Home Interviews Interview: Wolf Ear & Fassbender

Interview: Wolf Ear & Fassbender

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Fresh off their remix of Lautaro Fernandez’s “How She Looked”, which was featured in Beatport’s top 100 progressive house tracks, duo Wolf Ear & Fassbender return to home turf with their first joint venture on Strange Town Recordings, Hummingbird. We had a chance to catch up with the duo for an exclusive chat just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Guys, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Torsten: Thanks for asking, I’m fine and optimistic. Right before this interview I listened to a Balance Compilation, mixed by Patrice Bäumel.

Bryan – Hi PA great to chat with you! I’m feeling good. You know, the “normal” up’s and down’s that come along with life and living in a pandemic. For me I was just going through my vinyl collection and played one for my new favs by Ivory ‘Light Through Water’ released recently on microCastle.

What are your plans for the coming week?

Torsten: Making music 🙂

Bryan – Surprise, Music too! Torsten has just sent over a piece for me to touch on. We are currently working on a new two track EP

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

Torsten-

Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Full Album)

I think everyone got this on his list, when I first discovered the album, everything changed for me. In that time, in the early 80s, I used to play Guitar and Rock music. I remember it so vividly because it was the first CD I bought. After this album I wanted to do electronic music.

Kraftwerk – Die Roboter

Outstanding Sound and light years ahead when they made it, and the melody composition of them were simple but genius at the same time.

Patrice Bäumel – Vapour (Full Album)

Wonderful collection of tracks. Patrice has a genius way of writing a story with his Tracks/Mixes.

Stephan Bodzin – Powers of Ten (Full Album)

This album got everything, it’s perfect and it pioneered a whole new genre.

Guy J – 1000 Words (Full Album)

My favorite from Guy J. If you think about doing a concept album, this is the ultimate holy grail. Can’t tell you how many times I listened to it.

Bryan –

Dj Sandy VS Housetrap – Overdrive

In the late 90s, I discovered electronic music at the legendary SONA After-hours (Montreal). At the time I also was also listening to rock, heavy metal and alternative music. I remember dancing the night away to what felt like one long-ass song, Overdrive was the first track I was able to recognize and from then on whenever I heard it I’d lose my shit on the dance-floor.

Nathan Fake – The Sky Was Pink (James Holden Remix)

This tune is pure magic and raises each of the little hairs on my arms. I still bust it out in my sets to date. A real crowd pleaser!

PQM – You Are Sleeping (Luke Chable Vocal Pass)

One of the most iconic pieces of progressive house music released in 2002 on Deep Dish’s Yoshitoshi Records. This choon transports you to another universe and that vocal is freaking wild!

Rozzo – Into Your Heart (John Selway Remix)

Another massive dance-floor stomper, I remember getting super excited as soon as I heard it being mixed in and telling whomever was dancing close to me how awesome this tune was right before I disappeared into the crowd. I miss those days.

James Holden – Balance005 (Full Album)

Arguably the best mixed cd in dance music. I couldn’t tell you how many times I sat in my bedroom listening to it, I know it was a lot! I even bought it for my little brother (who loved country music) as a Christmas gift one year haha.

You have a new collaboration out this week on Bryan’s Strange Town Recordings label, tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your individualities. Was there anything specific that inspired this track? And where does your inspiration come from generally?

Torsten: Inspiration for me comes through normal life. Dozens of musicians do it like this, walk with an open mind and catch those little creative peaks all around us.

Bryan – Yes, same for myself. We started working on Hummingbird at the beginning of the pandemic, March of 2020. What do you do when your emotions are all over the map? Translate them into music and that’s what we did.

Torsten has been on the label before in solo capacity, so what was it that gave you guys the idea to collaborate on a track together?

Torsten- when I discovered Golan Zocher’s release on Strange Town Recordings I had to get in contact with this label. I really love how Bryan manages the label and that he doesn’t release as often as other labels. That makes the music on it special. After my release on Strange Town, Bryan came up with the collaboration idea, which I loved from the first second. Here we are 😉

Bryan – Yes, not long after Torsten had reached out to me about joining the label I approached him about the project and the rest is history.

