We have the opportunity to continue 2016 music journey with Van Bonn from Germany, now based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founder of label "Van Bonn Records", which was created initially with the idea of formulating the abstract sounds of dub techno in a concrete way to connect them with powerful grooves.
His hour session is composed by dubby tracks with relaxed summer vibes. Also it features a tune of his upcoming album.
Nothing but his real name. The German Van Bonn is a true traveller in life and has been active in the music world in various roles since 2001. Musicwise Van Bonn is a producer, live act, DJ and sound designer. After formulating a language of instrumental rock, drones, hip-hop, hardcore-metal and techno, Van Bonn's music presents you the essence of his journey.
Reimut Van Bonn rocked clubs as a DJ and played drums in a hardcore-metal band besides producing hip-hop before he joined the well known German instrumental rock band „Long Distance Calling“ which went top 40 in the German charts. Van Bonn contributed his deepness to the band's sound by using, manipulating and dubbing various electronic instruments and audio sources. Moreover Van Bonn recorded loads of "mostly ambient-drone stuff", as he says, for his alter ego Kadrage, to be kept safe under his bed. While living in Berlin, Van Bonn started to create his very own cosmos of sounds to transfer all this into techno.
Van Bonn's participation in the dub techno label Telrae established him as a tastemaker in the scene. Still a musician on the rise, he gave his debut on his own label Van Bonn Records with the vinyl EP “Gradient“ in 2013 which was perceived very well by techno djs, tastemakers and people who just love music. But it was his ep about skydiver "Baumgartner", that was hailed as a masterpiece and which accounted for a small break through in his techno career. The following eps on Traum and Trapez as well as his tracks on Fabric 83 by Joris Voorn and Matthew Hawtin's deep mix released on M_inus keep pushing Van Bonn forward.
Now located in Copenhagen, Van Bonn takes a new perspective on techno to travel and ride the waves of sound without ignorance and abuse - he is a human hellfire after all.
1. Hello Van Bonn, welcome to our podcast family, we are glad to have you as our guest. We know you are a musician involved in various styles of music, what got you so involved with electronic music?
Hey there - thanks for the invitation and opportunity to contribute a podcast for ECHOisONE!
The very first music that really touched me during my early years was electronic music. But I got deeply involved with 'guitar'-music, mostly metal and hardcore before I started to search for electronic music. Due to the lack of sources in my hometown did I not really get an idea about what was going on. Shortly after I got introduced to Fluxion's Vibrant Forms pt. II. That album had a heavy impact on me. Shortly afterwards I discovered Deadbeat's debut album Primordia by accident what made me even more curious to explore this music. Furthermore some travels to Berlin in the early 2000s and visits at the unluckily now closed 'dense' record store shaped my path into electronic music. I played drums at that time in a metal core band and started to produce electronic music with Tim Kossmann. What appeals me to create electronic music is that it feels to me to be way more connected and closer to the sound itself in comparison to play a 'classical' instrument. The possibilities of development and formulation are amazing. James Holden once said that the piano is a preset – I agree and think that in most cases playing a classical instrument is more about handcraft and interpretation instead of expression and a developing formulation. But this is only my point of view. As I got deeper and deeper into electronic music I produced various styles, e.g. did I release a demo and album as 'Kadrage' - my moniker for gentle but dirty ambient, drones and hiss. Apart from that did I formulated the electronic sounds in my former instrumental rock band Long Distance Calling. Apart from that did I start to experiment a lot with delays, etc. to understand dub techno. As there was basically no one into it in my surrounding it was a personal exploration with a lot of trial and errors. One evening in 2010 I met Stefan Gubatz, who reviewed the debut album of Kadrage back then and he told me that he was involved in the label telrae. I just sent him the dub techno tunes I already had and then the whole Van Bonn thing started to kick off.
