Kn Radiodifusion // Rundfunk

Kana Broadcast 052 Lars Hammerling

January 22nd, 2018  |  Published in Feature, Kana Broadcast  |  1 Comment


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Lars Hammerling

The schisms of the Cold War brought about a fractured Berlin. It was a city of two divides that produced very different stories for those who were still relatively young and testing their imaginations. As an East-Berlin resident at the time of the wall being torn down, it created an opening in time where incredible possibilities were able to be realised through a period of intense social change. It’s no secret the cultural opportunities were an injection deep into the underground of electronic music. After a short period away in Hamburg where he established his first techno residency, he returned to Berlin where his incursion into production perpetuated a deeper sincerity to contributing something unique. His work with Dasha Rush that formed the LADA project continues to reinforce that vision. With releases across Dock Records, of which he is an label co-founder and Fullpanda Records, it has acted a strong foundation that has warranted bookings at not only both Tresor and Berghain, but across Europe.

So with that, this mix is a little special. All of it was produced live in the studio. Lars Hammerling paints his own sonic adventure for the next 70 minutes of Kana Broadcast 052.

EC: Lars we know a little about your time growing up in Berlin with music. To take a different approach this time, I read something recently about how our younger years define what we do later with how we interact with others and our ambitions. What was life growing up in Berlin if we put music to one side?

LH: Of course, the environment where you grow up defines your personality later. Despite from the city where you grew up, I think the most important part is your family and the education, and with education I don’t mean school education. If your parents try to find a reasonable way to bring them up as an independent person who thinks for themselves, then you already have a huge advantage.

But to switch the focus back to Berlin. I was born in East-Berlin. I was 12 years old when the wall came down in 1989. The end of my adolescent age was characterized by the transformation process from east to west, if you saw society in those terms. Especially the years 1990-1995 in Berlin, there were years of anarchy. The economy was fucked up in Berlin. The public institutions had no structure to understand what was going on, and many places like former factories and public buildings were empty and out of order. It was the perfect conditions for subcultures to evolve. I remember my first visits to Kreuzberg, because the best record and fashion stores were located there. For me as a boy from East-Berlin, it was really exciting to explore West-Berlin with all the freaks (in a positive matter) and foreign people along with my twin brother. At those times there was also always the hazard that you got beaten by skinhead groups or get your jacket ripped off by some street gangs, whom pretend to be hip hop gangsters. And sometimes it was really funny to watch those people after the experience of a first techno party on ecstasy and how they changed afterwards.

Furthermore, there was a certain aura during these years after the cold war. The military presence got less and less, because the allies left the city, the Red Army, the American Army etc. It created a feeling that the military got obsolete and it felt like all the remains of it (like empty army bases) are just traces of a really stupid, extraordinary expensive, useless thought process. Events like the -love parade- just amplified the feelings that from this point we are going to follow a new path for a peaceful world. Unfortunately, it did not remain for very long.

EC: So it’s hard to separate the politics and movements sometimes. What personal beliefs of yours challenge the social reality of the world we live in?

LH: Well this is a tough question. As I mentioned before I was growing up in a socialist country and I also experienced how the system did not work out, even when I was pretty young. I recently had a conversation with my father, who was an economist during the GDR period. He told me a lot about why socialism failed in the end economically. To much of the GDP went to spending in a none productive sector of the economy like police, security services, the border protection and military. E.g. the Soviet Union spent more than 40% of its GDP on a nuclear submarine fleet to compete with NATO. This is just crazy! Imagine how much you could spend instead on social welfare, infrastructure, environmental protection, science and education systems. For me it is really disappointing to see how these days the military spending increases all over the world, mostly for imperialistic purposes. Politics are always a question about economic interests and power. To create a fair new world paradigm, you have to give up national interest and get away from growth-based capitalism and spread the resources and funds equally. This implies, that the G8 countries have to compromise living standards. Many problems we are facing right now are caused by the assumption that growth is infinite. Obviously, we are living on one planet with limited resources. It means, we need a complete a global paradigm change, if you ask me. Instead of increasing the spending on military to fight against each other for the last resources on this planet, humanity should rather think about how to start exploding the universe as an infinitive source of resources. I am not completely against capitalism, because I believe that the competition in a capitalistic environment can be also a driving source for innovations.

Did you know that Rudolph Diesel the inventor of the Diesel engines wrote a book about Solidarism? The German title is “Solidarismus- Natürliche wirtschaftliche Erlösung des Menschen”. Translated -Solidarism Natural economic salvation of man-. On the contrary to Marx his approach for a fair society is based still on a capitalistic environment. Furthermore, Diesel was completely against the use of his invention for military purposes. The Diesel engine was supposed to be only for civil purposes. Sadly, many military vessels and vehicles used Diesel’s engines, after his death. He was the owner of the patent license and probably got murdered by the German secret service in 1913, before the first world war occurred in 1914. His book is definitely on my list to read and it might give me an idea, how we can change the world to be a better society, compared to the society we are living in right now. Honestly, I have don’t really have an answer to it just yet. Socialism requires a certain degree of altruism, which is not compatible with an individualistic life style, which most of our generation like to live. And I believe mankind is not made for altruism. Maybe it works out in a small environment like in the Kibbutz communities in Israel, That concept I truly like. It is also a good starting point for a discussion about the advantages and disantvantages of centralization, decentralization and standardization in general.

