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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

INTERVIEW: Axel Stupplich (2011)

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Axel Stupplich speaks about his musical universe

Click here for the French version.


Axel, 2010 seems to have been a big year for you. You realized your 5th solo album (Fusion), your 2nd collaboration with Max Schiefele or Maxxess (Impact) and Pyramid Peak 7th album (The Cave). How do you manage to disentangle all these musical styles which inexorably are being entangling?


Well, all the 3 different projects have almost the same priority to me, although I must admit that “Axess” occupies most of my time now. Before I got my little children we spent a lot of time jamming together in Andreas’ or my studio. But with a big family you must make a compromise and now we meet only about once a month to work on some new music (except when we are preparing a concert, then we still meet at least 1-2 times per week). It is not too difficult to separate each project although at least the PP and Axess style is very similar. In my solo project I try to realize all the different music I like. Time Traveller for example was the realization of my long dream to make a more energetic, powerful album with influences from modern dance music. And the newer albums bring me back to my roots, means the Berlin School type of EM. Of course there are differences between Axess and PP because in my band the musical style and preferences from 2 other musicians is melting together and creates the unique style of Pyramid Peak. And although it seems that my cooperation with Maxxess is totally different I believe there are a lot of commonalities between my music and our Axess/Maxxess tracks. Of course Max adds some incredible guitars and drum programming but the secret which makes our common music sound so different is Max extremely professional way of mixing and arranging. He's really a genius and every time I'm surprised what great song he makes out of a little idea or 30 second loop. That's what makes the songs different, sometimes the original idea sounds much more like Axess but he creates a new atmosphere around it. Anyway, I enjoy all of the 3 projects and for me there is no problem to work in parallel for my solo albums and another Pyramid Peak or Axess/Maxxess CD.

But there is one thing which makes it very easy to separate my individual projects. You will never see Axess alone on stage! I did this twice in the past and honestly speaking I didn’t like it very much. It’s simply much more fun and joy if you are on stage together with friends and it is also much more enjoyable for the audience too. Some people drive a long way to listen to a concert and they want more than just listening to a CD and one lonely man hidden behind his keyboards. Therefore “Axess” is a pure studio project and songs from my CDs will only performed as part of an Axess/Maxxess or PP gig.

Fusion is very beautiful, poignant, melodious and very moving. Can we talk a little bit about it? What were your sources of inspiration and which motivate Axel Stupplich the most recently?


First of all I believe my direct environment, means my family is the biggest inspiration. I have 3 little kids and one older son and of course there are a lot of emotions and remarkable moments. For sure this is the biggest source of my inspiration. Besides this I'm very interested in astronomy and space - perhaps something I share with thousands of other Electronic Musicians - and maybe the cosmic energy also helps me sometimes ;-) Finally I have the pleasure to travel quite often to Japan due to my job and every time I'm back from a trip I have new musical ideas in my head. In fact I had the idea for the song "Roppongi Hills" from my CD "Voices of dawn" when I was sitting in a taxi cab on my way back to the hotel in Tokyo. Other songs are inspired by the beauty of Nature and the mystery of ancient ruins and rituals (for example "Stonehenge" or "The Sirius Mystery") and besides this I'm a member of the Ancient Astronaut Society (A.A.S.) who tries to find evidence of former extraterrestial visitors on Earth. It's an exciting thing to think about...

Finally I must admit that also new synths are a big inspiration for me. It doesn’t matter if it is a hardware or software synth as long as it has fresh sounds which fit to my music. Fusion for example was heavily influenced by the CronoX Synth from LinPlug Virtual Instruments. It creates fantastic arpeggios and sequenced sounds which inspire me a lot.

Voices of Dawn and Fusion are distancing by bar regarding First Light (2002), Time Traveller (2003) and Chameleon (2005), how do you explain that the music of Axess became darker, more experimental and more melancholic? Is it new technologies, new influences or more bitter life experiences.


For sure no bitter life experiences. Since 10 years I'm happily married, have 4 beautiful and healthy kids and have not been unemployed since I left University back in 1991. My music has always been melancholic but that seems to be part of my style. It is maybe more due to the bigger possibilities I have now with my studio equipment, I can suddenly realize things which I was not able to 7 or 8 years ago.

In fact Chamaeleon in 2003 was the last album which I produced completely without any software synthesizers but only hardware equipment. I did not really trust software synths and really thought good music can only be made by hardware. That changed "over night" in 2004 when Max visited me at home during our Contact CD promotion tour. He showed me what he does only with software and a few weeks later I started to sell most of my hardware and bought a new, faster PC with some great software synths. Suddenly totally new things were possible for me and my music went into a new direction. I'm now able to do everything I want to do without making any compromise. Of course that had a big impact in my music and Time Traveller was the first result of this new technology in my studio. After that I felt I should go back more to the roots of Berlin School type sequencing but also this is so much easier with the new toys and it sounds so much better.

We know that Pyramid Peak produces albums parsimoniously, that is 7 in 10 years. Is Axess career an extension of the Peak’s or it’s really in parallel with the Peak career?


In fact the Axess project was somewhat started already back in 1992 when Andreas left our common band project (at that time called "Digital Dream") for the first time. I did not change the project name but the 2 tapes "Himalaya" and "Eclipse" were pure my own music. Later, after the Pyramid Peak "Fish'n Love" CD, I had so many ideas left that I decided to release my first official solo work which was "First Light" back in 2002.

There was a little break of 2 years in the Peak project anyway but surely not because of my solo activities. However, I used the time to work on my second album "Chamaeleon" and the first Axess/Maxxess CD "Contact" during that time. Since 2005 all 3 projects are really in parallel to each other although I spent most of the time for my own music. But when I start with a new song I don't know if it will be used for my own Axess project or if I will share it with the others and use it for the next Pyramid Peak or Axess/Maxxess CD or concert. That's something I sort out later.