• Fri, Sep 21, 2018
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Apparat Unplugged: In Conversation with Sascha Ring - Part II

interviews Sep 24, 02:48pm

Part two of this very entertaining conversation with Sascha Ring reels in his influences, the intricate dynamics that differ between playing with a band versus…

AMBIKA MUTTOO

Part two of this very entertaining conversation with Sascha Ring reels in his influences, the intricate dynamics that differ between playing with a band versus playing solo electronic sets, to Sascha’s early days as a rave kid. Click here  for part I.

When an electronic musician goes into a band space, the dynamic completely changes into a whole different space. Sometimes interesting, sometimes frustrating. What was your experience like?

I was really lucky, because the guy who co-produced the album, Nackt, he was tired of touring but I convinced him to be part of the band and it made it so much easier, because the preparation for the whole thing was kind of complicated. Because by the end of it, it was still an electronically made album and had 60 or 80 tracks and it wasn’t easy to figure out how four or six people were going to play all of it. Of course, we had to strip everything down and figure out different versions to play. You probably know what I’m talking about, Gaurav!

But how do you choose those?

This time it was easy because the music on the album are more songs and they have a backbone, like a melody … you can play most of them on a piano, and with a voice, and you’d probably recognize them. I wouldn’t say that for most of my earlier work. So it was easy, but then again, not so easy, especially for me being a completely inexperienced guy when it comes to bands! And a guy who doesn’t play instruments very well. I have zero musical knowledge! Everything I do is intuitive. So it was extremely important to have someone who functioned as a counterpart. We took the whole month to translate the album into the live version and rehearse at the same time. We went to a club for one week and we rehearsed in a live situation and it sounded like crap! Because most bands naturally grow together or are really professional and are instrumentalists who just get their arrangements and play what they read. But in this band, it was more of a ‘What do you think you’re going to play for this song?’ There was lots of discussion, because I wanted to involve everyone. It made the process longer and more complicated, but in the end I think it’s the reason why everyone likes what they’re playing and that makes a big difference.

How did you assemble the band?

It was quite easy. The main band is just four people. There’s Jörg, the drummer who is from the same small, shitty hometown that I’m from! I didn’t really know him when I lived there and I met him in Barcelona, which is pretty weird, and we realized we’re from the same city. And he said, ‘Don’t you need a drummer?’ Then Nackt brought in Ben who is the keyboard player. He’s actually a drummer but plays keyboard in our band. Also weird. Even though we rehearsed and did all the live arrangements, we had to play our first show in six weeks, which sounded shitty. The songs were there but it wasn’t a band at that point. You have to tour to become a band! That’s just the way it works. In the end, that’s what happened. We played the whole of last summer. Unfortunately, we quite detested it. I don’t know if that was the right idea. We should’ve started with smaller venues. We played quite a few really big, but shitty gigs. And I was always very depressed afterwards. I kept doubting the idea of having a band. But then at some point it just clicked. After the first bus tour, actually. We played 25 gigs in 28 days. Suddenly it was a completely different situation and I was happy with all of it. But yes, there was some suffering involved!

Your father was a musician? At what point did you decide to start making music too?

I was a rave kid and then I started DJing. I played hard techno back then. As a child, I used to play the drums and wanted to be a musician when I grew up. But then I completely lost that urge. I was facing reality because in the small fucking town I grew up in, there was no way to survive as a musician. It wasn’t even an option. So I started DJing and thought it would be something I would do for fun. I wanted to become a graphic designer and so I moved to Berlin. But in Berlin, I suddenly realized that it was a completely different situation and it was quite possible to be a musician. I was a small town guy with not the widest horizons, so I had to figure it all out. I then started buying equipment and I made techno for just a few months, actually, and then it became boring. I’m not saying it’s easy to make techno. Not at all. I just needed a different challenge.

So what’s the next step, now that the live, organic bug has bitten you?

It’s quite funny…I told you that after Moderat, a very electronic album, I wanted to make something completely different. And now after this album, I thought – I’m ready to make an electronic album again! But then this theatre thing [Ring made music Tolstoi’s ‘Krieg und Frieden’ directed by Sebastian Hartmann] turned out to be even more acoustic. It went out of control! I went to the studio with some people and it turned out to be the most organic stuff I’ve ever made. But I wouldn’t really say that this necessarily is the direction I’m going in. It’s hard to say, man! You get inspired, you get vision and all of a sudden you’re doing something new and unpredictable!

What kind of stuff are you listening to? What’s inspiring you?

The Talk Talk album! That band from the 80’s? They had some hits and then committed commercial suicide and made some mellow, abstract stuff and got in trouble with their label! The music is fucking amazing. Lots of other stuff too. I got interested in dance music again recently. If you browse the internet you’ll find interviews of mine that say “I hate dance music” which I never said! I always said that I didn’t find it interesting anymore! But then again, journalists like extreme and bold statements. But I really like it again! I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m really enjoying it. Even in the Resident Advisor podcast that I just made, I kind of like the cheesy ’80 s house-y stuff! When I play live, for the DJ sets, I play some really noisy techno but mixed with some cheesy house stuff, but it goes well together, because I like to DJ in a musical way and make stuff fit harmonically. Sometimes I really like the drone-y, atmospheric stuff. This guy from Fuck Buttons has a side project called Blank Mass and they do some amazing music. All the other stuff is like…Bon Iver, Fuck Buttons…there’s even some U2 and Phil Collins on my iPod!

Photography by Abhijay Gupta

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