Those with a keen ear for the ebbs and flows of the underground scene will be well aware of the emergence of Florian Kruse’s and Hendrik Burkhard’s TheGround project.
Kruse is of course well known for his extensive career in underground house music in the German capital, but connecting with Burkhard in 2015 took him to a different level. The guys got together in 2016 to create this body of work, building on their shared chemistry and artistic compatibility. The result is ‘Dediction’ – an album that showcases exactly what is getting people so excited about this project.
Electronic Groove: Hey guys, thanks for your time. How would you describe the music on your debut album ‘Dediction’?
Florian: Thanks for having us. Well, I would describe the overall sound of the album as emotional, deep, melodic, dancefloor-oriented electronic music, with a little wink to pop.
Hendrik: We call it emotional tech and deep house. We used the opportunity of a long player to showcase our electronica influences. In general our music is more on the darker side of things, with a love of melody and creative beats. We make music that comes from a deeper place.
EG: Is there a track on the album that means the most to you and why?
Florian: Yes, for me it’s ‘Homeless Hearts’, ’cause that’s the track we started the album with, last year in June. I think the track is quite special in the way it builds up. It is dark and emotional and has good energy, just the way we like to represent our sound. There are so many different versions of it on the studio hard drive – it’s insane, but the final one is truly the best. The case that Steve Bug picked ‘Homeless Hearts’ as the main single for the album has proven my feeling that it’s one of the brightest stars in the constellation.
Hendrik: Oh boy, that is always the tough one. I guess, if we would listen through the album together, I would say “this one” and then, when the next song is playing I would say “oh no wait, this one”, and so on. I really think that we didn’t put any song on this album that I don’t absolutely love. No fillers. I can’t really answer this question.
But wait, there’s this moment in ‘Crack In The Wall with Mi.li.an’, where we harmonize together, that I just think is absolutely magical. We worked with her on other tracks too. She has a very special and fantastic voice.
I love the collaborations we did, also with Vincenco, Raphael Hofman and Saccao. We are really happy and lucky to have them on board for ‘Dediction’.
“Most of the time, my lyrics are coming from a dark place, mixed with a lot of hope. Dark but hopeful. Not all is lost.”
EG: What are thy lyrics of the first album single ‘Homeless Hearts’ about?
Hendrik: ‘Homeless Hearts’ is about coming from a place of mind where you feel like you don’t really belong. The moment of letting go, forgetting about all bad things troubling you and in that moment, you find that place where you do belong. Realizing you’re not alone. I pictured myself in the club among all the music lovers realizing we share this moment. You’re connected through music. Most of the time, my lyrics are coming from a dark place, mixed with a lot of hope. Dark but hopeful. Not all is lost.
EG: Tell us more about the production process behind the album.
Florian: To work on the album together in my studio, Hendrik moved from Aarhus in Denmark, to Berlin and rented a flat for a couple of months. He liked the city so much that he extended his stay a couple of times. During that time, we met approximately 3 times per week to work on ‘Dediction’.
Hendrik: It was so easy and it felt so good writing this album. Normally you have those creative hick-ups, or tracks that just don’t want to work out, but the two of us working together worked so well. We vibed off each other’s ideas constantly, so there was no panic moment of “Shit, we won’t make it! Ever!” Which come up often in other cases. The process was a hybrid of traditional and more contemporary ways.
For the majority of the work we did together, we sat right next to each other in the studio, but we also exchanged stuff remotely via email. It’s so easy nowadays.
I would say that the music and the arrangements we did mostly together and then I wrote, recorded and edited the vocals at my place, while Florian was the main guy handling the mixing process. He’s just so good at making music sound the best it can.
EG: How did you come up with the name for the band?
Florian: We were in Jerup in a small house in the North of Denmark for a music production session when we started thinking about a name for the project. One evening we were writing down ideas while sitting on the couch with a cold beer in one hand, a pencil in the other and a piece of paper on the table. After playing around with a few words we were thinking about track names of our previous releases. We have done a track called ‘The Ground’ on Joris Voorn‘s Green imprint. Our most successful release so far. We thought that the name had a real band character.
EG: Was there a defining moment that led you two to form the band, instead of simply collaborating?
Florian: Yes, indeed. After a few releases on labels like Noir Music, Poker Flat Recordings and Green, we started working on a live show and wanted to play our music out live in clubs. Our booking agent told us that promoters were getting a bit confused and kept on asking if this was just a temporary collaboration or a solid project. This project is really personal to us, so we felt that our own names needed to be associated with it as well. Thus the project name is Florian Kruse & Hendrik Burkhard press. TheGround.
EG: How would each of you compare the processes of working on solo music, versus working together as TheGround?
Florian: That’s a good question. Joining forces to create something together is definitely a good thing. Hendrik and I are both producers and we have different ways of working on music. It’s great to take the opportunity to step away from the daily studio routine to work on music together with someone. It’s really refreshing.
Hendrik: It is very different. When you’re working together, like in our case, there is a constant exchange of ideas and compromises. Hopefully good compromises. You can get inspired by each other’s ideas and the pressure is off a little.
When you’re alone it’s all on you. No ideas come from the other, to kick-start a violent chain of musical outbursts. There are no compromises. In the end, I love both ways of working, but coming from a band background, I think making music with others is king.
“I love listening to albums on my headphones while traveling. There is time to close the eyes and get lost in the music.”
EG: If you could choose, what would be the ideal setting in which someone would hear the album in for their first listen?
Hendrik: In a surrounding in which you can drift off and away. Take some time to not do or think about too much else. I know it’s hard these days to listen to music without doing all kinds of over things but try it.
And to all the producers out there, don’t analyze too much while listening. Listen to the music, not to the technicalities. Go ahead and nerd out on the second run.
Florian: I agree with Hendrik. For a first listen, putting aside some time to enjoy the full album in one go, would be my advice. I love listening to albums on my headphones while traveling. There is time to close the eyes and get lost in music.
EG: If ‘Dediction’ would be a color, what color would it be?
Hendrik: Black – with flashes of White.
Florian: Black – with moments of Red.
EG: Question for Florian: What is your favorite lyric from Hendrik on the album?
Florian: Mmmh, I think it’s the track ‘Silence’. Hendrik really surprised me with this one when he came to the studio with the vocals he was working on. It’s very deep and emotional and the way he sings is a bit different as compared to our previous songs. I felt connected to this one straight away. ‘Crack In The Wall’ is another favorite of mine.
TheGround’s ‘Dediction’ is available now. Grab your copy here.