With a knack for brilliant productions, and a portfolio including a remix of Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ – a song he describes as some of Chris Martins’ most beautiful lyrics, its fair to say Kolsch is an artist very much in touch with his own spiritually. Regarding his own album ‘1977’, Rune reflects that it was the product of his childhood and the strange ideas in his head at the time.
Championed by none other than Mr Radio One – Pete Tong, Rune now enjoys a full DJ schedule with gigs all over Europe and beyond, and it was my pleasure to spend an hour chatting to him during Amsterdam Dance Event. Despite having never met, and hot from his victory as crowned Masterchef of ADE, we conversed like old friends, and before long an hour had passed…
So here we are day 2 of ADE, hows your conference been going? Do you set yourself a schedule of meetings or just go with the flow?
Yeah, I used to just roll with it back in the day, I really liked just going out and meeting people, but in recent years its become back to back stuff , which is cool and I don’t mind that, but I like to wander around a bit. Next year, I think I’ll stay an extra day just to hang out. Amsterdam is a cool city, I like it.
With everybody in the industry here in one place do you have the opportunity to meet up with friends you’ve not seen for ages?
A lot of people I meet only once a year, and thats here. Theres occassions where I see people at the airport as we run to different gates or in the club when I hand over. But you don’t really have a chance to have a proper conversation. I enjot the fact that even just a quick beer and a chat to catch up once a year is nice. And also theres all the industry people you see that you can meet up with, so its cool.
Tell us about the constant travelling. Do you find theres a disconect between family and friends having so much time apart?
Its very weird actually. I always dreamt of this life and I do love every minute of it, theres no question. But more I travel, the more annoying the travelling gets. I mean, theres only so many times you can read the same in flight magazine…. I love performing, I live for those 2 – 3 hours when I’m on stage, but the rest is just annoying.
The relationship I have with my family is… is distant, because I’m gone every weekend. I mean all my friends and family have their weekends off and I’m gone. so I really have to make a conscience effort to get involved and connect with my friends when I’m back home, which I love to do.
Once in a while I do miss a Saturday off the go to the football match or go cook with friends, but its the life I chosen, so I can’t sit around and moan about it. I live a very privileged life, but I do see the conflict with a personal life for sure.
You mentioned the time you spend in airports then. What do you do to fill your time?
I make music, usually. I make demos. A lot of my music is made on route from, it could be on an airplane, it could be wherever I’m going. I try to fill up the time by being as creative as possible. I used to sit around and watch old shows or movies and just really do nothing, but it sometime dawned on me that I’m wasting a lot of time and I needed to be doing something beneficial. So I make DJ sets or a make music now.
So the tracks you make in the airport or travelling, but you use those tracks in your next show?
Yes of course. Absolutely. I like making you know… I’ve done a lot of tunes! For my last album I made 9 tracks that never made it. I’m never going to release them, they’re just for me, for my DJ sets.
I have this anti-shazam thing, I’m tired of everybody knowing what every bodies playing all the time… hahaha, and I use shazam myself. If I really like something I’ll try to shazam it, but I like the fact that there’s some mystery, its something we’ve lost in this day and age.
I remember when I started going to gigs and to shows I would travel around to see a certain DJ because he had that record, and I hoped, if I went, he would play it again because I really wanted to hear it. And I miss that you know. The mystery. In fact I think I’m going to get people to send in more demos to play in my sets, in the spirit of anti shazaming.
So you were you a vinyl DJ? Did you ever used to cover up the labels?
No no, I never did that. Haha, I know people who did, they would buy these white label stickers, but I though that was a bit, you know, a bit wack really!! I would say ” Come on man, dont be such a wanker, you bought the record like the rest of us, its not like youre getting all these great promos…”
We understand you played for 9 hours in Germany recently. Can you tell us about how you structure a long set?
