Having been raised in a family of musicians, and trained in classical music from a young age, Johannes Brecht has long brought a wide-ranging sensibility to electronica, on labels such as Poker Flat, Mule Musiq, and Solomun’s Diynamic Music – the latter the home for many of his recent productions.
The highly-regarded Picture Series on Diynamic has featured artists such as Innellea, Tunnelvisions, Adana Twins, Denis Horvat and Moscoman in recent years, and for its tenth edition, the label turned to Brecht, who has delivered a six-track mini-album that showcases the many sides of his production approach.
Johannes Brecht: Picture was released on 10 December, and can be downloaded/streamed here.
909originals caught up with him.
Hi Johannes, thanks for talking to us. You’ve just released your new ‘Picture: Johannes Brecht’ mini album on Diynamic – how would you describe the release?
I would say it’s a very multifaceted record, which is simultaneously very danceable sound for clubs as well as deeper sound for home listening. It shows a broad spectrum of what Johannes Brecht is, sonically speaking.
The ‘Picture’ series was developed to showcase a particular artist’s creative output at a particular moment in time – what sort of preparation did you undertake before embarking on a project like this?
This record was an occasion for me to take a deep look into myself and select what I think is the ‘Johannes Brecht sound’. Of course, this included many of my most recent productions, but I also searched within earlier periods, because this is also a part of my core and shows the way I have walked, the way that made me who I am now.
Is the result a more ‘personal’ project than what you might have done in the past?
I wouldn’t say more personal, because all my records are personal. But what you could say is that it is more comprehensive because of the scope of it, so in that sense it gives a better insight into my world.
You’ve been closely associated with Diynamic for many years now. What is Solomun like to work with – do you learn from each other?
Yes, we learn a lot from each other, in many aspects. Me, as a live act and also as someone who often records with classical musicians, I am just a lot deeper in arrangements and the likes, whereas his experience in the studio and regarding performance has its strong foundation from him being a DJ. These different views and fields of expertise just really complement each other, which is great for both of us.
You came into electronic music via classical and jazz – how has this background influenced your approach to making electronic music over the years?
It has and it still does influence me. Firstly, I use many of the instruments associated with these genres, and secondly, in my private time, this is the majority of the music I consume. So naturally it has a great impact on my productions.
Your ‘Imperfect Moments’ series adopted a back to basics approach to making music – improvising while seated at the piano. For you, personally, is this where your inspiration tends to come from?
It is one of the sources of my creativity, surely. I just really enjoy the meditative moments in the mornings, everybody is out of the house and I have the time to just let my mind and hands wander. Bliss and mindfulness.
Was the pandemic a productive period for you – did it influence the sort of music you wanted to make?
It definitely had an impact on me, productively but also counterproductively. Of course, I had more time for studio work, but what was missing was the exchange with the listener/recipient of the music.
This was one of the biggest realisations to which I came during the pandemic: the value of the exchange with the listener during performances, especially for club and dance music. It is such an important tool to find out what works and what doesn’t, timings, intensities, etc. for your productions. The value of road testing your music.
Tell us about your upcoming project to create a ‘live remix’ of the music of Bartók?
I’m super excited for it, because it’s a project where I get to bring together the things I love, which is classical and electronic music. Even more exciting is the fact that we get to do it live… creating, improvising, reacting.
The idea is that a string quartet plays Bartók live in one room; then this signal is being sent to a different room, where my friend Christian Prommer and I wait to receive it almost instantly and then live-remix that signal we receive into electronic music. And the audience can wander freely through the different rooms.
What does 2022 have in store for Johannes Brecht?
End of March / beginning of April will be the release of my next EP on Siamese.
But what I’m working on next is something different: I’ve just spent some time in the studio in Berlin with two Italian artists. We have jammed together, completely improvised, so there is no script or sheet music or anything at all, and recorded a total of four hours of music. Now, my mission is to edit this, find the best pieces and ‘curate’ roughly 45 minutes of final material – just from what we played, no additional production. I’m very excited.
Johannes Brecht: Picture is out now on Diynamic and can be downloaded/streamed here.