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Jack Smith

Reflection Nocturnal: minimal darling Es.tereo talks influence, environment and approach.

Where does the name Es.tereo originate from?

It first came up around 5 years ago. I was searching for a new synonym and after brainstorming with a good friend it became Es.tereo. It is formed from “Stereo” and the German word “Es” (engl. - it), which means something undefined, uncertain and free; and that's what I want my music to sound like! Later I found out, that Es.tereo is also the Spanish word for “Stereo” - perfect coincidence!

How did you originally get into music production?

Oh, that was kind of a long process which started very early. As a small child I was very sensitive to every kind of sound or music. I was reacting and interacting with music from the very start, as my parents told me. Music has been on my mind for as long as I can remember. I got deeper into music through my fathers old vinyl collection. It consisted mainly of hard rock and heavy metal records from Iron Maiden etc., but there was also a lot of world music.

Then, in the early 90s, when I was still a small boy, eurodance had a large impact and was my first touch with electronic music – even if it was really bad and trashy. I grew up in the rural outskirts of Rhein-Neckar, where drum & bass and jungle had been very strong since the 90s and had a huge influence on the local music culture. I first got in touch with the music when I was 14 and was completely gripped by it! Since then it became a huge influence in my life and I can't imagine living without it. It didn't take long before I was buying my first turntables and started to build up my own record collection.

Later I became resident in the Heidelberg based “Fight-Club” (RIP), which was run by one of the early raisers of Breakbeat Culture in Germany, the Bassline Generation. Next to the love of music, computers were also a big fascination for me; so it was only natural that I had my first musical experiments from quite an early age. After trying several well known music software programs, I finally ended my journey through different types of programs and have now found my favourite, which has become my personal universe!

"There is a lot of great and interesting music around today but sadly, it often doesn't find its way to the clubs or people; many, many DJ's and promoters are afraid of this kind of sound and they think it’s too deep and doesn't work for a crowd – but it does!!!"

What would you say is the single most important influence in defining your sound?

This is a hard question to answer. I would like to say “Fusion”. I try to fuse together different worlds and genres – so there isn’t really a single most important influence. I personally like to listen to dubtechno, drum & bass and good dubstep. So my works are trying to build a bridge between these genres by creating something new.

Your work tends to lean towards the deeper minimal, with a concentration on the optimistic over the more tear-out focused sounds of Loxy & Resound and Overlook for example, how does this reflect your approach to music production?

I grew up in a small cozy town in the south of Germany, hidden in the forest of Odenwald just outside the old and charming city of Heidelberg. It was hidden between the woody valleys around the riverbed of Neckar, which are almost untouched and original. So nature has always had a very deep influence on me. 4 years ago I moved to Berlin, which is - with its urbanity and metropolitan charm - the complete opposite of my old hometown! So maybe the fusion of experiencing these two worlds could make the difference in my sound, which we were talking about earlier.

To what extent does Berlin affect your musical approach?

I love Berlin – both the urban parts and the green areas. As I said before, I really enjoy when it is green around me, and Berlin is just a great place to live. You have so much art, music and culture; people from all over the world are making this place a very special melting pot and it is a pleasure to live in the middle of it!

Some might say that the ‘drum & space’ sound is pandered to home listening as opposed to a club or festival environment. How would an Es.tereo live set differ to a studio mix such as your Deep Structures series, if at all?

I play in a club-setting a little differently compared to my podcasts. I would say a bit more “dance floor oriented”, but I'm still trying to present people with a rich and wide journey of 170 bpm bass music. There is a lot of great and interesting music around today but sadly, it often doesn't find its way to the clubs or people; many, many DJ's and promoters are afraid of this kind of sound and they think it’s too deep and doesn't work for a crowd – but it does!!! So I really want to showcase this kind of sound and present it to a larger audience in the hope that they’ll learn more about the sound beside, or let’s say instead of, only hearing mainstream drum & bass.

What does your production setup consist of exactly?

It is a complete digital system. I'm working with Cubase, using Ableton Live in Rewire, next to the whole Plugin and VST-World. For control I use an Edirol Keyboard and my Bluesky Monitors.

Your track ‘Between Time’ was one of the highlights of Absys’ Missing Fragments LP this year, what else are we to expect from Es.tereo in 2012?

There is a lot on its way! The next release will be “Purple Sky” which will drop on Vinyl from Influenza LTD in June followed by another 12” on the same label with “Junction 12”, later this year. There will be a remix of my Debut EP on Urban Poetry Records (Blurmotion EP) which is almost finished and ready, featuring remixes from the mighty Indigo, young god Clarity and the very underrated Gunston. Look out for the “Blurmotion Remixed” EP on Urban Poetry in Autumn. Other than that I have a remix of Gunston's “Medikahn” coming later this year.

"I try to fuse together different worlds and genres"

Around winter there will be a Silent Dust remix of my older tune “Have A Dream” on a CD-Compilation coming on Influenza LTD. Another 12” with “Magnetic” is on its way on Respect Records. There are other exciting bits planed for Urban Poetry as well, so keep a look out for that, and I have many other projects currently on the way.

Can you give us a current top 10 of tracks you’re feeling right now, drum & bass or otherwise?

Acid Lab – Detroit´s Soul
Clarity – Other Sights
Es.tereo – Eden
Felix K – Aussenwelt
Marus – Emerald
LXC – Eleven Eleven
The Curity – Window
Gunston – Solar Clock
Mode – The Abyss (Sam KDC´s Acid Re-Think)
Es.tereo – Blurmotion (Indigo Remix)