When it comes to deep and hypnotic techno with complex textures, then Frederic Lindemann should not be unknown to you. Under his alias Desroi, the german DJ and producer has been quite active in the last few years. He gained a wide reputation with his EP “Dwell in Motion” on Avian, which has been one of our favorite releases from last year. If you’re listening to his productions and sets, you can clearly hear his passion for reduced rhythms, intelligent textures and experimental sounds. His upcoming release “Floating In Empty” on Semantica perfectly displays his unique vision of techno. Monument is more than happy to have a talk with him about his album, his work and himself.
Hello Frederic, thank you for your time. First of all when and how did you got in touch with techno?
Thank you Vy, for having me. Well I guess that was quite a natural process and hence the most boring answer you can imagine: I got in touch with techno when I got to that age where going-out and parties became a thing. I felt immediately attached to electronic dance music from the start. The first years I spent with lot of House music too.
For how long have you been active as a DJ and producer?
Actually I have been producing music since the age of 15. I played the guitar in a band and have been doing all recordings for us back then. When I was 16 or 17 I got my first version of Logic Pro 7 and shortly after bought my first small Doepfer modular synth. I think this was the point where I started and tried to make techno. It took me 5 years however before I made a single track that I was remotely happy with. DJ-ing came a little later in 2011 I think, when I had my own party series in my hometown.
Parallel to your career you studied Composition at Folkwang University of Arts, where you graduated in 2018. How did your studies influenced you as an electronic musician?
I think my studies influenced me a lot. More than I thought it would in the first place. Basically it was opening up my horizon in regards to interesting electronic music besides the dance-floor. There are tons of music that certainly has a techno-esque feel to it but was written by contemporary composers throughout the last century. I found a lot of inspiration here. Moreover I substantially learned about music theory such as overtones, polyrhythm and composition in general. As well as the more technical side such as synthesis, analysis and programming.
You recently said that you are less interested in arrangement, melodies and harmony and much rather focused strongly on textures, rhythms and new sounds. When and how did you discover your passion for those elements?
When you listen to contemporary electro-acoustic music from composers like Terry Riley, Scelsi or Iannis Xenakis you will often discover detail, form and function on a deeper micro level. It isn’t obvious on first sight but requires some contemplation to get your head around. This is where the real magic happens. It is sort of a paradigm shift regarding variance and progression within music. Together with the immersive power of the dance-floor, this can create a very special and hypnotic experience. To me this experience of getting carried away and contemplation has always been more alluring than the sheer hands-in-the-air party-thing. Personally, techno is about the tension between ruthless repetition and subtle gestures and progressions, often with a strong emphasis on spatial cues. Also about timbral exploration. This kind of techno I am talking about points inwards. That’s what I highly admire.
You also have your own imprint Desroi. Tell us about it and how did you come up with idea to manage an own label.
When I had my first EP ready and felt like putting it out, I was already in touch with some labels. Quickly I had to understand that it would take several months before anything gets published. Consequently I felt the need for my own platform to release music whenever I want to. Thus I initiated my own eponymous imprint in 2016. Furthermore my Desroi label is focused on my outright and blatant functional dance-floor side of music.
After several releases on labels such as Avian, Desroi, Manhigh and Envra, your upcoming release coming out on Semantica. Seems like a perfect combination! When and how did you got in touch with the label?
I was already working together with Enrique (Svreca) for the Envra release. Nobody knows that he is the man behind Envra but I can reveal it now! [Haha]. I had this album ready but no clear vision what to do with it. So I eventually played the tracks to Enrique and he liked them a lot, telling me that he wants to put them on Semantica. Working with him is a blessing.
So “Floating In Empty” will be your first album. How did you come with the idea to produce this album and how did you get inspired?
Frankly, I didn’t plan to record an album in the first place. I recorded some tracks in a certain period of time, which all had the same vibe, atmosphere and sound to them. I ended up having eight cohesive titles and thought why not putting them out as an album. Actually this makes a lot of sense to me now. Since those tracks were all written in the same period, using the same equipment and with the same mood and spirit in my mind. As one can probably tell, this wasn’t the brightest time in my life.
Why did you choose to make an album instead of an EP?
For me personally an album is a collection or concept of music that people can listen to throughout their day, while travelling or simply being at home. It felt reluctant to merely accumulate straight techno bangers and call it an album. I hope I can take people on a 44-minute long journey with “Floating In Empty”.
