“Ancient Methods’ techno-aesthetic is unmistakable, both in his own productions as well as his DJ-sets. His unique layering-style is filled with snippets of seamlessly interwoven classical, folk, psychedelic and liturgical sounds. Clearly the opposite of what he rebelled against – background music called minimal techno – he brings something new and unexpected at a high rate, carried by a particularly visceral strain of techno which forges a totally different type of rapture.”.
“Ancient Methods的技术美学是毋庸置疑的，无论是他自己的作品还是他的DJ集。他独特的分层风格充满了无缝交织的古典、民谣、迷幻和礼仪音的片段。 显然，他与他所反叛的东西–被称为极简techno的背景音乐–截然相反，他以一种特别有内涵的techno菌株为载体，带来了一些新的、出人意料的东西，形成了一种完全不同的快感。”
What is the most memorable/transcendental moment you had on the dance floor?
Thank you. This is wonderful feedback. I think the most transcendental moments arise when people share a feeling – which is, technically speaking, not possible – but I like the idea of people experiencing a very close, almost identical moment of existential emotions. And as a musician there is maybe no achievement more powerful as when such an occasion arises from the music you play. I had many memorable moments on the dancefloor myself but sadly many of them got lost, like tears in the rain. For the most part, the musician in me wouldn’t let go and many of those moments were instead an unromantic schooling, like when you realize how some rhythms or sounds work in a room. Essential moments I experienced were when DJ’s were breaking the mould. There is one particular situation I remember, a long time ago when there were still warehouse parties in Berlin: DJ’s were playing straight up loopy, harder techno all night and it DJ Hell who dropped a new beat / Italo-disco tune in between and I remember how it changed everything, the place, my state within the blink of an eye. There have been a few truly transcendental moments for me too. They are quite personal but I guess many people had similar experiences, when at a particular moment the music triggers the that kind of connection between you and someone else on the dancefloor; this moment when your mind and your heart are exploding and you look at each other and without saying anything and you know your significant other is experiencing exactly the same
We know you love Dead can Dance. How did their music influence you spiritually?
Dead Can Dance actually have been one of the most important mainsprings to explore spirituality and culture. First and foremost they were forerunners of cultural appreciation for me and thus a starting point to broaden my horizon, way beyond mere musical discoveries. And I think this is where their enduring influence on me is most perceptible. At a time when political ‘tails’ are trying to break into art and re-establish cultural nationalism I think it is important to have positive counterweights to such hegemonic aspirations. I find it most fascinating that their music has this effect on me without carrying a blatant message but only by the sheer power of the art itself. Music is one of the elemental, ancient social tools to bring people together. And it has been an ambition of Ancient Methods to connect people from different ‘scenes’; figuratively speaking, to tear down walls instead of reinforcing them. So maybe to some extent, that’s a success of their spiritual influence. More generally I think Dead Can Dance give proof to the importance of what I’d call “bridge builders“. To explore new territories, it can help to have a starting point – something that is at first more accessible from where you are and then guides you from there further into the depths of the unknown. I think their music is a good example of such a link.
DeadCanDance实际上是探索精神和文化的最重要的动力之一。首先，对我来说，他们是文化鉴赏的先驱，因此也是拓宽我的视野的起点，远远超出了单纯的音乐发现。我想这也是他们对我影响最持久的地方。在政治 “尾巴 “试图打入艺术领域，重新建立文化民族主义的时候，我认为对这种霸权主义的愿望有积极的反击是很重要的。我觉得最吸引人的是，他们的音乐对我有这样的影响，却不带有明显的信息，而只是靠艺术本身的力量。音乐是一种基本的、古老的社会工具，可以将人们聚集在一起。而将不同 “场景 “的人联系起来，一直是AncientMethods的一个野心；形象地说，是拆墙而不是加固墙。所以也许在某种程度上，这也是他们精神影响力的成功。更普遍的是，我认为《DeadCanDance》证明了我所说的 “架桥人 “的重要性。要探索新的领域，有一个起点是很有帮助的–从你现在的位置开始更容易到达，然后引导你从那里进一步进入未知的深处。我想他们的音乐就是这样一个很好的例子。
You’ve collaborated several times with Dominick Fernow (aka Vatican Shadow / Prurient). What connects you two the most?
I’d say on stage it is definitely the different kind of energy which creates a magnetic connection. He’s able to deliver the expressive physical and visible energy, something I love to include in the performance but not being capable to do myself. Off-stage I like to listen to him. He‘s not only an entertaining story-teller but an irresistible creative force and has his very own approach to think about things in a genuinely creative, unique way. Especially nowadays, where binary thinking gains more and more traction, it is rather rare and very refreshing for me to meet people that make you look at things from a completely different angle.
