Goethebunker Interview #37 – Baikal

Baikal (Bai Kyul) ist wahrhaftig wie sein Name ein See voller reichen Schätze. Seine mehrschichtigen Produktionen erzeugen eine derartige immense Energie auf der Tanzfläche, dass man sich kaum davon lösen kann. Warum denn auch? Man lässt sich einfach von dieser Naturgewalt treiben, den Kopf ausschalten und sich seinen Emotionen hingeben. Pelican’s Flight oder der Remix für Ian Pooley’s CompuRhythm sind passende Beispiele dafür. Zusammen mit den irischen Kumpels Mano Le Tough und the Drifter betreibt er zusätzlich das Maeve-Label. Wir haben mit dem gebürtigen Holländer ein Interview geführt.


As a Dutch: What made you decide to move to Germany?

At the time it was a need for change of a decade in Amsterdam; and the lack of possibilities there to have a proper house for the kind of money which would still make a living of work & enough time to pursue music possible. It is quite expensive there, certainly at the time. Berlin on the other hand 7 years ago was still very cheap and was the place to be in many ways. It also really was the first city i encountered where i felt i really had to live for a while. Of course things have changed massively since then but i still think its one of the most all round livable cities in the world if you find space, parks/forrest/green, and a relaxed atmosphere important. which i do.


Production wise your music is like your moniker „Baikal“ full of rich sounds and complexity. I guess that can be really challenging to process those ideas to an end result. How do you deal with that?

Being very persistent and patient in getting where i want to go with a track. A lot of my friends consider me slightly insane in this.  Basically I wait and keep on trying variations of anything till it makes sense in my head. Which can be six weeks with some tracks to years with others. To make a track in two days just is not a possibility for me. My tracks get better the longer i work on them. A terrible contradiction to work with, haha. I envy the quicker Producers but in the end it’s about: Whatever works.


You are running together with Mano Le Tough and the Drifter the Label „Maeve“. For example how do you choose as three different characters and minds the right music to release? Can you give us an insight of your daily label work?

Well this is the plus and the minus in one question but ultimately also why the Label „works“. We sometimes have a hard time agreeing all three on a release if it should happen or not. But once we do, we can be quite sure it is a special one. Getting three taste opinions in unison is not easy; we decline a lot of music. We have also a good friend who works for the booking agency we are all with. His name is Dave and he manages the label’s daily work as it was too much for us at some point.


If you had to choose between a Roland 808 or 909. Which would you prefer?

I love both but if given the choice to pick only one right now here on the spot then definitely a 909. I’m a precise kinda producer, so i like to have a bit more control if it’s possible. There is something very abstract about the funk the 909 exudes with the little subtle changes in tones in the kick and toms and the swing and flam functions. And oh man that ride. I will never get enough of that ride. I had a 909 for a long time, it even had a little break out box with extra controls and i loved it to the bits. But at some point in my life money was more important and had to let it go.

I would like to add that a the new Roland TR-8 really is pretty good if you don’t have the budget for the classic one. I definitely love it way more then i thought i would and use it all the time. Surely compared 1 on 1 without anything else, you can hear the differences, but in a mix? I don’t think its audible and way less hassle then the real ones. (It’s including 707/727/606!)


A track that always works. No matter when or where.

Sort of the one track i never stopped playing in the last 9/10 years, and i never feel guilty if i do, it’s just too good. My top Number #1 Groove – Magnus Opus is: Motor – Man Motor Machine (Radio Slave Remix).


When you have a creative through as an artist. How do you handle with that personally?

To not focus on finishing music but for example experiment with new ideas. Read and check videos of new approaches to sound creation or generation. A lot of people around me only focus on finishing tunes. Which i understand from a career point of view, but not from a musical point. Experimenting new angles is the birth of new ideas and new sounds and sounding different then your last track. A new machine often brings inspiration too! I always buy and sell gear for this reason alone.

If you have no desire for music at all, then just let it be and do other things. You can’t really force creativity. It comes or it doesn’t. If i feel time pressured to finish tracks but i don’t feel creative at all, i’ll try to focus on the administrative things of a track itself or the studio in general. Either with cleaning the track up, naming stuff and doing boring parts of arrangement or hardware sorting things out, or sample banks, digitialising, folder management and so on. Basically office work and sometimes studio could be the same approach.


What is the most challenging part of touring?

The physical strain on your body.


Besides doing music and touring, do you have any other passion that drives you?

I love the mountains, and hope to move there one day. I am an avid snowboarder and one of my more recent increasing passions is to be so much more in nature then i used to want as a younger man. I feel  it balances me and my slightly fast lane life. It makes me feel good in my core.  


How many hours do you spend on the week on social networks? Can you imagine to go on without it as an artist or even personally?

I wish i would be able to do less of it but it is (for now anyway) an integral part of the business. I do hope one day to be less addicted to the distraction internet provides and i can imagine an artist profile so well established that it becomes less important. I’m gonna not try to estimate how long (would be too confronting) but lets say too much! Ideally i would want a life where i was on the internet max 1-2 hours a day, preferably under an hour. Things to work on, ey? 😉


And lastly what can we except from you release wise in the near time?

I am as slow as they come. I hope to be a little bit more consistent the coming times and was less so the last years due to various external reasons; but things are looking good now. A remix for Vall on the label Afterlife of the lads of Tale Of Us will be released by the end of this week. There are various projects with Maeve in the pipeline that i am pretty excited about.


Thank you Mark for the nice interview and see you soon!

Yeah, looking forward to Saturday!  I have been before at Goethebunker and a it is a cool dark club with a proper sound. Just the way i like it.


22.10.16 Bunkernacht with Baikal, Ahmet Sisman and Tigergun.

Interview Ahmet Sisman

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