Interview: Christian Kleine

3 mins read

Christian Kleine: Music and generally art in my opinion is 90% work and focus and 10% inspiration”

A German artist Christian Kleine can be considered an integral part of the braindance scene of the 00s without any doubt. His melodic style is quite recognizable and was born to light on such labels as City Centre Offices and Morr Music. He did a collaboration with Arovane and nowadays works at Ableton. Christian talks to Data.Wave on the main principles of working on music, the importance of digital marketing in the industry alongside with the important topics.

1. How do you feel about the fact that more and more musicians are moving away from IDM towards ambient? What allows you to keep up with the traditions and follow the trajectory you’ve chosen for a long time?

If that makes them happy, that’s fine with me. As for me, I’m not interested in serving a genre or traditions, my music is hopelessly connected with my personality and in the end this is what makes my music sound the way it does. Even if I make music for advertising (which I did once) it ends up sounding like Christian Kleine does advertising music. This can be a good thing or a bad thing…

2. Are you still in touch with Thaddeus Herrmann? Is there any chance that City Centre Offices will resume its activities? 

We’re loosely in touch but I don’t see a CCO resurrection coming…

3. Do you plan to continue working with A Strangely Isolated Place?

Yes, there are a few things planned. Sadly things are pretty slow and can take years. This has to do with plannings, waiting lists on the pressing plants, distribution etc. 

4. Do you depend on inspiration or is music something to work on in any state of mind?

Music and generally art is in my opinion 90% work and focus and 10% inspiration. While I can always work on the 90% the 10% sometimes happens automatically then. My main problem is the question of how to divide time between my main job at Ableton, which is designing instruments and effects, my other hobby, which is also designing and coding musical things with max for cats and my passion, which is making music. They all influence each other and I’d need a few more lives to capture and work on all the ideas…

5. Do you see music marketing as a major important tool for an artist right now? And can niche instrumental music make money?

A difficult topic. Without marketing nothing ever happens nowadays. I read recently that there are 200k tracks/titles uploaded to the internet. Per day. Unfortunately I don’t have time and interest to do marketing – only my little twitter with a few hundred people – so I have to rely on whatever other people do. (thank you for your webzine for example!)

This means when I release music on e.g. Bandcamp on my own, very little happens because of the lack of marketing. 

Can niche music make money? I think so, yes, but one could also play the lottery and it’s not very different in terms of money making. 

Nonetheless, I think it’s the most beautiful thing if people are true to their art especially over a long period. It’s so easy nowadays to be an artist in almost every digital domain, since the tools are so advanced. Yet persistence and character is untouched by all that.  

6. Why do you think this discipline (music marketing) is not really available in most of the schools?

I don’t know about schools. I occasionally do teachings and lectures on synthesis and the likes in universities etc but marketing seems something more universally applicable rather than catered to ‘just’ music.

7. How often do you listen to other artists’ music? How much has your own taste changed since you started your career?

Oh! I love music and listen to a lot of artists every day – my taste expands over the years more than it shrinks, which I find really rewarding. Perspective changes of course and the notion of why something matters and why something is just a nice treat for a day.

8. You have experience working with the Morr Music label. Tell us about your impressions of their activities and vision.

I can’t say much about Morr, I’ve been out of touch with them for more than 15 years…

9. How much has the concept and/or idea of your music changed? What do you want to bring to this world, by writing compositions?

I don’t think that much about the concept/idea has changed. My motivation to write and produce music is (and was) driven by the idea to contribute something to this world which eventually someone else enjoys or is inspired by and also as a natural counterpart to the growing confusions and injustice in this world. In that sense, it’s also philosophical and political.

10. What are your current creative plans?

Trying to get my new album out! Other than that just trying to continue the fun, effort and luxury of making things…

Christian Kleine official website

Christian Kleine on Bandcamp

Christian Kleine on SoundCloud

Questions: Ilya Kudrin

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