Robot Koch

Los Angeles-based artist, producer, and composer Robot Koch takes inspiration from the relationship between technology and nature in his work.

Why did you relocate to Los Angeles in 2013? 

It’s a long story. The short version is: Intuition.

I was already a bit over Berlin after having lived there for 13 years, from 2000 to 2013. In 2013, I had a relationship breakup, discontinued working with my management at the time, and a few other things fell apart that year.

I wanted to move somewhere else and had a gut feeling about wanting to go to LA. I had my O-1 visa in my passport already which I had used for touring in the states, so I could relocate without much paperwork and find out why I had that calling. It was not a logical decision. My mind would have talked me out of it: it’s way more expensive than Berlin, I didn’t know anyone in LA, etc. It was a total leap of faith. But I didn’t listen to my mind and instead trusted my intuition. Fast forward 10 years: I’m still here and I have grown a lot since, both personally and as an artist. It turned out to be a really good decision for me.

What has been your favorite part of being based in Los Angeles?

There are many things I love about living in LA, including the getaways around it. I love going to Joshua Tree for a week or to drive up to the coast to Big Sur. I love the nature and landscapes in California. 

If you drive a couple of hours outside of Berlin, you’re in Brandenburg by a lake, which is nice but not really spectacular. But if you drive a couple of hours outside of LA, you’re in the desert of Joshua Tree, with a beautiful night sky above you, or you can hike in forests overlooking the ocean and see whales, seals, and other wildlife. I just find it all to be really inspiring and conductive to my creative work.

Also, in Los Angeles, I’m immersed in a creative community that inspires me and there is great food and great hiking all around. Lastly, the weather. I could not cope with the grey-on-grey Berlin weather anymore, after 10 years. I need warm weather and light.

How does the music scene differ between Berlin and Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has a really nice “all genre” scene with events like Feels like Floating or Listen to Music Outside in the Daylight Under a Tree by Leaving Records.

Listen to ambient music or jazz, or really anything during the daytime, is something I associate with Los Angeles whereas Berlin is, of course, famous for clubbing all night, Berghain, and techno, although I’m not saying that is all there is in LA and Berlin.

There are a lot of overlaps, but the main difference is that there is a little more variety in LA and Berlin can seem more monochromatic, at least with what it’s known for. That’s very subjective, of course, and another person might see it totally different. It really depends on your own experience in the two cities.

What has been your favorite project to work on? 

It’s always hard to single out the most meaningful project because they are all meaningful to me. Here is a recent project that was meaningful, as an example:

For my project, Sphere, which I released in 2018, I created an immersive experience for planetariums. The show used custom-made 360 visuals and surround sound, mixed in ambisonics to take the audience to an entirely different realm. The show was a huge success, sold out planetariums across the globe, and won several awards for “best immersive experience.”

At the time, I was burned out from playing traditional club shows and festivals. I wanted to do something entirely new and different. Sphere is the exploration of inner and outer space, the balance between nature and technology, and the quest for the unknown – which is ultimately a search for oneself.

My aim was to establish a new live show that leaves the club and traditional concert venues behind and offers a brand-new experience to the audience that expands their perception – visually, musically, and as a whole! It felt really liberating to create something new where the outcome wasn’t totally clear.

With that show having been such a success, I felt inspired to keep thinking outside the box in regard to how music can be presented outside of traditional concert experiences. Since then, I have created other formats. For example, listening experiences in sensory deprivation tanks, where people could float weightlessly to my music. Or even deep listening headphone concerts with eyes closed which allowed the audience to go on a deeply healing inner journey.

Recently, I started working with the Monroe Institute, the leading institute for research of human consciousness. We have developed some music together using their brain entrainment technology that assists listeners to shift brain states for expanded awareness and am really excited to keep exploring this further.

Robot Koch is an award-winning artist, producer, and composer based in Los Angeles, where he moved in 2013, after living in Berlin. Koch has been presenting his music live for over a decade and has gained gold and platinum records for his productions. He has also founded his own label, in 2016, named Trees and Cyborgs.

More about Robot

Instagram ‍@robotkoch

Photo Credits: Neil Kryszak

Robot Koch


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