A successful partnership is generally based around balance and compromise; how did you manage these things while writing the track and did you have different roles in the process?

Torsten: We work great hand in hand, either me or Bryan start something and send the track to the other to add things.

Bryan – Our musical preferences align perfectly, plus Torsten is very talented and is a hard worker which makes for a great music partnership.

What do your studio set-ups look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this track?

Torsten: I work in my hybrid studio, analog and digital. In today’s studio work there is no big sound difference between physical or plugins, but I like to touch something. Some digital plugins can do stuff which Analog can’t. Best of both worlds for me. For the Track we used a lot the Moog Subsequent37 and the DSI Prophet6.

Bryan – I too work in a hybrid studio setup. On Hummingbird I used Arturia’s Pigments digital soft synth to write the lead melody and on the analog side you will find my Waldorf Rocket which has the best of both worlds digital oscillators and analog filter which can be heard as one of the baselines the run thought out the track as well as my Korg Monotribe (midi mod) that breaths in some analog goodness exiting out of the breakdown.

How did you go about deciding on having Arnas D and Hannes Wiehager as the remixers on the project? Why were they the right choices for you?

Torsten: Both did such an awesome great job on the remix, Bryan had the idea of selecting them and I’m totally happy with his choice.

Bryan – Well thats not entirely true, Arnas D found us and personally reached out about working with the label. When I proposed the Hummingbird project he loved it and that was that. It’s super cool when everything falls into place naturally. And for Hannes Wiehagner’s remix I had discovered his music earlier this year (before Hummingbird). I actually waited some time to propose working with Strange Town, it’s important for me to find a remixer that will add the perfect touch. Once we decided to release the project on my own imprint I knew he was our guy! Both smashed it and am looking forward to working with them again in the near future.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? How has it affected your daily life, music production and overall inspiration to write new music?

Torsten: As a music producer and sound-designer it’s way easier to keep things going, I can work in my studio. But, the overall situation is a pure mind-f**k. I remember at the beginning of the first lockdown in March , social media were full of musicians telling they have finally time to make music. I thought the same, but I realized very quickly that my mind was not able to concentrate on new music while the world is having this pandemic.

Bryan- Like most of us I’ve been home a lot which isn’t such a bad thing. I have my girlfriend, cat and studio all in one spot. Since the pandemic hit I have been making healthier decisions too. More cooking and eating whole foods as well as working out and yoga.

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

Torsten: I’m pretty sure everyone will be happy once clubbing is again possible. It will be huge, hopefully sooner than later. I fear financial problems of club owners will result in the closing of lots of clubs.

Bryan- I can’t wait to dance in a club environment and moreso play some music! I am also a small promoter in my city and I dream of the day where we can open the doors to our amazing scene again. In March I was supposed to go on tour with Jaap Ligthart and do shows in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa. I am looking forward to getting this off the ground again, followed by booking more Strange Town Recordings showcases at my residency at Le Salon Daomé.

What have been some of your favourite tracks over the quarantine period?

Torsten: I was very focused on the progress of my album. During this process I chose not to listen to many other music. Just to avoid copying ideas and to keep it special.

Bryan- For myself I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music. Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Lana Del Ray’s music are some of my favorites. I have always listened to a wide variety of music. I don’t know if that influences me in any way when writing Progressive, Melodic House but I like it.

Apart from music what makes you happiest?

Torsten: Deep love and Bike tours in the woods all around Berlin.

Bryan- I also share the passion for biking. We are in the dead of winter and knee high in snow at the moment. This is just one more thing to add to the “waiting” list.

What does 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Torsten: I will finally release my album, make many more collaborations with Bryan and hopefully we all stay safe and healthy.

Bryan- I would love to go on tour with Torsten. I often envision us rocking a stage somewhere in the world. And yes more music collaborations too!

‘Hummingbird’ is out now via Strange Town Recordings: https://bit.ly/35u1ACR

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