Niklas Paschburg is a german composer, pianist, and electronic producer bridging the gap between ambient and pop music since 2018. Lucas Biela (LB) interview him for ISKC.
1/ LB: Hi Niklas, I learned of your music from the excellent label of my good friend Carlo Garré, K7 Records. How did you learn about the label?
Actually I’ve also learned about K7 Records through Carlo Garré! 🙂 I think he contacted me back in 2016 for the first time and from there everything started.
2/ LB: Can you tell us how things started for you in terms of musical activity? And what are your plans for the future?
I’ve started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old. From there, music became more and more important in my life. After school I’ve started to study composition for film and theatre at the university and released my first songs on my friends label “Unperceived Records”. This opened a new world to me and I was able to play my first shows. Followed by my first album “Oceanic” which was released on 7K / K7 Records. Since then touring is a fixed part of my musical life.
I’m currently writing my third studio album, so my plans for next year involves a lot of new music as well as a soundtrack I’ve did for a French movie.
3/ LB: Your music can be both introspective and rhythmic. Can you tell us how the idea of mixing both worlds came to you?
It evolved over the years, that I somehow feel home in the ambient world, as well as in the electronic and more rhythmic world. I guess the contrast fascinates me and the result which you can have if you mix both worlds. It also reflects my life pretty well, I love being in the nature, where I find calm and peace but at the same time I need a bigger city like Berlin as a balance. Switching between both keeps my mind very active and curious.
4/ LB: What instruments do you play to create your sounds? And could you tell us more about your interest in accordion?
My main instrument is still the piano. From there I’ve collected a few more instruments (mainly with keyboards) such as Synthesizer, the Accordion and drums. My Grandfather gave me his accordion a couple of years ago. First I did not really know what to do with it and how I could include this into my setup. Until I found a way to treat the Accordion with effects, this really opened a new world to me. And since then it became my second favourite instrument after the piano.
5/ LB: Given how cinematic your music sounds at times, did you think of composing movie soundtracks or advertisement themes? Were you approached by TV or cinema producers?
Actually I’ve did my first soundtrack last year and scored two movies, which are coming out in 2022. Composing a soundtrack was always a dream of mine and I’ve actually started to study “Composition for film and theatre” at the university. But at the same time I was also releasing my first songs and an EP, which allowed me to play live shows. So composing music for a film went into the background and my main focus was the solo project. Now I’m very happy that it came back and I was able to compose my first score.
6/ LB: With names like Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm or A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the neo-classical/ambient scene seems to be quite vivid. Do you see a growing interest of people in this type of music, similarly to prioritizing what’s essential in life and getting rid of anything superfluous?
There is definitely a growing interest in this kind of music. Especially when it’s instrumental and more calm. I guess people (me included) need from time to time a balance to their hectic daily life. These scene definitely offers a way to escape for a moment.
7/ LB: Are you having a good follow-up on international level? (audience, press…). How hard is it to make a name in the neo-classical/ambient scene: do your peers in the scene help you get more visibility?
I’m very happy how far this music brought me and which wonderful places I’ve been able to see because of my shows. And since the scene is quite new and a niche compared to the traditional music genres, there is a lot of exchange happening between artists. Luckily there are more collaborations happening instead of competition. There is definitely a lot of support, which helps you finding your audience.
8/ LB: My good friend Hery Randriambololona (aka Ujjaya) organizes every year a festival of ambient music in Paris. Do you know Hery? Have you heard about this festival, and would you be interested in taking part in it?
That sounds absolutely wonderful! I’ve did not hear about Hery’s Festival but an ambient festival in one of my favourite city in Europe sounds like a dream. So I’m in!