself and to focus on the essentials. The album should sound of one piece, raw and not overproduced. Therefore, I wanted the beats and rhythmic sounds to come from one machine only.

LSD: You produce a lot of your own music on your record label, So What Music. What is it like to have control over the entire process, from creating music to producing and distributing it?

It’s a good feeling of freedom, but also costs a lot of time and expense! Also, I do the mastering for my label as well as for other labels and produce other DJ’s.

LSD: You’ve been making techno music since the ’90s. How have you seen the industry change, especially over the past few years with the general public’s growing interest in electronic music, and have these changes affected your own sound?

A lot has changed. For example, that many people hardly earn any money with the release of electronic music. The digital revolution is a blessing and a curse. I think it is positive that more people hear electronic music, but what kids today think is techno, often has nothing to do with techno. Nowadays, it has become easy to make electronic music or to be a DJ. Everyone makes music and wants to release as fast as possible, which is relatively easy. As a result, there is more and more electronic music and naturally it loses in value! If there is more oil on the world market, the oil price drops. For me, it was always important to express myself with music, instead of thinking about what could be commercially successful. Just old-school!

LSD: How do the crowds in other places (like Oslo, Norway, where you recently performed) compare to the Berlin techno scene?

In Oslo, they are probably glad, when they can party to a good sound. Another difference is that you can party in Berlin for days without a break. This isn’t possible in many cities or countries. This is unique, so that’s why we get so many “party-tourists” in Berlin.

Other artists on Wickinger’s label, So What Music, include Dano TheCube, Homebase, Joseph Disco, Exploit, and Der E-KreiselThe Unknown Side of the Moon will be released by So What Music on April 17. Follow Lars on Facebook and Soundcloud to stay in the loop!

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