From Reluctance to Adoration: Creating Rhythmic Industrial Noise

Stahlschlag says:

All of my music carries a message

It was easy to find related artists and establish new connections on MySpace

I’ve been a wrestling fan since my childhood

Renoise caters to all your needs

In this episode of The Electronic Corner, we dive into the rhythmic industrial noise music genre with an interview with Stahlschlag. Let’s find out what he wanted to share with us.

Sir Joe: What inspired you to create music in the rhythmic, industrial noise genre?

Stahlschlag: This is a story I love to tell, because you must know that I didn’t enjoy such music.
When I started making music, my wife was very much into acts like XOTOX and KiEw—she loved industrial noise and rhythmic noise.
At the time, I was working on some other stuff, dark electronic music. So, she asked me: “Why don’t you try creating some stuff like XOTOX and KiEw?” I began to play around, creating beats, experimenting with distortion, adding some noise to it and I fell in love with this kind of music.
That’s how Stahlschlag came to be. It was her idea to name it Stahlschlag because it’s a harsh German word that describes the music well. Initially, it was just an experiment. We created some songs and shared them on the Internet, on our website, and on a platform called
DJs from online radio stations noticed us and reached out. We didn’t expect anything; we just put it out there. Later, a record label approached us and released our first album.
So, the story began in 2006 and now, in 2024, I’m still here, still making noise, and I don’t think I’ll stop anytime soon.

SJ: Are there any specific themes or messages that you aim to convey through your music?

Stahlschlag: All of my music carries a message. Primarily, it reflects my emotions—whether it’s anger, sadness, or contemplations on how society functions or malfunctions, as well as our impact on the world. These themes permeate my music, and my albums often have a specific theme or topic.
Sometimes, there’s a deliberate message, while at other times, I experiment with different elements and compile them into an album.
For instance, I might incorporate softer or cheesy synth melodies and juxtapose them with industrial noise. The upcoming album I plan to release in summer follows a tribal industrial theme, incorporating mystic elements such as world instruments and Indian voices. It’s not exactly a concept album, but I enjoy cultivating a distinct sound for each album, infused with underlying messages.
Recent albums deal with societal issues, with ‘Alive!’ responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, my frustration with those who resisted safety measures, like mask-wearing, fueled tracks like ‘Hate’ and ‘Wohlstandstrotz.’
My most recent album reflects the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, I don’t actively promote my albums with a specific message. While I’m aware of the situations, I appreciate that listeners form their own thoughts, ideas, and feelings about these themes.

SJ: Let’s talk about your side project Fundustrial: Why did you feel the need to create it and how do you incorporate samples from cartoons into it?

Stahlschlag: The idea behind Fundustrial is quite old. During the time when MySpace was a prominent platform for artists, I was actively engaged there and connected with fellow artists.
One day, while chatting with another artist about releasing a compilation featuring various artists in the industrial noise genre, we decided to reach out to others through MySpace. It was easy to find related artists and establish new connections. We messaged several artists and invited them to join.
When it came time to find a name for the compilation, I suggested ‘Fundustrial’ because we were releasing it for fun, and it had an industrial theme, making ‘Fundustrial’ sound fitting. The compilations are still available on Bandcamp, so anyone interested can check them out.
Many years later, I had the idea to create a side project, not entirely opposite to Stahlschlag but more relaxing and fun. At that time, the cyber-goth scene, which still exists, was thriving, featuring projects like X-RX and other artists incorporating funny samples into tracks, creating rave music.
I’ve always enjoyed cyber industrial, it’s a lot of fun, so I thought, why not try it myself?
I’m a big fan of cartoons and still watch a lot of them, hence the idea to sample humorous content. My rule is simple: if something makes me laugh hard, I’ll try to incorporate it into a track.

SJ: Lately you have been heavily promoting, especially on Instagram, the so called ‘Industrial Madness Wrestling Show’. It sounds like fun, so of course I have to ask you about it. What is it exactly and is it still possible to participate?


Stahlschlag: I’ve been a wrestling fan since my childhood in the ’80s and ’90s when it was a big thing in Germany with iconic figures like Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker.
A few years ago, I rediscovered my love for wrestling through the WWE 2K game series. Recently, I bought the latest version on sale and thoroughly enjoyed it.
During a Twitch event featuring wrestling, I jokingly suggested in the chat: “Hey, I could create you all and let you fight against each other”. That happened about four weeks ago, and later I realized I could make it happen, so I asked people and posted about it. Now, we have almost 50 participants.
It’s a simulation game, so all the fights are simulated, and no one is actively playing the game. I make every wrestler equally strong to keep it random, avoiding a competitive atmosphere—it’s all about fun.
The community is growing steadily, and there’s room for more participants. I only require a photo with the head and upper body, a logo, and a list of preferred songs from the participants. These elements are incorporated into the game.
The unique aspect is that the title songs feature the artists’ music, aiming to promote their work. We can accommodate up to 200 custom wrestlers, and there are still 50 spots available.

