A Sit Down With DJ Robert Babicz
Robert Babicz is a Polish producer who grew up in the hardcore German techno scene and began by making his own path under the alias Rob Acid. Throughout his nearly 25 year career, Babicz has shifted and evolved continuously to become not only an internationally renowned producer, but also a sound designer, a label owner, and an avid photographer.
"I make music that creates it`s own world, so you can just listen and look around."
How did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place?
When the first house music came to Germany, i was in love with this new sound. especially the acid house wave finally really got me on it. around 1991 i had my first time with some electronic instruments, and released my first record in 1992.
You really tap into the conscious aspects of how electronic music can allow you to grow spiritually and emotionally. Do you think artists should make this a part of their vision when creating music?
Well, I can only speak for myself, that from my perspective, when I am traveling and doing my shows, I am doing magical rituals. Thats how I can describe this, its a magical ritual where I am getting in contact with the subcultures of the people.
You offer mastering as a service. Which tools do you work with?
At Mastering I'm a bit old fashioned and work with the exception of the limiter rather only with hardware. I put a lot of effort into using a Dangerous MS matrix decoder and send the frequency bands through different stages of processing. In addition, I use a self-made 1176 Compressor with dry / wet control to put some dirt under the mix. At the end of the chain is the Curve Bender to adjust the whole thing. In the calculator itself, I actually only use low and hi-cut equalizers and a limiter at the end.
You see music in 3D, describing tracks as « geometrical poem sculptures in time. » What is your method of production?
For me every track is telling a story, so when i start a track, i feel already were it should go, but i just don`t have the right structure yet, so i try find it, i want see the beauty of the sculptures of sound.
I saw you constantly making new music (from your SoundCloud snippets and ideas) any info on your upcoming stuff and what the feedback is from other DJs/artists on your music?
Oh there is a lot to come, did a full new ambient album for TRAUM, and also new tunes for my own label. Also will start to work on my next album for Systematic.
During tours, what equipments follow you to produce your music?
I feel lonely on my tours without my studio, i really don`t like to produce at the hotelroom just with a laptop. At the moment i have a little synth called OP1 that is cool and on every travel with me.
You are somewhat notorious for filming your travels. You have an amazing Flickr account. How would you explain your connection between film and music and this parallel passion that you have for each of them?
I ask myself this a lot. I think it has something to do with the rules that both pictures and music follow. In a way they both have a geometrical beauty. That's how I would describe it. Looking at it the other way around, I can see musicso when I listen to music I see geometrical structures in time. When I look at things at the same time, I can imagine how they sound.
How did Babiczstyle evolve?
I started it, because it was boring to explain that I do all kind of styles in electronic music, as I really love sound. It started as a joke when people asked me what kind of music I play, then later I wanted my own platform for this music.
How did that turn around for you? The music must have been one of those moments that helped..
I never planned to be musician. It was amazing that this happened to me. I mean I loved music a lot, of course. And there were a few key moments in my life. Now I understand it, after many years. One of them was when I was 9 years old or something. I had a small radio, like a ghetto blaster, and every night I was listening to music in bed when I had to sleep. At the same time, I was always a fan of science fiction and spaceships and flying to space. One day I caught a radio show that was playing electronic ambient music, but Id never heard this music before. When I heard this kind of sound and music, I personally thought I got a transmission from a space ship. (Laughter) And I was super, amazed and afraid like, listening to these sounds because I thought Wow, this is from another world (laughing). So I think this was one of the key elements. And then later on, I was 16 when this acid music came along. When I heard this abstract music, I had again in a way this, Wow, this is so different! So, abstract. And then again two years later I had the chance to play around with some instruments from a friend and I recorded a few tracks on a cassette. Really I had no clue what I was doing, I just had fun.
You have the rare gift of synesthesia, which turns the world into a continuous interplay of colour, shape and sound.
How does this influence both your time in the studio and your live sets?
It helps me being fast, I think, because mistakes in music are somehow a broken geometry in sound; for me, every sound has a texture and a form.
Do you have any advice to producers who want to resist the temptation of making tunes on a laptop, and use analogue gear instead?
Im not a pure analogue freak! Im working 50/50 analogue digital. For me, they are equal. There are some digital things that are really impossible in the analogue world, and the other way around. Its the combination of both that makes the sound of today. If you just stay analogue, you will sound like the past. When my colleagues and I started here in Cologne in the 90s, I had the feeling we were making the music of the future. This was one of the really important feelings. And now we are twenty years later. I am still hoping we do this kind of soundtrack.
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