For Roland Klinkenberg, there’s no better means of exploration than the spirit of techno.
On his latest LP Construct, Klinkenberg brings a strong sense of emotion and—no small feat in a genre that can sometimes be perceived as robotic and cold. Delving deep into a wide array of electronic soundscapes that truly take listeners on a journey, Klinkenberg pulls on 25 years of experience and classical training to craft an album-length epic primed for repeated listens.
With the LP out now via Green, Klinkenberg caught up with us to chat about the road to the album’s completion.
DJ Times: It’s been a while since your last album. When did work on Construct begin? Roland Klinkenberg: Kind of hard to say exactly—I think it was sometime around last August. It’s not that I decided to make an album at that time—I think it was September that I had an EP ready plus some half-finished tracks. That was when I thought about making an album. You could say I was in a flow. I was working very fast.
DJ Times: What inspired/drove the creation and production of the album? Klinkenberg: My newfound love for dub techno (and the dub sound in general).
DJ Times: What’s the story behind the album title? Klinkenberg: The title Construct refers to the way most tracks were made. They all share a dubby element/vibe and are more “tool”-like instead of being arranged. To achieve this sound, I created huge effect racks in Ableton that made the sounds come alive without the need to automate them. It all happened within these FX racks which I call “constructs.” It was kind of weird to make music this way. Music just happened when you fed something into the FX’s. My task was only to find the sweet spot within parameter ranges such as modulation depth and so on.
DJ Times: There’s a very warm, inviting spirit throughout much of the album, two feelings not normally associated with techno-centric production. Was this a specific goal you had in mind when you were creating it? Klinkenberg: No, there was nothing on my mind when working on this album. It all was very natural. I just let it happen. Never result driven. The fact that I’m meditating daily helped a lot. It gives so much focus and makes it easy to let things go if they don’t work, even if you’ve been working on something for a long time. You just don’t grow attached to the creation. Actually, there was one thing I kept thinking of: the process should be fun!
DJ Times: There seems to be a techno undercurrent running through the album, but each track is exceptionally different from each other one. How did you tie everything together and keep the album feeling cohesive? Klinkenberg: Keeping the album cohesive was the hardest part. As I said, I was not steering anything, so sometimes the result was not what I wanted for the album. I made a total of 24 tracks from which we—Joris, Edwin and me & Yani—chose 12 for the album. All tracks have a dubby element in them.
DJ Times: The gear list of studio equipment you used in the making of the album is staggering. Was there one particular piece of hardware that your found particularly integral to the creation of the record? Klinkenberg: A little ZOOM stereo field recording device. I used a lot of “natural” recording: stations, streets, schoolyards, rivers, etc. Basically just sucking up atmosphere with this little device. My son Yani loves to go out sound hunting with me, hitting stuff while I’m recording.
DJ Times: The album was released on Joris Voorn’s Green imprint. How did that relationship come to be? Klinkenberg: Actually, before the Construct #1 EP, I did not know Joris or Edwin personally. We knew each other by name and from each other’s productions but we never met. At that time I was sending a lot of demos to labels and also to Joris. I’m kind of unorganized when sending stuff so one of my tracks ended up in Joris’ demo folder without my name and using a working title. Somehow, he liked the track and it’s a miracle he was able to trace it back to me. He even started a post on his artist page on Facebook which gained a lot of attention. I only saw that later [laughs]. But, the crux of this all is that if you don’t know the artist you listen unprejudiced and unbiased.
DJ Times: What other projects are you working on/have lined up in the coming months? Klinkenberg: Right now I’m working on a project with Edwin called States Of Flux. It will be dub techno, only a little fiercer—not like the album. We want to take this show on the road and go live. I’m really excited about this project since it’s been a while since I performed live on stage. The music we’re both into is perfect for live performances.