Andreas Henneberg – A Failsafe approach

We speak to the revered Germany producer and composer about his latest EP and why he’s super happy he’s never had a big hit

Andreas Henneberg’s music sits somewhere between techno, minimal and house and over the course of his 30 plus year career has released with Voltage Musique, Katermukke, Get Physical, Bedrock, Desert Hearts, Heinz Music and Systematic Recordings, as well as of course on his own SNOE.

Andrea helms a critically acclaimed philharmonic live concert concept called Synth Happens which gained attention worldwide and further established himself as a genre transcending and multifaceted musician capable of blending styles in an innovative fashion. He combines his own electronic music with a full orchestra, the live show of which has been performed at opera houses all over the world.

His latest release is ‘Failsafe’ EP: two tracks of driving, progressive house with some lovely melodic flourishes that lands on Sacha Robotti’s Slothacid label later this month and further establishes him as an artist of quite extraordinary talent.

As someone who is so heavily invested in the live performance aspect of your music, how difficult has the pandemic been for you, and have you taken any steps to compensate for the lack of in person shows?

Of course the whole situation is the absolute worst case for the whole live-music industry. Very depressing, unsatisfying and unfair. But hey, lot of good stuff came with it as well. Seeing the family more, having a relatively normal sleep cycle and lot’s of time to hit the studio for example.

I have always been a studio guy. I love to make music and creating random stuff. I could do this for hours, days, weeks. So I did… which makes me even happier that everything seems to slowly get back on track again. I’m ready!

Your career is close to 25 years and still going strong… in that time, what would you say is the single biggest change you’ve seen in the industry, for better or worse?

Like in every industry it’s a constant re-invention of the wheel. Sometimes it’s round and smooth, sometimes it rolls like a square. Change is good to keep everything interesting and alive. Technology in general made huge steps within the last few decades and making music has never been easier and cheaper than today. This gives everybody the chance to express themself and a lot of incredible talents came to light due to this. And a lot of crap of course.. It’s the few diamonds in between which keep the whole industry going and going. There is no better or worse.

You’ve run a lot of labels over the years, what has been the most rewarding thing about your time invested with them?

The community around the label. The other artists, the designers or even the business partners. The great thing as a small independent label is the direct contact to everyone involved.

I love the interaction with other artists to make something happen together and to support each other. On the other hand it’s a great way to express myself when not on stage. I just love music.

And the most challenging?

When I started making music I had the same situation like every new producer. Nobody wants to sign my tracks. Nowadays you just do your own label and release it. You could setup a label, distribution and everything you need in less than one hour.

When I started my first Label Voltage Musique there was no Beatport, Spotify or even mp3s. We all played with turntables and as a label you needed to press and distribute vinyl somehow.

It was expensive and very hard to find a distribution partner to spread the records to all the shops worldwide. No clue how, but we did it. The label survived 18 years at the end. Together with my partner Beth Lydi I’m successfully running the label SNOE at the moment.

Are record labels still as important in 2021 as they were when you started making music?

No. They are not. And thats not necessarily a bad thing. On Spotify or iTunes you can’t even search for a label anymore. Artists can release their music directly without a record label in between. That’s great for the artists and a quick way to publish music by yourself. Maybe it will be the death of indie-record labels at some point. I’m okay with that. So.. Let’s re-name the record label into Homebase, Clique or Artist Collective. Artists want to belong somewhere and identify with a community, well known for certain styles, sounds or events. That’s important..

Your latest EP landed on Slothacid recently… how did you hook up with the label and Sacha for this release?

I’m born in Berlin. Sacha Robotti is born in Berlin. Funnily enough we’ve meet in Hawaii, Costa Rica or California but never in Berlin. We both love the same kind of electronic music, we are friends and we respect each other. No clue why we didn’t worked together earlier. Now we did and I’m more than happy about it.

Your music always sits between various different genres, and that’s no exception on this EP. For us there seems to be a strong focus on melody though… do these usually come out of your imagination, or is it more a case of playing around and seeing what works?

Actually I’ve never been a big fan of big melodies or dramatically harmonic breaks. It’s the groove which gets me when I’m in the studio or on stage. I could reduce everything to drums, percussion and hi hats and would be happy with it. I always hit the studio without any plan. It comes how it comes and it depends a lot on the current mood, time of the year or the impressions from the last shows.

I also have different projects and names to publish different genres of electronic music without confusing your followers and fans. The Glitz, Hennon or Cascandy to name a few.

Do you think in terms of career trajectory? Or do you just focus on making the best music you can?

I’m doing music since 25 years now and my biggest fear is to accidentally write a hit. I can’t say this enough. “I’m very very happy that I never landed a big hit”. Because I am still allowed to make the music I want without being reduced to that one track. No expectations or the pressure to deliver the follow up hit single whatsoever. My agent told me 20 years ago, just do your thing. If it’s good, you will be seen and if you continue you will be successful. He was damn right..

What else do you have coming up?

October and November I’m finally touring the US again. Chicago, Miami, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas. I’m also constantly working on my orchestra show Synth Happens. We are planning a few of these concerts in Germany next year.

Finally, what one piece of advice or mantra did you hear early in your career that has either proved useful, or to be complete nonsense?

If you wanna call yourself an artist, don’t focus on the hype, the success or the money. Focus on your skills and improve them. It’s paying back at some point.

Andreas Henneberg [SC | YT | IG | FB | WEB]

SNOE [SC | YT | IG | FB | WEB]