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Unveiling the artistry: A candid interview with Seth Schwarz and Solidmind

Seth Schwarz and Solidmind recently collaborated on the track ‘Create The Universe’ for ‘All Day I Dream’s A Winter Sampler VI compilation’, featuring Lydgen on vocals.

Seth, a classically trained violinist, brings together classical instruments and digital sounds, infusing elements of House, Techno, and Electronica. His unique approach breaks the mold and merges electronic and classical music to create symphonic bangers.

Solidmind, also known as Stephan Kellner, is a rising star in the downtempo and organic house genres. Influenced by his backpacking experiences, he has absorbed diverse underground and cultural influences, shaping his contemporary sounds.

In an exclusive interview with EG, Seth and Solidmind share insights into their creative process and upcoming endeavors. They discuss the inspiration behind their collaboration, the distinctive elements of their track, and their personal musical journeys. Join us as we explore their latest release and discover what lies ahead for Seth and Solidmind.

EG: Hello Seth and Solidmind! Welcome to Electronic Groove. Where in the world are each of you right now?

Seth Schwarz: I just finished a night shift at the clinic (yes, still practicing medicine) and I am currently in the WeR1 office in Berlin (our new music streaming platform – sign up for the waitlist).

Solidmind: I have just returned from sunny Tenerife to Germany and I am heading back to the studio with fresh energy!

EG: Congratulations on your contribution to All Day I Dream’s A Winter Sampler VI compilation. How would you describe your collaborative track ‘Create The Universe’?

Seth Schwarz: It’s great to be back on ADID after the signature track ‘The Bartender’ with Be Svendsen which Lee loved so much. ‘Create The Universe’ features my soul partner Lydgen on vocals and me on the electric violin, all carefully fused together with Solidmind’s beat. It feels like ethereal chants, radiant tones, and a transcendental symphony.

Solidmind: Thanks! It basically brings together many different artistic elements: vocals, violins, atoms, analog lead sounds, organic percussion, stable bass, and more. We packed everything we have into the track without making it sound too crowded!

EG: What were your goals in making ‘Create The Universe’? Did you share similar inspiration, or bring your own ideas to the table?

Solidmind: We started with a basic pad groove melody and built upon it with harmonics by Seth. It felt like everyone knew which direction the track was going and everything blended seamlessly.

Seth Schwarz: It definitely came together naturally. After finding the basic structures, we took a walk with Lydgen and played it on a small speaker. The lyrics and vocals came to my mind, and she naturally introduced the distant and ethereal chants. We tested the track at Burning Man as an intro to some of our live sets at Playground or PlayAlchemist, and we felt that the violin could play a larger role in the recording. When I showed the track to Gabriel Ananda, he encouraged me to record a little session for the build-up part and actually hit record while I was improvising for the first time. It felt so natural to be working on it just one day before the mastering deadline, and we happily kept it.

EG: What is the most special part of this track for each of you?

Solidmind: I really fell in love with the melody in the intro, which is so random, it was recorded with the LFO, and I guess we couldn’t record it as well as it is now!

Seth Schwarz: I fell in love with Lydgen’s voice, arranging her angelic vocals, sculpting her reverbs, and playing with formants. They just blend in so beautifully. I can’t wait to work more with her.

EG: Solidmind, as you’ve grown as an artist and expanded your wide variety of sounds, what has influenced and inspired you the most in creating your music?

Solidmind: Early in my career, I started to like this downtempo/organic music vibe with different cultural elements in it. It’s so liberating how every release can feature a different instrument or tempo. Basically, all the music I make is something I want to do and not something I feel I have to do because it seems like people may like it. Staying true to your real inner self is very important as everything seems to be getting more mainstream now, especially in near genres like Afro-house.

EG: Seth, with your use of the electric violin, do you take inspiration from classical music? What are some of your favorite tracks that highlight the violin?

Seth Schwarz: Having started playing the violin from age seven and having had the wonderful experiences of playing within different orchestras, I certainly can’t avoid taking inspiration from classical music. Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s ‘Fratres’ is a continuous inspiration.

“Staying true to your real inner self is very important as everything seems to be getting more mainstream now”

EG: Seth, you’ve been a longtime contributor to All Day I Dream, first releasing on the label in 2015. What is so special to you about All Day I Dream?

Seth Schwarz: I actually met Lee Burridge for the first time feeling like a curious kid watching over his shoulder during an eight-hour set hosted by the Thuishaven boys in Kloster Gräfenthal long ago. I was still quite new to DJing and amazed at how Lee seamlessly blended soundscapes together. He told me, “it’s all about long transitions, Martin.”

With that in mind, I produced ‘The Bartender’ with Be Svendsen, which Lee later presented at one of his famous sunrise sets at Robot Heart. I was honored to be offered a one-track-only vinyl from ADID (Lee said that a track of that magnitude doesn’t require a remix). This was a dream come true. Maybe it’s time to start remixing my ADID releases next.

EG: Solidmind, what was it like for you working with All Day I Dream for the first time?

