Johannes Brecht Talks

We discuss Henrik Schwarz album 'Influences' with its arranger...

Johannes Brecht Talks

We discuss Henrik Schwarz album 'Influences' with its arranger...

Few people are brave enough to take the plunge into a genre that is anything other than the one they are most comfortable in. However, Johannes Brecht can boast the ability to work with both house and classical music, transitioning seamlessly between the two. As well as being the composer behind Henrik Schwarz's upcoming album Instruments he is a producer in his own right, with releases on Ten Walls' Boso label, so has a foot in both worlds. We asked him a few questions to find out a bit more about how he manages to handle both styles of music;

Please introduce yourself: who are you, where are you and what are you?

My name is Johannes Brecht. I’m a musician from Stuttgart, Germany.

What is your musical background? How did you first get involved in music?

I’m a classically trained professional musician. My whole family are musicians so at an early age I started playing piano and double bass. After school I studied jazz bass at the music college in Stuttgart.

Tell us a bit about 'Instruments' - what exactly is it all about?

It's Henrik Schwarz's club music arranged for chamber orchestra without any electronics - that is very important!

How did you first get involved with the project?

I got a request from a jazz festival in Stuttgart to create a special premiere concert. So I wanted to combine an electronic artist with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. That was 5 years ago and was actually the first time Henrik and I met. Since then we have worked on the project with different ensembles.

How do you go about arranging something like this where there's no real template to use as a guideline?

Exactly. My approach was to capture more the energy or mood of the original, than the music and try to create a similar feeling with the orchestra. Of course, keeping the key elements of the tracks but using the language of the orchestra. The club tracks are often very reserved with melodies and harmonies, so I had to change and add harmonies and a lot of music. My intention was to create music that is not crossover. I wanted to create classical music

One of the key things about the project is that you've taken out the beats, do you think that having a strong beat is something we've become a little too obsessed with?

I don’t know. Without the beats the music starts to flow and you have the possibility to concentrate more on all the details.

Do you think there are many similarities between house and classical music?

No. House music is very rhythmical and you have the grid every track stays on. In classical music, there is no grid and rhythm is more something like agogic.

What makes 'Instruments' so unique?

The approach was not just to play the original tracks with an orchestra, because that's boring for the orchestra and its always what crossover music has done.

We wanted to create orchestral music that stands for its own with the key elements of the originals in mind.

I hear you're also a producer in your own right, how do you find straddling the different styles of music?

Yes, I love to jump between the different genres of music and combine them. That makes everything interesting.

Which style do you feel a greater affinity with?

That's very difficult - I think I need the variety.

What can we expect to hear from you in the near future?

I’m working on my first solo album. It will be released this year on the Japanese label Mule Musiq.


Henrik Schwarz's Instruments is out on 13th April via Sony.

Future Disco Vol. 8 – Nighttime Networks (featuring Johannes Brecht's track 'Another World') is out on 20th April.

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