THERE WAS NO LAND IN SIGHT, SAILING SOLO UNDER THE NIGHT SKIES – WITH ONLY THE MOON AND THE STARS TO GUIDE US: AN INTERVIEW WITH ARTEFAKT 

Kir & Val (CultKitchen), 30.08.2020

Val (CK): In one of your interviews you mentioned that you both had similar taste in music when you met at the university. Usually our musical tastes that we have in childhood and adolescence are way more different then later. When was that moment that you realized that electronic sound is something you are into? 

 

Nick: For me it was quite accidental. I used to go to the library to rent CDs – this was before the internet-era, or at least I wasn’t using it for that purpose at the time. You had to physically walk into the library and make your way to the CD section. I was mostly listening to rock, folk and indie at the time but sometimes I would choose a CD just because of it’s cover – that’s how I ended up ‘accidentally’ renting Geogaddi by Boards of Canada, still one of my favourite albums. I remember listening to it for the first time on my disc-man before going to bed, and I didn’t really understand what I was hearing because it was a totally different sonic world, unlike anything I used to listen to, but I was fascinated by it. No-one in the village where I lived was introducing me to this kind of music so I was thankful to have access to new music through the library. Later on, in a similar unplanned fashion, I ended up with ‘Reports From The Backseat Pimp’ from Legowelt on my iPod, which also fascinated and made me hungry for more. 

 

Robin: Yes, CDs were the thing of that time. I think based on CDs I learned more about trip-hop side of music, embedding acoustic elements from projects like Jazzanova, early DJ Krush… So it was something like my first electronics introduction. Then, more abstract notion pulled me into techno and other sound streams. I grew up in Eindhoven and it had a very alive asset in techno culture in kind of underground places. Also, my older brother used to be a performer in a live-techno band, so I got funnelled in there experienced it first time as a teenager with all those kicks overwhelming you. I was really excited to learn what it’s all about.

 

Kir (CK): Robin, you mentioned that right now you work a lot on a theatre project. Is it a new experience for you?

 

Robin: I worked in theatre before as a performer on stage and now I work on a project as the lead sound designer, more in a theatre itself designing sounds and different kind of ingredients for the bigger piece. It’s very interesting working with different from parties in the production. It will be an old Shakespeare piece with contemporary electronics.

Val (CK): Looking at all your projects besides Artefakt, I bet you did not lose time during lockdown. Tell us how did you spend this time. Was it easy to focus or you felt uncomfortable without crowded loud places and bright lights?

Nick: It was a new situation in the sense that we were both ‘stationary’ for a longer time and therefore it was easier to maintain a regular studio-schedule. Usually, we are on the road a lot – for Artefakt shows as well as solo projects –which is very dynamic and inspiring, but during the lockdown we noticed it was also nice and productive to be in one place for several months and to maintain a steady schedule. I think this really worked well for us in terms of working on the forthcoming album. We were already looking forward to working on an ambient focused and downtempo album for a while, and we took the chance in this period to finally realise that. We also had some time to explore new working methods because of the situation. For example, I have an acoustic piano in my studio and we started experimenting with that and using it in our tracks. Of course, we missed the shows. The situations made us miss and reminisce about being on the road, but also created space.

Kir (CK): Moving closer to the mix you’ve prepared for our listeners. How do you usually work on podcasts? Does it help you that you do it together or it causes debates maybe during the process?

Robin: Normally we record a few sessions to work with, but it depends on the flow. Usually, we make a selection and then explore it in different ways. The podcast is always featuring our different mixing techniques and also about the different approach to records selection which I think makes it interesting. This mix was a bit more nomadic because now we both work more on different projects and less in the studio, so it was a different and interesting process but the mutual spirit of Artefakt is still resonating inside.

Nick: I just wanted to add that – whether we are working together in the studio or remotely – we are always able to give each other constructive feedback without having conflict or debates – I think this is based on mutual respect. If I work on my own, I tend to get stuck more often, but when we work together, Robin can take over when my inspiration runs dry or if I get stuck. This process happens very organically after 10 years of working together – it’s a kind of a musical relay race.

Val (CK): What’s this story about, what’s behind the sound in this podcast?

Robin: The concept of this mix is connected to this time of the lockdown when we cannot travel in the same ways, when we are often in the same environment and you start to meditate more and also react more on different elements in your life. The idea is also about the fact that we get a lot of information all the time about important topics and there are so many opinions – and this mix was created to give you some space where you can contemplate, meditate and find your own angle. The whole flow of the mix reflects the process when you breathe in and then later – breathe out… hopefully.

Kir (CK): The final question we usually ask the artists that are coming to our show – can you name the best place on planet Earth where you would recommend listening to this podcast?

Nick: Just last week, I was lucky enough to join a sailing trip on the open seas for the first time, together with close two friends who where on a 2 month trip. We crossed from Sardinia to Sicily. For two days, there was no land or other vessels in sight, sailing solo under the night skies—with only the moon and the stars to guide us. For me, that was the best place to listen to the music. So, if anyone can, I would definitely recommend that! But an open field, a forest clearing or a mountain ridge also set a great scenery—ambient music dwells in open spaces!

Photo: Kasia Zacharko