Q&A with emerging producer, Calcou

We sat down with multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Calcou to talk about music, life and his recently-released single titled ‘Time’, which was released on June 14th, 2024 via MfRD+C. The track, which premiered on National Irish station RTÉ 2FM, offers a glimpse of his forthcoming album, Murmuration, slated for release on July 5th, 2024.The Berlin-based artist’s latest singles were picked by worldwide Spotify editorials for playlists like Fresh Finds, Late Night Vibes, metropolis or by Apple US for focus playlists like Today’s Chill. He has received support from numerous blogs and magazines such as CLASH Magazine, Stereofox, Son Of Marketing, House Music With Love, Majestic Casual and ElectroPosé to name a few. Calcou has worked with a wide range of well-known brands including Universal Music and BMW, who have just featured his latest release ‘Anthophyllite’ in a global ad campaign. Calcou finds inspiration in the works of Kiasmos, Bonobo, and Caribou while his latest release calls to mind the likes of Four Tet, Maribou State and George FitzGerald.



Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I love creating things. I find it quite amazing that I can enter the studio in the morning with absolutely nothing and leave it with a new piece by the end of the day that other people will listen to and might enjoy.


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

I don’t really have a fixed process. Sometimes it’s a sound that defines everything, sometimes it’s more the composition / idea and I’ll dive into the sound design at a later point.


Does your material feature any collaborations? 

Yes I have quite a few singers on the album and also produced one track with my good pal Mellowdine.


What’s on your current playlist?

Kiasmos, Logic1000, Ross from Friends, Barry Can’t Swim.


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

I love trying out new things when playing live. You can immediately feel if a song works or not if you play it in front of an audience. Sometimes it goes into a completely different direction than I expected when I sat alone in the studio. So those moments are always special and I love bringing my material into the “real world”.


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

My songs usually go through a lot of stages. Some are more straight-forward and some are really: “Ok now I’ll do everything I’d usually not do or think about.” I try to allow as many lucky accidents as possible and approach my own material like a remixer. So a lot of re-sampling going on, granular synthesis, using field recordings and so on, flooding the project with bits and ideas. After that, I’ll go back to a more rational way of producing and bring everything together.


Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Usually I start around 10am with some piano practice and ear training. After that I’ll either open an existing project and try to develop it further or start a new one from scratch. There’s no real structure or plan – I just try to make sure to create every day and not overthink too much what I’m doing.


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

I loved playing music, already as a child – so I guess I always wanted to do music. But I could never really picture how I would make a living out of that and didn’t pursue it as my main career goal. But after one of my songs got signed by a major label and another song got used for a big advertisement campaign I realized:” Oh, I actually CAN make a living with music” and I guess that was the point I really went all in.


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

My in ear monitors. I really don’t like blasting my ears off with external monitors and am quite happy that it works with in-ears.


Any emerging artists on your radar?

I’m currently producing for Thea Alien and she also sang on one of my latest singles ‘Wasteland’. She has an incredible voice and a great taste in songwriting.


What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music, Art, Life.


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

At the core, there’s Ableton 12 and 2 UAD Apollos going into my ADAM S3V main monitors. My favorite analogue synth is the DSI Pro 2, favorite effect pedal is the Avalanche Run. Favorite VSTs currently Super 8, Granulator, Arcade and Blocks.


Any side projects you’re working on?

Like I already mentioned, I’m currently producing for Thea Alien. Besides that, I’m playing piano in a jazz trio called White Noise Trio and find myself composing for commercials every now and then.


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

I think my biggest progress is still happening on the technical/engineering side of things. I got way better at recording acoustic instruments and vocals, sound design, mixing and so on. Hopefully that process of refining things will never stop as it is one of the things that make it so exciting to be a producer.


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

My album! July 5th 2024.


Famous last words?



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