Updated: Feb 10
Today "Deserta" is released on Botanica Records, the second EP in a four-part series of releases by the Berlin-based producer duo Vizard. We met with them to talk about their new music, sustainability in music, and of course equality empowerment.
The day when I meet Bastian Schmiedecke and Simon Schmieder from VIZARD for an interview couldn't fit better to the theme of their EP "Deserta" which is released today. It is the first hot day of a never-ending summer in Berlin. Hot summer air flows through our studio - the two artists deliver the perfect sound for this and the following days and weeks. And even today, when it is much cooler, the catchy beats of the two Berliners flow through our ears in a soothing way and bring a piece of desert into our living room.
„Deserta is the result of a process in which we have tried to translate worlds into sounds.“
The two producers started by describing the ocean, the beats on "Oceanus" of the first EP, which was released in May of the year, are flowing and let us dive into the infinite depths of the blue sea waves of this earth. "The original plan was to describe the ocean and the desert with two tracks each and to put them on a record to musically set the contrast between desert and ocean directly against each other, then the ocean started to degenerate, got bigger and bigger and in the end wrote five tracks and an EP.", describes Simon the process. From this point of view of the ocean, the two now wanted to realize the greatest possible contrast in a musical way by leading the audience from the sea into the desert. This is done musically by the increased use of choppy percussions up to oriental sounds.
"We would like to point out that it is getting hotter and hotter, the globe is warming up and soon deserts will await us where we do not expect them today.", Simon explains the climate activist aspect of the album. Vizard even go one step further by not only giving climate change a musical stage but also donating a percentage of their upcoming merchandising products to The Great Green Wall. The Great Green Wall counteracts desertification in Africa by planting an 8,000 km long green belt of trees across the African continent.
A declaration of love to the desert
"I was at the Burning Man Festival and I played there and that was my closest connection to the desert... The starry sky there is just incredible, nowhere else have I ever seen so many stars, so much universe!", Simon tells us about his desert experience. The very first samples for "Deserta" were even created right after this Burning Man experience in San Francisco. And Basti was also allowed to make an impressive desert experience when he travelled the Namib Desert in Africa: "The vastness, the silence and this tangible nature that I was able to witness there were also reflected in the EP."
In general, the workflow of the producer duo is a well-rehearsed interplay as an answer and request, in which the two continue to refine their pieces together. The first track of Deserta, the intro, "The Caravan" was already created two years ago, in contrast to the ocean. The last track "Queen Deserta" was just created this summer. The two tracks frame the production cycle very beautifully. "If you lift up a stone, everything can be under it, or nothing, and if you search you will find so much.", Simon philosophizes about the desert. As in the desert, many areas of life are like the wilderness, and it is precisely this diversity that is reflected in the music of "Deserta".
With a length of 6 to 8 minutes, the tracks have a lot of time to unfold, which is very beneficial for the music and is a conscious counterpart to the fast music consumerism that is otherwise common on streaming portals. "With every track, we want to tell a story, let the imagination of our listeners run free and give our music the air to breathe.", Bastian describes it very aptly.
You can also be a feminist as a man!
This is how the two describe it very well when we come to our heart's desire for equality in music during the conversation. "The first step in the right direction is to be aware of what privilege you have. And when you have this awareness you look at the world differently and make sure that as many as possible can enjoy this privilege. Of course, it's out of my hands, but I can point out grievances to those around me and that starts with the Black Lives Matter movement and goes all the way to feminism."
"As white men in Central Europe, we all have privileges."
They go on to explain that only those people can draw attention to grievances that are also directly affected by them, regardless of whether it affects black people or womxn. And as someone who is not actively affected by discreditation, racism, or sexism, you should be aware that these issues still exist and give the people who are affected space to point them out and then change something. "We may be feminists, but we should not presume to judge how difficult it is for women in a male-dominated world, because we will never experience it ourselves.", explains Simon, reflecting on his view of the theme of our hearts.
As our conversation at some point drifts off towards Corona and the global crisis in which we find ourselves, Simon very skillfully closes the arch, because he hopes that people will come out of this crisis stronger and more reflected, realize that it is important to do sports, find a healthy work-life balance, take care of each other and show consideration, also for our environment, because otherwise the climate crisis will be the next one in which we find ourselves and this brings us back to "Deserta".
The desert is one of four worlds, of which two more will follow. We are already looking forward to the rousing music of the two Berliners and can't wait to hear more of it!