There aren’t many people that can say that they have devoted their entire life to electronic music, but Florian Kruse is most certainly one who has. DJ, producer, lecturer, plus label owner? Yes, Kruse has ticked all the boxes. His passion for music began in his hometown in Northern Germany in his early teenage years. Now settled in the German capital, Berlin, a true hub for electronic music, with regular DJ appearances at the city’s infamous underground clubs. You can catch Kruse live alongside singer/songwriter and production partner, Hendrik Burkhard, who together form TheGround. You can pre-order TheGround’s upcoming album “Dediction,” slated to drop October 27th, here.
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SunCity Paradise: Kicking it off with Berlin, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the city?
Florian Kruse: Berlin is a very special city and well known for its nightlife. You can actually find good parties every single day of the week and stay out until late. Berlin is a hub for creative people and the music scene is huge, that’s why I love it here.
When my wife and I came to Berlin four years ago, we moved to the area ‘Berlin-Mitte’ close to the famous ‘Hackescher Markt’. When we arrived, summer was about start, it was the perfect time to discover Berlin. So, I can highly recommend taking the S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt to spend some time shopping in this area, and then having a nice slice of pizza and a glass of white wine in Monbijou Park on the Spree. You can watch people doing traditional dance courses outside in the park throughout the early evening hours.
SCP: What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
FK: My first exposure to electronic music in a club was in 1998. I spent a night in Hamburg, visiting my older brother. He took me to a house-music party at Reeperbahn and managed to get me in, even though I was only 15. Ian Pooley was playing and the vibe was amazing. It was a complete new world for me and it was very inspiring. At that time, I was already buying records and I was producing my own music, but after that night I really wanted to become a professional music producer and DJ. It took some time though.
SCP: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
FK: For me, creating music is very theoretical. When I sit in my studio, working on a new track, I can only guess and hope that it works on the dance floor. So, the part that I cherish the most about my job is when I am playing one of my own tracks in my sets and I see people reacting in a positive way to it. That’s simply a great feeling. And yes, traveling to interesting places, meeting new people, experiencing other cultures is very inspirational.
SCP: Your latest release was “The Proof of Life” at the beginning of the month. What was your thought process around it? Even though it’s been out a short while, how has it been received since you dropped it?
FK: I started working on the “The Proof Of Life” at my parents place in the upper North of Germany. I was there for a visit and had a sound card, a keyboard, my mac book and a pair of headphones with me. I had just finished my album together with Hendrik Burkhard aka TheGround and didn’t really know what to produce next, as I was trying out a lot during the album process. So, I started a classic house jam and asked Lazarusman to collaborate with me. It just felt right and I am very happy with the result. It has been in the top twenty of Beatport’s Deep House charts and a lot of DJ’s are playing it out around the world.
SCP: How does music and travel complement and go hand-in-hand with each other?
FK: Music is everywhere and electronic music is especially international. Traveling and music go hand-in-hand and people enjoy listening to DJ’s from other countries, because that makes it somehow more interesting for them. It’s the fact that a DJ has to jump on a plane to play for the crowd.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
FK: Some people love the heat and they need a white, sandy beach while being on vacations, but I’m the other way around. I love to travel to the North, to Scandinavia. I love the silence of the woods, going fishing and taking a time-out from the busy, noisy city life.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding dance music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
FK: Music connects people and as I said before, especially electronic music is international. It’s why I’ve been able to play in cities such as Istanbul, Amman, Beirut, Dubai, Cairo, Jakarta, Moscow, Kiev, Durban, Cape Town, Shanghai, Mexico, New York and the list goes on and on. I never had the experience that I don’t understand the people due to cultural differences. The people who booked me have always been nice and friendly.
Religion, for example didn’t play any role. Some of them showed me around and told me about the history of the country and the city but most of the time it’s just a quick in-and-out visit, to be honest. Visiting so many different places has broadened my perspective of the world for sure. What you see and read in the media is giving you an idea about people in other countries, but meeting them in person, eating together and talking is a totally different thing. And, it shows that you can’t have prejudice about people you’ve never met in person.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see? Why?
FK:Iceland, because I want to see the polar lights. Fiji, because I’ve been to the airport for a stop-over, but would love to discover the area in general. I’m sure it is beautiful. Canada, because I played in Montreal three times, but I would love to be in the nature of Canada, and see moose and bears.
SCP: What is the most beautiful outdoor location that you’ve played at? How did the beauty add to the music?
FK: My highlight was the 360° Audio Tonic Party at Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. Being surrounded by the sea is very special. It felt like the venue was embracing me while I was playing, because the people on the dance floor were amazingly supportive.
SCP: When you’re relaxing on a beach or just have some downtime are you listening to dance music? Or do you like to switch up the tunes? If so, to what?
FK: I actually listen to a wide range of styles. To calm down and relax, I love to listen to Bon Iver and RY X for example. Singer/songwriter music is what I prefer in those moments.
SCP: Lastly, what do the next few months have in store for you and your music? Any trips coming up?
FK: My album together with Hendrik Burkhard is coming out on October 27th on Audiomatique Recordings, TheGround – “Dediction”. I’m pretty excited. Next up on the travel list though are Copenhagen, Kharkiv, Tallin, Amsterdam and Hamburg.