Bringing you only the finest of music in WWD096 this week! We have the honour to host none other than Fritz Kalkbrenner. The Berlin bred DJ and music producer is a legendary figure in the electronic music world. He’s provided an exclusive new tape for the occasion. We also had the pleasure to talk with him about changes in his home city, his upcoming tour and the making of his new albums ‘Drown’.
WWD : Hi Fritz, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at WWD. You’re currently in the middle of a European tour, what city are you in at the moment and what are your plans for the evening
Well as it is beneath the week, I’m at home in Berlin right now. It’s Tuesday and there is not a lot of things going on, so you’ll find me on the sofa tonight. 😉
WWD : Which city are you looking forward to visiting the most on the rest of your tour?
I don’t want to pick one city out because that’s not so easy. For example, next month I will be in London, Kiev, Rome and Stockholm. Istanbul is in the plans too and we’re gonna be in Australia. Just to give you a glimmer, it’s actually hard to pick, but every time I have been in Melbourne for example, I always had a blast. So, that’s one of the places I am looking forward to the most.
WWD : Extensive traveling and gigging can really take its toll. What do you do to unwind during your down time? Have you picked up any new past-times of late?
Yes you are right, all that traveling and gigging takes its price. I mean what is it that you do when you are abroad? You do some swimming, you go to the spa of the hotel and you try to chill as much as you can. But I don’t have any great past-times. It’s always good for me to have some time in the hotel, so I can play a little bit back and forth on some musical ideas. I think basically that’s it.
WWD : You’ve recently had shows in London and Paris. How have the dance floors outside Berlin responded to the increased influence of house and techno coming from the tracks on your new album ’Drown’?
Before the release of the album, I road-tested a few tracks and the crowd in London reacted very well to that. I am kind of curious to present that to many other audiences and have a look how they respond to the new material.
WWD : ‘Drown’ doesn’t feature your iconic vocals, was this something you had decided prior to working on the album or was it a natural result of the creative process during production?
That was coming in the making. If you look at my first four albums, you see some sort of a line going through. There was the idea to bring in different kinds of styles from different corners and put them together peacefully in a musical language. That is what I tried to approach for a long time and it always went bigger and better. I don’t say anything bad about it but after my album ’Grand Départ’, I found myself in a position where I was pretty much going in circles. With the new album ’Drown’ I tried to break these circles and decided to do a whole classical dance album without vocals. So it was a natural result but I am not saying my singing parts won’t come back but at the moment it’s not the right time for that.
WWD : The cover art of ‘Drown’ is a painting by your father. Was this image an influence for the album?
The painting is actually made by my grandfather Fritz Eisel and when I was in the middle of the album production, the question came up what kind of cover art is going to feature on that album. On all the previous albums you can find a picture of mine, but since there aren’t any vocals featured on the new album, and it is very laid back and without the focus on a person, I decided to have something different. And when the album title ‘Drown‘ was fixed, I thought about that painting of my grandfather, to see the title in a positive way. I found it very very fitting for the whole feeling of the album. That came into quite natural.
WWD : You’re no stranger to house and techno music, having grown up in Berlin. Was producing an album comprised solely of these genres something you had always planned on doing?
I wouldn’t say that I always had that in mind but house and techno are one of the greatest influences that I have among others but they play a big part in there. Let us say it didn’t take me by surprise that this album is coming out, but it wasn’t planed.
WWD : You’ve been a Berlin resident since birth and witnessed first hand the emergence of the amazing culture in the city. How does the Berlin you grew up in compare to the Berlin of today?
I mean of course the city has changed and it isn’t a lie to say that the city I grew up in does not exist anymore. It is actually gone and the city I am living in is another one. It has the same name and is in the same place, but it isn’t the same. Then it places out how it turns out. Of course all the things changed, all the types changed from the look to the feeling but the city is still a great hub for the music and the scene that I am in. I am gladly a native of that place.
WWD : What’s next for you after this tour? Will we be seeing you at many festivals this summer?
Of course there will be festival shows for example in Croatia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands and many more… So it will be a nice festival season and I am looking forward to play at all those places.
WWD : Cheers for speaking to us today Fritz !