Two years ago a new ambient label was started in Swabia near Stuttgart. The founder was From Another Mind crew member Benedikt Merkl aka Silent-One. We had a small interview with him on the occasion of his first release.
hello Benedikt, nice to have this interview with you. Please tell us something about you, the first music you listened (e.g. when you was a teenager)! When did you discover techno and go your first raves/club nights?
Hello Jürgen first of all thanks for the opportunity and your interest in the story behind my DJ pseudonym Silent-One. I was born in 1992 near Stuttgart where I’m still living. It was quite late around 2010 when I came the first time in contact with techno music – former times as a teenager I was more into rock and also different kinds of rap music. It was in somehow Paul Kalkbrenners movie “Berlin Calling” which has let me discover new paths of Techno and other different styles of electronic music, and so the first techno club nights as a guest were following soon.
(Promo photo Silent-One)
After you discovered techno as one of your favourite music styles … what was the initial reason to start with djing? When did you start? What does Silent-One mean? Why did you use this moniker?
After Marco and I’ve founded the From Another Mind party series in 2014 the moment came, that I wanted to learn how to mix music and so Marco started to teach me at his place – he was already really into it and doing it for years – so a great mentor at that time. And so it ended up that I had my first gig in the beginning of 2015. Upfront I was thinking about how the hack should I name myself as a DJ and I chose Silent-One what maybe describes me and my personality in a good way as I’m more the chilled and down to earth guy who is more observing than talking too much.
(OECUS Podcast 030 by Silent-One)
You are part of the From Another Mind crew. FAM started as party series at Stuttgart’s Romy S and became a very successful label in the last 2 years with releases by SHDW & Obscure Shape. Could you please give an intimate insight to the inner circle of the crew? Who is also part of it? When and how did you join them? What’s your part within it?
More than 20 years of very close friendship with Marco spending like almost our entire lives together, he asked me one day if I could imagine hosting techno parties in Stuttgart together with him. At that time I didn’t know that much about how to promote a party – but well as you can see I agreed, haha! In the beginning we were often hanging up posters and handing out flyers quite often. Once I even got attacked by a madman with a blackjack while pinning a poster – crazy times! And few months later Lui (Obscure Shape) joined us and when we also started parties in Munich Nicolai became the fourth member.
(Logo From Another Mind)
In 2016 you set up the ambient label Intimate Silence. I guess the launch of a techno label would have been something more common or expected as you are part of a techno crew. Why did you decide to start an ambient imprint instead of techno label like FAM? How do you select the artists? Beside the “unexpected” style you also chose an uncommon medium, the good old compact disc, for the first 3 releases. Was there a special reason for it or why did you do that? Ambient labels and artists usually release albums but you make EPs. Any reason for that? Which advantages has EP compared to an album? Any plans to also release albums?
Besides From Another Mind I also wanted to do my own personal thing and came up with the idea to additionally found an ambient label in early 2015. At that time, Glos sent me some of his newest ambient tracks and I truly fell in love with his stuff. So, I’ve decided to ask him if he could imagine releasing it on an unknown label. Intimate Silence was born! Why I have decided to sell it as a CD? Yeah, well I mean I wanted to release it soon and test pressings and stuff like that are taking time – and in my opinion it’s also not the question if it is an album or not, I know plenty of releases having tracks on it with two tracks over 20 minutes or so – it is more the question if the music touches me in somehow – if one is sending me a whole album or just two tracks, just doesn’t matter!
(official video for PVNV’s “Mind End” from INS003)
Beside the label you also established a podcast series which is broadcast via Rinse France and later available on your soundcloud page. How did you get in contact with the French radio guys? How do you choose the artists you want to take part (there are some well-known techno DJs amongst them)? Is it easy to get an ambient set from them or do you have to convince them esp. techno artists making an ambient mix?
