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HomeArtistsJoachim Spieth about war, digital transformation and his wishes for the future

Joachim Spieth about war, digital transformation and his wishes for the future

Joachim Spieth at Up To Date Festival 2023. Photo: Underton.

Joachim Spieth, German producer known for his contributions to the ambient, dub techno and experimental music, talks with us about transformations taking place on a music scene and his thoughts about the future.

Joahim Spieth has been active in the electronic music scene for many years and has gained recognition for his unique sound and artistic approach. We got an opportunity to speak with Joahim during the awesome Up To Date Festival 2023 in Białystok, Poland.

Dominic: Have you played on a festival or in a club in Poland before?

Joachim: Yes I’ve been several times in Poland, but some years ago. I’ve played in the city called Breslau in German, I’m not sure about its Polish name.

Dominic: It’s Wrocław.

Joachim: Wrocław of course. That was a long time ago. I think that venue does not exist anymore. Also I’ve been in Warsaw, but the venue I don’t remember, it was 2015. It was an event with Matthias Friedell. And after that I was in Poznań also, before COVID, I think it was 2018 / 19 at the bunker of the Second World War called Schron. I pronounce it a little bit differently. It was a German city before a war, exactly like Wrocław. Is that right?

Nobody rich goes to the war. Rich Russian? No. Rich Ukrainian? No. And then you tell the people: okay, this is the enemy. While in the end people are people.

Dominic: Yes, exactly. It was the German territory like 80 years ago. It’s interesting that still the form Breslau is sometimes as a refference to the original name. For example, tomorrow there is an event in Wrocław called Breslau Techno and they just refer to that origin of the city.

Joachim: For me it’s just easier to say the name. Also, I guess the territory of Białystok where we are now was Ukrainian or belarusian?

Dominic: It was originally the Polish city but the control over it was changing over time. In general Poland was shifted more to the west. That’s interesting how borders are changing. It’s just an arbitrary division but people are still people. I follow what’s happening now on Ukraine. This is also a history that our children will learn in 50 years.

Joachim: It is about politics, about influence, about government and manipulation, fight of the systems, west and east. This all is fucked up because the political level is something totally different and it’s detached from what the people really want.

Dominic: Being on the music festival is on the totally opposite of the scale.

Joachim: I think so. It’s a manipulation mostly or always. The wars are for the rich and they have politicians telling the people what this is bad and what is good. The problem is the longer they maintain this narrative, people start to believe it. And now these situations are coming up. What came up now it’s very simple now. It’s not exactly how the last years looked like, but just the principle is mostly the same. People earn money who produce weapons and others the poor killing other poor. Because nobody rich goes to war. Rich Russian? No. Rich Ukrainian? No. And then you tell the people: okay, this is the enemy. While in the end people are people.

Dominic: This is an interesting point of view.

Joachim: Yeah, that’s what I think since a while. Therefore I’m against war. But it’s a very difficult situation. I think we have to get back to talking. Even if you tell them now: Hey, you have to talk – they don’t want. But in the end, if it’s two years more, the whole country is totally flat. And then they will talk. No matter who wins or who lose, in the end they will be talking. So it would be better to go faster of course, that is important.

Dominic: In the range of activities like music production or making festivals is there a way to tell people what’s good and what they should go? Do you use your influence as an artist to tell people something?

Joachim: That would be nice. I wish there were people from the Moscow nightlife who would go to Kiev and have a party together. What seems not to be possible now but everything has its time. We sit here now and if we were alive 80 years ago, probably we would fight against each other for Poznań, Wrocław or who knows, whatever. But 80 years later I cannot see the problem.

Dominic: Yeah, exactly. But politicians are not people who are going to music festivals and they have totally different point of view on that.

Joachim: And they’re also not going to war themselves. They just send others. Anyway, let’s see.

Joachim Spieth at Up To Date Festival 2023. Photo: Underton.

Dominic: How do you think is the music scene in 20, 30, 50 years?

Joachim: Very difficult question, because of course the music is already made by bots etc. It’s coming more and more every year. I think this will replace a lot of people who now earn money from compositions. Like for the average person on the dance floor it doesn’t matter if I do the music or you, or if it’s a software doing it. Yeah, the worst could be that it’s all automatic. I’m not against technical development, but if no human is needed anymore that would be the shit.

Dominic: Yes, indeed. What AI is doing now with music, images, processing of text and language, this is amazing. And without doubt it will have influence on music production as well. Do you think that it will increase the entry level of human related music production because it will require to have higher skills to make something outstanding? Because on a basic level a machine could do that for you. Like now with playing on CD players… it’s easy to sync tracks automaticaly and playing with vinyls, playing by ear is more difficult. And the same with music production. If AI could do a track for you, it is more difficult to make something really unique. Do you think it will change that way?

