Producer, percussionist, DJ and smooth talker Niklas Wandt has his fingers in many musical pies; a project maker of the highest ranking.
Perhaps most noted for his collaborative releases with Wolf Müller AKA Jan Schulte, their partnership gave way to Instrumentalmusik Von Der Mitte Der World in 2018, a sonic trip through the realms of experimental percussion on Basso’s Growing Bin. But Wandt’s influences stretch much further, with his knack for rhythm remaining a core element of his work with Kompakt affiliate Sascha Funke on Multi Culti, and his pursuits with his new wave band Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge, who released their debut on Themes For Great Cities.
Although Niklas’ partnerships have always been a central focus, he’s now gearing up for the release of his first solo EP on German label Kryptox which is guaranteed to satisfy all your crash, bang and wallop needs.
Ahead of the release, he delivers a rare recorded DJ mix that rumbles along from the rhythmic, to the chugging via a hefty dosage of the percussive.
First, our usual ice-breaker – what’s your first ever musical memory?
Picking records from my parent’s shelf so frequently that they built a grid to keep me from doing it. I must have been two or three and there was almost certainly either Simply Red or Sting or Phil Collins playing on the radio.
How’s this year been for you so far? How has it been being an artist in isolation over the last few months?
It’s started out manically as usual and has subsequently obviously ground to a halt; no more travelling and gigs. Luckily, I still work my day job as a radio host from home and may have implicitly needed some time off – never cooked and baked and spend so much quality time with my girl before, that’s for sure. This surely outweighs the uncertainties surfacing every once in a while.
What lessons do you think the music industry can take away from the enforced lockdown?
I fear it’s hardly gonna be about that. My guess is that we’ll be looking at a very brutal take on usual market policy – the big players will profit and widen their share to an almost monopolist position, a lot of small to mid actors on the scene like venues, festivals, bookers will be driven out of business because they will have burned the resources they’d need to sustain – not even speaking of artists. An uncomfortable and displeasing insight, but this lockdown calls into question, even might have ended the business model of the musician/DJ relying solely on gigs and cheap flights to get there and back. As in most cases, I guess the small fries at the bottom of the chain will be the ones who have to adapt the most. Maybe this outlook is too grim, but in larger structures I don’t really see much potential for going about things differently, asides from the urge of getting back to “normal” as quickly as possible. But the “normal” was obviously already pretty insane to start with.
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us?
It was recorded at home on my carpet and, like most of the time, focusses on some bright Cosmic Musics, some more on the playful, analogue end, some more in the luscious moist digital idiom. In between there’s some more overtly functional, albeit excellent dance tunes.
Are there any standout tracks that hold a special significance?
First of all, there’s a track called “Infinite Balance” by my good friend Milord from Naples, taken from his excellent EP Meta Music – a perfectly funky take on late eighties digital synth library sounds. This could have easily come out on Innovative Communication back in the day but adds that special bit of funky spice.
And surely there’s a track by one of my main projects Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt, “Dub Dub Dub Dub” (did I miss one “Dub” in there?) from our current remix LP on Growing Bin Records, featuring long-time friend Vomit Heat. A track that started out in demo state four years ago. Funny how long this music needs to take shape in this project, but once they’re there, I thoroughly enjoy them!
What else is on the horizon for the rest of the year? Any plans for new releases?
Luckily, none of my planned releases have been scrapped as of now. I’m releasing my debut solo EP Erdtöne via Kryptox on June 8. Around the same time, the debut EP by AngstLust, my duo project with Kris Baha, drops via Neubau. Sascha Funke and me have a new one ready, a bit later probably. After summer, I’m back with a collaborative EP with Cass. on Candomblé and, last but not least, with an LP by my band Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge. Bear with me!