Powel’s returns to Everything Will Be OK with his versatile ‘Rad’ EP, inspired by the ‘80s BMX Racer Movie of the same name. Powel needs little introduction to our readers. The masterful storyteller has been dazzling us with his unique sounds for many years and is a firm favorite of many electronic music fans.
On September 10th, he releases his ‘Rad’ EP, including four original tracks of his own, and four remixes from Lauren Ritter, Mark Slee, Haider Uppal & Timo Chinala, and Brigade, We spoke with the Berlin-based producer earlier this week to find out more about the EP and loads more.
WWD: Powel, thanks for joining us today, it’s great to speak with you again. A huge congrats on your latest EP release ‘Rad’ on Everything Will Be OK. You must be happy to be releasing new music?
Always, but especially when an EP goes a bit in a different direction, sound aesthetics-wise, than what people are used to from me. It’s always interesting to see how people react to it.
Even though emotionally I’m already fully into the next project, an EP’s release day is always something I look forward to.
WWD: With releases on the likes of Anjunadeep, All Day I Dream, XYZ and many more imprints over the last 18 months, you must have been busy in the studio during lockdown?
Well, there wasn’t that much else to do. At the beginning of 2020 and the first lockdown I was super motivated to do something else like learning a new language, doing sports, etc. You know the things you usually have as New Years’ resolutions. And also in that fashion, that motivation lasted for about two months before I started doing absolutely nothing. Because I actually really liked not thinking about music for some time, I spent a lot of time on my couch watching Netflix.
However, after a while, I and a close friend decided to build a studio together, which took us about 3 months to complete, and ever since, I spend most of my week there. Most of the time I actually don’t work on specific tracks. I just play piano, of which I have two now, and just fiddling around with all the new gear we have there.
But yea, when you look at my track record of maybe one EP and a few remixes per year before covid, releasing 3 EP’s and a bunch of remixes this year is definitely a huge increase of output.
WWD: Your latest EP is inspired by the 1986 BMX film ‘Rad’, is that a personal favourite film of yours?
I really liked it as a kid, but totally forgot that it exists. But I was browsing through 80’s music on YouTube one day and came across “Real Life – Send Me Angel” and I remembered that it was used in one of the scenes in that movie. Finding that movie online to stream was a bit of a mission since it isn’t really available on German streaming platforms. Good thing we have things like proxies.
Having rewatched it I started to wonder how that particular scene would have sounded if I would have made the soundtrack, and that’s how I started this track.
WWD: The release comes out September 10th on Everything Will Be OK, was this a label you always had in mind for this EP?
We’ve been talking about doing a release together for quite some time. But to be honest I don’t really remember if I already had the basic ideas ready or if I just sent the ideas later. The timeline of the last 2 years is just too blurry.
WWD: You’ve spoiled us with four original cuts on the EP, and you never cease to amylase people with your eclectic sound. Where do you find the inspiration to produce so much high quality music?
Thanks for the compliment. The way I handle making music and the production process is mostly driven by emotions. In the case of that EP, it’s obviously 80’s nostalgia since there weren’t that many events in 2020 for me where I could have drawn inspiration from, other than general frustration.
Anyway, the way I usually work is: I have an experience, an emotion, a feeling, etc. Then the next step is to figure out how does that sounds, how can I transform that into music with the tools I have at hand. And the way I decide if a track is ready or if the mix is good usually is: If I can see a clear image in my head when I close my eyes. And the clearer the image the more finished is the track. But that also means that sometimes I don’t go with the most obvious or most functional choice of sounds and arrangement, the sound is intentionally made not as clear and balanced as possible sometimes too – as long as it helps to get my emotions across.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think it’s a good idea to put functionality in the form of considering how an audience would react to it first but rather if the story I wanna get across feels actually told. And that approach works great for me for the most part.
WWD: The name of one of the tracks ‘Ode to a Carrot’ had us laughing, what’s the story behind this?
Well, this track was contrary to what I just said, a pure fun project. My usual approach can get a bit too emotional and also a bit too serious at times. So I decided to just have some fun with our gear and recorded it. Thankfully we can adjust the height of our main desk so that you actually can work standing and not having to sit in an office chair all the time – which is such a helpful tool to get a feeling for a track. And so after I programmed the main patterns I just danced around in the studio performing and arranging that track.
I don’t remember how I came up with the name. I think I just liked the contrast of something serious as an ode and then a carrot on the other side.
WWD: You’re joined by a heavy hitting group of remixers to round off the EP, Mark Slee, Lauren Ritter, Haider Uppal, Timo Chinala and Brigade all join you with their unique sounds. Were you pleased with their interpretations of your originals?
Oh, yeah, I’m more than happy with the results, especially given that it’s the first EP of mine that got remixed apart from the “Lake People” remix on my very first EP, and later the “Dance Spirit” remix of “Kalophain” which came out sometime after the actual release. But the other 10 or so releases I did since then were without any remixes.
I usually don’t really think about remixes but when EWBO pitched the idea I was like: “oh well, maybe it’s time for that, instead of just me constantly remixing other people’s music.”
And so we started brainstorming about who would be an interesting choice and we came up with this fantastic lineup of artists and they all did a phenomenal job.
WWD; What else do you have in store, can we expect more releases or possible sets?
hmm, there’s another EP in the pipeline. It comes out on a certain label called xyz, maybe you’ve heard about that? 🙂
There are also remixes coming out soon for Timboletti, Kon Faber, MOLØ, George X, Doppel, Leoi. So, quite a bit.
WWD: Thanks so much Powel, do you have any last words you would like to share with our readers?
Eat more carrots.