RAGE Festival 2015 Special – Interview with Protonica


PROTONICA are Piet Kaempfer and Ralf Dietze from Berlin (Germany). With Piet’s intuition for harmonies as a skilled pianist and certified sound designer Ralf’s feeling for propulsive grooves, Protonica deliver you their very own positive pulsing sound – a blend of psychedelic and progressive trance.

With their energetic live sets Protonica have already contributed to making events a success all over the world. Having played at major Psytrance festivals and having recently completed their one month tour of India, we got the chance to speak to Ralf before he leaves Berlin to join South African fans who are eagerly awaiting his performance at Rage Festival in December this year.

T.H.E – Currently where about in the world are you?

Ralf – At the moment I am in my hometown, in Berlin and I’m sitting in my home studio.

T.H.E – How did you and Piet meet and what inspired you to join your specialties together and create such amazing music?

Ralf – I met Piet for the first time on my radio show in 2002/2003 I can’t really remember. He offered to play on my show, so I invited him to do a set for the show. As for the amazing music , it comes from our hearts and this is how I feel you create really good music.

T.H.E – So I know your earliest encounter with music includes a vast range of genres, from psychedelic to hip-hop, how has this taste in music influenced your current sound?

Ralf – Now this is a difficult question, I think in the past the first genre for me was the early 90s which was techno and it has its influences which you can feel and listen to it in our music. I also have some hip – hop roots for sure but I can’t say it is coming in our music, the main part is definitely the techno genre.

T.H.E – This will be your first time performing in Durban, South Africa, what are you most looking forward to? What can fans expect from your set?

Ralf – My first time in South Africa was during the Love & Light Festival in Cape Town in 2012. It is my first time in Durban. I’m really excited to perform here. The fans can for sure look forward to some new stuff, we added some collaborations to our live sets, remixes for Astrix and Captain Hook also remixes for Liquid Soul. I hope that they enjoy it.

T.H.E – Psytrance started off as a pure underground genre however in the last years year it has made a huge jump as its being played in many clubs around the world. Where do you see it going in the future?

Ralf – This is a really difficult question because I am not a person who looks so much into the future. The main part of music is that if you start a genre like PsyTrance or even other genre, it’s a process and it gains popularity. It jumps from country to country that show you get more and more fans. I can’t really say what will happen I the future, my opinion is that it’s better to stay in the present and see what works and how it is.

T.H.E – One of the perks of travelling to many new cities is the memories that come out from it. I know there must be some bad ones, however what’s the most memorable experience that you have had thus far?

Ralf – One of the most memorable days was one of the days in South Africa in 2012 when all people could talk about was the end of the world as the Mayans had predicted. It was funny for me because on that day I went to Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope With Thomas/DJ Connecto. I had a really great day. The second experience for me was this year in India, I was there for one month, we had so many gigs all in the biggest cities. It was stressful to be flying every second or third day to play at a new city. The experience though was really amazing, the culture and the food especially was interesting, I definitely enjoyed the Indian food.

T.H.E – Many people have their beliefs, are there any particular things you do before a show to ensure its success?

Ralf – Before I play I’m in the studio just praying for the stage and that the sets go as planned. I check out new music I listen to every track to make sure its fine for the set, I need to know is it good enough. If it’s a live set I like to check out the area and the set-up if it is running good. However every time you just hope the show is good.

T.H.E – With the ever changing music scene how do you stay to your own sound rather than to branch out? Are there any new projects in the strings which we can expect?

Ralf – It is complicated because as Protonica we have our own sound our own music and as Protonica we can’t change
our sound because then we will lose our fans, they will ask what this new music is. This is why we have side projects to say ok I can experiment and make other sounds. Our second side project is “Temporary Feelings” that was progressive house however we finished this project, it was not as popular though. We reached out a new tech-house project called “Collidr” this is also a side project, were just sitting in the studio producing psytrance however we need to branch out and produce new music to get new influence and to collect new ideas. Just for me I built a new forest tracnce track which is just for live sets and not for producing called, “Ichi Chi Chi” this idea was born in the tour I had in india because in india it is a huge aspect and I enjoy the music as well.

T.H.E – Any thoughts on the DJ mag top 100 poll?

Ralf – Normally I would say no comment.

T.H.E – If there is anything you have learnt in your many years together with Piet what would it be?

Ralf – I must speak for my side, I’m in this scene from 1995, it’s been a long time. I feel that you learn more patience and you become more and more professional from each year and also in this 20 years you learn more about yourself due to situations and travelling. You also learn a lot about life. I need more time to think about this as well.

T.H.E – Like we said this will be your Debut performance in Durban, what are you expecting from this show?

Ralf – This is a difficult question, I’m looking forward to it but I’ll be honest I’m not expecting anything. I will see if I enjoy it and if the people enjoy it then it will be worth it.

T.H.E – Thank you again for taking out the time to talk to us even though you are feeling a bit under the weather. Hope you get well soon. :)

Ralf – Thank you as well for this interview, I’m looking forward to the show in Durban.

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