Decoding High-Tech Minimal: An Interview with Boris Brejcha
Aug 22, 2023
9 min read
Boris Brejcha, renowned for his signature Venetian-joker mask and high-tech minimal genre, has an influential history shaping his music. With anticipation building for his 2024 album, Brejcha's single "Vienna ft. Malena Narvay" offers viewers a dynamic visual story.
The contrasting imagery of a lifeless robot (representing Boris) and a flourishing Malena symbolizes the nature of love and connection. “The robot, leading a mundane life, only blossoms with joy when wound up like a music box.”
The video's atmosphere shifts from melancholic Vienna streets to an energized vibrancy, highlighted by the symbolic red heart balloon, representing the essence of life and love. The red mask signals that we are all the same in the end. Boris opens up about his challenging past, notably the Ramstein air disaster, emphasizing how music became his healing refuge. His tracks encapsulate euphoria intermingled with poignant reflections.
Boris's trademark joker mask, initially an attempt to differentiate himself, has evolved into an emblematic representation of his atmospheric sound. His upcoming album teases a harmonious mix of traditional and innovative elements. Despite achieving overwhelming popularity, with his Tomorrowland performance garnering a record-breaking 95 million views, Brejcha remains humble, prioritizing genuine emotion in his music over technology's allure.
His long voyage, characterized by tenacity and genuineness, serves as inspiration to emerging artists. Beyond his music, Boris connects with fans through idiosyncratic events, like urban duck hunts, embodying his playful side. As he continues to redefine musical frontiers and consumes immense amounts of caffeine in the process, Boris underscores the importance of authenticity and zeal in the craft. His profound message to fellow artists and fans alike? Understand the music. Such a career does not happen overnight.
Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and how it shaped your music career?
My childhood was good. Except for the accident with Ramstein. This accident was significant for the fact that I came to music at all. After this accident I had almost no friends. I withdrew more and more, until I finally ended up producing music. The music gave me strength and was something like my doctor. With it I could express myself and gradually felt alive again. At the end of the day, it was a positive turn.
How has the experience from the Ramstein air disaster influenced your perspective on life and music?
In terms of music, I would say that my music always sounds very deep. It often has melodies that sound sad and euphoric at the same time. Which is what I like very much. In terms of life, nothing can really shake me. After such an experience you become relatively hard.
So, I often can't understand when people get upset about things that are irrelevant in my eyes. Something bad must happen for me to become agitated. I have learned to appreciate life and enjoy the smallest things. For example, being the first one awake in the morning, sitting in the garden with a coffee and just enjoying the peace and quiet. That is life. Priceless.
Beyond its iconic look, what deeper meaning does your joker mask hold for you, especially when blending your life with art?
To be honest, nothing at all. Using the Joker mask was just a joke at the beginning of my career. I just wanted to stand out and stand out from everyone else. It also doesn't have anything to do with my accident in the slightest. But it has become my trademark over the years. I don't want to have to do without it anymore. Together with my music, it's a great atmosphere.
What inspired the title and theme of your upcoming album in 2024?
The title of my album is something like a new start for me. Or rather, I'm production-technically arrived at the point that satisfies me 100%. It will be an album, which shows all my facets. New ideas, but also up to the old classic Boris from way back. A mix of everything.
How does this new album differ from your previous work?
It makes it so different because it's a mix of old and new.
Can fans expect any surprise collaborations or features on the album?
There will be no big surprises. As usual and loved there will be songs together with Ginger. These songs are always great. Then there will be the extended version of "Vienna" and one more feature, which is still secret.
"Vienna ft. Malena Narvay" is set to release on August 18th. Why did you choose to release this song out of the rest to celebrate the announcement of the album?
It's a strong song and I like it very much. Moreover, it fits very well into the festival season now. Also, it's a little bit different way of my production style. Such new things always deserve to be heard.
The interaction between you and the girl seems to revolve around the concept of being "awakened" or "activated." What was the idea behind this dynamic?
We wanted to create a total contrast. Malena is a very bright person from the ground up. It was obvious that she should represent the flourishing life in this video. On the other side then the robot, which has rather a boring life. Only when he is wound up like a music box, then life and joy blossom in him.
Can you explain the significance of the empty car and the heart balloon tied to its mirror?
About the empty car there was never any meaning. We only took the car as a goodie. Because it fits super to the city of Vienna. The balloon, on the other hand, symbolizes love and the joy of life.
The mask worn by the girl in the later scenes adds a mysterious element. Why was it included, and what does it signify?
The red mask symbolizes that we are all the same in the end and that everyone can be sad, lazy or cheerful.
The interplay of colors, especially red, seems intentional. How does color symbolism play a role in conveying the video's emotions?
The color red is the main signal color. For this concept only red came into question. Red like love. Malena in red clothes as an ambassador of a flourishing life.
Your genre, "High-Tech-Minimal," is unique and has garnered you a lot of attention. What was the process behind its creation?
I don't know if that is still relevant today but in the past, fans often wanted to put an artist into a music genre or identify him with it. I could never put my music into a music genre. I thought I would just create my own. When I started producing music, "minimal", it was very popular.
I also produced that back then. After a while it became too boring for me and since I used to produce a lot of trance music, I thought it would be cool to combine everything. The name "High-Tech Minimal" was born. The base of "minimal", with a lot of other elements so it's a further development.
You've achieved so much since your first performance in 2006. Looking back, which moment would you say was your turning point?
It was the moment when I played for Cercle for the first time in 2017. That's when I realized that the career is slowly growing. A year later came the recording of Tomorrowland and that was groundbreaking. It's currently the most watched Tomorrowland video by an artist, with 95 million views. Then in 2019 came the second Cercle set in Paris. Those were all milestones.
What is something you haven’t accomplished in your musical career, that you are looking to achieve in the future?
You often hide squeaky ducks in cities for fans. Which city's duck-hunt was the most memorable for you and why?
One thing in advance. This is really a lot of fun and the fans are so happy about it. That was in Argentina, and it was so wild that we had a chase across the city. We couldn't get rid of the fans and then we decided that the driver would let us off quickly on a busy street. We thought that the fan, who was traveling alone, would not just park his car in the middle of the street. However, that's exactly what he did and ran after us. That was so incredibly funny.
How do you see the future of electronic music evolving?
Good question. Currently I have the feeling that everything has slowed down a bit. By that I mean we currently have everything in sounds and music machines. There is just a little new stuff that is groundbreaking. But I don't think that's bad and I'm also confident, especially in terms of the new era of AI. Let's see where that will lead. I can imagine that an AI can accomplish a lot. But it will never be able to interpret real feelings.
In a world with rapid technological advancements, how do you incorporate new tech into your upcoming album?
You're asking the wrong guy haha. I am still very “oldskool”. Currently I have all the equipment I need to make good music. It's not the technology to produce good music. The best technology is your brain and your emotions. That's how you make successful and beautiful songs. I know some people who have such great new stuff but lack ideas.
From your fashion brand to your music, everything you do seems to have a personal touch. How important is authenticity to you in this digital age?
I think that's very important because fans like to identify with it, just like the Joker duck. For me personally, a milestone. That just came to me spontaneously which is so good.
Lastly, what advice would you give to young artists starting their journey in music?
That's always hard to say but people ask that all the time. Most of the time I tell them to learn an instrument. E.g., drums or keyboard, just to be able to understand the music better. Or to write beautiful melodies. You also need a lot of stamina. Such a career usually does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of time. As an example: I released my first single in 2006. But the real breakthrough didn't come until 2017. This is 11 years of processing the career. It’s also important to produce music that you love.