Interview: Techno Giant Paul Kalkbrenner Talks Ultra Debut And More

Paul Kalkbrenner may be the hottest thing to come out of Germany since schnitzel. The Berlin producer performs his specific brand of electronic music live in a fashion that can be likened to a one-man band far more than a typical DJ set.

By breaking down tracks and building them up again in unique ways before the audience’s eye, it’s no wonder Ultra Music Festival snagged him for 2014’s massive installment.

Read our exclusive interview with Paul Kalkbrenner and check out his sound below.

VIBE: What are your feelings about your upcoming Ultra Miami debut? Are you excited? Are you nervous?
Paul Kalkbrenner: I’m curious about it. I remember times when it was WMC and mainly about vinyl and house music. I have never played there myself. So, let’s see what all the fuss is about.

What do you love about techno the most?
That’s very simple. Always was, always will be: the bass drum.

How did your acting role in ‘Berlin Calling’ affect your production career?
I did not affect my producing, but it surely boosted my career, as more people got in touch with my music.

Would you consider ever being in any other films in the future?
No, not really, but never say ‘never,’ right?

How has the Detroit movement influenced your career?
The sound of Detroit was very present in my early rave days at Tresor in Berlin. I didn’t know the records back then, but it was the sound of my first nights out and my introduction to techno.

Would you consider the Berghain to be the best techno club in the world? If not, what is?
I wouldn’t say so. It surely is one of the most known nowadays, but there are or were too many other great techno clubs in the world to mention and single out one as the best.

As far as production, what programs do you use to currently produce, and what are your favorite aspects of these programs?
To produce my music I only use Ableton today. Back in the day I used to work with all this hardware in my studio, which today I only use in bits and pieces and when I’m playing live.

If you weren’t a producer, what else do you think you would be doing?
Good question. I would hope a football (soccer) pro.

Looking back on all the tracks you’ve produced can you pinpoint which ones have defined your sound the most?
Basically all tracks from the album Self. That was the album and sound that made me an album artist. It was the fist time, where I had the feeling I nailed the sound that I wanted to make. It’s actually 10 years ago…wow.

What drives you?
Nothing really. It’s my music that drives me. There is nothing else I learned, and nothing that could replace it.