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Dublin’s All City Records have been releasing with a great degree of congruity lately, each release reflecting the style and ethos that has seen the label continue to thrive on the world stage. The latest artist to step up the plate is the ever-enigmatic Anno Stamm, a figure who has enjoyed success previously under the alias Anstam.
We caught up with him to talk about juggling club-ready tracks and thought provoking productions to his online vocal florilegium, ‘Words For The Week’.
First of all, congratulations on completing the new LP ‘To Gravit And Symmet We Rhyth’, can you tell us about the production process and what inspirations you had when making the record?
A techno/house album is always something very tricky, because the main format for techno/house are the 12”s and the best place to listen to it is in a dirty basement full of people.
The next thing to consider is the fact, that when you have a typical club experience, there is so much strange but attractive stuff going on, that the music itself is only 50 per cent of the whole package. You have to keep all that in mind when you want techno/house to also work in a non-club environment.
That is why before I even started to work on the songs I had to make some conceptual adjustments. It is important to me that the album works as a whole coherent piece. I think the core elements of the album are the strongly rhythmic, repetitive hooks but there is also a dramatic and slightly cinematic layer underneath to spice it up for the mind a little.
I always had to think about funk music when I made the album and I recognised that I love techno the most when it is raw and still has some kind of Funk DNA in it.
Your releases as Anno Stamm see you move in a more percussive and floor ready direction, was this a conscious decision when changing your alias?
I don’t think of it as changing aliases, more like dividing my electronic music stream into two different projects. That was a conscious decision. Anstam developed more and more into a studio project and that is why I started Anno Stamm to go back to the club/DJ approach of electronic music.
I love techno/house for the fact that it is a music genre that will be there forever, like rock music or jazz. It has such a functional, winning formula, that is very universal and understandable – especially for young people who like the attitude of just relentlessly stomping through life.
You’ve always had an innate ability to make obscure sounds and textures work in your music, is this something that comes naturally to you?
Yes, it is. That’s why to me my music seems much less obscure than maybe other people would argue. I think it has a lot to do with what kind of music you grew up with and also what kind of understanding you have as an artist.
I never understood how people could think that it is a bad thing if your music does not sound like all the other music. For me that is the main goal of what I am doing. There is a wonderful word in German language for that: “Alleinstellungsmerkmal”.
But as I said, I am not sitting in my studio trying to be weird – all the music I released was always exactly like what I felt had to be done at that time.
For the new LP, you return to Ireland’s All City Records, what is it that you enjoy most about working with the label?
What I find so important is that especially the club scene ( the dirty basement ones) is still there because there are still people out there who do stuff just for the music.
It’s about clubs, labels, magazines and artists who put their energy and effort into it just because they think music is important and worth it.
All City Records work like that too. Every decision we made together was based on “We put the music first” – that’s why it felt and still feels very natural to work with the All City guys.
It’s been almost two years since your last release as Anstam, are you finished making music under this moniker?
Not really finished, but i think at the moment there is enough Anstam material out there to digest – three albums, 12″s, remixes and mixes – it was time to put my mind on something else. But there will be a time when I will work on Anstam material again, I am pretty sure about that.
The slightly more serious and research based background of Anstam requires me in a special kind of mood, which I simply do not feel at the moment. Short, functional and pleasing repetitiveness is my jam right now.
Your early releases on 50Weapons as Anstam were a fusion of hard techno, bass and dubstep that were quite representative of the time and the label. What was it like releasing on Monkeytown/50Weapons and did you feel like you were part of a family during that time?
Yes, I would say that. There was always a emotional undertone in the collaboration with the Modeselektor guys and you had some kind of family dynamics, with all the ups and downs that are typical for families.
And also, when the two labels started it was a pretty good time for electronic music in general, so we all surfed on a big wave of enthusiasm, which amplified the bonding feeling between the artists on Monkeytown and 50Weapons.
Over the last nine weeks you’ve posted a video each Monday titled ‘Words for the week”, where a robotic voice relays a number of odd messages in an Orwellian manner. The over-riding emotion in each of the videos seems to be of ultimately being positive in what you do, what’s the ethos behind these and does creating the videos give you a feeling of catharsis?
I felt the need to start 2016 and Anno Stamm with a mammoth project. So, I decided to put out a video every week of the year 2016 in a typical YouTube fashion, but with a more unusual undertone.
Words For The Week is like a futuristic, weekly therapeutic bouquet of nice thoughts, which sometimes slip a little into strange territory. I am not the biggest admirer of the whole social internet dynamic, I still think it just brings out the worst manners in humankind, but it is still unbeatable as a extremely efficient sender medium – especially for artists. That is why I started my little musical Anno Stamm network with different segments and episodes.
There are the Words For The Week, the Rhythm Research Center Sessions, the Sound Study Test Series and there will be more. All that is diverting enough to fit into the zeitgeist and are worth enough to share into the fast, digital, wireless ether.
The only thing important for me is that what I put in there is new and own-created content and avoid re-sending stuff that is already there.
Visual direction and aesthetic for your work seems to be highly considered, do you have a designer you work with or do you approach different people for each release?
I am lucky enough to have a big brother who’s main craftsmanship was based more on the visual side of things. I always was fascinated by all the “corporate identity” talk. I still like the idea of seeing even the choosing of typography as a part of artistic expression.
I think decision-making for me is the biggest part of being an artist. “Choosing” in general is something that the internet of things does nowadays for the most people. I am obsessed with deciding things on my own and that is why, I guess, making creative artistic packages as a whole is something very satisfying for me.