Moderat... Straight to the point
Published on August 15th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams and Ralph McDevitt
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We found ourselves dazzled by Moderat’s widely anticipated second album II, describing it in our four-quail review as “a synaesthetic delight of a record…able to unlock conflicting emotions seemingly as second nature”.
As such, we were eager to lay in front of them the various questions we had about it, and it is our great honour to reproduce for you below the answers we received back from Sascha Ring, aka Apparat.
(For anyone who doesn’t already know, Moderat is a supergroup of electronic producers comprising of Apparat alongside Modeselektor duo Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. Hence the name, you see.)
Congratulations on a great new album. Are you all 100% pleased with how it turned out, or does collaboration of this nature mean that you have to make certain compromises that you might not be happy about?
If you make a record with three producers, you have to compromise a little bit. It helps a lot if you trust the people you work with because sometimes an idea you didn’t like so much in the beginning can turn out great in the end.
I think it’s good we have different opinions from time to time. We’re individuals. In the end it makes the record richer and more interesting.
As three producers, how does the creative process of Moderat work? Does it complicate things, or does it make it easier to understand where you’re each coming from?
The first album was more of a remix project between us; we recycled a lot of older ideas. When we started working on the new record we realised that we needed another concept, so we started making songs from scratch.
Of course it’s always just one person who has the initial idea and depending on the person it would be a beat, a melody or a crazy noise, but pretty early after this initial idea happened we started working on it all together.
It can be a pain sometimes because everyone has an opinion on everything and too many opinions slow down the process, but I guess we made it.
For me, the music of Moderat can make me feel happy and sad at the same time. It’s a strange sensation. Is this something you’re aware of, maybe even something you work towards?
I don’t think it’s so strange. The perception of what’s sad or happy can be very subjective: one person finds a melody uplifting, the other one sad, and even for the same person it can still depend on a mood.
Maybe let’s just say that our music has ‘some’ kind of emotional impact. It’s made that way; we don’t really make music when we feel ‘neutral’. You need to feel something yourself while making a song. I’m quite sure it’ll translate to the listener.
One of my favourite things about Moderat is that you are really good at creating sounds that you can ‘feel’ in different sensory ways; like a crinkly sound, a bubbly sound or a sticky sound, for example. Is this something you think about when you’re making your music? If so, do you try to make sounds that feel a certain way, or do you discover them by accident?
When you first start a song you don’t think much. The best tunes first happen in some kind of “magic state” where things just come together. After that has happened you just try to emphasise the ideas that came up.
A lot of things are ‘lucky accidents’ and everything beyond that is production work. Quite hard work sometimes.
What will your live show be like for this album?
We made the show with our friends from Pfadfinderei again. They’re the visual part of Moderat.
We will work with video-projections again; no crazy LED walls involved. We like the concept of light being “beamed” on a screen. The screens are half transparent and the setup is kinda three-dimensional. We’re still working on it but it already works quite well…
Do you know yet what kind of projects you will all be working on next, or is it too early to ask?
We’re just really happy we finished the album. Now we’re looking at eighteen months of touring. I think it would be healthy to take a little break after that.
Will you make another Moderat album one day?
We’re pretty sure that’s gonna happen. It’s a good thing for all of us to have this second band; it gives us more freedom with our own projects and it’s always a bit like a vacation from your image when we start working together.
We’ll do it again. Not sure when but we’ll do it.
What other new music from 2013 have you enjoyed?
Sascha Ring, thank you.
Moderat’s second album II is out now on Monkeytown Records.