Jennifer Touch Interview

Jennifer Touch has a unique sound that really stands out in the saturated world of electronica. Drawing from electropop and disco influences that came decades before her, she does a great job of reinventing them with a rare essence that leaves the listener wanting more. The kind of music that sticks in your head long after listening is characteristic of her style, which is at home on the dancefloor and off.  She sings and composes her own music, but has her latest release working with New World (Markus Gebauer) out of Leipzig, Germany, for the EP Night Stalker, which has been earning her considerable praise for her vocal accompaniments.

 

Femmecult:

Where are you from and where are you based now?

Jennifer Touch:

I´m from Dresden, then I was studying in Dessau at the Bauhaus, after that i moved to Berlin and now to Leipzig.

Femmecult:

How did you get into making music? What drew you to this form of creative expression?

Jennifer Touch:

I started singing as a child in the staircase, I was singing everywhere. My Dad left when I was very young. He gave me once a tape with songs he liked – by Duran Duran, Human League, Purple Schulz, Karat …. I absorbed these songs and they where my first touch with Pop Music, Beats and Vocals beside some records for children. I was not very happy in this times because my parents separated and I really felt that music was “my best friend”.. as something that is kind of permanent.
In the early 90´s there was a TV-Show called “Mini Playback Show” and I always wanted to perform there. But I never got there, fortunately we had a “show” like this in school where I finally could do it: Sinead O´Connor “Nothing compares to you”. I did not sing a word but I enjoyed this energy of standing in front of a crowd, performing like a big artist. I felt free. Later I tried singing in bands, it was fun and we had a little success, but the structures where to closed, I was the singer, I had to carry completely for this part and I suspected – because singing and finding melodies was so easy – that this was not the interesting, beating part for me. I wanted to do the complete track by myself, without any compromises.

That is what turned me into (producing) music: all the compromises in life. This field is free and open as long as you don’t get under pressure to become successful or known by the whole world.

Music always find me.

Femmecult:

Tell us about your background. What influenced you as a young artist, and how has that changed over the years?

Jennifer Touch:

When I started making music as a singer, I was really influenced by other music I liked. I was flashed by the vocals of PJ Harvey and Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeah´s). Then I changed from the singer to the producer side, and the fact of creating a track opened my eyes for musical structures like painting a picture. I’m now influenced less by music, more by fashion, art, relationships, love, distance and longing, space and the universe – the high voltage between all those things.
I live in a strong creative environment, all my friends are creatives, for ex. musicians, photographers, painters, fashion designers. All these people inspire me. And the unsentimental way of my male musician friends, how they build their tracks, I like that, they do it like creating a toolset and build their tracks out of it.
And I grab deep in the past back when I create a track, then I remember the clothes and perfume of my mother when I was a child… or this moment when I was listening to my fathers tape.

Femmecult:

Your music is a throwback to the popular sound of the 70s and 80s synth wave. What about that era is inspiring to you?

Jennifer Touch:

I was born 1979, as a child i was often listening to the sound of Karat, a GDR- Rockband. The album “der blaue Planet” offered also synth sounds making me dream and feel electric, sad and happy. I like the pop music out of the 70´s and 80´s, this music was kind of edgy, heroic, the vocals were not perfect, the mixing wasn´t perfect, you can find pretty mistakes in it. It was much more popular to make “mistakes” in music and sound, there was something open for the listeners to identify because this music was made from human beings with a strong artistic, authentic attitude. In it’s way of being trashy and cheesy it was also raw and hard because you know that this music is a soundtrack for dreaming and you know you have to wake up and do your real stuff. There was a clear front between music and real life, today everything is mixed. This Music was something to adore with all the strange synth sounds and not-so-perfect-looking artists. Heroes were also dreamers, just look at Billy Idol, he was so tough looking and performing such great soft tracks, but you did not have a doubt that he was the hard boy. As an artist David Bowie is inspiring me the most..Longing was much more important than today, where you can get everything everywhere- how boring is that!?

Femmecult:

Tell us about your songwriting process. How did you get into singing and making electronic music? What kinds of instruments do you use to take a song from it’s inception to the final product?

