Runo Reilly Kölsch aka Kölsch is a producer who has been around for a long time. He produced music in different styles and under different names. Rooting from hip-hop and funk, he produces electronic music of the highest standard today and sells thousands of records all over the world. Proof of this, is his album 1977 which was released on Kompakt and can be called nothing less than huge. As a DJ, Kölsch never fails to keep a crowd entertained and can be caught playing the best clubs and festivals. PressPlay spoke to the Danish producer and DJ about his producing, his relationship with Kompakt and his future plans.
You’ve got quite a selection of different monikers behind you, how important do you find these with regards to your producing?
One thing I always loved about electronic music was that the music was primarily in focus. I always found it fascinating to develop concepts around me, and hide behind them. Over the years this has given me a lot of experience, and for me I have found the balance in what I want to do, and how to do it technically in the studio.
With the 1977 album it is the first time I have ever let myself dive into my background and Childhood to find inspiration. All tracks are inspired by my childhood in Germany, so this was a rather therapeutic process, and not as conceptual as my previous projects.
You started off in production with funk and hip hop. When did this change towards electronic sound happen and what was it inspired by?
Basically what really got me in to house music, was one DJ Pierre record. What iz House Musicby Phuturescope is built around an endless groove and is probably one of the finest examples of the wild pitch sound. I was immediately smitten by the groove, and the way it just kept going. It reminded me of old James Brown records, and I just couldn’t stop listening to it. It hit me that this was what I had been looking for in my life. I haven’t looked back since.
Your relationship with Kompakt records has really grown over the past 4 years. How did you get involved with the label and why do you think it has worked so well?
Michael Mayer had heard my Ink and Needle Project, and he wrote me an email, asking if I wanted to do a 12” for Kompakt. I just said yes straight away. I always loved the label as it is synonymous with quality and great taste. He then saw that my last name is Kölsch, and he insisted this should be the name we use. Kölsch is a dialect you speak in Cologne, and also a famous beer from the area, and since Kompakt is from Cologne, it was a perfect fit.
Do you still get the same excitement DJing as you used to have when you just started?
I’m even more excited these days. I’ve been DJing since ‘93, but these days I feel that I finally have the musical palette and the experience to do something exciting and different. It feels like everything has fallen in to place, and what I’m going now is more fulfilling than ever.
If you had to choose five albums which you had to listen to for the rest of your life, which ones would they be?
1. Steely Dan- AJA
2. Vangelis – Blade Runner OST
3. Massive Attack-No Protection
4. Dire Straits – Brothers in arms
5. Manuel Götsching – e2e4
Since the beginning of your career you’ve managed to play in some seriously sought after spots across the globe, which club or city has created the best memories for you?
There are so many memories. Every weekend is full of fantastic people and music. It is very difficult to point out only a few. Playing the Space terrace for the first time in 2013, was a lifelong dream of mine, but everywhere is great. I recently played Gewolbe in Cologne. The set was supposed to be 1,5 hrs, but I ended up doing 8 hrs. When the mood hits and everything is just right, time stands still.
With a healthy selection of festivals ahead of you this summer, which one are you most looking forward to?
I’d say all of them. I love festivals. A summer highlight will definitely be Glastonbury, but I’m really looking forward to MELT! and SW4 too.
Whilst you relentlessly play these gigs, when and where do you best find the time to work on your productions?
I work on planes, trains and automobiles. I’m always layering melodies and making loops. I always try and debut new ideas in the live sets before they are finished. It’s a great way to get a feel for the potential arrangement. A lot of 1977 were loops that I used in the live show until I found the right form for them. It’s great fun, and keeps me on my toes. I can literally change things on the fly while I’m performing.
Can you think of some other occupation you could have been doing if it didn’t work out with music?
I would probably be a chef. I love cooking. It’s my second hobby!
Finally, with your varied output as producer what can we expect to be next?
My new single Papageno/Cassiopeia is out on the June 30th, and I’m working on the new album all the time.
Words: Nazira Kassenova & Kirstin Valente