Interview with Tobias Lichtmann for Effusive Magazine

Effusive: In which manner does the physical setting (as context, location) influences you during the process of composition?
Tobias Lichtmann: “The physical setting supports and triggers ideas. For example, I love Brutalist architecture. Most of it is not really pleasing to the eye, but remembering the ideas and ideals behind it makes you re-think and re-evaluate it. The coherence and determination of the shapes and materials used are impressive and never fail to inspire me. I also try to figure out the context of things, as well. Something that is now perceived as ugly and low standard was once top notch. It’s strange, isn’t it? This is just one example of how my physical setting triggers a chain of questions and impressions that I then turn into music.”

Effusive: How do you see the relationship between space, sound and performance?
Tobias: Performance-wise, I enjoy stepping back behind the atmosphere that the crowd and I are sharing. It’s not that I feel uncomfortable, but I think the aural experience is of utmost importance – not the DJ. Ideally, the space fits to the style of music I play (and vice versa). I frequently DJ in a thermal bath in Berlin. This is the perfect space for sophisticated electronica that hard to play on usual dance floors. In that sense you can say: It’s certain special spaces that allow you to play special music.

Effusive: How do you relate to those moments when insecurity and incertitude are bigger than the enthusiasm? (I’m talking about those moments when passion exhausts you and fulfill you at the same time)
Tobias: Composition wise: As soon as I feel ideas fading, I become a bit angry with myself. That’s why I work fast, lay down ideas instantly. Getting in a creative low mood is a downward spiral that I had to figure out how to deal with: Taking a break, listen to different music… stepping back. With time, I became aware of what causes creative ideas to fade – so I can avoid things like being available via mobile or e-mail. To cut it short: Whenever there’s something that lowers my enthusiasm, I accept it as a part of the creative process.

Effusive: What constitutes a good live performance for you?
Tobias: When people come up and ask for the name of the song I just played.
When I can transfer my aurial ideas into their feelings.
When I leave the DJ booth and start dancing myself .

Effusive: Lots of young artists claim that is harder than ever to get noticed in the music industry and many are saying that isn’t about being ”original” anymore. What else is there to boost an artist’s presence?
Tobias: So you are assuming that you need „the industry“ (referred to as „they” from now on) to make it as an artist? Why would it be any good to boost artist presence towards the music industry? Trying to please and fit into a shape will water down originality. You must stay determined and endure to make it without them – but I agree: You must play by the rules to get at least some money so you can keep on making music. Being a young/upcoming musician nowadays means more than just making music. If you start out all by yourself, you have to take care of the business side of things, as well: From website to taxes, from booking to promotion. It takes precious time and power away from making music. But when the digital age takes away, at the same time it gives us opportunities. It is a bizarre inner contradiction. All you can do is accept it and try to benefit from its advantages. This struggle is what shapes your character and style, which forms the “original you”. If this “original you” also attracts media attention, eventually industry-attention will follow. But why should you care and aim for that? Just make music, release it by yourself, spread the word all by yourself and eventually you’ll find fans that support the original you. “One last thing: to make the word about your music spread: you got to give a freebie from time to time. This is why I’ve decided to give all readers of effusivemagazine.com a free download of my track „Yours Sincerely“. You can download it here.

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