SXSW Music Interview: Moritz Simon Geist

German musician creates robotic electronic music

Moritz Simon Geist imagined an 808 that played itself. Then he got to work. The result resembles a kalimba with slapping metal tongs and a contact mic.

"My ultimate goal is to make the performer obsolete, so only robots on stage," writes Geist, a German engineer and musician who can back that up. "Six years ago, I quit everything and dedicated my life to robotic electronic music."

“My ultimate goal is to make the performer obsolete, so only robots on stage.”

For his debut LP, Robotic Electronic Music, he only used robots he built, 3-D printed, or salvaged and engineered back to life. The Dresden-born visionary built a pneumatic hi-hat that looks like a medical device and doubles – with the other music robots that click, cut, hum, and whir – as an art installation. His 2018 bow sounds like the Swedish Chef using his kitchen for techno before the popcorn explodes.

"If I need a synthesized sound, I imagine how to make it in real life. I test out a lot of metals and woods, then I build a robotic sound machine around that," he explains. "In playing techno and electronic music with synthesizers and computers, there was always something missing. So I decided I will give a physical body back to electronic music."

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SXSW Music 2019, Moritz Simon Geist

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