Interview with Pow-Low

POW-LOW was born in the Italian part of Switzerland. During high school he played in several high school metal bands, drums, vocals & synths. As a young teenager, Pow-Low was a student of jazz-star Pierre Favre. He promoted and played his first live gig at 13 and released his first tracks on vinyl at 17 years of age.

After acquiring a degree in economics (matura), Pow-Low studied recording engineering and production at the Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. He signed his first production contract with Gary Platt (Prince, Bon Jovi, Yellow Jackets…) and moved to LOS ANGELES in 1988, where he got a job at the legendary RECORD PLANT studios in HOLLYWOOD (Guns and Roses, Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Jefferson Airplane …).

In 1990 he toured the MTV/SWATCH tour and then got hired by the South African BOP-STUDIOS where he was chief house engineer for the biggest recording studio of the world. He there mixed the soundtrack for the WALT DISNEY feature film SERAFINA (executive produce by Quincy Jones) and produced ZEROp, a Swiss metal band, this album became album of the month in Japan and France. Pow-Low then became a chief sound engineer at GREENWOOD, LIMELIGHT / PRIMETIME studios.

Since 1999, Pow-Low runs his own company and production studio named Schallzentrale GmbH, as well as his own event label Hertz.

In regards to his history, his substantial efforts and victories all around the music industry and his recently developed recordings, one can certainly say that Pow-Low is one of Switzerland’s top producer and DJs. We have caught up with him for an interview:

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Grooving deep- or tech-house with smiling and twisted sounds… soulful, jazzy funky, dynamic, honest, multi-level.

How did it all start for you?

I started as a drummer when I was a child and later graduated at Full Sail University in Florida. I was lucky to be able to work at big studios such as the Record Plant in Hollywood or Bop Studios in South Africa.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?

I start with the kick, clap/snare, hi-hat and simple sub-bass, maybe a drum-loop. Then I compose chords, look for fx and voices. I create and resample fx-patterns to enliven the groove, edit & quantize them, use lots of ghost notes… often instead of percussion. I work on my music for a very long time, normally not under 3 months per track. I’m happy when the mix and the mastering sound transparent, wide, punchy but not over-compressed. It’s always a wonderful adventure! 🙂

Are there any key pieces of equipment that you can’t live without?

There are many… but a very impressive piece is the Trinnov ST2 Pro Room Correction system. It’s a
3D acoustic correction device, totally rocket science!

What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.

I get inspired by many different genres of music such as electronic, metal, jazz and classical. Boundaries to me make no sense. I used to have a band that played house & techno fused with metal, we even got a major record deal with EMI/Virgin… back in the late 90s. I also get inspired by books such as “The Power of Now!” by Eckart Tolle… he is amazing!

What is your opinion regarding the difference between old school DJing, where everything was restricted to vinyl, and modern DJing where most tracks are never put on any physical medium before or after release?

This question is unfortunately very typical for the DJ-scene, for it talks only about the form and not about the content. Probably it is easier to talk about the form. It is absolutely irrelevant to me what media a DJ uses, but it is extremely crucial what music (content) he/she delivers. If the DJ-mix is fine as well then it’s perfect. I think a much bigger challenge is to play good music rather than to synchronize two mechanical discs!. 😉

What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?

Glitch-Hop

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

Twisted Sibling

What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a DJ? As an attendee?

Probably my 3-days outdoor festival at the lake of Zürich called Tanzwiese. Back in the days, it was the after-hours at OXA, as an attendee and/or DJ.

Jeff Mills is quoted as saying: “This music isn’t for followers, its for innovators. It’s truly the music of the future, it has no boundaries, no structures, and it can go as fast as time goes.”
What are your thoughts on this statement?

He is absolutely right. And as a musician, this is what you find when you look deep inside of your true self. By true self, I don’t mean your ego. This can only be achieved when one is totally present. Presence is faster than light, for it starts and ends simultaneously. “now” is therefore very powERful. I wrote a track about this phenomenon called: nowER.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

My biggest challenge is always to write and produce honest music that makes others and me happy… let the music do the talking!

Sounds like a great idea! Many thanks for getting in touch with us for this interview and good luck with your new release ‘Ghost Note’! (Release date: 02.05.2018) Listen below.

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