Interview: Andreas Tilliander

Andreas Tilliander: “If there will be a revival of glitch music, I wouldn't be too surprised”

1. Hi, Andreas! How are you doing? What are you busy with at the moment?

Hi! For the past year I`ve been going to the studio every day and I don’t have too many plans. I just go there and see what’s happening. I’m super productive, but I don’t really have any goals. Of course, I blame the pandemic like everyone else.

2. What did the glitch scene of the 2000s look like?

For me it was really that computer music was sort of new. I was about 20 years old. I got a hand on a laptop and that program that you used in that time was nothing compared to, you know, Ableton 10 or 11 or Pro Tools or whatever. The programs were sort of primitive, so if I would cut my samples, for sure there would be clicks in it. So I did not really need to add any clicks because the clicks were already there. Software made the sound of clicks  for me at least.  I did a tiny tour in Finland, where I met Vladislav Delay. And prior to that, I’ve been making more minimal techno but also some sort of  IDM stuff. But when I heard the first Clicks & Cuts compilation I was like “OK, this is something new, I want to be a part of this”. 

3. What is the present and the future of glitch music?

It’s been 20 years now, so if we would see a revival now, I wouldn’t be too surprised. You know, nobody wants to speak about trip hop for 20 years and all of the sudden -  it’s back again. So maybe, we are about to hear more from the Mille Plateaux and the Clicks & Cuts stuff again. I wouldn’t be too surprised really. 

Every single kid has a computer with a lot of more processive power that we didn’t at that time… I did use a lot of freeware, it was super primitive. Just listen to the reverb of the compressors coming from software today, that’s super-super hi-fi and when I was young… It was really very rough and lo-fi. If there would be a return of glitch music now, I think it would be like super defined and luxury sounding. Really, designer music is in a much wider perspective than when I started doing it.

4. What can you tell about your collaboration with the Mille Plateaux label?

I remember I was on to find Raster Noton which was a label I hugely admired. But they were not that big at that time. I think I got signed and at the same time or I don’t know three month later or whatever. I also got signed to Mille Plateaux and at that time Mille Plateaux was really-really like all kinds of artists I ever listened to,  they were  releasing  music on  Mille Plateaux so I thought “Well, why not release music on both those labels” But after a while I have to choose even though super productive it would be a little bit strange to release on both, you know. One album on Raster Noton, the second one on Mille Plateaux and within just a few months… so I decided to go for the Mille Plateaux path or rather Raster Noton where I was not so keen on releasing my stuff any more… so I continued with Mille Plateaux for 5 years or something like that. Until they went into a lot of financial issues. There was this distributor at that time called EFA. When they went down a lot of labels including Mille Plateaux went down as well. So, I sort of stopped making that kind of music at that time and went into a more “housier” direction. 

But at that time Mille Plateaux was a super great home for my music. I mean I released music there every year. I would go to Achim Szepanski, the label owner, and I would go to his house in Frankfurt twice a year or so and stay there for a few days. So we had a great relationship back then. 

5. What kind of new experience did you get working with Raster Noton?

I think, prior to sending them my demo because that’s how I got signed, I sent them a CD in the post. I was super-super-super into minimal music, but I guess, I wasn’t too much part of the art scene or whatever. But, when I put out my first record on Raster Noton I got also involved with playing in art galleries and art festivals. Became part of a sort of concept. For me, I was very-very interested in minimal music, but the art thing was kind of new to me. I did study art, but I was more into, you know, painting art, or whatever. I met Carsten Nicolai in his home, like, I don’t know, December 2000s. Got to hear a lot of the other artists on Raster Noton and got to meet a few of them as well. So, I think, what I learned from Raster Noton was probably the super digital minimal sounding stuff. Because I had just sold my analog synthesizer, and I just bought a supercomputer, so Raster Noton for me was really an introduction to minimal digital music. Clean analog warm sound, dirty sound of overdriven compressors. Raster Noton was more sound design super-sharp precise music, which I really admired.

