Hannes Bieger is soon to release a compilation mix for the prestigious Balance Presents series.
Hannes Bieger is a German artist known globally for his melodic style and studio wizardry, whose music has been signed to labels including Bedrock, Poker Flat and Tronic.
His style ranges from deep house to techno and his latest release is a compilation compiled for Balance Music, which features exclusive music from Hannes Bieger plus his friends and collaborators.
Excited to learn more about that release plus some of his passions outside of music, we decided to invite him for this interview…
Hi Hannes, it’s great to be talking with you today. What part of the world are you currently living in, and how is the local club scene bouncing back after the pandemic?
Hey, a pleasure to talk to you guys! I’ve been living in Berlin for 22 years… clubs reopened here a few weeks ago, but honestly, I have no idea how things are going at the moment, as I have been away for most of this time. First I played a few festivals in the US, then I was on holiday in the Caribbean, and now I just returned from an India tour. However, I will do my record release party at Ritter Butzke in Berlin on April 30th, and then I will finally get a good taste of Berlin club life again. I have been missing it so badly!
I’m told you are a person who loves to travel for island holidays, have you managed to get away anywhere now that restrictions are being lifted, and what are some of your favourite destinations?
Yes, I just spent a holiday in the Bahamas, leading into Ultra Miami. It’s really just a stone’s throw away from Miami, and such a beautiful place! Islands come in different shapes and forms, though, and I like many of them. It doesn’t always have to be one surrounded by turquoise waters.
What is it about island life that you find appealing, do you enjoy any ocean activities such as scuba diving, and what do you enjoy most about those activities?
First of all, it’s the overall way of living your life on an island! My work weeks are pretty hectic, and it’s not untypical for an island to be fairly detached from things which would make your life hectic. It’s just a different groove. I love to unwind surrounded by an ocean! That said, I love swimming, I love snorkelling, scuba diving, all of that. In the Bahamas, we recently did a photoshoot where I was sitting on the seabed at 40 feet depth, with a weight belt but without scuba gear, and surrounded by a bunch of sharks. I went down with the scuba gear, then took it off for the photos, and another diver was close, providing me with air in between the shots, whenever I called for it. That was extremely exciting! I’m not a super experienced diver, but I did quite a few shark dives already, and I just love these animals. Other than that, volcanic islands are pretty special, especially when the volcano is still active…
You’ve just announced you have a very special release coming on Balance. I’d love to know more about the concept behind the release, and the story of how you made contact with the label?
The label actually invited me, which is a huge honour if you look at the incredible roster of artists who have done previous Balance Series releases!
In terms of concept, they gave me complete freedom, but typically Balance Series albums are some sort of DJ mix/compilation. In keeping with this, I created my mix from a number of original tracks I made all by myself, there are a number of collaborations between me and other artists, too. And I decided to showcase some of the up and coming talents I am working with as a studio engineer and producer as well. It was important to me that all tracks are new, previously unreleased tracks, so it is somewhere between an artist album and a compilation. Many previous artists have used their Balance Series to showcase their labels. I don’t have a label, but I do have a studio, and the album revolves around this.
Keeping on the subject of your music, you don’t DJ, you produce and play live is that correct?. What’s your philosophy on playing live, and the reason you chose this as your performance style?
I have a background as a guitarist, playing in bands, and later I played synths on stage, too. I also used to DJ a lot in my early 20s, but I never played electronic music, more jazz and soul and the likes. So when I started producing again after my long break, the decision to go out and perform as a live artist just came naturally. It wasn’t really a choice, it was the only option for me.
Can you talk us through a couple of the things in your studio that is vital to your sound?
I am known as “the analogue guy“, I guess… my analogue synths are definitely a pivotal part of my setup, with my favourite synths being: anything Moog, especially the Moog Modulars, the ARP 2600, Roland TB-303, and also the strange but eerily beautiful Knifonium I picked up lately. Other than that it’s the acoustic treatment of the room, the Genelec Monitors, Audeze headphones, Steinberg Cubase, Universal Audio plugins, and the list goes on… but for writing music, I love to work with analogue instruments.
Not only are you talented in the studio, but I’m told you’re also a pretty good chef… what’s your signature dish?
I was told I make a pretty good Hummus, and also very nice Korean BBQ beef, but most of my cooking revolves around Italian cuisine. I can make all kinds of pasta myself, I love to make risotto, stuffed zucchini flowers, and so much more. One of my current favourites is “spaghetti crema di datterini e burrata con parmigiano verde“… very few ingredients, but sooo good! The sauce is basically made of sauteed datterini tomatoes and burrata, mixed in a blender, and you grind the parmesan cheese together with just the right amount of fresh basil leaves so that it takes on a green colour and a fantastic flavour. That said, my current signature dish is probably a tagliata di manzo, especially when done with wagyu beef.
Being something of a foody, could you recommend a couple of your favourite restaurants or street food vendors?
One place that actually saved my culinary life during the lockdowns was the Frischeparadies (“freshness paradise“). It’s both a wholesale and consumer supermarket catering to many of my favourite restaurants, but you can also go there as a normal individual person. All restaurants were closed for so long in Berlin, but one of their branches is in the vicinity of my studio, so I could get my groceries there and cook at home.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today, do you have a message for fans or anything else you would like to add before we finish?
It seems all around the world we have largely learned how to adapt and how to live with the pandemic, and now the terrible war in Ukraine is happening, and climate change is looming still… this is uncharted territory, I have the feeling this will be an era with many uncertainties. Let’s enjoy life to the fullest, as we only have this one, but let’s also live responsibly, let’s try and leave something behind that makes the world a better place!
‘Balance Presents Hannes Bieger’ is out on the 29th of April via Balance Music, and you can order a copy HERE