Florian Schirmacher: The future of electronics
Florian Schirmacher is the founder of Hamburg-based label “FormResonance”, an experimented electronic musician and DJ involved in the projects Glowing Glisses, Wareika, Federleicht, Here Today and Hatikvah. His works have been released on labels such as Perlon, Cadenza, Mule Musiq, Liebe*detail or Soma. We had the opportunity to chat with him about the future of electronic musicians, the new spaces electronic music is taking and some of his projects.
It’s been quite in my head the idea of contemporary music and how it’s related to Electronics. I’ll say artists like Nils Frahm are doing it. What is contemporary music for you?
I am unable to answer this question generally. We are in serious trouble right now. Our needs are destroying the world and it is visible! There is no time anymore to answer this question properly. That doesn’t mean, that we all have to go to the beaches and clean up. As long as we go to concerts, we are able to share a vision of a new world. Rudolf Steiner, a German visionary, influenced schools, theatre and dance company’s etc. Without writing music, he connected a society. The intention is my contemporary being – as part of the solution. Music is just the little transmitter to human family. I listen and integrate the audience in my concerts and my works more and more. Art is interesting because it is in the middle of society and absolutely independent at the same time. Live music- especially electronic live music is ongoing empowered by this process: to integrate the audience, the current situation to love and to get rid off them at the same time- the rising, gets this energy of letting all these concepts go. I hope I could get a little closer to your question, what contemporary music is to me…
Where do electronic musicians put the emotion? What do you think that attracts us to Electronic music?
Emotions are everywhere; driving and blocking total awareness. Electronic music can be without emotions, without human expressions, just the swing of the instruments itself… that was the huge development in Detroit and I am still fascinated about it too. I remember playing me on the synthesizer for hours and hours…. just the sound and my feelings in total connection. The more is where Electronic music starts.
What would you say to the people how who claim that electronic music is cold and impersonal? How you make your music warmer?
What matters to me, is how I manage to get into an interaction. An electronic dialogue between each instrument can be a mastership, as well as integrating acoustic instruments. Luckily I don’t use a play button to define music. When I DJ, the Technics-vinyl players are always running and Wareika’s art is opened up totally with its instruments – even in a club, we can enter the experiment together. Just get in the flow like a Flamenco Guitarist, who has mastered his impulses and is just listening. Imagine a wake-up call, does it depend on warm, cold, electronic or acoustic sounds? – It touches you and changes your life.
It is interesting how sequenced music sounds different from music played with instruments. You get different textures, different sounds. What do you think about this?
At the time, when sequenced music became possible (big up for Karlheinz Stockhausen and many other pioneers, The Ircam, WDR Studio and other futuristic Institutions) artists defined their own sounds and styles. Not the technical restrictions of an instrument, its limitations or possibilities – just the expression itself was in focus. A pioneer for sequenced music Kurt Dahlke, aka Pyrolator, was in the Centre of this process: experimenting with electronics, creating new instruments and searching out all ways of expression. The beginning of Punk. There was no barrier and Kurt integrated the sequencer organically. Nowadays you can express more aspects, I just can say that I feel very connected with his attitude to a sequencer. “Do it yourself”, includes electronics too. In that way, the German Kraut Rock pioneers paved the way for the Modular Movement.
What kind of freedom does Electronic music give you?
I am invited by the “electronic possibilities” to go through this world with fewer efforts. It is dangerously relaxing….. We need electronic frontiers like Kurt Dahlke, who I mentioned above.
Sometimes while jamming with electronics it is difficult to retain all this flux work and put it in order. How do you organize your musical ideas?
I don’t organize. A musical idea is a power- pure energy- an essence of my being. You can organize my output, that’s already something. You can include my music into your life – even better. I am a live musician – even when I DJ-. I am into the unknown, the disaster, the unforeseen. In that case, I seriously can recommend the work of my band “Federleicht”. Our last Double Album “Megafon” as a parallel dimension.
How far are the borders between acoustic and electronic music?
Can we play an acoustic instrument without emotions? In my conservatory time, I was confronted with high-speed Bach and Mozart Interpretations and I thought there might be no emotion in it. But there is a structure underneath, which has to be transmitted. A form needs perfection to get visible- audible. I treat this attitude with respect and stillness to feel the form.
Do you see a correlation between Electronic and Classical music?
