Johannes Heil is one of the producers in the world of electronic music, that has left his mark numerous times through past 20 years and has helped to shape techno music, as we know today. His new album, The Black Light is a very special product and he tends to keep his live performances just as special, if not even more. You can catch his next live performance this Friday, March 11th in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he will visit famous underground club K4, as a part of his The Black Light album tour.
In one of your interviews I noticed you wrote “I am a soul, trapped in a human body.”. My question is (in most respectful way), do you consider yourself spiritual person and if so, could you please explain it in what way. What does spirituality mean to you?
I wrote: I am a soul living in a body, there was no such word as trapped, this body is not a trap, it is the basis for the so called human experience, a souls diving suit and the interface for the corporeal world.
From the point of view of a person who is primarily focused to the material world, which is in fact nothing but the surface of life or the container of it’s content which is life itself, I might be considered very spiritual, from my point of view that is just another box, just another surface, I am just deeply interested into what is inside the box and into the conditions of the content and how lifes aspects are related to each other and the effects of it, this is important for me because i feel that it is my purpose as a human being to get in tune, to realize the full potential which is nothing more or less then unconditional love. It seems to be a contradiction to be observing the conditions of life in order to reach an unconditioning, but it is the only way to go, in order to break these conditions you first need to be fully aware of them and take it from there.
This question refers to the previous. How would you link spirituality to the music you produce?
What is music? A thing? What does it do? Sound? Where is it doing what it does? Internally or externally? Where did it come from? Who or what created it? When? How? Dig and ask yourself questions of this kind of quality and you will find some profound answers for yourself, from my viewpoint music is a heavenly good and another great key to understand and to connect the source and to that what is inside the box! There is not only one living aspect which does not vibrate in it’s own frequency, life is sound and the music which comes into being thru me is no exception to that. If you consider this to be related to what you call spiritual, it is spiritual, because you call it that. Creating music is a devotional and sacred act for, since I have to first sacrifice my egoistic will to control in order to create something greater then what I could think of or control myself. This can only be achieved by letting it flow thru me, I let the force of music direct it’s way by simply helping it to be born, there is no such a thing as me involved in this process.
How do you see yourself evolving professionally / musically from your earliest beginnings up until now, when The Black Light is out?
This is what and how I do it from in here, nothing more and nothing less, I let others decide about if and how to judge about the development while I simply continue the process! What should be the outcome of me thinking about this be other then to create an illusionary image of myself? In my world a question like this makes no sense anymore.
The Black Light album is really carefully communicated to audience. You stripped everything to minimum regarding artwork, song names and each label, text, colour is positioned from some reason and according to plan. I am not going to ask you why you did that, since you have explained it in various interviews. I would like to ask you at which point in the making of the album, you decided to do it this way and the other question is how did you come up with that idea, what triggered it?
We already decided to take away all these mental enhancers and barriers when we started Exile, so I guess it was just natural to continue this way. I was thinking about not giving the album a name at all, not even printing my name out, but this would not have worked out because it is not possible to create visibility for something that has no name in the digital domain.
How do you like feedbacks from industry and from audience on your new album so far?
I deeply enjoy the fact that the album touches a lot of people on a level where they really deal with it and are being inspired by it rather then to simply enjoy it as a consumer product, that is what counts for me, I want to inspire by sharing the inspiration and if that happens, I am delighted.
What is the vision you and Markus share about Exile label? What is going on with JH Records?
Markus and me want to work on something which grows naturally, we do not want to force anything and we want to have the space to do whatever happens and feels right, therefor Exile is our refuge because it provides us with that. When we started we did not have in mind to get other artists on board, but it turned out to be a natural process that this appens, so we are happy to welcome some of our friends, the first new member of exile will be Mikael Jonasson.
JH Records will be relaunched anytime soon, I can not tell when exactly this will happen, but I know it will be when the time feels right.
In your bio, one cannot get past Sven Vaeth. What is your relationship with him and with Cocoon today?
There is a connection to Sven and to the Cocoon crew which will last as long as all we people live, even if we are at a point in life where we do not see each other very often, but when we do, we always enjoy it!
Do you still get requests these days from anyone to “play or include” part or parts from any of your mega hits from the past, like Paranoid Dancer, From Whitin, etc, and what is your answer if you do?
It happens sometimes and my answer to this is: let go of the past and be here now!
What is the main difference between Cryptik and Johannes Heil, philosophically speaking?
Cryptik is mainly focused on the aspect of light in music where Johannes (strange to talk about my name this way) is focused on the interaction of darkness and light in music.
The most common mistake people think related to you is?
Wrong, because whatever you will think about me will never be the whole picture, it will always be just a little speck of it and might even be untrue! How should anyone know me better then myself not knowing me at all?
Is there a book that left a deep impression on you in recent year, which one and why?
Depending on what kind of terminology one prefers there are many books I would reccomend to read, one would be Shamati by Rav Yehuda Ashlag or The Holy Science by Swami Sri Yukteswar, you could read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Illusions by Richard Bach or Siddharta by Herman Hesse, there are so many books I read which had a great positive impact on my personal development and that is why I read.
Interview by Etia Creations