Prab Kumar, New York - United States - on 12/10/12
Pulse is dedicated to bringing you the latest from both today's top names in dance music, and the rising stars of tomorrow. As one of the latter group, Schubert is an artist with an impressive body of work. His recent singings to SCI+TEC and Minus12 portend big things, with tracks like Cubist being hammered by Richie Hawtin and Dubfire all over the world. We catch up with him while he takes a breather from studio work and gigging in Barcelona and Budapest, amongst other places. Read on to learn about the art that inspires this young producer, his own two labels Aurora Music and Black Swan, and how to drink like a real man. And, listen to his exclusive mix for Pulse Radio in the link below!
Schubert, 2012 has been a big year for you in terms of major label recognition. Releases on SCI + TEC and Minus12 have placed you at the forefront of underground techno, and on the decks of Dubfire and Richie Hawtin, amongst others. How does it feel to be in the spotlight, and have their support? The response for some of my music has been very surprising and it’s really an honor to have artists that I've respected for years support my work. Dubfire's sound as a solo artist has been an inspiration since I first listened to his “Past Present and Future” compilation several years. The evolution from producing more experimental and less dancefloor oriented music to what has been released on the labels that you mentioned came gradually, and organically. As a live act, it’s been incredible to play alongside the Sci+Tec artists, and I’m looking forward to progressing with the label.
Tell us a little bit about how you found techno, and when the light switch went on for you’re production. First and foremost, I have always been drawn to ideas that feel open ended and appear to have room to explore different concepts unrelated to music. Certain forms of electronic music were just the direction that came naturally through experimenting with sound and eventually some of the machines that are synonymous with 'techno'. In general, I enjoy looking back and listening to artists and producers from the past and giving my attempt to elaborate on those ideas sonically.
Your projects "Schubert," and "Fallen" are distinct, the former focusing on dance music and the latter on ambient electronica. How do you approach these projects differently? Personally, I have always had to work consistently to feel that I have a basis to go from. Frequently, the output or direction isn't meant for the dance floor, but I carry the project out until the end. I switch back and forth from having very distinct ideas that I’d like to explore and working very spontaneously, letting the pieces of the music lead to the next. I'm not sure how the Fallen project will evolve, but this year I started the Drift concept, where my work is freely downloadable from www.ReverseReplay.com.
Tell us about your own imprints, Black Swan and Aurora Music. How do they differ and what are your goals with them? As most labels, I started both to release my own music and over time, invited artists to join the roster. The labels are continuously developing and stylistically focus on different things. Black Swan is more focused on a whole package of thoughtful music that is both innovative and functional, while Aurora Music allows artists to release techno in all forms without creative restraint. Aurora was the first imprint, but over the next year, much more effort will be directed towards our overall vision for Black Swan.
Your releases often have interesting names, such as "Urknall" (SCI+TEC) or "Rothko" (Black Swan Records). What inspires you outside the dance world? Every project that I have worked on has some sort of elementary idea behind it. Whether it's reading a particular author or observing a work of art, there is always something that I am trying to say in the track. In the past, I studied some quantitative subjects, so that inspired the ideas behind many of the tracks in some way or another. I'm inspired, like everyone by my environment, and in my case, I would say particularly through artworks among many other things.
Speaking of interesting names, "Cubist" (SCI+TEC) has been a standout tune for you. What do you think made this one so special? I honestly don't know, but it was a very straightforward track that resonated well with some respected DJs and the dance floor. In terms of standout, I think that it was a good introduction to the label and what to expect in my live sets at this point.
For the techies amongst us, could you describe your studio a bit? What software and/or hardware do you absolutely love? I began with a hardware setup and recently have used much more software instruments. In general, what you use is just a matter or preference and shouldn't hinder ones creativity. My current setup is mainly software based, but I will reacquire some of the pieces that I really enjoyed. The Boss pedals, Nord Lead, Moog Voyager, and Prophet 8 are all very high quality tools that I would love to include in my personal studio. All of the well-known DAWs are powerful, but I've only used Pro Tools briefly, Logic, and Ableton Live in my own productions for the most part.
When you're in the studio, writing or re-working tracks, what do you aim for? Is it a dance floor reaction, a new sound, something else? What's your vision for your music? I just try to enjoy what I'm making and to have a central idea that holds the track together. It’s sometimes a challenge really creating a great groove and production that rocks the dance floor, but when you do, it’s rewarding.
Any upcoming gigs and/or releases you'd like to highlight? I have several releases in the pipeline including two tracks that should be out soon on Minus12, as well as details for an album project. In the next month, I’ll be playing live near Budapest with Sci+Tec with other dates being confirmed.
On to some personal tidbits - you're in Barcelona at the moment. What's it like being there, surrounded by the sights and sounds of one of Spain's most lively cities, and home to several techno maestros? It's a very inspiring and beautiful city. If you'd like to dig into the history and sites, there are certainly lot things one can see. There are a good amount of producers, the Bullitt crew, and Sci+Tec artists, which is great for conversation and exchanging ideas.
Someone told us you’re a bit of a chef too. What's your favorite dish to cook? That one is tough. I really enjoy doing something different from day to day whether is a Thai inspired dish, a BBQ with friends, or a simple pasta dish.
First drink you order in a new club? Jameson neat
Final words of wisdom? Allow the work to fuel your inspiration.
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