Photo: Katja Ruge (Tim Engelhardt)
Tim Engelhardt is a veritable jack of all trades, and a productive one at that. Still in his early 20s, the German producer has put around 40 records and released a few dozen remixes since he was a young teenager. His debut LP Moments of Truth for Steve Bug’s Poker Flat so far was his only full-length so far, but today marks the release of his sophomore album Idiosynkrasia for Stil vor Talent. His mix for our Groove podcast includes some pieces from it as well as previously unreleased and material provided by close friends.
First off, how are you doing and what have you been up to?
I’m doing fine, thank you. I have been spending lots of time with family and friends as well as writing a lot of new music.
Today marks the release of your Idiosynkrasia LP for Stil Vor Talent. What does the title mean to you and how does it correlate with the music?
I always considered myself to be idiosyncratic, a bit off from the norm, maybe weird to some, but more relatable to others that are having similar experiences. That feeling was within me even as a child, honestly it’s just a term that describes me very well. I react quite heavily to disturbing noises, I can’t stand high-frequency sounds with high amplitudes and I’m very sensitive to temperature, too. That’s something I learnt to live with, while I still recognise myself being idiosyncratic in group situations. I’m usually very easy to talk to, but before people actually decide to approach me, I know I sometimes seem weird and/or not interested in a conversation. I had countless people ask me why, but that’s just because I am who I am. Every of these aspects can also be felt in the music, it’s not your usual dancefloor long-player but also not a typical electronica or concept album. I wanted it to feel human and relatable, soothing and embracing for the listener, while showcasing my own handwriting in music. It’s very idiosyncratic as the title already reveals.
Your last release was a compilation with ten cuts chosen from a Poker Flat remix contest for your track “First Contact.” What were you looking for during the selection process?
I was specifically looking for creative use of my parts, I always love to see sounds being implemented in a different context, being transformed and just used in way that I personally wouldn’t have come up with. Then also the arrangement and the flow of the remix played a big role in the selection of the winners. It was really tough, but eventually we were able to choose an awesome selection of totally different remixes which reflect my preferences for dancefloor tracks but also more electronica-inspired music.
Throughout the year, you’ve also put out more tracks digitally through your Bandcamp, all of which were collected under the title The Notebook. How did this project come about?
The Notebook was a collection of music I’ve been working on for some time, mainly ideas I’ve finished in the past but never released. Those tracks mean a lot to me and some of them were part of my sets for a long time, like “Jumanji,” which I’ve been playing since 2016. Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve had time to rework these and finally get them to a release-worthy state. Bandcamp is a platform which I’ve been using for a longer time personally, so it felt natural to release my music only there and obviously its system has gotten very important during this time. I like the aspect of maintaining a more personal connection between followers and me, which traditional stores don’t really allow and encourage in that way.
Bandcamp is not the only platform which you use to generate income besides the traditional and dominant revenue models offered by the music industry. Apart from your work as a producer and DJ, you are also active as a mixing engineer and use your own website for bookings while also offering more insights into your work for Patreon subscribers. What experiences have you made so far with these alternative models, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these more personality-focused schemes?
My experience with these ways of working are generally really good, I like to keep a closer connection with the people I work with and especially Patreon makes that very easy and offers a lot of benefits, not only for the subscriber, but also for me, as I’m working differently and have to implement my skills in a way that benefits the subscribers’ music, which is an amazing challenge. I’m having regular video calls with people and talk to them not only about their music per se, but also about career opportunities, things they could do in the future or just life in general. It’s a very open-minded approach to actually support upcoming figures in this scene. Also I pay a lot of attention to detail in everything that I offer there, as I’m putting out custom-made samples each month, write blog posts about production and mixing every week which I want to be helpful for the subscriber.
It’s well documented that Robert Babicz was an influential figure for you in your work as a producer and live performer. Which DJs however became most crucial for you as your career progressed?
I only follow a handful of DJs, but the ones that I appreciate the most are Carl Craig, Matthew Dekay, Âme, Joris Voorn and Dixon. I’m grateful I got to work with some of them over the past years.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
My idea was to provide a screenshot of my work at the present time, a showcase of what I’ve been doing the past months. It includes bits of my album, upcoming music that I’ve just finished and some selected contributions that I listen to a lot from dear colleagues.
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
Right now, I’m writing on more music, which will see the light of day next year, also I’m planning to do more samples and presets in the future. For anything else, I’m curious for what will happen.
Stream: Tim Engelhardt – Groove Podcast 272
01. Tim Engelhardt – Third Place
02. Tim Engelhardt – Sun
03. Tim Engelhardt – Out Of Here
04. Tim Engelhardt – What Drives Us
05. Tim Engelhardt – Idiosynkrasia
06. Bantwanas – In Silence (Tim Engelhardt Remix)
07. Shiffer – Chaos in Cosmos
08. Siopis – Unconditional
09. Matthew Dekay – Heimreise
10. Alma – Fear Of Opacity (Tim Engelhardt Remix)