Part of a diverse new breed of young producers that get their cues from all sorts of genres and listening situations, Tim Engelhardt still stands apart, having released his very first record when he was just 14 years old. Combining his profound musical knowledge with intuitive playfulness, his solid classical pianist background becomes rather obvious with the beautiful harmonies and expanded melodic structure found in his music. Pair that with the organic fluidity and atmospheric dexterity of his music and you’ve got yourself the perfect combination. The growing number of remix and release offers for Tim’s music is not only a testament to his beautifully created and distinctive sounds but also to his growing popularity among the electronic fraternity.
I got the opportunity to catch up with Tim Engelhardt just before the release of his stunning ‘Idiosynkrasia’ LP. When I spoke with Tim he was at home working on some new music. I asked him how he first got into electronic music… “while learning piano I got into synthesis and explored the possibilities of making music on a computer. Needless to say, I was hooked very shortly after”, and the rest is history, as they say. I went on to ask Tim if he was classically trained in music in any way and he informed me that he “did enjoy classical training, but every skill that he has in electronic music is self-taught”.
Any fans of Tim’s work will know that of late he has had some pretty impressive output rates in terms of new music, and of course, his new LP which has just landed on Stil Vor Talent. I asked Tim to tell me a little about his new LP, ‘Idiosynkrasia’, and the inspiration behind it… “This album is dedicated to a person in my life who has helped me in so many ways and that I will be forever thankful for. I wrote it over a long time when we were separated by roughly 15.000 km, hence the names ‘Attached’, ‘Detached’ and ‘To Care’ that all reflect different periods of that time”. Tim went on to say, “In terms of places, I spent a couple of months in Cologne working on the album which definitely benefitted the album in terms of sound design and artistic evolution, but went back to my home town to finish it properly, as the countenance I can have here is unmatched”.
“The way that ‘Idiosynkrasia’ tells its story is very gentle, humble, and reflected, it doesn’t jump at you, at the same time it makes it very easy to get comfortable with it and just sit back. It’s a story about love, friends, nostalgia, longing for closeness, and just as well troubles we all have to face in one way or another.”
Tim added, “Whenever I put the LP on it almost urges me to take a deep breath and reflect on what it’s going through my head, it pushes me to think in ways that I hadn’t done before, so it’s pretty safe to say this album had a lot of impact on me, I hope it will have just as much on its future listeners”. If you have not listened to the LP, I suggest you find some time to sit back and appreciate its beauty.
Like me, I am sure many of you are bored of hearing the ‘C’ word but I decided to ask Tim if the Coronavirus has helped him to focus his time more in the studio and on his sound… “Indeed it has, furthermore I’ve been working on more projects inside the music field and I’ve expanded my work range quite a bit. I’ve worked on my sound and future music a bit more than before, given that I also have weekends to work on music now, but generally I was also in the studio quite a lot before the pandemic”.
Over the years Tim has developed a very strong relationship with Poker Flat and Stil Vor Talent. I asked Tim how the relationships came about with the two superb labels and why he feels his music compliments the labels so well… “Poker Flat has been supportive since day one and I’m incredibly thankful that we are still working on amazing projects, actually one is in the pipeline right now, which I’m quite excited for”. News I know many of you fans will be excited to hear about! I know I am! Tim went on to add, “I have been playing for Stil Vor Talent events for some time, so it felt very natural to release with them at some point and the new album fits there really well. It’s a very fruitful and honest collaboration and I’m happy to be working with them”.
Tim is probably one of the few producers in this day and age that have not either moved into DJing or at least felt obliged to do so which I find is a refreshing change if I am honest. I asked Tim if he thought this might change, as he has played a couple of hybrid sets in the past… “It will change probably someday, but before that, I want to educate myself thoroughly on dance music’s eras and all it has to offer. I don’t want to be playing only the latest promos”. I went on to ask Tim if the skill of DJing is often being overlooked by the likes of social media and the fact that most producers are pushed into being a DJ. Tim answered, “I don’t think that only applies to being a DJ, but also being a good producer is a skill that is overlooked these days”.
“These days, I’m actually back to square one. I’m the most comfortable with playing digital-only, which means some controllers and my computer. I find it quite hard to match it with hardware pieces and I’m still on the lookout for the perfect setup, I guess that never ends”.
As we all know things are very much all over the place at present in terms of gigs and live music. I asked Tim if he has anything in the pipeline at all…
“I took a step away from gigs personally, as it’s not a responsible thing to do at this point in the pandemic.”
Tim went on to add, “in regards to 2021, it’s still in the stars, I would love to play, but only under safe conditions”. Something I feel some DJs could benefit from thinking about in all honesty, safety must come first! 2020 has certainly been a very difficult year and certainly a year that has led to a serious amount of self-discovery for sure. I asked Tim what he has discovered about himself and the way he is, and also how he has found himself coping with the past 7 months… “I found myself quite busy with other things I wanted to accomplish and projects I’ve wanted to work on but did not have enough time for the past years. More is to be revealed next year…” Roll on 2021 I say for many reasons!
I decided to ask Tim what other producers he admires right now and what draws him to their sound/style… “There are not that many, but Stimming is, after all these years, a treat to listen to. Also, I love listening to Ólafur Arnalds and all his projects”. I went on to ask Tim what his favourite track is at present, “right now, ‘Ball’ by Duval Timothy”.
As with all artists, I asked Tim if he would like to add anything before I left him to enjoy his day… “I hope you’re all safe, in a good healthy state in this difficult time. Should you find the time and the right mindset, I’d love for you to listen to my new album ‘Idiosynkrasia'”. I would like to thank Tim for his time and wish every success with his new album and his future projects.
Press shots by Katja Ruge Photography