I guess this is a normal cycle with music. The media now sets the spotlight on a genre which has been there for decades. But it feels new for a lot of people out there. At the moment there are some special artists like Helena Hauff or Stingray and they are really on fire. They play a lot in clubs around the world, giving a fresh impulse to the electro scene. People trust them and so they open their mind for new things; it becomes normal to play not only techno in a club. DJs buy more electro vinyl and this is perfect for our scene. People are hungry for new things.
Are you happy for the increased attention? Do you think it could also have a negative effect (overhype) in the long term or is it true that "real Electro will never be in or out of fashion”?
Yes, I’m happy with that development. To overhype a genre isn’t possible in my opinion. You can overhype artists, thats possible. Media is always searching for the things that are interesting for people and maybe this year all want to dance to Trance records. Then Trance will get a hype. It’s a fast world with a lot of informations around us and nobody knows why hypes are created. It happens in some way. But the electro scene itself will always have that community and it will be bigger sometimes and sometimes smaller. But it will never die, thats for sure.“Das Heise Experiment”, a fully-fledged concept - involving music, but also visual and tactile potentials that go with vinyl, not to mention the comic - has set a particular milestone for you and your label Solar One Music. You haven't had the opportunity to talk more about the significance of this project. What brought you to the idea?
Nico and I are both big comic fans from back in the day. We also wanted to do something different, a whole project that combines the visual and acoustical component. The listener can feel into the story of Dr. Heise (Heise is my birth name) a scientist who works on an experiment with an alien life-form. It’s a concept album in which both components are directly combined and work together perfectly. Even in days where people have no time, we thought why not do something you have to take your time with. You must get involved with the story, indulge in your own fantasy, listen to the music and dive into another world. That is the big goal of this release. I didn’t want to do a forward-thinking electro album for this project, I wanted to go a little bit deeper in my world.Once again Gerald Donald aka Rudolf Klorzeiger is featured as a prestigious collaborator. How much of the whole concept is a personal interpretation of what Gerald Donald has explored in his multifaceted career especially under the Dopplereffekt and Arpanet aliases?
I really like to work with him. It’s always a big inspiration and no doubt his projects inspire a whole scene (included me) and generation, but for the Heise stuff we thought on nothing that was already there. The story grew for years in our heads. From the start of my carrier a must for me was, to have a story for my music. People think about Drexciya right, this was a big influence and totally my thing. From the concept and story and the music itself, but also when they wouldn’t have done it this way, I would have it done like I do it today. I was always a science fiction fan, even as a kid, I always wanted to do music and the goal was to combine it with a story and a visual component. I’m very proud of this project, because all comes together in a way that was my vision for many years.Has the visual presentation of your productions and performances always represented an important part of your work ethic? If not before, has that changed now?
Always! I like stories and fictive worlds when it comes to art and music. Art is an escape from the "normal" world with its rules and so on. Wearing a mask gives me the freedom to dive completely into the Exaltics world. It’s a little bit weird but it’s for me the only authentic way to represent my music. I don’t want a normal guy who drills his instruments, I want the weird feeling when you look into a dark mask and listen to dark and eerie music. That’s totally my thing.In an interview you gave to Soundwall.it last year, you say that a defining, compelling element in your music is the melody. Do you think that the melody is the key element which brings people’s attention towards your sound?
I don’t know, for me melody is essential. It gives a track its character, its face. I love playing pads to give an eerie or even a nice feeling to a production. It makes music even deeper.The label is still managed by you and Nico, do you also collaborate in the music production process?
I do the label with Nico, but we don’t find time to make music lately. The label work, our regular jobs, it all becomes too much for our time. We worked together as Crotaphytus some years ago. It was always a tough process because Nico has his vision as I have mine. But it was fun. Hopefully we will find the time to sit in the studio in the future again.Last June we had the pleasure to have you for a live performance at our party. Your equipment looked very compact. What kind of gear have you been using and did your live setup changed over the years?
Really enjoyed my stay in Vienna. It was a cool party with a great crowd. Yes, I use Ableton Push, this is really compact and i have a lot of possibilities. I try to combine some kind of live elements and I also work with the DJ mixer to have the possibility to put tracks on each other, for cutting, etc. Like a DJ. This puts a lot of energy in the performance and I really like it this way.How do you prepare for a live performance and is there a The Exaltics DJ set?
I have a long prepared live set with loops, even old tracks, effects, sounds, pads and so on. Spent a lot of time to get it done. Every set grows different, because of the energy of the crowd or even my mood. I really like the possibilities with Ableton. My good friend Emika also gives me a lot of impulses to finally go out to play live and get a set done. In the back-days, I was on the road as DJ. Today I still think about it, but it’s not definitely decided yet. Let’s see...There are several artists who are wearing masks during their gigs. You said once that you chose to hide your face to make your project more special. Do you consider the mystery over an artist’s identity as something essential, e.g. for people to dive into music without being distracted by all other secondary things, which are so often more emphasized than the music itself?
I love masks and I really like imagination. Music is a show and I like the idea of a mysterious person playing weird mysterious and eerie music. The concept works perfectly together for me and when I put the mask on, I transform into my Exaltics world. This is a creative process and essential for me.
You are recently being presented as one of the main characters for that genre. Do you feel comfortable with that?
To be honest, I haven’t had a direct feeling to this. We work hard with the label and with the music. It’s a passion and we are happy that people are liking it. We do our thing, here in Jena, more or less alone and have no feeling on how big it all has developed.We are not in Berlin where you have always a big exchange with other artists. But we like our silent way in the "province”, far away from big cities. That’s our inspiration.Ultradyne, our next guests in February at Grelle Forelle, also choose to wear masks. Have you heard them playing live? Do you have a favourite
Ultradyne track or one you would like to recommend? Haven’t heard them yet but hopefully will do in the future. I really like their music, their radical and experimental approach. The remix for me some years ago was totally the bomb!Most Solar One T-shirts and sweaters from your merchandise rock the motto, “We Are Not Your Friends”. Where did that originate?
My first record on Last Know Trajectory had this title. This sentence was on the title track where The Exaltics speak to the humans on earth. It’s a little bit to be seen as social criticism. There is so much shit happening on this earth and this is our answer, you know.. ;)How will 2018 look like for The Exaltics and Solar One Music?
We have a lot of interesting projects and collaborations with both SolarOneMusic and The Exaltics. We are pushing our new Electro only sub label Between Places and we also prepare the first record for our more Techno oriented sub label Rattleznake. There is much to do.Do you have any hints or advices you could give to someone who is new to Electro?
Stay on your path, fight hard and never give up! It sounds like an old phrase but it’s the truth.
Thanks for your time and we hope to see you again soon.