Q&A: Have You Met… Mr Käfer

Photographed by David Henselder

Austrian born and raised music producer, and composer Mr Kafer steps up to join our Q&A series so we can learn a bit more about him beyond his music,. Having earlier this month released his latest LP, ‘Orientations‘ through German label, Melting Pot.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Salzburg, Austria – a small and quiet town which has a beautiful nature & surroundings. I always appreciated the fact to have so many possibilities to just go out into the nature to find some rest. I think in general it’s a town which offers good circumstances to develop as an artist cause you don’t have a lot of distractions there.

Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

The creative culture has many farcettes there but in general it is best known for Mozart and classical music. Most people go there to consume it („Festspiele“) or to study classical music. But also acting & dancing is a big part of it. Because classical music is such a big focus there, sometimes it seems that everything else is a bit stagnating from time to time – it doesn’t seem really easy to build a constant alternative scene there from my experience. The Hip Hop there is kind of a small scene with stuff going on but not too much happening collectively from my experience so everyone is more like „cooking up his own soup“.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

That’s hard to tell. One of the first things I was listening to at a very young age was a tape from Cheb Khaled, a singer from Oran in Algeria. I’ve played that over and over again. Later when I was about 10/11 years old I got into Hip Hop and from there on was in love with this music. I also visited a music school at that time where I was in the choir and had classes in music theory. I guess things just took their course and I kind of always had a surrounding & people to share this music with. I remember a good friend of mine and me making mixtapes with our favorite rap songs all the time back in the days and exchanging them from time to time. I think first stuff I was listening to was artists like „The Roots“, „The Pharcyde“, „Pete Rock & CL Smooth“, „Eminem“, „Mobb Deep“.

How has your Algerian heritage in music effected your style? From the instruments you choose and how you structure your tracks?

To be honest, I don’t know in which way or if it has affected my own style concretely. I just always could identify with the music from there and liked listening to it. I think maybe I just naturally developed a certain fondness for certain sounds, rhythms & instruments. Besides that it is hard to tell – I think a lot of influences in that sense are more unconscious and subtle.

How does Austrian and Algerian musical styles differ?

When I think about the music culture, my experience is that growing up in Austria doesn’t necessarily mean to be in contact with the traditional music a lot, except you grow up on the countryside. In Algeria I personally always had the feeling that (regional) music somehow is lived out more actively by the people (no matter if they live on the countryside or in the city) and it also feels like it has a different social value somehow. But that’s only my point of view. And of course the obvious such as the use of instruments, music scales, rhythms, style of singing etc. is a big difference.

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

Yeah there are a lot of artists I love to work with. Collaborating is always fun. To name a few – Flitz &S uppe, DDob (the 3 of us also made an album called „Sandals“ last year), Devaloop who is also from Salzburg, Gavin Lord and of course the instrumentalists from the current release „Orientation“, Christian Höll, Makkako and Ruff I. It’s always interesting to collaborate cause everyone hears things differently and brings different skills. I think what makes it work well is just that you get along very well on a personal level. So a friendship is kind of the basis and everything happens quite naturally – you spend some good times together and the music is more like an outcome of it.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?

As I said I visited a music school for four years where I was singing in the choir and had some music theory classes. Music was always around but I never learned playing an instrument during my childhood – always liked to play percussions with friends and just jam. But yeah, I went straight into making beats somewhere around 2012 I think.

Are there any other musicians, and DJs we should be paying attention to?

There are so many great musicians out there and so much nice music is released almost every day. I’d probably be sitting here half a day just writing down names

If you mean the Austrian music scene I can name just a few that come to my mind here:

Mono: Massive Brenk Sinatra Flip Devaloop Moby Stick Raptoar & Windshadow and many more!

Orientations LP Released May 8th

What equipment did you use for your recent produce your forthcoming album?

(Pictures of your set up would be great to include) I used my laptop, keyboard, Mpd to make the beats and we used different mics to record the instruments. Big part of this project was the live recorded instruments saxophone, guitar and double bass which were played by Christian Höll, Makkako and Ruff I.

How did you relationship come about with Melting Pot because you’ve released music with them before this?

I studied audio design in Salzburg. There you have to do an internship in the fourth semester. I did that at MPM in Cologne from September 2018 till December 2018. They searched for interns at that time which was a nice coincidence. During that time I also finished and released a project called „Lost Reflections“, which I made togehter with Gavin Lord who is a saxophone player. „Lost Reflections“ was then released on tape on their sub-label KO-OP and is now part of the split LP „Lost Reflections/Orientation“ which came out May 8th this year.

How have you changed your approach from your previous album, to your recent album, Orientations in June ?

My idea was to incorporate oriental sounds and rhythms into jazz, which always has been a great influence & inspiration for my beats. A new approach was to make a record that sounds more organic. I didn’t really have the ambition to make a beattape in the „conventional sense“. To achieve that, I worked with Christian Höll, who co-produced the EP with me and played saxophone on the project & Makkako and Ruff I who played guitar and bass. Shoutouts to the guys! So I guess what really has changed from my approach was to try to create a project that sounds more organic and to work more concept orientated than I did before.

What was your favourite track to produce on the album and why?

I think „Dawn at the Souk“ just because it felt most different from the songs I’ve made till then. It was fun creating something a bit more uptempo with new rhythms. And I just personally like the mood of the song.

Check out his recently released EP below, and let us know what you think and give him your support:

Author: Kofi Yeboah

I'm a Music & Culture Journalist, and DJ from London. I worked in radio, events promotions, and content production. .

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