Tim Engelhardt is one of those artists that has pushed the envelope from his very first release and has been working very closely with Robert Babicz from the very start. A live act hailing from Westerwald, Germany; Tim has carved a niche for his style of music and the melodic landscaped one can paint from his studio mixes and live performances. In my honest opinion, I feel this german genius is going to be one of the best in the years to come, if not already. His latest release on Sincopat, ‘Fundamentals’ has been dominating the Beatport charts and we sat down with him for a quick chat regarding his career so far, influences and inspirations that have made him the hottest and the youngest producer in the underground music industry.
Hey Tim, thank you for taking out time for us for this interview. We hear you are fully booked this weekend, where are you performing this time around?
Thanks for inviting me to do this interview. I’m performing in my hometown Cologne here in Germany and it’s my first open air party of the season, so I’m very excited for this one obviously.
You latest EP has just released on Sincopat and it explores very different melodies and showcases the growth in your production in the last two years. Was this direction planned or was it influenced by something?
In fact, both tracks were written roughly 2 years ago. So I guess it was a natural development for me, as these melodies always seem to come out of my hands, even when I don’t want them.
Speaking of labels, you recently signed with Joris Voorn’s ‘Green’. How did that come about and how do you feel releasing music on such a high caliber label?
I feel honored for sure, especially because I was into the Green releases for a while.
It gave me the perfect opportunity to not only release „Trabant“ but also „Pan“, a track which got rejected by about 10 labels.. and fits so well on Joris imprint.
In my opinion, Germany has always been at the forefront of House and Techno. It was quite evident when I visited Berlin last year. How was it growing up in Cologne and was the music different from what we hear in Berlin today?
I didn’t grow up in Cologne, to be honest, I live about 30 mins from the city. The music from Cologne seemed more melodic to me but there was also a lot of minimal music around. Anyway, I could be wrong though because I didn’t catch so much from the vibe of techno/house in Cologne in my early days.
You productions are highly melodic and filled with energy, having said that, do you think your background as a pianist has helped you achieve this level of production? What is the process when you go about making a new track?
There is no specific process, a song could start with a clap, a kick, maybe a bassline or a melody – it doesn’t matter. I just need a loop or a groove that is strong enough to be a track.
Regarding the melodic stuff in my productions, I think my background helps for sure. Finding the right keys is a problem for a lot of producers out there, which I gladly don’t have.
I love the concept of your mix-tapes. Instead of doing the generic numbered radio show, you name your mix-tapes based on elements present in nature. In fact, ‘Tulip’ and ‘Clouds’ are my favourite mixes from you. Is there any reason why?
First of all, thank you!
It’s for a very simple reason. At times, I see something that inspires me to do something and I use these moments to create a mix.So, the mix-tapes I put out are not simply dj-mixes, they are a reflection of what I experienced and what I like. Technically they are simple studio mixes, but I create them in the way so they can build a story and take you somewhere.
In a recent interview, you said you were inspired by Robert Babicz’s sound. In fact, you have been working with him from the start. Tell us how it all began?
To be honest, I started liking Robert’s music before I even listened to real techno or house, one day he uploaded a demo of his „Remote Kiss“ to Soundcloud and I stumbled upon it. I was hooked from the first second.
I sent a message to his inbox and waited for a response…. for a long time. Out of the blue, he contacted me and from that point, we were always in touch, sometimes less, sometimes more, but in recent days I collaborate with him a lot and I’m happy to call him a friend now.
After stalking your entire Soundcloud stream, I can comfortably say you will be in the same bracket as Nicolas Jaar or Four Tet or even Max Cooper very soon. Any plans on performing live soon?
I do perform live! In fact, I just created a new setup with a live keyboard which allows me to basically create tracks on stage, something I always wanted to do and now I feel safe and confident enough to make this happen.
What’s your favourite piece of equipment in your studio and why?
I think that’s probably my Moog Voyager or my mixing desk. The Moog has a beautiful sound, but the mixing desk does more for my sound. I love the effect of mixing a record on a desk, it always sounds so much better if you know how to do it!
Poker Flat recordings, another label that is very much loved at Euphoric Magazine. Did you anticipate releasing music on Steve Bug’s label?
Honestly, I never thought they would take my music. When I first heard the idea of sending my music to them I was thinking like „They will never sign this one“, but as I always try to be positive about things, we did it and within a few minutes we knew that the tracks will be out on this label.
Andreas Lindemann played a crucial part in your career, can you tell our readers why?
He was the first guy, even before Babicz, to teach me how production works and how I can achieve my desired sound. He didn’t tell me what to do, but how to do it, which is very good as I was able to find my own sound myself in the process of making music. Another thing which is quite funny, he kind of predicted the Poker Flat thing. He always told me „one day you will be releasing on the label“ and now 5 years later I’m part of their roster.
Which are those 10 Tracks that are working the floor for you right now?
I don’t dj and exclusively play live, but I can tell you which ones work my living room at the moment
Tim Engelhardt, Andreas Lindemann – Fundamentals
Mike Griego – Idioglossia
Lee Burridge, Lost Desert – Stand Up Right
Arturo Hevia – Atacama Dream
Dopish – Tempera
Brian Cid – Eternal Sunrise
Pedro Aguiar – Ego Tripping (Guy J Remix)
Jackpot – Unari
Javier Orduna – The Bird Hat
Kurt Baggaley – Winterland (Petar Dundov Remix)
La Fleur – Waves
Thank you for your time, Tim, we hope to see you in India very soon. What can people expect from your guestmix for us?
I hope to come to India as soon as possible.The mix is a showcase of my own productions and a nice soundtrack for various situations
Stay tuned for an exclusive mix by Tim Engelhardt for the Euphoric Magazine Podcast!