你和Dominick Fernow（又名Vatican Shadow / Prurient）合作过几次。你们俩最有联系的方面是什么？
Is there a radio station (FM, Internet) that you listen to and that perhaps surprises you with new discoveries?
Not really. I wish I’d have time to discover more music from other sources like podcasts, other peoples mixes or especially radio, which I grew up with. But it’s already quite difficult with my limited time-budget to stay focused on the overwhelming amount of all other channels.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by the quantity of music coming out these days? Or do you manage to filter and curate what you listen to?
I do indeed get overwhelmed by the quantity, absolutely. And it sometimes takes really bizarre shapes. For example on bandcamp-Friday’s I give up and simply clear my inbox from all notifications, since it would be an ridiculous attempt trying to listen to all that music. Lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I found myself stressed by the amount of information to process. I had the feeling I’m both missing out, and being chased at the same time. Worse than that, I realized I spent much more time on compulsively checking and acquiring music – and in a quite superficial way, barely more than browsing/skipping through tracks – than I was actually listening to the music, like dedicated, attentive listening. It’s a pretty insane luxury-problem of a privileged person, as Erich Fromm says, “more having than being“; but this irrational consumption started to make me downright unhappy. I find music is the only form of addictive consumption that’s difficult to control, although I’ve started to use some tactics: I remembered that the most essential part of my collection is from a time where I had the least money. Therefore I started to re-impose a monthly budget that limits purchases and forces me to be more picky. I specifically unfollow feeds or unsubscribe promo newsletter that do not deliver useful music for the most part. I’m a morning person and realized with my morning energy, music that I tend to find appealing later on might turn out to be not as essential. So now I try to check out news and promos in the evening when I’m exhausted from work. If it can still spark my attention then, it’s probably essential enough to keep or buy. Quantity aside, it’s the structure of the information flow which makes it harder to leave the enclosed territory and discover different music. That’s why I try to dedicate 1-2 hours a week for explorations outside that frame which is formed by feeds, newsletters and streaming algorithms . My limited time resources still don’t give me a chance to enhance the actual discovery experience very much, such as going to record shops. Instead most of it is still clicking links. However due to the pandemic a few times I managed to show up early at markets to dig for music. Some areas of folk and traditional music I’m following are not so well documented in the digital world but are instead predominant in cassette culture and can be still occasionally found at markets. At markets it’s a bit like reaching into a black box again and involves talking to people. It feels a bit like falling out of time, but more healthy, less OCD-ish and goal driven.
Your dj sets and production work can be described as epic and cinematic …such that listeners can become completely absorbed, even possessed. Do you have any specific intentions behind this?
As for DJing, I always saw it as an extension or broadened way of sharing music with people, something that started in my early teenage-years when I would hang out with friends and we’d play music for each other. And just like in those days, when I DJ now I still hope that there is someone in the room appreciating the music as much as I am. That’s still the main aspect of it: I share the music I love. DJ’ing broadens not only because it simply involves more people, but also because it gives me the possibility to use technical methods to make things accessible to a crowd that otherwise predominantly comes to a gig in order to dance. DJ’ing allows me to use rhythmic tools as a transporter to share an ambient track or folk song or sometimes even a little poem, things you probably wouldn’t dance to in a sober state. With that said, I basically have no other intention than sharing music, good moments, and making people like the music I present. In perfect moments though, you can reach that transcendent connection we’ve been talking about – the moment when you actually ‘share’ that inner feeling, when the inner mood carried by the music resonates with someone else. During that perfect moment, you create and transfer an atmospheric image that defies any description of what music is, simply as a translation, and what only connected people can grasp. It might sound pretty abstract or blurry but from the musician’s and DJ’s perspective it’s a pretty specific guiding thread. In particular, I found it be a guide for what not to play, what sounds or tempos would ruin this mood and likewise a guide for which parts are essential for setting the vibe and therefore to be emphasized – maybe through mixing techniques such as EQ’ing.
