Germany’s hottest new export celebrates the success of his debut artist album, Pandora Electronica…
There’s been a big wave of excitement building about Tobias Lützenkirchen for some time now. It started to rise in the review sections of websites and magazines, his productions getting five stars in countless columns, regardless of genre. Then word started creeping out of the clubs, people enthusing about his live shows. It was only a matter of time before the buzz became a clamour as people demanded an album. That album arrived last month, racing up the charts in his native Germany and winning plaudits from all corners. With one disc given over to new productions and the other mixing up a mammoth 25-tune selection of his back catalogue, Pandora Electronica has more than a few surprises up its sleeve, shifting between house sounds with ease. EQ tracked down Tobias to find out how life has changed for the producer since he stepped into the limelight…
The album’s out, and it’s getting a great response – we take it you’re quite busy at the moment?
Yeah, my main focus is on my own label, Platform B, which is about minimal stuff with techno influences. I’m pushing new artists from around Munich with that label. It’s a baby of mine – luckily the response to what we’ve released has been really good. I’ve also got a compilation coming out at the end of the year which I’m mixing with Tomcraft. That’s to celebrate five years of Great Stuff. It’s a proper studio mix – a mash-up album. We’ve taken vocals by Great Stuff artists like Coburn and put them over other artists. We’re also doing a big club tour at the start of next year with a load of Great Stuff artists.
And I’m still enjoying the response Pandora Electronica got. In fact, it was the first techno album since the late 90s to go into the German official sales chart. It’s the real culmination of everything I’ve done, from 2005 to today, so it doing so well is quite nice.
There’s a real mix of sounds on there.
I’ve stopped DJing and now just do a live set now with Abelton, several midi controllers and drum machines, and this is more the sound that’s on CD two. But the first CD – the darker CD – is a more of an artist showcase, so I didn’t want to stick to specific styles. In my productions I switch styles a lot and I wanted to do that with Pandora Electronica, showing off the different angles of music I make.
Was it hard to do that on an album?
Actually it was a lot of fun. I always go into the studio with a very open mind, and I didn’t have a straight concept for the album. The only concept was to release whatever came out at the end of the studio time. I’m really happy with the end result because there’s everything style-wise that I wanted to include.
There must have been a lot of fans waiting for this album. Did you feel under pressure to make the sort of album they were expecting?
Oh yeah, but this album is exactly about surprising the expectations of the people. I think a lot of people who’ve known my music over the past few years had very high expectations of the album. But I hope I’ve delivered. And if they’d seen the live performances they knew what to expect.
How have the live shows gone down?
They’ve been getting a super big response. I’ve got bookings all over the world now. And it’s not just the fans who have been spreading the word, it’s the promoters. For example, I played a few months ago in Scotland for the first time, and since then I’ve played four times. The reactions are so good that the promoters ask straight away for another booking or one of their friends books me for a different club. I think the hybrid live thing that I do is really interesting for people to watch. I have something to do on stage, so it’s not just mixing. I’m quite busy over the two hours of a live set.
What have been the biggest tracks for you?
Leer Aber Techno, at the end of CD one. That’s been working the best in clubs for me – and it’s one of my favourites.
A lot of the tracks on there are very melodic…
I don’t normally play those. I go straight down the techno route usually. They’re more about the musician in me rather than the live performer.
It sounds like it’s good time for you just now.
Yeah, totally. It’s a bit strange that it’s all come together this year. About four months ago, it all went through the roof, at home in Germany and all over the world. I really don’t know why it happened at this one point.
That’s a good sign though. Your music’s not exactly commercial, so for it to be crossing over means people are maybe becoming a bit more open-minded.
Yeah, I’d say my music’s quite underground. It’s nice to see that if you do a good job, you don’t have to be commercial to make something out of it.