Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Quick Chat with Christian Prommer

"You Are What You Listen To"

Earlier this week, JazzWrap reviewed the new album by Christian Prommer. Today, we catch up with Christian to find out more about Drumlesson Zwei, his musical influences and what he plans to do next.

The new album is slicker sounding and more electronic than the previous Drumlesson releases. Why is that? Did you use different recording/mixing methods?

No, the mixing methods have been similar. I like to combine the analog and digital sound. What has changed compared to the first record is that I played a lot on all the pieces. Mostly, the drums, but also synth and piano.

For Drumlesson Zwei I took a different approach in the way I recorded the material. I was not so focused on the performance of the musicians as an ensemble, more on the vibe and the little ideas in between. I later worked on the tracks in the studio, re-arranging and deconstructing the sessions from the players.

Who were your key collaborators on Zwei and how did they contribute?

I used the musicians that toured for me the last two years (Roberto Di Gioia on piano, Matteo Scrimali on drums, Ernst Ströer on percussion and Christian Diener on bass) plus Uwe Karpa on guitar. He was a great new addition to the group. He is a Krautrock veteran and brought a great sensibility to the music. The musicians contributed in the way that they "vibed " to my ideas. In turn, I gave them new directions for many variations. It's great to see where the journey goes when everyone is locked in and take off.

What is the "mission" of Drumlesson?

The mission is best described as "a live performance DJ set." I like to get the band to play like a DJ. For me, that means we play very energetic and minimal at the same time. The name, Drumlesson, comes from the fact that I feel like I'm taking a lesson every time we play. These great players teach me something new every time.

Much has been said about the influences of jazz, Detroit techno and German electronic music in your music -- would you say that the influence is intentional or organic/accidental?

Hard to say. I think you are what you listen to and experience. I've really listened to a lot of the music for a long time now, so it's become part of my DNA. I feel a strong connection between jazz and techno as musical art forms. So, this might be more accidental that intentional.

How does improvisation work for you and the musicians who play on your albums?

Improvisation is great when done as an ensemble. I like the jam aspect of music -- either programming it or playing it. You have to be open to come up with new ideas. I think the improvisation is key to dance music as well. but is just sounds different. It is not about solos or playing very fast and difficult. It is more about bringing new textures together within a solid foundation of a rhythm track. I really love what happens when good musicians take off and give you a big variety of ideas as they play.

There are tracks on the new album ("Sleepy Hollow", "Sandstorms") that have a soundtrack feel to them. Is film music another influence for you?

I did not really go for the soundtrack feel as a concept. but my music works a lot with similar textures. I was looking for a more psychedelic sound than the last record I did. I really like the idea of soundtracks. The music in films is functional and very expressive and creative, similar to electronic music in a dance context.

What's next for you?

I will be touring with my new Drumlesson band, starting at the Southport Soulweekender on May 8th, then Europe, America and Asia until next year. I am also finishing a new project called Prommer+Barck that will come out this Fall, and I'll keep working on remixes and tunes for the dancefloor for labels like Gigolo, Compost , Buzzin Fly and K7.

Thanks, Christian.

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