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Go BackROLLER, WHIPPER & MELODIE - Gabriel Ananda says accidents, happily, happen.

Posted: 24/10/06 15:49

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Accidents happen - in fact, German electronic music producer counts on them.

For Gabriel, errors are merely part of the spontaneous creative process and is inclined to leave them in – even if it seems wrong, he explains, it might still sound right. And Ananda's deep, organic melodic builds and superb programming on releases on labels like:Karmarouge, Traum, Ladomat 2000, Treibstoff and Tonsport have certainly been music to the ears of DJs in the minimal techno to house scene. Ananda is himself in constant demand throughout Europe, playing on the fly edits of his tracks and others in a live PA setup.

However, buried deep into the synthetic and electronic grooves, and even between the lines of this particular interview, Ananda's heart and approach seems a truly spiritual one. When he isn't in the studio, he prefers being outdoors, perhaps seeing the beauty and perfection in the randomness of nature.

We ask Ananda about his biggest and best mistakes, being inspired by Väth and Hawtin, his remix contest and why he'd sooner be recognized as a musician than a star.

You've been producing for about a decade now and you´ve made the most waves this year with "Doppelwhipper,” a live track that you sort of created by accident in the studio. Does that strike you as kind of funny?
It’s the same with “Süssholz” or “Glücksmelodie.” I just did it and didn’t think about it. What makes me happy is the fact that “Doppelwhipper” was not planned to be something big. It just happened.

There’s no poppy hook line or anything like that. It’s mostly rhythm and you have to listen through the sounds to know what is it about. Yes it’s funny in a way, but also tragic, because it’s the same the other way around. You can’t really plan a good track, - its just fate and you have to wait for it or pray.

Can you talk about how the track came together? Was it different from how you normally produce music?
This track is so full of fortuities. The first groovy part is a fragment from the track in my set before. This groovy background percussion which ends in the second part after the first break I did with Tobias Becker from platzhirsch for a track, which was never finished. The melody and the triplets’ sound just happened in a few seconds. But the real magic about all, is the fact that it fits all together without any modifications. Everything was cleared shortly. And the last short break is, as many DJs might remember, changing the measure. That was an accident, by the way. This track is just one big accident.  

Because “Doppelwhipper” was so spontaneous, do you think that sometimes there’s a danger of overproducing music, like doing too much when you can keep things simpler?
I think it’s nice to spend a lot of time for a very well arranged and produced track. But what I really like with music is the hands-on feeling. The arrangement is made in the same time, as the track is long. And this is something that you can never copy or construct. And isn’t that what makes music so special? This track contains my blood, not my brain. The danger of making the process of the production too long is that you might lose your feeling after a while. Then you start to think and to construct. It’s not the same pure energy anymore. So I prefer it lofi and pure, not hifi and constructed.  

I have and play a few of your tracks, which are excellent. Are you conscious of not releasing too much music and overexposing your name? Are you conscious of quality over quantity? It seems like you probably get a lot of offers for remix work. 
A good point. Quality is so much more important than quantity, of course. If I would make one hit in a year, it would be enough to keep my status. But I am so addicted to music that it’s hard for me to control my output. I get maybe three remix requests in a week and it’s so hard to say no...
But I am releasing too much at the moment – that’s true. And the thing is so many tracks from me came out recently at the same time was a result of a little bit bad organizational release policy of some labels. Some of the records were waiting for over one year for their release and others only weeks. It was nobody’s wish to release five of my records in the same month.  

Can you describe your studio setup? What kind of gear and programs do you use?
I use a software sequencer but no software synths. I don’t like the sound of them. So, I use a Virus A, Juno 60, Jomox Sunsyn and Novation Basstation. This is also the priority order of how often I use them. The main instrument is my 24-channel mixer with some FX. On the mixer, I often do all the arrangement and sound changes during the recording of a track. I use the volume, the EQS and send FX or insert FX in the sum. That’s what makes my sound come alive. Sometimes, I record all the parts into Cubase, but then it all sounds somewhat static. 
How about when you play live? What do you use?
Almost the same. Midi and drums come out of Ableton live and my sounds out of the Virus. All the arrangements and the mix I do with a 24-channel mixer.  

