The Science of Being Great: Robot Koch (INTERVIEW)


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Strokes of Genius. Robot Koch & Savannah Jo Lack’s recent collaboration “Otherwhere,” is a work of synergy both in its compositions and execution.

Last month, we caught up with acclaimed composer and electronic music producer Robot Koch, to discuss his latest work “Otherwhere” and the power to achieve.

Robot Koch & Savannah Jo Lack – Light Through a Canvas

Amazing things happen when you’re only bound by your imagination. Robot Koch enjoys a unique freedom to create and reshape music that allows us to experience unconventional thinking at its finest.

Briefly describe Otherwhere.

It’s an ambient/orchestral/electronic exploration of dreams and surreality.

This past summer you were in Barcelona for Sonar, tell us more about that.

I’ve been touring my immersive AV show Sphere worldwide this year and Barcelona was one stop of the tour. Other stops included San Francisco, Montreal (Mutek festival), Berlin, Hamburg and Luzern. Sphere also won “best immersive experience” at the Macon Film Festival in the US recently. The tour will continue throughout this and next year.

On making “Otherwhere” and importance of experimentation…

It’s a collaboration with my friend Savannah Jo Lack a composer and violinist from LA. When the label Neue Meister approached me to write new material to be recorded and performed by the German Chamber Orchestra I teamed up with her to write these songs.We experimented with different arrangements and ideas, making music is always an experiment to a degree. it’s a trial and error process and it includes many happy accidents.

Originally from Germany, he now splits his time between L.A. and Berlin.

On some of the noticeable positive and negative shifts in the industry…

I want to combine this question with question 5, because one of the main shifts to me is that social media keeps growing in importance and that’s both a negative and positive aspect

On social media, and how it harms or helps the generation of today…

It’s a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, it’s a useful and great tool with huge benefits, especially for artists. Benefits that obviously include exposure, new contacts, easy and direct communication with your fans etc. But it also distracts people so much from the “real” world and themselves so it can easily result in decreased productivity for artists. It’s terrible if they only feed their Instagram account instead of feeding their creative output. It also creates a lot of pressure, it’s easy to compare and despair if you check out other artist’s follower numbers for example. Comparison is always a bad idea and social media makes it almost impossible not to do it. t’s a machine that sucks you in, the more you play the social media game the more the algorithm seemingly rewards you. But that means you have to post and engage even more to keep triggering the algorithm, you enslave yourself to be liked.

I feel it’s less about the music on social media and more about the artist’s image and follower numbers, which is a shame. While social media seems to bring people together it really just creates more separation and isolation. We all buy into the illusion we’re presented with on there and create the illusion for each other to feel more adequate.

Ultimately it’s important to remember why you make art; to express yourself, not to get likes. T Likes are only a byproduct of a successful artist, and by successful I mean someone that creates something that’s honest and that’s not made out of the fear of failure or the desire of winning.

Sphere Outtakes, Sonar D+ – Sonar Barcelona 2019

On April 26, 2019, he released “Sphere Outtakes” via his own label Trees and Cyborgs. Designed as the soundtrack to an audio visual live show and conceived in collaboration with the artist Mickael Le Goff, the project is a musical exploration of space and was exhibited at Sonar Barcelona 2019.

On “Sphere Outtakes”

“I wanted to do something entirely new and different, move out of my comfort zone. I‘ve been playing in clubs for more than ten years and the idea of doing something in a planetarium has been in my head for a while. I just loved the idea of it being totally immersive; it lies somewhere between a 3D movie and a concert.”

On Betamax, and spending his formative in the 80s. What has this represented for you?

I don’t really remember betamax, I was still too small of a kid, but I do remember VHS tapes growing up. I was a big film fan early on and I grew up on sci-fi films like blade runner, star wars and alien. was into movie soundtracks even before I got into other kinds of music.

Flexing 🙂 How does one go from Norah Jones to Bassnectar? How did you end up collaborating with Norah and Lorin?

With Norah Jones it was actually a track she did with her sister Anoushka Shankar. Her label, universal music, hit me up about a remix and I liked the song so I did it. Similar thing with Lorin; he was playing some of my older beat stuff in his sets for a while and then asked me to make a remix for one of his tunes. I like creating remixes for different artists but I have to connect with the song, the song is almost more important than the artist when I make a remix. It could be anyone if I love the song. But I do get a lot of remix requests that I have to turn down because I just don’t feel the music.

Robot Koch and Savannah Jo Lack – Heart as a River (feat Delhia de France)

You’ve had quite the storied career. What legacy would you like to impart?

In one word: inspiration

Circling back to “Otherwhere,” what did you hope to accomplish?

To write music that people would take their time to listen to. It’s a very detailed EP and nothing jumps at you at the first listen. It’s something that grows on you instead, and I’d love for people to connect with it emotionally- that ́d be the biggest accomplishment.

You’re slated to appear at Reeperbahn Festival Sept 20th. Planned anything special?

Yes, Savannah and I will present the EP live with a string quartet for the first time, it will be the record release event too.

And tell us more about your upcoming trip to Moscow next month.

I haven’t been to Moscow for many years and I’m excited to go back. I only have good memories from the last time I played there. This time I will be in the Planetarium in Moscow, so I’m very stoked to bring Sphere to Russia for the first time.

To cap off our interview, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever made (or would like to make someday?)

Making music in itself is pretty crazy to me, I mean if you think about it…where do these ideas come from, how do you become a vessel for them? How do you express something you can’t put into words in this universal language that speaks through and to your subconscious. It’s magic.

Robot Koch and Savannah Jo Lack – The Dream (Short Film by Javiera Estrada)

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