Christopher Von Delen is the creative head behind the electronic music project “Schiller”, which has been producing hit album after hit album after more than two decades and has built up an extensive fan base over the years. After “Summer in Berlin”, the second album “Epic” will come in 2021. In “Epic”, von Delen and a classical orchestra recorded the tunes of a fictional film composed by him. He has been able to create an album that manages to transport the listener to another world, the world of the big screen. glasses Spoke to the musician.
You have already released an album in the spring with “Summer in Berlin”, and now a successor is already “Epic2. Are you a workaholic?”
Christopher Von Delen: I really enjoy music and so I don’t really see it as work. The exciting thing about composition is that there is no definite relationship between the time commitment and the result. You can lock yourself in a studio for half a year and do nothing but make music, and very little comes out of it. But there are phases in life when you don’t even know what to do with your thoughts. There is no formula. Of course, you’ll want to know where the inspiration comes from so that you can say it a little more efficiently. But you can’t, and that’s the good thing about it. Along the way, of course, you learn a lot, even with things that don’t work out. You learn there at least as much as from experiences that come by chance and luck. Because it’s not really that much different, you’re looking for little luck in the form of a raga and a rhythm, and try to make a work out of it, but in the end you get the job. You can try, as openly as possible and always be on transmission and reception at the same time, but you cannot call it at the push of a button.
On your new album “Epic” you tackle the theme of “film music”, but these are not interpretations of previously known pieces, but rather you create a big head cinema by combining its atmospheric electronic sound clouds with specially composed orchestral arrangements. make soundtracks. Does this mean that you have written marks for films that only exist in your mind?
Christopher Von Delen: You can call it that way. If you think about it further, and that would be the best gift the album could give me, then the music in the listener’s head should make a movie too. It doesn’t have to be like mine, as there is no commit for some of the images I’m working on. As long as the listener’s imagination is stimulated, the musical work is complete. At the moment you can feel that everything is charged with a so called “message” and this is almost expected. The responsibility of the artist and people in general is constantly appealed in such a way that sometimes there is little room left for the imagination. Imagination is very important to escape from everyday life for an hour and get other ideas. This slackness is important, which one might not even want to think about. This is why new ideas are often more likely to arise when someone is constantly called to mindfulness.
When listening to the album, pictures pop up in my head, I can confirm this. Some pieces are reminiscent of famous film tunes by Hans Zimmer, Vangelis or James Newton Howard. I disagree if I’m wrong. Is there any source of inspiration for the album, have you cited other artists?
Christopher Von Delen: What you create is certainly the sum of what you absorb as musical input. This happens automatically. I grew up in the 1980s and of course you can sometimes hear a certain electronic 80s component in “Epic”. This is an organic shiller sound and not a pose that I have deliberately put. It’s just the music you’d like to hear yourself and of course it always deceives you in your own work. The movie musicians you just mentioned are definitely not “household names”. What has always shined in the Schiller DNA, I constantly tried on “Epic” to put it into a perfect act.
When reading an interview with you, the word “soundtrack” comes up over and over, and you like to use it. What is it that attracts you about the word or what does it mean to you?
Christopher von Delen: Music can have different aspects: a narrative that is conveyed, for example, what an interpreter sings in his text or how he interprets it. These are often relatively straightforward stories. There are also examples that are more on a mystical level. Take Bob Dylan’s texts, a whole library has been written about him. Then on the other hand there is instrumental music which enters the listener’s mind without any recitation. I grew up with this music, with Tangerine Dream, with Jean Michel Jerre. And they were often soundtracks as well, as their music was so well suited to reinforce the effects of existing images or create new images.
You have already worked with orchestras, but on the other hand you have always emphasized that you are less attracted to analog music. Do you still see similarities between electronic and classical music?