Its all about really creating a vibe, you start off with something really deep, but its also about intensity. You have to play something that’s a very open sound; thats airy and you get people involved, you suck people in and then you kinda tighten the intensity over the next couple of hours, and in my case, when you hit 6 o clock in the morning, I start opening it up again. I start playing more melodic, more dreamy again and I like to play some classic at the end.
We were chatting before the interview about warm up DJs, and I know you have strong views on that subject…
For me that’s the resident’s prime job, to be the warm up. And for me, the warm up is the most important part of the night. Its all about dynamics, I mean, how much can you take? We only have some much in us that we can listen to. You can only really peak for lets say 2 hours. If you peak too early then the evenings done.
Festivals are a bit different, but for a club night its very important the warm up is done right, and in fact the later you extend it, the later the party can be, and the better the party will be.
Its super important to me. When I play 6-7 hours, I like to do the warm up myself. That feeling of inviting people in; of embracing people, of getting people involved and then suddenly this one particular track that night will really kick off the party. I love the feeling of suducing a crowd.
So when your listening to your promos, do you, in the back of your mind, think “yeah that would be good at such and such time”?
Oh yeah, all the time. I have very specific folders for what to play at what time and its of work. You have to consider the mastering, how big it sounds, how long the kick drum is – the longer the kick drum the more the energy. Shorter kick drums are perfect for a warm up I think. Then there’s tempo, tempo’s easy…
Whats your DJ set up now?
It really depends on the club. Some places I still bring vinyl like Gewolbe in Cologne. Some clubs aren’t set up that way. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m dancing so much these days that the vinyl is skipping! And its so annoying hahaha
Theres something very beautiful about vinyl, and the feeling of vibrations cut into a piece of plastic. Its very romantic, and such a bizarre steampunk concept, you gotta love it!
And its coming back now…
Yeah, yeah. In fact the lead time for vinyl is four months. I’m starting a new label called Ipso Facto and its only going to be two releases a year, its not a big thing, but its going to be a collab label with me and one of my heroes. The first release is with Michael Mayer, and thats going to be out about February… aaand then I’m going to hunt down some other people and do collabs with them!
So when your working on a collab, like with Michael Mayer, how do you find the dynamic?
Well it was a bit touchy feely to start with, but you find what works best. We started out using Logic, and I’m an Ableton guy, so I didn’t have the patience for it, its such an unlogical program! It just made no sense to me and Michael uses Logic all the time. So I said, lets do it in Ableton and if you don’t like it, we’ll go back to Logic. We’d been doodling for about 3 hours and nothing was sounding good, and then we switched to Ableton and we did two full tracks in 6 hours! It just so fast. And I got him converted to Ableton!
All your studio craft tricks that you’ve acquired, do you remember where you’ve picked these things up? Is it conversations with other artists, trial and error, tutorial videos…
D’you know what, I don’t even remember any more. I try shit out. Like I recently recorded a high hat pattern into a tape recorder to get that tape saturation feel. Another time I was using the appagiator a lot, and I took out all the sounds and I had this white noise left and it sounded cool, so I side chained it to the kick drum and created something nice with it. But usually is just fiddling around and if it sounds good, it is good.
Also I speak to a lot of friends. I speak to Joris Voorn and we exchange tips. We have some deep conversations about kick drums… his are always short with a deep sub bass, but I like mine more present in the track, I like the energy. The last one was in Ibiza a few weeks ago and we talked about tuning kick drums for hours! hahaha
Are there guys in the scene, like Joris, you like to keep an ear out for?
All the time. Many many. A lot of it, its not only melodics, I mean theres a lot of melody thats coming out thats really cool, and theres also production wise. Theres some guys that just get it, like Sebastien Mullaert, his productions are so fucking clean, Marc Romboy all the time, and Danny Daze I think is a really talented guy. Then there’s Terrence Parker and Carl Craig of course. And I like Nikola Gala…. so many.
Its been great to chat, but I can see your manager looking at his watch, so guess we should wrap things up. Thanks for you time!
No problem, it was a fun interview. Really really enjoyable. Nice questions.
You can catch Kolsch at Fabric this weekend.