Hamburg resident Henrik Twardzik, better know to progressive trance aficionados as Neelix, returns to Brisbane this week, ten months after his debut voyage down under.
What’s the latest from the Neelix camp; any new material ready to drop?
I recently had a time of not producing and some problems in my studio, so I couldn't really produce. But I fixed that with a room correction system and managed to finish two new tracks in the last week. I will release a new EP in the near future.
The development of your sound; has much changed in the last couple of years?
I think my sound has been constantly changing for the past ten years. The very early stuff was quite psychedelic, then it went to offbeat with lots of melodies, and I just released an EP with lots of rock elements inside. I don't really notice the changes when I'm producing, but looking back it is more obvious.
Is there a typical week in the studio for you? Or do you create music more sporadically?
I produce when I can. When I have to travel all the time it’s hard for me to relax in the studio and actually produce. I need time to get into it and I like to know I have lots of time ahead to get everything done. It usually takes me a long time to produce a track! When I am working a lot in the studio I usually start at 7am and work for about 12 hours until I have a serious headache from staring at the screen. If I wasn't to tour sometimes in places like Australia or Brazil I would have skin like Gollum because I am a basement child.
As far as your artistic endeavors, how has 2013 been?
2013 has been very good. Every year you develop more and more countries which is super interesting. Some countries are going down and some are coming up. At the moment India and UK are coming up for me. Sometimes you have time to explore the country a bit as well which is nice. I definitely learned a lot more about production and got more skills. I released an EP and just finished a new EP, which will be released soon.
Trance right now; are you happy with the progress of the genre?
I am. It definitely became a bit more popular which I like. A lot of subgenres developed recently which makes it very interesting. I don't really like much of the music but that is ok.
You’re headed to Australia for the first time since last November; what are you memories of your last trip here?
It was awesome. I had a really crazy show in Melbourne and also had the chance to play in New Caledonia for the first time. My girlfriend is from Australia, so she is always keeping us very busy when we visit. At the end of this tour I'll have the chance to take my first real vacation in Australia with Hannes [Vaishiyas] and his girlfriend Claudia.
As a professional traveller, how do you cope with the many hours waiting around at airports, hotels etc?
I love waiting at airports. I really don't like stress and rushing, so if I have time to wait around it is always a good thing because I can relax and look around. I'm definitely never short of cologne.
What are you thoughts on social media; are you a fan?
I love having that platform to be creative. I have so much fun designing my banner and profile photos and changing the look of the page. Obviously it is a great way to reach new people and share music with people who like the Neelix project. On a personal level, I very rarely use my page and only have a few friends.
You mentioned in a past interview you were looking to explore pop music - have you taken this further by producing any pop material?
No, not at all. I was connected to a commercial agency because I made a few tracks for them for ads. They pushed me to go in that direction and I did produce one pop track for them. It's awful. I made a Neelix version of it called 'You And I Belong', which is still quite poppy. In the end I realised that I can only produce music that I actually like.
Your journey to become a DJ is not the traditional one — how did dance culture and electronic music escape your attention as a teenager?
I actually did listen to some very early electronic music when I was about 16, but I was too young to get into the scene. After that my friends and I all got into skateboarding and rock music. We were teenagers, so of course we thoughts that computers and electronic music were very uncool. I started producing music almost by accident when I lived with a friend [NOK] who was a producer. To be honest, I'm still not really into electronic music. If I have the choice I would always listen to Stevie Wonder or The Mamas and The Papas.
Given your name, how big a Trekkie are you?
I'm not a huge Trekkie, but of course I like the show and I used to watch it all the time. I actually just sampled the theme song in one of my new tracks… but don't tell anyone! I went recently to my first Comic-con in London and it was really fun. There were huge queues of people lining up for autographs from people like the voice of Mario and Luigi. Danny Glover was there too, but no one was lining up for him because he was charging 25 pounds. He looked pretty pissed off.
Is ‘Voyager’ your favourite incarnation of the Star Trek universe?
I think my favourite is ‘Next Generation’. I really like the characters and storylines. Realistically, I probably like it the best because I was born in the mid ‘70s and that is what I grew up watching on TV. I like ‘Voyager’ too, but I took the name Neelix mainly because ‘Voyager’ was on TV at the time I was trying to find a name for my project. I had to think of something really fast because a label had contacted me to say they would release one of my tracks on a compilation. I was never planning on doing this professionally, so when I think back to the other names I was considering I'm really glad I chose Neelix!
Is a Neelix costume your fancy dress of choice?
Definitely not. I don't like Neelix at all! Neelix is the Jar Jar Binks of ‘Star Trek’. I would probably dress as a shower like Daniel LaRusso in ‘Karate Kid’.
Neelix, supported by Tranceducer and a host of locals, plays Coniston Lane Friday September 20.