Hans Christian's musical journey began many years ago in Germany by studying the cello. "I started to play when I was nine years old and had a private teacher for 10 years. Although my teacher imposed a strict and disciplined approach to learning the instrument I remember him fondly; he was preparing me to go to the music conservatory to become a professional cellist. Deep in my heart, though, I knew all along that this was not going to happen." His life was to unfold along different lines.
Since his father was a minister at a Lutheran church in Hanover, Hans played in that church many times and confesses some early musical adventures: "I would steal the key to the church from my father's desk sometimes and sneak into the church to play there at night. It was dark and cold, but the acoustics were amazing. I am talking about a building in the Neo-Gothic style, big enough for almost a thousand people. So, I would sit in front of the altar, that sacred space, and I didn't know if I was violating God's space or was welcome. I loved those anxious moments and expressed my emotions in wild improvisations."
The unyielding urge to express himself led him to pick up the bass guitar as a teenager and get absorbed in rock music. "I would play along with Hendrix records, and Santana, Pink Floyd and the Doors. I started to play in local bands in Hanover, dressing outrageously and wearing makeup. I lived out my wild fantasies one night while playing classical music the next day. I liked the discipline of the cello studies and the wildness of the rock bands."
Perhaps this duality is a key ingredient to understanding Hans Christian's music and his approach to his own compostions and to his work with RASA, his well-known collaboration with singer Kim Waters. Often starting with a simple melody, Hans weaves an unconventional orchestral treatment that adds a very dense and multi-layered quality to his music, not shying away from any combination of instruments- but always guided by a strong sense of melody and musical development.
Hans acknowledges, "Whether it is with RASA or on my solo projects, I try to keep it very listenable but very interesting, too. I want the listener to travel with the music and have their own experiences."
When he was 21 years old he decided to move to Los Angeles to study bass at Musician's Institute in Hollywood. It was a big adventure, not knowing anybody in LA and without a place to stay. But within six weeks of his arrival he played at the Whiskey on Sunset Blvd, and within a year he was very connected to the local music scene. "I played every hole-in-the-wall club you can imagine, constantly playing with many different kinds of groups, from dark and hard-etched bands to folk and performance artists. It was a fulfillment of my dreams because I could do whatever I wanted, and I tried many different things."
Eventually he worked with established artists like Robbie Robertson, Toni Childs, Victoria Williams, and the Sparks, appearing live and on television. But a persistent urge to express his own ideas kept him on the run. "I felt a strong pull towards doing my own music, to go deeper, and so I stretched out on the cello, practicing constantly, composing difficult pieces and pushing myself very hard."
This creative drive led him to start his own production company, Allemande Music, expanding into all aspects of music production. Besides recording his own music and the music of RASA, Hans has produced and engineered a rich variety of recording projects with other artists. After almost ten years in the San Francisco area, Hans and his partner, Kim Waters, have recently relocated to Door County, Wisconsin, where they have built yet another recording studio. Hans says about this move that "I wanted to fulfill this dream of living in a four season environment where it is beautiful, clean, and quiet, so that I can focus on my work more easily. California is a great place to network but it became too exhausting to live there."
While RASA is the main focus of Hans' musical activities with four CDs in the last four years and an active touring schedule, he has just re-mastered his two most recent solo projects (Phantoms and Surrender) which are re-released through Magnatune.com and a few other companies. Additional solo recordings can be expected in the near future.