‘Click Interview’ with Reichsfeind: ‘Music alone cannot change the world’

Timo Revna released the third official album of his sonic alter-ego Reichsfeind this year. It brings together once again different influences. Techno and pop elements have been fused together while a darker touch hovers over the songs. The voices sound like robots, but you’ll also notice several spoken samples. “Darken” definitely sounds like Reichsfeind’s magnum opus, but above all confirms the visionary approach in the way different influences have been mixed. I talked about it with Timo Revna.

(Courtesy of Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: You created Reichsfeind in 2011 and have already released several albums and EPs. How do you perceive the evolution of your sonic alter ego and what do you consider your greatest achievements?

Timo: It’s been more than ten years since I self-published my first demos. Looking back, I’m really happy with how things have evolved over time. Listening to my old demos is quite an experience for me. Comparing them to my official albums beginning with “Living In Space” (2017), I feel like there has always been a certain emotional depth to my lyrics and melodies, while the overall sound quality as well as a certain grip still had to be developed. In this regard, the first album was a milestone for me. For now, I consider my last album “Darken” as well as this year’s performance at WGT Leipzig as the greatest achievements to date.

Q: You signed with Alfa Matrix, so what does it mean for you to be signed with one of the leading labels in this scene? As a German project, wouldn’t you have preferred to sign on a German label?

Timo: Being signed to Alfa Matrix was indeed a great honour! My first two albums were released via the German label Equinoxe Records. It was a good deal and I really liked the mentality of the label. However, with Alfa Matrix, it was clear that they would have the capabilities to introduce Reichsfeind to a wider audience, so I felt that was the next logical step. We never thought of limiting the possible agreements with new labels to the German market.

Q: In a previous interview, I asked you about the importance of Reichsfeind and you said, “As history repeats its darkest moments again and again, I find him to be of the highest importance of emphasizing and preserving the interhuman qualities that make us equal in the first place. Through my music, I try to reveal that behind all these walls we build around us, we are still united by the same pleasures of love and friendship, similar joys and sorrows. When you see what is really happening in our world and our society today, I must say that you still have to compose a lot of music to achieve your goal… What is your perception of the world we live in at the moment and how the do you transpose into your music?

Timo: Large sections of the population are being left behind, leading to frustration and resentment. Capitalism-driven Western morality increasingly contradicts itself in the face of a war-ravaged international situation that is finally appearing on our doorstep. On top of that, advancing climate change is already taking a heavy toll on human lives. How to fix all this? I don’t want to trade places with politicians who have to deal with huge decisions these days.
Music alone cannot change the world, we need conscientious politics and comprehensive international cooperation to change things for the better. However, music still functions as a sanctuary, where you can free your mind from the overwhelming chaos around us – at least temporarily. I’m proud if I can contribute in some way through my music.

Q: What were your main sources of inspiration when writing the album “Darken”? Did you have something like a plan and/or did you focus on specific things during the production process?

Timo: The songs in “Darken” are mostly inspired by real life events that happened to me personally or people around me. A lot has happened in the last two years, so I’ve never really run out of material to write. There was no specific plan for this album. It was more about staying current over a long period of time, creating new authentic materials without thinking too much. However, I definitely intended to emphasize Pop elements this time around.

Q: What were the biggest challenges while composing/producing “Darken”? What were your greatest satisfactions and what are the points you still want to improve?

Timo: “Darken” was produced over a period of 2 years. At the same time, my musical tastes seemed to change a little more drastically than usual, which made it difficult to maintain any sort of recognizable unity from a beat-making perspective. Luckily, I had two talented and experienced studio musicians who once again proved they could keep the big picture. In general, I really want to improve my beatmaking skills.

The greatest satisfactions during the production phase of “Darken” have always been situations where things seemed to work without interruptions or setbacks, such as an entire song being completely finished in almost a day. For me, this happens very rarely, but when it does, it’s more than satisfying.

Q: You’ve already played a few shows this year and there are more to come. How do you transfer the energy of studio recordings to the stage – and especially as a solo project?

Timo: I’ve loved performing things in front of an audience since I was a kid. Having the opportunity to perform your own music in a room full of people is just amazing, so the main thing for me is to enjoy the moment. I always have a good time on stage and I hope I can convey that feeling to the crowd. On stage I am supported by live musician Tom S. who does a great job of warming up the audience.