I’ve been creating music for as long as I can remember. As a kid I made electronic music with a 4-track porta studio, cheap synthesizers and tracker programs – then punk with electric guitars and happy screams. Quiet music, and very loud music. And I still love both.
I think about music all the time. For me it’s a way to compose. Almost everything I create has an underlying idea. Even if the idea is as simple as ”the feeling of crashing into a wall, head first, and then getting up bleeding and smiling at the same time”. That idea lies behind almost all the music for Dada Life.
Sometimes the thoughts don’t end up being actual music, but something else that is about music. I have built (together with Martin Lübcke) a huge gramophone that plows and plays the earth called Harvest, that won prize at new media festival Ars Electronica. We also created New Flesh Network – a human choir that can be controlled in real time from a keyboard and midi-controller. I don’t like the term sound art, but that’s what other people call it. I don’t like the term because I don’t think this art is about sound, I think it’s about music. The essence of music.
A few years ago, on a Swedish desolate island, I started compose arpeggios. I don’t remember why, but I instantly felt they filled a void inside of me. And thinking back now I realize I’ve always been drawn to arpeggios in all forms. I remember being mesmerized by the melancholic notes of Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi as an 11 year old boy – in the C-64 game Delta (and not realizing what it was until many years later). Or hearing Bach at the same age, again on a computer, but not knowing what it was. The arpeggios I wrote on that island later became the first Night Gestalt album.
Arpeggios are simple, but they are also everything: melody, rhythm, sound, harmony and form – all at one note at the time. I’ve been almost possessed with these ideas the last few years. I think about it as ”music-that-just-is”. Music that doesn’t need a listener (or creator). Music so simple and transparent that it’s unbreakable. This music doesn’t take you on a journey, it just exists, like a point with no surface or extension, floating in space now, then – and forever. It’s the music we need in our chaotic world.
I have always thought about ”classical music” (no one likes that term, and neither do I) and I have composed small pieces here and there. But I have never felt the reason to jump in head first. Now I have the reason. I know why I have to do it.
Sometimes I think that this music doesn’t exist. That it’s just an idea. A utopia. But most of the time I can feel that it exists. Somewhere beyond cities, noise, people, politics, days and nights: a place just on the other side of this thing we call reality.
I just need to break through.