COMPILERBAU - 'Evolution' | An Interview
This Artist had been in my cross-hairs for interviewing for quite awhile now. Not least for the fact that for the most part he lets his music do the talking and I can greatly respect that! For those immersed in the Synthwave/Retrowave scene he's a name you would have heard either blasting out from your chosen speaker set or by other Artists and fans who have a deep affection for what he does.
His retrofuturistic sound is inspired by movie and game soundtracks from the 1980's and 1990's. It is produced with the help of modern as well as vintage equipment and techniques.
The evolution of Compilerbau can be traced as far back as the year 2000 with the scene stealing Album 'Chronicles I' which garnered much acclaim on it's release in the beginning of that year.
I was honoured that he took the time out from his busy studio to chat to me about all things Compilerbau take a look...
The name Compilerbau is curious – how did you happen upon that name for your project?
I used to work as an application developer in the 2000's and I was interested in computer technology ever since. One day I stumbled over that word “Compilerbau” in a computer science book and decided to use it as name for my music project from that day on. Compilerbau is another word for Compiler Construction. It is a very low-level form of programming. A Compiler translates code of a programming language into executable binaries. Without a it, there cannot be an executable and because of that a Compiler must be built first. With that knowledge the question what was first arises: Was it the chicken or the egg? The answer is Neither. It was the molecules and the chaos. By the way: I never wrote a Compiler myself.
What would you say is distinctive about your music?
I think distinctive about my music are the detailed and authentic drums and the synth bass which is tightly embedded into this drum ‘landscape’. Another thing are odd breaks and speed changes. I do this from time to time when I think a beat must be spiced up by something unusual. A good example for the latter is the track ‘Charlatan’.
In your entire discography which track would you be most proud of? Why?
The track “No Exit” comes to my mind – it contains an interesting speed change which surprises myself every time I hear it. It is not a popular track at all, but I like its overall sound. In general, I am proud of my album “Tachyon” a lot and “No Exit” is also part of it. The whole album feels like a complete science fiction adventure to me with many interesting things to discover.
Going all the way back to Chronicles back in the year 2000 to your recently released 774 track which is amazing by the way. How do you feel your sound has developed over time?
The first tracks I made in the 1990’s and early 2000’s were just home recordings. I recorded them in the basement of my parents’ house with cheap equipment I had. With every track I made since then I learned something new. I would say that I always had a lot of ideas from the very beginning but when I started out, I did not know how to put it into practice. This has become much better in all the time and I have learned how I can more easily transform ideas and feelings into sound nowadays. I think my music is getting better from a technical standpoint with every track I release.
Is there any one thing you’d change about the current music industry? As an artist you always change something the moment you release new music because artists are also part of the industry. Every independent producer who tries to be good with what he does changes the industry in a positive way.
By the way, it has never been easier for independent artists in the industry than it is today. However, in order to survive, an artist today must be able to think digitally and perform many different tasks at the same time. But learning all these skills is also easier than before because the access to knowledge is much easier. Of course, one must gain experience too.
What have been the sounds or artists that have shaped your sound over time? Did you have many who influenced you? I think French group “Space” had a lot of influence to me. Also, many Berlin School Artists like Michael Hoenig influenced me as well. From outside the electronic world I am a big fan of The Police and their sometimes-odd rhythms. In the 2000's I got inspired by the electro clash and NuDisco genre. French Producer Lifelike for example had great impact to me. Also, the whole Synthwave Scene always had some impact on my sound and how it changed through time. When it comes to soundtracks, Ron Jones must be named here. He wrote scores for many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and he is my favourite one among the others who wrote for that TV series. I think he influenced me a lot too.
If you couldn’t make the brilliant music your putting out there, what do you think you would be doing?
Developing Applications, Camera Assistance or maybe Repairing Cars.
What do you like to do for fun outside of music? Photography, Traveling and collecting vintage Japanese cameras.
What’s your favourite film? That is constantly changing but there are a whole lot of movies made in the 1990's that I like very much for example ‘The Game’, ‘The Firm’, ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Shattered’, ‘The Chamber’, ‘Disclosure’, ‘Twister’, ‘Dante’s Peak’, you name it. I can watch those 90’s flicks repeatedly. I like their music, their visuals, their acting. If it comes to recent films I very much liked "1917". Since that complex film is just one shot It felt like a very ground-breaking piece of art to me. Sure, it was done before, but not in that extent.
Are their any artists who are currently on the scene that you would love to collaborate with?
There are a lot because the scene is huge. Meteor, Waveshaper, Phaserland, Kristine and Good old Mitch Murder to name a few. It would be also interesting to collab with more Pop orientated artists like Parallels in future projects.
What is your creative process like? Is it different for every track? Or do you follow a pattern? It is always a little bit different. Sometimes I start with a bass line and sometimes with a melody and sometimes with a drum loop. To create those small snippets, I always improvise and just play what I feel. I use these as a starting point, build something around it and if that first resulting small measure of music sounds cool, I make a whole song of it. I already start mixing during the writing process. The reason for this is that I think that music is not just notes playing over time. For me, music consists of different sounds placed in a Three-dimensional space which changes over time. With this approach I most likely end up with something which is worth a release.
Will we be lucky enough to catch you on tour in 2021?
I guess that depends on a lot of things that are happening right now.
A message for your fans?
Stay positive and believe in yourself.
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