Aeon Audio chief Alex Niggemann returns to action this month with a new release on Balance Music after a freak flood destroyed his studio space some time ago. Sitting down with When We Dip this week, he discussed the issue, his thoughts on the modern music environment and his upcoming EP, while also sharing an exclusive preview of Deetron’s ‘Hurricane’ Remix.
WWD: Thanks for joining us Alex! Where are we catching you today?
Thanks for having me. I’m in studio working on new music.
WWD: What’s been on your to-do list this week?
Interviews, interviews and trying to find some time to do music in between. It’s been a pretty busy one.
WWD: You started your January down under. How was your latest Australian experience?
Awesome. Better than I imagined. Two outstanding gigs and I was finally able to experience the fireworks on NYE at the Harbour Bridge in Sydney. Playing on NYD in front of 4500 people is also not a bad way to start a new year..
WWD: The life of an artist is precarious at the best of times. Your studio was out of action for seven months. Can you give us an insight into the disruption that caused?
My apartment is spread on two floors. On the lower floor I have a built in room in room studio. Unfortunately a hot water tube exploded in the wall just between both floors, so both were under water and hot steam for more than 24 hours. In the following months I was not able to really work as I was just dealing with organizing reconstructions, fighting with insurances and lawyers. But that’s all past now. All is good and I’m happy in a newly fixed flat.
WWD: Where did you focus your energy during this period?
Doing the Balance CD, organizing AEON and being a good dad to my son who was born in October.
WWD: You’ve got a busy February ahead. Back in business! What are you most looking forward to?
Being back on the road and back to normality, and I really missed working on music and having a clean and furnished surrounding to come back to. There are some really cool shows ahead and summer is also looking pretty busy already. I feel it will be a good year.
WWD: Talk us through the new ‘Hurricane’ EP dropping on Balance Music on Friday.
What influenced the decision to stray from your signature sound on the original mix?
Actually, as you might know, I like to be diverse and like the challenge of producing things I haven’t done before. I’m an artist and that means freedom, breaking down boundaries and provoking a reaction. I wanted to do something different. This is the sort of music I usually listen to when I’m on the road or in private. So it was just time to do something like that after being inspired by it for years. Balance is the perfect platform, as it represents a freedom from genres.
WWD: This is a topic that we’re diving into at the moment – the lasting value of a track or a composition in electronic music seems to be diminishing by the second in terms of listener consumption. As an artist and label boss, how do you view this situation?
It is like that. It is because everything is so hyped up at the moment, that the music is actually just a promotion tool. Everybody wants to produce the next big hit to get a quick share of the cake for a short time, as long as the bubble doesn’t burst. It was the same in 96/97. After that it totally collapsed and the music came back fresh and filtered. It will be like that soon again. You can really compare it to the economic crises caused by the housing market. I just try to stick to my plan and do what I love, not trying to be too dependent on hype and just release quality instead of quantity.
WWD: Is there any solution to reverse the process or for re-creating that value in the eyes of the end listener?
A clean up like described above, and labels that learn from the past, being more selective again about what they release. After everything crashing because of too much shit being sold as gold, only quality can heal. The listener doesn’t really have a chance to find the quality in the jungle of music being released and hyped by media. How could they, they listen to what they’re presented with. But to be fair, this is the music industry. As soon as major labels jump on a certain genre (Rock in the 80s, Rave in the 90s, hip-hop, RnB in the 2000s) a certain genre will be pushed to the limit and every cent is squeezed out of it. History is just repeating itself. No harm, no frustration. I just keep doing what I do and love.
WWD: Does this issue impact on how often you decide to release as a producer/label?
Less is more. Production is reduction. I just stick to that.
Before we say goodbye, what would make 2017 a good year for Alex Niggemann?
If the world would get closer together and stick to what really matters, instead of listening to political leaders that are only focused on their own interests, therefore dividing nations all over the globe.