Author Archive

Tommy Four Seven RA Interview

Machine love: Tommy Four Seven Logic and field recorder: We discover the way in which the UK producer has made limited tools work to his advantage.

No producer wants to sound like another. Or so they would say. So why is it that so many do? It’s something that the UK-born, Berlin-based Tommy Four Seven has considered a great deal. The difference here, though, is that he took affirmative action. Faced with recording an album for Chris Liebing’s recently rejuvenated CLR, Tommy challenged himself to produce using only found sounds and vocal recordings. The results were fascinating. Yes, Primate is very evidently a techno record—an unmitigated one at that—but this is the genre cut from a different cloth. As we met at his Berlin studio, in a suitably industrial corner of the city, it quickly became clear that the idea of restricting oneself—for whatever reason—has enabled this young producer to find his voice.

Tommy Four Seven Studio You’ve said before that you’ve been messing around with music programs since you were 12—what were these specifically?

The first music software I ever messed around with was a game called Music 2000. I was around 12 years old and found myself totally addicted. It wasn’t technical, but you could write your own riffs and sample about 20 seconds. Although I thought of it just as a game, I think people like Leftfield and Grooverider even released tracks using the program. The first slightly more serious program I experimented with was Reason when it first came out and then another program called Orion Platinum. By the time I hit university I had enough funds to buy a new G5 Mac and Logic 7 (thanks to student loans) and I’ve stayed with Logic ever since.

Many people have said that they didn’t find formal music tech training overly helpful. What is your take on it? I think it really depends on the course you take. It totally broadened my perspective on music technology. I found interests in topics I never really thought about, such as Foley and sound design and working with live recordings. Soon I began to apply these new techniques to my production process in techno.

And you applied a very specific process to Primate. Could you explain the concept behind the album? The concept really came about from both boredom and frustration with the techno scene. Hearing the same sounds, the same hats, synths. It isn’t everyone, but a large majority of producers aren’t willing to take risks. It just seems we are going in circles sometimes and I think it’s time we all pushed ourselves to take things forward. I find it almost impossible to finish a track if I use the same sounds in previous tracks—I lose all motivation. So I needed a concept of no generic sounds, such as claps, hi-hat, and synths to keep me excited and interested. It also created a box which allowed me to focus. There’s nothing worse than having too many options as you get distracted more easily. You need some kind of rules, you need some kind of direction, otherwise you’re going in all kinds of places.

Have you struggled with an overabundance of options in the past? Well, I think I’ve totally restrained myself anyway. I’m not someone who’s like a plug-in whore. I’m not searching for plug-ins all the time. Everyone’s like, “Oh, what plug-ins do you use?” I just use what I’ve got and make the most of it.

So what are you using? They’re all native to Logic. I don’t use any fancy plug-ins like Waves; it’s a little bit out of the budget at the moment. I’m actually happy with Logic’s plug-ins. I love Logic for the functionality, the interface, it works. I’ve not found a reason to change yet.

Tell me how you generated the percussion sounds on your album. Most of them came from just grabbing the mic and recording anything that was in the studio, anything that was outside—some field recordings, anything that works. What would one of these field trips entail? Like going to the tube station for example, getting the haunting ambience of a train. Or when the cars drive over the bridge, you can hear this haunting ambience that’s kind of like screeching. It’s really, really surreal. So quite often I made a note of sounds like that and then came back and recorded it. There’s a track called “Armed 3” [on the album] that the percussion was made out of tin foil. You just scrunch it up and then there’s a great metallic sound and then that’s heavily processed and distorted. Most sounds have been processed probably like ten times—bounced, distorted, crunched, pitched, reverbed, bounced again. And each time you’re bouncing it, it kind of inspires you to do something else and that’s kind of why I find using recordings really helpful because they’re like the catalyst, they’re kind of leading the way. They’re showing me a direction and I’m just going with it. It’s like you’ve got two people almost working together—you capture something and then it’s the two of you and the computer. It definitely helps when you’re stuck for ideas just to get the microphone out.

Using the example of the foil, what would you do once you have the audio in Logic? I would then crunch it with distortion, overdrive—that’s a weapon in Logic that people never use. But you have to, to get the effects I do, you have to manipulate it a lot of times. I’m bouncing it out, crunching it, and each time I’m subtly changing it, so maybe lowering the pitch, or changing the EQ and just driving the fuck out of it with distortion.

