Wolfgang Gartner, the undisputed Beatport sales champion of 2009, was most recently featured on Fresh Produce’s “Top 10 of 2009” and was kind enough to jump on the phone and catch up with us.[audio:http://freshproduceonline.com/blog/audio/interviews/wolfgang_gartner_02-04-10.mp3]
And the interview if your prefer reading:
Congrats on a hugely successful year in 2009. “5th Symphony” was one of our picks in our last episode the “Top 10 of 2009” and not incidentally was the top selling track of the year on Beatport. Was this highlighted before-hand as a launching place for the Wolfgang Gartner brand, or has its success been a happy surprise?
Yeah, yeah it was kinda highlighted beforehand. I think Beatport played a really big role in the development of my career as Wolfgang, at least. I had been working with them for years before that, doing other stuff with other labels. So, I already kinda had a relationship with them which I think really helped me out, and I think I owe a lot of my success to them and their belief in my music.
So, How long had the idea of putting Beethoven through an electro rework been rattling around in your brain?
I actually did that in 1997 when I was 14. I made a remix of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and “Wolfgang’s 5th” was totally based on this track; the chord stabs, the classical breaks. Everything was basically just a remake of this thing that I made in ’97 and I just put some current sounds in it and made it relevant for 2009. But I basically had the idea 13 years ago and I just kinda – I was listening to a bunch of my old tapes, 4-track tapes, and I heard this thing and decided that it would be time to do it again.
Your Kindergarten imprint has certainly been a fabulous showcase for your own production work, not the least of which is our other pick “Fire Power”. What was the inspiration behind this monster?
Fire Power was like a science project. It was basically like “let’s see how crazy we can get if we can just devote a month to doing edits and things that nobody else is willing to devote the time to doing.” So by the time it was finished I had spent so much time on it I didn’t even know if it was good or not. I also wanted to try writing my own classical progressions because Wolfgang’s 5th was so successful, but it was obviously a remake of a classic, so I wanted to try and do an original thing. So I wrote all the little classical-like breaks and harpsichord-sounding thing and all that was original. But it was kind of like the boy who cried wolf because since I sampled Beethoven’s 5th symphony, everybody thought I sampled all that stuff in Fire Power. [laugh] So I got kind of a mixed – but Fire Power was original. Wolfgang’s 5th was just a remake.
Will Kindergarten continue to solely release Wolfgang Gartner originals, or do you plan to expand the label to include other artists?
It’s pretty much just going to be my own originals. We are doing a remix contest on Beatport for the track “Latin Fever” and the wining remix from that, I’ll choose the winner, and it will get released Kindergarten. But aside from that, it’s pretty much just an outlet for me own tracks. The thing is I wish I had the time to listen to all the demos that people send me and to do some A&R work, but I just have to focus on what I’m best at which is making music. And unfortunately that doesn’t leave any time for running a label…at the moment at least. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a label manager, delegate it all out to somebody and have them do it. But at the moment it’s just me.
What contemporary artist(s) would you say impress/inspire you and your current production style?
Oh man…off the top of my head: Bloody Beetroots, Congorock, Switch, Switch & Diplo on their collaborations, Calvin Harris, Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Funkagenda. I mean it’s all over the board really. I like whatever’s good.
So what’s next on the production plate for Wolfgang Gartner?
There’s a lot pending right now, a lot of stuff that I’m working on. Doing a few collaborations with vocalists and other artists, dance artists and non-dance artists. As far as the big picture, right now I’m kind of at a turning point with my music and my style where I’m trying to go in a different direction than what I’ve been doing previously and what I’ve done in 2009. So, I’m still – I haven’t defined where I’m going yet, but I do know that I’m going in a different direction and it’s going to be fairly different from what I was doing in 2009. But it will still be the Wolfgang sound. It’ll still have my touch on it, it will just be stylistically a little bit different.
And finally, to end things up in style – If right now we were to turn on your iPod or CD player or Tape Deck (if you’ve been time-travelling to 1987 for some reason) – what would we hear?
Oh man, I generally don’t listen to a lot of club tracks or dance tracks in my car, just because I’m listening to it 24/7 all the time anyway. So I mainly listen to like, hip hop, a lot of the new pop-dance stuff, or like just straight up indie –rock-pop stuff like a lot of the artists I mentioned earlier – like Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Phoenix, Calvin Harris. I listen to satellite radio a lot. I listen to the dance stations, Area, Bpm, just to see what’s going on. I listen to the hip hop stations on satellite radio. I listen to a lot of classic rock. I listen to a lot of old disco. Mostly non-dance music except for the Area and Bpm, just to get a taste of what people are listening to right now.
Well, congrats on an incredible 2009 and best of luck in the New Year. Thank you so much for your time
Thank you. My pleasure.
You can find out more about the upcoming remix contest and Wolfgang Gartner in general by visiting his website www.wolfganggartner.com or purchase his music at www.beatport.com
©2010 Fresh Produce, Recorded February 4, 2010