Creepy hovering bass lines, clean and slowed down drums, paired with oscillating and sometimes fierce synth melodies and shots are the peculiar sonorities that distinguish German producer Jens Massel, mostly known as Senking. One might define his style as within the sonic echelons of Raster-Noton, the softest side of so-called abstract-techno as well as the one with many stylistic links to some old IDM entries. The fact I defined it “soft” doesn’t mean it’s pliable, which becomes clear after listening to “Capsize Recovery”, his latest release. Let’s check him out.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Jens. First of all, how are you?
Jens Massel: Thanks, I’m fine.
Chain D.L.K.: Could you introduce yourself in your own words?
Jens Massel: My name is Jens Massel.
44 years of age.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve read that you’re one of the few artists who don’t use computers… is there any particular reason for such a choice? Do you think you’ll keep using synths with no aid from a computer?
Jens Massel: This is a misunderstanding. I’m also using computers for production these days, but I’m not using only computers. What’s right is that I perform without computers. I tried to perform with a laptop, but this didn’t work out for me since there’s too much focus on the visual side while performing. I prefer to listen to the music while I’m mixing it.
Chain D.L.K.: Congratulations on your new record “Capsize Recovery”… how does it differ from past releases?
Jens Massel: Thank you. It’s building up on earlier stuff I made trying to have a development in each release. For example: my last releases were slow all the way. On “capsize recovery” there also are some faster tracks again and I also used some vocal/speech segments like I did earlier so that one might say that it’s an ongoing process of new influence, sounds/styles I like which I then put it together in different ways. But the most important thing while making music is still the state of mind I’m in at that time.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the reason of this title?
Jens Massel: The tracks on “Capsize Recovery” were made after a, let’s say, difficult time for me. The idea is that the words “Capsize Recovery” express what happened after that time. Like starting again, recovering and so on.
Chain D.L.K.: It seems to focus on somewhat nightmarish and cliffhanger atmospheres… did you focus on the rendering of these emotional aspects?
Jens Massel: This is a question I’m asking myself a lot and can’t find a definitive answer to.
Chain D.L.K.: Any particular book, chronicle or movie amongst your sources of inspiration?
Jens Massel: Plenty. Most of all movies. I guess that’s the reason why people often say that my music sounds like a soundtrack. That’s an idea I like: me making a soundtrack and then the listeners create their own movies in their head while listening to it. Just to mention a few movies I like which for sure have inspired my music:
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the best inner mood or outer context to appreciate it best?
Jens Massel: I think this is something everyone has to find out for themselves.
Chain D.L.K.: The torn and creeping heavy bass lines you insert sometimes recall dub… have you ever felt the same emotions you summoned on “Capsize Recovery” while listening to some dub sessions? If so, which ones?
Jens Massel: I remember seeing Loefah and Skream on a dubstep party, which already goes back 6 years or so. This was like that.
Chain D.L.K.: If you had the chance to rewrite the score of some horror or thriller movie, what would your choice be?
Jens Massel: No one I can think of at the moment. There have been a lot I wish I hadn’t wasted my time watching, but they were bad in general.
Chain D.L.K.: The initial goosebumps seem to slough off on “Tiefenstop”, whose somehow uplifting atmosphere differs from the rest of the album… is this some sort of trap? 🙂
Jens Massel: Ha ha, nice way of looking at it :”ah, now it’s all good”. Next track: ”oh no it’s not, we’re all going to die”!
Chain D.L.K.: Do you remember the atmosphere inside the Paddy Pooley while recording your album?
Jens Massel: Night time most of the time. Me by myself with my thoughts and emotions trying to express them somehow in a musical way.
Chain D.L.K.: Zombies Vs Cylons… who are the final winners? Did you take the side of one of the fighting factions?
Jens Massel: I’m not sure. maybe I’m with the zombies.
Chain D.L.K.: Your album has been defined as “an excursion to the depths of the human psyche”… any personal findings during your personal exploration?
Jens Massel: Yes , very personal 🙂
Chain D.L.K.: What’s your artistic relation with fear?
Jens Massel: The artistic relation with fear is triggered by fear in real life, I guess like I mentioned earlier with the cliffhangers etc.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans to bring it on stage?
Jens Massel: The fear??? I haven’t given this a thought yet…