Berlin based DJ and producer POWEL is the author of stellar remixes and productions of incredible musicality. His signature rhythms, percussion work and captivating atmospheres have the amazing ability to take you into the depth of aural pleasure.
An expert at creating harmonious illusions of sound, Germany’s POWEL always finds a way to thread together natural elegance and tasteful patience in music.
Having learned the piano at a young age and subsequently performed regularly with bands and even an orchestra, POWEL’s palette of music has a vast and thorough foundation that is influenced by the people and places he comes across during his visits.
The sound artist’s unique touch as a musician is heard by how he captures warm, celestial vibes filled with airy atmospheres together with delicate rhythms and tells a melancholic story fused with ghostly, low slung cuts that are rich with nuance and subtlety.
Hi Powel, first we want to tank you for the time and for the music <3.
How did you feel about the experience spent in Romania at Sunwaves in 2017?
I remember it being an extremely hot day. Well, and somehow I didn’t got the memo, that people weren’t allowed to enter the ocean from the festival side, which kind of makes sense in hindsight. But anyway, when i’ve arrived I just thought: “oh great, water”, and immediately went for a swim, completely oblivious that a security guy was chasing after me. I only noticed him, when he was directly behind me, yelling at me to to get out of the water.
He was about to kick me off the festival side. It took some time to convince him that I was actually playing there and just didn’t know any better – I think, just having arrived, I didn’t even had my wristband on yet. So, I can’t blame him.
I also remember, climbing around on stage to place a fan behind Zone+’s laptop, because it was about to overheat. So, mostly heat related things, but it was really fun as well and I really enjoyed playing there. Hope to come back at some point.
What inspires you the most when you start producing a track?
That can be everything. One of the things I do when I start a studio day, is to play around on my piano, just to warm up. Sometimes there’s already an idea coming out of this I can build on. Another thing I do is, to go to vinyl flea markets and blindly grab some records to see if there’s anything fun to sample on them later in the studio.
There’s something great about sampling, even if you are perfectly capable of creating harmonies and melodies on your own. Playing around with already existing stuff, is a good way to extend your horizon. Using the all the tools you can use. Pitching it, stretching it, chopping it into pieces, and reassemble it in a completely new way, so that afterwards even you can’t
identify the source materiel anymore. I really like doing that. But that’s just a producing tool.
I think, the most important thing is, to have an actual story to tell. That can develop over the time I’m making the track, but the ideal way for me is, to already have something on my mind, I wanna “write” about. Almost like in a traditional singer-songwriter way. And as I said, that can be inspired by everything, something I have on my mind, something I’ve observed, something I’ve read and kept my thinking. And as sad as it is, negative emotions are most of the time the best catalyst for good music. That doesn’t mean, that you have to be sad and heartbroken all the time, but if you look at any great song ever written or at any other art form.
The best art usually comes from a place of suffering. And I think that applies to to electronic music as well, even it being the soundtrack for most people to let loose and enjoy life. That can be a bit of a troubling thought. But well, you can use that feeling, to turn it into music. I guess, I just have a bit of a negative way to look at things sometimes.
Do you have any advice to producers who want to resist the tempation of making tunes on a laptop, and use analogue gear instead?
I think there’s no right and wrong here. I made tracks just using a laptop and headphones, and I made tracks, where I’ve recorded a very unnecessary amount of real instruments and synthesizers, just to delete more than half of it in the end or even replace them with vst’s. I mean, it is indeed much more fun for me, to play around with actual knobs and
instruments, but in the end it doesn’t save you from having to have an actual story to tell. If you just using your skills as a producer to produce a result without any emotions, it most likely won’t make other people feel anything, when listening.
So, having a lot of outboard gear and knowing how to play an instrument, doesn’t automatically makes you a good musician. And the other way around. Not knowing anything about the traditional way of creating harmonies and melodies and not working with outboard gear, doesn’t make you a bad one. You just have to find whatever works for you.
What I can highly recommend is, to avoid sound and loop packs. For me, part of the fun is to create my own sounds,and not just drag them from a sample pack into my daw. That just reminds me of Magix Music Maker – mmh, you probably have to be over 30 to understand that reference
What releases and projects are we waiting for in the near future?
I’ve just released an remix for the fantastic “Esteble” on “XYZ”, I have two other remixes lined up to be released soon.
One is “Alfa State & Mystic District – Chinook” on “Plaisirs Sonores”, and the other one is “Nepotek – Magnum” on “Plus Future Records”. I also have two Ep’s lined up. One on “Dream Culture” and another one on “Anjuna Deep”, but we haven’t set release dates yet.
And then there’s my Album. We originally intended to release it last December on “All Day I Dream”, but unfortunately I missed that window. Well, because I simple couldn’t finish it in time, So we’re trying right now to find a new date for it, probably late fall or winter, as I think it’s a winter album. But we’ll see.
I also made tracks for different compilations, but also, no release dates set yet. Oh, and I used some of the free time I have right now, to finally start working on a live act with the help of some friends, but that’s still in it’s early stages, so I can’t really say anything about it yet, except that it’ll be me plus at least three other musicians on stage. We’ll start rehearsing pretty soon, and we’ll see where it’ll take us.
What else do you like to do beside music?
To be honest, not that much, even without the pandemic going on. Making music and doing music related things usually takes up up to 12+ hours of my day and have no hobbies besides that. I mean seeing friends, reading, watching Netflix and walking around the city, doesn’t really qualify as that.
The great thing about making music for a living is, that you get up in the morning and can’t wait to get to “work” and you go back, when you feel like it. Well, most of the time I work till I’m very exhausted, but in a good and satisfying way. And on weekends you got to travel the world (well, hopefully again at some point), to play the music you like, to wonderful people – pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.
What parties do you prefer, a large number of people or small gatherings?
Both can be fun to play. I think it’s important to find a good balance. The intimacy and connection you can have with a small crowd can be just heartwarming, and so can be the energy of a big crowd, even though it is very hard to connect and communicate with people, because they’re usually to far away in that scenario.
Oh, and regarding this, I would really recommend, to not wear sunglasses on stage, unless it’s really necessary. Because the whole DJ thing is some
form of communication, both ways, and without being able to look someone in the eyes, you kind of shutting yourself off from it. My girlfriend made me aware of this a couple of years ago, and I think she’s absolutely right.