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Interviews |  05 Jun 2017 19:00 |  By Mallika Deb

I'm still a small fish in the big music ocean: The Micronaut

(Image: Artist's Facebook)
(Image: Artist's Facebook)

MUMBAI: Considered by many as a ‘one-man orchestra’, multi-instrumentalist and producer The Micronaut aka Stefan Streck has constantly been on the rise since his first album release in 2012. His music is a timeless mixture of electronic tunes, a collage of two-step, broken bass rhythms, engaging melodies, samples and live guitar with a hint of subliminal production between electronic sound synthesis and human vocals. Stefan’s recently released his third full-length album, ‘Forms’ on Acker Records (Germany) is the most powerful full-length album till date (Released on 9 December 2016) where he has proved himself crushing the musical boundaries in a very playful way.

The German electronic music producer and multi-instrumentalist is all set for his India debut in June 2017. In association with M/R and presented by Mixtape, his India tour will include Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune from 8-11 June 2017.

In conversation with, Stefan spoke about his early days, the approach of his sound, his experimental outlook, his seeking tendency for the new sound, how he got into music production and some hidden tales. We loved him more when he said that creating music is not dependent on the equipment. Read on.

As you are identified as the ‘one-man orchestra’ and your music resembles a collage of electronica, how do you describe your sound and genre?

My music is high in contrast, very powerful und at the same time vulnerable, energetic and restrained. I try to tell a story and create arcs of suspense by using electronic music with many acoustic samples I record in the studio.

How does your creative process work? Is it difficult to express elements of identity?

Every day, when I’m not on the road, I’m in the studio. I don’t always produce a new track when I’m there; often I just experiment and try out new things. I’m looking for new sounds or I’m building a beat. Gradually a new song comes together by combining these ideas and sketches. This can take a week or a year, but whenever I feel stuck, I focus on a different project. After some time I get back to that incomplete project to finish it and most times I round it up with some new inspiration.

You released your third full-length album, ‘Forms’ on Acker Records in December 2016. Tell us about it?

I had the luxury to take my own time on this one, there was no deadline. So, I recorded everything calmly and when I was done, I informed Acker Records. The formation process of my music hasn’t changed. I still listen to music often to get a certain understanding of my sound aesthetic. The hardest part is to achieve the right tone. It’s difficult to describe the feeling, but the harmonies have to move me, they need to be dramatic and maybe a little bit epic. If it’s going to be melancholic then it needs to be subtle, rather surprising than predictable.

How did you first get into music production? How were the earlier days?

At first, I was just interested in building beats on a sampler. Later my curiosity grew and I tried different things. I read a lot, had some fun with sound and then noticed that something is only right when it sounds good. Period. Creating music is not dependent on the equipment. I always thought you need expensive speakers and synthesisers, but this is nonsense. The lesser the equipment you have, the more innovative you have to be to reach your goal.

Now, I have better speakers and synthesisers but the result isn’t automatically better. A new device is often a good inspiration, but it isn’t responsible for the quality. I’m still learning and testing different things, that’s why I enjoy creating music so much and hopefully, that won’t change anytime soon.

What is your dream studio set up?

I’ve got a quite simple home studio with a computer, a sound card, speakers, some small effect devices, two simple synthesisers and a Maschine by Native Instruments. Also, there is a professional studio which I’m sharing with two of my friends. We also share our equipment. I record all percussions and drums on my own, as I have some real good microphones. Most of the stuff produced on my computer is put through a guitar amp or I try to overdrive them with an old tape deck. Simple guitar effects like reverb, delay or chorus contribute to my sound aesthetic.

What's the best thing about being an electronic music producer from Germany?

I guess the environment you live in has a big influence on your creative work, even though it’s only subtle. In Germany techno is at the forefront of electronic music, but I’m rather rooted in drum 'n' bass, so it’s really hard to answer this question. For me, a good producer is someone who is willing to try new things. His or her work should be surprising and he shouldn’t always do what he or she is expected to do. Wherever you are from, you should never play a role in terms of the quality of your music.

What do you think of laptop DJing?

I grew up with vinyl and for years I was DJing with records. You should try both since both styles have pros and cons. For me, the release of an album on vinyl is much more meaningful than the release of a WAV file on Beatport. A DJ is good when he’s capable of creating some kind of euphoria with his set. He has to capture the vibe of the crowd and use the PA and handle the acoustics.

We have seen your live sets which are energised and beyond common. How do you implement so many things while performing live?

It’s a learning process that never stops. Two times a year I change my live setup to keep it diverse and exciting. I combine sampler and effects and I also have my own light show. The setup is always very lavish and takes some time but in the end, it’s always worth the effort.

Tell us about your proudest moments?

Holding a complete album in my hands and people walking up to me post a gig are the things that make me happy. I’m still a small fish in the big music ocean, but I have accomplished more than what I could ever imagine. Man, I am playing shows in India, this makes me so happy.

Do you ever feel nervous when you have to play in a not-so-familiar place or before hitting the stage?

I am always very nervous. Before going on stage I always need some minutes for myself. Sometimes my stomach hurts and I always hope for the best, but I guess I’m not alone with these doubts.

Is it essential for a music producer to have an advanced understanding of numerous instruments?

Nowadays you don’t have to play an instrument to create music. There are so many programs that make everything easier but knowing how to play an instrument will help you find a harmony or a certain note. It will save you a lot of time.

Apart from touring are there any upcoming projects?

This year I will release two more music videos from the last album. In September I will release a new EP with some brand new tracks and I am already working on new stuff for my next album which will be out in 2018.

You have worked with record labels such as Acker Records, 3000° Records, Voltage Musique among others. Are you working with any new label? How do you see the approach of electronic music prospect, especially in India?

Of course, I’m working with different labels but my home base is Acker Records. We will see what is going to happen in India and if it’s successful, I would want to meet many new people and musicians. But for now, I am extremely happy that I have the chance to play in India.

Mixtape’s flagship property FRWD's this edition will also feature a brand new live solo set by OX7GEN and Three Oscillators with their upbeat tunes, ensuring a groovy dancefloor. Partnering with Star Dimensions India Pvt. Ltd, this edition is about giving the audience an ultimate audio-visual experience on 9 June 2017at antiSOCIAL, Mumbai.

Lastly, do listen to this:

The Micronaut Boiler Room Berlin Live Set