Stimming wasn't always so interested in house music, however. Downbeat and drum & bass were early loves, with DJ Krush's Kakusei and Grooverider's Mysteries of Funk being counted as particularly seminal moments in his musical upbringing. A drummer by trade, Stimming played drums in a drum & bass crew called Breakaholics, and crafted UK garage alongside former production partner Alexander Kübler before turning his hand to techno.
When asked, Stimming'll admit that it wasn't easy to make the transition from playing the grooves to producing them. And—to a certain extent—he never really made it there. Instead, when you hear a Stimming track, you'll hear organic percussion—a looser sound that has earned him the ire of DJs looking for easily mixable fodder. But it's also a sound that has also earned him plenty of fans, listeners that appreciate his heartstring-tugging tunes and acoustic feel. Stimming is sensitive—someone who can't hide his emotions all that well—and he can't help let it affect the music that he makes, but that's also why his tracks have connected so deeply with audiences: Over the course of numerous singles for Diynamic, and one-offs for Buzzin Fly, liebe*detail and Freerange, he's clearly staked out a distinct sound.
As we found recently on the phone, those distinct sounds each come with a little story attached. So we thought it best to track him down in Australia to find out the story behind each of these tunes—from the blues cover band singer wailing on his harmonica to a weekend that he'd most likely just as soon forget.
(Photo credit: Giorgio Raffaelli)
"This was the last track that I made for the album, and it was a bit hard because by the time that I made it, I felt a bit empty creatively. I didn't have any more ideas. So I tried to put the last of my creative energy into this track, and it took me nearly a week to produce it. I decided to put it first on the record because it's easy to get into, it's more synthesizer-based than normal for me. As for why I called it 'Sunday Morning'? Well, they can be very beautiful sometimes. And they can also be disturbing and frightening too—depending on how long you've been awake."
"'After Eight' has the same topic as 'Sunday Morning': Nightlife. It's referencing after 8 AM, of course, which has a good side and a bad side. There are some situations where it's still going, and you're very 'up-ta-ka' [makes noise mimicking the sample from the track]. The sample that I used in there is actually from a sample CD that are full of original recordings from tribes in Africa and Asia. I don't use sample CD's for the most part, but this one is pretty special."
(Photo credit: Mvplante)
"This song is about how sometimes when you meet people you can tell immediately what kind of problems that they have, but you aren't able to tell them. This is my way of way telling Isabelle—a former friend of mine—that I'm sorry for what happened. I was never able to talk about it with her. Production-wise I didn't do anything really special here, but I think that the groove has something that I had never heard before. [sings the bassline, then the chords] It's very unusual for me musically, because it's very straight—just eighth and quarter notes."
(Photo credit: Max Sparber)
"'Fruits of Life' has a very mixed feeling I think. It's also about nightlife. It's about….getting intoxicated. And how that can be something positive or negative, depending on how you use them. It's probably the most drugged track on the album, the one where you might want to be on LSD—not that I do drugs or anything like that."
"'Silver Surfer,' to be honest, is the only one where I don't have a special story. The guitar, however, was my theme for the track, because it wasn't a guitar at all. It was a drum impulse, which I resonated afterwards to sound like a guitar. When I work with percussion usually, though, I try to make it sound as natural as possible. Which isn't that easy. Sometimes they sit perfectly in the mix, sometimes they don't work at all. It's all about which mic I use, which preamp I use and where in the room that I record. It can change everything."
(Photo credit: EJP Photo)
"This was about a very weird, weird weekend. I was frightened afterwards, thinking 'What happened there? Do I like that? Should I?' The rain on the track was recorded on the Tuesday after the weekend in front of my studio, while the kalimba was recorded on the Sunday during the weekend at 8 or 9 AM. There are two voices as well…but I won't talk anymore about that." [laughs]
(Photo credit: RebelBlueAngel)
"'The Loneliness' was the reason that I made a full-length. It took a few days for me after I made it to get my mind right—it really got me a bit low, because of the strong emotions. I made the track and took it to Solomun, and I remember him saying 'Whoa…what did you do there?' and him looking a little depressed as well. He told me that it was too emotional for a single, so I decided to base the album around it. The singer is from a blues cover band in Hamburg—a local guy that has been around for nearly 20 years in the city. He played harmonica for a long time, and we cut the best bits up afterwards."
(Photo credit: Ahron de Leeuw)
"This track reminded me of Israeli techno a little bit, which is why I titled it 'Tel Aviv Calling.' But for me, everything that I hear comes back to the technical side of things, so my inspiration for this was the type of groove that Chaim used in a remix of his. This is the only track that I feel my inspiration is pretty obvious, but in making house music, you're almost always copying someone else to a certain degree. My idea for this album was to try to test the limits of the 4/4 beat: Too see how far I could go without losing the groove, and getting people to dance. I want to go much further in this direction in the future."
(Photo credit: Racey Tay)
"I broke up with someone after dating for six years a while before starting this album, and I began to see a few different people afterwards and this is about one of them. I started to play it in my live set nearly six months before the record was finished. And I actually didn't want to put it on the album, but the guys from Diynamic convinced me. It's very Detroit, very warm, which is different from many of the tracks on here, so I'm glad they did. I now think it fits really well."
(Photo credit: Mark Loper)
"'Sleep On' is very dub reggae-influenced. Speaking of those limits earlier with 'Tel Aviv Calling,' this was me trying to take it in a dub way without losing the groove of house music along the way. I don't actually listen to reggae very much. It tends to bore me after the third or fourth track. The special thing for me with 'Sleep On,' though is the voice in the track, which is my niece. My brother brought her to the studio and kept telling her to sing something, but I think she realized that we were trying to record her. When she finally did, I think it comes through because her voice is so small and shy."
(Photo credit: Banksy)
"I closed Reflections with 'The Kiss' because it's sweet, and at the end I wanted to tell people that I'm not a depressed guy all the time—a shy, small kiss at the end. It's in 4/4, but it's also syncopated so it seems like DJs are having a hard time playing it, but that seems to be an issue with all of my tracks. [laughs] My tracks aren't very tight, so I often hear from DJs, 'It's a very nice track, but it's so hard to mix!' I think that's a good thing. It's time for things to be a little bit different from one another, how else are we going to keep things interesting?"