Some people might be familiar with the name Gimmik, whose experimental electronica compositions reached their pinnacles in the early 1980s Toytronic record label canon. Gimmik’s creator, Martin Haidinger, has also released music under the names Low Profile Society and Num Num (among many other epithets). 15 years after leaving the music industry, he has started making music again. During this break, Martin relocated from the city to the Austrian countryside. According to Martin, “All of a sudden, it became so predictable that I could no longer surprise myself; it felt predetermined. The whole situation at the time also had a hint of madness. Instead of writing songs, everything became about meticulously editing each measure.” Martin was inspired to start making music again by Chris Cunningham, a former member of Toytronic and Abfahrt Hinwil, as well as the rising recognition of Eurorack modular. Through his Hidden Reality micro-label, Martin quietly released the extremely personal Entre Les Chambres on a limited edition cassette in 2019. Martin had the idea to contact n5MD soon after the album was released with the intention of expanding its release to a larger audience in 2020. When Martin is not hiking with his family in the Austrian countryside, he is currently working on new material.
Sonic Poetry, Gimmik’s eighth full-length album. the successor to Cloudwalker, the collection that saw a return to form last year. A refined collection of works, Sonic Poetry showcases Gimmik’s renowned skill at fusing intricate electronic experimentation with overarching melodicism. Those who have followed Gimmik’s career and comeback will appreciate Sonic Poetry’s authenticity and improved output. Check out the album and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
GIMMIK: Hello! Thank you for this interview! My name is Martin Haidinger. I started producing electronic music in the late 80s. In the 90s I started to produce under the name Gimmik, Num Num, Low Profile Society, and many other pseudonyms. I was one half of the studio project Abfahrt Hinwil, and I ran a record label called Toytronic Records in the 90s and 00s. After a long break I started producing again in 2018. This work was released in 2019 on n5MD as Entre Les Chambres, which is an ambient album. My current album Sonic Poetry was released in 2022.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
GIMMIK: I am a trained audio engineer. Musically I am completely self-taught. I had a few piano lessons and some guitar lessons, but nothing really serious. I mostly learned by listening what sounds good to my own ears, but I am not a trained musician. My skills stopped after learning some simple classical pieces and some blues improvisations on the acoustic guitar. After that it was only hardcore punk…
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘GIMMIK’?
GIMMIK: My first and strongest musical influences… I would like to distinguish between first and strongest. At a very young age my first influence was my mothers record collection. This means Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and similar artists. The strongest influence were german new wave bands from the early eighties, and bands like Devo, but also Tuxedomoon, anything on Factory Records, the Residents, Yello… There are so many, also classical composers, minimal music and Jazz… Everything with a strong emotional impact. To me the genre did not matter at all!
Gimmik was a graffiti tag I saw on the northern line when I lived in London. I chose to use the name because of the rhythm and the sound of the word. There is no deeper meaning.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
GIMMIK: Igloo Magazine described my last album as “ranging from beat-less soundscapes, all the way to full throttle acid bangers, and everything in between.” I think the key elements are emotions. I see my music as a very personal emotional diary. I do not really follow a recipe when I am composing. Everything that helps to express my current emotional state is welcome. Most of the time I let the track evolve by itself. The tracks have a live of their own, I just help to make them listenable…
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
To me music is purely a fantastic tool for emotional expression. I know I mentioned playing old hardcore punk in my youth, and they were all vey political. I believe the composition is always much more important that the message. I really like the French punk band Berrurier Noir for example. I do not speak French, so I do not really understand their lyrics, but I know they are extremely political. But the music reflects so much energy that it does not really matter that I do not understand the lyrics. I never used my music for a political message. I think you must have lyrics in order to transport a message. I am not a big fan of mixing politics with music when it comes to my own work. This does not mean that I think it is wrong to do so, I just do not do it.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
The main fulfillment is the moment of creation itself! I do not see that as work in a negative and demanding sense. I am always surprised with the outcome. It is fascinating to witness the creative process. I would not say I have expectations for the future. It would be nice to reach more listeners.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
I do not understand my own creative process. Mainly it is a certain mood that enables me to make tracks. Usually, I start with designing sounds. I start messing around, suddenly there are chords or a small melody. From that point onwards the music unfolds by itself… The more I look at this process, the more it becomes mysterious… (laughing!)
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
To me the most difficult is to be structured. I always have so many ideas and thoughts that it can be very demanding for the people in my surrounding. The speed of my constantly changing mind is quite a task. It is obvious when you listen to my last album “Sonic Poetry”. Some people think the variety of styles was planned. It was not! What you hear is the result of a constant changing mind. I do exercises that help me to stay balanced, but there still is a lot of potential. (laughing!)
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
GIMMIK: I would like to change “proud” to thankful. I am very thankful for the life I have at the moment!
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