#82 - Buenoventura // Sonar special
Bernhard Hammer, has been exploring electronic music intensely since co-founding the Viennese techno-band Elektro Guzzi in 2006. Initially the guitar was his choice to create synthetic sounding rhythmical patterns, layers, drones and glitch sounds. After a while his focus expanded and a long journey of exploring traditional tools of electronic-dance-music-production started. Still, the guitar stayed an important part in his productions.
One major step in Buenoventura´s career as a producer happened, when he and his colleagues from Elektro Guzzi moved into their own studio spaceand there he found his playground to explore the world of drum machines, sequencers and synthesizers. In this ‘zen-garden’, how he describes the tiny backyard space in the 18th district of Vienna, he produces techno and house trackswhenever time permits.
In 2016 with tons of finished and unfinished tracks in his pocket he finally took out 3 of them to release on Hezekina Pollutina, the label run by G.rizo, to whom he was introduced by Patrick Pulsinger during concerts for Pulsinger´s album ‘Impassive Skies’, where he and G.rizo shared the stage.
Besides Elektro Guzzi and Buenoventura, Bernhard Hammer also releases electronic ambient music together with Jakob Schneidewind as Monochord. Their debut EP, ‘Spatial Stereo’ was released on the Belgian Label Meakusma this May.
Q&A with Buenoventura
1. How did you approach this mix? Was it completely on the fly or did you have an idea of what you were going to play?
I am the type of person, who is buying records not in a constant manner, but when I make it to a record store (which I do every two months or so), discogs or other online-shops, I go wild sometimes. So it took me some time to carefully listen to all the records I bought in the last few months. Lately I found lots of nice records, that were around 121-123bpm and so I decided to do a mix around that tempo. I added some of my long time favorites and had rough map of the set in my mind, when I recorded it.
2. How did you first come into contact with dance music? And what were your first clubbing experiences like?
I discovered electronic dance music quite late around 2005 - I was 25 years old at that time. I had a good friend, who was totally into techno and he took me to the club "Flex" on a Tuesday night (which used to be the techno-night at Flex). It was such a magnificent atmosphere there, such a good sound, a great DJ (unfortunately I cannot remember, who it was), wonderful people and we had a crazy night. In the following years I did not miss many Tuesdays at Flex - I was already addicted.
3. How did you become part of Elektro Guzzi?
Elektro Guzzi started around the same time - in 2005. As I said before, I started to go to Flex and to other parties regularly and Jakob (bass player of Elektro Guzzi) was also part of the "gang". We played together in another band and were both overwhelmed by this new electronic world that we had just discovered. So we started jamming with Lukas, who was the drummer back then. From the beginning we wanted to find a way, how to play electronic sounding music with the instruments that we could play and which we had at our disposal. That was the beginning of Elektro Guzzi - in 2006.
4. Is the guitar still your main instrument of choice?
Yes, I still love to make and discover sounds on my guitar, but my collection of synthesizers and drum-machines constantly grew in the last few years and I also feel very comfortable working with machines. I am still faster to create a sound on the guitar in combination with my effect-board and that is the reason why I like to use the guitar to make quick drafts. Sometimes I continue working on the "original" drafts but sometimes I re-built the sound with a synthesizer to go into more detail. When I have a precise image of the sound that I want to create, I like to use the synths. I find it quite challenging to create a sound on a synth out of a sound-image that I have in mind. It´s fun!
5. How is club life in Vienna these days? Is there still a healthy scene?
There are a lot of parties going on especially at weekends. Good parties during the week are sometimes hard to find. You can find a few proper clubs, with good sound-systems and good crews, who are doing parties. But what I really miss in Vienna are small clubs (for around 50-150 people), with a good sound-system. There are lots of nice and likeable small clubs in Vienna, but most have crappy sound. And almost all of them have problems with the police/neighbours, because of the volume. I prefer small clubs to big ones, but in Vienna I am missing the audiophile-experience, which is so important for electronic music. But still there is a lot going on, there are good festivals for electronic music and you find nice parties in off-locations sometimes.
6. How did you approach your first solo productions as ‘Buenoventura’ compared to working in a group or collaboration environment?
I have been producing music by myself also for a long time (doing compositions for sound installations, dance-performance piece, soundtracks...) but for me the biggest challenge of producing house and techno tracks is to build an interesting structure inside the track. When we produce music with Elektro Guzzi, the arrangement is the easiest part, but when I produce alone, arranging the track takes most of the time. In a band-setting, arrangement and structure generates itself, on the contrary, producing alone, I have to decide everything by myself. This is the hardest part for me.
7. Which new Viennese artists would you suggest to keep an eye on?
A lot of young producers and artists appeared in the scene in the last years, here are some, which I find very interesting:
König Leopold: http://www.koenigleopold.at/
Toju Kae: http://www.tojukae.com/
and there is a new project by Patrick Pulsinger and Sam Irl coming up - I´m very interested what these two fellows are planning:
8. A friend arrives from overseas and wants to see the city. Where would you take them for culture, food, music and fun?
Culture: I have one favorite museum in Vienna - the "Wien Museum" (http://www.wienmuseum.at/). I´ve been there as a child and still go there once a year. They have interesting temporary exhibitions as well as a very informative permanent exhibition. I love the atmosphere in the museum and it´s a great place to relieve stress.
Food: It´s a quite common recommendation, but you can really find nice food there: Naschmarkt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naschmarkt)
Music: My favorite record shop - Market (http://www.dasmarket.at/)
Best soundsystem in town: www.flex.at, https://www.grelleforelle.com/
Fun: In summer, when most of the people leave the city, the best place to be is the Danube-island. There you can find nice "beaches" and also some bars to hang out.
9. Tell us about your Monochord project with Jakob Schneidewind?
Jakob and I started with Monochord around 2008. At that time the first Elektro Guzzi drummer left the band and it took us more than a year to find Bernhard Breuer, who is still playing the drums in Elektro Guzzi. In that period, we started to play as a duo. We were very influenced by experimental music at that time and that is why Monochord took that direction. Later, when Bernhard Breuer joined Elektro Guzzi, we had no time to concentrate on Monochord because we were on tour with Elektro Guzzi most of the time and that is the reason, why our debut EP just came out in the beginning of this year. Still we are very happy that we found the Belgian label Meakusma and finally released the EP. And there is more music by Monochord going to come up.
10. What releases or collaborations are planned for the rest of the year?
As Buenoventura I made a remix for the Austrian band "Tumido", which will be released this autumn. I´m working on new tracks as well and hope to release another EP this year. Elektro Guzzi will release their new album in September 2016. Then there is a nice collaboration planned with Sixtus Preiss, Matija Schellander and Clemens Wenger. We are building a synthesizer quartet and are going to play modern/experimental compositions on a festival in Vienna in September 2016. So there is lot of stuff going to happen and I am very much looking forward to all of it!!
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EPM Podcast 82 - Buenoventura Tracklist
1. Studio Lam - Sao Sakit Mae
2. Mr. G - Thingz and Stuff!
3. Martyn - Don´t Block the Box
4. Mr. G - Tony´s Taxi (Lindi LOL)
5. True Force - My Love is Underground
6. Jordan Fields - Frenchicago
7. Marshall Applewhite - Sludge
8. Kink - Source of Uncertainty
9. Axioms - Seren
10. Dan Curtin - Galaxies Merging
11. Buenoventura - Brightwork
12. D´Marc Cantu - Black Tears
13. Mattia Trani - Over the future
14. Midland - Checkbob
15. DJ Wild - Love Every Day