As Soundstream, Frank Timm has enmeshed disco and funk samples in house music, investing his work with an enrapturing pull. Functional, repititious but still possessive of the spirit of the records Timm samples, its dance music that recognizes roots, just as reminiscient of the endless groove revisits of James Brown as any contemporary strains of house or techno.
Though, whatever the sample; its nature and its (de)construction, there's always an alluring draw to Timm's releases as Soundstream; the incessantly hammered hook capturing an 'All Night' (which suitably, is one of his many classics) epicurean thrill and all of the strange, unreal junctures in what seems such a boundless time. We can safely say, we're a big fan. So naturally, we bombarded him with questions, and despite a busy schedule lining up Soundstream 06, and the next Soundsampler, he managed to answer a few, ahead of his live set at the Night Slugs party this Saturday…
First things first, could you tell us a little bit about your beginnings with music; what were some of the things you were listening to growing up?
My name is Frank Timm, a true blooded West Berliner, born and brought up here. Actually it was my mother who introduced me to black music at a very early age. She was with an African American Soldier when the allies where still here in Berlin. She got me into Stevie Wonder and George Benson to name a few. I really got into their groove, that was how it all began.
With a lot of your work (especially under Soundstream, and Soundhack even more so) there’s a spliced/diced feel to it…
I try to take the loops and the samples, cut them up and bring them together to creat a different sound / different track. I like to be very precise about my sampling, trying to avoid obvious sounds that can be recognized right away, sometimes however the sample is so tight on its own that I just go with it and avoid any slicing.
How do you usually decide on the loop to foreground; is there a process for finding what will translate best?
When I’m in the studio, I like to jam until I feel I can work with something. I either feel the loop or I don’t, I only know that if it feels right it usually sounds good too.
I’ve read that you came to Berlin in the 90s and were highly enthused by the techno that was around at that time, can you describe what that period was like? What do you think it was about the nature of the time/music that was so attractive, and subsequently influential for you?
I am a Berliner so I was clubbing before tresor, etc. but when that place opened I knew something different was going on. The first time I played there, I was pretty overwhelmed, it was such a new kind of club feel to what I had experienced before. The early 90s house sound really fascinated me, so I started my journey to get deeper into that sound.
One of your recent releases was ‘WennMeineMuttiWusste’ (‘If Only Mum Knew’) for the Ostgut Ton ‘Funf’ compilation, which featured field recordings from the Berghain and a heavier, unrelenting sound. I really enjoyed the idea and the sound of it as well as the dialogue at the end…that must have been an exciting project to be apart of…what was it like working with ambient/found sound as opposed to the use of samples? Did you find it challenging and did your treatment of the sound differ?
Yeah, it was a fun project to work on. I was given samples but wanted to get some of my own recordings to work with so while playing one Sunday afternoon, I made additional field/panorama bar recordings with my wave recorder via the mic that ran through the crowd and the bar and that’s where I recorded the conversation from the guys who said ‘WennMeineMuttiWusste’, it was perfect for the track.
We’re very excited for your next record, can you pinpoint where you’re at currently with the kind of music you’re making now? Do you have any idea what your next release will be like?
Yes it’s Soundstream 06 just came out this week, and also want to release the next Soundsampler in the beginning of next year, where I’m at musically? I have no objective for myself, I just try to make music I and people likes to dance to!
Catch Frank alongside Bok Bok, L-Vis 1990, Jam City and Girl Unit this Saturday at XOYO. Final release of tickets available here.