2. According to you, how important is it for a producer to know how to play an instrument? What instruments do you play?
I think a 'trained musician' and producers who just start to twist knobs do have two very different approaches to create music. None is better or worse. They are just different and both have pros and cons. I think the 'trained musician' thinks too often in patterns one learned by being taught how to 'play' an instrument. The other side tries to aim the musical formulation I think. Quite funny, isn't it?!
I played drums for years and produce electronic music for 15 years or so. But yeah, playing drums or so definitely helps when it comes to producing beats and understanding sequences, patterns, etc.
3. What types of mediums do you work with in your productions? Do you have any specific hardware or software you like to use?
My favourite DAW is Ableton in connection with a Push2 and a midi controller. I integrate field recordings I recorded on my travels to Borneo, Nepal and other places. As field recordings sound very complex, they add a certain deepness in the tunes' sound. Everything else happens 'in the box'. There are also some plugins which I use on a regular basis. They are carefully selected but there is no secret weapon I think.
4. Tell us about your label “Van Bonn Records”, what type of sound are you aiming?
Van Bonn Records is my label to release my vision of electronic club music. My aim sound wise is to formulate the abstract sounds of dub techno in a concrete way to connect them with powerful grooves. It is about the combination of the abstract and the concrete. But there might be also some more dubbed out releases and releases by other artists on Van Bonn Records at one point. Let's see.
5. Are there any upcoming releases that you would like us to know about?
Yes, my debut album 'Control' will be released around October on Van Bonn Records on vinyl, digital formats and maybe cd. I am very much looking forward to this release as it is my first album as Van Bonn. The production of the album went pretty fast - it was a kind of rush as I produced the album in one session within a few weeks. The album features 13 tunes and covers different genre. You will hear familiar sounds of mine but apart from more 'club' related tunes also some sort of tunes I did not release as Van Bonn so far. Therefor I would say that 'Control' is a real album that is supposed to be listened from beginning to the end. It is not a collection of random tunes. You can already hear the very dub techno tune of the album in this podcast.
6. What is your experience with the European party scene, places you’ve travelled, parties you’ve played?
I think the European party scene is pretty diverse. The atmosphere in the clubs are different from each other. I also experienced that while being on tour with my other musical projects. Along those several hundreds of concerts and parties across Europe and beyond it is one of the things I enjoy the most: to feel the different vibe in different countries and cultures. As Van Bonn did I really enjoyed playing the Electronic Lounge in Bielefeld some years ago. The club was called Forum and I played my last concert in Germany with my former band Long Distance Calling on that stage. Around a year afterwards I was on the same stage again. The club was packed, the atmosphere was very good and people went nuts. It was my first gig with Van Bonn as 'headliner' and I hope to play that party again. The gig with Freund der Familie, Marko Fürstenberg and YWF in the Culture Box in Copenhagen was also big fun last year as well as playing Søndagsvenner or Suicide Circus, Fiese Remise, etc. I am looking forward to play my album live, so if you would like me to play your party, feel free to get in touch.
7. Is your involvement in the electronic music scene your main priority?
Everything related to music has a big priority in my life. But it is not my main priority.
8. Tell us about the podcast you have done for us?
It is quite warm right now as it is summer in Copenhagen. The scandinavian summer shows itself with a beautiful sky from its best side. So I chose to do a mix with relaxed summer vibes for you guys. I chose some recently released tunes I really enjoy like Eric Cloutier's remix for Freund der Familie, Tim Kossmann's Slower Than Zero, Rhauder's & Paul St. Hilaire's No More on Ornaments or Sven Weisemann's remix for YWF on the wicked ep Platane on Baum. There is also a tune of my upcoming album in the mix besides other great tunes.
9. Could you share with us the track that has moved you the most in your career?
It is basically impossible for me to break it down to one tune. When it comes to dub techno it was Fluxion's Prospect One with a total length of 1:46 minutes. That one caught me instantly.
For my own productions do I usually like the latest tune the most. And this is the most important to me when it comes to my music: to enjoy it a lot.
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