Trance producer Chris Bekker recently released his debut artist album “Berlinition” through Vandit Records. Under the wing of the legendary Paul van Dyk and Chris Montana, he co-produced the track “Berlinition” which would become the poster-head track for this album. Featuring musical elements from the realms of house, trance, grungy tech and progressive, the album is complemented by an hour long film portraying the quintessence of Germany’s capital city, Berlin. More details below:
Please describe your sound in five words or less.
Avant-garde electronic dance music.
Congratulations on the release of your studio album (and film), “Berlinition!” What does this milestone mean to you as well as the development and presentation your sound?
You never have a second chance to make a FIRST album. I think this describes best my current feelings. It’s simply fantastic, almost like after being pregnant (I would imagine!) for 18 months. It’s overwhelming and I have had to pinch myself more than once. I never expected such a massive feedback and support – from fans and friends around the world but also from other producers such as Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond and of course from the label-owner Paul van Dyk himself.
The album’s 11 tracks span a little over an hour, with a cinematic montage of Berlin, Germany. Would you please describe for us your purpose in adding this visual element? Following the success of Beyoncé‘s second visual album “Lemonade,” do you believe that visual albums are the future?
I like this question, though perhaps not so much the Beyoncé link though – haha. I’m a very acoustically oriented guy – but not only. When I discussed the idea of adding a visual element to the album with my label, it was still unclear what kind of footage it would be. But we all loved the idea of this multisensory approach, combining sound and video to an audio-visual journey, though knowing it would bring the efforts for this project to a totally different level. I strongly believe that 1+1 can make more than 2, if done in a well-balanced setting. The neurological phenomenon of ‘synesthesia’ (associating sounds with colors) is a perfect match with this idea. If you do this in an inspiring way, at the same time challenging the status quo, taking the people by the hand in order to show them your own vision but still leaving enough room: that’s what I wanted to do. It just so happened that the visual add-on was the perfect bridge to help me bring my cause and my dream to life. And Martin Luther King once gave the “I Have A Dream” speech, not the “I have a plan” speech.”
What does the album’s track order mean to you?
A lot. The album would not work in another way, maybe with a couple of exceptions. It’s like reading a book in the wrong order. If you listen to the album closely you will discover that it is turning from melodic (film areas Friedrichshain, Mitte, Tiergarten) to darker and rougher (film areas Wedding, Moabit) within its journey. And that’s what Berlin is: a diverse, breathtaking city.
Why did you choose “Berlinition” as the poster-head track for the album’s title?
For three reasons, really. It was the first track that we finished. It set the spirit for the whole album. And no other title could have summarized the album content better or more to the point. And of course the fact that I had two studio partners onboard, Paul van Dyk and Chris Montana, made it our track – and we all loved it from the very first minute.
Will you elaborate on the production of this particular track with Paul van Dyk? What did he bring to the table that you otherwise could not?
I could go into details as to how we are working with different plugins, instruments, sounds etc. I don’t think it’s any secret when I say Paul has ‘slightly’ greater production experience than I. But this was not the reason. There is a German saying, which can be roughly translated with the words “can’t see the forest for all the trees.” And Paul has the gift of being able to make you focus on the WHOLE thing – without neglecting the details.
What is the recurring motif, or theme, found throughout the album that you would like to share with your listeners? What particular emotions did you intend to evoke through its tracks?
The album has no theme in that sense. If I had to explain my album I would say that this is how I see Berlin from a sound perspective – my soundtrack. Berlin is so rich in ever-shifting sonic ideologies, which have been in constant flux for a really long time now. You see, Berlin is different. And I hear that from so many of my DJ colleagues when they are playing here. In Berlin what the majority does or doesn’t like is not automatically is right. It is one way of living. And nowhere else can I hear, feel and live this ‘sound democracy’ more than in Berlin.
The album features elements of house, trance, grungy tech and progressive, with a focus on instrumentals over vocals. Why did you choose to go in this direction for the album? How do you think that the intertwining of these elements captures the city of Berlin?
Yes, correct – I collect influences from various genres and combine them the way I feel them – I ‘Bekker’ them, so to say. I do not necessarily need vocals to express what I want to say. Chords and harmonies can ‘say’ so much more at the same time. Of course with an album you want to show your different styles and interests. It’s like within your DJ set when you take your audience by the hand on a journey. Look at Berlin: there is no typical ‘Berliner’. People who live here take the best out of different worlds, make it a new one, without being observed or judged by others for who they are, what they wear and who and how they love. That´s how I see my Berlin. And, of course, this reflects in my way of reinterpreting sounds”.
If you could trace all of today’s global issues to a singular origin, what would that be?
My answer is respect. I find it surprising that – whoever you believe who created us – made such a terrible mistake to give mankind a choice whether to respect or to not respect other ways of thinking, living or loving.
What’s the best piece of advice that you would give to yourself 10 years ago, if you could?
Hmm, another good question. Thinking about it a second time, it is actually quite easy to answer. I think I can be very happy when saying, that there are hardly any things, that I would have changed in my life looking back the last 10-20 years. Only one thing: my real personal achievement began the moment when I started following my principles, listening to my heart, living my dream – and setting aside what others might be thinking about it. I think I should have done this earlier.