[Interview] Robot Koch- the man, the vision, the R2D2s

Even robots turn to flesh sometimes, and here we have a record in search of that elusive nectar, squashing the digital and the analogue into one fresh sound-pie. Robot Koch explores that sensibility on his new EP, Listen To Them Fade, a musical laser beam that lands in the midst of a tribal fire. The full album will be out in October, by which time I’ll think of better similes 😉

Following is an interview with Robot Koch and a preview of the EP.

What, or who is fading?

We are and our planet is.

We know we mess up our planet and we know we got the means to change it but don’t do anything about it, or way too little. Just take the summit in Copenhagen as an example of bold ignorance, it was a fucking disaster.

Experts estimate that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That is just one example. And we don’t do shit. We just listen to them fade….

What made you release your current EP on cassette as well as in digital format?

I love the good old tape, i had the project the tape vs rqm for a reason, it was all dedicated to the culture of mixtapes. So when Gordon from Project Mooncircle kicked it to me to do a bonus mixtape on an actual cassette tape..  I was like
hell yeah, let’s do it!!

The artwork for Listen To Them Fade is visually arresting and quite intricate; is there a story behind it?

Robot Koch Listen To Them Fade artwork

44 flavours do all my artwork, i just feed them ideas and they flip it in their unique style. They work a lot with wood and organic materials which i like, its not too glossy and has a lot of structure.

The inspiration for this character was a puppet i bought in Mexico City and a painting by Leonora Carrington.

Mexico is a very different place compared to Berlin, where you’re based, on so many levels. What have you seen or done in Mexico that has changed your outlook on life, and how has it touched on your music?

The whole EP was done while I was in Mexico, which is an amazing place. I loved it. I loved the people, the culture, the food and I had a lot of good and bad experiences there, which in one way or the other influenced the EP. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it changed the way I look at my life, but it’s small details that inspire you sometimes, like the light or a book or artists you discover (like in my case I discovered the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, which really inspired my work).

People are saying that music today is only a rehash of things that have already been done. Do you think that art has to be totally original to be valid?

I think recombination is the key. It’s true – every note has been played and every rhythm varied but now the challenge is to recombine the dots of decades of music history in a way that is refreshing and exciting, so it feels new, even though all
the elements have been there before.

the Robot (Koch)

Some writers have a routine in that they write a specific number of pages every day, even if it’s bad writing, they’re just exercising their skills. Do you think that could be applied to music- do you have such a routine?

Well I kind of do it ’cause I do music daily, but not all of it has to be used or released, sometimes i just play the piano and look out of the window and get lost in it. I don’t even have to record it, ’cause it’s just for that moment.

I know you’re a fan of the Wu Tang Clan, who have some widely known cultural and spiritual influences, like old kung fu flicks, chess, and Islamic values. Is there anything guiding you spiritually?

I´m big on spiritual stuff but in my own way, like music i like it eclectic so I take my “religion” from all ends of what different spiritual or religious ways of perceiving reality have to offer. I believe in energy and the universe and stuff like that. not god as a religious figure. And Wu Tang was just dope music, I was not overly into kung fu flicks to be honest, but I loved the music and the vibe they created.

Any robot has to be a fan of science fiction films… So what unknown gems do you recommend?

I`m afraid i got nothing new to add here. Star Wars was a big influence. Some 70s Godzilla flicks were big, I dug the first and second Alien movies a lot too.

I hear you collect toys. I assume we’re not talking trips to Toys’R’Us, so give us an idea of what your collection looks like.

Some of it is my Star Wars collection from when I was a kid, still got some original sealed action figures from the late ’70s. Then all sorts of robots which are often given to me as presents by friends, and weird alien and monster-type characters, they are all over my crib, on every shelf and on my studio equipment there is some little guy sitting and looking at me.
I imagine that they all come to life when I leave the room and then they hurry up to sit back on their place when I walk back into the room.

And finally, cyberpunk or steampunk?

hippie skank

So there you go.

More Robot links:

Listen to Them Fade snippet (mp3)

Listen To Them Fade official site – EP out in May

The Tape vs RQM (another one of Robot’s endeavours)

robots dont sleep (Robot’s label)

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