Photo by Joshua Obliers

“Oh look at this beard! Is it the beardy guy with the guitar?” asks a friend of my friend. “Yes, that’s TOUCHY MOB I answer, before he introduces himself. The last sounds of the talented TELLAVISION, who also played this night, still echoing through my head, and I start asking myself “Why are all the people always so fascinated about the big beard, before they haven’t heard any note of his much more fascinating music…?”

Honestly, when I saw him for the first time in 2011, I also was captured by this guy’s beard, but a short moment later I was more captured by his beautiful songs, which oscillates somewhere between folk and techno, somewhere between a rush and a beat, somewhere between dreaming and dancing. In January and February, TELLAVISION and TOUCHY MOB did an extensive tour to present their new release, the Cake Split EP. The gig at the Horns Erben in Leipzig was one of the last dates and the perfect occasion to us, to meet Ludwig Plath aka TOUCHY MOB and have a nice talk with him about recording, releases, labels an how he thinks about it.


Your first vinyl release is out now, in shape of a split EP together with fellow musician TELLAVISION. It was exciting to watch, that it was financed by a crowdfounding campaign. How did you came up with the idea?
Honestly, the whole idea of releasing this record was quite short dated. Our January/February-Tour was already planned and we thought it would be nice to cement this with an release. Soon we had the idea of recording and releasing this split EP, also because we both yearned a long time for an own vinyl release. Firstly we had a small new record label in mind, but this option didn’t work at last, neither the financing would. So I thought , using the concept of  crowdfounding for a record would fit perfectly, because you’ll produce an item and the donations simply can work as the pre-sale.


You already released your EPs as lovely self made CDs or as free downloads, did this vinyl release felt like something special? And do you think, it’s necessary to bring such a release, maybe because of the fans?
There wasn’t a necessity for commercial reasons, it was definitely conceptualized as a collector’s item, for fans as well as for me, I personally love to buy, watch and listen vinyl records. Finally we’ve still made it by ourself, we recorded it, we produced and we will send it personally to every crowdfounder or sell it at our shows. All without a big release party or a special promo agency, so it felts quite ordinary.


The songs were recorded in a studio as opposed to your earlier stuff, that was all home recorded. How was your studio experience?
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Well, it felt newly. On the first day we just talked about how to do studio work. I preciously thought I would do my usual work in a quiet corner, but in the end it was a very strict process with another flow. Furthermore I tried to subordinate my work to the studio’s circumstances what also influenced my songs. My focus was on the vocals and the guitar, while the computer was put a bit in the background. Therefore I got a warm and analogue sound, that isn’t immediately associated with electronic music. It definitely gave me a second perspective on my own work.


TOUCHY MOB: “It is my hope to do what I do now as long as possible”

Is the selection of your songs for this release also influenced by those circumstances or how did you choose them?
No this was a really pragmatic decision, those songs are some of my oldest, some that I carried a long time with me. I like it to write a song and play it live before it’s completely finished. I like the way how it can change on every evening, how it sounds different in each room. If you gave a track so much space, it is sometimes hard to go back to the point of producing with wearing headphones.


Therfore you used the release to manifest these songs?
Definitely, it was a way of self treatment to manifest those songs finally.


In keeping this new studio situation, did you involved a producer?
No, not really. I’m still my own producer and very standalone in this case, even because it’s hard to divide the two activities, writing songs and producing them when I make music.


You successfully managed your musical actions without any label support in the last two years. That isn’t the norm, other musicians really search for a label, also as a kind of confirming their actions. Do you think, you need a label?
Oh yes, usually its one of the first steps to professionalize your hobby of music making, signing at a label is like a point of no return. Well, I also had some talks with different labels, but I soon recognized the mood in this business. Especially the small or mid sized labels have this kind of bitterness and overcaution. Furthermore they are searching for a product, an artist who has already its own sound, its own aesthetic, ideally a finished album with a potential hit single and all that stuff. Closely linked to this is the typical cycle of touring and promoting this long player, after all the album then is just a promotion tool and  you are bound to this bunch of songs for a time.

With this release also your fresh own label Swantow Labsal shown up. What can we expect?
Yeah, at the beginning I would like to use this mainly as a kind of brand and a home for further projects. I look forward to do more with it in 2013.


Ok, finally, what means hope and passion to you?
It is my hope to stay abled to do what I do now as long as possible. Writing music, playing shows and the whole thing in such a beautiful and more or less successful way. And passion is what drives my music and should drive every music. I mean, if you listen it, you can definitely hear that it’s made of love and passion and not constructed for commercial reasons.