SPOTLIGHT ON EGOPUSHER

This Swiss duo want to take you on an electronic cinematic journey that is also inescapably danceable.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text F. GONZALEZ

Cinematic-electronica, sound all around you in the n-dimension that feels bigger than your surroundings, making you feel part of an epic tale that you can also dance to. Whether transported to a film like Blade Runner 2049 or directly to the dance floor, Swiss electronica duo Egopusher come up with sweeping electronic sounds of strings and beats. The soundscape is divided between Tobias Preisig (violin/bass, synthesizer) and Alessandro Giannelli (drums/synthesizer), whose sound was developed at live shows and refined in the studio. On this their 7th year they plan to play a few festivals and are really looking forward to the release of their second full length album “Beyond”.

Interview:  09/2020 with Tobias Preisig and Alessandro Giannelli from Egopusher

Egopusher's Tobias Preisig photographed by Bert Spangemacher at raw studios. in Berlin
4SEE Spotlight – EGOPUSHER Tobias Preisig

Artist Name Egopusher
Genre Advanced Electronica, Neo-Classical, Soundtrack Meets Club
Members and Instruments
Tobias Preisig (Violin, Synths), Alessandro Giannelli (Drums, Synths)
Based in Zürich / Berlin
Playing together since 2013
Listen on Spotify / Apple Music / Bandcamp

Describe your band / music / style in three words.

Intense, cineastic, danceable.

What did you listen to when growing up?

Tobias: We both have very different musical backgrounds, which is reflected in our music. Before Egopusher, when we played in Dieter-Meier’s (Yello) band “Out of Chaos”, we often drove to the concerts together and played our favourite albums to each other. Those are great memories!

Alessandro: My father is also a musician and used to have his own “Italo-Pop” Band, where he sang and played keyboards. Even as a small child I was allowed to watch his band rehearse. Of course, this influenced me a lot and made me want to make music myself. Musically, I went through pretty much all of the key phases. From David Hasselhoff and Roxette to Sepultura, to Big Beats à la Propellerheads, to Jazz and all kind of electronic music. A funny childhood story is, that every time when “The Final Countdown” played on the radio, I was kind of hypnotized by the synthesizer melody. (laughter) Actually, I still am.

Tobias: Damn! I didn‘t know you also fell into the David Hasselhoff trap. That was actually the first cassette that I purchased, when I was the tender eight years of age. But my actual musical background also started with my family. I played Swiss folk music with my father and grandfather, just followed the melodies by ear and tried to emulate them on the violin.

As a teenager, I got infiltrated with Jazz. With a bunch of friends, we listened and copied all the records we could get our hands on. After school, I started studying Jazz in Switzerland and then in New York. Because violin in Jazz was such an odd and uncommon instrument, I learned from pianists, saxophonists and even a drummer, always trying to translate the musical message to the violin. Afterwards, I locked myself in the conservatory and studied classical music to be able to master my instrument. It took some more years to then let go of all these studies and find the space and discover my own voice on the violin.

Tobias: By the way, Alessandro, did you know that the famous melody of “The Final Countdown“ was created by a Swiss guy?

Alessandro: I do! And it was recorded at the Powerplay Studios in Switzerland.

Music icon(s) and the reason why.

Alessandro: A very inspiring figure for me is the recently deceased Ennio Morricone. I also have my father to thank for this. When I was a little child I always rummaged through his vinyl collection. One day, I discovered the “Once Upon A Time” soundtrack and put it on. Nobody writes such beautiful melodies like Ennio, and I think this has influenced my musical path.

Tobias: Oh it‘s so hard to mention [just] one music icon. There are so many that belong to different periods of time. But what I realized is, that I never really had a violin idol. To me, I always want the violin to sound different than what I hear from violin icons. Maybe that has to do with my unconventional background and interest in music that was far away from traditional classical music. The only thing I constantly aimed for is to get as close with my instruments to the intimacy and truth of a human voice.

Egopusher's Tobias Preisig wearing SALT. Rockwood sunglasses
4SEE Spotlight – EGOPUSHER Tobias Preisig
Eyewear by SALT Rockwood

Who are you listening to right now?

Tobias: We share a common playlist on Spotify where we add inspiring songs. The playlist now consists of more than 300 titles. You can find everything from Arvo Pärt to Autechre and Charlotte Gainsbourg. At the moment, we are celebrating Rival Console’s new album “Articulation”. He has his own way of bringing electronic music to life, and we love it.

What is the craziest or funniest thing that’s happened on tour?

Tobias: Two years ago, we went to France to play at a festival. We were on the road with our sound engineer’s car, which was already very old and not even insured for international travel. In the middle of the motorway, and about an hour’s drive away from the festival, the car broke down. After a long back and forth, the festival had picked us up and we finally arrived just before the concert and went straight on stage.

Alessandro: This odyssey continued the following day, when we had to drive our drunk chauffeur super early in the morning to get to a next car rental. There were problems with the credit card and we already thought that we might have to stay in this French town. We also had a double show with Faber in Switzerland that evening. In the end, everything worked out, somehow, but it was a funny adventure. Our sound engineer’s car stayed there and was scrapped.

Favourite performance venues or music festivals? And why?

Tobias: There were so many! One of them is the “Tauron Nowa Muzyka” Festival in Katowice in Poland, where we played in an incredibly beautiful and crazy concert hall. Or the Montreux Jazz Festival where we played with “Cigarettes after Sex”, three years ago, and were treated to raclette before the concert at the Claude Nobs Chalet estate.

Alessandro: In Berlin, we presented our last album at the Michelberger Hotel, in a very low key way. That was also a super beautiful experience.

Three words to describe your fans.

Diverse, faithful, beautiful.

Egopusher's Tobias Preisig wearing Oliver Peoples, photographed by Bert Spangemacher
4SEE Spotlight – EGOPUSHER Tobias Preisig
Eyewear by OLIVER PEOPLES Casson

Favourite eyewear brand?

Tobias: There is VIU, a small and friendly eyewear manufacturer from Switzerland. They have super beautiful models of glasses.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?

Alessandro: Both at once! On October 9th, our second album “Beyond” will be released on Quiet Love Records. Until the end of the year, we will play some concerts in Switzerland and also in Germany. We are looking forward to it very much!

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your band / music and at what scale?

Tobias: We haven’t been around for ten years, yet. This year we will celebrate our seventh band anniversary. Firstly, we are very grateful that after seven years we are still making music together! Also, from day one, everything has grown organically and we have constantly developed. We hope that in ten years we will still enjoy making music together, that Egopusher continues to grow, and that by then we have hopefully played our Nightliner tour. (laughter)