In a way, Robot Koch owes a lot of his success to American rock band Faith No More. While growing up in the quiet town of Kassel in north Germany in the ’80s, Koch’s only association with music was listening to a few soul records his mother played. Till he watched a video of a song by Faith No More on TV. The drummer’s dreadlocks, the visuals, and the song itself put him under a spell. “I had never seen something like this before. I too wanted to play the drums, and so I got one on my next birthday,” says the 38-year-old German electronic music producer.
In the middle of a chat with him at anti SOCIAL in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village, where he played a set recently, this story seems odd. After all, he is a world-renowned electronic music producer and DJ now. “I am drawn to soundscapes, and soon after metal, I discovered Beastie Boys, and then I fell in love with jazz. Also, hip hop and soul.
I am like a digger,” said Koch. He is also a part of bass-heavy electronic act Jahcoozi, and was christened “Robot” (his real name is Robert) by his bandmate Sasha Perera because of his insomnia.
Known for tracks such as Robots don’t sleep, Glassdrops and Here with me, which was used in American crime drama, The Blacklist, and Nitesky which was a part of an episode of How To Get Away With Murder, Koch blends a plethora of genres in his music. So in 2013, when he visited India for the first time, he ended up recording a lot of music and sounds, especially in Alsisar, Rajasthan, where he headlined the Magnetic Fields festival. “It was a pretty bad year for me. A long-term relationship had just ended, my contract with Sony was over, and a work relationship went sour. Coming to India was a sort of purification for me. The country made me take a leap of faith, and as soon as I got back to Germany, I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles for good,” he said.
Soon after, he began meditating, and embraced his spiritual side. “Berlin has a party energy, it’s self-destructive. There is no spiritual energy there. I got all my answers in India, I learnt that eventually things work out,” he added.
This move to LA after 13 years in Berlin resulted in Hypermoment, his latest album. “When I began working on the album, I was at a stage in my life where everything was happening too quickly. I was living in the present, looking back at the past, and thinking about the future. The titled just fit,” explained Koch.
The 11-track album features vocals by Koch in three tracks, and that’s a first. The sound in the last decade has undergone a change, just like him. “It’s less clubby, and more cinematic I think. Moody too. I now make music that can be dance-y but doesn’t have to be,” said Koch.