Man, Behind The Mask: Boris Brejcha Interviewed

Man, Behind The Mask: Boris Brejcha Interviewed

Up close with the reclusive producer...

There comes a moment in every artist’s career that sparks a catalyst for change.

For Boris Brejcha, this happened on the 1st May 2017, when he stepped out onto the courtyard of The Palace of Fontainebleau, for a live set for Cercle. No one – including Boris himself – could have predicted the impact those 90 minutes would have on his future. Now, the promotors most viewed video on youtube – sitting at almost 27 million views – has catapulted the artist into the limelight, everyone knows who he is, and everyone knows about that mask.

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For Boris, music has been his life for as long as he can remember. In his youth, he was introduced to ‘hardcore’ electronic music, thanks to a school friend’s Thunderdome CD. This came at a time where he was learning to play the drums and keyboard – perhaps an ideal time to be influenced. “I was so interested in how different the music sounded, I instantly wanted to know how I could produce this music. I had a friend who had a PC and some software, and we just experimented.”

A key ingredient to Boris’ success, is his unique take on dance music. Where many are pigeonholed into one genre, the artist created his own – “High-Tech Minimal”. A style that came about after years of experimenting with Trance records. Incorporating the sounds from the minimal, techno and trance sides of electronic music, Boris ran with it, pushing the sound further with every release and gained a legion of followers in the process.

It’s this artistry that makes his shows different, Boris isn’t like any other DJ behind the decks, when you see him perform it will always be 100% of his own music being played. “I have never played one track by another artist. When people come to see me, they come to see my music. It makes no sense to play someone else’s. If you’re a DJ, but you don’t produce, and your playing songs from however many different artists, can’t anybody do that?”

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This take on performing, shows his relentless approach producing, something that he has built around a tiring tour schedule. “For me my life runs differently. I play at the weekend, so Monday is my Sunday to relax and do paperwork. The Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I’m in the studio producing. Once the time feels right, I go back through all the material and make an album that I think feels right.” If you’re playing purely your own productions, every time you step on stage, then you need fresh material constantly. It’s no easy task, I’m sure.

Last week, saw the artist release his 6th studio album, entitled Space Diver, released on Ultra Records. His first album since 2016 and that Cercle performance. However, the sheer body of work accumulated during that time caused some issues. “It was tough, putting together just 12 tracks for the album. In total I had around 50 finished songs that could have made it. Some of these tracks were 3 years old, just sitting on my computer, you felt like perhaps they needed to be released, but some I wasn’t so happy with, so they didn’t make the cut.”

Having played at some of the biggest festivals in the world, last year - from Timewarp to Tomorrowland, there are quite a few people who have been waiting for this album to be released. But which song stands out for the artist? “Space Diver is a nice song; people always seem to love it. I think the main song on the album is, I take it Smart. I played it as my intro at Tomorrowland last year. People have been waiting for it since.”

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A crazy few years for the artist, stems from his 2017 performance for Cercle. An opportunity he had originally turned down twice before. “At first I wasn’t happy to play there. They came to me wanting to do it, it was for no money, it was a cool location but two times I said no. I could do another gig, it’s my business you know. On the third time they asked I said yes, and it had a huge impact.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if he had turned it down for a third time, who knows if he would have blown up in the same manner. It shows, that if your music can be watched by so many people, your profile will grow, and fans will come with that.

2019, saw Boris make a triumphant return to Cercle, where he performed at the Grand Palais, in Paris. A set that has been streamed almost 11 million times. He has now gone on to become a key part of the family over there, including a guest appearance on the promotors talk panel, at last year’s ADE.

For many, it was the first time they had heard Boris Brejcha. Not only was his music a talking point, but so was his image. Known for his giant, joker mask, many started to wonder how such a thing came about. “It came right from the start. Being from Germany, my first show somehow came in Brazil. It was my first time flying internationally and I was thinking there are so many DJs on this planet, I need to do something different. I was thinking about the carnival in Rio and all the crazy party outfits and that was my inspiration, it was born from then.”

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Every artist has their own style, for Boris the mask comes with that. Although, he admits himself, it’s helped carving his own lane in the industry. “People always recognize these guys, Daft Punk, Deadmaus, Marshmello. It’s had a huge impact, but it’s also made me keep pushing the standard of my music. I don’t want it to just be about the mask.” On Space Diver, you can see this high standard he demands of himself. The album roams between peak time club hit’s and more ambient tones that can be heard on the likes of ‘Blue Lake’ and ‘Kittys Journey’.

Year on year, Boris’ schedule seems to get more and more hectic. It shows the demand out there from promotors and fans alike, to see him on stage. This year see’s high-profile bookings at Exit Festival, Movement Detroit and OFFSonar. He is an example of just how fast this industry moves. One choice - to finally say yes to that Cercle performance, projected his career to heights unimaginable beforehand. A career that personifies the fact that opportunities are there to be taken.

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Words: Jake Wright

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