Interview: Robot Koch
Posted in Interviews
ROBOTS DON'T SLEEP
The first time I heard Robot Koch, I knew I found something special. I listened to his music pretty much every day for weeks. Then when a good friend mentioned an interview opportunity, I pounced at it. I've been sitting on his words for a while now, so "now that you're in deep space with us, let's open our minds, and listen, and move, and dance, and sing to everything we hear on this trip..."
Also, if Wes Anderson is reading, Mr. Koch has a request.
Can you talk about your experience doing the Ableton video? I thought it was really interesting to get an inside look into your recording process and experimental nature.
Yeah the idea was to make a video that gave people an inside look into how I work with Ableton, or how I work in general. We didn't want it to be a beatmaker tutorial or something like that, but rather some inside look into my way of working, which was described by one of the Ableton guys as "idiosyncratic". There are million ways to make music, and I just showed some of the ways that work for me.
Why do you think the Ableton guy described your method as idiosyncratic? That seems like an over simplification to me.
I think he was half joking, but he meant my peculiar way of working with many many audioslices in Abelton instead of using things like drum racks, an APC controller, or something else. I started with Ableton 1.0 back in the day, and I always made my beats using many audio files in the arrange window. One time I used so many audio files in one arrangement that the session died on me. I sent it to Ableton support, and they said that Ableton allows a maxium of so and so much audiofiles. I went way over that with my micro editing, but it just works for me. I know there are 100000 other ways to do it, but that's the cool thing about Ableton or music in general, there is not just one way about it.
"Nano" is my favorite track of yours. The Ableton video showed us how you made Nano, but what's behind that song? Where did it come from?
My inspiration is triggered by many things. Some are completely random like the weather, a book I read, some imagination... It's all mixed with trial and error and an open mind towards the result.
How do you know when you've finished a song?
I feel it. I just feel happy about it, and I don't want to mess with it anymore. I don't want to ruin songs by overworking them. I feel the first ideas are often times the best, and then when you overthink it, you just make many changes for the worse. I think it's important to develop a feel for when a track wants to be left alone. Don't force it. I'd rather start a new one if I feel this one is not working out.
What do you think of the electronic scene now? Where do you think it's headed?
I think it's hard to even talk about the electronic scene nowadays. Where do you draw the line? Mainstream stuff is electronic. Underground stuff is too. There is some great stuff out there and a whole lot of really really mediocre and bad, generic sounding stuff. I worry more about the mediocre stuff because it feels like you have to look for a long time to find something exciting that sticks out and actually touches you... That's what music is to me: something emotional. I listen to a lot of electronic stuff from which I don't get any emotional reaction. I guess with the means of electronic production being accessable for everyone really easily, it creates more quantity than quality. Having said that, though, there is of course a lot of really dope and magical stuff out there.
How has working with Project Mooncircle advanced your career and challenged you musically?
It has been great. Both PMC and I grew a lot through our work together. I brought a bunch of artists to the label, and I also played and important role in how the label shifted its focus musically in the last 4 years. They, on the other hand, let me have complete freedom musically and artistically and have been very supportive and enthusiastic from the beginning. So it's more than just working together, it's a proper friendship. which I appreciate a lot.
If you could describe your music as a dish, what would it be?
It would taste surprising first, but very delicious after a while. And it would be good for you, so you don't have to be afraid eating lots of it.
When was the last time you went to the movies? What movie was it?
It was Moonrise Kingdom (I know it has been a while). I love Wes Anderson. He is very unique. The movie was beautiful and weird. I love his quirky style. If one day one of my songs were used in a Wes Anderson movie, that'll be THE DAY.
What's in the future for Robot Koch?
I've been working on a new project with singer John Lamonica, who was featured on my last album as well, for about a year now. The project is called Robots Don't Sleep. The first EP will drop in December and the album will drop next spring. I'm excited about it and will put it on the stage as well.
Check out the trailer for the Robots Don't Sleep project, which came out this morning, below along with two of our favorite Robot Koch tunes.