I‘m good friends with the Parisian guys of Taapion. One day I asked Adrien (PVNV) who has already published a mix for Rinse France if he could ask for a regular 2 hours show slot for ambient music. He really liked the idea and so one thing followed the other: He told me that Adrien (AWB) is in contact with the curators and after recommending my label to them, rinse has offered me a regular show every month. My intention was to create a creative room for artists playing stuff they usually don’t. At first glance, I thought that it’s gonna be very tough to persuade artists playing an one hour ambient mix, but now most of them are very interested in doing a non-club music mix with ambient and electronica music – perhaps a welcome change to their normal life as an techno artist.
(Intimate Silence Podcast Series)
You just released your very first own EP on Intimate Silence (INS004). It is also the first vinyl on your imprint. Why did you now change the medium? When did you start producing it? Which equipment do you use for your production? Is there a lot of output or are these tracks hard work? What meaning does each track have for you?
In the electronic music world the CD is in somehow dead – most artists play vinyl or from an USB-Stick – so from that perspective my initial decision to release on CDs might have been a quick shot.
I started producing the tracks at the beginning of last year on the train when I was travelling to Berlin. At that point I just used Ableton and when I was back home I continued working on it with my Korg Microbrute.
I would say it depends on my mood but most of the times it’s very easy for me to do some new ambient cuts – they are more or less part of me. When you read the single names of the tracks you can maybe imagine that it was not only the sunny side of life that was the inducement for them – so yes they mean a lot to me!
(the29nov video for Silent-One’s “Decide Your Fate ” from INS004)
On the one hand you produce and release ambient, on the other one you play techno stuff during the club nights. What are the inspiration for them? Who is your source of inspiration – both production-wise & for your DJing (favorite DJs & producers)?
For me Ambient is driven by reality. My inspirations for doing ambient are emotions of my daily life: like falling in love, missing something, the death…just to name some examples. On the other hand, Techno is for me more or less a loss of reality – an illusion.
When talking about favourites… could you please name 5 techno favourites (album, EP, track) and 5 ambient equivalents? And please tell us why they are so important for you.
It’s not that easy to say which 5 tracks/EP’s/Albums are my favorites, because there is a lot of great music out there – but I tried my best. The tracks are important to me as they are all in close association with moments at parties, a „concert“ with friends or hanging out at home on a quite day.
That would be my list for Techno:
Markus Suckut – Corp
DYAD – From Another Place
Cybersonik – Technarchy
Ekserd – Hidden Document II (Svreca Remix)
Dave Clarke – Storm
and my ambient favorites:
Abul Mogard – Half Light of Dawn
Ben Frost – You, Me And The End Of Everything
Johann Johannsson – Escape
Angelo Bandalamenti – Ending/Love Theme
Tropic of Cancer – Hardest Day
Isorinne – Gazing at the Ghosts of the Night Sky
(Promo photo Silent-One)
You are resident or at least a regular DJ at Romy S in Stuttgart and MMA in Munich. What is special about these clubs? Any specifics that others don’t offer? Could you please describe the atmosphere and your feelings while playing there and in general? Where do you want to play?
Both clubs have their own vibes. Romy S. looks a bit poshy and modern in contrast to MMA club, which is more in a raw and dirty warehouse style. So the surrounding maybe has a huge influence on how the parties and their vibes turn out differently – I had a lot of great parties at both clubs with outstanding vibes – it’s not really that I would prefer one or the other.
(Silent-One @ MMA)
wow we reached already the end of our interview so let’s talk about your future. What are your plans for the nearer future? Any nice signings you can talk about? New productions?
In the nearly future I don’t have any signings or upcoming releases. But I’m up to plan the next Intimate Silence record. My final words to you out there: You must be the change but always be yourself!
all releases on Intimate Silence
Drift Agency for Silent-One
Silent-One @ Facebook
Silent-One @ Soundcloud
Intimate Silence @ Facebook
Intimate Silence @ Soundcloud