Joachim: I think since a few years there are so many people doing music already. There are masses of people doing music with software and it’s very easy just to finish a track no matter if it tells a story or not. And the problem nowadays is to get through, to get seen or recognized.

Dominic: Yeah. I think it changed because of streaming services. Before getting a vinyl or getting even a CD it was higher rating the music. You needed to spend money. You needed to be really a fan of this artist. Now everything is under your finger.

Joachim: Record shops had to calculate a budget for the amount of records they would order. Then they say: okay, I have €20,000 this month to spend for records and therefore I make a selection of what I think I can sell and then I make niches for people. So I know that if I buy at HardWax, I will have this kind of music. If I buy somewhere else, I have something different. If I go to an ambient record shop, I will not get techno. The problem is that a shop now cannot order every record. Last year I put out some records and then I saw the trend that some shops do a pre-order on records and they don’t order it finally. So if a customer wants a record, the shop has to order it from the distribution and that takes maybe a week. So who wants to wait one week for the release? Not many people will wait that long. And that keeps it difficult to sell.

Dominic: Yes, and this is also seen on other fields, like for example digital photography changed approach to making photos. Before you needed to think what are you shooting. A film was expensive, you could only take for example 36 photos on one film. You needed to change it later, then to put the film to the special case and get the physical photos, pay for these photos. Now it’s only about changing a battery and it lets you to make thousands of pictures so this is becoming unlimited. The same about digital music.

Joachim: Taking photos with a smartphone is normal now. Okay, it’s not the best but I can just take a selfie and that’s a press photo, while back in time you asked somebody for good shots for €500 and so on. I have old press photos from my friend photographer from Switzerland. The result was good and I used these photos for years. But yeah, nowadays we are a bit in a digital slavery where everything is available but the average quality is going down. But nobody cares because you just scroll through Instagram. Okay, here’s a new album. Nice. Next one… So it’s a goal to slow down and be more selective.

Dominic: The question is if we can, because everything is running faster now and we spend less time on picking up the right things because the speed of the life. And the question is if we can do that. Sometimes I think that only a catastrophe could take us back. Like accident with a meteorite or something, a war or a global warming. Something that would destroy a global Internet or any other event that will make people think “what are we doing”? Why are we doing this that way? I’m not sure if it’s possible.

Joachim: Good question…

A lot of people told me: your ambient pieces are film music, you should license it somewhere. But you can’t control this really. So let’s see, maybe an option for a soundtrack will emerge…

Dominic: But when you grow, you’re getting older, your audience is growing with you because they listened you 20 years ago and they listen you now. They should be very loyal because they remember you and they want to follow this specific style especially if you keep this style. I remember your ep called “Ich” you released in 2003. I bought it then and I still have it on Vinyl.

Joachim: But I also changed over the years. Today I do ambient (I did also on my first few EPs with Kompakt back then). So for me it’s not like today I do this and tomorrow I do something completely different. In the last few years I produced less techno because I had a feeling that I worked a long time on an idea of sound, and then it’s also cool to focus on something different, to grow and not get stuck . Also I wanted to play my ambient music live. So then I wanted to start working with a few tracks that I had. So I did a few more tracks over a while and then I had Tides as an album…

Dominic: What is your way for the future then?

Joachim: I feel techno, just I didn’t produce or release a lot of techno in the last few years. But yeah, I think it’s possible to do different projects with different musical goals and people understand that. I do how I feel and then if I’m lucky, people like it, and not…

Dominic: I think this is best approach because only that lets you to make that by your heart.

Joachim: Sure. I also think a bit about what could be interesting? But mostly I try to do it how I feel and then I observe a bit what is going on but I’m not producing music that is a trend just because I expect that I could
get something out of it.

Dominic: Do you have any interesting projects except of playing on events that you would like to participate in? Like making music for films, games or other specific areas?

Joachim: A lot of people told me: your ambient pieces are film music, you should license it somewhere. But you can’t control this really. So let’s see, maybe an option for a soundtrack will emerge…

Dominic: Then I wish you a lot of creativity and new chapters of your music carrier.

Thank you!

Joachim Spieth is the founder of the Affin label, which he established in 2007. Affin is known for releasing techno and ambient music, with a focus on quality and creativity. The label has featured works from both established and emerging artists in the electronic music community.

Socials:

Official page: https://joachimspieth.de

Instagram: @joachimspieth

SoundCloud: joachim-spieth

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