至于DJ，我一直认为它是一种延伸或扩大的方式 与人们分享音乐， 东西开始在我的早期十几岁的年代， 当我会挂出与朋友，我们会播放音乐为对方。就像在那些日子里，当我现在做DJ时，我仍然希望房间里有人和我一样欣赏音乐。这仍然是主要的方面。我分享我喜欢的音乐 DJ’ing扩大了范围，不仅因为它涉及到更多的人，还因为它让我有可能使用技术方法来让那些主要是为了跳舞而来的观众能够接受。DJ’ing让我可以用节奏工具作为转接器，分享一首环境音乐或民歌，有时甚至是一首小诗，这些东西你可能不会在清醒状态下跳舞。说到这里，我基本上没有其他的打算，就是分享音乐、美好的时刻，让大家喜欢我呈现的音乐。不过在完美的时刻，你可以达到我们一直在说的那种超凡的连接–当你真正 “分享 “内心感受的那一刻，当音乐所承载的内心情绪与别人产生共鸣的时候。在那个完美的时刻，你创造和传递了一个大气的画面，它不顾任何对音乐的描述，只是作为一种翻译，只有连接的人才能把握。这听起来可能很抽象或模糊，但从音乐人和DJ的角度来看，这是一条很具体的指导线。特别是，我发现它是一个指南，说明什么东西不能玩，什么声音或节奏会破坏这种情绪，同样也是一个指南，说明哪些部分对于设置氛围是必不可少的，因此要强调–也许是通过EQ’ing等混音技术。
An essential cornerstone in early industrial music was the act of provocation, which often included samples of riveting spoken word diatribes. I hear this kind of incitement often in your dj sets, for example this vocal sample in your mix from March 19th:“Fear is something different. Fear is something other. Fear is used to intimidate and to attack” – Genesis P. Orridge
Or later in that mix, we hear Charles Bukowski’s poem,
Love is a Dog from Hell:
“there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock.
people so tired
either by love or no love.
people just are not good to each other
one on one.”
I find these quotes incredibly moving, particularly when layered on top of your relentless and uniquely cathartic musical selections. On the dance floor, both head and body are simultaneously shocked in an unexpected rite: shadowy vocal samples combine with an abrasive sonic assault to induce dissociative/associative phenomena.
How important is it for you to challenge party-goers by jarring their hedonistic flow with thought-provoking statements? Do you consider your ‘methods’ a form of deprogramming?
Both Genesis’ thoughts on the climate of our times and Bukowski’s poem have been a pretty accurately reflection of what I think and feel. I’m not intending to program and more importantly I don’t want to de-program people, I don’t even intend to necessarily challenge anyone. I see it rather as an invitation; I’m offering something to people that is for me at least, as personal as the music I share and as an exposure of my inner state. And yet, it is simply self-expression by using other artists’ voices and statements …and as much as the audience might empathize with or object to it, it’s still an option to not pay any attention to those parts and just dance. However I’m aware that music can be a powerful force and there is always the risk that people might be swayed by a statement when it’s charged by music. This is a double-edged sword and gets questionable, for example, when mixed with political or other ideological messages since you can’t rule out that people might become programmed or de-programmed rather by the impact of the underlying music than the substance of such statements. We’ve been talking about the social dimension of music: contrary to its unifying virtue it should also be mentioned that it has been also an ancient method to use music as a weapon, to charge it with propaganda or missionary messages and provoke the opposite of a unifying force. In this regard I can only stress that I’m not a missionary or a teacher and would not like to be seen as such. I confide in my audience’s ability to make up their own mind, reflect, agree or disagree on each aspect of the presented content. But what I do like to do is to re-program the actual source, to edit, cut , rearrange the source, to modify or abuse the source to express more precisely what I think and feel or simply to make it fit better on the music or introduce chorus/verse structures, etc. And since this might be loosely inspired by cut-up’s, perhaps this a link to early industrial music.
早期工业音乐的一个重要基石是挑衅行为，这其中往往包括铆足了劲的口述檄文的样本。我在你的dj集里经常听到这种煽动行为，比如你3月19日的混音里的这个人声样本。 ”恐惧是一种不同的东西。恐惧是另一种东西。恐惧是用来恐吓和攻击的”，Genesis P. Orridge。
对你来说，用发人深省的话语来挑战聚会者的享乐主义潮流有多重要？你认为你的 “方法 “是一种去程式化的形式吗？
Furthermore you often incorporate chanting, choirs church organs and other religious (or perhaps neofolk?) motifs in your music and your dj sets. The ghosts of Dead Can Dance can definitely be heard.
Would you say that your juxtaposition of sacred-sounding music on profane spaces like night clubs is a form of provocation? Or does it have more to do with how much of sacred music was created to induce altered states?