Christopher Von Delen: One must really differentiate between classical music and orchestra as a body of sound. Of course, it usually coincides, as classical music is usually associated with an orchestra. Classical music tries its best to stay within itself. Even if you now try to approach classical music in a liberal and respectful manner, it will be vigorously defended against uninvited guests by appropriate gatekeepers, porters (laughs). But if one succeeds in separating the sound body and timing of the orchestra from this conceit, there is a great resemblance to electronic music. These pure sounds, these sounds of both genres are closer than one or other classic defenders would like. In an orchestra, for example, the frequency range from double bass to piccolo can be captured in such a way as to reproduce the entire sound spectrum. And electronic music can do the same. Of course, the choice is more difficult then, because when you have all the options, you quickly fall into the “too-help-too” trap. Pauses and lapses of things are very important in music. And that’s what I tried to get on the album in a fusion of orchestra and electronics.
So you weren’t dealing with pure purists and conservatives in your chosen orchestra? Musicians were open to your electronic music?
Christopher Von Delen: They were very open there. There are many players who sit in an orchestra that mainly plays classics from Bach to Mozart to Beethoven, but they are also very curious and happy when they are allowed to play something different. Because you must not forget that what is offered in a normal concert membership is mostly always the same. With a wink, an orchestra is a bit like a cover band. It plays the same thing over and over again with new nuances in interpretation, but the sheet music repeats itself. So it was great to see how this orchestra played the score with gusto and complete devotion.
Did you write the numbers or did you get any help?
Christopher von Delen: I arranged the music and Ben Palmer, the orchestrator from Great Britain, helped me put these arrangements on paper and in sheet music so that they could be read and played by the orchestra.
How did you deal with this flood of talent from a 40-piece orchestra that you suddenly had to deal with?
Christopher Von Delen: It’s a lesson in humility. I don’t consider myself particularly virtuous. I always give myself up to be happy. Whatever happens to me is luck and chance. Sometimes you have a vague idea and it’s usually very different. It’s certainly very different with someone who focuses on mastering an instrument. A cellist can’t say: Let’s see if I succeed today or I am lucky today (laughs). If you play in one ensemble, you should be able to count on the other. Musicians are dependent on each other and this results in incredibly intense energy. Your computer has terabyte sound libraries with orchestral sounds, which sound pretty impressive too. But it doesn’t come close to the live feeling.
These sound files are so good now that many listeners won’t even notice…
Christopher Von Delen: I think the listeners can feel it. Maybe he can’t explain in concrete terms what’s different out there, but the energy of the people cannot be imitated. It starts with the fact that everyone breathes and you can feel in a big orchestra at some point. These are the secrets of music and that is the dream.
Which film composers do you like most?
Christopher Von Delen: The greatest is Ennio Morricone. If you look beyond his work to “popular tunes,” you’ll see this intensity and range. And there are and probably won’t be a second time. There are certainly other film composers who have their own voices. John Williams sounds like John Williams and Hans Zimmer mostly sounds like Hans Zimmer. I have the greatest respect for Zimmer’s work. He is sometimes slightly grinned and speaks of a typical Hans Zimmer soundtrack. But there is no contemporary film composer who has composed so many hits, as Zimmer actually creates pop music, which is then played by an orchestra. The soundtrack to “Interstellar” is actually a pop album. I can even name Olafur Arnolds from Iceland, even if that sounds somewhat more special. There are many film composers for whom we have the greatest respect.
Can you imagine that you are composing for actual filmmaking?
Christopher Von Delen: I can very well imagine it, even if I know it will be a nice but big challenge for me. Because there’s a difference between composing for yourself or for films that don’t exist, or for a film that actually exists. Because at least 50 percent of this work is handcrafted, in the sense that you have to adapt the music to the film. If a scene is re-edited, you’ll need to re-edit the music as well. It feels lighter than that and that is why I have the highest respect for the composer of every film. I would love to try it and maybe one day it will.
Are there any plans to perform the epic music from your new album live?
Christopher Von Delen: Yes, there are. We are currently exploring how this can be implemented in a timely manner. Of course, this requires a special framework. I could imagine doing this under the starry sky next summer. I would be very happy with it.
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