Who was Tin Man
JOHANNES AUVINEN releases his first album "Akkosaari" under his own name. The Viennese by choice, who as TIN MAN has been shifting the definition of acid techno since 2004, puts the bass synthesizer aside and sneaks through strange worlds - to produce acid that isn't one. At least not if you have the creaking of a Roland 303 in your ear. "Akkosaari" pumps two liters of mass wine through the organs, swings out the sacred ambient room with incense and reads two intercessions. In honor of deep listening, of course. JOHANNES AUVINEN spoke to Christoph Benkeser about the grunt in Vienna, a sightseeing tour through the Hollywood Hills and music from the zone.
As Tin Man you have been reinventing acid techno for over 15 years, you are a sought-after DJ and work with various producers all over the world. Everything has stood still for a year - now a new album is coming out - without acid.
Johannes Auvinen: In a normal year, I play four to six times a month. All of that is no longer applicable at the moment. But that's not new to me. Before I could make a living from my work as a musician, I had normal jobs.
When did you start making a living from music?
Johannes Auvinen: I released my first record in 2004 with “Places”. In 2010 I started playing concerts. From 2014 I was able to make a living from my work as a producer and DJ.
What did you do before
Johanns Auvinen: I grew up in California, studied Los Angeles and then worked for a toy company. In my spare time I recorded music. In 2007 I moved to Vienna - it was an opportunity for me to try life as a musician.
Why first in Vienna?
Johannes Auvinen: There are clubs in every European city. In the USA it is very different. You also have to travel long distances to get from one city to the next. In Vienna I am in the center of Europe. Compared to Los Angeles, the city is small and manageable. In L.A. people are also superficial. It is difficult to have contact with cultural workers.
One of the first records you released in Vienna was called “Vienna Blue”.
Johannes Auvinen: “Vienna Blue” was released in 2011. A year earlier I performed for Austria at the Expo in Shanghai, where I played with violinists, cellists and clarinetists. Ideas for the record emerged from this performance. The songs should be less techno and more pop.
On the title song you sing: "I love you Vienna, but you are killing me."
Johannes Auvinen: That's the grunt I found in Vienna.
The love-hate relationship has not killed you so far, on the contrary. How is your connection to Vienna?
Johannes Auvinen: Better.
Johannes Auvinen: In the beginning it was difficult to get here. Everything is stable now, everything is going well - especially during the Corona period. When I think about what kind of life I would have led during the pandemic in Los Angeles ... That would have been horror, especially because of the social situation.
How do you remember your first time in Vienna?
Johannes Auvinen: I remember the club scene. There were many small bars and lounge-like locations, the music in the Danube or Elektro Gönner inspired me.
You later played there yourself.
Johannes Auvinen: For me, small clubs are more interesting. In general, parties are better when they are smaller. Often people ask me about my favorite club or what it's like to play in Berghain. I always say: small clubs where people have a connection to music and just want to dance are always better. Maybe that's the reason why I haven't played much at festivals in the last few years. There is no connection to the audience.
A connection that you are not looking for in a club with your new record, “Akkosaari”. It is the step towards ambient sound design.
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, I didn't think of the club when I made this record, but of the music that I discovered when I was 15 or 16 years old. Back then I was looking for electronic music in record stores: Jean-Michel Jarre's “Équinox”, albums by Brian Eno and soundtracks from films by Tarkovsky. Editions Mego from Vienna, back then just that mego was called, has always inspired me.
Your new record will be released on Peter Rehberg's label. How did you get to know him?
Johannes Auvinen: In 1997 I met Peter in Los Angeles. I wasn't 20, but a big fan. He was touring with Christian Fennesz, Russell Haswell, Florian Hecker and Mika and Ilpo from Pan Sonic - almost all of my heroes in one place. So I wrote to him before that. We then met for sightseeing.
Johannes Auvinen: Yeah, we drove through the Hollywood Hills and then got stuck in traffic for hours. By the way: At the same time, I found the Finnish record label Sähkö Recordings at least as good, especially the music by Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisänen. Their music shaped me, it was important for “Akkosaari”.
How did you come across Sähkö's music at this age?
