Matthias Schmidt: Baklava, Giorgio Moroder, synthesizers and Knobs & Wires

We begin a new section on Munich Vibe about creative people who live in Munich and do amazing things. The first person to open this section is Matthias Schmidt, an architect, promoter and synthesizer lover responsible of the festival Knobs & Wires which takes place the next 2nd of June.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do in Munich?

When I’m not busy working as an architect, I’m booking concerts at venues like Milla, Import Export, Unter Deck or Glockenbachwerkstatt under the moniker of Tapefruit. Lately I’m hanging out a lot with Èmilie Gendron of Munich Again, with Peter Pfaff, Stefan Leberfinger, Andre Zaharias, Martha Bahr and Sarah Ines Struck, just casually chatting about synth stuff…

What’s your favorite place in Munich? 

There can only be one: Schirini Nawa. Undisputedly the best baklava north of the Bosporus. Take out a small box, sit on the stairs in front of Bavaria, stare at the bland wasteland that is Theresienwiese, think about the meaning of life, discover it within your box. It’s that simple.

Tell us one band from Munich we should track down. 

If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out the upcoming release by Salewski: “Salewski II – Chansons” is full of smoking hot coops with people like Anna McCarthy, Manu Rzytki, Inida Kreuz, Autoboy, Rosalie Eberle, Anton Kaun, Pico Be, Agnostoman and Albert Pöschl that might bamboozle your understanding of music and musical genres.

Something you can do in Munich and not in another place in the planet is…

Whoa, that’s a tough question. Especially since there’s PAG and you can’t do that much anymore without getting arrested. Well… There’s only one place in the universe where you can go to the headquarters of CSU and take a dump in their mailbox – it’s Munich.

The next 2nd of June the Knobs & Wires festival is taking place. What are the highlights of this first edition?

We invited some of the very pioneers of Synth Music from Munich to talk about their experiences in the talk “Early Adapters – ohne Strom kein Ton” – that’s gonna be really interesting. Of course, Dieter Döpfer talking about his backgrounds, his developments, and basics of synthesis is one to look out for as well! I’m also looking forward to the fair with over 20 exhibitors and to the vintage synth exhibition where you can look at and play over 50 legendary synthesizers from the last 5 decades! Don’t get me started with the concerts… Moritz Simon Geist will set his futuristic Synth-Robots up on stage. Driftmachine have just released a hot new Album. Ströme are bringing Polyphony into the realm of Modular Synths… Jeez, I could go on like this for 10 more acts…

What do you want to achieve with this festival? 

We want to bring people together that share a common interest: The Synthesizer. Of course, everyone is invited – and I think there’s a lot of cool things to discover at Knobs&Wires for everyone, whether you have a huge collection of synths at home, you are interested in the history of these instruments or you just want to hear them in action. People can learn a lot at the festival, there’s workshops, talks, demos all day… Maybe a few people meet at the festival and it is the start of something…? We might never know. But let’s hope for the best.

Why did you decide to organize a Synthesizer Festival?

Being a Synthhead myself, I know Munich has a lot to offer for the world of synthesizers – at Siemens Studio (which you can see today at Deutsches Museum) some of the very first synths ever were developed. Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder wrote and recorded the first Synthesizer powered World-Hit “I feel love” in this city. Dieter Döpfer developed his famed Eurorack-Synthesizer here. There’s a lot of small, medium and large artists, developers, coders,  businesses in Munich all revolving around synths. But there’s just no real place for all these different micro-scenes to come together. That’s what Knobs&Wires could become – if it turns out as planned.

When the Knobs & Wires festival is over, where in Munich we can find live music on the same wavelength (with synthesizers etc.) the rest of the year?

There’s a lot to discover: Class Act Festival was a banger last year and this year – let’s see what’s up to their sleeves next year. Sonic Ground are focusing on electronic acts, their last shows had very  lineups… Aaand, there are rumors about a new row of concerts focusing on synths. I don’t really know much more so far. Keep an eye out!

*Header image: Matthias Schmidt playing a DIY synthesizer. 

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