It depends from where you’re looking at it. I’m sure for many people night clubs are actually the most sacred place. I heard about a club in Berlin people would commonly call “The Church”. In this context or mindset sacred-sounding music would be far from being a provocation but rather deliver the appropriate mass setting within the worship service. But I can relate it to your second question. I like music that is emotionally powerful. And I’m guessing, the reason why liturgical music or, more generally, spiritual music has such an effect on me, is to find the state in which it was created and the purpose for which it was created. As an atheist I might only have a foggy notion how your creed can carry you away and how it might lend wings to your creativity. It probably wouldn’t cross the believer’s mind to deliver second best or to deliver something that doesn’t meet the richness of their inner devoted state – and maybe such a dedication makes a huge difference for example between a Bach piece and music that is created as a byproduct for an Instagram account. However I should add, for my DJing in particular I need music that is less intense or emotionally rich.
In the early 1990’s, techno created some unprecedented caustic sounds on top of startling musical misappropriations that, if you don’t mind me saying, in many ways aren’t that dissimilar from what you play. Picture Apotheosis – O Fortuna 😉
Would it be controversial to say that you still carry an irreverent spirit of early rave techno?
I don’t think it would be controversial. But I’m not sure if I could agree. Lately (https://oldskool.fr/interviews/ancient-methods/) I mentioned that early techno had the most significant impact on my musical upbringing and – subconsciously – I still might manufacture these influences in my music. However I think my music is still quite gentle and very accessible and I’m usually turned off by music that is stark only for the sake of being stark alone. I reject self-policing influences, in particular if they come from non-musical places. In this regard my approach to create or play music might be irreverent but the outcome is benevolent.
Historically there has been very little crossover between the goth and techno scenes, but it seems the music you create and perform is helping transform that.
You’ve stated before that Ancient Methods is “techno” – but do you think your dj set could now fit at Wave-Gotik-Treffen? Or am I blind and was this somehow always the case?
For the format of the festival I’m not sure if a DJ set would be much of a benefit. But the live show in 2016 at WGT was definitely an important personal achievement for me and rewarding in these premises.
历史上，哥特音乐和电子音乐之间很少有交集，但似乎你创作和表演的音乐正在帮助改变这种状况。你之前说过Ancient Methods是 电子乐”–但你认为你的DJ组合现在能适应Wave-Gotik-Treffen吗？还是我瞎了眼，以前一直都是这样？
Given the high level of Weltschmerz that we’re all feeling these days, are there any books or movies that you’d recommend – and why?
Quite often when I dive into Weltschmerz depths, my very personal perception of it intermingles with a yearning for the world that is described as “Hiraeth“, an unspecific longing for people, places, times. Speaking of transcendence again, there is nothing like the language of Weltschmerz-king Hermann Hesse which for me best translates this “Hiraeth“-manifestation of Weltschmerz, and in particular his novel “Demian”, my all-time favorite book. However I think – besides other circumstances – Weltschmerz triggered many ideas and in most cases was eventually turned into a thriving creative force, or was often followed by humbling reminders for appreciation and gratitude. I see this interplay very much related one of the wisdoms in Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet”: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.“ The book became somewhat of a haven and my little pocket guidebook for life. Another guidebook, for the most important thing in life, is Erich Fromm’s “The Art Of Loving“. I’m not sure if the book helps ease the feeling of Weltschmerz, even if you do manage to develop self-love to a healthy degree. But it’s a good read against the climate of our time.
当我深入到Weltschmerz的深处时，我对它的非常个人化的认识与对世界的渴望交织在一起，这种渴望被描述为 “Hiraeth”，一种对人、地点、时间的不具体的渴望。再次说到超越，没有什么比韦尔茨梅尔茨国王赫尔曼-黑塞的语言更适合翻译韦尔茨梅尔茨的这种 “Hiraeth “的表现，尤其是他的小说《德米安》，我一直以来最喜欢的书。然而我认为–除了其他情况外，韦尔茨赫梅兹引发了许多想法，在大多数情况下，最终被转化为一种蓬勃的创造力，或者经常被谦卑地提醒欣赏和感激。我认为这种相互作用与纪伯伦（Khalil Gibran）的《先知》中的一个智慧非常相关。”悲伤在你身上刻画得越深，你就能容纳更多的快乐。” 这本书多少成了我的避风港，也成了我的生活小袖珍指南。另一本人生最重要的指南，是埃里希-弗洛姆的《爱的艺术》。我不知道这本书是否有助于缓解韦尔茨赫默茨的感觉，即使你确实能把自爱发展到一个健康的程度。但在我们这个时代的氛围下，这是一本不错的书
Interview by Involucija
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