Q+A – Five minutes with LIFEFORMS co-founder Tim Engelhardt

Renowned as one of the electronic music industry’s brightest luminaries, Tim Engelhardt has curated an impeccable catalogue of chart-topping club records and critically acclaimed leftfield offerings throughout his esteemed, decade-long career. A stalwart favourite with influential Cologne DJ and producer has recently unveiled the inception of his very own music label, LIFEFORMS. Collaborating with US-based French scientist and producer Dr. Nicolas Pinto, this visionary initiative is poised to empower artists through cutting-edge technologies. LIFEFORMS transcends the conventional boundaries of a mere record label, positioning itself as an innovative playground for creative freedom. Artists, under its aegis, are not only granted the canvas to craft their sonic narratives but are also equipped with modern tools, fostering knowledge and access that propels their artistic journeys. Amidst a commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology, the label remains unwavering in its dedication to placing soulful, original music at the forefront. In its mission to play a pivotal role in the development of artists’ careers, LIFEFORMS offers guidance and avant-garde tools such as AI, blockchain, and other inventive technologies, facilitating an exploration of artistic expression in the most forward-thinking manner conceivable. 



Engelhardt inaugurates LIFEFORMS’ musical narrative with Wide Awake, a remarkable Indie Dance creation released alongside a more dancefloor-leaning Club Version. This unequivocally cool and chugging record features the majestic vocal talents of German singer-songwriter Jyll and encapsulates the diverse, eclectic essence that defines the label’s forthcoming output. We caught up with Engelhardt to find out more about the conception of LIFEFORMS, and what he sees for the label’s future. 


Download and stream Wide Awake here


After so many years in the industry, what made this the right time for you to launch your own label?

 The decision to launch LIFEFORMS came from a personal realisation last year that our scene could benefit from a new label that is open to different forms of expression and provides a platform for artists to experiment and grow on. I’ve been playing with the idea of launching a label for years and I feel like the moment is now.


LIFEFORMS is quite unlike most labels. There’s a strong focus on technology as a tool for innovation. Could you tell us what sort of technologies artists will have access to on LIFEFORMS?

 LIFEFORMS’ unique emphasis on technology means providing artists with access to cutting-edge tools such as AI-driven sound design tools. These tools will help artists explore new sounds and creative processes.


LIFEFORMS is a joint venture between yourself and scientist and producer Dr. Nicolas Pinto. How did the two of you conceptualise the label?

The collaboration with Dr. Nicolas Pinto, a scientist and producer, aims to fuse scientific rigour and artistic creativity in the foundation of LIFEFORMS. The label’s concept stems from a shared vision of merging music with technological advancements, creating a platform where art and science intersect.


LIFEFORMS is launching with your new single, Wide Awake. How did you make use of the technologies intrinsic to the label when creating this track?

On this particular track, I’ve used some of the sound design tools we are working with for the sound selection and sound design on the synths. It’s not a particularly recognisable feature but that’s also what I like about it – the tools just helped us create these sounds, but they are not dictating how we use them. In this case, they blend perfectly with the other sounds that have been mostly recorded from hardware.


Wide Awake is being released in two versions – an indie dance cut, and a more club focussed cut. How do these two versions speak toward the creative ethos and vision of LIFEFORMS as a label?

 This duality in “Wide Awake” represents LIFEFORMS’ ethos of pushing boundaries while remaining accessible to different segments of the electronic music scene.


What sort of sounds and music can we expect to hear on the label in the future?

 Future releases will include a diverse range of electronic music, but we’ll also aim to always maintain playability and have a red thread in the tracks we release. There will be an emphasis on experimental sounds, hybrid genres, and tracks that showcase innovative production techniques.


As technologies like AI continue to develop, there’s a growing risk that they could usurp human creativity. Why is it important for a label like LIFEFORMS to embrace these kinds of technologies as creative tools?

 While there is a risk of technology overshadowing human creativity, a label embracing these tools can demonstrate how technology can be a collaborator rather than a competitor in the creative process. By integrating technology as a creative partner, LIFEFORMS can explore new artistic horizons and redefine the boundaries of music production.


Where do you hope to see LIFEFORMS in the near future? What sort of artists are you looking to sign to the label?

 We hope to establish LIFEFORMS as a label in the scene where artists really feel at home.

LIFEFORMS aims to become a hub for artists who are at the forefront of electronic music innovation and we are actively looking for artists who are not only talented musically but are also willing to experiment with new technologies and push the limits of what is possible in music production and presentation.


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