Clemens Ruh

Following the Cinematic & Electronic Flow of Clemens Ruh

Kalen Bergado

Clemens Ruh captures the image of a young artist who is not afraid to flit between sounds, styles, and genres. Undefined by genre boundaries, Clemens demonstrates his versatility in sound through his productions, scores, radio shows, and DJ sets. From dark and heavy techno he plays during his residency at DISTILLERY in Leipzig to the more ambient and cinematic textures in his own productions and in his Cinambientique mixes, it is easy to see the vast array of different influences that are in Clemens life.

The style in which Clemens approached his Cinambientique mixes and now the featured mix for FRISKY shows his young and spontaneous spirit. Focusing less on a extremely thought out curation track by track, and leaning much more towards understanding the music he has collected and letting his instincts take control, Clemens enjoys the challenge of crafting a mix that sounds good without too much forethought. The joy of these mixes is that they can be full of surprises when certain tracks feel perfectly put together in a natural and unforced way.

As a producer, DJ, and student, Clemens definitely keeps himself busy, so it was special that we were able to take some of his time to ask him some questions about his history in music, some of the ideas behind his style and mixes, and what we might be able to expect from this mix!

Listen to Clemens Ruh’s CHILL Featured Artist mix now

What is your background in music? What has your progress in music looked like up until this point?

Music has always been a big part in our family. We always sang and played instruments together at home. Also listening to mostly classical music whilst doing anything was very normal. When I was 8, I started taking piano for the next 9 years. In Highschool I chose the musical profile with singing lessons, choir, piano lessons and music theory/history. After my graduation I chose to get a more technical view into music and sound. In 2011 I started a training as a Media designer Visual/Sound and continued working in that area over the next few years. Over that time in Leipzig I also learned a lot about the music scene there and the techno club scene in general. I slowly started to find my own sound and in 2014 I became Resident DJ at the famous Distillery Club. In 2016 I started my Bachelor for Sound at the Film University Babelsberg.

You’ve worked in a lot of genres, from house to ambient and even orchestral arrangements, and I’m curious as to what has pulled you to all of these different styles?

As already mentioned classical music has always been a big part at home. So, film scores and cinematic music isn’t that far, the same goes for ambient music. And I think Ambient music is very close to techno music.

As a teen when I got my first laptop I started exploring the internet for new music – at this age everything was kind of new, unless it was playing on the radio. Somehow I found myself liking a lot of electronic music – I didn’t know anything about Techno or House at this point but I liked it. A few years later, almost graduating from high school I got into DJing with a close friend at home. We used to meet at my place and just mix some tunes in our basement. Later we also played at some smaller Parties and proms from friends also. But we never played at a real club back then. Finding some good venues in my small hometown, where they would play something else than mainstream music wasn’t that easy. When I moved to Leipzig for my training, a lot of possibilities opened. I learned a lot about DJing and the whole stuff around it. My friends and I visited as many parties as we could – from home parties to open airs and techno clubs like Distillery. Over this time classical and ambient music took a backseat in my life. At some point I started switching back and forth between techno/house and ambient like taking some rest from one when I had to much. So there has always been two hearts beating in my breast.

What kind of styles have you been experimenting with recently and what are some of your current influences in the sound you’re creating?

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of sound design work for short films and other projects. So my own music projects get a little sleep lately. Also University kills a lot of my time, so I’m really hoping to get back to making some new music soon.

For your Cinambientique mixes each one seems to evoke a different feeling or image.  Do you take a certain approach to curating the tracklist? Are there specific journeys you are trying to take the listener on with each mix?

With my Cinambientique project from the first second it was born, I always tried not to put too much thought into the playlists. I created one folder on my computer and I put all the music in there that fit the cinambientique idea and that I thought would be mixable in some way. That folder grew so fast and I still have hundreds of tracks in there for dozens of new Soundwave mixes. When I started a new mix I didn’t follow a specific pattern. I pick tracks randomly – When I think it fits, I keep it, if not, I’d just pick another one. This way it’s always a challenge to make it sound good, but not with too much thought. This concept keeps the creativity alive and also keeps me surprised while working on it.

I’m also curious about your approach to mixing ambient and more chillout music and how you keep a listener engaged as these sounds are much different than harder techno or house. Is there a specific way that you use a variety of sounds to capture the listener’s attention?

That’s a question I always have in mind. As for my Cinambientique Project it was never really hard because I never had any expectations. I started it because it was fun and I always wanted to mix soundtracks with ambient and chillout music – even mix in more electronic stuff. Because I think there’s a deep connection between those genres.

That’s why this name was born Cin(ematic)Ambient(Electron)ique. At some point this concept exploded and people on mixcloud started loving it.

Speaking of the music that I create under my real name it always feels a bit odd when I put out something more techno sounding. Even though I think Ambient and Techno are really close to another. But Modern Classical and Cinematic music on the other hand are quite a different area than Techno. Over the years I started thinking about solutions for that. I know that it’s in my head only – but I always feel that disconnect between the ambient/cinematic releasing Clemens and the Techno Producer/DJ Clemens. A lot of people keep telling me, that this is very exciting to be that versatile but my Techno Projects might end up in another side project soon. It just feels like something I need to do for myself.

Clemens Ruh

Along with your Cinambientique mixes you were also part of Frission Radio for a time and now joining FRISKY as a featured artist. What has your history with online radio been and what sort of impact has it had on your music and level of outreach your sounds have?

I always loved radio. Listening to music all day and in the best case listening to nice people with nice voices hosting shows. I always enjoyed that. During my time in Leipzig I also was able to gather experience working for a national radio station as a sound mixer.

Later when I joined Frission Radio I was able to put all that knowhow into my Cinambientique Show. Joining the Frission Family had a big impact on me. I joined a huge network of people from all over the world with so many different tastes in music. It was very exciting and I had a wonderful 3 years there. But at some point I had to take a step back. Curating interesting and fresh music each month means a lot of work – many hours listening through soundtracks and new releases. I felt like I wanted to take care of my own music a bit more again. But the impact of that experience was huge and it still is. I still get messages from different people asking when I’ll get back with Cinambientique. At this point I can’t tell – It might happen. But I can say that this folder with all that music still exists and it never stopped growing.

Currently you’re a resident DJ at Distillery in Leipzig. How has a regular residency impacted your style in terms of experimenting with sounds and tracks versus your own productions and radio mixes?

Having a regular residency in a Techno/House club is a huge experience. I learned so much about the people, the dynamics of nightlife in clubs and about myself. When I started as a fresh, young guy I only played on the upper floor which is mostly Techhouse & House music. Over the years and with the experience growing I explored more darker and deeper sounds. So at some point I asked the booker if I could play in the basement which is the Techno floor. I was very excited – even though I knew this club for a while now, everything felt new to me. It definitely helped me to find the sound that I love today in club music.

For your feature on FRISKY what sort of ideas have you had going into making this set? Are there any tracks in particular you’ve been listening to that have led to some inspiration?

For the feature mix I kind of kept close to my Cinambientique concept. I’ve been listening to the new Apparat and Jon Hopkins LP’s a lot lately. But I also put a lot of Original Soundtracks in there. I just think mixing orchestral arrangements with electronic music is very exciting.

What does 2019 hold for you and your music?

Currently I’m in my last semester for my bachelor. So there will be a lot to do in the next months including my bachelor thesis. For my music I don’t have any big projects in mind yet. I’m just going with the flow – like always doing what’s fun.

Stream Clemens Ruh’s CHILL Featured Artist Mix on-demand now: