Rubén Kielmannsegge is one of the most relevant music producers on the electronic music scene in Spain, we interviewed him on the occasion of the presentation of this new album entitled Kingdom on his own imprint, Pinorama Records…
Hi Rubén, please can you tell us a little bit about your background from Watch TV to Rubén Kielmannsegge and how you originally got into electronic music?
Well, it is a bit difficult to be brief about that, as it’s been many years of evolving…
As a kid I was in touch with many kinds of music, I was the youngest brother of 5 and I really didn’t have any authority on what music was played at home, not at least until I grew a bit older. At home you could listen to diverse styles, from Nina Hagen to ZZ Top to Mecano to Mahler or Beethoven, and my two brothers played a lot of heavy metal, which I hated. I was very young and listened to all sorts of music, you know… you listened to what you liked but also to your friends’ music… but I remember the first vinyl I brought home, it was Prince’s Lovesexy, and from there on my taste became more accurate in music. I became obsessed with Prince and all the Minneapolis sound, The Time, Vanity 6, etc, and also stuff like Soul II Soul, Brand New Heavies, early Coldcut… that was my soundtrack for some years.
And then came the techno clubs. ..
I used to go to a rock club every weekend to listen to stuff such as RedHotChilliPeppers, Cypress Hill, Beck… and then one night I decided to go to a club (Provisional was the name) just round the corner. It was like a door in my mind was opened, the club was incredible, the crowd was unique, and they played stuff from R&S, Strictly Rhythm, Tresor Techno. It was a revelation to me. So I got really into all that stuff. Techno, happy hardcore, house, EBM… became my life for a few years, and that’s what I played at the clubs I started DJing at.
And then came the breaks…
My boyfriend that time was a DJ too, and he came home with a bunch of “different” records. Among those records were 2 particular albums which flipped my mind and again changed everything. And one week later I stepped on another album which was like a beacon for me as a producer. I’m talking about Portishead’s “Dummy”, Nightmares on Wax’s “Smoker’s Delight” and the last one, Coldcut’s Let Us Play.
I was already producing music by then, and you can imagine those 3 really influenced me. That trip hop, abstract hip hop, experimental electronics… it was so “nurturing” that I never had enough of it. And that’s when Watch TV came to light, using the name as an irony, as I barely watched television.
There were many years working under that name, producing, remixing, DJing playing live… it all derived into vintage music, should, funk, jazz classics, NuSoul… but I eventually got tired of that sound and started to look for something that sounded more fresh.
So I started the project “Driving Blind” with Ivan Espejo, which was quite interesting but never managed to work out. That was my first try at singing (backing vocals).
Then Ivan Smoka and Christian C called me to sing for their project “Gatos Negros” which was to be released on Rotten City , and that’s when I became a singing frontman. Ivan left the project and Alvaro Cabana joined the team, and we changed the name to DYOR (digyvourownrave).
Then the pandemic came, I got really sick for many months and I found shelter, once more, in music. So I got locked down in my studio and started Kingdom. And a year and a half after that you can hear the results.
Can you talk us through a little of the ideas and production process for your Album ‘Kingdom’?
Kingdom is a self-help album. Writing the songs, singing them and living the whole process just by myself was kind of a healing process. It is an album that comes from the darkness and goes towards the light. The production process was usually the same. I played with samples, synths and plugins and got a decent base, then i picked up the microphone and improvised over it, and then I picked the recordings, cut and re-organized them so I got a coherent song flow.
But some other times the idea came first. I’ve worked with Ximo Peris on the lyrics, and some times he came with an idea or a text, and that text was the inspiration for the melody of the song.
About the mixing process, it is something I do at the same time as the production, normally when the song is finished, the mixing is almost finished too, and all I have to do is adjusting some channels.
What is your favorite synthesizer & DAW
Ableton Live, because it allows me to play easily, it is a very friendly interface and much more intuitive than other DAWs, I used to work with Logic Pro, but in the end I realized I prefer the “agility” that Ableton Live has. I always loved analogic synths, with a good bass response, I’ve been a fan of the MS10 all my life, with that raw, merciless sound, and right now my favorite one is Moog Sub37, which has the perfect balance between brutality and elegance.
What can you tell us about your next gigs… Where can we enjoy you?
About the live shows, I’m doing my first concert of Kingdom at Halley Club in Madrid, on December 11th, and another concert in January and february at El Juglar and El Intruso, and I’m working on the booking for other cities right now.
And about DJing, last weekend I just did my first DJ gig (first without pandemic restrictions) at my monthly club in Madrid. It is called ABSENTA, and it takes place on the first saturday of every month at Café Berlín, I play along with my partner in crime Be.Lanuit. It is a wild and fun party. I’m also playing in Granada on the 13th of November at Club Vinilo.
What do you have planned for the year ahead?
There will be a remix album around march, with mixes from Alvaro Cabana, Be.Lanuit, MI.RO, Disco Felino, Parissior, Beyond The Mountains, Diskoan, Adrian Foulkes among others.
And I will keep producing music, of course, new songs, new grounds to dance on them.