Kölsch opens up about his late father, Patrick Reilly, after honoring him on his latest album, I Talk To Water.
Denmark-based house and techno producer Kölsch has remained quite busy through the fall season, making the masses dance globally on tour. The US also indulged in his presence, with performances at The Brooklyn Mirage, M2 Miami, and The Church in Denver before making his highly anticipated return to Sound Nightclub in LA. But, beyond the carefree fun lives a story of loss and pain, healing and remembrance.
Last month, one of the most emotionally charged albums in dance music history was unveiled, thoughtfully titled I Talk To Water. It pays homage to Kölsch’s late father, Patrick Reilly, who was taken from this world too soon. He was a remarkable songwriter, vocalist, and instrumentalist who never released his work, but Kölsch has ensured that his talents be heard by all who press play on his latest LP.
Within I Talk To Water‘s 12 tracks live three timeless offerings plucked from the recordings of Patrick Reilly and his son more than two decades ago. Focal points include the sweet guitar expressions found on “Grape” and “It Ends Where It Began,” as well as the divine vocals that pull at the heartstrings on “Tell Me.” While his father may no longer be on this Earth, his memory will last forever, and with his ashes spread in the ocean, Kölsch proclaims, “When I need a moment with him, I talk to water.”
We’ll let Kölsch tell the rest. Read on for our chat, and head to his official website for tickets and information about his upcoming events. A few standouts include T7 in Paris, Awakenings New Years in Amsterdam, and Ultra Music Festival in Miami, where Joris Voorn will join him for some memory-making b2b action.
Stream Kölsch – I Talk To Water on Spotify:
Hello Kölsch, thank you so much for taking time out to chat. First things first, how did your show in LA go? Walk us through the highlights.
LA was incredible. Sound is an amazing club, and the audience just keeps on getting better. Played three hours, and time flew by.
This certainly wasn’t your first time taking over the decks at Sound. What do you love most about this venue compared to other US clubs? Is there anything you’d change about it?
There is nothing I’d change about that club. It’s perfect as it is. Now, there’s a baby shark, too.
Checking out the rest of your tour dates, you’re looking forward to an all-night-long performance in Paris at T7 on December 15. Can you open up about the preparation and challenges that come along with a set of this type?
Longer sets require a different type of preparation. I usually spend a couple of weeks digging up a lot of older tracks but also unreleased material of my own. Stuff that I don’t have time to play in the usual 90-minute setting.
T7 is an incredible setting for creating an atmosphere. It overlooks Paris, and you can see the Eiffel Tower in the back. It’s really special. Challenges would be getting to the bathroom. I remember playing two 11-hour sets in Antwerp and ending up in the hospital because of a kidney/bladder infection. Not fun.
Let’s switch gears and talk about your recent album release, I Talk To Water. This album comes with a deeply emotional backstory – the loss of your father, Patrick Reilly. Can you open up about what your healing journey has looked like? Walk us through some of the ups and downs.
My father passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor. He was a musician and songwriter, but I couldn’t listen to anything he had done until COVID hit. It was just too emotional to hear his voice again.
When I finally dug out all the minidiscs, there was just so much amazing music. He never released anything, as he dedicated himself to family and work, so I made it a mission to release his debut 20 years after his passing. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster but a very healing process at the same time.
Can you open up about the power that music has had on you in relation to healing?
Music has been everything. Obviously, support from family and friends is extremely important, but there will always be times when you are alone with your grief, and there I turned to music.
On release day, you stated that it wasn’t until the last three years that you mustered up the courage to work with your Dad’s music. Talk to us about when you could press play on his productions again. What was the first song you listened to, and what memories did it invoke?
The first song I listened to was “It Ends Where It Began.” I vividly remember recording it in 1996 in my first apartment. My dad came to visit, and we decided to play around with some ideas he had had. I always imagined I was recording it for him, but time had other plans. It was obvious to me that it had to be the last song on my album.
Many of the tracks on I Talk To Water contain samples from your father, including “Grape,” “Tell Me,” and “It Ends Where It Began.” In the past you’ve opened up about the vocal significance behind “Tell Me” being a sign of Patrick’s illness, but can you walk us through the historical significance of the other samples?
“It Ends Where It Began” was a song we recorded together, as mentioned. It was a full piece, so I only added a few things. “Grape” came from a recording we had done some years later. My dad would keep playing that particular melody, and we recorded variations of it. The title refers to the tumor he had. The doctors kept saying that it was the size of a grapefruit.
Your father was an incredible musician, and it’s easy to see where you get your talent. But who was he outside of the music realm? What are some things you loved most about your Dad that you’d like to share with the world?
My dad was a Buddhist and brought me up with those values close to my heart. He spent 25 years working with drug addicts and detoxing heroin users. They would arrange bus tours where the addicts would go on survival camps to detox. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to work in those conditions.
One of his biggest traits was that he was always himself. He had nothing to prove and stayed that way till the end. That’s the one thing I’m still trying to learn to this day.
Finally, what advice would you give someone who is struggling with the loss of a loved one?
The pain will never go away, but it will get better. Take it easy on yourself.
Kölsch, thanks again for opening up today, and thank you for delivering such a unique and emotionally powerful album. Wishing you continued success on tour and we look forward to catching up with you again soon!
Thank you so much!!