I listened to your album several times and I really like it! It seems like you have a faible for droning and beeping sounds with trippy and hypnotizing textures like you recently said. How did you approach making this album?
That’s some heartwarming words – I am very glad you like it! Apart from books, music and art I draw a lot of inspiration from the actual instrumentsthemselves, in my case mainly synthesisers. Techno references to the soul inherent in the machines. I am a very intuitive working person. Often I don’t exactly plan things, I just sit down, start and let things happen. But then again I would sometimes have a very clear idea of a sound or a form which I try to realise. My working process is always a healthy mixture ofcreative intuition and a conceptual approach.
How was the work process and how long did it take?
As mentioned before I would often just fire up my studio, sit down and get things started. Generally I believe I convey my feelings and my mood into my music. What I try to do more often now, is to separate the writing and mixing process from each other. It took me one year to finish the album. After the tracks were written and recorded I put them aside for quite a while before I got back to them and started to mix them properly.
Which pieces of gear did you use for the album?
I will say that 70% of the album was made using the EMS Synthi A. You can hear it in almost every track. I just love this synth! It has its own personality. I would occasionally run it through effect chains or into my Eurorack system, using its filters. The rest is mostly 808 drums, Waldorf Microwave and some other small bits and pieces. I recorded and mixed everything in Logic Pro X which is my go-to DAW.
Your album reminds of your first EP “Voi” on Total Black, a compilation of four dark ambient tracks with atmospheric soundscapes. Was your first EP also an inspiration?
Not exactly an inspiration per se but more of an instinctive development and progress using similar instruments and setups.
After your first EP, your following productions were more club-oriented. Now you are going back to ambient and explore the experimental sphere outside the club music with this album. Why did you choose this direction again?
Desroi is a multi-faceted project. I need to keep questioning myself and what I do constantly. If all I did was straight 4/4 techno tracks, I’d get bored pretty easily. The world of sounds and music offers so much more whilst still being interesting enough to be played out on a dancefloor.
For me, “Harm Done” is different from other tracks on the album. It is a great ambient track with very subtle elements and a dark and intense soundscape. What is the story behind this track and what kind of emotions you wanted to express with it?
Harm Done was one of the very first tracks I’ve written on this album. I can’t recall what exactly I wanted to express here – if anything! That’s up to the recipients to fantasise.
Besides your ambient cuts, “As You Desire Me” and “Disentangled” are more dance-floor oriented and have a minimal and yet powerful beat with hypnotizing soundscapes. What was the idea and concept behind those two tracks and how did you approach them?
My goal was to display a proper statement to show what I am about. While those two tracks do have a clear beat and a prominent kick-drum I found them still being “experimental” enough to be part of this album. Indeed being hypnotic within my music is essential.
All in all your album is very varied, from deep and experimental ambient cuts “From Afar”, “Floating In Empty”, “Blindfold”, “When All Is Said And Done” and “Harm Done” to hypnotic and trippy As You “Desire Me”, “Beyond Appearance” and “Disentangled”. To keep this variety must be really difficult I guess! How did you keep the diversity in your album?
For my latest work using the EMS Synthi A has been a revelation. Even though I was surprised how moderately my music changed after introducing it to my creative process. However, what I gained from it was a new way to access and explore the sounds and structures I am interested in. The physicality of the patching makes it easy to go the long way, to delve into details. It unlocks feedback processes which extend to the physical space. Thinking outside-the-box in terms of cohesion, distinctness and sonic complexity was crucial for this work. Although not every title has a discernible metre, I find most of the tracks don’t necessarily need a kick-drum to unfold their full mesmerism – being actually danceable.
Any specific track of your album, you’d like to give a shout-out or that is special for you?
I feel deeply connected to every single track. They all belong together. But recently I greatly enjoy playing out Blindfold and despite the fact that it has no kick-drum immanent, I see it working fairly well on the dance-floor.
Last but not least: Do you have any upcoming plans, gigs or projects, you would like to share with us?
Yes, I have some upcoming shows this year and early 2020 which I am looking forward to play. Also I have another EP ready to see the light, two remixes I did and my first collaboration ever with another techno producer and DJ. So you see there’s a lot of things happening…
Lastly, I’d like to thank you again for having me, thanks for your questions and big shouts to the whole Monument crew for their support in my music.