Null+Void is your new artist name, but who’s exactly the person / producer behind that pseudonym?
It’s just really me. No army of composers and programmers, haha.
You were born in Switzerland but no longer reside there, where are you based now and why / when decided to move?
I’m from northeastern Switzerland and grew up in a village in the german speaking part. As a boy my brother was a big Depeche Mode and New Order fan which is when i first heard electronic music. I arrived in the US after studying music in Switzerland and deciding to finish my studies in the US. I was a bass player and practicing hard, day and night really, so I got quite good and that became a way to make a living and meet people. Bassists are rare and there is always someone to play with. But i always had a drum machine and a 4 track tape machine and made songs.. Around 2002, Electroclash was taking off in New York and I was lucky enough to live 100m from the heart of that scene, right by Club Luxx on Grand Street in Brooklyn. It was a great time.
Your debut album as Null + Void “Cryosleep” has been released very recently via hfn music! This LP features great artists such as Dave Gahan / Depeche Mode, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Big Pink and Shannon Funchess… How did you come to collaborate with such an amazing list of artists?
I just kept making my own songs and played little gigs around NYC and subsequently stumbled into programming and production for other bands as a means to pay rent in NYC. I was lucky to bump into the right people and I guess I did a good job so they recommended me for other projects. I met the above mentioned musicians through working for them on their projects except Shannon Funchess from Light Asylum. We met briefly in Iceland after her performance with “The Knife” and somehow kept in touch. I was so happy when she agreed to collaborate.
Please tell us what influenced the sound of your debut album?
I tried to make a proper, concise but varied album that captured a longing and desire for things long gone. It’s about the struggle to let go. To keep a loved one alive and possibly reunite or communicate with them. I was reading a great book called Ubik at the time and the story about how one of the characters tries to ask his dead wife for advice really connected with me. The album was created with great care over the last 3 years and meticulously mixed with a lot of attention to the stereo field. I tried to make it a wide and spatial as possible.
Photography: Rainer Hosch
Where and when did you record / produce “Cryosleep”?
The songs were all written and recorded over the course of the last 3 years here in the studio in NYC.
What equipment and programs did you normally use / have in your recording studio?
I am deeply into Native Instruments Maschine and almost all songs that are not droney, are conceived in Maschine. I think it’s the most “Hands on” but flexible way to sketch a song idea. I then sync it with Ableton where i go into more detail and mixing. The great thing about Maschine is also that it’s so easy to integrate hardware synths and also, to sample the hardware in a really easy and intuitive way.
You’ve started touring / Djing, where do you most enjoy to play and why?
I am a huge fan of Iceland as I just returned from there yesterday. The people are so warm and really open minded musically. I played this crazy club/bar called Kaffibarinn and I thought that they will want to hear songs they know as when i was plugging in I was asked if I had any Pitbull, haha. I played my obscure Electro stuff and people were totally into it. I loved it. Broken glass everywhere by the time the night was over. I think the people that book it and play there often just conditioned the crowd to be open and just lose themselves in the moment.
Will you introducing the album to your live sets? If so, will you play live with other musicians or keep it to the machines or both?
If i had the budget, i definitely would have one or two more musicians with me but it just is impossible these days. Luggage overage charges alone are quite high when you bring hardware instruments. I can get close to the recordings with my current live setup but there are so many variables when performing with hardware. I have the main sequences as midi data pre programmed but the arrangement and the sounds are quite free.
You have a love for sci-fi, we hear you said on the LP info “Cryosleep” it can feel like the soundtrack to a lost space epic. No doubt, the album evokes Blade Runner, dystopian landscapes, and the splendour of far-off galaxies. As Uenala puts it, “Cryosleep” is inspired by “classic sci-fi stuff,” images of futuristic machines sustaining humans frozen in a dream state”. How does sci-fi like Blade Runner, Solaris and a like influence your music and writing process?
It just touches a certain spot in me. The cold and uncertain future but with a hopefulness that is sometimes rare in today’s electronic music. I would say i am much more influenced by Cliff Martinez’ soundtrack to Solaris and Vangelis’ Blade Runner. Or Hans Zimmer’s new soundtrack. The Solaris soundtrack is a masterpiece. I even bought it again as a Picture Disc Vinyl.
I’ve discovered this video on Fb https://www.facebook.com/nullandvoidmusik/videos/1818527134841950/
One of the drum maschine moments during a Depeche concert…Such a thrill to hear these little creations on the massive stages of the "spirit" tour. #depechemode #heroes #sonicpotionslxr #brendanclarkefirmwaremod #nativeinstruments #nativeinstrumentsmaschine #maschine
Posted by Null + Void on Sunday, October 29, 2017
Please tell us about your love for machines like Maschine…
Aaah that video. Of course workflow can influence your sound quite a bit. But at the end, you try to reach a certain level of creativity that the machines are just tools and you make sure that you create what you hear in your head and not let the machine lead the way. That is key, I believe. Close your eyes and imagine what you want to hear, hum and find the lines and beats and then hit the buttons.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I am obsessed with this album by Ulfur Eldjarn who did an incredible String Quartet version of the song featuring Dave Gahan. His music is so naive and pure but very sophisticated. I am a very big fan and was so happy when he agreed to work on that song.
What can we expect for the future?
I am planning to spend a few months in Europe starting in December. At the moment I am working on perfecting my Live and DJ sets and also trying to figure out how i can bring my synthesizers on tour without having to pay too much airline baggage charges.
Photography: Rainer Hosch