For Berliner Robert Koch there’s no time for resting. He prefers to devote his hours to creating, be it with Jahcoozi, behind the mask of The Tape, or—as he’s done recently—cutting it with asymmetric breaks and solid bass lines (blurring the limits between abstract hip hop and dubstep, always opting for a lateral approach and avoiding the commonplace). Koch is back now with “ Songs For The Trees and The Cyborgs” ( Project: Mooncircle), the second album, which will be in stores tomorrow. Herr Koch has prepared an exclusive mini-mix for PG including remixes and some of his own tracks. A delicious aperitif, you can download it here while reading Koch’s thoughts on his music. Your music has a dark element to it sometimes, but in the past it had a fun and bouncy component, and a surreal edge as well. In your own mind, are you normally an easy-going individual, or are you someone who after a few years has started to make sounds to make people happy?
I’m a really easy going guy, I just like my sound dark and heavy at times, but I also like it light and soft. I love heartfelt melodies, it can be sonically heavy but also light and detailed, like warm rain sometimes and then again like a lazer gun in your face. I like dynamics and don't enjoy doing just one thing all the time.
Your mix for PlayGround is dark, deep and haunting. What did you want to make listeners feel with it?
It’s like a painting, it might look scary and weird to some and beautiful and surreal to others... It's a reflection of yourself, what you find in it. Dark clouds can be as beautiful as a sunset.
Bass is crucial. Can you imagine what your music would be if you weren’t allowed to use those basslines that define your beats ever again?
Yeah for sure...bass is crucial but I also do stuff where the bass is just a soft touch in a track, it doesn’t have to be a “demolition bassline.” Right now I’m producing Graciela Maria’s album and it has cello, strings, live drums and a warm sounding jazz double bass on it...
There’s a rap song in the mix. Obviously you love hip hop, but your music isn’t always vocal. What MCs do you admire the most, what does a MC need to have to get to work with you, and who would you love to form a musical partnership with?
I love Anti Pop Consortium. I was lucky enough to work with Sayyid on two tracks, I also love MF Doom, I haven’t worked with him yet but I will work with John Robinson soon. I also dig Wu Tang Clan and the old company flow stuff....
You are currently involved in some sort of collaboration between Jahcoozi, Gebrüder Teichmann and Modeselektor. Can you tell us any more details about this project?
We were all lucky enough to get invited to Nairobi in Kenya to make music with a wide spectrum of Kenyan MCs, singers and musicians. It was a project initiated and funded by the Goethe Institut (the German equivalent of the British Council) where we were invited to play a show in a club and to stay on set up a studio in a residential house in Nairobi, where we actually all lived and made music for 2 weeks. We were doing recording sessions with up to 10 musicians at a time and that went on 24/7. In fact most of the musicians crashed in the living room and never went home... it was intense to say the least!
But you’re more directly related to the barefoot style, anyway. What is the barefoot style exactly, and which influences does it refer to?
The term barefoot was coined by my friend Sterotyp, who also remixed my band Jahcoozi twice and has been doing dope music for a while. It means to just get rid of the narrow genre boxes in music and walk freely, barefoot, between the genre lines. It’s some free-your-mind-bass-music approach, free from limits or boundaries.
What are your plans for the near future?
As I said, I’m producing Graciela Maria’s album. Also in the pipeline are collaborations with fLako, Lorn, Boxcutter, John Robinson, a new Jahcoozi album and let’s see what else will happen. It’s exciting and I am very inspired, which is the best precondition to make music. Robot Koch - “Songs For The Trees and The Cyborgs”01. Water and Solutions 02. Cloud City (Robot Koch vs Boxcutter) 03. Powerstrip 66 (Robot Koch vs Doshy) 04. Verbal Bruises (Robot KOch vs Portable Morla) 05. Patience 06. Late Introduction 07. Night on Mars 08. Ideas 09. Threats 10. Break the Silence 11. Brujeria (Robert Koch vs Graciela Alatorre) 12. Haunted Landscapes (Robot Koch vs 1000 Names) 13. Atari You (Robot Koch vs RQM)14. Summer Snow
Minimix for PlayGround:01. Doshy - crtz (Robot Koch rmx) 02. Robot Koch -gorom sen (Shlomo rmx) 03. Robot Koch - death star droid 04. Robot Koch - death star droid (Flako rework) 05. Bassnectar - teleport massive (Robot Koch remix)