In a very unscientific study, the one name to pop up the most on various pre-Moogfest 2012 lineup announcement prediction blogs and threads was Pantha du Prince. The German-born producer and DJ (aka Hendrik Weber) is playing the accolade all cool-like. “That’s a compliment for the music,” he tells Xpress by email. “I hear the Moog festival is a very good festival, so as an artist you always hope to play music on festivals that make sense. I’m really looking forward to this one!”
Besides having an enthusiastic fan base, Weber is a fan himself — of Moog equipment, that is. The Minimoog tops his list and “the new Minitaur is a brilliant tool, because it’s small and you can take it with you,” he says. “Also the Moogerfoggers are quite interesting for processing.”
The equipment can be heard on albums like Ursprung, Pantha du Prince’s recent collaboration with longtime friend Stephan Abry. The two collected songs for a while, playing all the instruments (guitars and synthesizers) and processing their recordings on a computer. And, while the collection is electronic, there’s a lot of the natural world in its genesis. “We recorded in all kinds of places, for example at the German North Sea in an atelier right next to the ocean, so wind and long walks are part of the music,” says Weber.
Pantha du Prince crafts atmospheric sounds that, he says, are inspired by various places: “Houses as well as landscapes can provide a starting point.”
Perhaps surprisingly (because Krautrock often comes up in reviews of Pantha du Prince’s music), nationality is not important to Weber. What is, instead, is “a certain regional influence, that has nothing to do with countries.” He’s talking about how “your direct surrounding, socially and environmentally, have an impact on what you do and how you do it.”
Weber’s own approach to gathering sounds and ideas has changed. Half a decade ago, he says, he’d make music any place where he could bring his laptop. That became distracting; he now prefers the studio. “But once I’m somewhere in a place, I collect a lot of sounds from outside and instruments I find are recorded with little sketches everywhere I go,” he says. “My field recorder always waits in my pocket.”
Will the U.S. stretch of Pantha du Prince’s current tour wind up on a field recording? Perhaps, though Weber seems more visually and gastronomically inclined on this trip: “To see the autumn colors changing every day is what I’m looking forward to,” he writes. “Also, having some good meals with friends I have not seen for a long time.”