With over twenty years in the industry, Martin Eyerer confidently wears the ‘been-there-done-that’ shirt of the seasoned veteran. Gold discs adorn the studio walls and music production, coaching and record label duties are still very much a huge part of everyday life for the Stuttgart-born Berliner. However, together with his partners, he’s also now working furiously on a huge new business adventure for the City’s fellow creatives.
We are currently working on a project called Haus Of Berlin, a concept in Berlin to build a location in the centre of the City for creative people over 20,000 sqm...We caught up with Martin, fresh from the announcement of the Haus of Berlin project and ahead of this week’s release of his new ‘Run/Stop/Restore’ EP on Edwin Oosterwal & Joris Voorn’s Rejected imprint.
Hi Martin, we understand that you’re just back from a trip to the US of A. Was that work, pleasure or bit of both? How was your visit?
Yes, it was work - I played 5 shows and spent a week in LA to meet some people and held two workshops. We are currently working on a project called Haus Of Berlin (www.hausof.berlin) – a concept in Berlin to build a location in the centre of the City for creative people over 20,000 sqm. We want to branch out to big music cities so I had a few positive meetings there.
Touring in USA is always special. The real scene is pretty small but there are some nice parties going on. It was crazy to be there a few days before elections and talking to many people not knowing what they should vote for. Everyone was talking about it all the time...
We started 5 years ago just looking for a space for ourselves & found this magic spot with the view straight on the River Spree... You’re the owner, along with Tassilo Ippenberger (Pan-Pot) & JADE, of the Riverside Studio complex in Berlin. Can you tell us a little about the set up there?
We started 5 years ago just looking for a space for ourselves and found this magic spot with the view straight on the River Spree and the east side Gallery. From day one we were swamped by inquiries for space so we decided to extend and extend.
Finally, we have 1700 sqm now and have built 25 studio rooms with a nice structure around them. Because we were facing this never-ending demand for rooms we could chose the people we wanted to have around us. So, it ended up as far more than just a studio complex: Riverside with its 40 residents is more a community of creatives serving every musical genre. The vibes here are so positive and inspiring. We also promote many events, song writing camps, workshops and so on. Last year this lead us to the idea of up-scaling it for all kind of creatives. Not only music but also film, photography, art, fashion and so on.
We hear you have some grand plans for the space…?
Riverside itself is constantly developing and we know it’s also a platform for us to lobby for creative industry in Berlin. The demand for space is growing and getting more and more expensive - similar to London or New York.
Berlin still has the chance to avoid making the same mistakes as other global metropoles...Politicians visiting our space understand we are also an economic factor, one that should be promoted. In Berlin we have 200,000 people working in the creative industry!
Berlin still has the chance to avoid making the same mistakes as other global metropoles. Even though we are developing the next project, Riverside is our home base and will always be our family, however we are very happy and proud to realise we’re known worldwide. Even the management of U2 had a room inquiry for a listening session!
You’re also the owner & A&R for Kling Klong Records, which has been a leading electronic label for over a decade. You also have the weekly online radio show of the same name. Apart from keeping you incredibly busy, what would you say are the main hurdles faced by independent labels today and do you have any tips for success?
On the one hand, it became easier to produce music, which is a good thing because people can make more out of it. On the other hand, the market is bursting with releases and its extremely hard in getting through with your own. Even for established artists its not always easy. We experienced lower sales of the less well known artists on Kling Klong, which is a problem because the scene needs to continue to develop talent, keeping music fresh and innovative.
The scene needs to continue to develop talent, keeping music fresh & innovative...The advice I am always giving to young producers or artists is to not send demos to the 5 top selling labels. They won’t all listen to the demos because they’re overwhelmed with music and you find yourself in competition with all of the well known and currently popular guys.
You are better off finding a small group of people and growing with them together or even starting something of your own or with friends and developing a sound and an image. If we look into all of the successful labels its always exactly this story...
When working for others I learned to be an engineer, helping the artist, working with his ideas & creative input to construct a track...On to the music, we know you’ve engineered for others, including a number of award winning Pop hits. Do you approach the process completely differently to working on your own material?
Yes of course. When working for others I learned to be an engineer, helping the artist, working with his ideas and creative input to construct a track. It’s actually something I like to do myself too. Having people give their creative input when working on my own material. It’s way more fun.
I like to play around with the machines and usually a track comes about through spontaneous moments. My workflow has changed a lot from the days when I used to work to a strict plan when constructing the tracks. The main problem I face nowadays, due to all the other projects I’m involved with, is finding studio time. Doing collaborations with friends and other artists forces me to book my own studio slot in my calendar.
Your recent Bedrock release, ‘Get Down / Ok Cool’, saw you join forces with Mihai Popoviciu and Markus Homm. How did that come about and how was the experience, with three of you at the controls?
That was a fun session. By chance we all played in the same city, Nurnberg, where Markus is based. Mostly when I am there I stay in his house, because we’re good friends. Mihai stayed too so it was logical to sit into the studio and try something.
No one tried to play his ego in decision taking moments...Having sessions with three producers rarely work well, but in this case the cooperation was so much fun. No one tried to play his ego in decision taking moments, so it was a harmonic process. We also switched who was at the controls from time to time. We did those two tunes within two days.
The final mixing we did later and sent the stems around in between, with each working on little details. We are all happy to release on John´s Bedrock label.
I had a release on Edwin & Joris´ label in 2015 so I was very happy they liked & signed this EP...Your upcoming release on Rejected sees you flying solo, with two contrasting tracks in Run/Stop and Troja. Tell us a little about these new gems.
Run/Stop was the result of me buying a cv/gate step sequencer and wiring it with my 1974 Moog Model D. I started to play around that night and ended up with the groove and synth line from run/stop. The sample I spoke myself through a Roland Voice Transformer.
The main loop on Troja I created in a session with a guy I am producing. I offered him this loop while we were working but he didn’t want it, so I decided to do track myself with this as the base. The synths are recorded with a Juno 106. I had a release on Edwin and Joris´ label in 2015 so I was very happy they liked and signed this EP. Rejected is one of my favourites. Edwin added some nice tweaks with his own edit of Run/Stop, which has seen it in my personal playlist throughout the last few months.
Finally, as we approach the end of 2016, what have been your highlights and do you have any new musical or party projects on the near horizon that we should know of?
2016 was a very intense year. After 3 years construction and building up Riverside it was the first year to focus on other stuff and getting the first results from our work. Dj wise it was another similar year. I travelled the globe. Been to Northern and South America many times and twice for gigs in Asia.
Its my fifth year living in Berlin and I really feel settled. I’m looking forward to building our Haus Of Berlin project into the success we know it can be. I have a few releases coming up: an EP on Pan-Pot's Second State, a remix EP with mixes from Oliver Dollar, Affkt and Tobi Neumann, working on a follow up on Leena and working on a release for Sasha´s Last Night On Earth.