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Interview with Robag Wruhme: "You can't be in a good mood for five days in a row"

Fittichklopfer, Guppipeitsche, Bommsen Böff: Robag Wruhmes song titles sound like his music, his music sounds like these words: crazy, playful, and still super deep. This Saturday, the exceptional producer from Jena will be playing in Schmitz Katzen. fudder author Bernhard spoke to him about the German language, field recordings and the longing for ambient.

fudder: Robag Wruhme, what is your favorite word and why?

Robag Wruhme: My favorite word? I can not tell you that. I have so many favorite words that I can't possibly pick one of them and make it my absolute favorite. On the other hand, I can tell you which word I don't like at all, my personal bad word, so to speak.

"To a certain extent". When I hear "a little way", I always get in a bad mood. Right away. On the spot.

I'm not exactly sure, but I think this is a word creation that has only found its way into our language in the last few years. This unspeakable word appears everywhere, in politics, in business and, for some time, in the cultural sector, but it doesn't mean anything.

The titles of your pieces very often consist of onomatopoeic words. What's behind it?

It is very important to me that every song has its own name. When I started producing music, it was very difficult at first to give the pieces their own name. I didn't want to use any titles that had already existed umpteen times. This is boring. That's why I had to look for a title for every production for which I already had the complete musical idea. Then I started to write down words that I came across in everyday life or on my travels to the gigs. And now it becomes very easy. Either I leave them as they are, or I let my imagination run wild and alienate them.

An example. Not far from Jena there is a motorway church called Brumby. I think that's totally crazy. I used this name for a recently released EP. However, I didn't leave the word Brumby so bare. I put "Kapell" behind. In addition, such names result in a second, very fine thing. If you search for it on the Internet, for example to find out whether someone has posted these tracks online for free, you will find the pieces very quickly. So my record titles are search engine optimized.

Many a title could also be part of a poem by Christian Morgenstern or Hugo Ball. When did you notice that you have the gift of telling little magic stories with words?

I am not so aware that my song titles seem that way to outsiders. However, I am a huge fan of the German language without having studied it. I think it's fantastic how many words we have to express ourselves and to describe very specific situations. That is why I deal very intensively with language as such and, just like in my music, try to dissolve things, to interweave the individual parts and to let something new emerge from them. That is part of my work process. Or the word already exists, but it's so crazy that I bring it to life, that I have to communicate it in the form of a title.

How does the language influence your music? You also keep adding samples from literature and film into your DJ sets.

Quotes from films, whether in English or German, have a very special power. That's why I always have a few samples with me when I hang up, for example: "Your heart is like a bird in a cage, but when you dance it is set free and ascends to heaven." I took that from the film 'Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran'. This phrase has a magical effect and when you have a good party and you play it over a melody or on a break it gives the night a special magic.

On your album Thora Vukk ...

... that is something completely different. Fundamental questions always arise with an album. What does the producer want with it? Does he want to tell us something and what does he want to tell us? I wanted to deliberately avoid luring the listener on a certain trail and dictating how to hear the album. Just imagine the first song has something with "fog" or "sun" in the title. Then the listener immediately thinks: 'Okay, and what kind of fog is that? Do you mean the morning mist? And what does the music have to do with it? '

If, on the other hand, I give the individual pieces fantasy names, each listener can decide for himself what to do with the music. He can thus get the best possible out of the sound and an album can become a very personal soundtrack for everyone. I made the music, but the listener can let his imagination run wild and is not bound by any kind of dogma.

Where do you get the inspiration for your work from?

I can't really give you an answer to that. There are moments when I think my creativity is exhausted. I was burned out three years ago and went through a time where I just sat there and it didn't tingle at all. It didn't tingle in the ear, not in the brain, it didn't tingle anywhere. I thought that's it. But creativity has come back.

But I cannot influence that. I've been relying on myself for years and know that something is there and that something is coming. But I can't say where creativity comes from and which way it goes. Luckily. Because if I knew that, everything would be so predictable. And that's not fun.

On your album Thora Vukk, delicate sound spaces that are reminiscent of field recordings open up. Is this an issue for you?

Yes, in any case. I used to have a bigger device with me. All these apple products weren't available then. It is different now. The phone is enough to record all these sounds. But there are a lot of samples on Thora Vukk that I captured with a real recording device.

I once flew to London and arrived at Heathrow Airport. There I had to wait for my luggage in the check-in hall. I was the only one waiting in the great hall. And when the baggage handling system started moving, the friction between rubber and metal made a strange noise. That flowed into the album, as well as the noise that is made when a fluorescent tube is switched on. I used that for the track "Bommsen Böff".

Robag Wruhme - Bommsen Böff

Source: YouTube

Speech samples, field recordings: What does a typical Robag Wruhme production day look like?

Rhythm is important, but it is very difficult to put into practice. When I was working on Thora Vukk, there were a lot of days when I got up early but didn't plan on doing it. I woke up, went to the studio, and started working. That was an incredibly intense phase. I was in a completely different world. But that's always the case with production. When I wake up from this phase, when I later listen to the things I did, I don't even know how I got there. I have the result, but can no longer reconstruct the way to get there.

Such times are also likely to be very strenuous.

In any case. After the album was finished I took a break. That was very important. Especially since you are always challenged as a DJ on the weekends. But here, too, I try not to exaggerate. I only DJ twice in a row, and when I'm on tour, the weekend before and after is free. You want to be good every time and give people a good night. That's why I can't start DJing on Wednesday and come home on Sunday. You can't be in a good mood for five days at a time.

Where and how do you recharge your batteries?

It has become a very important aspect in my life. Find peace, do things that you like, that are not in the context of the music and are not limited to reading and watching films. For me that's once riding my bike and for some time now cooking. I can easily switch off from all the madness that you experience as a DJ. For me it is almost like in the cooking shows. I prepare everything first and then we get started.

That seems to be very popular with DJs, Rainer Trüby, Ata ...

... Yes. Ata is a professional. But for me it's really a hobby and a very nice activity to find inner peace. I don't even want to professionalize that. The magic would be lost.

What else is up for you this year?

Originally, I had resolved not to do anything in the studio anymore. But then there were interesting inquiries and musicians who were friends also asked for a remix. And so I'm back in the studio, working on remixes, and the next album project is already on the horizon. I'm dying to do two. One for the dance floor and one that is a little quieter. There is far too little good ambient ...

... something that you produced together with Volker Kahl as 'Beefcake' in the nineties.

Correct. Beefcake was my very first project when I got started with electronic music. After the first two productions we already had a record deal and got remix orders. However, there is little that can be danced, but all the more experimental music. IDM, Illbient, Ambient.

As a DJ, I initially played a lot of ambient, music that appeared on labels like Warp or Rephlex and a lot of material with harmonies and melodies. Something that can be heard without making any effort. This is almost impossible today. The clubs have two or three floors, and each one is boom boom. In the past, however, there was an area in each location that ran Ambient. I miss this.

What: Schmitz Katzen presents: Robag Wruhme (Kompakt Records, Jena). Support: Hendrik Vogel (nugath, Karlsruhe). Bar: subjects, canvas.
When: Saturday, October 20, 2012, 11 p.m.
Where: Schmitz cat [Photo: Promo]


Posted in: night life

Keywords: Robag Wruhme, Robag Wruhme Thora Vukk, Thora Vukk Album, Beefcake, Kompakt Records, Pampa Records, Freude Am Tanzen, Jena, field recordings, produce music, House, Techno, Schmitz Katzen, hang up vinyl, hang up, DJ, party, Go out Freiburg