Interview: Jonas Kopp's aim in life is to heal through music
Sparked by the innovative sounds of Kraftwerk's Trans Europa Express, Jonas Kopp's passion and energy for electronic music has propelled him through the scene. Now, whether it’s a live set in the ungodly hours of the morning at Berghain or three-deck mixing across the sunny cityscapes of Brazil, Jonas Kopp knows how to work any crowd.
Growing up in Buenos Aires, moving to Berlin, and being influenced by the house and techno of New York, Detroit and Chicago, he's had a varied exposure to the scene and strong influences. In 2006 he released his first EP, and in 2014 he was signed to Berlin's infamous Tresor, where he has just released his second album, Photon Belt.
A highly experienced DJ and producer, and a very spiritual human being, Jonas Kopp recognises the importance of rest and protection. As a tinnitus sufferer himself, he has now been protecting his ears for years. We caught up with him to chat about his experiences.
How long have you had tinnitus?
Sometimes it comes right after I finish my DJ set, especially when I get back to the hotel room where I am totally alone and in complete silence, but luckily it doesn’t last for too long.
What problems have you encountered as a result of the condition?
Just that high frequency noise constantly in your ears for a while, but I don't take it as a problem to be honest. I can deal with this as a result of what I do, it's part of my life in some way.
Having started performing at such a young age, did your fellow artists you were playing alongside from ever warn you about the dangers of a regular exposure to loud music?
Yes of course, I have some DJ friends who did some audiometric tests and they realised that their hearing levels were not the same anymore. Some of these DJs were playing very loud in the monitor booth system and some others were producing music with headphones over many years, which is the most risky thing you can do as a musician.
Having grown up in Buenos Aires and moved to Berlin, do you see a difference in the amount of artists and fans wearing earplugs between each place?
Totally, especially artists and people from the industry. In Berlin, they are more aware about using hearing protection in the clubs; in some cases even when they perform their sets.
In Buenos Aires, Under Club is educating people about this topic and sometimes they distribute free earplugs to the audience.
If there’s one piece of advice you could give to artists and/or fans with regard to protecting their ears, what would it be?
I can share what I personally do, which is avoiding long exposures to very loud music levels without earplugs.
As an artist, I had my time partying for long hours in the club, but that's over for me. These days I just arrive to the club 10 minutes before my set and most of the times I leave the club 15 minutes after my set. I have to take care of myself as much as I can at this age.
Also don't use headphones at very loud levels and for too long at home or on the street, that's the most dangerous thing and it is attacking your ears in silence. This may sound ambiguous but this is it.
Some artists choose to listen to ambient music to cope with their hearing problems and their resulting stress. Could you picture your label Telluric Lines running a project for that specific purpose?
That's right, some specific ambient stuff is working as a complex healing system, working with your chakras (body energetic vortex). Every sound has a frequency, and every frequency has a unique and determined function which is playing a healing role for your physical body and also at an energetic level. We are energy and we can manage the energy through the sound. That's the goal of my label Telluric Lines and my personal goal as a human on this earth: healing people through the music / sounds I create.
How do you best cope with it under times of tiredness and stress?
I love to be in silence, for me this is an essential thing... especially on Mondays and Tuesdays. Silence is very necessary for many reasons and meditation is also a powerful tool for energy recovery and staying in harmony.
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