Polish-born, German-bred, Robert Babicz is a man of many characters. But whatever pseudonym Babicz chooses to take on, he is always on a mission with sounds and emotions. His aim is to unite people on the dance floor using dark techno beats and melodies. And the result is a profound union of minds. His career spans an incredible two decades with Babicz first catching the fever of acid house in the early 1990s. His signature sound has since evolved, while always incorporating his productions of delicately balanced melodies entwined within a techno matrix, and precisely constructed into a blend of rich textures. As a master in the studio, his love for gear translates to his sets; Babicz loves equipment, always fitting in at least one keyboard – or ten – into a live performance. And on his Australian tour, Babicz sits down with Lady Lex to chat about the what gear he plays with, improvising before the dancefloor and how his music serves as its own record of the people he meets in his life.
You have so many different sides to you – this is represented in the many different monikers you have performed under. Perhaps this has something to do with your Polish background and German upbringing: How much of Germany is in you and how much of Poland?
I left Poland when I was only 5 – I was quite a small boy. The first words I ever spoke were Polish. When I play in Poland, when the plane has landed, when I am on the stage, there is something going on in me. It’s like falling in love and my stomach is full of butterflies. But at the same time, Germany is my home. Maybe because I am traveling so much, I have thought about this: I am a human on planet earth doing my art.
Your music is so well known and appreciated around the world, and it’s such a big part of your life as a career and a hobby. What does music mean to you?
Music is a language to me. For me as an artist, it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of living and reacting to the things going on in the world. When I tour and meet people, I ask people so many questions all the time. Then when I’m home, I keep feeling the people I have met. They end up as a sound or element in my songs somehow. All my music is like a diary for me - remembering the people that I’ve met. I’m responding to all the people in my life through my music.
When you tour, what gear do you travel with?
I’ll try to bring as few things as possible! When I travel, what I actually bring changes all the time. The computer is the main instrument of course, then some controllers, some keyboards and an iPad - I will play the (iPad) synthesizer in real time. It’s different, but you can change the synthesizer on the iPad with one click. I am also thinking about taking my Roland TB-303 because with acid techno, there is something going on. The air burns with acid techno, and I want to use this energy.
When you play live, what do you do to get us on the dance floor?
I only play my own music in my sets. So, I can decide from moment to moment where I want to go. I try to connect to the people, and then we are one. The people are controlling me, and I am controlling the people. It’s a sexual going-on in the mind.
How do you go about building this “sexual meeting” of the mind with your music?
It’s the way I work: I improvise. I don’t have the style police in mind. It’s not that I just like techno, or house. I can do everything from moment to moment. I see a group, and they want something darker, I can give that to them. I give the people what they want often improvising. It’s like throwing a ball to them and they throw it back. And then we all play together.