Jennifer Touch:

I do not produce tracks like bread, I have to wait for these sweet moments when I feel that a track is waiting to be born… Then I start, also when I have to do other shit, when the moment is there, it has to start immediately.
First I play some harmonies with my micro Korg or Poly Korg and try to create some sounds that I love in this moment.. I just listen to what comes out of these sweet synthesizers and let me inspire from this.. I have an affinity for slate sounds. Sometimes I have a certain text or melody in my mind, I check out if this could be a hook or not and than I try to play around this idea. I record this with Logic where the following track will be produced.
Recently i bought me a Volca Beats and now I try to start a track by making beats, it’s much more fun now with this little machine. My music is not focused on certain fresh beats, they have to be simple and dirty but they could sound much more special in the future.
I sing my vocals at last on a track, they are not much more important for me than the other sounds. Voice is very distinctive by itself in music, so I treat this as a minor matter. I do this so that the track is not too trendy or poppy and it’s corners reserves. Voice is to be handled with care in my kind of music. Too much of it is immediately the wrong direction for me. It has to be kind of distant and cold.

Pearl by Jennifer Touch

Femmecult:

Tell us about your live performances.

Jennifer Touch:

I play together with my friend Porkfour (https://soundcloud.com/porkfour). He’s an electronic musician, we did two tracks together but we both are not the types to make music as a duo, we are to selfish with that. Live we put our tracks together to have an exciting set and support us. He can get my vocals and keys for some tracks and he is making all the coordinating junk on stage for us.
I´m wondering if most people that see us live assume that he is creating in general the beats, and I´m the singer. That´s just wrong. Its the old gender-fuck-up-thing. It´s not a great thing and I should be cool with that, but its just annoying me when women´s work and art is simply passed over by such a thinking. That´s why I plan to play completely alone because I create my tracks alone. I´m just afraid how to bring it solo on stage, singing, performing, playing an instrument. Its much more comfortable to be with another. But I´m also excited how it will be, so I have space for my own vision of performing and a live set.

Femmecult:

Do you find that visual art and / or film inspire your work as an artist? if so, what kinds are most influential to you?

Jennifer Touch:

It definitely does, when I hear a melody or create a track, I always have the pictures to it. And when I do an artwork, it has a certain sound for me. It fits together, sound and vision is one thing. The best thing is that I can do the complete work around my music, videos, visual art… I have a fashion-art project – New Blush – together with my friend grit. We try to find out how every part needs the other. We create videos, she´s writing the text, and I set it to music. I work mostly on motion art, videos and animation, the motion itself is inspiring me and my music. But in the end I can say that everything I do, see, and feel is inspiring me to be creative. Sometimes it is music, sometimes it´s visual art. I do not separate any parts from each other.

Night Stalker Music Video

New World – Night Stalker feat. Jennifer Touch from Riotvan on Vimeo.

 

Femmecult:

You were based in Berlin for a while and moved on from there. Did you find that it affected your work, being in that kind of city where there is such a creative atmosphere? How so?

Jennifer Touch:

When i was living in Berlin i was not really inspired. Everyone in the city is so full with work and the wish to be something really arty and important. Now I live in Leipzig, and here live with people that know that they are artists, and their art will grow and they will develop without being in a boiler room like Berlin. Here you have much more space and the time is not so fast, the drugs are not so hard. Its smaller here, you don´t have to cry out that you make music or other stuff, it will be recognized when its good.

In Berlin you will meet more people doing quite the same stuff as you, and that makes you restless and superficial in the realization, because the other could be faster or better than you. You think you have to compare with others, but you just should live in your own cosmos doing your own thing, so it will last a lifetime and is not maybe a fashion moment.
But Berlin has a closer club route and the world is looking at Berlin, not at Leipzig. I think your music will be faster recognized when you live in Berlin. It seems to be much cooler or something…but, Berlin makes me more running than dreaming.

Femmecult:

What is on the horizon for your work in the future?

Jennifer Touch:

I would love to have more time (and money) to make my music… that’s a dream…I just wanna release more and more, I wanna spread out more internationally. This year I plan to perform as a solo artist (without my friend Porkfour) and when it feels good I hope to play everywhere the people want me. It is a nice and burning thing that something that was developed in my bedroom studio, and comes out of my inner nature will make its way into the world and peoples ears and minds. Maybe to last longer than me… That is the moving thing.

Night Stalker EP Preview

Soundcloud / Facebook / Bandcamp

https://www.facebook.com/touch.jennifer

http://jennifertouch.bandcamp.com