That’s what I’ve been doing all through my career: killing giants with my five smooth stones. That’s minimal.
In his Red Bull Music Academy interview the techno master eloquently describes why techno really is music for the mind, body and soul.
On his album Minimal Nation
All of the tracks on Minimal Nation, for the most part, have rhythms inside of rhythms inside of rhythms. If you listen closely, what you think you were hearing at the beginning, you sort of begin to hear an inside rhythm, an inside loop. I always compare it to those pictures you could stare into where you can see an image inside of it if you stare at one particular area long enough. It was so minimal and so stark and so stripped down, but yet there’s another layer of melody inside of the melodies. If you look even closer, and listen even closer, there’s yet another hidden melody. That’s what made me know that this is really something. This is not just a kick drum, a snare and a hi-hat, maybe a few hand claps, a rim shot and a bassline. This is storytelling. This is not just minimal for the sake of being minimal.
That’s what I think a lot of people missed, and still continue to miss today. I’m not saying that everybody has to approach minimal art and techno in this way, but the hi-hats have to sing. The thing was, “How do I get my soul on this record, on this wax? How do I convey that to the listeners without saying a word?” The titles have to make sense and tell a story. I always compare it to pages and chapters of a book. It’s like building a house. All of the rooms have to come together and make sense. Every track is like a room in this house. “Unix” probably sticks out in my mind the most. It’s very short, and I wish I had made it longer, but it is what it is. It’s sort of ancient, yet modern at the same time. It sort of encompasses everything that techno is to me, in my perception, and everything that techno is going to be.
And if you still ‘don’t get’ minimal techno
On Studio Gear
I used an Akai XR20 Music Production Center for the bassline and drums on this. And a microKorg, I believe. It was sequenced with a Yamaha QY1000. I believe a producer once said, “Robert likes to use these small hand-held Japanese electronics.” That’s what it’s been for me for all of my career. It’s just minimal pieces of equipment. When I didn’t have anything, I had to squeeze blood from it. That caused me to really use this computer [points to head], my mind, which is the most powerful computer in the universe.
I’ve seen producers with a whole studio full of gear, keyboards, everything you could name. I’ve seen producers that had it all, but were stuck and didn’t know where to go. I look at it like David and Goliath. King Saul had given David his armor to face Goliath, but David found somebody else’s armor cumbersome. He wasn’t accustomed to moving around with this armor. All David needed to defeat the giant, Goliath, was his slingshot and five smooth stones. That’s what I’ve been doing all through my career: killing giants with my five smooth stones. That’s minimal.
Floorplan started with Funky Souls. That was the advent of this disco-fied techno house gospel fusion that’s Floorplan today. That line, “Funky Souls, sisters and brothers who love each other,” just laid the groundwork of where I wanted to go with this. Again, telling the story of man and woman staying together and becoming one and unified. Me and my wife, we had just gotten married, so I was real excited about my marriage. We were just bonding, it was beautiful. I don’t mean to get corny and sappy and all that stuff, but it was just such a beautiful thing.
It’s just about making people sort of dance together again. That’s one of the ideas I had in mind. I felt that that was sort of lost. I come from a time that men and women used to dance together. You see each other in the club and say, “Hey, would you dance with me?” You don’t see couples dancing together anymore. You just see people who are nodding their head, and they’re all facing the DJ. That’s kind of what I had in mind.
Read the full interview: http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/magazine/robert-hood-interview
Then listen to his Resident Advisor mix and seek him out live for an all encompassing experience.