Solidmind: It is, of course, amazing to be able to release on the most well-known organic house label worldwide. But, the most important thing is the track itself! If we can put out something that resonates with people, that’s the best thing that can happen, no matter which label it is.

EG: Seth, with over a decade in the music industry under your belt, how have you felt you’ve grown as an artist?

Seth Schwarz: It’s been quite a fun journey, starting as a teenage rapper and bedroom Fruity Loops producer with a bunch of friends, to scoring and producing the music for the cinematic film FAUST by Karsten Prühl, which was shown in movie theaters, TV, and is now available on Amazon.

Before the pandemic, I almost felt a sort of hubris, being so high on the feeling of playing shows (I’d guess about 80 per year while part-time doctoring). This wasn’t healthy for my body or mind, and feeling like I didn’t want to get up again broke me, to be honest – in a still not completely reassembled way, but also gave me the opportunity to leave unnecessary baggage and poisonous people behind with love. I went back to dig deeper into the medical books for distraction and was finally able to finish my PhD on glioblastoma brain tumors. Seeing the world recover but us destroying parts of it again, I guess now I am picking carefully where I want to play my music and to which audience. My new boutique agency, Schwarz Booking, run by close friends supports that need for individual artists and complex general life.

EG: Solidmind, you have been producing music since you were 16! In what ways has your style stayed the same and in what ways has it evolved?

Solidmind: It basically started from really bad taste, before going into more and more serious underground productions with techno, and then going back to slower ethereal music I’ve now been putting out with my alias ‘Solidmind’ for five years. All of this has helped to shape my sound. Oliver Koletzki once described a demo I sent him as a “techno track but in downtempo style.”

EG: What’s one thing each of you look forward to in the new year?

Solidmind: Traveling around the world and seeing as many new things as possible.

Seth Schwarz: I’m looking forward to launching my own record label, Nasaja, to release more beautiful tracks together with Lydgen and collaborations with friends, finishing up my specialty as a medical doctor (radiation oncologist) to afterward fully commit to making music (and hopefully finally release my long-awaited album), and hopefully reaching 90,000 devoted super fans for electronic music who will sign up for our new platform, WeR1.

EG: What gear did you guys use to produce ‘Create The Universe’?

Solidmind: The Harmonics/Pad were made with the Sequential Prophet 6, which has an amazing full sound. The lead was done with the Sequential Prophet Rev-2, also a very diverse and well-sounding analog synthesizer that I can totally recommend to everyone who wants to create this kind of organic music.

Seth Schwarz: In my studio, I love the Subsequent for bass and the Arturia collection for pads and instruments. My strings in the background are a blend of multiple layers of an Acoustic Violin, and in the solo, I played my favorite electric violin NS-Design CR-5. I ran these through an Electro-Harmonix echo pedal and an Arduino-based MOD FX pedal for individual saturation flavor and some shimmer.

“If we can put out something that resonates with people, that’s the best thing that can happen, no matter which label it is.”

EG: What are some of your favorite tracks on A Winter Sampler VI?

Solidmind: I really love the more instrumental groove-based ones, like ‘Printemps,’ ‘The Purpose,’ and ‘Betimed.’ They fit well during work and in the background for summertime in Tenerife. For our track, it seems more like an active listening kind of thing that requires attention from the listener but can transport more to the people.

Seth Schwarz: The sampler is loaded with great tracks that you can listen to while playing in the snow or after coming down from the slope. I do get stuck on listening to the Curol Remix of Limara & Dimitri Nakov – Nocturne ft. Natascha Atlas. And of course, our own ‘Create the Universe’.

EG: What’s your take on the current state of our scene? Have we lost our horizon a bit with the rise of social media, AI, and all these paradigm shifts?

Solidmind: I don’t want to talk about this, but I guess everyone knows what’s going on.

Seth Schwarz: It’s a tough and highly discussable topic, you could probably fill a TV night show with several TED Talks. My take is this: we have to focus on our core communities, making them healthy and finding our own place and nourishing the ecosystems connected to our musical tribes. At WeR1, we value the creative genius that has been given to humans, and we are building a music streaming platform that rewards all layers of creativity – transparently and directly. We hope this will secure a role and life for human music producers in the automated times that seem to be rising exponentially.

EG: Where can your fans catch you next? What can we expect from Seth Schwarz & Solidmind in the near future?

Solidmind: In March, I have a very exclusive showcase album release party in Baku, Azerbaijan, which I’m totally looking forward to. I really like more unconventional events and locations as they hold so many things to discover. Going back to playing a normal DJ set every weekend seems a bit odd for me now, to be honest.

Seth Schwarz: We will definitely have a follow-up feature with Solidmind. I am looking forward to actively taking part at the AfrikaBurn and Burning Man, like I have almost every year since 2016, and programming the new Seth Schwarz & Lydgen – ARTEMIDES live set. Personally, I am also very excited about new festivals I haven’t played before, like the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Seth Schwarz and Solidmind’s ‘Create The Universe’ is out now via All Day I Dream. Stream and download here.

Follow Seth Schwarz: Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram

Follow Solidmind: Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram

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