Hybrid label and collective, New York.

Cultivated Sound is a hybrid between a collective and label in Brooklyn, New York. We are focusing on showcasing artists locally and internationally. Our mission is constantly evolving as we strive to integrate programs with collaborators and residents. To cultivate music as sound and introduce new music breaking genres.

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CSS078: Toechter
[DJ Set]

Text. Mara Peralta

Toechter is a band researching the use of string instruments in sound design. Using their classical training as a starting point, they explore the percussive and lyrical range of the acoustic instruments, drawing on sound effects created through pedals and vocal textures. Toechter creates electronic beats and soundscapes by manipulating acoustic string instrument sounds (violin, viola, violoncello). Together they create their own language by mixing genres and unusual string samples to create a human and touching electronic sound world. 







Could you tell us a little history behind the band, where and when it started, and how it evolved?

Toechter was founded as a result of a shared desire to not only use the lyrical and
atmospheric range of the instruments, but also focus on the whole percussive palette of the
acoustic instrument by creatively manipulating and processing the strings with our machines
(that we use live, but also in the studio) and the DAW. toechter started in 2019 in Berlin.

What's the best club you've played at?
As we ‘aired’ as an ensemble in December 2019, most of the time since then has bee influenced by lockdowns and restrictions, which means we haven’t yet played that many liveshows. However, we believe our music fits both intimate spaces and massive epic venues which as a thought we find extremely liberating. Before covid, we played a concert in one of the smallest venues in Copenhagen (Øen, locate in the district of Nørrebro), and we all thought it was a perfect night, but could totally see (and hear) us play one of the big, more industrial scenes of Berlin, like Kraftwerk or Berghain, or a classical venue like the chamber music hall of The Berliner Philharmonie as
well. Playing a string instrument you have both the potential to get really private and whisper your music in the audience’s ear, and to open up all of your sound and get really majestic Having this spectrum at one’s disposal is already a true gift, and as we also add electronic effects and new layers to our instruments, thus at times present very dark, heavy, and industrial sounds, it seems obvious to embrace and cherish the gap between big and small
crowds and venues.

Last track that moved you?
Mabe Fratti-Estatica

Last film you watched?
Marie- Claire: Almodovar - Madres Parallelas - the story is extraordinarily heartfelt.

Lisa: Das Leben der Anderen (The Lifes of Others, 2006) by Florian Henckel von
Donnersmarck - such a powerful film on so many levels.

Katrine: I recently watched the movie And then we danced (2019) by Swedish director Levan
Akin who is of Georgian origin. Not only is this movie hypnotizingly beautiful, filled with music, dance, life, and love, and a storyline that nails you to the spot, it also truly speaks the language of intimacy and stays with you for days.

Favourite album to relax to?
Colleen - Captain of None

Favorite producer?
Philipp Thimm, of course!

Next city you would like to write and play at?
We have both a dream and an ambition of going to Brazil at one point, could be Rio or Sao
Paulo, where urbanity and nature coexist in a way that both challenges and frees your mind.
A year and a half ago, we played an improvised set with Brazilian composer and performance
artist Marcela Luccatelli, and when we were in the studio last Summer, one of our
improvisations took off from the dogma of ‘Let’s play Brazil’, so there is for sure a shared
longing for going and exploring this enormous and diverse country together.


What is the idea behind the selection of the mix, can you tell us the process of curating a mix as a band?

During the time of the pandemic, we have been located in three different cities, and very early it came clear to us that we needed to find a way to keep the inspiration flowing between us. So, we started sharing music and making private playlists - just for the three of us to keep each other creatively updated - and furthermore it turned out to be a wordless and caring way to check in with one another and letting the others know where you are at, emotionally and artistically. We would share both artists we found interesting, certain sounds or effects that sparked our curiosity, a beautiful melodic line or a track with a surprising development. In other words, both artists, genres and music close to and further away from our own

When our album was released, it seemed like a good time to start sharing these playlists with
the people who listen to our music, so we shared a toechter inspiration playlist on Spotify. The mix we have shared with Cultivated Sound is based on the same ideas and each track I handpicked by one of us, so the mix represents both us as a group and each player individually.

What are some of your early musical influences? What is the first record that spoke to you and inspired you to make music together?

I think as a group we were deeply inspired by musicians like Oliver Coates, Laurie Anderson,
Kelsey Lu. Artists who work with a sort of similar setup - blending acoustics with electronics.
Nevertheless, the synthesist Ella Minus has inspired us a lot during the album process. She knows how to build synthesizers and encourages you to stick with the analog setup.

What does “listening” mean to you as a musician/band?

Music is a way of communicating. Sounds speak directly and beyond words, geographical
and cultural borders via frequencies you were already exposed to in the womb - some fetuses
move energetically when they recognise music or sounds from the outside world. Of course
scientists continually dive deeper and deeper into this subject, hence are able to give us even
better and more precise explanations for what is physically going on, but isn’t it after all somewhat lovely that there are some things with regards to how art, in this case music and sound, is perceived, that we cannot fully comprehend?

What also never stops fascinating us about music as an art form is how it transcend language, time, minds, even worlds. Music can reach you and change your emotional setup without you even noticing it. Letting our old instruments and the refined ways we learned to play them meet electronic effects and 2022 aesthetics, we aim to also transcend style, genre,
and tradition.

We love your recent self-release Zephyr, the album is very dynamic and avant-garde. What was your idea behind this record, how long have you
been working on the album?

Up until now, our focus as a group has been put entirely on researching the use of our string
instruments and our abilities to play them, deriving from our classical backgrounds. We wanted to create something together as a group; to curate a safe playground where the idea flow between us and a joint creativity arises. All sounds presented on Zephyr come from either the instruments, our effect pedals, or ourselves, so in that sense we have been very dogmatic. Zephyr shows toechter’s journey up to now - in a way, it started when toechter was founded.

Tell us a little about your experience working with Philipp Thimm, Band member of German outlet Apparat? Do you feel you learned new processes when working together that benefitted your musical growth and what insight could you tell other artists?

Could you tell us about how the collaborations came about and what was your favorite experience
throughout the recording process?

Philipp Thimm is a cellist himself who works with electronics and pedals. We couldn't have dreamed of a better collaboration because of our common musical background. Philipp has an enormously creative output and a very contagious energy. We learned a lot from Philipp about building beats and delicat drim arrangmements. 

What's coming up next for you that you are excited about?

We are currently working on releases with the tracks from the album + vocal features with
different artists from the rap and avant-garde scene.

We are working on another EP, we will play a release tour next year and we are also working
on some exciting new collaborations. At the moment we cannot reveal much more than that,
but it is all to be announced soon.


 Ela Minus - Megapunk (TSHA Remix)
Eartheater - Kiss of the Phoenix
toechter - CharmsFlying Lotus- Hunger
Apparat - HeroistRival Consol- Memory Arc
Brother May- Used to Be
Toechter-Verbal Errors
Floating Points-Falaise
Nils Frahm+Anne Müller - Show your Teeth
Agnes Obel-Broken Sleep
toechter- Tectonics
Weyes Blood- Titanic Rising

Interview by Mara Peralta
Produced by CS