Q+A : Five minutes with Innellea
Munich’s Innellea has always thought about music differently. For him, it’s been about experience. Starting his career in the underground techno scene, Innellea has built a reputation for crafting intricate, layered compositions that transcend techno’s usual rigidity. His arrival as one of the apex avant-garde electronic producers on the scene is no surprise, he’s always been driven to innovate. Distorted Youth, his new four track EP which is out now via Afterlife Records, is no different. “Distorted Youth is an all-encompassing audio-visual experience… The full package also has a deeper meaning, which everyone will be able to discover and interpret for themselves,” his statement on the project reads. In conjunction with the music, Distorted Youth takes the form of other media, including Innellea’s debut concept tour which includes dates across Europe and one in New York. With the EP out for the world to experience and as he prepares to launch his show, we caught up with Innellea to find out more about the Distorted Youth universe, and what we can expect to see as it comes to life.
Hi Innellea, it’s great to chat with you. Let’s jump straight into it. ‘Distorted Youth’, what would you say is the concept statement for this project?
The EP was created during the beginning of the pandemic. Musically, Distorted Youth was like an outlet for me from which I was able to release frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction. When I realised how many emotions I put into the record, I began to understand that Distorted Youth is more than “just” music.
It feels like more than just an EP, there’s so many components involved from clothing to the upcoming tour, with all these different parts coming together to create the world of ‘Distorted Youth.’ Would you consider this a bit of a multi-disciplinary project?
Yes you’re right with your guess. It is the approach to take the listener into the holistic world of Innellea. A world where sound, vision, art and fashion is melting together. The full package also has a deeper meaning, which everyone will be able to discover and interpret for themselves. As I love to create experiences I’ll come up with more concepts like this in the future which are meant to stimulate all senses.
You’ve always had this way of creating evocative and rich music, and part of that success has probably been in the incredible attention to detail. With this project, it feels like you’re expanding that attention to detail beyond the music itself. Could you talk us through the overall vision?
My long term vision is to create something that stays and in addition, I would like to encourage people to deal with certain issues which may otherwise be met with ignorance. Not to forget that I love thinking outside the box. Some things can only be discovered if you take your time and carefully examine the product.
On to the music; you’re known for this emotive and evocative style of techno. But on the title track from this new EP you’re playing with breaks and polyrhythms. What brought you to this sound for this project, and does it reflect the rest of the EP?
With Distorted Youth I tried to represent the feeling of each of the five stages of depression by choosing different instruments, harmonies and rhythms. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. For me personally, this is my favourite track of my whole discography so far. I can’t explain exactly why but it helped me a lot going through the difficult period of the pandemic.
We’ve been lucky enough to preview the title track’s music video, which is out on Feb 9th, and it’s really a visual feast. How important are the visuals to the music on this project, and what inspired this video specifically?
The visual layer is as important for me as the music, they go hand in hand. For the video, I worked closely together with two very good friends. One of them is Marco Fumolo, an amazing director that I met when I was younger. He’s the main person behind the concept of the music video. The other one is Simon Hartl, a very talented editor I share a passion for skateboarding with. Besides editing the video, he was also involved in conceptualising it. About inspiration, I don’t want to reveal too much before people watch it. What I can say is that we are all the product of our own Distorted Youth.
This is your first live concept tour. Can you take us through the creative process and how you felt while planning the show?
It was a rollercoaster ride through a mixture of tension, fear and excitement. What I definitely want to say on this point is a huge thank you to my whole team. There are so many things you have to think of while planning such a tour and if I had to plan it by myself, I would not have done it because it would not have been possible for me due to the necessary effort.
As you prepare to go on tour, what excites you most about sharing this music live?
It is the feedback coming from the crowd! Without playing music live it feels like a track is not really born.
Creating a clothing line for the project is a really interesting way to expand the world. What sort of items can we expect from this, and how will it differ to regular tour merch?
After my brand INN’s debut capsule collection Neologism, this is the second. This time it has a more minimalistic approach. It contains a hoodie and a t-shirt, both oversized in fit with INN embroidery on the front. The hoodie has a reflective version of the Distorted Youth logo printed on the back, and the t-shirt is pale yellow. All our items are produced with OEKO-TEX and Sedex certificates, to support an environment-friendly and ethical production chain.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you for your nice questions and see you soon! <3
The new line for Innellea’s clothing brand ‘INN’ is available for pre-order exclusively at innellea.com/shop/
Listen to Distorted Youth below.