10 questions to get to know…
Twenty seven years of career releasing over eighty 12" singles and three full-length albums, a charismatic figure standing out for the way he interacts with the crowd, the role of vocals in his performances, the importance of videos “adding a nice element” to his shows: this and a lot more make The Horrorist one of the most known and loved electronic musicians of all times.
Ahead of his much awaited return to Electrowerkz for Unmasked 4thAnniversary, we had the honour of catching up with Oliver Chesler (real name of the artist). He told us about his upcoming projects as musician and restaurant owner (yes, you read it right!), the scene in New York and Berlin and his biggest achievements so far.
“I've never been happier in my entire life” he told us in this interview – discover why and see you on the dance-floor very soon!
Q: Hello Oliver and welcome on Unmasked.
We are very excited to have you back at Electrowerkz for our 4th anniversary, where you will be playing a 1h live. Anything that you can anticipate on what we can expect?
A: For those who don't know my live show, there is a video that plays behind me in sync with the music and I do a lot of vocals and moving around the stage and beyond. There are some costume changes and the music I play is from my now long career, so you will hear things from the early 90s all the way to songs that I finished last week!
Q: What have you been up to lately? Is there any place, city, club, or festival that you visited and particularly struck you?
A: I have a new restaurant in Berlin called VOLK. It's Berlin's first Oyster Bar! We also serve a French menu. Often you can find some of my DJ friends in there. If anyone is in Berlin, I encourage them to stop by!
I love almost all the shows I play. Recently I did the Krake Festival and Schwefelgelb and Petra Flurr & 89st performed. It was quite fun and totally packed at 6am at Urban Spree.
Q: Someone on your Discogs page wrote this: “Once you discover The Horrorist, you either love him or think he's a freak. Maybe both. It does not matter”. Do you agree? What do you think it makes you so special for the crowds, in both cases?
A: I agree. Whether it's a story about something I have seen or autobiographical, much of my music leans to the serious or extreme side of life. If you don't come from that world, I could see you not enjoying the music. At the same time, if you do understand where I am coming from, I think you find me an understanding friend who you just haven't met in person yet.
Q: Why is the video part of your performances so important for your shows? How do you feel about it?
A: It's not 100% vital, but it adds a nice element to the show I think. I really want to do more with video in the future. Both during the live and also get more music videos out there.
Q: Why are lyrics so fundamental in your work? Do you think that for an artist operating in your realms they are important to tell a story? To stand out? Or to build a special bond with the crowd?
A: It's the one thing that is only mine. There are thousands of amazing electronic producers out there, but none can have my own personal voice. I just have things I want to tell and this is my medium. I need to share and in return yes, I end up with friends all over the world. It's quite amazing!
Q: In a previous interview you said “Kids talk about drum machines and gear but that’s always the wrong answer. You have to make music about your own life and unless you are out there living well you have nothing to say”.Do you feel that being a sensational artistic figure helped your success? Do you have to be wild to be famous?
A: I think if you are a successful musician and you go through things, then later, as you get through them, you get a nice patina on you... like when you stain a piece of wood and then it ages. You can have a certain kind of control over your own musically output. Fame helps in that regard, but you have to be careful to always move forward and not end up parodying yourself or get caught up in the excess of the lifestyle.
Q: How do you feel about the scene in the US, and New York specifically? Apart from Berlin, is there any other local scene whose energy fascinates you?
A: New York is tricky, mainly because I lived there for 45 years. It's almost like I am blind to really see what it's like. In addition the city changes so fast... the 80s, 90s, 00s and now are extremely different from each other. Since I've been to Berlin again, Brooklyn has become more of a hotspot. As for other cities... Estonia and Kiev are interesting now. I can see both becoming quickly more like Berlin.
Q: What’s the achievement in your career as a musician that you are most proud of? And as a person, more in general?
A: I would say I am most proud to just make the music I want, regardless of genre. I can't express how important that was to my career and just plain having a great time in the studio... always staying unstuck. Personally, I am most proud to have kept changing and moving forward... it takes a huge effort to look at your life and say "not good enough” and move forward to find who you want to be with, where you want to be and what you want to do for work.
I've never been happier in my entire life.
Q: Any upcoming artists that you are following with interest or whose work you like particularly?
A: Keep an eye on Reshift. I just did a killer remix for him too.
Q: Any upcoming projects for the Horrorist that you want to share with us?
A: I have a massive amount of remixes coming out... I think about 10 in total. In addition, I am working to finish my next full-length album. Stay tuned!
Interview By / Stefania Trinchero.
Published / 22.08.2019