There is not much known about the German live-artist and producer VRIL. Hidden in the shadows, he is one of the most mysterious and intriguing figures in techno. He gained widespread attention in 2011 with his track “UV” on Marcel Fengler’s Berghain 05 compilation. In the following years since then, he made a name himself in contemporary techno with his unique productions on Dystopian, Giegling, and Semantica and also with his especially stunning live set. If you listening to his highly recommended album Torus from 2014, you will hear his deep and hypnotic interpretation of dub techno with experimental and ambient touches, sometimes club-focused for a dancefloor, sometimes the perfect soundtrack for getting lost or sometimes both.
Monument is more than happy to speak with him.
Hello VRIL, thank you for this interview. How did you get in touch with techno and when did you start producing your own music?
I accidentally came to a rave in the early 90s when I was 15. At the same time, I started sampling with an Amiga 500. The rest just came by itself.
You released most of your music through Giegling. Tell us when and how you joined Giegling.
I knew Konstantin from my hometown then met the rest of the crew. That was around 2010.
If you work in the studio, how does your work process look? Do you have a clear vision how your tracks should listen like?
It always starts totally different. I just touch machines and wait for vibes then record everything to the computer and process it a lot.
Where do you get inspired?
Listening to other music than techno.
What are your favorite pieces of gear in production?
Roland Juno 6, Roland TR909, Analog Rytm 2, Dark Interpreter, DSI Prophet 6, DSI Prophet 12, Chandler Compressor, Roland Space Echo, Tape Deck, and more.
You are not only known for superb releases on imprints such as Dystopian, Semantica, and Delsin but also have quite a reputation as a live performer. How would you describe your sound to someone who is not familiar with you?
Tonal Subconscious Reflections.
What is your setup, when you are performing live? Do you prefer analog or digital?
Live I play with digital controllers and computer most, in studio I use real gear. With Circle Of Life, I use both on stage, gear and controllers.
Sometimes you are also performing with Voiski together under the alias VRILSKI. When and how did you come up with the idea to collaborate together?
We met 5 years ago at Organik Festival in Taiwan and had a long talk. I think he said our stems would work well together. Then we met in Paris and played the first time in Rex Club. People loved it.
As you already mentioned, a few months ago you also performed as Circle of Live with Neel, Sebastian Mullaert and yourself. How was it?
I really like this project. It was the perfect moment for me to become part of this. Very challenging to just improvise for 6-8 hours live on stage with all this gear. But very nice and long musical journeys arise.
You traveled and performed around the world in your career, like this year’s tour through Asia. How was it?
This was a very nice and long tour. Will always remember. It is beautiful how the world slowly turns into your living room somehow when you travel so much for years. Knowing people worldwide that give you warm welcome again feels very special. It gives a new perspective and opens horizons.
Any other memorable and unforgettable gigs?
Bassiani is one of my favorites. I also was there as the clubs were getting raided by police in 2018. The atmosphere that night in the city of Tbilisi was super dark and of course, all artists could not play their sets. The next day I had to leave early to Poland and after landing I turned on my phone and saw the videos from this big demonstration in front of the government. Also, my friends were playing for the wild crowd. Being part of this was the most special moment for me somehow. Also the emotional support from Bassiani promoters and crowd I really like in general.
Finally, could you tell us something about your future plans, projects and gigs?
Early 2020 a new record is coming out on Marcel Dettmann’s new Label „Bad Manners“.