INTERVIEW Constantijn Lange

Berlin based live act and producer Constantijn Lange, known for his works on labels such as Laut & Luise, Traum Schallplatten or Sinnbus, just released a remix for latter label and Norwegian Indie Pop band Einar Stray Orchestra. Shortly after Torture the Artist had the chance to speak to Constantijn about a wide range of topics and wormed the secret rules of remaining creative forever out of him as well as his distaste for a certain kind of music and his passion for old movies that pick out the moon as a central theme.

I’m just thankful I’m able to make a living out of my passion – music.

Torture the Artist: Constantijn, tell me something about your day.

Constantijn Lange: Good morning! I just woke up with a smile on my face and thought of starting the day with the taste of some excellent coffee from Honduras and my girlfriend. We bought the coffee yesterday, unfortunately we did not buy it in Honduras but we got it from my hometown Eastfrisia. My next thought was that I should invest in a midi kit for my Juno 60 as soon as possible. Looking at tomorrow, I’m happy to spend it in my studio as I’ve been out of town the past few days. Finally back in the lab!

Torture the Artist: Being a sound designer and a producer means you must have a lot of unexpected creativity that slumbers within you. Does one field complement the other?

Constantijn Lange: I’m actually learning to separate both of those forms of creativity. The first is my personal creative outlet which gives me the ability to express 100% of my feelings, and the other, creativity that is there to fulfill the customers expectations and to give certain moving pictures the expression that is missing.

One might say that my music sounds quite cinemastically and comes close to a soundtrack, while the tracks I produce for TV shows or movies tend to be too musically for experts in this field. This is because the tracks’ arrangement is based on a musical approach that differs a lot from the cinnemastic one.The hard part is to not focus too much on the musical arrangement when it’s meant for advertising or documentaries. But since I spend so much time on eletronic music productions and playing as a live act, it gets tricky sometimes. In the end, though, I’m just thankful I’m able to make a living out of my passion – music.

Torture the Artist: The fact that you more or less have to be creative every day can be exhausting. How do you give yourself a break?

Constantijn Lange: You have to stick to some rules. Here are five:

  1. Four to five hours of musical creativity is enough for one day
  2. Good food makes your brain work the way you want it to –don´t ever skip breakfast! If you´re an early morning creative – go to bed early, and wake up early.
  3. Don´t expect to change the world within a day: Good music, and the idea behind it needs time to grow.
  4. If you find that there’s just no creativity one day, don’t be angry with yourself. Instead, do something else, like go for a walk, read a good book or focus on your own sample library (or revert back to rule number 2!)
  5. Learn to cook and spend time in the kitchen.

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Torture the Artist: Is it possible to be truly creative while pursuing commercial ambitions?

Constantijn Lange: Yes, it is. The trick is to realize that you’re still working in a creative field, while producing a desired soundscape for a customer. It’s also good to keep in mind that a customer could have bought a pre-produced soundscape from an online data base, but instead, they chose you, and there’s a reason for that and it’s your signature style or sound.

Torture the Artist: Imagine you had a clone of yourself and it could work for you. In which field would you assign it to to make your life easier?

Constantijn Lange: When producing music I like to keep an overview on everything that’s happening, so I don’t think a clone would be very helpful in my case. However, working with another creative head that’s not me, yes, that would be helpful.

We would do more traveling and writing letters.

Torture the Artist: If you could be an artist in any time period in history, when would it be, and why?

Constantijn Lange: The year 1971. I would try to spend time with Roger, David, Nick and Richard of Pink Floyd! Also, there wouldn’t be any internet or any social media, so we would do more traveling and writing letters and, of course, there would be beautiful sounding and looking synthesizers on the market.

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Torture the Artist: Do you think that the more involved you become in the music business, the farther away you get from music?

Constantijn Lange: No, not at all. I think that if you make a living out of music, it’s really improtant to understand the whole circus of things, and how to place yourself in it as a musician. To be honest, I’ve actually become more inspired as I’ve become more established in the music business.

The challenge of remixing Indie music is not to destroy their idea for the track.

Torture the Artist: What’s the challenge of remixing an Indie band, like Einar Stray Orchestra and from where, what made you decide to remix their track ‘Synthesis’?

Constantijn Lange: For me, the challenge of remixing Indie music is not to destroy their idea for the track with too much eletronic influence. Luckily, since I really love musical instruments and real recordings, I don’t find it that hard. If the label sends you the original stems and you hear amazing string or piano recordings, or it’s a beautiful vocal track which goes deep under your skin, or has recordings of unusual instruments, you don’t want to overlead it with new instruments. From there, your task is to enhance the track rhythmically as well as lengthen it to at least 7-minutes as it needs to be played in a club; maybe add one or two more elements. It should be like honouring an already amazing piece and to try and make it fit for a club setting. It was the vocal track and the dramatic touch of ‘Synthesis’ that made me decide to remix it.

Torture the Artist: If there were a video to ‘Synthesis’, what woudl it look like?

Constantijn Lange: Perhaps an interaction between a lionness and a lamb, both together in a cave. Those elements would float in a timeliness and lightless place in the middle of nowhere. But hey, you should ask Einar Stray about the content of the video as he’s the one who wrote this beautiful piece! <smiles>

It feels romantic to me, discovering a new world and maybe new life.

Torture the Artist: You produce music for short-movies. What’s a movie you would have liked to produce the soundtrack for, and why?

Constantijn Lange: Le voyage dans la lune – A trip to the moon’. I´m a huge fan of old movies and stories about the big dream traveling to the moon one day – it feels romantic to me, discovering a new world and maybe new life. It would be an amazing challenge to transfer the excitement of flying to the moon for the very first time into music.

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Torture the Artist: Who is the film music producer of your choice to do the soundtrack of your life and what would it sound like?

Constantijn Lange: Hans Zimmer, and tremolo all the time.

Torture the Artist: What type of music makes you decide to leave a club immediately?

Constantijn Lange: Right winged music. Tracks that are played too loud. No music.

Torture the Artist: Describe yourself with three track or album titles.

Constantijn Lange: Janis Joplin – Try; Glenn Miller – In the Mood; Debussy – La mer