Hi Alex! First of all, thank you for your time! How are you?
Thanks to you. I’m very good thank you!
You have an impressive career and it kinda seems like it all happened so quickly, but it didn’t. You had your first performance as a sixteen-year-old at a youth centre in your home town, but it wasn’t until years later that you started recording. Why was that?
Well, I was always composing music, but it took me a while to also get the technical knowledge about producing. And times were different then today… There was no Ableton which makes things lot easier. Also you didn’t get easy access to DJs/label owners as you have now. So the distance and the respect to talk or get in touch with the great ones of the late 90’s and 2000s, was the one thing holding me back to send out demos earlier. Actually my first release was 7 years after I started producing, as I never thought my music would be good enough. Now, after almost 10 years being in the scene professionally, I’m actually happy that I waited that long.
Why was electronic music appealing to you in the first place? Who were your influences?
My brother was a ‘hobby’ DJ in the mid 90s. He was one of the early ravers, before Loveparade etc became big. He was always Djing in the garage and I sneaked in and found it very interesting. So I also started trying to play out his records, when he wasn’t home. No wonder, the first record I ever bought was Armand van Helden – The Funk Phenomenon.
Your Balance compilation just came out recently, congratulations! Could you tell us about the creative process behind it?
I wanted the mix to represent the whole range of productions and how my sets sounds at different times of a night. Just in a shorter form. If I play a 5 to 8 hours set, this would be the whole range of music I play. Warm up, peak time and the end. But it is very difficult to summarize such a long set in under 80 min., while also making sure it becomes a listening album.
I wanted to create new passages between each song during the transition of two single tracks, as a „mixtape“ for me was always about that. Trying to avoid obvious changes and create a fusion between songs, keeping the same mood, so the listener doesn’t hear a new song coming in while listening, rather they only realise after a few minutes that there was a change. You don’t really have a track playing longer than 3-4 minutes on its own, but long lasting transitions between them.
How did you choose the tracks that you wanted to include in compilation?
I have to point out clearly that with the whole mix it was important to create a perfect journey, instead of adding and choosing favourite tracks. You don’t really know which tracks the Balance in the end will be able to license and sometimes when choosing tracks, that track maybe don’t really fit into the final mix at a certain time with a certain track that you imagined it to fit with. So when selecting tracks, I needed to be prepared of possibly to replace them. I also didn’t know how many and which tracks could fit in the final mix. So it is a bit like being a soccer manager. Making sure every position is covered double, being flexible and able to react to certain changes, while still making the whole team work together best.
It’s been three years since you started the AEON label. What can you tell us about it? (Its work, mission, the idea behind it, expectations for the future)
Well, it was always my idea to have a label that represents the sound that I play. A label that is flexible and diverse like my productions are, but still mirrors me as an artist, while being different from others. I also wanted to give a platform to talent artists that I really like and support, using my name to give them a bigger stage/audience, so people get to know their music. I’m really happy to find people like Denis Horvat, Speaking Minds, TVA and more who share the same interest, vision and style although all being different in their expression, when it comes to music.
I’m glad the label is having a very good run, people know and like it, plus we are given the chance to travel with our sound throughout the world. We had a lot of showcases this year, sold out venues at ADE etc. and will have even more stages and events coming up in 2017.
Are there any releases on it that we should keep an eye on?
TVA – Organic, Denis Horvat – Rondo (incl. Fur Coat remix) and obviously my single coming up on Balance, called ‘Hurricane’. Beware, this is different from everything I have done before, discounting the club mixes of course. 😉
“Materium” is maybe one of your biggest tracks. What can you tell us about it? What was the inspiration?
Actually this is one of the records I have been working on for the longest time, although I had a very clear idea and vision from the very beginning of what I wanted to do. This was one of the few records, which was already finished in my mind before I even played the first kick drum. This has actually only happened to me with that one song. On all other releases, I usually start from scratch and let my mood guide me.
What does the future hold for Alex Niggemann? Do you have any special projects planned?
Well, the project that I’m introducing with the EP (coming in Dec. on Balance) called ‘The Shadow Self’ will definitely also get some more attention from me in regards to production. There will be a new EP from me on AEON in Feb. Plus also maybe I will finally get some more time and continue working on a second album. Besides that, I’ll be busy touring, trying to get a bigger audience for AEON, its artist and shows.