One of the most epic things about cruising Soundcloud is the possibility of stumbling across something completely unknown that has not yet found its way into the viral loop. It’s a sense of achievement as a music fan, but also proves extremely empowering to artists. Roughly 2 years ago, we were introduced to Austrian production duo, Klangkarussell (translation: ‘Sound Carousel’), who had a single track on their Soundcloud page titled “Sonnentanz.”  The six-minute, house-leaning jam features a perfectly subtle mix of horns, xylophone and synth, making it the type of relaxing song you can keep on repeat without losing any of its power. During 2012, “Sonnentanz” gained millions of plays reaching the Top 10 in 6 countries and helping earn them a record deal with Universal Music.

Although certainly excited about their success, old friends, Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held, are true to their sound–chilled out and not too concerned with conformity. Raised in Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of Mozart, the two share a unique and diverse musical background from an early age, which makes us particularly excited about what’s to come. Check out our exclusive interview below and keep an eye out for their upcoming Netzwerk EP due out in a week, on July 29th. Make sure to follow Adrian and Tobias for more updates: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

TMN: First things first, where does the name Klangkarussell come from?

Tobias: There’s not really a back story—it just sounded good, and that’s why we took it. We liked the name, and so we took it.

TMN: So, you two hung out back in school and reunited relatively recently after over a decade apart. Can you tell us a bit about where you both were in life on the day that you met up?

Adrian: I had just quit my job at a private TV station and was relying on the side jobs to make extra money, until I went to work in Salzburg at the Festpiele. I worked there during the summer, and that’s when we met.

Tobias: I was starting to do my exams. Really late, but I started to do my exams at that time.

TMN: We’d love to hear the story behind “Sonnentanz”—both on a musical level and just what your expectations were when you uploaded it?

Adrian: There was never an intention of becoming famous or being able to live like a musician or something like that. It was never the intention. It was more like, “I’m dealing with different, like daily, shit all the time.” Just sitting down making music and forgetting the other stuff around there. It was coming over us, so that was the spirit of the track.

TMN: You guys are really at the front lines of the Internet revolution in music. From your perspective, describe your journey from releasing a single song on Soundcloud to touring the world, making a splash in the fashion industry and signing a record deal. What are your thoughts more broadly on the Internet’s advantages/disadvantages for up and coming artists such as yourselves?

Adrian: I think that the whole internet thing has changed everything. Basically, people are deciding what comes out on record labels these days. It’s like record labels going around and A&Rs going round, and being like, “Okay, this is going to be the new thing.” They’re looking on the internet for what people want to hear and then approach the people to put it out. I think that’s like a nice way of people having the power to decide what they want to hear and what they want to make big and make successful.

Tobias: A lot of stuff has gone through Hype Machine especially.

Adrian: I think that’s the number one thing that A&Rs look at right now. In the morning, they go to the office, and they check Hype Machine rather than listen to demos anymore.

TMN: Your first video was a model-filled fantasy that fit Sonnentanz amazingly well but the second, for “Netzwerk,” was a bit more extreme. What role did you play in those videos and how did you choose that direction for the second one?

Adrian: For “Netzwerk,” we reached out to some directors. They sent their ideas, and we chose this idea because it just felt like it worked with the song. For us, the song was about freedom. It also comes together with the African sample. It was all the time about freedom, so this just really was a nice picture of, “do what you want to do.” Go out and hang around bridges or wherever you want.

TMN: I get the sense from both your releases and mixes (our favorite is “HitParade”) thus far that your musical influences span far past EDM. The “Jazz House” tag on Sonnentanz kind of clued me into that…

Tobias: [Laughs] We were like what should we call it? “Jazz house…”

TMN: Where do you draw inspiration for your music across genres and even outside of music?

Adrian: Musically, I grew up next to a studio, to an audio studio. My dad used to listen to Pink Floyd, Mike Olfield and all thae stuff that was around. My mom used to listen to sort of African music a lot, so it’s like I can’t really tell what the influences are. It’s like all of this coming together and that’s the music I grew up on, which is where my stuff comes from.

Tobias: My father and mother played in a music group. It was kind of folk music. I had to learn to play an early traditional instrument when I was like five years old. it’s called Hackbrett. It’s really traditional. At seven I started to play the trombone until 15 or 16, and played in an orchestra, like a miniature orchestra.

Adrian: I think that’s a good point for us, because we’re not afraid of doing something like this because lots of people in dance music are afraid to go too much into mainstream or be too much just wanting to stay with one thing. We never had that fear to be like this because we used to listen to so much music, so we learned to tread inside it, certainly.

Tobias: We do what we want, and what we don’t want, we don’t do, so … If we like it, it doesn’t matter if they call it pop music or if they call it techno, whatever.

TMN:  What do you usually bring onstage with you when you perform? I know tonight you’re probably doing just a DJ set at 1015 Folsom, but you are not usually strictly DJ, right?

Adrian: We do a live set also. We started doing it this spring. It’s very exciting. We play with two musicians, and have the light show and everything, so it’s proper live, the sound’s live. Apart from that, we do normal DJ sets with CDJ’s and just pick random songs to play.

TMN: We’re going to level with you—we know nothing about your home town, Salzburg, Austria. Tell us how that has contributed to your style as artists. What is the music scene like there?

Adrian: First of all, it’s very small, so everyone knows each other. It’s a very nice scene because compared to Vienne, where I live now, people in Vienna often work against each other’s promoters. It wasn’t so in Salzburg. Everyone knew what the other was doing, and no one wants to cross each other so no one is hurt. I started to promote Drum and Bass parties when I was 16. I started to DJ when I was 15, so for me, it was very important, the whole scene in Salzburg. I don’t know how it is now.

Tobias: Small. Pretty small. There’s not a lot of stuff going on there, but there’s still some people who throw parties.

Adrian: The problem with Salzburg is that everyone’s going to move away in the end.

Tobias: Yeah, everyone is looking to be somewhere else. Mostly to Vienna.

TMN: Did you get into any mischief together when you were back in school, and are there any stories that you’d be willing to share?

Tobias: I know a really good story.

Adrian: Which one?

Tobias: It’s just really incriminating.

Adrian: Which one? (Tobias makes a hand motion) Oh, no, no no. Not that. Nothing really comes to mind. (Laughs)

Tobias: We were really bad in school, so we were really the two guys which none of the teachers wanted to have in the class. That’s what we were like. When we left school in the third year, the teacher would celebrate.

TMN: What is your favorite song right now? Not necessarily of all time, but just currently.

Tobias: David Bowie – Starman.

Adrian: For me it’s J Dilla – Donuts. The whole record.

TMN: What’s your dream house? Where would it be?

Adrian: Mine would be at the lake surrounded by woods, not much going on. Nice drinking water-quality lake.

Tobias: …Salzburg

Adrian: That would be my dream. It doesn’t need to be big. It just needs to be a place for me and my future family and a small studio maybe.

Tobias: I think if the house is too big, you won’t feel comfortable. If you need to call someone, “hey, let’s meet in the dining room.” That’s going to be stressful.

Special thanks to Klangkarussell for taking the time to speak with us. We couldn’t be more excited to hear what they have in store! 


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