Could you give us a bit of background on yourself and what you’re currently working on?
I’m a writer/producer, have been living in Berlin for about six years now. I am about to release my first EP and am currently working on new music for my future releases in 2019.
You’ve been around for almost 2 years, is the life of an artist everything you expected it to be?
I’ve been making music all my life so basically nothing has changed. But over the last two years, my artist personae has taken over 99 per cent of my identity, which is a development I’m actually very happy about.
You call your sound “Trip Pop” which is the fusion of Pop and Trip Hop. Do you think growing up in Berlin, which produces predominantly Electronic/Techno, influenced this fusion you’ve created?
I wish Happy Trip Pop had something to do with Trip Hop! I love Massive Attack and Portishead. But Trip rather refers to the trippy quality of my sound. To answer the Berlin related part of the question: I don’t think its local scene has influenced me in any way. I never go out and I’m not a friend of Berghain and all the other touristy clubs in the East. I’ve tried to avoid the common infrastructures of the creatives living in this city since day one because I think if people who all look the same are doing the same hip thing in the same place it eventually leads to cultural grey out. I’d rather go hang in places where you can still guess the vibe of the West-Berlin of the 80s.
As someone who grew up in the age of social media, your music taste was not only influenced by your surroundings, but by what you’ve come across thanks to the internet. Who are some of the artists you grew up being influenced by?
Amongst others, my early heroes have been the Knife, the Prodigy, Radiohead, Hot Chip, No Doubt, Queen Adreena, Björk, Grimes and – very important – Guns n’ Roses.
Since your debut in 2017 with “Trash From the Past” do you think your style has changed? Or do you feel you came into the industry knowing exactly what type of music you wanted to create?
Oh, yes. My style has definitely changed. I’ve always had an omnivorous taste, have been listening to music across all sorts of genres. I might have just figured out what suits me most and what makes most fun to work on in the studio and to play life. I’m not afraid to stage this process of discovery in public. I don’t want to be a fully designed, consistent product ready to enter the market. I want to showcase this process of becoming more of what I already am.
You released two other singles in 2017, “Flesh To White To Black To Flesh” and “Shock Mounted” – all three songs combined accumulating over 107,000 plays on SoundCloud alone. Did you expect to get such a fanbase so quickly?
I didn’t think about numbers at all back then. And I still don’t because I don’t want to strive after appreciation measured in numbers. That would compromise my art and take up too much RAM in my head. I’d rather focus on something else. That the whole music industry is making decisions based on numbers is a disastrous development. They do it because it’s handy and because those decisions are less impeachable than the ones based on an A&R’s or an editor’s gut feeling.
You’ve just released your debut project Dr. Ara – how do you feel now that it’s finally out to the public? Are you excited or nervous?
Definitely not nervous at all. I am excited for the months ahead of me. Dr. Ara helped me figure out where I wanna go with my music and now I have the chance to work on new music and work with other artists whose sound I’m into.
Your singles “Wonderland”, “Don’t Work Like That” and “Ghost 2 You” are all featured on the project. For those who have yet to hear the songs, can you explain what these songs are like?
In short: “Wonderland” is a dreamy, beach-vibe track with breakbeat elements. “Don’t Work Like” that a pop tune à la Tove Styrke. “Ghost 2 U” is more industrial and gloomy. “Bare to the Bone” – which I wrote and produced with BLVTH – has more of a hip hop vibe. The sounds we used certainly also remind of PC Music productions. Track number five is “Romeo”, which is the focus track of the EP and my main reference point for the music I’m working on right now. Like “Ghost 2 U”, it features some rogue Eurotrance sounds and a more abstract vocal production. Something I am exploring to a greater extent in my current studio work.
What was the creative process like for this project?
I’ve been writing the tracks for Dr. Ara over the last year. So they kind of represent different moments in my life in which I had time to reflect on something. Some incidents trigger my drive to write a song and some don’t. It’s interesting for me to differentiate between the two in retrospect and recognize patterns.
All of your content up to this point has received a great amount of support. What about your music do you think makes people gravitate towards you? When you look back on your career in 20-30 years, how would you like to learn your music affected people?
What people keep telling me is that they experience my music as being unique. They might like that there’s something odd about it, that I’m citing the mainstream pop music idioms they are familiar with in an ironic, non-generic manner. Who knows.
Berlin is known for its nightlife and music festivals. Are there any music festivals that have caught your attention? Are there any you hope to perform in the future?
Oh yes! My favorite festival is CTM. I’d love to play there. Lollapalooza wouldn’t be too bad either.
As I mentioned before, social media has allowed listeners to consume music from all over the world. Is there any place that has shocked you to learn you have a fanbase? Is there anywhere you would like to travel to spread your music?
I was surprised that there’s so many people listening to my music in Korea! I have no idea why this has happened. But apparently, there’s something in my music that made them connect to it. A trip to Korea is definitely on my list.
Now that you’ve released a project, what are some of your main goals for the year?
I’ve already started to work on my follow up EP. Release is planned for autumn. So what I will do this year is mainly going to be writing, producing more audio and visual content, travelling and playing shows.
Is there anything you would like to say to your supporters?
You should have beer with cake instead of coffee or tea. It’s good. Trust me. Alcohol-free is cool too. And thanks a million – although I can’t thank you enough!