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Interview with Jonas Saalbach.

In depth with Jonas Saalbach

Jonas Saalbach is a brilliantly creative DJ/producer. First coming to our attention via a string of incredible releases via Einmusika, it’s nonetheless his latest endeavours which we’re really loving… especially his incredible new long-player, Headlights, released via his awesome Radikon label. Full of intricate sounds and beautiful soundscapes and melodies, it’s very much the sound of a producer at the absolute top of his game. We got in touch with Jonas ahead of the album drop to discuss his love for yoga, city life in Berlin, the new album and much more besides…

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How are you, how has summer been for you?

I am doing well. Thank you very much! My summer in Berlin was special in the sense that I worked a lot. To get a little bit of sun I’m in Mallorca now for two months and working from here. But a bit more relaxed than during my album production. I was in the studio practically the whole time and worked very hard on it. Those times are always insanely intense, but when I finish such a big project like an album it just feels very satisfying to me. I like to challenge myself all the time when it comes to music and during these intense times, I feel like I’m improving musically and technically as well. 

What is life in Berlin like, is it always about the party?

It certainly can be. But for me, it’s not anymore. When I came to Berlin in 2011, I went to a lot of parties. But after 10 years of living there and being in clubs all over the world almost every weekend, it’s not that exciting anymore. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy dancing on the dance floor, but just not that often anymore. Actually, my track “2011” on my album is dedicated to the last 10 years in Berlin. So many things have happened and I really like the city and its many faces.

Berlin is so much more tan just partying.

To come back to your question: There is so much more than just partying. The endless other cultural opportunities, sports activities, great jazz bars and restaurants make that never sleeping city so special. I know Berlin is amazing even if you’re not interested in techno at all. 

Tell us about your love of yoga and hiking and why that is important? How does it impact your music? 

As I said, I like the big city life like in Berlin, but I also have a deep connection to nature. Hiking has a meditative effect on me. Just take a little break from everyday life, which is filled with to-do lists, social media and co. Being surrounded by peaceful nature and being alone with your thoughts can be incredibly powerful. It’s also a moment where I think a lot about my label and my music. Sometimes when I get stuck with a track and go for a walk, I find the solution while thinking about it. And yoga is something that really helps me stay positive. I fell in love with yoga when I was in India a few years ago. Besides the athletic effect, which should not be underestimated, it’s great to learn how to get better control over your own body. After each session, I feel really happy, open-minded, relaxed and ready to go to the studio. 

Being surrounded by peaceful nature and being alone with your thoughts can be incredibly powerful.

You have a new album going, tell us about that, what inspired it? 

My new album is called ‘Headlights’ and it’s coming out on October 29 on my own label Radikon. I think the label work and my label mates are the biggest inspiration for me right now. Radikon has a very unique sound and I tried to produce an album that fits the label without losing my own style. For the album, I recorded some instruments like guitars and a cello and teamed up with great singers like Luna Semara, SANDHAUS and Angus Powell. ‘Headlights’ feels like a new chapter in my career. It’s also very interesting to be responsible for all the decisions and it’s really great to work on it with my friends. That’s the reason why we started the label: to have the maximum freedom as producers and to work with friends. On Youtube, you can find 2 of 3 ‘making of’ videos where I will tell a bit more about the background of my album.

Buy the album on Beatport.

How different a sound is it for you compared to normal? Did you enjoy making different sounds?

I really enjoyed the development of my sound. Before I started the first track (which was ‘Transformation’), I made a lot of notes about the sound design of the album. Also, I created a sample pack just for this album and that helped me a lot to create a piece of music that fits together and tells a story. I think the album is playable for DJs, but also good just to listen to from the first track to the last. 

You are also working on a new live show, right? Tell us about that?

Yes, lately I’ve been playing more DJ sets than Live Sets, but I felt like I wanted to represent my own music a bit more and go back Live, as I see myself more as a producer than a DJ. Even though I love to DJ. Right after finishing the album, I started working on a new Live Set for TIME:CODE. This stream is now online and I am very happy about the positive feedback!

How does playing live differ from playing as a DJ? Why do you like it?

I like both! When DJing I really enjoy representing the sound of my label Radikon but also playing Live shows is great. Playing only my own music feels very personal, as every little sound is created by myself. Any feedback, negative or positive, is also very personal. The work on the set already starts when I begin a new track in my studio. I also like to play my more chilled and melodic songs in my Live Set and have found that works really well on the dance floor. In a DJ set, I would probably not play them.

What else have you got coming up?

We will release a remix EP of the album in March 2022, and I’m very excited to see how other producers interpret my tracks. In November and December 2021, I have two tracks coming out on Oddity by Fur Coat. I really like the label and I’m glad I joined the crew.

For all the producers out there, I also want to mention that there will be a masterclass that I recorded with ‘Production Music Live’. It’s a very detailed walkthrough of one of my album tracks. We talked about sampling, Plug-Ins, effects, analog synthesizers, melodies and arrangements.

Thank you

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