Berlin-based Lars Huismann has built a career around releasing raw and honest analogue techno, making him one of the most exciting techno acts to emerge in the last decade. We sat down with Lars to chat about his most recent release on SHDW & Obscure Shape’s new imprint Mutual Rytm, influences, production tips, his connection with Ireland and more.
As techno continues to grow as a genre, breaking through as a new and respected producer can be a strenuous task. Finding your sound and maintaining a quality output can be an intricate art. As trends transpire from year to year, producers can get lost in a feverish assault on techno’s next big thing. Maintaining poise and confidence in your own sound within techno can be a precarious and somewhat self-deprecating path for artists who desire to play regularly and be fashionable within techno’s delicate framework.
One artist that has shined above many others has been Berlin-based Lars Huismann. Lars has been devoted to pushing a fervent path in techno since his first record, over a decade ago.
Lars’s journey into music came long before his journey into techno production. The Berlin native began drumming at the tender age of 11, playing somewhat eccentric music for a young boy at the time. Lars threw himself into jazz, fusion, and all the way up to progressive metal. Lars quickly understood that music was a passion, and his creativity was best expressed through the percussive art-form.
Fast-forward to Lars’s late teens, and the young creative has stumbled upon FL Studio & Cubase. Lars began to shift his creativity into the world of digital production, quickly transferring his drum patterns onto a computer. This soon led Lars down the electronic music rabbit-hole, finding solace in techno’s relationship with tribal rhythms.
In 2015, Lars founded his own label, LHR, focusing on murky, hypnotic techno. Lars ran into production and running a label with no ambition to make a career out of it, but to satisfy his creative output. Lars has always focused on releasing music with an idiosyncratic flavour. In recent years, Lars has revisited his younger self, throwing himself into the tribal rhythms that consumed him as a young boy.
We caught up with Lars Huismann to chat about his most recent musical output, his production journey, the Berlin techno scene and more.
You’re on the back of an absolutely massive release on SHDW & Obscure Shape’s new imprint Mutual Rytm. How are you feeling now that the dust has settled from the release?
After a long ride of production, testing the tracks in clubs, selection, mastering and pressing, we finally made it. I’m really happy about the overall feedback. Also the fact that the Vinyl was sold out very quickly.
You recently spoke about how you wanted to change your sound, and it coincidentally crossed over with the new vision of Mutual Rytm. What inspired you to move in a new direction with your music?
I wanted to continue where I started about 10 years ago. I got into electronic music-production in that time period and released my first Vinyl later with a friend in 2014 (FPR004). My sound back then was already very House and Dub influenced.
The EP title ’Sounds From The Past’, coupled with the vibe of the record, it seems to be a very clear tip at techno from the 90’s & 2000’s. What producers were serving as inspiration during the production process?
Dave Angel, Vince Watson, Aitor Ronda, Danilo Vigorito, Gaetano Parisio, Ignition Technician, Hardcell, Mhonolink, Carl Falk, Glenn Wilson, Red Head, Hertz, Damon Wild, Paul Mac, Echoplex and many more.
Continuing with the production- You’ve spoken on social media about not wanting to rush into releasing this project. Why did you want to take your time creating this project?
Many released tracks these days are only played for a certain time period. New techno-trends come and go. I also realised that I don’t play my older tracks for long. Of Course that’s partly because I get bored or critical about my own productions over time (which is a normal thing). But I think the main reason for the current state of techno-releases is the lack of patience & effort for a timeless unique sound-design. Also a bit laziness.
Many young producers just wanted to make something trendy and rush from release to release. The factor of producing something that I can play long ahead in the future, was an important factor.
You’re a very dedicated analogue producer. Do you feel hardware is integral to pushing a more vintage techno sound?
Partly yes, partly no. There are tons of good vsts released the past years, emulating the characteristic of circuits from classic samplers and synths. The same goes for tapes and compressors. So yes, you can pretty much push the vintage sound with software. But it has its downsides.
The thing with plugins is that you easily install lots of them and don’t get to know them. In comparison, when you use analog gear, you start to appreciate & study every parameter much deeper, bcs you spend so much time with it.
