Considered a performance artist who breaks down his tracks and reconstructs them live, Kalkbrenner describes his music as “art music.” Over the last decade he has surged in popularity and shown his multifaceted talents from movie soundtrack production to chart-ranking singles and platinum albums. Now he answers some questions for Flaunt magazine. Burdens. We all carry them.
How does your location (Berlin) lend to your music?
Berlin is my home, it is the only place I have lived or made and created music. So thus far in my life one doesn’t exist without the other. Only if I leave will I find out what Berlin means to my music—and I have no intention of doing so.
When people say Berlin—what immediately comes to mind?
My home, my wife, my family. It’s the city where I was born and raised and have lived as an adult so I have many memories of Berlin from all phases of my life: childhood, teenage years, performing, and producing. My life is intertwined with the city.
Do you have a favorite building in Berlin? What attracts you to it?
I guess it’s the TV tower. On a clear day, it’s the one building you can spot immediately from the plane, signaling that you’re home.
Where was the sweatiest show you’ve ever played?
No idea. In nearly 20 years of playing there’s been loads of sweat.
If you could have anyone dead or alive remix a song of yours, who would it be and why?
It would be Vivaldi, because it would be extremely interesting to see a classical master laying hands on a techno track.
If you were to work a boring office job, what about the life of Paul Kalkbrenner would be better and why?
Nothing would be better.
What’s the difference between PK watching a Bayern Munich game and PK playing a DJ set?
Watching a game is tenser, as I can’t influence the outcome. Playing a set is controllable for me and therefore more enjoyable.
How did you go about selecting which artists you wanted to sample from the entire Columbia catalog?
As a child my parents allowed me to listen to RIAS 2 in Berlin (Radio of the American Sector). So unconsciously I listened to a lot of American music from very early on. Nowadays I don’t listen to much music, but I got in contact with these songs again while on tour, the crew would play mixtapes on the bus that contained these and other songs. I Shazamed them and on the list they were.