Johannes Auvinen: Through my older brother. He studied at UC Santa Cruz, a liberal university in California, where I was allowed to visit him. At that time, a lot of people were experimenting with psychedelic drugs there. Suddenly I heard this music - and was absolutely thrilled.
“Akkosaari” transcends the psychedelic and merges into the sacred.
Johannes Auvinen: Because I was inspired by Tarkovsky's “Stalker”. Just like “Solaris”, the film has a spiritual level that is reflected in the sacred music. In “Solaris” chorales by Johann Sebastian Bach appear.
How can this music from the zone be described?
Johannes Auvinen: With "Stalker" it is of course different. There is a narrative and characters that play a role in it - but it's more about to get spaced out in the zone. The music frames this element. It does not give an answer within the narrative because at the same time it is developing in one direction, but not moving from place.
"I HAVE INTEGRATED ACID ON AKKOSAARI."
"Akkosaari" is music to get spaced out.
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, it has to do with the island.
Johannes Auvinen: Akkosaari is an island in Finland. The title is related to it. One title is about how the ice is changing in Finland.
These are topics that lead to nature. The counterbalance to the machine music that you usually produce.
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, the album is an organic product.
You have been producing acid techno for many years. Do ambient trips like “Akkosaari” create the distance to keep acid interesting?
Johannes Auvinen: I also integrated acid on "Akkosaari".
You have to explain that to me. The acid sound of the Roland 303 cannot be heard on the record.
Johannes Auvinen: For me there is something abstract about Acid. Suddenly changing perception can cause shock. As a listener, you then have to take a step back and look at the situation anew. On “Akkosaari” this includes something like a constant crescendo. The music evolves in one direction or suggests that it is evolving in one direction. At the same time, acid has to do with the abuse of technology. A 303 is like a tool that can be used in very different ways.
How do you mean?
Johannes Auvinen: It has an identity to be discovered. An identity that can be changed permanently.
By using them contrary to their original purpose?
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, the Roland TB-303 was supposed to sound like a real bass player, which of course was nonsense. The people who used the thing noticed that quickly. Some have used them differently - and thus opened up new possibilities.
That's why you meant that “Akkosaari” was also acid.
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, and yet it's not a Tin Man record. I don't use a 303 on “Akkosaari”. The album is also more personal. That's why I don't publish them under my pseudonym, but with my real name.
What makes the album personal?
Johannes Auvinen: It has to do with my family history. Akkosaari is a real eatery in Finland. My father spent his youth there.
"THERE ARE MANY ACCESSORIES IN FINLAND."
Didn't you say earlier that Akkosaari is an island?
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, it's an island too. There's a story about that. You have to know that akko translated from Finnish means "old lady". So one day in spring an old woman died on an island. Her corpse was to be transported on horses across the frozen water. But the ice wasn't thick enough, so her body was left on the island.
What happened then?
Johannes Auvinen: No idea. I don't think this story is true. After all, there are a lot of Akkosaari in Finland.
And the place where your father grew up.
Johannes Auvinen: Yes, the area he grew up in is surrounded by lakes. The whole country is made up of lakes, everywhere people live on islands. That's why I believed the story when I was told as a child. I can still imagine it today - a lake, the fog, and the eerie atmosphere that surrounds it. There's something mysterious about that.
You once said that about the Roland 303. With “Akkosaari” you open up a new context.
Johannes Auvinen: I would like to produce more in this direction. The framework will remain the idea of the soundtrack because I want to tell stories. However, it doesn't always have to be ambient.
Johannes Auvinen: The next project will be something Austrian that has to do with Schubert.
Is the classic age of “Vienna Blue” coming back?
Johannes Auvinen: “Vienna Blue” was more about romantic ideas. I'm interested in Schubert because his music had a great influence on Kraftwerk. At least I think so. Besides, I see Schubert all over town. The house where he died is near my apartment.
In Vienna it is difficult to avoid musical history.
Johannes Auvinen: In my first years in Vienna, that didn't interest me at all. In the meantime I enjoy being accompanied by the composers of this city.
Thank you for the talk!
Tin Man (Homepage)
Johannes Auvinen (Discogs)
Tin Man (band camp)
Tin Man (Facebook)
Tin Man (Instagram)
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