Undefinable by classic genre tropes and bucking all trends, Ancient Methods is a singular artist whose unrelenting sonic aesthetic is something of an anomaly in the contemporary scene. His music and DJ sets are tied together by a visceral, punk approach that cultivates ritualistic energy, indelibly unique and emotionally cathartic. Through a steady stream of seminal releases, sets, and live performances, as well as those in collaboration with Regis as Ugandan Methods, Michael Wollenhaupt aka Ancient Methods has left an eternal footprint on the techno scene and continues to inspire generations of artists.

The term "scene" can be defined very broadly. What is your definition of belonging to the scene?
For me, the term serves as a vague tag to address a certain kind of cultural bubble or musical identity and in some situations, such a tag can help to communicate. However, I feel those tagged identities are often artificially made or in many cases a mere matter of subjective perception. However „scenes“ always gain identity from distinction. And therefore, as is the case with all distinguishing features, I have little use for them. Artificial distinction is politics or fashion but not music.

Back in the days EBM and the Industrial scene did not particularly go along with techno. You somehow were always affiliated with both. How would you trace your background?
Luckily this has changed, as far as I can tell. However, these are good examples of what I just said before. In my opinion, these „scenes" gained distinctive identity from lifestyle aspects that surround the music and shaped them, whereas - from my subjective perception - they have musically much more in common than for example techno and house which are often mentioned in the same breath.

You've been performing for over 15 years. What would you describe as your biggest accomplishment, and (what would you describe) as your biggest mistake?
My biggest mistake was to judge a human I didn’t really know based on superficial, formulaic beliefs. As for achievements, I feel grateful for having worked with some of my biggest musical inspirations. In general, I’m thankful that the music made me encounter so many awesome people; I otherwise certainly wouldn’t have met.

After so many years in the scenes, is there some element that excites you as much as at the beginning? How was it in the early days and now?
Nothing has changed for me really. Music among many other things is an endless source of inspiration and fuel for creativity. Nowadays, the available search tools made it so much easier to discover in no time whatever you want to explore and therefore the available sources of inspiration can be overwhelming at times. But the invaluable benefit is, no matter how alienated I feel from the omni- and ever-present Zeitgeist and its fad cycles, there is also an ever-present universe full of inspiring things I never encountered before, waiting to be discovered and to blow my mind.

During your career, you must have seen a lot of music trends coming back and forth. What kind of stuff would you love to see make its return and what type of vibe are you already tired of?
Well, honestly I don’t really care which trend is on the rise. These cycles have been little more than shallow teamwork of media, economics and performers with strikingly adaptive musical identities. And since they are condemned to move on way too fast, they can only visit the tip of each iceberg, before they have to jump on the next. My interest, passion, my energy and love are dedicated to exploring the underwater depths that, as is known, hold so much more substance. With that said, rather than pondering what I'd like to see again, I’d like to express all my respect, admiration and gratitude to those people who built and maintained that iceberg, over many years, regardless of their visitors, and float calmly through the ocean.

What advice would you give to someone taking their first steps on the electronic music scene?
I have to give a politician answer here and answer a different question since I’d prefer to give advice to those who already made their first steps because I feel this stage can be much more critical: Don’t care about anything else but the music you’d like to do. In the beginning, you might have very dedicated, enthusiastic followers - this might change from the moment you step out of the shadows and get more exposure since you’ll also encounter people who randomly come across your music or just have little musically in common with you. Furthermore, you’ll lose followers and receive criticism both for „changing too much“ and „ being always the same“, I guess that’s normal too. But if you even start thinking about it and consider it as an influence - you might be lost.

What is next for Ancient Methods?
Since the aftermaths of the pandemic are still hitting hard, I hope to find time for creating music again

Ancient Methods on Instagram