Originally from Gießen, a town near Frankfurt, Germany, Martin Stimming now spreads his melodically driven music from Hamburg to the world. Having released five albums altogether, four on Diynamic and his latest, ‘Exodus’, in cooperation with pianist Lambert on Kryptox, the restless producer still found time to remix Konvex & The Shadow’s track ‘Shining Like Haloes’. Martin’s remix approach seems to become one of the year’s musical highlights within the scene and depicts his almost unfailing potential to add his note to an existing musical piece. Over the course of the release Torture the Artist had the chance to chat to the artist, not only about the release but also his lack of sleep, his romantic side or the influence of negative feedback while performing.
Torture the Artist: Hello Martin, tell us something about your day.
Stimming: Well, my second child, my six months old son, steals a bit of my sleep as my wife and me divide the nights to feed the tiny creature. Last night was my job so every four hours he needs a fresh milk. I can’t remember the last time I slept more than 7 hours. <sighs>
Torture the Artist: At what age did you realize that you and music are in it for the long haul? And how did your surrounding react to your decision of making a living with music? Did you have to deal with any prejudices?
Stimming: I remember the one exact moment cause it hit me like a flash: it was a grey day and together with my best friend at his house we used to meet, smoke one (only one!) spliff and listen to an album. And at that particular day, suddenly pure interest morphed into destiny for me. While listening to one of the ‘Space Night’ samplers it was really was like: ok, I need to know how this stuff is made. This is what I want to do.
Two days later I started recording vinyl into music maker and rearranged those loops. I’ve been doing this for 18 years.
Luckily I am the fourth son out of four, so my parents were quite relaxed – the only thing they wanted me to do was finish high school grade (which I did with a very bad school note <laughs>) and to get my drivers license.
Torture the Artist: What’s the thing most people think they understand about being an artist but don’t?
Stimming: Probably how difficult it is to handle the daily freedom, combined with a latent fear of failure. It needs strong mental structures to really be free – of fear, mostly.
Nowadays, times seem to become more and more complicated as we are at a turning point into a new era.
Torture the Artist: You shortly released your EP ‘Die Luft, der Garten und das Meer’. How much romantic potential slumbers within you?
Stimming: I guess, quite a lot. <smiles> Nowadays, times seem to become more and more complicated as we are at a turning point into a new era with new tools and possibilities – what I do is focus on the human ability to reflect each other. I try to create a moment of energy that unites instead of divides.
Torture the Artist: At which places in or around Hamburg do you experience calmness, and is there any place you can recommend to find ease?
Stimming: Actually, I have no idea. Unfortunately, my wife and I decided to move into a very nice flat for quite a good price which is right next to the train tracks. Yes, I’m seeking calmness! <laughs>
Two lovers in each others arms, during an incredible digital pixel storm.
Torture the Artist: Your remix for Konvex & The Shadow’s track ‘Shining Like Haloes’ is about to be released shortly. What’s the movie playing before mind’s eye when listening to the remix?
Stimming: Two lovers in each others arms, during an incredible digital pixel storm.
It feels like I’m doing my craft with an open heart and no mental armour and suddenly someone appears to stab you.
Torture the Artist: The track has already proven it’s potential to create a monopolizing atmosphere and has beenn played by various key-players from the scene. After so many years in the business have you realized a fade of joy or a more routined dealing with positive reactions or feedback to your music?
Stimming: Good question. Let’s see it from the other side – as I’m playing quite a ‘mild and shuffled’ groove (in comparison to what’s played usually right now) it happens every now and then that someone tells me while performing that I need to play differently. mostly harder. This always, and I mean, always hits me hard in a bad way. When I talk to colleagues about that we all agree it’s totally inappropriate to tell this to an artist, especially while he’s playing. It feels like I’m doing my craft with an open heart and no mental armour and suddenly someone appears to stab you. You did ask me about my romantic potential earlier, didnt you? <laughs>
So, the phenomenon is: One negative reaction is stronger than 100 positive ones. Crazy, I know. And, just to mention is as well: there’s always a bit of truth in the negative ones, maybe that’s why they hurt so much.
Torture the Artist: What inspired you to remix ‘Shining Like Haloes’ and how did the remix come about?
Stimming: I heard the original which is very well crafted and immediatley fell in love with the mystic athmosphere.
Torture the Artist: What artist would you like to remix a track of yours, and why?
Stimming: I’m a huge fan of Amon Tobin so he would be my favourite artist for that but I’m afraid this will never happen. At least with the music I’m doing right now.
Torture the Artist: Which development or trend within the electronic music are you very down on as it affects you as an artist and your work?
Stimming: I follow technical improvements very closely: audio over IP, MPE, touch interfaces to name the most important/interesting topics – they usually cause trouble but from time to time there’s something unheard happening.
As I want to do this for the rest of my life, it’s important to be very true to my inner attitude which likes art more than commerce.
Torture the Artist: Is it possible to be truly creative while pursuing commercial ambitions?
Stimming: Oh well, this matter can be discussed (and every artist needs to) for hours and hours. I personally found quite a good way of positioning me somewhere on the creative-side without being too far away from the middle. As I want to do this for the rest of my life, its important to be very true to my inner attitude which likes art more than commerce.
Torture the Artist: Altogether you have released five albums since 2009 with your latest album ‘Exodus’ being a cooperation with pianist Lambert. Was this cooperation a first impression what people shall expect from you musically in the future, e.g. more cross-over approaches?
Stimming: There’s definitely a plan to morph my music out of the strict dance genre one day, yes.
Maybe it’s the body that helps the dancer to forget the physical situation.
Torture the Artist: Is your music a reprocessing of everyday occurrences and experiences in your life or rather a way to shut yourself from the outer world?
Stimming: It’s both. While making it I search for a momentum that moves heavily, both my body and soul. Maybe it’s the body that helps the dancer to forget the physical situation but the soul reproduces feelings already felt. But I don’t know. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Which one of the musical experiences you have gained by working with different artists or musicians over the past years has come closest to stretching you to the limit and how did you overcome it?
Stimming: I was doing a couple of shows on 4D sound with different artists and there was always a strong feeling of being in an area where nobody was before (which is in fact very true). Having a tool that works totally different than anything else before but still finding a way to make music on it was very challenging.
Torture the Artist: Which artistic frontiers would you like to cross with your music?
Stimming: Hm, maybe I just wanna help pushing the boundaries and stretch the limits for the dance formula.
Torture the Artist: What’s an artist you would love to collaborate with, and why?
Stimming: Working with Erykah Badu would be the greatest thing for me, as her voice and appearance is absolutely overwhelming for me.
Torture the Artist: If you could be an artist in any time period in history, when would it be, and why?
Stimming: I’m very happy with the times right now, maybe plus twenty years as I would love to have a touchscreen with a physical feedback that satisfies the finger tips.
Inteview by Holger Breuer