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Sanoi is a musical magician hailing from Germany. Jonas was bitten by the electronica bug at a wholesome age of fourteen, and after studying music it was not long before the hedonism and creativity of Berlin came calling. Plunging through techno genres, his thirst for fresh sounds brought him to New Zeland in 2015 and has been turning heads ever since. Constantly developing as an artist and finding expressions through music are some of the key factors that drive him, whether it be in the studio or behind the decks.
We caught up with Sanoi to talk about his musical background, upcoming ‘SANOI’ album, ties to Beat & Path, his studio setup, and his future as an artist.
Electronic Groove: Hi Sanoi, thank you so much for chatting with us. Where are you now? How have you handled these past months of the pandemic?
Sanoi: Hey everyone. I am in Auckland, New Zealand enjoying the last warm summer days. Due to the nature of New Zealand being so far away from everything and an Island Nation with quite a small population we were very lucky and had mostly a COVID-free summer with festivals and parties taking place in the usual form. Tho, I have to admit, the first lockdown a year ago was not very good for my mental health.
Electronic Groove: Tell us a bit about your musical background. What are your first musical memories? Do you remember any record or song that made a real impact?
Sanoi: I come from a musical family so music was always around me. I remember tho sitting under the grand piano of my mother’s singing teacher on a sheepskin listening to the full power of some classical music from the romantic period or something (hahaha). I think ‘Satisfaction’ by Benny Benassi was the track where I thought: ‘WOW, I want to know how to make this sound’.
Electronic Groove: Moving into your current work and creative process. Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any particular ‘rituals’? Do surroundings or seasons play a part in your production mood?
Sanoi: I find inspiration in sound. I love to just start with a kick drum and a simple shaker to have a rough groove and then tweak knobs and sliders on my synthesizers and find a musical ‘theme’. From there I just let it flow and see where the journey takes me.
Electronic Groove: You have a brand new album coming up on Beat & Path. Could you tell us more about the inspiration for ‘SANOI’? Why did you choose to use your name?
Sanoi: The album is an expression of my inner thoughts, memories, and reflection on growing up and the moments that shaped me into the person I am today. It is the first time I wrote something personal and so revealing. All the tracks were born out of the need to load off built-up emotions that were boiling over during the first lockdown here in NZ. I was thinking a lot about what to name it, but ended up just naming it ‘SANOI’ because it is a sort of musical self-portrait.
“I just love to touch a knob or a fader. The hand becomes a point of communication between music and feeling”
Electronic Groove: How would you describe its sound? And if it can be put into words, what story or journey were you trying to achieve?
Sanoi: The sound of the record is full of groove, texture, organic elements, and expressive melodies that are melancholic and introspective.
Electronic Groove: How do you go about organizing your tracks?
Sanoi: That depends. When I DJ I am trying to flow with the room or crowd and rely on me knowing what tracks I have in my crate, but that took a while to learn tho. For the album, I organized the tracks in a way that they tell my story in chronological order.
Electronic Groove: We’re big fans of Uone and his label. How did the connection with Beat & Path happen? Who came up with the idea of creating the album?
Sanoi: I was looking for some local labels that released the kind of sound that I learned to love during my time in Berlin. I came across Beat & Path, and after meeting the guys and connecting with ‘Boy Oh Boy’, I sent some demos and the boys loved it. As mentioned before I started writing tracks during lockdown first just for myself but after I shared two or three tracks with Out Of Sorts we thought it would be cool to make an album and show a different side of me.
Electronic Groove: Do you have any favorites from their catalog? Aside from yours (hehe)?
Sanoi: I have to say that I love Oliver Koletzki’s remix of Uone & Western’s ‘Cotton Picker’, it’s one of my favorites, but it’s really hard to pick just one. The talent on the label is insane.
“The sound of the record is full of groove, texture, organic elements, and expressive melodies that are melancholic
Electronic Groove: Diving into the studio…What’s your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital?
Sanoi: My setup is an ever-growing and evolving hybrid setup comprised of various bits of gear. I love old analog synths they are simple but with so much character and all so different, similar to like the difference between electric guitars and the huge variety in the tone you can get from a couple of strings on a slab of wood. But I’m not an analog purist. Digital can also sound wonderful and magical. Both digital and analog are very good at certain things, and I think it doesn’t matter if you have a massive synth and gear collection or just a laptop, you can still make amazing things. I just love to touch a knob or a fader. The hand becomes a point of communication between music and feeling. I do love to record my own percussions tho because I have more control over the ‘groove’ of the track and avoid hearing the same shaker loop on another record which has happened before, hahaha.
Electronic Groove: What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you feel like you had to change strategies due to the pandemic?
Sanoi: With summer coming to an end I’m going to focus more on production and developing live act. The pandemic made it hard to release club-oriented music because there were no clubs open, so I had the chance and worked on ‘SANOI’.
Electronic Groove: Thank you so much for your time! We wish you the best going forward!
Sanoi: Thank you for your time and for your support. You guys rule!!!
Sanoi’s ‘SANOI’ album will be out on March 26th, via Beat & Path. You can pre-order your copy here.