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.

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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.

Born in 1969 in Cologne.
Working as a musician since 1996.
Nowadays musically my main focus is my project called “Senking”.
Most important thing beside music is cycling.


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.

So it’s hard to tell for me what the difference with earlier releases is, because the way I work didn’t change too much during the last years. Only my state of mind, ha ha. Maybe it’s more interesting to hear what the listeners say about the final products, because I’m too close to the stuff. I want to create my music while I’m working and I don’t notice in which way I change things or the concept or the hardware side.


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.

I can say that I like the feeling of this kind of atmosphere. This of course sounds totally crazy.
How can someone like the feeling of nightmares etc. but there are other feelings involved for me too. I think these are the feelings I really like. First of all it’s an intense feeling. That’s what I like in general. And for me there’s also the feeling involved with the escape or with handling the cliffhanger which for sure is very intense, conscious and good. Like being born again. Hope this makes sense. I might stop with this topic for now and talk to a therapist about it, ha ha.


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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:

“The Thing” by John Carpenter. Actually most of his early work.
It’s the atmosphere I like a lot in these movies. How it’s shot, the location etc. It’s not so much the horror or splatter I like so much. Don’t get me wrong, these parts are also well done, but not the really important thing for me. Same goes for the early Romero zombie movies. “Outland” , “Blade Runner” of course. o.k., these are the very well-known ones…
Oh, “Let The Right One In” is also one of my favorites.


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.

I really like to go for a night ride with a bicycle at 02.00 in the morning with my earphones on and listen to this kind of music. I mean I don’t listen to my music while doing this, but Vladislav Delay, Rhythm & Sound, Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore to give you an idea. Kind of night music for me. I like the feeling of no people around, just by myself, listening to this music and riding a bicycle. Nothing else matters in these moments.
Of course this goes just for me. If you want to try it please make sure your headlight is bright enough to see oncoming trees etc.


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”!

But seriously: it wasn’t meant that way, but I can imagine in a subconscious way it was since it is part of  the whole dynamic. Ups and downs etc. Let’s say “Tiefenstop” is a moment where you escape the nightmares for a while.
But I have to say I don’t feel “Tiefenstop” is so uplifting anyway and that’s why I like music so much: it triggers different things in everyone!


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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.

“Stop bullying us around just because we’re different or we’ll fight back as soon we find weapons and learn how to use them… we’re not a threat to you since we can’t even eat you” Ha ha!
Anyway I think it’s a very entertaining vid and another masterpiece by “brandstand 3000”.


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…

The music: yes, I really like to play live and the way I’m doing it these days allows me to be very flexible and in the moment, so I can mix new with old tracks. It took me a long time to become happy with my live setup.




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