Interview with Nils Feldhus : Establishing Helioscope

I decided to share a little bit of insight about me and my music-promotion project Helioscope, now that the third successful year has passed and I’ve very recently passed the milestone of 400 followers on my Mixcloud main channel. So I’ve collected all the questions I’ve been asked and explain them in detail!

>> Will you be touring somewhere soon?
No, unfortunately not. Some friends of mine know my stuff I put out on the world wide web. They’re, in fact, always trying to convince me to start DJing live. I see it as a really exhausting job and I’m not a friend of really exhausting jobs, so that’s that. I set my priorities and at the moment, I care about my university degree the most.
If I were touring, though, I’d love to be in a managing positions in order to organize Helioscope nights, preferably where the fan base is large enough (UK, Germany, France are all about three times bigger than other countries). I would invite my idols I steadily support, obviously starting with some lesser known names.

>> What software do you use?
That’s a question I rather want to dodge. The truth is, all of my mixes are done in arrangements, like tracks. People with good ears might have already guessed it. Nothing is live. Plus, it’s an amateur program I’ve been gifted by my parents in my childhood (MAGIX). I’m not a guy who likes to stick to conventions and traditional stuff, but that one’s an exception. Think what you like about it, I mean I’ve got a lot less options, so in certain aspects it’s quite hard to get an acceptable result. Other software include Virtual DJ for pre-selecting tracks and BPM/Key analysis, iTunes for my immense library and tracklists as well as Paint.NET for artwork action and silly pictures of myself.

>> How much time do you spend on one mixtape, from collecting tracks and ideas to publishing it to your followers?
That tends to be at around six to seven hours for a Helioscope broadcast. It’s a lot less for Planetarium & Distant, because their format is similar to a playlist. Overall, the time spent on mixing should have increased a lot, since I’m always eager to improve the quality.

>> How did you get into electronic music, especially progressive house?
I’ve been introduced by my uncle and my father who liked to listen to trance back in the days. Plus, I’ve caught a lot of inspiration from those workout CDs playing in gyms when I was a kid. I still am a trance fan at heart, but progressive house was the thing that changed my perception of music radically. I’ve rarely been on the beach in my childhood, but I just knew that this was exactly music’s tribute to those beautiful shores on our planet. There have been a lot of not-so-legal and long taken down promo channels on YouTube back when they still had the 5-star ranking. I sadly forgot all their names, but Mango’s and Dinka’s tracks were the craze for all of us suddenly. This community was extremely small at that time, but kept on delivering by finding underrated tunes by Mossy, Shiloh, Jaytech or Shingo Nakamura. I stumbled upon a Flash-only, swampy green site called Beatport in early ’09. It’s been my main source of music ever since. Exclusivity was the reason I spent like double of the amount of money for a regular track. If they could only learn that Martin Garrix produces Club House, not prog or trance…

>> What are your recent gigs you’ve attended?
I’m regularly visiting DnB events and was blown away by Etherwood @ Heinz Gaul (Cologne, Germany), Metrik @ SonneMondSterne (Saalburg, Germany), Fred V & Grafix @ halle_02 (Heidelberg, Germany) and London Elektricity @ Westerunie (Amsterdam, Netherlands). Other than that, I’ve been to Berlin for the unique collaboration show featuring Nils Frahm and Jon Hopkins. Next up for me is my first Above & Beyond event @ Live Music Hall (Cologne, Germany).

>> What are your plans for 2015?
The main focus still is Helioscope and their sub-channels Planetarium and Distant. Although quite a popular series, Helioscope Sun Set will be on hiatus for at least a few months, since its length and concept doesn’t match the other mixes. The fourth channel Jade FM will make up for this vacancy in promoting mixes of other DJs and producers.
The plan for the first half of the year is:
– The remaining 20 episodes of Helioscope Radio on 1st and 3rd Sundays
– The monthly editions of Planetarium and the liquid sessions of Distant on 2nd Sundays
– The second season of Nutrients and the most recent addition LEIMLAB on 4th Sundays

Seasonal mixtapes will also be reduced by one part of the cycle. After three years of existence, Astronics still doesn’t seem to cumulate any major fanbase, so uplifting space-soundscape mixes (now incorporated by a bit more deeper sounds with LEIMLAB), psy-trance and similar styles won’t appear on Helioscope any more. Worlds Between Us (balearic progressive trance) [in March] will be accompanied by Jade Bay (formerly Going South, balearic house + disco) [in July] and Silvan Soul (formerly New Soul, atmospheric progressive) [in November].

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