While growing up in the countryside of southern germany, „there just was not too much to do“ says michel. so he started making music. back then his acoustic folksongs centered around the guitar of his dad and an old crappy but lovely piano. But over the years he really got into electronic parts of music, fascinated by the whole process of producing and engineering. so he bought his first synth from ebay and started producing music on a laptop after releasing music under his full name for some time, he created a new project tobe more open for a variety of things. this was the birth of „still sane“.now moved from the countryside into the city, most of his ideasstill start in his bedroom studio in stuttgart. but instead of finishing the songs all by himself, he now decided to share his creative vision with more people. this ultimately led to contributions from various friends: drummers, producers, programmers, designers,and other creative minds, all pouring in their bit to create a new world. heavily inspired by acts like bon iver, ben howard and sylvan esso, michel is fascinatedby both acoustic and electronic elements in music. combining those two worlds is anarrow path, and could easily lean on one side or the other. with still sane he playswith those polarities, resulting in a multitude of songs with different aspects fromboth worlds.„the morning“ is a song about new beginnings and things that come toan end, about waiting, and about realizing that it’s actually a loop rolling, warm synth textures and emotional lyrics building on an interesting arrangement that carries you on waves through out the song.there are a lot of things planned for the future, 2022 is going to be an exciting year for still sane.
How did you get into making music?
Music always surrounded me while growing up. My dad plays the drums, my mum’s a music teacher. I grew up on the countryside where my dad built a rehearsal room into an old henhouse. I have loads of memories of falling asleep with my window open and the sound of my dad and his mates rehearsing. The first instrument I learned was piano, but never really got into it on a deeper level and eventually stopped taking lessons after some years. My parents took me to a lot of concerts while I was getting older, and I was so inspired by some acts that I started to teach myself guitar. I started to write songs and had a lot of fun with my first loop pedal. Later I got more into electronic parts of music and started to produce music on a laptop.
How would you define your sound?
I love the tension between acoustic and electronic elements in music. What I try to do is combining these two worlds, always searching for new, interesting and unique sounds. I love everything that makes me feel something, and I hope my songs make you feel something.
"„Not Yet“ is a song about longing for distance, searching for truth in being away from things, hoping to find purpose. This song came together really fast, I wrote and recorded it in two days. We shot a great music video for it in switzerland!"
How would you describe your creative process when it comes to making tracks?
When it comes to creating new tracks, my process really varies from song to song. I usually start with one thing that sticks with me - this could be a synth part, a production idea, a specific sound, a guitar lick or a voice memo. From there I really try to let creativity flow and add the things that come to my mind. The thing is, I always have a lot of different ideas how a song could be pushed in different directions. This leads to a lot of different versions of the same idea, I usuallly try to go with the one that feels the most natural to me. Over time a song develops further and further, while I try to only keep the relevant parts and always judge if an element really helps the song or if it’s unnecessary. When I started writing songs a while back almost all my songs started with guitar or piano, and I usually wrote the entire song and lyrics on the instrument. This changed when I got more into production, but I try to go back to it from time to time because I feel like it forces to me to really be honest in my songs. Another thing I do is to always collect sounds, wherever I am. Mostly I capture them with the voice memo app on my phone, and then bring them back into the studio where I experiment with loads of processing. This helps me to create unique soundscapes in my songs, and also makes me draw connections from songs to places which is one of my favourite things.
Which artist or sound influence you the most in your work as a creative?
Over the years there where a lot of different artists that inspired me, but nothing sticked as much as the music of Bon Iver. The multitude of sounds that blend with each other that well and building something this emotional is from another world. The production techniques used on the records are so inspiring, I bought an op-1 because I saw Justin Vernon use one and it’s one of my favorite tools now. Ben Howard and Jack Garratt also influenced a lot that I did, and during the last year Sylvan Esso was a huge inspiration. Their productions are so different and they play with a minimal amount of elements, each sound is such a good choice and works perfectly for the song to come to life.
"„The Morning“ is a song about new beginnings and things that come to an end, about waiting, and about realizing that it’s actually a loop. It‘s structure is a little different, the first half of the song feels like an intro. I wanted to take you on a journey through a thought process that ends up being redundant, regardless of all the things that happen on the way."
Which artist would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Looking forward to collaborate with some friends of mine while making tracks in the next few months. But one dream would be to make some stuff with Nick Sanborn. I’m following so many of his projects and I’m amazed by the joy he brings into music. Watching him perform anything where he turns some knobs on a modular synth makes me smile!