6. How did you turn to the acid genre?

When I was about 14-15 years old or something like that, I had all the friends that were really much into music. I was more into, like as we say in Sweden “The synth music”, you know like Front 242 or Kraftwerk, even Depeche Mode. Yep, those kinds of artists. So my first real introduction into the TB-303 world would probably have been like Lassigue Bendthaus, Uwe Schmidt who also ended up on Raster Noton. He had a moniker called Lassigue Bendthaus where we would use a lot of 303th so I would listen to that in 1995 or something like that and of course, I heard a lot of acid before that. But I wasn't too much involved with it. And then for me it really-really did change in 1998 - when Plastikman released “Consumed” and  “Artifakts”, that was really when I got into it. It wasn’t this super heavy fast acid music, he did something completely different. He made music that reminded me a little bit of Basic Channel which I had been into since the start. But what Richie did was really like technologically advanced slow acid music that really was something new for me. 

7. What is the criteria that determines which track is going to be used for which of your projects?

I just make music and every now and then there are some friends of mine who are on labels and they ask me: “Hey Andreas, do you have 4 tracks for us?” and I am like: “Yeah, I`ve got 20, so listen to this” and send them something, and usually the label gets to decide which moniker I am gonna use or which track is gonna end up on the records.

I don't send any demos because I know that every label is getting too many demos anyway… So every now and then I do try to send something  to a label that I admire and I never hear from them anyway. I mainly just wait for my friends to contact me. I make music in the meantime, I've got a lot of ideas…There are probably 20 hours of music that is unreleased that I still think is great, but I just wait for my friends to give me the schedule to release any of it.

8. What kind of challenges do you face working as an artist and how do you overcome these challenges?

I mean right now we are hopefully at the end of the pandemic. I was gonna say in the middle of the pandemic, I'm not sure, but like everyone else my main challenge at the moment is actually getting money. Again, I'm super productive. I make music almost every day. I released my third TM404 album  about two months ago now in February and it's been received quite well and it got sold out or we didn’t press too many but the vinyl got sold out in two days. There are a few great reviews or whatever. But currently, you get the reviews, you get all the Instagram feedback or whatever, but it doesn't convert to anything apart from nice words and doesn't make you have an income. So that's really the biggest challenge at the moment, like how can I continue to make this if there is no way to actually make money out of it and like every artist, I don't make this kind of music to have an income. That would be super-super-super silly. 

9. Would you name a few clubs you can visit in Sweden?

Funny thing, I've lived in Stockholm now for 22 years or something like that, but for some reason I never  became a part of the scene here. I almost never play here. I do however go to a club called Under Bron, which is I would say the only club in Stockholm for alternative techno music if you are not counting all the illegal raves in the forests. But if you come as a tourist and you wanna go to one club in Stockholm I would recommend Under Bron. "Under Bron" is Swedish for Under the bridge and it's about 300 meters away from my studio, a really nice part of town. So that's if you are here for a weekend you should go to Under Bron. And if you are here for a couple more days and you wanna have more of, you know, ambient or deep meditation music you should go to Filkinen, which is a club that has been around since the 60s where you get to hear a music more like Mark Fell or Mego, more ambient noisy stuff and they always have a great sound system and the crowd is about 80 people maybe. It's always great and I probably have been there hundreds of nights for the past 20 years and I've never had a single bad night there. 

10. Describe minimal techno using only one word.

I would say Vainio as in Mika Vainio, and of course Robert Hood, but Robert Hood is two words so it's a little bit too minimal to use one word to describe minimal techno but ok, if I should only say one word I would say “frequencies”. Yes, that's super minimal. 

11. What influences you when you work on your music? 

The thing is I'm one of the guys or one of the people that are mainly interested in music. I don't get too much impression from other stuff. I do read books and go to galleries but what really inspires me is actually music. So I listen to a lot of music. I always search for new music so my main inspiration is actually coming from listening to other people's music . Maybe one week I would listen to Felix K and the next weekend I would listen to some afrobeat from the 70s that I've never heard before. So it's hard for me to actually say what inspires me except for listening to music.

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Questions: Ilya Kudrin