Cologne based Artist Mathias Schaffhäuser has been around in the techno, house, and minimal scene since 1994.
Over the past decade with his broad knowledge of music, Mathias has always been an influential force in electronic music with his driving productions, remixes, and from the more observational perspective as a journalist writing for influential German music magazine Groove among others.
CGNY: Tell us a little about yourself Mathias. Where are you from and where do you live?
MS: I live in the 4th biggest city in Germany called Koln, better known as Cologne internationally, I wasn't born here, but I’ve lived here since 1987, so it's my hometown for sure. On the other hand, I don't care so much about hometown-things and stuff like patriotism, nationalism and so on anyway... I could live everywhere..... Depends on soooo many facts.
CGNY: What sparked your interest initially in electronic music?
MS: I was really infected by crazy rock + pop music very early. I watched Jimi Hendrix on TV when I was 6 years old and later heard his Woodstock "Star Spangled Banner" version when I was 11, and this was in 1973..... OK? This was my 1st kind of experience with electronic music, and at the same time I bought Kraftwerk's "Autobahn"... so the path was prepared. Then King Crimson, Pink Floyd, later all the crazy new wave + post-wave stuff like THIS HEAT, DAF, but also Prince, Eno, Miles Davis..... And then HOUSE music from its early beginning.
CGNY: You’ve collaborated with a number of artists including some of my personal faves, Lucy, Xhin and Alex Smoke. How did you decide who you wanted to collaborate with?
MS: Lucy + Xhin I knew personally, so the decision was easy to make. These guys are SO nice as persons, and their music is as great. Alex I don't know personally, but I also admire his music, and so I asked him to cooperate and he was also so friendly and kind, and the working together with him was incredibly easy and respectful.
CGNY: You’re known for playing live (instruments) onstage in your sets!! We’re intrigued! Although the sound of a melodica is not a 100 miles removed from the techno sound, it’s an unusual instrument to incorporate. How did you hit upon it?
MS: For sure I like dub reggae for ages, and the use of melodicas there is so great (by the way, dub r. is such a HUGE inventor of techno/house).... but this melodica I play on stage is a gift my girlfriend once gave me. And it was sooooo cool that it worked with the remix I did for apendics.shuffle. It was just another aspect of my coincidence driven way of working and living. No plan is the plan.
CGNY: What was the thinking behind releasing your most recent “In Concert” live album as a free download (thank you!!)? In this day and age with so much music being downloaded for free and therefore artists making even less than before, why did you decide to do it?
MS: Yeah, I was really thinking hardly about this for a long time, more than a year in fact. But then I thought: who is buying my music? Mainly DJs. Do DJs buy live albums? Not really. But whom do I want to reach? Mainly my FANS. Will THEY buy a live album? Also pretty uncertain.... most of them have the original versions of the tracks and maybe hesitate to spend their little money for a live album. So I once had the idea of this free platform with the live set and pics and infos which really is more than a normal download album and even more than a CD.... it's a gift to the fans and a new format for an artist like me. And now I’m SOOOO very happy about this decision, I have more than 6000 downloads now and so many super kind and nice feedbacks, it's really much more than I expected.
CGNY: I think this is your first NYC appearance – am I correct? Are you looking forward to playing here? What can we expect? Any little musical surprises up your sleeve?
CGNY: Your fellow countryman Timo Maas featured an exclusive track of yours on his Balance 017 which he has since released on his own label. What goes into the decision to hand over a track to another label as opposed to releasing on your own (WARE) imprint?
MS: Oh, I regularly release stuff on other labels like Danish imprint TICTACTOE, LEBENSFREUDE from Berlin and others. It’s always a question of where the music fits to and who wants it.... doing everything on my label WARE would be much too much work!
CGNY: The feedback for your “In Concert” album has been terrific. Are you planning to tour anywhere else after NYC and what’s next for you in terms of production in the studio?
MS: I’m actually on tour with the album until summer, and if we get more gigs I will continue in autumn too for sure.The next big thing will be a project with JORGE SOCARRAS, an incredible vocalist who actually lives in N.Y. and played in one of my favorite 80s bands called INDOOR LIFE. We did an album together and hope to release it in autumn or early next year. This will be a BIG surprise, I promise!!!!
CGNY: What keeps you inspired in this crazy musical journey?
MS: I am as I am, I do what I can and love. No way out......;-)
Mathias plays The National Underground on April 22nd - details here