“I’m not really a fan of 8 bit Nintendo Prozac happy ping pong melodies… it sounds so catchy and geeky.”
Atmos is an alternative electronic music producer/DJ whose upfront, no ego attitude towards making music and DJing has led him down a creative production path incorporating old Goa Trance and his interpretations of Minimal, Electro and Deep House. He talks to us about his ‘freak of nature tune’ track Klein Aber Doctor, his opinion on Minimal soundscapes and what Love & Light Outdoor Festival attendees can look forward to.
What do you think was the relevance and reason for the inspirational effect your track Klein Aber Doctor had on other producers?
As a young dude, I was fascinated by many different styles of electronic music and DJ’s at the time, and it helped me merge all the cool music I heard into one song somehow. I think the inspirational effect would be that from that time all producers who heard it knew it’s actually okay to create a freak of nature.
With your most recent album, Tour de Trance released in 2008, you painted a vivid fairytale of the story behind the ‘conception’ of this release’s all new faceted sound; combining Deep House groove elements with typical Goa Trance. What initially led you down this production path?
It was when all DJs around me were moving more towards electro/minimal and the tempo dropped down to 126 -130 IDM. I was OK with the tempo but I didn’t really agree on all the soundscapes that minimal and electro house brought along. I’m not really a fan of 8 bit Nintendo Prozac happy ping pong melodies… it sounds so catchy and geeky. I chose to follow the tempo trend but decided instead to colour the songs on that album the way I thought made this type of music sound more interesting.
Given your obvious love, knowledge and passion for good quality electronic music that is friendly and perfectly dancefloor suited; what do you believe electronic music producers should hold as a primary priority when making music?
If you as a producer just concentrate on the fact that a song is only say seven minutes of a DJ set and not a whole life story then you kind of understand that it’s better to produce something that generally fits into a two hour set of almost any progressive trance DJ rather than something that has to be so outstanding that perhaps it’s hard to fit into those one hundred and twenty minutes that people normally judge a DJ for.
You are currently working on your fifth album, when is that due out for release and what sort of story can we hope this one to tell?
This time on ‘604’ as I call the new album, you can expect to hear uncle Atmos finding his way back into the roots of the Headcleaner era. I have understood somehow that I need to supply my listeners/fans with the trance music I once became famous for. It’s a piece of music I started maybe two years ago, some of the tunes you will hear on that album started as simple test areas for new kicks and basses that I later decided to finish as songs and add to the album.
The Psytrance scene in South Africa has enjoyed a strong and steady following with a large audience preference to the full-on Psy sound; and more recently a move to the sounds of Progressive Trance with the success of parties like Love & Light. What do you plan on bringing to the table for your Love & Light performance and what can local trance fans hope to experience from you this December?
A set tailor made for the dancer/neuronaut containing music they will remember as a gift. My sets are about making the crowd want to go to another party like that soon, again, and not to make one special DJ look like he’s the only one in the universe that can do this. Really anyone can do this if you prepare yourself enough before, and have a feeling for dance music.
In all of your extensive years of DJing what have you discovered best describes a quality outdoor party DJ set?
Being prepared and if the promoter trusts you enough to give you a three to four hour slot where you can tell a good story. I have been booked many times lately to play marathon sets like that and I really love it… no extra charge.
“We are focusing more on ourselves in order to create something of our own, so we set ourselves apart from Berlin and from the rest of Germany.”
German Progressive Psy Trance producer/DJ duo, Protonica made up of Ralf Dietze & Piet Kaempfer will be delivering a live set of PsyProg at the upcoming annual Love & Light Outdoor Day Festival. A conversation with Ralf reveals truths about their Techno producing split personalities, growing into the art of music producing and the socially accepted aspect of Progressive Trance.
Your latest album Form Follows Function reflects a solid Progressive Trance delivery. Was there any specific sound template you guys were working with?
We did not have any special sound template or a particular concept or idea. Certainly, we are inspired by other artists while we collect our own new ideas for our tracks. The music we listen to does not always come from the trance genre. For us it is important to realise the track’s musicality, hence we are producers.
With album sales never being the incentive these days do you feel you achieved what you’d set out to do with the album?
An album is a showcase of oneself, or rather, like a fingerprint. We are delighted that people around the world like our music as well as all the bookings that have come along with this album, so yes we are indeed happy.
The sound of your previous album, Search, reflected a more traditional psytrance sound but you’ve since moved to a more progressive soundscape. Would you agree?
We aren’t getting any younger! This has developed over time. We kind of felt that we wanted to move away from full sounds to drier and more progressive sounds. In the past the music was more guided and decisive by Psy, something we are familiar with because we have both worked in the psytrance scene for a long time.
You’re both from Berlin, the home for techno enthusiasts across the world. How does your choice or preference of Progressive Trance differentiate you from the electronic music scene in Berlin and also the rest of Germany?
Sure, without a doubt Berlin is a platform for electronic music. But, we are not heavily incorporated or integrated into the Berlin scene. You could put it this way, we are focusing more on ourselves in order to create something of our own, so we set ourselves apart from Berlin and from the rest of Germany. Nevertheless, Berlin is an interesting city with many facets in electronic music and culture.
How would you describe the Progressive Trance scene in Germany and how have you seen it change over the past five years in your country?
Since the scene in Germany has existed for quite a while there are many long-term followers. It has grown over time also through new members from the commercial trance scene. This is because Progressive Trance continues to be more socially accepted. Thanks to and through all the social networks like Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, etc. a new and young generation is also being reached and therefore everything is growing faster.
You also produce Progressive House/Techno under the moniker ‘Kaempfer & Dietze.’ What was your motivation behind this additional project?
It’s very simple. We don’t want to produce merely trance. With Kaempfer & Dietze we have the freedom to switch to techno thus creating some distance between trance and vice versa. Previously, we had established ourselves with Kaempfer & Dietze in Progressive House. Now we’d like to return to techno. It is important for us, to keep our two projects absolutely separate. The two scenes are two different pairs of shoes.
So you haven’t yet considered doing an amalgam of your two favourite electronic music sounds into one production project or has there been any curiosity regarding an idea of this kind?
Yes, we have indeed planned that in the past. But nothing came out of it. As I said, two pairs of different shoes.
The third Love and Light is set to take place on Saturday 22 December 2012 at the spectacular Mountain Shadows in Paarl. The event will be a full day 12-hour electronic music experience, starting at 10am on Saturday morning and ending at 10pm on Saturday night, and is no more than 63 km’s from Cape Town.
For more info about accommodation near the event, please go to the event page.