INTERVIEW: konphas presents SYSTEM FAILURE



Upcoming release from our beloved Canadian label, Defmain Music, konphas presents their new release. “Close your eyes and let your mind wander in a world filled with noisy, noisy mechanical machinery.” This is how System Failure is presented, a sound work made up of four original songs – Propaganda, System Failure, Slave Labor and Renewal.


We have had the pleasure of interviewing him and this has been the result.


Can you tell us a bit about your experience? Where are you from and how did you get into music?


I’m from Berlin and actually started making music at a very early age so music has been with me nearly all my life, plus the lively music culture of Berlin with all types of genres and scenes has certainly been an important factor too.

I was in a pre-school music education class and then played the trumpet as a kid.

Later I discovered metal and rock music and started playing guitars, which is probably still my main (traditional) instrument. At some point I also got into drums and the piano has been a favorite of mine for many years now.

I’ve listened to electronic music for a long time but what really made me wanna jump in and create electronic music myself as well was when I discovered modular synthesizers through a friend in 2017. By 2019 I had some decent equipment together and started making my first tracks. All this coincided with a feeling of having reached the end of the road with what I had been doing before, there was just nothing new and exciting in it for me anymore.

Designing sounds with the modular synth was so incredibly refreshing and I kinda felt reborn artistically. Also around that time I actually started going to clubs to see specific artists and not just to party like before, so all these factors came together nicely and led me to where I am today.



How do you feel your music influences or impacts its listeners?


Hm, this is actually something I’ve never thought about. The only thing I really care about personally is that I have to be happy with the production at my current state. But if it does indeed influence or impact anyone, I hope it does so in a good way, whatever that means ha.


Has that sound changed much in recent years? What is your musical criteria in your latest work?


When I started out I guess my tracks were simpler and more traditional in song structure, now I have moved towards using plenty of textures and more complex arrangements while being more loopy at the same time to fit better in a DJ context. Also my production skills and kicks have gotten better but it’s a science for a lifetime haha.

Another thing I can say is that I don’t really like too much melodic content, especially in a traditional sense and in western diatonic scales, which are basically completely overused.

There is so much in alternative tonality to explore, right now I am focusing on microtonal scales (just intonation and different EDOs), so this is definitely something you will hear from me in the future.

The System Failure EP on the other hand also had a distinct concept, which was mainly based on field recordings, samples and heavy processing to create an industrial vibe, while not being a purely industrial work. There are a lot of rich textures, pads and subtle rhythmic elements complementing and contrasting each other. With this EP I basically wanted to do something heavy, dystopic and hard-hitting. Though the last track is more on a positive note and has a bit of a 90s vibe. To me personally it’s roughly about the current state of the world, western democracies and capitalism but everyone can and should have their own interpretation.


We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but do you think it has affected creativity?


Absolutely! I sometimes tend to be a bit of an old-school analog guy, which is still something I really love, but I totally have to acknowledge the awesome possibilities that digital brings. I mean basically anyone can have their own private recording studio now for an insanely moderate investment and still create professional results. And that’s just one small part of the technical aspect. I’m also really interested in the unique new sounds that only digital sources can create, that’s what it’s about for me. Why do people always have to categorize what sounds better or worse? I mean imagine what an overdriven tube amp must have sounded like to old folks back in the fifties. At the end of the day, I never wanna become conservative about sound or be one of the grumpy guys complaining about how everything was better in the past, so I try to stay open-minded and make the best out of what’s happening right now, which is actually pretty amazing.

Can you tell us about your present and future projects?

Of course, on the techno side, I’m working on a new EP using microtonal scales, this time completely from modular sources and with less aggressive kicks.

I also have a new recording setup with a 16 track analog mixer and a new interface so I can record tracks in one take and only have sporadic overdubs later if necessary.

On the ambient/experimental side, I’ve had a project since last year that is about the sonification of climate related issues. It’s entirely field recordings from earth and nature sounds to industrial noises.

Aside from that I’m working on some compositions for traditional instruments as well, right now it’s a piano piece focusing on stacks of fourths and a microtonal piece for two harps.


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