Ahead of his imminent tour down under, Nick Saw caught up with one of house musics most revered selectors Sven Weisemann. Their discussion covers mixing style, self-taught classical compositions and why cooking a good Veal Schnitzel is good for one’s career.
Firstly thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us Sven, we cannot wait for your return to Australia. It has been quite a few years now hasn’t it?
Hey Nick thanks for your questions… Yes, should be around 4-5 years ago now, it was a great trip for meeting new people, buddies, and friends. Especially the show in Melbourne was amazing, and I can’t wait to finally be back and to visit Brisbane for the first time.
Has much changed for you musically or personally in this time?
Not really… I’m still the same guy with a lot of passion, energy, and creativity. Especially when it comes to creating music and playing music around the globe, bringing people together for a musical journey, take them out of their normal life to see a smooth smile in their faces…
From getting your first set at Tresor when you were 16 to now I am sure the landscape of dance music has shifted and transformed many times. For better or for worse can you talk us through how some of these changes have affected you as an artist?
Not really for me, I’ll always buy and listen to music if it touches me. I still love and buy all kinds of stuff from deep and atmospheric techno to house, dub with jazzy, classical elements… Whatever really, it doesn’t matter. It just has to touch my soul and give me some inspirational ideas.
You seem to have such an intensity and passion towards each set you play and you definitely do not fear the fader whatsoever. Is this a style you have developed over time or has it been molded by DJs who have influenced you over time?
That came from different influences like Jeff Mills, Derrick May and the whole Detroit and Berlin school. I always had this urge to take the listener on a journey with my sets and put contrasting up and downs into my mixing style and tunes. I always like artists who take the risks and I don’t like this safe mixing style. Nowadays too many artists are mixing it safe. I like to surprise not only the audience but myself too…
I couldn’t help noticing though that your style of DJing often completely contrasts your exploits as a producer. Things are fast paced, filtered, in and out and high-energy. Whilst your productions connect to a listener through a slower and smoother development and often expose the deeper atmospheric side. I know a lot of producers make music that they see themselves or others playing, as an artist do you tend more to keep the two worlds of DJing and producing separate?
Firstly, I don’t like to play my own stuff in my sets and t is really rare for me to play my own tunes. It doesn’t happen often but I like the concept of contrasts: recording a mix at home compared to creating one in realtime at a party… the energy and everything is completely different…
In my productions, I always try to be timeless and to take the listeners on an adventure where they can lose themselves, maybe bring their own thoughts into the listening experience. Of course, this applies to my sets and the mixing too…
The last time I saw you play was at Freerotation in 2016. Firstly thank you what was one of many great memories from that weekend. Secondly, when you play more intimate club settings (like the upcoming gigs in Australia) what changes in your approach?
Ah thanks, yeah that was a great gig with all of you. For me it doesn’t matter if I play bigger gigs or more intimate ones, I’m always Sven. Musically I’m not changing too much but I always prefer to be really close to the crowd with an honest and passionate attitude. Go with the flow, trust in yourself and believe in what you do. Do your thing authentically and with happiness and fun.
You are also an acclaimed modern classical composer making piano and cello pieces. We haven’t seen a full Xine release in some time, is it still something you put a lot of time into?
My last release in that direction was my EP on Faux Pas Musik released in 2014 called ‘FALLING LEAVES. It included a great remix by my friend, the one and only GIGI MASIN, but of course something is in the pipeline… my 3rd DESOLATE LP which comes out in September.
To answer your question… 😉 Yes, it takes a lot of time to create that music. Normally I can write and compose tunes, songs or essays in minutes or hours, but to bring it to an end takes the most time because I’m a perfectionist 🙂
How do you think your classical background has influenced your productions? Do you feel your approach is quite different to those making similar music to you?
I have no classical background at all and everything that I’m doing was always a self-taught thing for me, but over the years my knowledge around production, composing, mixing, mastering etc. and of course to play the piano and some other instruments influenced my daily workflow. It is also important to have a reset button to keep things fresh and exciting.
To your 2nd question, it’s important to find yourself and create your own trademark sound if you can. Bring it into a sweet fresh niche for the listeners it doesn’t matter how… do your thing with passion and realness…
I have it on very good authority that you make an amazing Veal Schnitzel. Is cooking a passion of yours outside of music? Are there any other hidden talents or party tricks that readers should know about Sven Weisemann?
Thanks buddy. I like to cook a lot at home or with friends, that brings me down and grounds me. I’m a crazy movie nerd and a collector of Star Wars or Japanese kind of figures. It isn’t a talent of course but more a passion… and of course, I love to play the piano whenever I can.
If you want to catch Sven being Sven his Australian tour dates are as follows…
Friday 25th August: Boney, Melbourne
Saturday 26th August: The Bunk3r, Sydney
Friday 1st September: The Foundry, Brisbane
Saturday 2nd September: TBA, TBA