As if the summer wasn’t hot enough already, Germany’s live act powerhouse Paul Kalkbrenner will take center stage at this weekend’s Electric Island music festival on the Toronto Islands along with Guy Gerber and Gui Boratto. Because Kalbrenner breaks down his tracks into elements that are reassembled onstage, he is considered a live act, as opposed to a DJ. One of the things we discussed in our recent interview.
Tickets are still available online with options that include ferry travel to the island: http://electricisland.to/tickets/. It’s an easy Ferry commute that adds to the feeling of escaping the city. And being able to party outdoors is always a good thing – rain or shine.
The Scene InTo: You’re referred to as a live act and composer. Do you feel there’s a different connotation to being a DJ vs. a Live act? Are there different expectations?
Paul: I recreate my songs live for each performance, a rarity in live electronic music these days.
The crowd knows how music is produced and they have higher expectations. You know, back in the days it was way more complicated to start producing music. It was tricky to figure out how the different components work together. Nowadays you just need a computer and that’s it. No more bulky equipment. This has a major effect on the electronic music production and social media. Sometimes it appears that are busy with the selfmarketing on social media rather than working in the studio.
But on stage things are different. I’m proud to deliever my fans a unique show every time. No show is the same as everything is live, the music, the light and the graphics – nothing is pre-programmed and no-one presses play and sits back until the end oft he set. It’s work. Similar to a rock band, they play their songs live every time on stage.
The Scene InTo: They say Berlin is the hot bed for electronic music, day parties and the true nightlife experience. How does Toronto or N.America compare? Any favourite stops outside Europe?
Paul: Toronto is for sure a favorite stop also for private reasons. My wife grew up in Toronto so we have family here and I got to know the city quite well.
The Scene InTo: The acting came about as a surprise, is this something you’re still focusing on now? Any upcoming projects?
Paul: “Berlin Calling” was shot 2007 and the director involved me as a consultant first. It just happened that I was offered the leading role. Starting work at 5 am for six weeks in a row was rather unpleasant for a guy like me. For now there aren’t any plans for a movie.
My recent new and exciting project is the “Back To The Future” Trilogy.Over Christmas 2014 I needed a break from recording my album, searching online for a song I recalled from my youth, I fell into a rabbit hole of thousands of YouTube playlists and rediscovered the songs my friends and I would gather and listen to as 12 & 13 year old every Saturday in East Berlin.
I stumbled Back To The Future, collecting over 5000 songs on YouTube, learning for the first time the artists behind the songs we heard almost 25 years ago. The trilogy is the result of 18 months of building edits from YouTube recordings and stitching them together off-line. I could not include every song, nor indeed even the entire tracks from this small period until 1993, so this is my personal history of electronic music arriving in Berlin.
It was a very personal project for me, despite there being none of my music involved. There was no commerical element to it. So you can listen to it for free or download it for free here:
We had an overwhelming response – within 20 days we had more than 100Kdownloads. So enjoy!
Part 3 – to be released in August
The Scene InTo: Any artist you’ve wanted to collaborate with that you’ve not already done so?
Paul: I prefer to work on my own in the studio. Also being anybody else on stage makes me feel uncomfortable. I liked it very much when Sony gave me access to their master vaults and tapes. I was able to use vocal parts from stuff that is actually kind of old, unique, and already in existence is the best for me. It was great to just go there and snoop around. I’m obviously the first artist to be given that access which is an honour.
The Scene InTo: Who’s on your current playlist? Anyone in particular you’re keeping your eye on?
Paul: To be honest…I enjoy silence, especially during the festival season. If I listen to music I enjoy classical music at the moment.
Back To The Future:
Part 2: https://soundcloud.com/paulkalkbrenner/backtothefuture-part2
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