circus maximus

Nouvelle géométrie techno

Le Berlinois Erik Wiegand est un des artistes les plus discrets de la vaste galaxie musicale berlinoise. C'est au milieu des années 90 que Wiegand entame un travail de reformatage de l'électro et de la techno en compagnie de Fiedel dans MMM. Cette rigoureuse et excitante réforme se poursuivra en solo sous le nom d'Errorsmith et dans des collaborations avec Frank (alias Soundhack, Soundtream et Soundkit) et I-Sound. Errorsmith 2, sorti fin 2002, affine les valeurs post-techno de son prédecesseur et combine structures rythmiques technoides et modulations sonores expérimentales. Wiegand nous en dit un peu plus sur son travail si particulier, quelque part entre le DJ et le laborantin.

The first time I saw your name (as "Erik>>>MMM" ) on a record, it was on the Kreidler remixes Ep on Stewardess, has there been anything else before this, or other collaboration ?
No, it started with MMM. The discography is like this : In 1996, MMM1 12" and The Erik<<<MMM Surrogat Remix on Soul. In 1997, the Erik<<<MMM Kreidler remix on Resport. Then the Errorsmith 1 12" in 2000, the Smith' n' Hack Tribute LP in 2001 ; and in 2002, The Disco Consultant track on Roots Rock Raver 12", the Errorsmith Blind Date track for Alku (2002), and the Errorsmith 2 LP.
MMM is Fiedel and me, Smith n Hack is Frank (Soundhack and Soundstream) and me, Disco consultant is I-Sound and me and Errorsmith is my solo project. All records from MMM, Smith n Hack and Errorsmith are still available at Hardwax ( We have the policy of repressing the stuff.

How did you decide to collaborate with Fiedel in MMM? Who is he ? I don't know the Donna Ep, is it in the same electro style?

Fiedel is a friend of mine. He liked the music I have done and joined me during the recording of some tracks. We both played the instrument called "studio": we turned the knobs at this synthesizer here, muted a mixer channel there etc while recording the track. Then he had the great idea to release a record in the "do it yourself" way. Since he is a dj he wanted to have vinyl to play the music. He contacted Hardwax Berlin who distribute our stuff. Since then. There is no real label involved so we had the freedom to release whatever we want in a way we want. The Donna ep is quite different than the first one. Not so much distortion. Except for the first track ("Donna") all other tracks are made by heavy usage of cutting and looping of sampled material. You can hear short mp3 extractions on

Why have you chosen the Errorsmith name ?
First I like the confusion with Aerosmith. I like music that is rocking. Then I like that it expresses freedom in music. "Error" stands for something unexpected. But i don't create errors. I am working deterministic. But they are coming anyways. And if they are nice I incorporate them in the deterministic design. That is the smith part of what I am doing.

Is there any concept, or is it just a musical work based on a software you elaborated ?

I don't have a strong overall concept. I am working close on the musical material. The software, which is a modular software synthesizer you can use to build your own instrument helps me to develop the music. Because of its flexibility, ideas can be realised quickly. So during musicmaking the instrument is constantly changing; always adapting to the needs of the track.Often a technical idea is the starting point of a track or bunch of tracks. I am anxious to know how the realised idea is sounding and I explore its musical value. But I am not interested in a technology demonstration. I only release stuff that I think is good in musical means which can stand for itself. The technical approach just helps me to generate a set up that is fresh to my ears.

On Errorsmith 1, there seems to be a physical approach of sound, like the manipulation of an analog tool or something. What is it actually ?

The first errorsmith was the first all digital made release. Most of the tracks are realtime improvisations on the instrument that incorporates a reverse tool : everytime I press a certain key everything you just heard is played backwards; on key release the track jumps to its normal position as if the reverse key was never pressed. That is a good example how technical ideas are checked concerning their musical value: I first had an idea of this realtime reverse tool. To reverse samples or tape recordings is an old technic ; the new thing was to be able to play it realtime. I explored how it is to improvise with this tool.

What were your influence/purpose with this first 12" ? By the way, has the Kreidler remix been made with the same program ?
No, the Kreidler remixes were from the analog days. Their main idea is to play synthesized drums in an improvisation.Which might be the link to the first Errorsmith: permanent reverse breaks re-order the beats in an improvised way. And improvisation was the main approach then. So improvised music in general can be seen as influence. Since its technoid feel it's definitely linked to other non mainstream techno/house productions like Radioboy (Matthew Herbert), Soundhack and also early Detroit techno.

With Errorsmith 2, you go further in the experiment.What actually changes in the process and in the concept ?
I wanted to learn more about structuring tracks in a strict way. More constructions than improvisations. "Stiff neck" and "Free for all" are results in that effort. I like their basic appearance; unlike the strong improvisation tracks these tracks can be mixed very well in dance sets cause they let more room for other tracks. There is no big shift in concept. In the beginning there was just another technical idea :-) I build reverbs that can be modulated in size like I wrote in the Errorsmith press info.

This idea of modulation corresponding to the variation of the dimensions of a listening room is really interesting. Have you already worked at a more scientifically acoustic level ?
I studied communication science at the technical university in Berlin. The department is quite focused on acoustics, synthesis and studio technology. They have a famous studio for academic electronic music. I also studied computer science. Both experiences really help to realise ideas. But I don't see myself in a academic environment working on the technological edge. I don't care if a techique is old or new as long as it sounds good to me. The reverberation theme in the Errorsmith 2 uses technology that is developed 30-40 years ago. I see my work in using this technology in a creative way.

How did you decide to collaborate with Soundhack? What is the Tribute concept of Smith n Hack ? Have you reworked stolen samples ?
Frank is a good friend of mine. We share the same taste concerning music. The idea was to make tributes to music we both love which doesn't mean that we just steal samples. We make music that is influenced by the artist. More recently there has been this collaboration with I-Sound ? How have you decided to work together ? Who did what in Disco Consultant ? Will there be any follow-up to this ? I really like I-Sound's tracks and his dj sets. That's why I wanted to collaborate. We made a track for the Roots Rock Ravers ep on Transparent which was a quick production in the approach I-Sound was into at this time. We both arranged the samples, made the beats etc. We worked on new stuff, but it is unclear under which name it will be released.

Do you play live quite often ? How do you work live ?

Yes I played quite a lot last 1 1/2 year. Mostly in clubs. I have built a live tool I play on the laptop. It's kind of a versatile drum computer. I switch between pattern and can change the sounds of the pattern dramatically in realtime. It's the new material for the next Errorsmith LP. Right now I am working on a new live tool.

Do you feel close to the Rhythm & Sound / Chain Reaction people ?

I really feel close to the environment they created with Hardwax Store, Hardwax Distribution and "Dubplates and Mastering" (vinyl mastering studio). And I like some of their productions.

Who are your musical allies in Berlin ?

Mostly it is Soundhack /Stream that I feel very close, too. But their are others to mention: Dynamo, Traktor, both on the Label DIN; I like the more funky tracks from Carsten Nicolai, also his collabration with Ikeda named Cyclo.

Berlin seems to be a city with so many interesting artists and such an artistic dynamic ?

The musical scene seems to me very small. I wish there is more that I like.

What influence you most in Berlin (musics, mood ... ) ?
I don't know.....not the music. I think the social environment is the positive thing here.

Interview réalisée par Christophe Taupin via e-mail en février 2003.

errorsmith :
alku :