Welcome Hansi, WEATNU has been playing your tracks for a while on [OUR] Radio, and I’ve always enjoyed hearing your work.
Hansi: Thanks. Thats nice to hear.
You’ve been with #WEATNU since it’s start, how has it benefited you?
Hansi: It’s great to have joined the WEATNU movement, as it’s got some recognition for my music.
Your music reminds me of the retro sound of early 80s, but without the usual normal sounds, many would say synthwave but there is more to your music than that, what would you say?
Hansi: I was musically “socialised” in the 80’s, thats true, but I never see my music as 80’s or something. It’s more like “in that tradition”.
Do you think the retro sound is making a comeback in this modern fast-paced world of EDM and posh pop?
Hansi: Music of that kind has developed. I don’t consider it Retro. For myself I cannot say what “Kind” of music I make, I lost track on “how music categories work”.
Its kind of synthpop, elektropop, but yet there are influences of punk, goth, industrial, things my musical role models do.
There is no reason any one of us should ‘label’ our music, including myself. So I understand.
When I listen to music from other countries, I hear the remainder of what was left years ago, only to end up in the underground. While here in the States we have a revolution of the same sounding electronic. Is this movement you have entered into going strong in Vienna?
Hansi: Honestly, i don’t really know. There is a kind of electronic Scene here, they play in clubs, but they nearly get no recognition by the public. I only start “finding” some of that Scene myself. It’s as said an ‘Underground Thing.’
You’ve just released a new album, first to your bandcamp and to WEATNU Records. Would you like to say some things about your album?
Hansi: The Album is called “Romance (and related Misery). I tend to put a theme to every Album i do. It’s a kind of guideline for the lyrics and the mood.
There is always a element of mystery to your songs, so I am not surprised by this. When was the album first released?
Hansi: I put it on SC on Nov. 2nd as a playlist of the entire Album. It achieved some recognition.
I think there are some quite nice tracks on it.
Always good to hear that, and I would agree.
Hansi: I think it started with a track called “Honeymoon is over”. I did a FB Chat with US based collaborator Mark LaFountain, about being drawn away from a track, when another idea emerges.
I am listening to the album at this time, the themes of each song hint at a bad relationship, but I’m sure this is debatable. Do you have anything deep that keeps the songs aimed at this vibe?
Hansi: Mark said, it’s like when the honeymoon is over, your Attention is drawn to “normal” so I replied, that would be a good name for a track! So I did a new song, named it Honeymoon Is Over and found some lyrics to it.
And they all seem to fit the mood. I hear an influence of darkwave more on this album than you past works, like something shifted in this album. Has your influences changed since then?
Hansi: I like the lyrics of Gary Numan and he’s done this “disguise reality thing” for a very long time. I am a huge GN follower, So this has become part of my own approach. Of course some lyrics emerge from real life. They are disguised and altered in the way i like it. Sometimes it gets so far away from reality, that a new reality is created.
From your name, this would be evident, certainly a good way to describe your sound. The obscure is what makes music interesting.
Hansi: I am not really aware of particular influences. But they are here evidently. But don’t ask me to name darkwave artists! But i am a lifelong fan of the Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission. Depeche Mode do have their sinister moody time as well.
Now it makes sense, yes. It’s very easy to absorb styles throughout our music journey. I hear a lot of synth pads and melody crafting, are you solo and do you compose from scratch?
Hansi: For composition I Use Ableton Live as a DAW. I found this in 2010 and it really helps developing tracks.
So much diversity from using Live, and so many of our artists including myself use it. So I understand it’s depth and power.
Hansi: I mostly start with a beat, then add basic lines. Then comes a lyrical idea, that goes to the DAW immediately as a sketch and then starts the “real” production… Until i am drawn away and i consider the last one “finished”.
How long do you usually spend working on a song?
Hansi: It depends, between a week and a month as an average guess. With Stonecold, it started as another track in Dec 2013, then i didn’t know what to do with it. Then came along nice lyrics from a trip to the UK. I put it together last August.
Musician or composer, or both?
Musician/Composer? Kraftwerk consider themselves as Musikarbeiter (musicworkers), I am not “really” a worker, but thats more or less it.
Fantastic work, I might add, Stonecold plays often on #WEATNU [OUR]
Hansi: I sometimes start from nothing, and sometimes i use readymade Loops to combine and do something new.
Thanks for the “Stonecold” compliment. I got compliments for the drums the other day, but i must admit, i nicked them from another track i really like!
You’re welcome, it’s nice to borrow from our past works isn’t it?
Hansi: I do have one of course. I know, they have White and Black keys…
Hansi: No, i never properly learned how to play, but thats not the point. It helps triggering the sounds I need to get the flow out.
For years I used an acoustic guitar to play and compose music.
Hansi: It’s the better instrument for playing at campfires! I recently dug out some old tapes i did in the 80ies and early 90ies. I did tracks using a Casio MT 210 preset keyboard.
‘The cynical guitarist’ this interview could be called! He was the cynical guitarist – interview with Hansi S.
Hansi: Not sure about cynical.
