Enigmatic & rhythmic IDM – flavoured techno.
The eponymous Headless releases sum up the modus operandi of this artist: dark, raw and rhythmic IDM flavoured Techno.
His hardware only live sets at Berghain, Berlin Atonal, Boiler Room and worldwide have showcased the Horseman’s insurmountable skills as a producer and cemented his place in todays techno scene.
It is no exaggeration to say that Horseman is one of the most talked artists at this given time.
It’s a great honor to have him on board today and we wished to converse with the enigmatic creator of this artistic vehicle, to better understand two simple things: how did he become this character and the current value of it.
Headless Horseman emerged from the shadows in around 2013. Where did this character come from and why?
I was trying to find an escape from my current reality around this time in my life. Many soul draining events happened simultaneously and I reached deep lows and depression. I felt completely frozen physically and creatively.
Washington Irvings story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” strongly resonated with me from an early age.
The powerful connection between ghosts and the supernatural expressed in this work of literature played a huge role in my childhood and continues to do so.
By combining old folklore and fantasy I’ve been able to transform my mental state into another persona. By doing this I can approach the writing and creative processes freely with no boundaries.
Your most noticeable visual feature is a mask.Your mysterious identity follows on in the tradition on mythical acts like: Underground Resistance, Basic Channel and Kraftwerk.
Why do you wear this wherever you go?
The fringe makes me feel like some kind of super hero. I can exist in another dimension and free myself
from any and all inhibitions. It’s so easy to get subconsciously influenced in all aspects of life especially
when dealing with art. I just always wanted to do my own thing and start with a fresh palette every time I approach music creation. It has been very empowering to see how one adjustment in a garment can change the whole way one thinks artistically.
I grew up studying classical guitar and my love of playing the instrument morphed into electric guitar and bought me into the band environment. I still heavily listen to darker and heavy instrumental and band music. One day after a gig with my teenage band there was a dj playing. It was love at first beat upon hearing this bizarre electronic music. Having the ability to write tracks without dealing with band practice and organizing the schedules of many is very empowering. Especially with techno. You can sketch an idea pretty much wherever you are and no matter what mood you are in.
I still study music to this date. I recently started learning the Viola and that helps balance out the time in front of mechanical devices.
Even on your latest album, you have tracks like ‘Her Black Wings’ and ‘Stormrunner’, which are very bleak. Do you naturally gravitate towards the darker side of the human condition?
I used to fight these feeling but have learned to embrace them. Music is so therapeutic on so many levels and I found my comfort zone through designing sound. Its more or less the only part of my day in which my anxiety is decreased. Blend out the noise of our hectic lives and get lost in creation.
Does it have to do more with dancing or the sound itself and philosophy?
In one moment a single element of a track takes you on a journey in your head and in an instant you can be drawn back to the percussive elements finding yourself in a more physical space.
I tend not to rush things and spend way to much time on small detail but the aforementioned atmospheres are what I get lost in and this brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
Being an excellent live performer brought your career to a top level in the electronic scene.
One thing that strikes us about your work is the emotion: you’re able to produce this raw, dark material that sounds so different to almost anything else.
How would you describe your sound to someone who is not familiar with you?
Focusing on live performance made your studio process easier.
How are you tracking what works and what doesn’t work in a live set, to then be able to bring back to the studio and execute on it in more of this controlled environment?
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is just trial and error when performing live. As much as I have definitely learned a lot from performing over the years, I very rarely execute a live jam in the studio. Its hard to re-capture the same energy when sitting alone without an audience. The bulk of my ideas are created fresh in the studio after some sort of event in my daily life has happened. As much as I’d like to be inspired in the studio setting the same way as in a live situation that simply isn’t the case for me. I treat studio time and stage time as two separate entities.
What kind of mix have you prepared for Sounds From NoWhere this time, did you have a certain focus in mind before making it?
There are a slew of new projects in the works. Along with a few new releases and handful of remixes there will be a new A/V show coming later in the year. Im constantly writing and in good time the next chapter of the Horseman will unfold. I also have a much more experimental live show planned that will be more of an immersive listening sit down experience.
Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us, we greatly appreciate your courtesy.