Guest of Honour: Kölsch, a special brew from Kompakt

Guest of Honour: Kölsch, a special brew from Kompakt

Jul 18, 2013 |  by  |  Event, Music
About the author
Laura is a 25 year old nonpracticing psychologist. As a hopeless romantic she loves to write, dream and wander around the city looking for new adventures and inspirations. Stay tuned for an inside peek into the daily life of one of Amsterdam's inhabitants!

This weekend it’s a time for the second edition of boutique festival Buiten Westen. This initiative of six Amsterdam-based musical collectives brings your childhood fantasies to life, setting up a dreamworld with extravagant decor, exotic treats and electronic highlights. Among many other international artists we find Kompakt-baby Rune Reilly Kolsch, better known as Kölsch, and one of my recent personal favourites. A good opportunity to ask him some questions before he leaves us in awe closing on the Next Monday’s Hangover stage, this Saturday.

When did you start making music?
“My career started nearly twenty years ago. I used to play the drums and played in a few bands. Later I got into hip-hop and started wondering why the music that I played didn’t sound at all like the records I listened to. I got fascinated by the use of samples and got myself an old Amiga computer. I released my first record in 1995 on a Danish label called Metaplex. I was only 17 years old, so at the time it was kind of a big deal for me.”

You’ve a sold millions of records and you had some major chart successes, producing for stars like Nicki Minaj. What are the differences with what you are doing right now with Kölsch?
“Producing for big stars like Minaj, it’s not so much about me or what I want. There’s a certain pressure in collaborations, forcing you to get the best out of one moment. Kölsch on the other hand is much more personal and it offers me all the artistic freedom to create what I want. One of my biggest commercial hits was Calabria, which changed my life. It sounds completely different from what I’m doing now, but I’m still very proud of it.”

What inspires you now, producing as Kölsch?
“Inspiration is such a diffuse concept. For me it can be a good conversation, a tasty meal or a great movie. I guess to some extent I’m the same guy, so the inspiration could be the same. But of course you evolve over the years, and you realize what you need to do and what you can do. Nowadays, one of my main goals is making it even more simple than Calabria, stripping music down to its core, always changing different elements. It’s more like a journey, music is always around me and forever an inspiration. I never become tired of it.”

Your last name, Kölsch, and you produce for Kompakt records which is based in Köln (Cologne). Coincidence?
“There is a story to that! Michael Mayer found out that my last name was Kölsch somewhere, and wrote me an email asking me to make music for Kompakt. And if Michael Mayer asks you something like that, you have to do it!”

You recently released your studio album 1977. Are you happy with the result?
“I’m surprised that everyone went crazy about the album! I haven’t gotten any bad reviews, people just really seem to love the record. Basically, it’s a club album, but I’m really happy with the result. Like most of my music, it’s a very personal. This record is mainly about my childhood memories of when I was a kid.”

I’m guessing the tracks Oma and Opa have something to do with that..
“The whole album results from childhood memories at my grandparents’ house in Germany. That’s the concept behind the album, Opa means granddad and Oma grandma in German. The two tracks just fit together somehow. Where Opa is quite rough and grumpy, Oma is light and has a more melancholic feel to it. Every song relates to a certain reminiscence. Goldfisch for instance, relates to our fish we had in the pond. And the title of the album is the year in which I was born.”

Your music sounds to me as more poppy than that of other typical Kompakt artists. What do you think about people saying your album is too commercial?
“Honestly, I don’t really care what people say about my music, haha. If I had to think about what people thought of my music I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. I make music that I like and if people think that it’s poppy, that’s cool. That’s totally fine by me.”

What’s the difference for you personally between performing live and playing a DJ set?
“It’s a huge difference. When I do the live show, I play only my own songs. It’s very organic, because the performance changes depending on how I feel at that particular moment. Much more complicated than a DJ set in my opinion. I have to focus on when to put the next hi-hat in for example. I think I might look a bit nerdy when I do it, haha.”

What can we expect from Kölsch at Buiten Westen?
“I’m going full on crazy in the live show! I have a few new demos that I’d like to play, and of course the tracks of the new album. It’s going to be great!”

See Kölsch live at the sold-out Buiten Westen festival this Saturday.

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