Somewhere in the darkest depths of hell, there exists a form of music so menacing and merciless that even Satan himself would think twice before listening. However, when sitting at sea level, these bone-chilling sounds are more frequently referred to as Code:Pandorum. Having only scratched the surface of his true potential, this artist’s superhuman production powers are merely entering their infant stage.
Now, just because his expert compositions happen to be the world’s leading cause of mass chaos and mayhem, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the man behind those same creations is some kind of reckless hooligan. In fact, Sven Selka is about as normal of a guy as you will come across. Born and raised in Germany, this tough-minded individual has proven that if you’re willing to put in the hard work, it’ll pay off tenfold.
Melding the raw brutality of bass and precision crystal mixdowns, Code: Pandorum is setting a new standard for what we’ve come to expect from heavy dubstep. Fresh from announcing his debut album – Code:Pandorum – God on Prime Audio, February 8 – we sat down with him to learn more about the man behind some of darkest sounds we’ve heard in a long time…
I would not say I’m the guy who is all-evil and all-negative, I’m actually a pretty positive guy. I just love this particular style of music and the eerie feeling that comes along with it.
Code:Pandorum… Let’s talk about this name.
My old alias was Static:Reset. I used a colon before and I wanted to keep that. As for the name, I’m a big horror movie fan. Once I broke up with Static:Reset, I watched this movie called Pandorum. At first, I wanted to just use that name, but there are like three different metal bands with exactly that same name. So I talked to Marcus Bratkilla, and he was like, “hmmmm just slap the ‘Code’ before it!”
For individuals not as familiar with your brand of bass music, how would you best describe it to a first-time listener?
I think the easiest way to explain it is that it sounds like a horror movie. I always try to have a dark atmosphere, orchestral sounds, and some classic elements – but also the heavy drops. Think of it as like a horror movie that you can listen to.
Do you have any previous musical training?
I started playing guitar two years ago, but that never went that far. I’ve been producing for four to five years now. I started [at age 14] with hardcore, but from there I went in the dubstep-ish direction and that’s how Static:Reset was born.
Outside of music, do you have any other jobs or hobbies?
I sell bathroom accessories, like toilets and stuff like that. But it’s not really the job I want to do, it’s just to save some money to make my music and help me get to where I want to be. I also think about doing scores for movies, so stuff of that nature. It’s really the best combination of movies and music, so I love it.
Your tunes frequently leave me feeling like I’m aimlessly wandering around some kind of post-apocalyptic world. Is that the type of vibe you attempt to generate?
Yeah, I think so. I would not say I’m the guy who is all-evil and all-negative, I’m actually a pretty positive guy. I just love this particular style of music and the eerie feeling that comes along with it.
I know that most producers don’t like to put a label on their music, but your tunes and the term ‘deathstep’ are often mentioned in the same breath. What is it specifically that draws you towards this violent-sounding subgenre?
I have to say that I would never label my music as ‘deathstep,’ because I think that my music is too melodic for it. It’s too many instruments and not just in-your-face stuff – especially on my new album, which is coming out in February. It’s a lot of melodies, a lot of orchestral elements, but still uses the heavy drops. Yeah, I just love the all-around feel of a unique atmosphere that is a mixture of orchestral and deathstep.
Can you share any details about the forthcoming album?
Yep, everything is already official. It will be released on Prime Audio and it contains 13 tracks total. It’s got some great collabs with guys like Soberts, KRAM, Kretan, and 100Hurts. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention ORBiTE too.
So speaking of Prime Audio, you’ve done a good amount of work with them in the past. Please tell us a little bit about why you enjoy releasing music under their label. Also, if you could choose any label for your dream release, who would you choose?
My relationship with Prime Audio just works well for me. I’m pretty good friends with Melvyn [the label manager], he’s just an awesome guy and it’s a pleasure to work with him. My dream label to release music on, I have to admit it would be my own. I created a label with Lord Swan3x a while ago, called Crowsnest. Maybe you’ve heard of it? But yeah, I’d love to release my future album’s and EP’s on my own label. I just hope that it gets enough recognition to make everything work.
One of my personal favorites to date is definitely Shibito. For your newer fans, can you provide them with a few tracks that you would view as the Code: Pandorum essentials?
I would definitely say Shibito as well. Then the four-way collab with Soberts, Lord Swan3x, and KRAM, titled Night Of The Crows. That one features some vocals from Messinian. I’d also include Desjardin. Yeah, and definitely the new album. It’s basically a culmination of everything I’ve wanted to do with Code: Pandorum.
What would you consider your greatest achievement of 2015?
That’s pretty easy, I started playing shows! Early in 2015, I played my first show ever, it was in Paris with Spag Heddy & EH!DE. My girlfriend came with me to that gig, and I have to say, it was an amazing time. Since then, I’ve played several shows in Amsterdam (at 50Hurtz) and I’ve also made a visit to Montreal. So I will definitely keep on playing shows everywhere.
What are your thoughts on the European dubstep scene?
The dubstep scene in Germany is non-existent. We have like two big cities where they host a few popular dubstep parties a year, but that’s about it. We do have some pretty awesome producers, guys like Sadhu & Bukez Finezt. But I don’t know why the scene is so small over here, I have no idea. Maybe it’s too risky for the promoters, I can’t explain it.
So how did Tequilariddim come about? Because collabs of this magnitude don’t materialize out of thin air. Also, what was it like getting the opportunity to work alongside Sadhu & Samplifire?
It’s actually pretty funny. We all met at the airport in Amsterdam and we were about to fly to our show in Canada. We became good friends almost instantly. So once we got to the hotel, we just started to make a tune. Samplifire had this awesome “tequila” sample, so Sadhu and myself were like, “we need to use that!” And that’s basically how the tune came together.
I recently saw a video clip of you dropping a new Mastadon track at one of your shows. Can you list a couple other producers that you currently enjoy playing out in your live sets?
A couple names that come to mind are Lūx and Mits. The latter is a good friend, but he’s just an amazing artist that continues to get better and better. He recently put out a new EP under our label. I love that his sound is old school-ish, but new school from a production standpoint. Also, there is Ohmie. He’s awesome! Finally, I can’t forget to mention the homie TenGraphs. Go check out his tunes if you haven’t already.
More shows! My girlfriend and I are in the process of moving to a new flat, so I should have a lot more time to focus on my music. I’m also trying to get a new job, so I’ll have even more time to dedicate to music and especially the live shows. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now, but on a larger scale. I’d also like to continue to see my label grow.
You’ve mentioned your girlfriend a few times during this conversation, so I just wanted to ask about how her and your family perceive your music? Are they supportive?
They hate the music ha ha! But they love that I’m doing it the way that I’m doing it. They’ll look at the videos from my shows and listen to my tracks, and say stuff like, “it sounds good for the type of music that it is.” So yeah, they are incredibly supportive.