I caught up with German electronic maestro, Roman Flügel. The Frankfurt local is one of the modern pioneers of German electronica, with an output that spans over twenty years.
Radd: What makes London unique in relation to other cities?
RF: It’s one of the capitals of electronic music and one of the capitals of nightlife. The energy is pretty intense and very international, which I really enjoy.
Radd: Your music is enjoyed by a wide range of listeners, are you conscious of this broad appeal?
RF: I’ve always been interested in not just being the techno guy or the guy that produces only house music. I also have a connection to electronic music that is not danceable, especially with my albums, as opposed to a 12’’ that is supposed to work in a club.
Radd: What music has shaped you?
RF: There are certain periods, for instance the early until mid 80s electronic music that was being created in the UK and the rest of Europe, and also krautrock in the 70s. There’s so much to discover, so much weird music. Open-mindedness is still really important to me.
Radd: In your experience, how has electronic music progressed over the past 20 years?
RF: There are things that are starting to happen and influence one another, which is quite new to me. Back in the day, when I first started, it was very separate: you were either into drum and bass or house or techno; the scenes did not collide.
Right now you have those weird styles that take influences from everywhere, due to the Internet. There’s a new energy to the music.
Radd: What’s the most effective way to put out records?
RF: Well, I mean you can self produce it, but it doesn’t mean it’s helpful [to do that]. It’s still important to work with other people, whether they do the business side or the promotion; at a certain point you just can’t do it all on your own.
It’s great to have a label that takes care of artwork and sleeves etc, and not just putting out music. I was part of a label for many years called Playhouse and I was partly responsible for the finances (laughs). It was just horrible.
Radd: What’s your creative process?
RF: I’m not the most structured person; I keep it quite playful. There’s an element in which I try to catch the idea; until then almost anything can happen. Most of the club tracks I do, I have the rhythm as the basis and then I start working on the bassline and put some chords or melodies on top. When it comes to music without beats or the idea of being played in a club, it can be anything; it’s very open. This is always the way I have worked; it’s not like I go into the studio and say, today I’m going to make a big Berghain techno stomper (laughs).
Radd: What hardware do you use?
RF: When it comes to recording, I use Logic and put everything through a mixing desk. I have lots of hardware: a synthesizer, keyboards, outboards. Those, combined with the things running on my computer, end up shaping my sound. I use a Yamaha DX200; it’s like a little box. I really love that thing because you can mess around. I thoroughly recommend that.
Radd: What advice would you give young DJs and producers sitting in Hackney?
RF: I would do the music first and then somehow make a connection with the right people. It’s not about the 5 mins of fame on Facebook or Soundcloud. It can create momentum but it’s the dedication to music and doing what you really love that will get you where you want to go.