German DJ, musician and percussionist Chris Geschwindner is one of the most exciting new and emerging talents. The Frankfurt based artist has already displayed his versatile ability to combine elements of jazz and electronic music across a range of formats including his own unique live sets. Having a strong connection with Undersound, London through a solid release on their label and appearances at their parties, Chris has raised the bar through his dynamic and unrefined style of music. We caught up with him, and were also treated to the delights of his exclusive MEOKO podcast.
Hi Chris, how are you doing?
I’m great, thanks for having me.
Where was the first place you ever played at and how was the experience?
My first DJ gigs were basically birthday parties of good friends in my hometown north of Frankfurt in Germany. It was always fun and most people were curious about the music I played. My old friends from back then were and still are very open-minded to all kinds of musical genres and consequently we shared all kinds of records together.
Where was the last place you played at and how would you describe the experience?
Last Saturday I played at a party called Atelier Bizarre in Saarbrücken with Riccardo,TC80 and many others. The selection of DJs was very good and I had lots fun closing the stage where I played at in the early morning hours. The crowd let me go in almost every direction that I wanted to, plus the venue was an old industrial plant that offered an amazing party experience.
What are you currently working on?
I recently finished a couple of EPs and a few remixes that will be released soon. Right now I’m working on music with my friend Lukas Bielke. One of our tracks will be released very soon with a remix by TC80. Apart from that I am finishing my bachelor thesis in mechanical engineering at university.
What do you try and present in your sets through your music?
Playing music at a party is a highly intimate situation. I try to show the crowd what I love about music and will put a lot of energy into that no matter if I play my own music or the records I like. Showing a track to someone who hasn’t heard it before or just letting someone peek into my taste is a way of showing your personality and connecting with people.
How would you describe your music?
Making music is one of the activities that requires the skill to finish a project even if you struggle with it. My aim is to condense certain emotions and ideas into tiny moments and paint an audible picture of what I want to express. My weapons of choice are electronic and acoustic instruments as well as my own field recordings. I edit and blend all these elements together to form the final musical piece. I like to see technology, science and art as a vital symbiosis of separate fields. This means that there is a strong connection between how you produce a sound and how you perceive it when you hear it. This perceptible proximity is exactly how I would see my music.
What are your musical influences and how are they represented through the music that you play?
Luckily, I grew up surrounded with all kinds of music. Being a singer in an opera choir in Frankfurt, my mother showed me the profundity of classical music. Listening to a lot of jazz and hip-hop records on top, I started to take drum lessons and quickly explored the beauty of playing an instrument. My first contacts with electronic music were mainly happening at local parties or record stores. A lot of the artists I discovered back then are still a big influence. When I play in front of a crowd I try to show two things at once: where I come from and where I am right now.
At which point in your career did you realise that you were moving in the right direction to becoming a professional DJ?
When people you like and respect you and trust your music to be the right choice for their label or collective is something superb. People like Inner or the Undersound crew from London are responsible for a lot of new people discovering my music and I am happy to work with such passionate individuals.
How do you prepare for a live set?
Playing records and performing live are two truly different approaches. I play live using 12 tracks in Ableton Live where I have the ability to mix together individual instruments of my recordings using a controller and mix the output of my sound card together with drum machines, synths and other machines on a separate analogue mixing desk. I’ve had the experience that I need a certain space for improvisation to fully use the capacity of my set-up so I program almost every pattern and melody on the fly. I prepare most things just hours before the show, mainly debugging my own Max 4 Live effect units. This approach allows me to stay flexible and to set the right mood in the right moment on stage.
If you weren’t DJ’ing, what would you be doing?
I would definitely play in a jazz band.
Offthe top of your head, can you think of a track that always stays with you that never fails to excite the crowd?
Dopplereffekt – Speak & Spell. Of all the incredible tracks on the Gesamtkunstwerk record this one is the most relentless and haunts you in your dreams with its crazy chopped vocal loop.
If you could only pick two records to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I’d take Move D & Benjamin Brunn’s ‘Songs From The Beehive’ and a good recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s requiem.
Have you faced any challenges throughout your career?
I’ve always seen making music as a hobby so I didn’t really push myself into the place where I am right now. People encouraged me to continue with what I do and a lot of my friends helped me getting bookings or showed my music to others. So up to now the only problems I had in my career were happening in the studio. It’s not always easy to convince yourself to try out new things if you are connected to a certain way of doing things. Stepping out of your own shadow is important as I truly believe that the only constant in life is change. So when I make music it’s always a challenge to see what I can come up with and if this will be good enough for your own aspirations.
Which electronic music artists are you listening to at the moment?
I really love the new Moritz Von Oswald Trio album Sounding Lines. His way of combining elements of dub and jazz are just incredible. Using a real drummer for the album makes this record even better. The new Zenker Brothers album Immersion is another record I really love. They sound very powerful and rough without pretending. It’s always nice to hear dirty music. Thankfully there are lots of talented friends and local producers around me: Dario Reimann, Harry McCanna, Dubmodel and many more.
If you could play alongside any DJ, who would it be and why?
Apart from the many talented DJs that I know personally I would love to share decks with an icon like Jeff Mills for once while he jams on his 909.
What has been your most memorable experience behind the decks and why?
Playing in London for Undersound was very exciting and challenging. The whole trip was incredible and you could really feel how everyone involved loved what they did. I needed a few days to fully realize this great experience.
What events are you playing at next?
I will host a party together with my very talented friend Franziska Berns at Hafen 2 in Offenbach on July 25th. The day after I will come back to Dora Brilliant in Frankfurt where I will play live.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Find a good way between taking yourself and your music seriously and being easygoing and relaxed about your works. Take your time to be satisfied with what you do. Learn about acoustics and technology. Listen to people with experience and try to learn from them.
Thanks for your time and good luck with everything!
LISTEN TO CHRIS GESCHWINDNER’S
EXCLUSIVE MEOKO PODCAST HERE
By Sam Quilter
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