The 317th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Controlwerk.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I am 24 years old and I have been living in the UK for 3 years now, I was originally based in Poland. I have been Djing since I was 20 and producing since I was 15.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
My roots definitely lie in minimal and techno music. I was influenced by DJs in events like “Love Parade” and “Mayday”, but the real turning point that made an impact on what I am doing today was a production made by Ryan Davis called “Roads”. It was something special and unique for me. Because of this track I have started listening to music like melodic techno / neo-trance and blending my progressive-house sound into minimal techno. A year ago I released my first melodic techno EP on Electronic Tree called “Far Nearer”. It was just an experiment for me, that became a really respected piece in the underground music industry. Melodic Techno is my priority now in music production.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
It came naturally, in the beginning I did not have any idea what I was doing but I really liked it. I started by simply messing with the software, checking plugins and what VSTs are and what they are for. I am very happy that I have learned the basics very fast, but I could not avoid a lot of critique from much more experienced friends. Looking back, I am really thankful for what they did for me.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
I have a lot of ideas, but sometimes it is difficult to make a complete project from it or it does not sound right to me. That is why most of my projects do not see the light of day or they are released after a year or two. Sometimes I have to change the whole project, take a good listen and compare it to the old version to make a decision as to what I should really change.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
At the moment I am working 6 days a week so it is hard to find the time for music production. That is why I am not releasing my music very often, I want to make sure it is perfect. I prefer quality over quantity.
Besides music, I like to spend time out with friends, at home playing games on the Xbox or watching movies.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?
I am an open minded person and I really appreciate every good piece of music. One day you can hear Liquid DnB from my room and the next day there might be classic rock ballads :D. I don’t think any of the artists outside electronic music made a direct effect on my productions.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
The first album that I bought was (I believe) “Scooter – Wicked!” in 1996 on cassette with my moms money. In my opinion it was a very good piece of music, simple, but worth spending the money :D. Now, I’m collecting vinyls and the last one that I bought was “Sasha – Deconstruction” including “Xpander”, “Belfunk”, “Rabbitweed” and “Baja” in mint condition.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I am a gaming console modder, most of the time you can find me in my room with a soldering iron in one hand and modchips in the other. I am doing this just for my personal use because I like to run homebrew apps or test Linux on it.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
There are plenty of producers who deserves a lot more attention, but I will focus on some of my close friends like “Reiklavik”. He is a very important person in my music world and one of the producers that I am constantly collaborating with. We are working on a new production at the moment. The second artist is my good friend “Tuxedo”. He is the one that has had a lot of patience and gives me a lot of good advice. I respect him as a DJ, producer and a very good person. I would like to mention some other very good producers like “Neptun 505”, “EFG”, “Marcin Przybylski”, “Cast Away”, “Angelo Abresso”, “Matter” who definitely need more attention.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Stephan Bodzin, Max Cooper, Jon Hopkins, their music productions are simply masterpieces! What really inspires me are just simple situations in my life; it might be clouds, floating leaves or just watching the sunrise.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
Patience, patience and one more time patience. Success will not come to you and shake your hand, you have to work on your sound all the time.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
“Nils Frahm – Some”. You can’t describe it with words.
Controlwerk’s remix of Neptun 505 is out now on Stellar Fountain, you can purchase the release: here