Interview by Dominic Irla
Atelier was conceptualized by childhood friends Alexander Inggs and Jas Miszewski whose love of analog synths, drum machines and effects pedals is revealed in a hardware-heavy live show. The project is a platform for combining their differing musical backgrounds – a drifting blend of indie, folk, house and techno with an underlying maturity that emerges in their frank performances and honest productions.
Ending off 2017 with a string of live shows, the duo brought their sonic signature to Berlin, Stuttgart & Zurich. This year sees their debut record land in the hands of Berlin based imprint LOSSLESS, owned by Mathias Schober and Thomas Herb, which is distributed by Dixon and Âme’s Muting The Noise.
We decided to chat to Atelier ahead of their highly anticipated live performance at CTEMF 2018 this Sunday, where they’ll be sharing the stage with Job Jobse and Gerd Janson.
MCBN: You’re childhood friends. When did the idea to make music together start?
That’s true – we’ve known each other forever. It wasn’t so much of a conscious decision but rather something that happened naturally while we were sharing a flat in 2013. We were both making our own music in rooms next to each other but were always sharing our ideas. This scenario kind of made the collaboration inevitable.
MCBN: You guys are quite mysterious in the sense that none of your music has been released to the public yet, besides a few short teaser videos on Facebook. Why have you chosen to keep your music offline and when can we expect something to be uploaded or released?
There is always the fear that sharing your music or art independently can lead to its disappearance in the vacuum of the Internet. We were more interested in finding the right home for our sound regardless of how long that process may take. In terms of our release, we have been fortunate enough to connect with Mathias Schober and Thomas Herb, who run the LOSSLESS imprint out of Berlin. We’re looking forward to releasing music with them this year.
MCBN: You guys recently came back for a European Tour. Tell us more about that…
We played some beautiful shows in Zurich for Miteinander Musik at Kauz, for the Homies Crew in Berlin and for the Aromåt collective in Stuttgart. It was surreal to get these bookings and such a positive response from the few people that have heard our music – whether that was from word of mouth, privately shared links or the few teasers we have posted on our social media. For example, our booking in Stuttgart with the Aromåt collective was based solely on our three one-minute preview videos, which struck a chord deep enough for them to invite us over.
MCBN: What does Atelier mean?
We started recording in a studio space that used to be used by Alex’s father. One day whilst recording, we were walking up the stairs to the studio and noticed a white plaque with black block lettering on it that read ‘ATELIER’. The meaning, for us, behind the name and a rather loose translation would be ‘a space where we can create’. It’s really a metaphor for our coming together and the direction it’s moving in.
MCBN: How would you describe the sound of Atelier?
Driving at night, windows down, leaving the city lights into a warm darkness.
MCBN: When you’re not making music together as Atelier, what are you getting up to?
J: I’m a writer and director in film. I also like to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
A: I create music for both personal projects and commercial clients, including film scoring and post-production.
MCBN: Your production stands out and comes across as authentic, how do you achieve this?
Our writing process is hardly ever the same, which we think lends itself to interesting results. A new song could stem from a field recording, a moment during a rehearsal, Jas’s lyrics and poetry, chord progressions, or something as simple as a percussive sound that might become part of a drum beat. Our love for hardware and outboard signal process also, for us, gives more interesting and personal results than readily available samples. We intentionally try to avoid generic 4/4 kick drum patterns, off-8th hi-hats and sustained bass notes if we can help it – although sometimes these things are necessary in our live sets – especially in a club environment. Also, leaving the city to record at Jas’s beach house on the East coast contributed hugely to the sound of many of our songs.
MCBN: You’re opening the Red Bull stage at CTEMF 2018 this Sunday at 18:00. What can the people of Cape Town Electronic Music Festival expect?
Without going into the technicalities of what we’re doing on stage, in the end it’s all about feeling. We’re here to share our story, and we hope that story moves you.
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