SJ: How do you approach collaboration with other artists? Do you usually contact them or is it the opposite? Is it mostly your friends, or as long as you like an idea evn a total stranger may ask to do something with you?

Stahlschlag: Collaborations happen in various ways, often unplanned and spontaneous. Sometimes, I stumble upon something cool on Instagram, for example, and reach out to the artist. We engage in small talk until, occasionally, the idea of collaboration emerges.
For remix albums, I usually repost my music and invite those interested in remixing it to message me. It’s fantastic that many people show interest and get involved.
In a recent instance, I collaborated with vocalists for a remix project. They wrote lyrics for some of my tracks and recorded vocals. I’m open to various creative possibilities and truly enjoy collaborating.
Connecting with people and artists worldwide is one of the greatest aspects of this experience. The wrestling idea, for instance, brings together people who hadn’t considered such ventures before.
While it’s always thrilling to release new music, receive feedback, and see DJs play my tracks, the most amazing part is connecting with individuals from the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, and beyond—all because I make noise. It’s truly incredible.
One noteworthy moment was when XOTOX, my idol, contacted me to remix one of my songs. It was surreal, and we ended up reciprocally remixing each other’s music.
I also noticed you had an interview with Ultra. We collaborated on a song, created a video together, and explored various creative levels. The whole experience is just so much fun and truly amazing.

SJ: As you know, my last question will be about the so called ‘studio demonstration’. This concept is not new to you at all, since you have your own channel on Twitch where you show how you produce your music using Renoise. What made you choose this DAW over more popular products?

Stahlschlag: It all started as a coincidence, much like many things in my music career. When I was 16, a friend of my older brother, who was producing music in PathTracker, a Microsoft DOS tracker, visited. I was completely fascinated by the process.
Having a penchant for programming and computers, I loved how he created music by using what you might call tables, putting notes in step by step.
Inspired, I decided to give music production a shot. Armed with an old computer, a SoundBlaster mono sound card (8-bit), and a collection of samples, I started from scratch and created my first tracks.
As I progressed, I discovered Renoise, a tracker made by two individuals who had worked on Ableton Live. It was their hobby project, aiming to modernize the concept of trackers.
While traditional trackers were often used for composing music for computer games and had a vibrant demo scene, Renoise embraced modernity. Although its interface may not look cutting-edge, it caters to all your needs, featuring effects, synthesizers, sidechaining, and everything found in software like Cubase, Fruity Loops, or Ableton Live.
The absence of a piano roll, something some artists miss, doesn’t bother me, as I’ve always worked from top to bottom rather than left to right.
Though I briefly experimented with other software, I always returned to Renoise. The two developers are still active, consistently providing updates to enhance stability. Additionally, Renoise is cost-effective compared to other software, offering all the necessary tools. It’s also my go-to platform for performing my music.
Being a real software developer and programmer, I appreciate working with Renoise as it feels familiar. I don’t use physical synthesizers; instead, Renoise helps me create beats rapidly.
I manage five music projects, producing everything from dark ambient to minimal EBM and industrial noise with Renoise.

SJ: Besides Renoise, which other music making tools are you particularly fond of?

Stahlschlag: I handle all the recording and mixing within Renoise, but for mastering, I turn to Reaper. This choice allows me to have all the tracks in one project, making comparisons straightforward. It’s a bit challenging to achieve that in Renoise, but since I prefer an ‘in the box’ setup, I don’t rely much on hardware, reserving it mainly for my live performances.
When performing live, I can’t just hit the play button and be done with it. Instead, I incorporate hardware and controllers to enhance the experience. Opting for an all-software approach in studio also comes down to space constraints. While I admire those with extensive synthesizers and equipment setups, my reality is a small apartment, leaving me with little choice.

(Now I invite you to watch the following video, starting at 21:05, where we can explore the room where all Stahlschlag material is created).

We say thanks to Stahlschlag for this interview and we look forward to challenging him to a wrestling event. 🙂

Don’t forget to visit his official website

You are also welcome to check the other interviews for The Electronic Corner

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