It is such a mistake to distinguish the music into these two parts! We can demonstrate with our music this unity. It is far more than just a correlation. I don’t see a mission for myself to reunite, but I am ready to have a talk with the Gema (German Copyright Society) about it. I am as well interested in the future of classical music as well as in the future of electronic music. To dance, listen to… to love.
The evolution of dance music to new spaces as theaters feels exciting, a lot of new things to try. What do you think about that?
I am right into it. Just working for a German Ukrainian theatre production with Staatstheater Stuttgart and Cherson Communal Theatre. We bring also the two languages on stage. We „Inter-act“ like in this „Inter-view“, we may hit your „Inter-est“… We live in a complex world, driven by polarity. Expansions and paradox contradictions, which we are able – or still unable- to solve. The music, the dance, the word, the scenery, the dress… is just a part… A part of a solution. The festival in which this theatre play takes place is called “The Future of Europe”.
I am interested in the waste problem in India, a child program in Namibia, organizing more concerts in prisons & the evolution of dance and dance music as cosmic transformer… More things to come…
You are part of Wareika a really nice and interesting trio that is pushing forward the live format. Could you please describe for us your live act and what means “Wareika”?
Thank you for the flowers. Wareika is the name for the holy mountain in Jamaica, where Rastafari Scholars go to spend some months with their drums to find their position in life, to find god. Our music can be seen as a journey, as mind opener, as dialogue with the audience and ourselves. “Learning and sharing a celebration- and music is doing it all time…” These lyrics, taken from our song “Smiles”, guide into the “inside” of Wareika. Every one of us contributed a sentence. You hear a spontaneous recording of Henrik, Jakob and me speaking about the essence of life. A quite rare recording, of us all three “singing”.
Who we are, is expressed through our Album titles as well: Formation, Harmony Park, Wternal, (3) The magic number, Water Sky Sun Wood, our track titles for sure and the foremost: our music.
The idea to remix, which is very interesting to me, when a track enters a new dimension – through the hand of another person. Who were your first remix artists? Wareika is been remixed by artists such as Acid Pauli and Ricardo Villalobos. How these remixes contributed to the original tracks?
You already express the main idea of a remix: it is a way of respecting and admiring the work of artists, who are alive – and contributing to a scene in which we grow together.
The first remixes of my career have been done by Soulcapsule (which is the one and only Baby Ford and shining Thomas Melchior) -with their remix for the Elastobabe Track, by Pantytec, where I contributed the vocals (Perlon 26). It is still a kick off into the upcoming and a step forward to our vision of an easy and complex modernity. The second remix has been done by Larry Heard, who enfolded two chilled and classy mixes of the track “On the bridge” by “Glowing Glisses”. The songs have been played a lot, especially in summer time.
Music is connection and space at the same time. It opens up, excite and make me aware. We contribute, we give in a cultural and very personal context. That is remix culture. Ricardo Villalobos and Acid Pauli both worked highly sensible with the original tracks. Ricardo kept the full length of the original and turned the track into “his club” adding his subtleness and drive. Acid Pauli’ s “La Paloma” is more danceable: he used a lot of elements of the original and melted into his vision.
Besides Wareika you have another duo with Helmut Ebritsch called Hatikvah. What do you express with this project?
The music of Hatikvah is quite conscious of its sound and development. It can be seen as a meditation within music. Of course, I remember live situations, where people have sung the song “A Brilliant Handsome Boy” in a beach club in Odessa frenetically- or while we played “Synchronicity” at the Berlin-based “Hoppetosse” Club with a little smile… Our music has a serious perspective expressed by the word Hope (which is the translation of the word Hatikvah) and with a glimpse of happiness. A big, big smile, because music is the best we can do! Helmut has a long and intense relationship to music too. We have a lot in common and to share. – Weaving together vocals and music is a very sensitive and lasting thing. We do this in the most sensitive and „silent“ way. Therefore the vocals are like an instrument a part of the song. I danced at Club der Visionäre first of may to the set of Sonia Moonear playing our record “Evolution” released on Sleep is Commercial Recordings. It was like fresh water, flowing and connecting people.
Florian Schirmacher plays as DJ “Haik” at:
30.6. Serendipia at Laut, Barcelona.
7.7. Monoclap Showcase, Goya Social Club, Madrid, as “Wareika DJ Team”.
6.7. “Get Perlonized” at Berghain/ Panorama Bar, Berlin, as “Florian Schirmacher live Performance”.
7.6./8.6./10.6. at Theatre Festival “Future of Europe”, Staatstheater Stuttgart Studio Nord.