In Conversation With Kribs
Kribs – an aspiring DJ and producer from Cologne with a passion for analog sounds. Since 2010, he has been steadily building his career discovering the world of always evolving and binding sounds. His music showcases a distinct signature sound, blending rave, monotony, and old-school rhythms, drawing inspiration from artists like Talisman and Truss in his productions. As a residential member of the UNARTIG. collective in Oldenburg since 2016, he has proven his prowess through numerous successful gigs. Kribs also runs his own label, INSTINKT LAB, collaborating with other talented artists. With each track, Kribs’ sound evolves, reflecting his unwavering dedication and passion for sound design. Tomorrow marks a milestone of his career, releasing his debut album Grounded.
Throughout this conversation we talked about this anticipated release, his artistic development, the scene and much more…
Grounded is your debut album. Can you tell us about the concept, the name and the inspiration behind this project?
First, let me share the story behind it. It all started at the Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam, which is known for its honest and concept-driven approach to music, focusing on sound and quality. The atmosphere, powerful soundsystems, and sets by artists like Talisman and Sterac left a profound impact on me. Dekmantel became a major source of inspiration.
The title Grounded represents my desire to stay connected to reality in a fast-paced world. Recent times have been eventful and fast-moving, but I strive to remain rooted and achieve natural and healthy growth as an artist in terms of sound design, mixdown, and production. This album marks my debut after eight years of producing and immersing myself in music. I finally feel at home, grounded in my sound.
How did you find your way into the techno scene and eventually became a DJ?
I was introduced to the guys from UNARTIG through my friend Malte. He recommended me for a gig at a small club in Oldenburg. It was a modest space with a basic strobe light hanging from the ceiling. Though simple, the vibe was there, and it exuded an underground atmosphere. I had never experienced such a style of partying before. It was packed and unforgettable. That one gig solidified my connection with the UNARTIG crew, and they offered me a residency that continues to this day.
How would you describe your individual sound and style in a few words?
My sound is characterized by percussive elements, sharp hats, and focus on sound design and organic grooves. I also have a penchant for atmospheric vibes. I am drawn to the rawness of analog production, which has always fascinated me. Machines generating sound through electricity hold a special allure. Boys Noize was one of my early idols, and later, Jeff Mills, with his masterful work with drum machines, became a significant influence. DFAM, Yamaha RS7000, and the Roland JV1080 expander are my go-to hardware synths. Additionally, a friend’s impromptu 15-minute vocal recording during a studio afterparty inspired me to transform those snippets into unrecognizable vocal chops, enriching my tracks and creating a unique atmosphere.
What are some of the best aspects of DJing? What motivates and drives you, even in harder times?
The people who come to see me perform and dance to my music are the highlight of DJing for me. Being part of something bigger, a community, and a subculture brings a sense of fulfillment. Taking listeners and dancers on a musical journey through sound and sharing my musical knowledge brings me immense joy. Witnessing the crowd’s reaction to my music and receiving feedback to improve as an artist is truly rewarding. In challenging times, music is my anchor, helping me express my feelings, cope with difficulties, and serve as my sanctuary when I’m not okay. And that’s the beauty of it.
In which cities, collectives, scenes, or spaces are you most active in and feel most connected to, and why?
Cologne, without a doubt. The community we are building around our LUST KLUB event series and label is incredibly supportive and lovely. I have had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people, artists, and friends here. Now, we have the opportunity to shape the local scene together, and it’s truly exciting.
What are some artists that you look up to?
Talisman shows me how uniquely electronic music can be crafted. His productions have a vibrant and lively feel. Especially his last three albums have been highly inspiring and have shown me what is possible.
Overmono demonstrates the freedom one has in creating music. It’s like cooking; when you combine two completely new things, it can create an explosion of flavors. Tom Russell, also known as Truss or Mpia3, has been an influential artist for me for quite some time. When he joined forces with his brother, who brought many influences from the drum and bass scene, something truly amazing was created. It shows me how freely one can express themselves in music.
What did you focus on when working on your LP, Grounded? What does the album mean to you, and did you have any inspirations?
First and foremost, my focus was on incorporating all of my influences into the tracks. Emotions, feelings, and thoughts flow through this project. Since I am in tune with my studio, it wasn’t very difficult to let my creativity run wild. The album initially didn’t have a clear direction, but over time, a concept emerged, and I had a precise vision of how everything should sound. Thanks to my friend mojo I had a strong artist and a real hustler by my side helping me with finding a visual direction, clarify the overall concept and helping with media and marketing.
Additionally, I collaborated with Miles Pinkert, Egotot, and Olle Hansa, who complemented the tracks perfectly. With my close friend Miles I worked on the track Grounded, which aims to evoke the same feeling as experiencing it at our party. Egotot, in particular, is a tremendous inspiration for me. His rough sound design shines in our track. Pay attention to the timestretched and distorted chords, functioning as the main element in Retro Future.
You are the label owner and co-founder of Instinkt Lab. Can you tell us a bit about the label? In what direction are you heading with it, and what can we expect in the future?
Instinkt Lab is a Cologne-based label focusing on timeless techno, experimental, and ambient music. Since February 2020, we have released 14 EPs, and our first LP by Dioxid is currently in progress. Generally, we keep our public appearances limited to a minimum. In the background, we are planning a sub-label called BLENDE Series, which will aim for conceptual releases with a focus on pure sound expression through ambient experiments on tape and in digital environments. We are also thrilled about our residency at our beloved JAKI club, where we curate our GROUNDED, Extended Stories, and Record Release nights.
What are some future gigs or projects to come from you?
Our beloved LUST Crew will have a party at Æden in Berlin, end of July. Another thing I am looking forward to is a long awaited b2b Set with mojo for Rote Liebe. We would love to produce an additional video at a club called Gewölbe while mixing two hours of techno on a massive VOID System.
Pre-oder for Kribs’ debut album Grounded is available here.
photography LOLA SCHMALBUCH
creative direction JONAS OPPERMANN
assistance YAHYA ÖZFIRAT
interview THORE DAMWERTH
co-author JONAS OPPERMANN