Stefan Weise has been making music for over 20 years using a variety of aliases. Originally from Italy & Germany and grew up listening to electronic music, he quickly realized his passion. His introduction to DJ culture and dance music came in 1989 when he lived in the UK for a short while, allowing him to go to a local club every night where he listened to acid house and watched DJs perform for the first time. Some of his career highlights include his time as “Stefan Anion” in the early 2000’s where he had success with a bootleg remix of Gary Jules’ cover of “Mad World” and remixing and working with UK band Hybrid. He’s a very interesting guy and we just HAD to sit down and get an Audiophile Prophile out of him.
Many people would probably find it interesting that someone so heavily invested into electronic music and the culture lives remotely up in the mountains. Can you tell us a bit about the strengths and pitfalls of this type of living and why it’s more possible then let’s say 20 years ago?
I was born and raised in the mountains so I’m used to living out in the country. For me the big benefit is being able to go out into nature anytime I want to. There’s something about being able to switch off and enjoy complete silence vs being bombarded by noise 24/7. My family and I are avid hikers, so being up here in the Rockies is perfect for us. I wouldn’t call this a pitfall, but living out here leaves no room for complacency, meaning that you have to take care of your house, prepare for winter and always be ready in case there’s a wildfire. Personally I enjoy that since I can’t sit still anyways :-). For me the music is in my head and i’ll echo Laurie Spiegel’s advice on this too: You need to listen to your auditory system in your brain and let the music come to you that way vs trying to force it. Living up here allows me to do that more than ever. 20 years ago I was very young and had no money, so moving anywhere at that time was pretty much impossible.
As an analog gear nut, what is something in your studio that you always find yourself reaching for?
Not all of my gear is analogue. I just like gear that’s weird, in many cases unpopular even (Like my Roland SH-201) or unpredictable. With the analogue gear that i have, the unpredictability factor is huge since it takes time to warm up and there are no presets. I love the idea of never having the same thing twice from a piece of kit. I also strongly believe each piece of gear has a character all of its own regardless of the fact that it came from a production run. One of my go-to’s at the moment are the Moog DFAM and the Behringer D. They’re limited in features, but boundless in the amount of sounds they can give you. I really love how you can push yourself creatively when you’re limited vs having everything at your disposal and getting lost.
What was the defining moment that you realized you wanted to produce techno. Tell us about your transition over time and why it happened!
For me that was always there. I grew up listening to electronic music and I’ve always been a futurist and sci-fi nerd so when I delved deeper into electronic music in the late 80s and 90s, I always preferred the most futuristic sounding stuff like Maurizio, Aphex Twin, Steve Rachmad etc. Also growing up, tracks by Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and some of the early Erasure stuff had a big impact on me. When I started producing music at 17/18, my sound was techno for sure, but I didn’t want to limit myself to just one thing. I wanted to see what i was a capable of as a musician. When the Stefan Anion project was retired I had reached all that I could get out of that sound and decided to go back to what i was listening to the whole time anyways. It was challenging to go from writing “songs” to “tracks”, but learning is part of the fun.
What the bigger, more commercial productions from the progressive / breaks era really taught me was sound design and how to really craft a mix and balance all of the components. I’ve always been a big proponent of “make your own” and don’t use loops ever. Programming my own drums or a synth and coming up with new interesting sounds is where it’s at for me. With techno i can still apply the sound design techniques, but it’s also much more in the moment, so I’ve gotten back into arranging tracks live in the studio over several takes vs assembling arrangements over the course of a week or longer. For me the happy accidents that occur there are more important nowadays than trying to craft one section of a song over the course of several hours. It’s also allowed me to write music faster, which is conducive to my restlessness. It also really changes the vibe of a track when you record live and I believe that you can hear that.
What is upcoming in the world of Stefan Weise?
I’m looking at some more collaborations and working on a ton of new material at the moment. I just finished my first artist album for Alex Bau’s “Credo White” label and that’ll be coming out on Vinyl & Digital later this year. It’s a very personal album and goes into more Ambient and Dub Techno territories. I’ve also got a Vinyl exclusive EP with Calder City Development Corp – Myles Sergé Clark’s (Translate) label out later in the year as well. Additionally I’ve been working on my electro project “Syrte”, which will hopefully start seeing releases again this year or next and those will be Vinyl on my own 3km Records label. For the future I hope to share my music at more shows here and abroad.