This week we had the absolute pleasure to talk with Christian Löffler, a personal favourite of mine. Whilst it's difficult to categorise exactly what kind of music Christian makes, it always features a powerful sense of melancholly punctuated with melodic tones. He has long provided a clear message that electronic music need not only be for the dancefloor and can feature a wide range of moods and emotions.
Hailing from Germany, close to the Baltic sea, Löffler's first release came on Ki Records, a label which he founded with his childhood friend and which has provided him with a platform to release the vast majority of his work. After a few releases, 2012 brought Löffler's first album, 'A Forest,' a critically acclaimed atmospheric masterpiece. You only need trawl the internet for 30 seconds to find hoards of people desperate for a re-press in order to get their hands on a physical copy of the record.
After numerous other EPs, last year Löffler dropped his highly anticipated and similarly excellent album, 'Mare,' featuring a number of collaborations with vocalist and friend Mohna. The album has now seen a series of remixes from close friends and collaborators of Löffler, the first of which were released in April and saw Max Cooper and Superpoze step up. As of last week, a second pair of remixes followed, including a rework from Christian himself, as well as Aparde's remix of 'Youth.' The Mare remixes are available now on Bandcamp.
Tell me about your journey into electronic music – is it true that it sort of happened by accident and you were more interested in other things like painting and photography?
Yes that’s true. I started with electronic music from quite an early age of 16 but at the time I became more interested in illustration and painting. I started studying art in my hometown while trying to apply to art schools in Berlin or Düsseldorf. Again at the time I realized that I already have a strong vision of my visual art and that there maybe was no need to go through another complete study. At that time I was back into music and started working on a new project under my real name.
Are you still painting and photographing? Do you feel like they are similar to music in terms of expression?
I just came back to painting a few days ago and it feels really good and fresh again. Photography kind of became a substitution while I was touring. Both things are basically the same thing like music for me. If I feel inspired I can express my ideas in any of those worlds. The good thing is that they also reflect on each other. I like to make music while I’m painting sometimes.
Your music has a fairly dark and melancholic feel to it – does this come through when you paint as well? Also does this dark/melancholic vibe match your personality in any way or is it just a style that you enjoy?
It’s definitely the style I enjoy the most in art and music and it's a big part of my personality I’d say. I’m kind of a split personality maybe. There is a funny, humorous side and I can also be eccentric at times.
Let’s talk about your production process. How do you start a track? Generally are you quite improvisational, do you like to jam in the studio, or do you go in there with an idea in mind and then work from that?
For the last album there was a lot of jamming and that was new to me because usually I’d like create a loop and build everything around it and already start arranging the different parts.
Where do you get your samples and recordings?
Many things I use are self recorded, except some sample libraries I've used for years already. I also use Native Instruments Kontakt or Battery for the drums. My own samples are recorded from several instruments. Sometimes I also just use my phone, recording an interesting sound like taking a photo. Now I have quite a collection of samples.
Let's talk about your studio setup. What would you say are the most essential parts of your studio setup?
I just got a Prophet 6, so at the moment I’m using this a lot. For synths I also have a Korg Polysix, NordLead 2x and an OP-1. For software I’m a big fan of Native Instruments FM8 and Absynth.
What does your live setup look like at the moment? Are you planning to change/evolve that over time at all? Do you have any unusual bits of kit/instruments that you use?
My live set-up consists of Computer, APC 40 und UC-33 as controllers, an Elektron Rytm for drums, the NordLead and a piece of wood with a contact mic, so maybe that one is a bit unusual.
So what’s happening with you this year – will you be releasing any music?
I just released a rework of my own song Pigment as part of the Mare Reworks. Also there are some remixes for other artists coming up in the next months but generally this year will be mostly for creating new music.
What can you tell us about the up and coming remixes of Mare?
I’m very happy with the final line-up of artists that remixed Mare. Many friends and artists I really admire worked on the material and it became a deeply interesting and coherent record. Also I worked with poet Marcus Roloff on the artwork and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it printed.
What about live shows – do you have a busy summer coming up?
Summer has been very busy for me so far. There have been many great festivals I’ve played for the first time and also some really nice comebacks. Tauron Nowa Muzyka in Katowice was very exciting, also Dour Festival in Belgium was great and Colours of Ostrava in Czech Republic was a highlight.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your spare time?
Lately I like to listen music by August Wilhelmsson, Mount Eerie or Planning for Burial for example. So basically I have no favourite genre, it’s more or less constantly changing.
Who would you say are your biggest influences musically?
That’s difficult because I realize that you sometimes forget artists or records that were actually very influential. I’d say Squarepusher, Death Cab for Cutie, Dntel, AGF and Apparat.
Can you name your five favourite tracks of recent memory?
They Dream By Day - Limbo
Avatism - Planetario feat. Mind Against
August Wilhelmsson - Panoramas
Superpoze - We the Living
LUCHS - Reverie
Are there any up and coming artists that you have been impressed by?
Two names you definetly have to watch out for are Aparde and Fejká. Both are releasing music on Ki this year.