The Hamburg-based synthesizer enthusiast and audio engineer HANNES RASMUS belongs to GOLD PANDA’s label NOTOWN and breathes new life into the wide world of electronic music. With a good sense of humor and without overinflated sounds he creates danceable pieces of minimal techno. For everyone who would like to take it to the floor with him, shouldn’t miss Factory Berlin at Berlins Gretchen this Saturday (June 29th). Among other artists like GOLD PANDA, MØ, LUKE ABBOTT and THE/DAS he will give a proof of his talent.
Until now your are like a bold from the electronic blue for most of our readers: please introduce yourself and your musical project.
I‘m a synthesizer enthusiast, musician and audio engineer from Hamburg, Germany. It feels really weird to call myself a musician though, as my guitar playing is really bad. I just couldn‘t be bothered with practicing it after a friend of mine introduced me to Fasttracker in 1998 and I discovered the possibilities of electronic music. About a year later I bought my first synthesizer a Yamaha CS2x, but the day I got a used Moog the Rogue was when I suddenly realized TOCOTRONIC and were wrong. (TOCOTRONIC’s first LP was called „Digital ist besser“ = digital is better)
HANNES RASMUS: I suddenly realized TOCOTRONIC were wrong.
Most of your tracks are partly named after albums or songs from TOCOTRONIC, a member of the “Hamburger Schule” (German for Hamburg School). As the name indicates, this movement was initially carried by Hamburg based bands and is compassing elements from punk, grunge and experimental pop plus intelligent lyrics. Where do you draw a parallel to your music?
The simplicity, a certain melancholy and a preference for minor chords are def. parallels. Other then that I just used to be a big fan of TOCOTRONIC, but felt the need to clarify that digital is not better. The naming scheme started with the track „Analog ist besser“. The bassline is played by two different synthesizers, it‘s Moog the Rogue (analog) versus Yamaha TX81z (digital). Guess who won…
…and then there was my former roommate Dirk who kept on raving about how great it was when he first saw CARL CRAIG DJ-ing.
Due to the selection of your titles one could assume that TOCOTRONIC is one of your inspirational sources. Who is also someone or anyone that has significantly influenced yourself as well as your sound?
There are so many artist that inspired me, it‘s hard to say who inspired me the most. I‘d say in the field of electronic music it‘s GIORGIO MORODER, LARRY HEARD, MORGAN GEIST/METRO AREA, KENNY LARKIN and in recent years GOLD PANDA, LUKE ABBOTT and DMX KREW.
In rock music it would be WHITE DENIM. That‘s one of those bands you see playing live and they are just so good, you think about quitting making music immediately.
How does the process of creating a track looks like?
Usually I just start tinkering with some synthesizer, creating sounds from scratch and most of the time I come up with either a chord progression, a bassline or an arpeggio in that process. Then I‘d add a rhythmic foundation to that and start working on a stripped down arrangement. After settleing for a song (horizontal) structure, I start adding parts vertically, percussive elements, arpeggios or lead lines, whatever I come up with while experimenting with the possibilities of my beloved low budget mid 80ies synths.
And while we’re on the subject of lyrics Do you think about using text lines? If so, would you choose German or English in this respect?
Oh I‘d love to work with lyrics but I‘m a really bad writer and even worse at singing. I could barley write lyrics for a trashy italo disco track. You knew I had to answer that second question quoting a TOCOTRONIC title, didn‘t you? „Ueber Sex kann man nur auf englisch singen“ (trans.: you can only sing about sex in English)
Tell me about your plans concerning the release of your debut album.
No plans for a long player so far, but I‘m working on new material, though I think I‘ll have to build myself a 303 clone before I can make another record.
Are there any artists that you would be interested in collaborating with in the future?
Anyone who‘s able to write good, deep lyrics is welcome. I think I‘m not easy to work with when working on my own music. It‘s a lot easier to work on other people songs and it can be really inspiring as well to see how others work.
When you should suggest a perfect location to invite people to dance to your music, how would this place looks like in detail?
Open air, in a small back yard in the city center, surrounded by higher buildings, making it somewhat private. There‘d be a BBQ and some nice drinks, I prefer red wine.
Last one: What do “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
I „hope“ I can enrich some people life with my „passion“.