The biggest disadvantage of software-plugins, they lack imperfections, which are present in hardware-circuits. Very often hardware-parameters react much more sensitively than with software. You can use that as an advantage and go crazy. Particularly for drops, breaks where you want to peak-out the progression. In general, nonlinearities & unintended intermodulation in the electric-circuit often result in some really nice extra layers of harmonics.
I use my hardware to process the audio signal from software synths & samplers. For me, it doesn’t matter so much where the audio-source is coming from. Digital or analog. More important is the audio-processing with hardware. I regularly use my IotineCore Filter, Vermona and Sherman Filter to bring more character and groove in the signal. Analog filter units often have their own signature sound. That’s why they play such a big role in my set-up. And there are no limits in control. For example, I always use two audio-trigger-signals from my daw, to control the envelope of my hardware-filter-unit. So basically you can automate filter grooves. Nice for pads, stabs or percussion loops.
For my upcoming material, I use a Tascam 122MKII Tape from time to time. The saturation you get with tape-machines is hard to find in software-tape-emulations. But the plugins are getting better and better. Lots of interesting tape-emulations have been released in the past years.
Looking a little further back into your production journey. How and when did you get into producing music?
About 15 Years ago, when I got into recording & producing my own band-projects. Electronic music was not such a big part of my producing life by then. I enjoyed listening and going out to techno/house, but focused my creativity on mixing instruments from acoustic-drums, e-guitar, vocals etc.
I actually started playing drums when I was a young kid, which gave me an early passion for rhythmic oriented music genres like jazz, funk and progresssive metal. As I started to record those projects with software like Cubase etc, I developed a big passion for mixing and producing music. First it was a bit experimental, but transitioned to something deeper. I just really enjoyed producing music from the perspective of a drummer, in which you see and perceive music in a much different way than a pianist, guitarist etc..
Techno as a significant contrast to progressive metal, challenged me to create track-dynamics with the most simplest elements & rhythmic tools. Those both genres are extrem different genres and have their own purpose when it comes to live-performance, but can challenge a producer in a way that can be very tempting.
You’ve had some pretty massive releases on Soma, KAOS, Voxnox, Animal Farm and of course Mutual Rytm. Have you always intended to pursue music as a career, or did it kind of fall into place as the years went on?
As I mentioned before, I started playing drums at a quite young age and had access to production-equipment which was the foundation for my later development. So music was always a big role. When I started to get into house/techno production about 10 years ago, I didn’t plan to pursue any career as a DJ, so that was something that fell into place, after I released my first Vinyl.
Looking at a release that is a little closer to home with Four Four Magazine. You released on Irish techno producer Stephen Mahoney’s ‘Delinquent Delivery’ imprint. How did the relationship with yourself and Stephen begin?
We both met at a party @Prince Charles Club Berlin. He was hanging out at the bar like I did and we both coincidentally got into a chat about the current state of techno. He mentioned that he is running a label and I’m a techno producer. Later I sent him some demos and things started to get rolling.
You’re based in Berlin at the moment. How are you feeling about the Berlin techno scene?
Currently I’m not going out so much, but when I go or checking the lineup online, I see much more diversity of different techno parties than some years ago. You have all kinds of different techno-genres represented. From deep techno, to more harder & ravey stuff etc. Also what I noticed is that more and more promoters from other countries are organising events here in Berlin. I think that’s a great trend overall and results in variety and young DJs can have access to the stage.
What current artists are inspiring you right now?
There are mostly only the old school artists from the early 90/2000 period which inspire me in a way, that they have significant influence on my own production or dj-style.
You’ve been teasing some rather exciting music projects on your social media. Can you give us any hints at when or where we can hear more Lars Huismann?
Later this year, my second EP on Mutual Rytm will be released. Also some Remixes and VA`s here and there. For now, I decided not to release too many EP`s, rather keep those materials for a potential live-set. But things can change of course.
One last thing before I let you go – Can you drop some words of wisdom to aspiring techno producers?
Don’t rush and take your time & patiences. Be consistent with your regular production-workouts, so your signature sound gets more significant over time.