Interview by Shannon Lawlor
Marc Romboy is a German electronic producer, DJ and artist who has for the past few decades been an integral part of local and international house and techno communities. Romboy has set the bar high since the late 90’s, releasing numerous singles, EPs, LPs and collaborations through prominent labels and imprints including his own Systematic Recordings, who have issued works by Blake Baxter, Stephan Bodzin, Robert Owens just to name a few. He has also performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues such as Fabric, Womb, Berghain and Watergate, and has performed three Boiler Room sets to date.
Romboy’s groundbreaking 2017 output Reconstructing Debussy in collaboration with Dortmunder Philharmoniker gained vast notoriety for blending soaring, atmospheric electronics over the late composer’s classical workings. Now, Marc Romboy is back with a reflective two part output titled Moonface/Zukunft which was released on October 26th via Systematic Recordings, and showcases this talented producer’s wizardry in ways only one could imagine.
We caught up with Marc Romboy on futuristic sounds, dream collaborations and time machines:
For those foreign to Marc Romboy’s cascading sonority, how would you personally describe the music you create?
Future music. Music aliens would like.
Your latest dazzling two track offering Moonface/Zukunft was released on October 26th via Systematic Recordings. Could you give us some insight into the recording process and how it may have differed to past studio sessions?
Both tracks are the result of jam sessions with my Moog Sub 37. This analogue synthesizer has amazed me so much that I was obsessed with several sessions. Both tracks are the product of both sessions and I hope everybody can feel the joy I had!
Tell us a little bit about Systematic Recordings – you founded this imprint in 2004 and have worked with reputable artists ranging from Booka Shade to Martin Landsky, etc. What’s next for the label? And are there any other releases in the pipeline?
Systematic turns 15 years old in 2019 which makes me proud. It was simply meant to be a platform for good music made by people I like. The next releases are another collab with my pal Petar Dundov, an impressive EP by Sascha Braemer and next year it’s time for a new Robert Babicz album.
You are also known for consistent genre-blending – especially your 2017 record and Boiler Room experience Reconstructing Debussy, where you, along with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra transformed the late, iconic composer’s work into expansive electronic/symphonic pieces. How do you separate the two genres, and how do you merge them together into brooding, cohesive and possibly modernized renditions?
I don’t think I have to separate anything. Music was always exciting when there was a crossover of things. I started to make electronic music as I was fascinated by the foreign and futuristic sounds synthesizers could generate. Science fiction for your ears. So why not mix in Debussy with this? It’s maybe nothing for the dance floor but you can listen to music on the sofa, on the plane or in the car, too.
Where do you usually like to seek inspiration from while composing or producing? Do you find it comes naturally, or do you have to open up a book or enjoy a good film to really get into the right mindset?
Well, I don’t actively search for inspiration as I consider every single second as inspiring; the sounds of the subway when it arrives, the cacophony of voices and sounds at the airport or the tweeting bird in the forest. Everything is actually music and permanently influences us.
“Zukunft” is an electro-techno flurry of gathering storms and sci-fi storytelling. Could you give some insight into the meaning behind this particular piece and what inspired you to create it?
Zukunft means “future” in German, and the notion was that this track could be a pop music song in 50 years or so. Nowadays pop music on the radio sounds formatted and boring, clean, always the same ingredients. This track is chaos, unusual, wild, dark and weird. So maybe it’s the mainstream in 2068, who knows?
You have collaborated with a number of talented artists and producers out there, but if you could choose that one “dream collaboration”, who would it be with, and why?
I would love to hang out a few days with Johann Sebastian Bach whose works I’m currently editing. I have so many questions to ask him and he would be amazed by the synthesizers and machines we have for sure. Do you have a time machine somewhere?
Care to mention some of your favourite releases which came out this year?
I’m very happy about my releases on Innervsions and Kompakt as the tracks “Infrared“ and “Galaxy in an atom“ mean a lot to me. Besides this I have a lot of respect for both labels and the people behind them.
What will 2019 bring for Marc Romboy?
Many new tracks, a 15 years of Systematic compilation and a special live show which is more than due and will have its debut at Rex in Paris January the 11th.
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