Tim Engelhardt speaks on Germany’s melodic landscape [Q&A]
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
The progressive community has welcomed Tim Engelhardt with open arms since his arrival into it by way of Robert Babicz. From a young age, the German native has demonstrated an uncanny understanding of music arrangement and thus has taken little time to put his name on the map as a production force to be reckoned with.
Engelhardt’s roots stem in classical music, where he spent his childhood mastering the piano. It wasn’t long before he transitioned to an electronic means of making music — a natural progression, given his proclivity for melodic percussion. Training from both the classical and contemporary worlds have served him well, as he’s since earned recognition from the Innervisions crew, Bedrock, Vivrant and more. 2017 alone saw the release of his debut LP on Pokerflat as well as an influx of new places to bring his music due to an ever-expanding global demand.
A particularly intriguing thing to note about his progression into the melodic arena of underground dance is that he managed to come up in a country where his music is far from the norm. While trance played a pivotal role in the early German dance scene, ultimately darker, harder shades of techno have been the dominating soundscape of the country. That said, a renaissance has certainly been underway with regards to German progressive, and Tim Engelhardt is the perfect candidate to provide his two cents on the topic.
Historically, Germany was a hotbed for early trance Oliver Lieb, Paul van Dyk, Jam & Spoon, Ronski Speed coming out of there. Do you remember what the musical soundscape was at that time?
I have to admit, at that time, I wasn’t listening to electronic music yet and just found my way into piano lessons. I worked on music, though, by re-arranging piano pieces that my music teacher gave me. My way into the electronic music came via Robert Babics, who later worked as a role model for me. When I discovered his music, I went from playing the piano to working more with synthesisers and bass drums.
Is history repeating itself with melodies yet again making their way back in a big way?
I don’t think melodies were ever away. For me, its really the most natural thing in music and something that gives music an extra dimension and meaning, too. Melodies make the music interesting and it’s very hard to picture music without it. They create an atmosphere and, for me, that is a very important element in music. There are more people that play music that are very melody heavy now though, and maybe that’s why people think it has „come back“ even though it was never gone
Is the current rise in interest of this type of music in the German landscape?
Labels like Diynamic or Innervisions have been releasing and pushing this kind of melodic house / techno very strongly in the past few years and I’m sure that was one of the things that made if „hot“ again.
Also, a lot of respected labels from the US stick to melodic house, if you look at All Day I Dream, Cityfox or Crosstown Rebels, they throw huge events showcasing this style.
With all of this coming together and the possibilities of sharing it online, I think it’s logical this music is appreciated by so many people right now. If you look at the European scene, there’s a lot of great labels pushing for this kind of music – Bedrock, Pokerflat, Vivrant and Last Night on Earth to name a few. There’s also a lot of great artists that play this kind of music in the clubs and I think that’s a reason to the rising interest as well.
How do you see the future shaping up?
Right now, everything tribal and afro seems to be really fashionable – which is another interesting influence. Anyway, there are so many different trends and tendencies going on, it would be arbitrary to name one style that’s going to be the next big thing – in fact, I like that dance music still has so many facets and different ways of doing it.
That alone makes dance music very interesting and is one reason I think it will thrive even more. One day a lot of people use flutes, the next it’s trumpets and the other day it’s something completely different. One thing I’m 100% sure of, we won’t lose the melodies.
Check out Engelhardt’s ‘Maks’ EP below
photo credit: Katja Ruge