You have a streaming mix session that is available to hear on the Voice (here). The mix’s message board already has a few people posting, asking the names of certain tracks that appear. While getting the word out about good music is essential in this industry, are there certain tracks you keep quiet about and use as your own secret weapons?
That’s right. In the mix on Ibiza Voice there are many special edits from 15-year-old tracks, also parts of old live sets, demo tracks from unknown artists and so on. I normally don’t keep any secrets to myself, because I want all people to use any knowledge to make good music. But when I record these old tracks, sometimes I don’t even write down the names, so I just don’t remember them.  

Do you have a current top 10 list of tracks you can share with us?
Hmmm, this takes so much time and my tastes are changing every second… And I am from the Waldorf School, so I don’t like to set such emotional things like music in a ranking list. I like the 2000 and one stuff. And I love the new Audion “Mouth to Mouth.”  

What producers and DJs do you like and why?
I Like people who develop further and transport a lot of an “in love with life” feeling. It’s hard to name names, but as a DJ I honestly think that Richie Hawtin is fucking good. One of his sets gave me the idea for “Doppelwhipper”. As a producer, I feel close to Mathew Jonson, he is doing everything with his machines and the mixer, and every track by him has a clear message - no frickelage with boring random samples. But I am extremely hard with that topic. Sometimes I like this and that guy and sometimes I even don’t like myself.  

Your debut album, Tai Nasha No Karosha, came out on Karmarouge in 2004. Since then, you’ve released a string of singles on labels like Ladomat 2000, Treibstoff and Tonsport. Are you working on another full album? If so, what will it be like and how would it be different or similar from your debut album?
Tai Nasha No Karosha was made in a time, where I was sad and very emotional. The opposite of the Vulcans whose language the title is from. Now, I feel more clear but also less emotional. I’m going to release my next album in March 2007 on Karmarouge Records and I can say that it will be more life loving. I learned to say: yes, let’s have fun, even though there are people dying of hunger all over the world. That might sound strange, but depression can’t be the answer. I am starting to work on the content right now but only God knows, with what kind of inspirations and accidents he might feed me up.  

You seem to have the strongest relationship with the Treibstoff and Karmarouge labels. Can you talk about each label, why you like them and why you enjoy working with them?
Treibstoff and Karmarouge are home base, and also Platzhirsch and Trapez are my favorite ones. The reason is simple: they do a really good job and they are my friends. I can talk to them about everything and they understand me. Every label has its own idea of music, so I need some more than one. They all together give me a platform to do almost everything I like.  

I know Karmarouge’s Gluecksmelodie Remix Contest just wrapped up this summer. Can you talk about how the idea for the contest came together and what you thought of the response and the winners?
The idea came from the Foem community people and myself. They have hundreds of talented but unknown artists who share theirs stuff over this site. The asked me for any remix material and we decided to use the “Gluecksmelodie” stuff. There’s also a special thing I should let you know. To get rid of the original hook line I decided to offer the people to create their own special version out of the topic of the title which means: “Your personal melody of happiness.” To do a contest with a newcomer forum has so many beautiful aspects. It brings up unknown artists, new contacts, amazingly different remixes were created and so on. The problem was that I had to listen to 265 of them! Remixes which were all so inspired! And I had to separate five from that. Now I feel guilty and happy at the same time. But we are all happy about the results. By the way, the Remix Winner EP will be released on Karmarouge in November.  

I know you started off playing cello as a kid, but didn’t really like it all that much. What didn’t you like about the cello? Even though you never became a cellist, did the classical music theory help you at all with respect to what you do now as a dance artist? If so, why? 
I started with cello when I was maybe seven. It was just too early and too less scientific. I am still a big fan of science and science fiction. Cello was just uncool for me as a kid. I never learned scores, so I was playing cello concerts with a paper in front with hieroglyphs I couldn’t read, so I had to learn to listen carefully. I think that this was the most important lesson I learned.  

