Interview by Arnold van der Walt
Berlin-based DJ and producer, Eugène Schieffer, has been making waves in the online community with his carefully curated weekly techno mixes and regular original releases. He shared another track exclusively with The Playground, entitled ‘Keep Quiet’.
An architect by education, Eugène Schieffer found himself drawn to deep techno music due to its minimalistic approach. It took him a while to truly get into the music scene and discover his own passion for it, but due to the surrounding culture which influenced his worldview, he found himself as a techno producer. His first release ‘Trust’ was released last year via Adromusic to acclaim from fans.
Ever since his first release, he has gone on to become quite a successful producer with his music being featured in the sets of famous DJs. On 16 July, Eugène Schieffer released his first full EP, ‘Venue’, via esteemed Techno label, IAMT Barcelona.
His latest offering, ‘Keep Quiet’, is a dark and deep techno track which draws you in from the very beginning. A steady beat throughout, ‘Keep Quiet’ reminds you that there are times when we must learn to listen, instead of speak; take in your surroundings and you will learn a lot more by the space you find yourself in.
Listen to The Playground exclusive from Eugène Schieffer, ‘Keep Quiet’, here:
We had the honour of chatting to Eugène Schieffer about his career as an architect, how he taught himself via online classes, and the gear he uses to create his unique sound.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I have devoted many years to a good education and career. Music was always a small hobby which I never looked at in a serious manner. Now I understand that music gives me the freedom to be engaged in what I love, without spending many hours at office doing work which doesn’t bring me a lot of pleasure. Music opens up the world of travelling where I get to meet interesting people. It also allows me to experiment and feel that unforgettable power on a stage.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Sound. And that sound, is the kick. I always begin writing a new track with drums and bassline; combining all of these sounds together, I create the mood of the whole track. After laying down the groundwork, I experiment with lots of different instruments until I find the main idea behind the track.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
For now, I create all my work myself although I do wish to work with other producers in the future. Collaborations always bring something new in music.
What’s on your current playlist?
Alex Stein – Hostage (Original Mix)
Eugene Schieffer – Goodbye (Original Mix)
Torsten Kanzler – Peanut (John Norman Remix)
Andres Campo – No Feeling (Original Mix)
Cassegrain & Tin Man – Oxide (Original Mix)
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
The main thing is to completely understand the mood of the people, to feel the moment.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Recently, I have begun to use analog synthesizers.
I’m still new to this journey, but at once it became clear how many opportunities are hidden which opens up the doors to a more creative change of sound. If you simply change a single parameter, it is possible to change the mood and sound of a melody completely! It’s magic!
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
In the morning I usually look through new music for future mixes, I usually spend about two hours on this. It’s a great way to start a day; listening to new music which fills you with new ideas and inspiration.Then I listen to material which I’m currently still working on, usually I listen to two three tracks completely in turn. I do this so I can decide if it’s worth replacing an instrument or a sound I added earlier, or to simply leave it as is.
I make small changes and begin to work on one track which I choose based on my current mood. Work lasts about 3 hours.Once a week, I spend a whole day just for mastering of tracks. The rest of the time I am engaged to broaden my own knowledge by taking courses on music creation and mastering on SoundGym.com
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Yes! This moment has come after 26 years, when working as a successful architect in my own bureau. I realised I want to start producing music more seriously.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
I try to build a set from beginning to end, with energy increase. I don’t give too much energy and hard music in a row, I do 3-4 dancing tracks and after that I let off some steam with less vigorous tracks to keep crowd. I always approach each set/venue individually so that I can adapt where necessary.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Most of the artists who I listen/play during sets are the classics of techno music. All have a different level of popularity and recognition. I still consider myself an emerging artist as I only recently began releasing my music on labels. My ‘Venue’ EP is the first to be released via the Spanish label, IAMT Music.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Travelling to different cities, new sounds, new equipment or just new software. It’s possible to create a track from scratch, having found only one sound which has inspired you.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
My main DAW is Ableton. My analog synth that I use is a Korg Minilogue, Roland TB-03. Main soundcard is Focusrite Scarlett 6i6, for mastering I use monitors Yamaha MSP5 and headphones Sennheiser HD650.
The main software is the Arturia V collection, NI Massive. For mastering I generally use the built-in plug-ins Ableton and some from Ozone 7.
I also use Pioneer XDJ1000mk2 and DJM-750mk2 to prepare and write down sets and mixes, and to increase the level of practice.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I am completely busy writing a new EP, plus recording mixes for podcasts for offers that have arrived.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I increase the level every day. When I began to write music I didn’t know how to use DAW. Now I know exactly how to complete a produced track from scratch to fully mastered.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
This year I plan to make and release several new singles and some performance in European clubs are also planned. I also plan on forming myself as an artist, as I know how big the world of Techno is.