User’s Atmosphere

Richard Hobbs catches up with ambient masters Jürgen and Sergios, shortly after the release of their outstanding “Dreamsharing” album on the Wohnton Musik label.
(August 2002)
www.tonvision.com / http://www.wohnton.de/

Return to Interviews Return to home page


1. Can you introduce yourselves, and tell us how your partnership began?
Ok, we are Jürgen and Sergios. Our first contact was in the year 1989 at a party.
We talked about music and our problem to make music without a band, because before this date we played in bands. Sergios was the first of us, who bought a synthesizer. Jürgen followed his example. Since this time we jammed together with our first synthesizers and an Atari 1040. In the 90´s our equipment has grown up to a good functional music studio.

2. Let’s talk about the music of User’s Atmosphere, there are elements of 80’s wave, ambient, trip hop, and your use of a more classical style guitar brings more uniqueness and appeal to your sound. What influences are behind your musical direction?
*smile* It’s difficult to talk about a concrete influence in the music of User’s Atmosphere. It’s the kind of style which grows in our minds. Certainly some of the newer music has flown in the User’s Atmosphere style. So we like electronic music like Kruder & Dorfmeister, The Orb, FSOL or Orbital. But the concrete musical roots are:
Sergios: Tangerine Dream, all kind of Metal, Punk, Dark Wave, music from motion pictures like “The Thing” and “Halloween” for example.
Jürgen: all kind of 60´s garage punk, Beatles, Velvet Underground, Dark Wave and the 80´s independent bands like The Smith, Triffids and others. We think all these styles have an influence on our work more or less.

3. What type of listener are you aiming your music towards?
All people who like our music: babies, children, teenagers, adults, grandmas and -pas!!!

4. Describe your studio and the equipment you use?
Oh, you really want to know all things we use??? OK, the equipment list of User’s Atmosphere:
Mac and PC Computers, Hammerfall I/O Card, Digi 001, ProTools, Cubase VST and Plug-Ins, Reason, Rebirth, Yamaha 02R Mixer, AKG C 3000, Kurzweil K2000, Korg M1, Virus A, Roland JV30, Yamaha A3000, EMU 6400, Doepfer MS404, E-Bass, E-Guitar, A-Guitar, Windchaim, Yamaha DTX E-Drums

5. How long was the recording process for the “Dreamsharing” album?
The recording process started in January and ended in April 2002. A few of the songs were composed at that time and some older song fragments were just finished.

6. In what way did you construct this music, and then decipher on titling it?
We’re calling this processing “substractive composotion”!
First step: a big jam-session: We play some ideas and little melodies and record all this in real time. For each song idea, we found a lot of melodies, licks, breaks, themes and so on. And this is now growing into an obscure multitrack-monster!!!
Second step: substracting the monster: Now, we take the best pieces and form a song we like.
That’s it!!!
There are two ways for us titling a song: Sometimes the name of a song develops while composing the track and sometimes the song has a lyric or a sample with a special theme or title, and that’s the name of our new track.

7. Two vocal tracks “Time” and “Fake” feature on the album. Do you find it harder to put a voice to your sound, what special meaning do these two songs have to you?
No, it’s harder to compose a song without a voice, because the voice is the main theme of a song. Without a voice, you must create different instrumental elements to keep the song interesting.
The lyrics of both songs tell about our own experiences and feelings.

8. The single release “Watership Song” was available on MCD and 12” and also appeared on many compilation albums as well as receiving some good airing on radio. Has this provided you with the head start promotion wise that you were hoping for?
Hmm, is it possible to answer this question? Difficult, because our first intention is to compose and produce music the way we like it. If the people like it too and buy it … fine, great, party!
If they don’t like it … ok! The reason is, first of all we love to compose music.
But we know the “Watership Song” will help us, because it has called a lot of people’s attention to User’s Atmosphere.

9. What is the track “Identity Vampires” based on?
It is based on a sample from a psychologist, who explains what kind of people stalkers are (stalkers are people, who pursue persons like stars in a fanatically way). So, stalkers of this world keep away from us, you are like identity vampires.

10. You are in the process of making a video for “Solaris”. What is the story surrounding this video?
The video has no concrete story. The pictures support the music with impressions of a contrast between nature and technology. It’s not a telling video, it should make the viewers imagine.

11. Any remixes in the pipeline?
Yeah, in these days we are starting to make a remix for the techno group called “Implant” and the song will be published on a remix album of Implant on Efa-Music worldwide. Is there anybody else, who wants a remix? Call us.

12. What is the TonVision project all about?
It’s our company which composes and produces music for TV, mostly documentary. Another kind to make music, because the customers have different wishes and every film requires another style of music. It’s very interesting work for us.
If you want to see some examples, take a look at www.tonvision.com !

13. You’re involved with musical compositions for film and TV…?
Yes, for us it’s also a safer way to earn money. We don’t know how many people will buy a copy of our “Dreamsharing” album, but with TonVision we get money for composing the tracks and later for the airplay on TV the second time.

14. The Wohnton Musik label has a lot of faith in your music, what is the advantage to being signed to a small label?
Stefan has been a very good friend of us before he built his label. He is the man, who had heard the “watership song” and got the vision, that he can sell this song on his own label. It’s a great situation with trust and the freedom that we need to produce our music.
Therefore, why should we look for another label. The majors would only see the money behind the product “User’s Atmosphere” and less the person, we think.

15. Any comments?
Greetings from User’s Atmosphere, thank you for the interview and to all the people who read it… and sorry for our English, it’s been a long time since we’ve written in this language