Your bio also mentions that Sven Väth was one of your first inspirations in the dance world. Can you talk about when and where you first saw him play live, what you thought and how he’s influenced you?
That was in 1995. The music that Sven Väth played in this set was so spiritual and strong, that the decision to do the same was easy. So, I started the next day to plan my career – hehe... I counted my pocket money and bought my first synth, the Novation Basstation, which I still use. Important for me was the spiritual power, not the stardom. I never want to be treated like a star. The only important thing is the power of music, which I can give to the people and to myself as well. I do my performance mainly to have a beautiful musical experience. I don’t care about who stands on the stage or in the public. Is this point of view different to Sven Väth’s? I really don’t know!  

Have you ever met Sven? It seems like your productions would be an ideal fit for the sound that is currently coming out on his Cocoon label.
Once I played with him together but we never really found the time to talk. He was so busy that there didn’t happen to be a real conversation. I would love to meet him sometimes; he is still the same brilliant and fantastic person.  

Earlier this year, you released “Harzer Roller,” a track you produced with Dominik Eulberg, on Germany’s Traum Records. Where you recorded it is what’s interesting. Can you talk about how this tune came together and what it was like working with Dominik?
I met Dominik some years ago and I will meet him in a minute when I finish this interview to try to help him to recover from his salmonellae poisoning. OK, we met in the Traum office when “Rotbauchunken” just came out and we liked each other from the first moment on. He is a countryside, nature guy – same than me.

At the time, he was still making his productions in his children’s room with hi-fi speaker hanging behind him on the wall which is stuck all over with techno flyers. In this 15-square-meter room he did the album of the year with an ancient PC and Cubase 5.1 and some plug ins – that’s all! 
A year ago, we went on holiday to the German national park called “Harz.” It was cool and horrible at the same time.
We were not allowed to smoke inside the little house we had ( Dominik is the most addicted guy I know !!!) and we got sick. 
We had some of our equipment with us so we did this EP there. Now we work frequently together and it inspires us both a lot. He is a computer freak; I am using hardware. He uses lots of freaky samples and I use my 909. So the results are something between. But more important is that we are really good friends who have to make ourselves clear that we must stay on the ground. When many people know you, they are really making you stupid. It’s easy to become infected with the thought to be better than someone else. For this, you need friends – to bring you down.  

Being as this interview is for Ibiza Voice, what are your thoughts on Ibiza? What do you like about it? What clubs have you played there? Do you have a memorable gig there you can share with us?
Good question. I was in Ibiza when I was six. It was nice. But I'll tell you something: I’ve never been invited to play there. In Ibiza it’s not so easy to get into the scene. Mostly very big stars or friends of big stars are invited. Nobody from the big people or companies ever supported me like and almost everybody who is big now … I don’t want it. My success should only depend on my musical work. And, in the end, there’s no big bubble of hype, which might burst after a while. And, finally, I am happy with my situation. I have my own crowd of fantastic people from Karmarouge Booking and my manager Tom Weecks. And Ibiza will come for sure! See you there next year. I swear!  

Do you currently have any residencies? If so, where, why and what is the club like?
The only club I can call residency is a club in Cologne called Artheater. We do our monthly party there called “Klick Klack Klub.” This is always more a gathering of friends and only a small amount of guests. A good place to try out things and have a very special time!  

Any future projects, releases or gigs for you we should know about?
I’ve done a lot with different artists. One with Pascal FEOS, Paul Brtschitsch, Tobias Becker, Alex Multhaup, Dominik Eulberg, Metope and, hopefully, with Ada as well when we find the time. And … I don’t know. I don’t want to bore you with suggestions. Let’s keep our eyes and ears wide open not to miss any second of life.  

What is your philosophy of life?
Spiritual development...  

 Gabriel, nice one...

Words by Yuri Wuensch