Smash TV Interview
Smash TV are the German double-act that keeps on giving. Holger Zilske and Kai Preussner are never ones to shy away from their eccentric side and with their newest production about to be released on Hive Audio, we caught up with the guys to find out what it’s like living in electronic dance haven Berlin, and their fondness for destroying televisions!!
OTB: Where did you two meet? What were the circumstances?
Smash: We met more than a decade ago at Freie Universität Berlin in a more than terrible course.
OTB: How did you decide on the name, Smash TV?
Smash: There was a time when we thought that we might watch too much TV and that one solution would be to smash it… but that was false, we watch even more now!
OTB: Have you ever actually smashed a TV? What was it like?
Smash: An eye-opening experience…
OTB: Now that that’s out of the way, can you tell us a bit about the party scene in Germany? How do you think it is these days?
Smash: Going strong! Being born in Berlin and working in this business for some time we can only say that it is a very interesting period at the moment. Very commercial on one end, very underground on the other. Luckily among those moving to Berlin are still the most interesting and beautiful people on the planet.
OTB: Do you think the likes of Berlin will always encourage electronic music?
Smash: Obviously! Berlin might be praised for the wrong reasons by some, but apart from being affordable and providing nonstop party madness, there is much more to it.
It has always been and is now more than ever an amazing breeding ground for art so it is very encouraging for musicians, especially for electronic music with all those clubs.
OTB: How accepting are the German government of partying?
Smash: Surprisingly accepting we’d say. There is lots of stuff going on that is maybe not completely legal but is tolerated and/or accepted nonetheless!
OTB: How influential a part do you think they play in the party scene there?
Smash: They play a pretty influential part in the way they endorse our culture by making it relatively easy for us to push things forward. It may seem stressful and over-regulated here sometimes, but compared to most other places in the world, you have to say it is support.
OTB: When did you start producing music?
Smash: We both started being musicians as children, Holger started with keyboard lessons and turned to synths very early, I (Kai) started getting classical guitar lessons at the age of 7, then played in rock bands and so on. I can remember ‘producing’ music on a tape-deck 4-tracker to impress my first girlfriend… must be a while ago.
OTB: Were you trying to emulate anyone back then?
Smash: Yes, Colt Seavers from ‘The Fall Guy’!!
OTB: Your next EP on HIVE is a real dance floor cut. Is it generally representative of the music you make?
Smash: ‘Surreal Love’ is always a Highlight in our DJ-sets. It was meant to make ’em bounce! And it does! Generally representative it is maybe not quite, because we as characters are pretty diverse and do use our music to express ourselves, which can’t be fully done with one track.There is a songwriting in it that will make you notice that it’s a Smash TV track, if you heard us before.
OTB: So can you tell us a bit about how you format your tracks? What do you start off with, for example?
Smash: Mostly we want to find the key element first, the hook line if you will. From there on we take the idea where it wants to go. But we need a great element to legitimize the work we are about to put into it.
OTB: You’ve produced on some very cool labels over the years, but what’s been your proudest moment to date?
Smash: Thank you! Thats hard to say. The first record the both of us released together was ‘World Wide Wet’ on Leena. Two months later we got an email from the label with a picture in it, showing Juan Atkins had put the track on #1 in his charts. The fact that the Originator not only noticed our music but also charted it on #1 is still very meaningful till today. We missed school and University to go to Tresor and listen to Juan Atkins, Blake Baxter and the others and ten years later this happens. One of the things money can’t buy.
OTB: How do you influence one another?
Smash: Well most of the time one of us comes up with an idea, a concept, a melody. From this point on we throw everything in the octagon and get it done. Two men enter, one track leaves… 😉
OTB: What’s the ultimate ambition for you guys?
Smash: We want to produce Chaka Khan’s Comeback album.
OTB: And what are your plans for the summer ahead?
Smash: Right now I (Kai) am on the way to the Canary Islands for 3 weeks to get my surf on. When I come back we move our studio to the Riverside Studios where Pan Pot, Tobi Neumann, Sante, Sidney Charles and others will be our neighbours. And then it’s touring time! First South Africa, Croatia, Canada and Europe – we can’t wait!!
Smash TV’s ‘Surreal Love’ is released on Hive Audio on March 30th
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