Tim Keiling may have first cottoned on to electronic music through the dubious, ravey nonsense of Mark ‘Oh’s “Love Song,” but instead of traveling down the same musical road as the goatee-adorned pop-dance star, Keiling was egged on to create his own electronic tracks. What started out as experiments into big beat and nu skool breaks soon became electro and then house and techno. His first releases were rooted in minimal techno, though after being turned on to disco edits he changed his focus to more house based material. His first outing in the vein was the 4 Months release on the newly formed 3rd Strike Records, which was remixed by Arto Mwambe and Mark E, one of the very people whose work inspired Keiling to turn his attentions to house music. With a style that is all his own, he has been forging a rapidly growing following via releases on 3rd Strike, Mirau and 4 Lux. LWE spoke to the German producer about keeping sampling fresh, utilizing the voice as another instrument, and how the Erdbeerschnitzel live show comes together. Not one taken to DJing, we are happy to present an exclusive DJ mix from Erdbeerschnitzel for our 95th podcast in which Keiling assembles a clutch of his favorite tracks, rips them apart and stitches them back together again.
LWE Podcast 95: Erdbeerschnitzel (52:03)
01. The Internal Tulips, “Arlie” [Planet Mu]
02. Bullion, “Long Promised” [One-Handed Music]
+ Jacob Korn ft. Kelli Hand, “Dance Away” [Uncanny Valley]
03. James Blake, “I’ll Stay” [R&S Records]
+ Kai Alce, “Power Thru Pt. 3″ [NDATL Muzik]
04. Christian Morgenstern, “The Future Is On Fire Pt. 1″ [Kanzleramt]
05. Matthew Dear, “And In The Night” [Spectral Sound]
06. Mark E, “Slave 1″ [Running Back]
+ Flying Lotus, “Parisian Goldfish” [Warp Records]
07. Floating Points, “Vacuum Boogie” [Eglo]
+ Flying Lotus, “Parisian Goldfish” [Warp Records]
08. Actress, “Redit124″ [Werk Discs]
+ Wighnomy Brothers, “Hankkofloppe” [Freude Am Tanzen]
+ Floating Points, “Vacuum Boogie” (Beat) [Eglo]
+ Jochen Trappe, “Blicko” (Well Dressed) [9 Volt]
09. Flacksucker, “Adjust” [Nest]
10. Erdbeerschnitzel ft. The Drifter, “Always Remain” [3rd Strike Records]
Perhaps we should first of all talk about your production moniker, Erdbeerschnitzel. How did you settle on this as a name to represent your music?
Tim Keiling : Well, the name itself came to me by sheer coincidence. There is no deeper meaning, I just happened to take that name some years ago when real name minimal techno artists were all about. I just didn’t like to release music under my real name. When I began to make music I changed my artist name every two weeks while I tried to figure out a cool one — that ended up in fresh names like Space Nation and Electrofunk, or so I thought.
But you also produce under the name Dark Side of the Meat. What is the difference between these two characters?
So far I only released an 8-track digital release under this name, style-wise it is influenced by L.A. beats stuff. I actually don’t know if I will release anything else yet, it might be a one off thing since I now feel that I can release beats-influenced stuff as Erdbeerschnitzel as well.
Whereabouts did you grow up and what was your first contact with music that left a lasting impression on you?
I grew up in rural Western Germany in a village called Mittelfischbach. The first proper electronic music track I remember listening to is “Love Song” by Mark ‘Oh. I heard it in the school bus and it was so different to the pop music you would get on the radio. The techno/rave scene got pretty big in the 90’s even in the countryside; we are talking about 500 people going to a rave in the town hall of a village with only 500 inhabitants. I always was fascinated by the sounds of this music since it was so different to the pop stuff on the radio and wanted to do that as well. Those raves vanished quickly by the turn of the century, and for me the Internet came in as the source to discover new music and to share my first productions. There wasn’t really a local scene beyond those raves, I only knew one person from school who was producing music as well so we exchanged ideas and tracks (and artist names). I was pretty much on my own in terms of production knowledge and equipment, so it was a slow process. When mp3s emerged, you had mp3.com with a strong community to get feedback from, to check if anyone liked your music at all. Over the years I joined different message boards to get more knowledge of music production. I could join the odd discussion now by saying that it is way too easy nowadays to create tracks that sound perfect due to stock samples and cheap high end equipment, but I’ll only say that it was a good thing for me not to know that there is something like monitoring speakers out there 10 years into making music.
