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Feature: Innellea [Interview + Premiere]

24 min read

Innellea – a neologism; created in reference to musical reinvention. Neither restrained nor bound by conventions, Innellea’s visions and impressions are visibly transferred into music. Influenced by melodic trends in electronic music he combined the roots of Techno in a very creative way, and came up with his unique and abstract sound.

Hi Michi, thanks for sitting with us today! Tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?
Hey, thanks for the interview. Due to this situation I am sitting at the breakfast table at home and get ready to go to the studio and produce music. Even under normal circumstances the week looks like this until the weekend calls.
Tell us about growing up and living in Germany, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?
The fact that there are so many clubs in Berlin for example, which are open the whole weekend, naturally leads to the possibility to listen to different kinds of music live. In addition the choice of festivals in Germany is very high which also ensures that you can listen to a variety of music. This is exactly what the scene in Germany has given me, diversity.
Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?
No, I'm not. I think a musical education can be very helpful, but it can also block and make you think too much about do's and don'ts. Over time you acquire a very good feeling and train your sense of hearing. This can be sufficient in many cases.
The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?
It is a mix of listening to promos and regularly combing through all music platforms. It is important to constantly search for good music to shape your taste.
How have you been dealing with COVID-19? You’ve obviously lost gigs because of it and the impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant. Will you be doing any in studio live stream sets?
It feels very strange not being able to tour any more, especially with the busy schedule that was ahead. Everything is cancelled US tour, South America and many clubs I was really looking forward to. But there is no sense in moping, you have to get the positive out of this crisis. I recently streamed a 6 hour set from the Harry Klein which can be seen/heard on YouTube and Soundcloud. There will also be a video from the studio of one of the upcoming releases.


We’re thrilled to host the premiere for ‘Mandom, Disto, Wisdom’, a track out this week on Upon.You’s 13th anniversary release. Tell us a bit about how you approached the track and the production process behind it.
I wanted to write a more percussive song that could live without a complex melody. So first I built a drum groove that can stand alone. I also limited the synth work to percussive, short hits.

Is that a typical flow for the majority of your work or is every track a different journey in a sense?
I usually have a certain approach. Mood first, then drums, then bass, then synth, but I have to break the pattern every now and then to stay creative.
How much road testing is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And how much does crowd reaction influence whether or not a particular track gets shopped around or released?
Most of the time I play the track once or twice and then find out where something is missing or where the track is overloaded. Afterwards I adjust these things, mix the song and testmaster it. The testmaster is played until the right master is there.
Upon.You is a label you worked with earlier in your career, how important is it for you to maintain relationships with labels that were instrumental in getting you to where you are today?
Loyalty has always been a big part of my life. I think it is extremely important to be able to rely on someone and just as important that someone can rely on me. I am very grateful that Upon.You recognised potential in us at that time and supported us. Thanks to Marco and Hawks at this point!
Some of your past productions have a unique crossover appeal. How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on you?
If I don't prepare myself for a club evening, I almost only listen to music that is not dancefloor oriented. I can adapt so much from other genres or I love to analyse them and adapt trademarks into my own productions.
You made the difficult announcement earlier this year that Daniel would be leaving Innellea to focus on his health. Something that caught everyone by surprise I think. How has the response been and how have you been doing moving forward with Innealla on your own?
Our lifestyle is not the easiest and healthiest and I think the majority of the scene is aware of that. The reactions were very nice, many have wished Daniel the best for his future life and expressed their respect to him. It takes a lot of courage and self-reflection to make such a decision. We are still best friends and call or see each other regularly. The whole decision has its origin already some years ago when I started doing most of the productions and social media on my own because it was not possible for Daniel anymore.
The problem of mental health is complex and nuanced, and it is an issue to which those working in electronic music are especially susceptible. It can be deeply rewarding but it is also competitive, fast-paced, unpredictable and hedonistic.  Talk a bit about the pressures of what you do that fans may not be totally aware of. 
I don't want to complain about anything, I am very grateful for everything that I am allowed to experience. It is a privilege to do my hobby as a profession and I am aware of this. However, as you say, there are some things that are stressful and have to be dealt with. Pressure, lack of sleep or being away from home all the time are just a few of them. For me it is important to balance out, go out, do sports and do banal things like drinking coffee with friends or lying on the couch with my girlfriend.
There are dramatic shifts in emotion being a performing artist, from playing in front of large crowds where there is a tremendous amount of energy to travel days where you may be stuck in airports or on a plane for extended periods of time. Do you have tools or practices that you use to get yourself back to a state of balance?
Basically, I see travelling as a ritual now and almost enjoy it. I listen to music, walk around watching people or just sit somewhere and eat something.
Moving forward as a solo artist will this make live gigs more challenging? And do you prefer playing live as opposed to DJing?
I had to restructure it a little bit and add a few more automations I will use the free time in this crisis to make it as innovative and comfortable as possible for me.
Looking back over your discography, what release or track holds the best memories for you and is there a correlation between that track and how successful you are today?
Every track carries a very personal story for me. That is truly the case with every song. I remember sitting there and working on the tracks day and night, showing them to our roommates (whether they wanted to or not) and of course many more memories. In general I think that the whole discography made me reach the point where I am now and when I look back there is hardly a song that I think is really bad and we can be proud of that.
What’s a piece of gear that always gets used when you’re writing a track?
Arturia Minibrute
Some Innealla fans may not be aware that you have a second artist project under the name Yubik, tell us a bit about that. 
I founded my first duo with Maximilian Hacker in 2013 - Hacker & Miethig. When Innellea started touring, it happened more and more often that Max had to play alone because I was not there. So we called ourselves - Yubik. We share a studio and work together on songs from time to time. Max is doing everything on his own because I don't have the time but if there is a session it is always cool and harmonious. Even if I can't really commit to a best friend I would definitely consider Max as this one.  We have experienced so much together and I am soooooo grateful to him for that.
With the barriers to production at an all-time low for many people, and the availability of studio software so easy, do you feel it has had a negative impact on the electronic music market?
Sometimes yes, but also sometimes the opposite. In general there is more crap circulating on Beatport etc. but there are also more treasures for which you have to spend more time searching.
I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?
That's exactly right! Everything is inspiring to me. Be it conversation with people, sports or travelling. Also sleeping and dreaming influences me. I am subconsciously influenced in everything I do and this influence ultimately controls my individual handwriting when producing music.
When working on music is the dance floor always something that’s taken into consideration?
No, not always. There'll be something to hear soon enough to make that clear. A little teaser was already given with my song "Isolated Humanity" which I recently released as a free song. You can listen to it on youtube or facebook and a Spotify upload will follow.

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?
Interstellar! Because it’s simply amazing. Every Hans Zimmer soundtrack is great I think everybody agrees with me.
Apart from music, what makes you happiest?
Family, Skateboarding, Snowboarding and Pisco Sour.
What does the remainder of 2020 hold for Innellea? Anything you can share with us?
There will come something where I can show several vasettes of Innellea. Due to the current situation the release date has been pushed back a bit, but will hopefully happen this year.

‘Mandom, Disto, Wisdom’ is out now on Upon.You, you can purchase the track here: https://www.beatport.com/release/upon-you-the-13th-pt-1/2899326

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