One approach for a better world could be the following fact as well. One of the most important invention and discoveries in mankind history were made in boring and relaxed situations. E.g. Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity”, the atom model of Bohr (on a horse racing place). So, if our brain is relaxed and not preoccupied by constantly looping tasks, each of us would be able to invent things even on a small scale. I don’t see the digitalization of society and the fact that more and more machines will overtake human working processes, as long as we don’t use these technological advancements for military purposes.

It might get clear now that I am a pacifist.

Lars Hammerling

EC: …so life and love aren’t linear right? They don’t move sequentially – it’s a multiverse of ideas and feelings. What are your thoughts on how those things cross your mind from time to time in an ever increasing complex society?

LH: Both life and love are an oscillational movement if you see it on a timeline. It might be a polyrhythmic sequence with changing not predictable bar and beat measures. I think it is important to have people behind you. Friends, family and a partner, with a comprehension to your ideas and the way you see things. It is important to share ideas with other people and on the top maybe create something together out of those ideas. If you do so, you can even face an increasing complex society. I do like to be alone very often, to get familiar with my thoughts and reflections. On a global scale you shouldn’t be.

EC: So that brings us to now then. Music is a vehicle to convey these things sometimes, or not. The mix you did for us was completely live from the studio. Can you tell us about what process you went though?

LH: Well politics doesn’t play a role in my music. And I would like to keep it out. If you do not have any lyrics in your music, it is nearly impossible to make any political statement. My approach to the music is more about catching a moment or to give an acoustic picture of an emotion or imaginable story, like I did with the Space Bolero EP or like we did it with the Lostbahnhof EP by LADA. It is more an expressionistic way. I see my gear, which I use, as my painting tools. My acoustic painting pallet consists of different sound syntheses techniques to paint soundscapes. Regarding this podcast, my aim was to experiment with polyrhythmic patterns and different sound synthesis. Latin, Jazz and Arabic percussions can be really inspiring. It means I already had a little picture in my mind, what I would like to do with it.

I never use preset sounds and the first thing I always do, is to create sounds with my own personal signature. I am also a big fan of field recordings, and birds can be such a great source for sounds. Meanwhile I have a little library of sounds from places I traveled to and have been in the last few years. For example, the outback and the bush in Australia is a really nice place for field recordings. What I really dislike is just switching from factory preset to factory preset. After collecting the sounds, I start composing the tracks and rhythm and that is the moment where everything comes together: ideas, emotion and feelings. Sometimes you just go to the studio and just have a good run, and everything happens automatically. Those are really rare moments and then you have to hit the record button straight.
I also like to go beyond the twelve-tone scale. Maybe that’s the reason why my music is more focused on soundscapes.

EC: Is that process different to how you play out live?

LH: No. The process is mostly the same as recording a one our live jam both in the studio and out at a gig. Live-recordings in a club are always difficult due to the sound systems. If the live set sounds good on the Club PA after the sound check, it does not necessarily sound amazing on the recording in the studio. The recording from the club I use mostly to evaluate which parts from the set get produced in the studio.

EC: There’s been some great work you’ve put out, notably one through the LADA project with Dasha Rush. How has that played out – everyone works on collaborations differently.

LH: The Lostbahnhof EP was a common creative process. And it is actually the way how I like to work, when I do music with someone. In the end it should be the accumulation of ideas and synergies of both people, which contribute to the final piece. Dasha recently reposted the Lostbahnhof video on Facebook and it is always nice to watch it again. The Lostbahnhof video correlates completely to what I said above. The entire picture is important.

Fortunately I met with Dasha. She has a wide comprehension for experimental music and doesn’t care about musical trends. She does not only consider Techno as track based music for DJs. The art approach is important to ensure everything is unique. Even if the record is not selling well because the DJ cannot implement it easily in a set. And actually, I don’t want to make music only for DJs. Dasha always encouraged me to go ahead with my music and LADA is a perfect musical symbiosis of both of us. I am LALALALA and she is DADADADA.

EC: Balancing all of this with your own time outside the studio must be difficult at times with your own work too. How have you found time management while making sure you pursue the things that are important?

LH: Well I mostly work in the studio during the weekend. My time management is easy. Less party more productive moments in the studio. To create something is more rewarding for me than anything else and I am addicted to it.

EC: All of this seems like you’re set for an even bigger few years ahead. We’re looking forward to it, Lars. Is there any parting advice or commentary you’d like to give about anything that occasionally crosses your mind on your next journey?

LH: A new LADA EP is in the process of being produced and I’m really looking forward to it.

Lars Hammerling Bandcamp

Elliot Clarke, January 22 2018

  • Christian Escape

    great and very inspiring Live-Set! Thanks for this one!!!