Kagen is based in Munich, Germany and produces electronic music:
“I like to make complex and intricate, yet melodic tunes that cover a wide array of genres and styles, yet retain a certain, unique sound. I’d love you to check it out!”
We came across his tune ‘Fallen‘ and did not hesitate to contact him for a short interview. We were interested in talking to him about what motivates and influences him to produce music. In this interview you will find more information about the equipment he uses, what he listenes to during free hours and what he is planning on doing in the near future. Another artist that certainly deserves to be shared! Enjoy the read:
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Hey, I’m doing very well, thanks for asking. I’m on vacation in Malaysia actually, writing this out of a nice café near the beach while having an Iced-coffee. It’s been a very relaxing and refreshing vacation that is soon coming to an end which is very bittersweet, I’ve had a great time but I’m very much looking forward to get back in the studio and getting some work done.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I’d say intricate and complex with a heavy focus on sound design and rhythm, yet with melodic elements to drive it all home.
It is kind of tough to pinpoint, since my “sound” is very much something that is still evolving as I grow as an artist.
What I strive to achieve in my songs is something that is sonically challenging and interesting, yet is still good songwriting. I don’t want my music to be just an impressive showcase of my technical capabilities while it is somewhat bland in a musical sense. I want my songs to have substance, I want to be able to call myself both a producer as well as a musician, which is why songwriting and music theory is one of the areas I try to improve the most in, which has led me to pick up the piano a year ago, and I’m very glad I did, since it proved to be very beneficial already.
Let’s get an idea of his music and check out his latest release ‘Fallen’
What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
Dynasty – Koan Sound
Sanctuary – Koan Sound, Asa
German Engineering – Virtual Riot
Tudiskava EP – Clockvice, Copycatt, Culprate, Ekcle, Raine, Vellum, Vorso
Views – Drake
What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?
Man this is a tough one for me, because I could probably talk about this all day. When it comes to music, I listen to such a wide array of styles and genres, electronic and non-electronic. Any of the artists above are pretty much always on my playlist, especially Koan Sound, if I could have listed more than 5 albums, I pretty much would have listed every album of theirs, they are definitely the artist that has influenced me the most. Apart from them, pretty much all the Upscale people and Inspected artists, such as Culprate, Asa, Skope, Copycatt, Vorso, Clockvice, Frequent, Ekcle, Sorrow and many more.
I also really enjoy the Movember Collection by Inspected, which features a lot of my favorite artists.
I think those are the most obvious ones because you probably can hear their influences in my music, they seem to scratch that complex-sound design-with-beautiful-songwriting itch of mine.
But I also listen to many artist with whom I don’t share any obvious similarities. It’s often quite situational for me.
For example I might listen to some hard Dubstep from Soltan, Getter, Panda Eyes or Virtual Riot in the Gym, listen to some EDEN in the car and sing along, or perhaps Drake, or Daft Punk, or Skrillex, or KSHMR? And I might chill with some Sorrow or Subsets tunes, or Tim Schaufert, who is a producer friend of mine and an amazing artist, later that night. Or enjoy the new amazing KLRX album that just came out.
I even enjoy some pop occasionally.
There are very few genres that really dislike.
My musical taste has shifted quite a lot over the years.
From R’n’b (Ne-Yo, Michael Jackson), to alternative rock (Linkin Park, Billy Talent), to Hip-Hop (Eminem, 50 cent), to electronic… I’ve been through it all.
I also love film music, especially Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, Last Samurai, Pirates of the Caribbean) Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), and of course, John Williams (Star Wars, Harry Potter).
All these beforementioned artist have not necessarily shaped my music, but they have shaped me as a person , and they have blessed me with this incredible love for music, long before I started producing.
As you can see, if I don’t restrain myself from rambling on, we might aswell call this “5 hours with Kagen”, so I’ll try to stop now. If anyone is interested and wants to discuss and share music with me, feel free to approach me on any platform.
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks in the studio? Or do you prefer to use software and plug ins?
For me it’s pretty much all “in the box”. I used to use a wide variety of plugins, but nowadays I go by “less is more”, as I feel too many options can be distracting and counterproductive.
My DAW of choice is Ableton Live, in terms of synths I use Serum and Operator, for samplers I use Kontakt and Omnisphere, and for effects, I use some Fabfilter stuff, some Ozone stuff and Valhalla for reverb.
Everything else is pretty much Ableton’s stock plugins.
In terms of actual hardware, I’m very minimalistic. All you will see on my desk is an ultra-wide monitor (highly recommended for production), some peripherals, an 88-key-keyboard, some speakers and two pairs of headphones. I think the most important thing is your monitoring situation. I produce mainly on headphones, because my room is a b*tch, and currently I’m using AKG K712’s, though I am saving up for a pair of Sennheiser HD660s in due time (fingers crossed). Also a Subpac. Seriously, get a Subpac, like, right now.
Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?
It did, though I think it is important to upgrade your equipment as you grow as an artist. The reason I’m getting the Sennheisers now is because I feel like I have developed my ear to a point where I will really benefit from that purchase, whereas I wouldn’t have a year or two ago.
When it comes to progress and development, we are all impatient, and I think it might seem tempting to throw a bunch of money at gear and pray that you’ll make better music, but that’s not how it works. The best equipment is the one you know inside out, so take it slow.
Do you enjoy playing to an audience or working in the studio?
Tough one, since unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of playing to an audience yet. Definitely something I want to try in the near future. Being a somewhat introverted person, I think I’d have a tough time at first, but enjoy it a lot once I’m used to it and ultimately have a good time.
Studio-time is different. It’s hard to describe, for me it’s pretty much sacred, and creating music will always be my true love and my priority, however “enjoying” is not necessarily the word I’d use. I enjoy hanging out with friends or watching a movie. Studio-time is different, it’s real, hard work, that takes commitement and discipline, it just happens to be work that I love.
Kagen’s song ‘Shine’ is rather different to ‘Fallen’, but certainly deserves to be heard as well. Enjoy:
If we gave you the budget to put a line-up together for a mini fest, who would you book and where would you play?
That depends on the budget I suppose haha. I mean the easy answer would be to take a look at the “biggest inspirations” question. Of course I’d like to book all my idols and perhaps even play b2b with them.
A more reasonable answer I guess would be all these up-and-coming artists that I like to refer to as “the Upscale crew”, which involves Clockvice, Vorso, Frequent Copycatt etc… Those people will tear any venue apart.
Location wise… tough one. I hear Bristol has an amazing underground scene. Perhaps London? Los Angeles has always been a big dream of mine, but that seems a bit too far-fetched, doesn’t it?
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Ugh. Can I be dead?
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Nothing concrete, my priority right now remains improving and experimenting, releases kind of take the back-seat right now.
I do however plan on releasing an EP later this year. Can’t promise anything, but now that I made it public I guess I have to stand by it.
This was fun, thanks for having me, and thanks for reading!
Great! Thank you for taking your time to conduct this interview with us. We wish you all the best for your upcoming releases and hope to hear from you soon!
For more information, visit Kagen on social media and stay in tune