Subjectively of course, I was kidding. So you’ve been writing music for how long?
Hansi: I started in ’83 as a teenager.
That would make you 23 now? [Jokes]. At the height of the New Wave, very interesting indeed.
Hansi: Yeah, i think i wanted to be like my heroes then. There comes a time when everyone wants to be a policeman, a firefighter or a rockstar. I Chose the Rockstar!
Hansi: I took an old guitar of my mum, had to detune it, as i didn’t know of chords, and started with lyrics. they were in English from the start, maybe that helped with my school marks!
And over the years you’ve gone from using ‘hardware’ to mostly digital these days. Including ‘live’ and other DAWs?
Hansi: I’m using Live only. Before that I found “Acid DJ” and “Magix Music Maker”
One German made, one Sony made, quite interesting.
Hansi: I did an Album using ACID DJ in 2008
So the digital experience started for you in 2008? Because I transitioned in 2009 myself.
Hansi: About that time. I had a 15 years break in recording anything. Some things changed during that period.
A hiatus I see?
Hansi: Life went on in 92/93. I only played music at campfires!
Hansi: and not even mine!
So you write music through midi sequence, adding the steps to form a song using mouse or other?
Hansi: For editing i use my Novation Xio 49, my Novation Launchpad AND the mouse (to correct mainly), but it depends on how fast things have to happen. If the idea is faster than my Hardware, i may put up a beat with the mouse.
So mostly using midi controllers, not keyboard controllers, I see.
And what do you think about WEATNU and the WEATNU digital magazine?
Hansi: WEATNU is a great platform to expose, to meet and to share. The Magazine – i don’t know yet – we haven’t seen much of that yet (i think).
How about in general, the future of the magazine?
Hansi: It may well help distribute and get the interest in the movement, the artists.
We hope so. And how has WEATNU helped you, the radio, the promotion?
Hansi: It helped in confidence the first way. No one i know has listened to it but knowing it is heard around the world helps me to talk about me making music.
It’s always good to hear that. Also, how do you feel about word of mouth promo?
Hansi: Promo helped gain a following base on SC, so i can “play/release” to a larger audience.
Hansi: But in my personal surroundings, most of them do not know about me making “that Kind of Music”
That’s what WEATNU is for, giving the artist their outlet to do what makes them feel comfortable, giving them the means to showcase their art, in whatever form they choose.
Hansi: As i put links to FB more often (because of the confidence, there are musically interested friends that ask me “Is that YOUR Music?”
We feel this will revolutionize the industry. It’s very refreshing to hear that.
Hansi: We can hope for that. But the Music industry works in so much unexpected ways.
So you’re saying WEATNU is virally spreading to Facebook? To strangers?
Hansi: WEATNU on FB is only able to spread via WEATNU FB users, BUT i think, it draws interest from what i see.
We plan to go much further, as we already have many interested in our twitter account. More is happening there.
We know the old industry is dying, but the new is coming, in the form of movements and Internet followings. Do you think WEATNU is the next movement?
Hansi: WEATNU may be a movement, definitely, but it may be challenged by other movements as well. The HipHop community uses FB and Twitter a lot, i think.
That they do. We’re a virtual movement, but this is the ‘wave’ of the future, we feel very strongly that it will catch on in time. The first of it’s kind.
Hansi: For a musician, it’s not only plays and recognition, it should be drawn to sales as well, so that open sharing is “the new movement” in a way, but thats why the old System dies – sharing, not selling.
Or at least in such diverse ways, not just one subgenre but many. Selling is our next goal, thus we have the net-label and magazine. You may not be aware but WEATNU has t-shirts, hoodies and other.
The growth is happening and it’s catching on in numbers every week. Our soundcloud group is bursting over with 700+ plus tracks and over 130 unique artists at this time.
Hansi: I saw the merch. Cool stuff,… but I am not a good customer in those things. I rarely buy Tshirts at concerts!
The Radio plays over 12 hours of music rotated daily and the list goes on. This virtual platform is like the death star, the ultimate battle station.
Hansi: I am glad to be part of the movement and was considered to join as one of the first.
We are most glad to have you here with us.
One more question to add… Plans for the future?
Hansi: I am working on the Album “Unexpected Knowledge” right now [Album he said…]. I may turn to some more ambient (longer) tracks, like the two I’ve already made (“Breeder” and “Meditation Boulevard”).
We hope to hear them and will certainly play them on the radio and release to the net-label in the coming future.
[and finally] Goals you wish to meet?
Hansi: I tend to not see Goals, but to know where to pass on my path. Some recognition, maybe a “real/proper” release (not only web based), things like that. I know I am not in my 20ies anymore, so I’m not going to make a living out of that…
That is what WEATNU is here for, finally gaining that recognition as the artist we are. Because everyone of us, even without this movement, we are the new underground.
Anything you would like to tell anyone who is reading?
Hansi: Haha: the usual “stay peaceful and creative”
Thank you for doing an interview with us, it has been a pleasure to hear what you have to say about weatnu and music in general.
Hansi: And yet it was nearly to short to even touch the surface.