It's not hard to see where Stimming gets his creative inspiration from
Stimming has always been a standout producer. The German artist is a master of symphonic sounds, well swung beats and melodic intricacy. For more than a decade he’s been turning out colourful, charismatic tracks laden with strings, brass and keys, funky earworms and finished with a clean aesthetic.
Mostly his music has come on Diynamic, but this March he put out a collaborative album with Lambert on Kryptox. Described as “postmodern chamber music bleed[ing] into contemporary electronica” it is a beautifully orchestrated record of plaintive pianos, textured found sounds and dreamy harmonies without a kick drum in sight. Yet it still has a subtle, implied sense of rhythm which carries the whole thing forwards and is an interesting and natural development for studio wizard Stimming.
Here we speak to him about how the pair met, how the record came about and whether making music for the dance floor will be enough to always keep Stimming interested.
Ibiza Voice: How are you, how has your year been so far, what have been the ups and downs?
Stimming: My second son was born this year! This means no time, no party, no money but building a family and lots of very, very deep inspiration.
Tell us how you and Lambert first crossed paths and decided to work together. Why did you think it would work?
I heard his record by accident - my best friend gave it to me as a gift and a couple of weeks later after coming back from a private night out here in Hamburg (I was not yet in the mood for sleeping) I decided to listen to the record and I loved it immediately. It's a bit like, if I was a piano player, I probably would play the stuff he does. The harmonies, melodies, the "small-ness,” it’s all very intimate, minimal, but still repetitive.
Stimming X Lambert Live, photo credit: Manuel Kim
Did you have to learn any new skills or techniques to work with the sort of sounds he was sending you? Was the album a learning process?
Every album, every track is a learning process. But yes, leaving the 4/4 bassdrum safety was a very important and interesting step after doing the bummbummbumm for such a long time.
How different is an album from to a 12” for you? Do you write them differently, are they for different audiences? Is making sure the overall flow works a big part of the process?
To be honest, in this case it wasn’t planned to be an album but in the end we decided that it makes sense to sell it as one, as the journey is basically what you expect from an album.
I understand you did most of your part in a small hotel in Osaka - how did you find it working with less gear and just a tablet?
It was very inspiring - it's basically Bitwig on a surface tablet and the Elektron Octatrack and Rytm. Only having those machines makes you use the boundaries in a very creative way - something I miss in modern DAWs - they are so open in their possibilities that it's killing creativity again.
Is there any scope for this to become a live project, or to do another album together?
We already played eight live shows in Europe and Turkey together (the premiere was at Corsica Studios in London) and we plan to do this regularly.
You have plenty of formal playing skills on violin, drums and piano - how many of those skills do you use when writing electronic music? Are they vital to the way your form your sound?
Of course they are, because those skills allow me to do what music can do best: transport a feeling or energy that anyone can feel.
You were one of the first artists to connect techno ideas with symphonic music. Why was that? What was the inspiration and idea there?
Seeking new territory in music is one of my main motivations for making this.
How hard has it been to stay relevant over your now fairly long career? Do you feel the pressure is always on to release music in order to stay in the headlines?
Yes, I do feel some pressure just as any other artist I suppose. But I usually don’t allow myself to forget what matters the most to stay in the "headlines" which is making good music. Nothing more and nothing less.
As you get older do you find yourself more interested in ‘proper music’? Classical, minimalism, piano playing and so on? Is that something you would like to get more into or do you still love being in clubs?
The diplomatic answer: most of the techno I hear has the issue of being nothing more than functional, which is making people dance (a noble reason) but the way it's done is becoming more effect- and function-driven the bigger the crowd becomes. That bores me a lot, yes.
What’s next for you, what else have you got coming up this summer?
My family will play the biggest role this year, thats why I will not play too many shows in 2018. I have a very beautiful EP coming up on Ki Records, called "Die Luft, der Garten und das Meer EP", I will work on new material with Lambert, doing some remixes but mostly it's gonna be finding a way of finding time for doing new stuff in the studio in general.
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