So what were your reference points in making music? Were you making things for a club, conceptual pieces, or something else entirely?
I always try to have a song structure in my music. I actually took me an awful long time to have arrangements which are longer than four minutes.
Do you also have other creative outlets or things you are equally as passionate about as music?
I’m always interested in “the arts,” be it photography, films, architecture or books. But my main focus is on making music.
Do you have a day job and does it tie in to or influence your music making in any way?
I’m about to finish my studies to become a teacher for German high schools, so the free time you get during the studies really helped me to bring my music to a new level after working in IT for three years with basically a “come home, eat, sleep, work” routine. I work in web design besides the studies to pay for the bills.
Have you always been making house and techno?
Not really, after the first contact with rave and trance back then I was deeply influenced by the big beat guys like Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads and made music in that fashion. It went on to nu skool breaks, electro (proper electro like old Anthony Rother stuff) and drum & bass, but house and techno always were there between all those experiments.
The music of Erdbeerschnitzel that we know now, how long have you been making music in this style?
In 2009 my sound got housier, before that I was all into the more quirky side of minimal techno. One of my flatmates actually got me onto the deeper house tracks. I especially liked the edit stuff of the Revenge and Mark E, so I just tried to go slower but contain my sound in a way, to make tracks sound like those edits but still have an original production in the back end. I don’t listen to a lot of new releases but I couldn’t ignore that everything got slower and housier, so it was a natural progression in a way.
In your studio what piece of equipment or software have you found to be indispensable in your productions?
It’s nearly 100% software — Ableton Live is my tool of choice to bring it all together. This actually is the first sequencer I used where I could express my ideas to a full extent. I’ve always produced with software and the occasional hardware gear normally gets sold after a few years.
And what do you do for a live set?
I take my finished arrangements and break them down again to single loops of different sound groups (drums, percussion, bass, synth/melody, vocals/fx, kick drum) which I use when I play live. I use one MIDI controller to control Ableton Live and do live arrangements with the parts I have. It’s no fixed running order and I am constantly learning to react to crowds just as you would as a DJ. This keeps it interesting for me; I’ve got a good amount of material by now so every set is different. Since my tracks span from 95 bpm to 130 bpm, it can be a rough ride at times — always depends on the crowd.
I understand you work a lot with samples, particularly vocals. When you use vocal samples do you try to disguise the source material or do you just work with what is going to sound best for the track?
I touch every single sample I use. It’s somewhat against my religion to use a sample as I find it, I always do some editing. Using the high frequencies of a kick drum as a high-hat is way more fun than just using a ready-to-go-high-hat. Vocals often get chopped up and rearranged so that they sing something different or something you don’t understand which is OK for me. I like to treat the voice more as a kind of an additional synthesizer.
And with that in mind, did you sample the vocals on the To An End EP? If so, would you care to divulge where they came from?
Small background for that: The influence for this track was Omar-S, “Day.” My flatmate showed it to me at home and I hated it. Two weeks later we were at the Robert Johnson club and one track totally hit me there. I asked my flatmate if he knew the track and he said it was the Omar-S track. I think he used a Diana Ross sample, so did I. I know it’s easy to sample someone sounding so incredible, but it was perfect for the track. I changed the lyrics a bit, now she sings “Don’t you hear the wind blowing, will bring love to an end,” plus the original has a totally different melody and feeling.
You don’t really DJ do you? So what can you tell us about this special mix you’ve put together for us?
That’s right, I only play live at the moment, but I always bought vinyl over the years, though not in masses. So I decided to record some of my favorite stuff from vinyl into Ableton and bring it all together. I did some edits with the material, tried some crazy stuff — hope nobody feels offended. It sounds quite rough and naughty at times but I heard that this is how the kids like it.
What can we expect from Erdbeerschnitzel in the next year?
My new EP “Always Remain” is coming out on 3rd Strike Records and I started to do an album. I also hope to play my music at a lot of new places. Always great to hear the different phonetic realizations of my artist name!