Q+A: 5 Minutes with Liminka

With undeniable potential, multi-talented music producer Andreas Kühn has embraced his electronic moniker Liminka. We got a taste of his latest sound with the release of his song ‘Where are you now’ via Deep Heads. The track fuses downtempo and lo-fi notes to form the perfect track to let your hair down with. Turning an isolating experience into a positive with this track, we look forward to what the musician has up his sleeve with the new direction he is taking artistically. We asked Liminka a few questions about his current sound and also discovered he is a delightful human being just making music he loves.

Stream/ download: ‘Where Are You Now’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by doing creative things as a way to express myself. I first started out drawing comics and recording songs onto my dad’s MiniDisc-Player. I loved how I could create a world of my own and express through art what I found difficult in interaction with other people. As I grew older, this artistic language stayed with me, as it enables me to build connections to the most important people around me.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It’s different each time. In university, I developed a way of working where the idea or concept would define how the music would sound like. With Liminka, I try to go more with my gut feeling, taking inspiration from the music I’m listening to at the moment. But I’m very interested in combining these two. I feel like when there is a strong idea overall, the sounds just have to follow its direction. Having a concept also helps when working on bigger projects, like albums for example.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Not at this point, although I have been working with some live musicians sending stems back and forth. I’m very interested in the aspect of collaboration since it can bring in something new, and hopefully become more than the sum of its parts. Also, having played in bands for many years, I really love the energy different people can bring together. So yes, I’m excited to invite other people into my creative process, although ultimately, doing something by myself has been the most fulfilling way of working so far.

What’s on your current playlist?

Huh, so many things. I’ve been listening to a lot of indie rock lately: Andy Shauf and Sufjan Stevens. On the electronic side, a big favourite is Fennesz’ album Venice. Only recently did I find out about Eris Drews’ new album Quivering in Time, which I think is fantastic, so much wonderful and raw dancefloor euphoria. Generally, I tend to fall in love with one artist, listen to all of their albums and revisit them over and over, Boards of Canada’s’ music is a good example of that.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I haven’t played many live gigs so far, but I would love to do so much more. I really feel like there would be a great chance to establish direct communication between me and others who enjoy the music – referring to the thing I said earlier, creating a connection through music. I hope I don’t set up my hopes too high though, as I’ve heard from many musicians how touring can also be quite exhausting. I will hopefully get the chance to find out myself.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I really enjoy resampling and colouring sounds, working with strange effect chains, using filters and reverbs until I have something new that I can print to audio. Then I tend to work with that as my new musical material. I often jam out a basic chord sequence on a synth that I like and then start layering melodies on top of it. I use relatively simple equipment, as it gives me the freedom to degrade the sound completely, so I don’t get too attached to a pure or classic sound. I like layering bits of field recordings under synthetic textures, recording sounds through my speakers, using free software like Audacity to get strange effects that I wouldn’t get with Ableton for example.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Usually, I get up around 8, make some coffee and breakfast, then just try to relax. Sometimes I go out for a walk in the morning and then start writing down whatever comes to my mind – music, life, it could be anything. After this, I often feel more clear about what I want to do. Then I start to collect melodic or rhythmic ideas until I have a good loop going. After lunch, I listen to that loop and try to find a quick and simple arrangement for it. In the afternoon, I take another break. Then I try to finish the arrangement a bit more, so I can export the first version of a new song. Doing one song a day has been my goal, but sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it’s done in a couple of hours, it really depends.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Yes, there were many moments like that. When I was around 12, a rock band at my school was playing in the school gym before the summer holidays. I was so used to the classical music I learned in music school on my flute, but this was something different. The sound these people made on stage really fascinated me. After the concert, I told my friend: “It must be really hard to make music like that, it sounded so good!” He answered: “No, it’s not hard, anyone could do it”. And I thought: how disrespectful! But after all, when I discovered music production software, it all made sense. “This is how you make music sound good!”

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

As I haven’t played many sets, I can only imagine keeping some kind of talisman next to me. Maybe a dice, because there’s the element of chance…

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Yes, a very good friend of mine recently sent me the music of a Leipzig-based producer. His stuff sounded so interesting, like a mixture of indie-rock, noise and ambient, maybe you should check him out? His name is TIBSLC. You can find him on Soundcloud.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Usually when I sit back and relax. Taking time out in nature, being surrounded by people, having conversations. If all of that is not at hand, going deeper into myself and asking myself, how I actually feel. Buying new drum machines is also a good way to get inspired… but seriously; listening to new music, going to record stores to meet like-minded people, going out to club nights and concerts, travelling, spending time with my family also helps. Maybe it’s something that breaks the habit for a while, like walking a different way around the block.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I mostly write in Ableton Live and generally use a lot of software. For synth parts, I mostly use the Arturia V-Collection. I also love the Apple AU-Plugins, they are simple but often create interesting results. I like the stock Plug-Ins in Ableton, there’s a lot one can do with them, especially when they’re combined as Audio Effect Racks. Regarding outboard gear, I like the Korg Volca-Series, especially the Volca Beats. I also have an Elektron Digitakt, it’s a sampler and I absolutely love it for making melodic sequences that carry some kind of rhythm in them. Since I play saxophone and guitar, I have those too and want to use them more in my productions. Another great tool is my field recorder, it’s a Tascam DR-07, for adding snippets of found sound into my music.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Not really, although I recently joined a band where I’m playing sax. It’s a mix of jazz and progressive rock, and each member of the band is a really good musician. I’m super lucky I get to play with these guys, and they have beautiful songs as well. Other than that, if I get the chance to write music for a movie, I usually do it, since I enjoy working with images too.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I guess I haven’t been in the industry for long enough to answer the question properly.  I can imagine becoming more disciplined in my music-making, taking it a bit more seriously in terms of finishing songs and working on long term projects.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

There’s an EP coming out on Deep Heads, which will be titled Hungerberg. Massive thanks to Deep Heads for supporting my music and finally getting it out to the world. Other than that I will be working on a Liminka-Album, and hopefully, play a gig here or there.

Famous last words? 

Music is the sacred heart. Take care and thanks to everyone who read the interview this far!

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By Sarah Britton