Robot Koch: On Change & His New LP ‘Hypermoment’
25 November 2015
Berlin based Robot Koch is close to our hearts here at Wild City. The award winning musician, producer and all round perfectionist has kept his link with India and its music strong after headlining the flagship edition of Magnetic Fields in Alsisar Mahal Rajasthan.
We’re very excited to have him back in India this coming week for the launch of #VOI Nights – a brand new music property we’ve launched with VOI Jeans that aims to showcase the best of Indian and international talent. The first event of a series will take place tomorrow evening in Delhi, after which it will travel to Bangalore and Mumbai.
We got in touch with Robert before his India tour and spoke about his new album ‘Hypermoment’ (released via MONKEYTOWN Records) and all the changes that have taken place in his life and music since his shift from Berlin to America’s beat capital – Los Angeles:
Diya: Hey Robert! How are you doing?
Robert: Good – thanks!
D: I heard you recently moved to Los Angeles from Berlin, which is a huge change. How’s that treating you?
R: Ya, well, I lived in Berlin for almost 13 years and at some point I got tired of it. Creatively, it wasn’t stimulating me or inspiring me anymore. And then in 2013 I had a bit of a change - personal stuff, my relationship broke up, one my projects didn’t go well, plus a couple of other things. I just wanted a reset button, so I decided to move to Los Angeles.
I didn’t know anybody there so it was a bit of a jump into cold water, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I’ve made because its been treating me very well since, and I met a bunch of great people. Cities have different energies, you know? You either resonate with them or you don’t and in the end I was not resonating with Berlin anymore. And LA seems to be the right place for me at this point in my life.
D: I’ve also heard that you made the move to LA with the view of making music for a film?
R: Well, I was fortunate that some of my music was licensed for TV series like The Blacklist or How To get Away With Murder before I moved out to LA. I realised then that there were people out there that seemed to like my music. When I moved there, I met some music supervisors that knew about my music and before I knew it I was asked to submit music for TV and for film.
I landed some of my music in a big Hollywood movie trailer - San Andreas, so doors are opening now. I have not scored a movie yet, but that’s definitely something I would love to look into in the future.
D: Congratulations on your beautiful new album ‘Hypermoment’! I heard you made your vocal debut on three of its tracks.
R: That’s true. I was always working with a vocalist till now. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I was in the studio one night and I had an idea for a song so I grabbed the mike and sketched it. Back then I thought I’d get a “real singer” to replace my vocals, but then I heard it back some days later and thought, I think I could just sing that song myself.
I just grew a little more confident of using my voice as well because sometimes that raw voice is real enough for people to appreciate or even resonate with, and I felt confident enough to go with it, which is something I would not have done on previous records.
D: Can you tell me a little bit about the processes and ideas behind ‘Hypermoment’?
R: You know, when I moved to L.A., I wasn’t coming with the agenda of writing a record or achieving anything. I just wanted to reconnect with myself and see where I was at that point in my life. I took a short break from music to focus on meditation and myself, and that was very helpful because I could distance myself a little bit from my work. So the beginning process of ‘Hypermoment’ was me writing music without a purpose, which was very liberating. It became less schematic. The concept I made – the Hypermoment concept - sort of wrapped itself around this record in a later point of the writing process.
D: The upcoming VOI tour will be your second trip to India after Magnetic Fields. What are a few of the highlights from that trip and what’s your itinerary this time around?
R: Well, I mean for me, India was a big, mindblowing experience. The first time I was shocked in many ways - positively and negatively. It’s a very overwhelming, intense place, especially Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai where I first landed. But for me, the most interesting part was Rajasthan - travelling to a secluded atmosphere out in the desert and then playing at that magnificent festival.
I’m going to go to Goa first this time, and taking it easy at a secluded beach for a couple of days to adapt and get accustomed to the time zones. And then I’m going to play the shows, which I’m looking forward to. A little breather would be good in between.
D: Good plan. Last time you were at Magnetic Fields, you were recording with a local Rajasthani Chung band. What’s happened to those recordings?
R: Ah, good point - thank you for reminding me of them. I made two songs, which I have not finished yet. I wanted to do something very special with it because I wanted to give back to the magic of that place as well as of course the Rajasthani band. The two songs I made - I think they’re cool, but they weren’t that special to me. I have high expectations of what this music could be or should be so it’s going to take some more time. I have a very high quality control for myself. For ‘Hypermoment’ I made 4 times the amount of songs that I ended up releasing, and that’s usually how I work. I have a lot of output but I don’t want to release everything. But that does not mean its not going to happen! (laughs)
D: Yeah we’d love to see what you make of that eventually!
R: Absolutely. It’s good that you reminded me, actually I might just have a look into it at some point.
D: Do you ever get sick of your own music?
R: Honestly, I think I evolve a lot in my music so I don’t repeat myself enough to get sick of it you know. If you just stay in the flow and keep moving – which is the principle of life, it’s evolution, it’s movement – that’s the best way to avoid stagnating.
D: You don’t allow yourself to be bored.
R: Ya, I don’t allow myself to be bored, I like moving on. And making sure you’re surrounded by stuff that inspires you, and that personally you’re in the right place. Music is linked to your biography.
D: Who would be your dream collaborators? Someone you would really wish to work with at some point?
R: Good question. I always say it’s the people I don’t know yet. I can’t get myself to say big names like Rihanna or Thom Yorke or Jeff Buckley. The people who inspire me more are usually still pretty unknown; even I might not know them.
Like, in Rajasthan I met Curtain Blue. That’s a good example because I saw his show at Magnetic Fields and I thought, woah this guy’s got something going on. We talked to each other afterwards backstage, hung out a bit and he seemed like a cool guy. We eventually ended up working together for ‘TSUKI’ and ‘Hypermoment’. So my dream collaborators would be to keep meeting new, interesting people who will inspire me and that I will work with.
Thursday 26 November
New Delhi, antiSOCIAL w/ Curtain Blue and Nicholson (solo debut)
Friday 27 November
Bangalore, The Humming Tree w/ _RHL and more
Saturday 28 November
Mumbai, Bonobo w/ Curtain Blue and Your Chin
Words: Diya Gupta