Why do you bounce audio as opposed to setting up an effects chain? It’s quick. Also if you’re committed to something, there’s no going back. Once you’ve got that sound it’s there, whereas if you’ve got a chain it could change slightly depending on the plug-ins. So I like committing and that’s a process that helps to focus it as well, to not leave it open. I mean, I don’t work with MIDI, it’s all audio.

Did you find it hard to stick to your self-imposed rules? No… I don’t know. At the moment I’m just anti-really typical synth sounds. For that project I had this kind of rebellious, “Ah, fuck it, just do something different.” I was working with vocals to replace the use of synths.

Tell me about the melodic textures on the album. I was using vocals to replace the melodic elements that synths would bring to a record and it also gave that kind of human element and a bit more soul because with all that distortion and the industrial size of the sounds, it was nice to have a human voice to kind of balance that out.

Did the post-processing differ much for the vocals? Well sometimes I’d come with some ideas, some lead ideas, and the vocalist would take them and interpret them as they wanted to and give them back to me and then I would further sound design those. So yeah, that was a lot of sound design on the vocals to get them working with the elements, kind of some side-chaining, because with digital distortion to get vocals to sit in this harsh world, you have to unite it with a bit of compression and side-chaining. So it kind of needed to be worked to sit in the world of the track. It just didn’t connect otherwise.

Do you find it at all tiring to work with such heavy, Industrial types of sounds? Harsh on the ears?

Harsh on the ears, yes, but how do you generally find working with “noise” for an extended period? Especially because I was using headphones for some of it as well… Yeah, it was harsh but I like that. I don’t know why, I love the crunch, the energy, the aggressiveness, the kind of rebellious sound. It’s a bit more what techno is for me, it’s a bit more raw, it’s a bit more true. Techno now is really fucking clean and it’s not really like it’s played in a warehouse.

Tell me about the process you undertake when starting a track. First I’m going to go and make a recording. For “Talus,” say, it was a washing machine. So I’ve got like five minutes worth of recordings and I’m just listening to it. I’ve got the whole audio file and then I’m just marking—I’m taking sections out that I like and I’m doing that for a while and it’s getting shorter and shorter (the amount of audio that I think I can work with). And once I’ve got the audio that is quite inspiring to work with, I’m then just jamming, jamming with the audio—taking sounds out, turning that into percussion, turning that into the bassline. So I’ve got like an eight-bar loop going on, it’s just like a live jam and pulling more sounds in until I’ve got something that I’m happy with. And this whole process of jamming, I’m grabbing distortion here, grabbing pitch here until I’ve got a nice groove and then I stop and reflect on that and build it.

Are you literally using the mouse, rearranging sounds? Yeah it’s just mouse and audio, dragging it and playing around.

And what sort of stage would you need to get to in which you think “OK, this is going to become a full arrangement now”? Once there’s a nice groove, a nice bass… it might get to that point but I need a kick so now I’ve got to go and find some other sounds, so I’m just going back with a microphone and getting those things or I’m digging into files of sounds I’ve already created and chucking them in. Maybe think, “Oh, hang on a minute, there’s a really nice sound that I came up with yesterday that I’m going to chuck in.” It’s quite spontaneous.

Taking the example of the kick, how would you generate the sound? I would just hit the chair. I could hit that and then just EQ it. It’s really simple. But I have to say that to stand up in a club sometimes you need that electronic richness to give it more body. That’s one thing I find sometimes with my tracks, some songs don’t sound that rich. The only elements that are really electronic [on the album] were layering under the kicks to boost up, to kind of give it more density. It’s a really cheap plug-in called BassIsm and you can play around with the frequencies and the decay and tune the kick to your kick, just give it that weight. And that’s actually what we did at Chris Liebing’s studio, we took the tracks there and listened to it because he’s got like a massive fucking sub, which I don’t have, and so we were just listening to the bass to make sure it stands out in the club and really just focusing on the kick and the bass to give it enough weight. “I don’t want to recognize what people are using. I want to be like, ‘Wicked, I’ve never heard that before!'”

Do you find the mixing process easier when you take this kind of sound design approach to production? Yeah, it’s funny because sometimes what you’ve got works and however you’ve come to that point, it’s got soul, and sometimes when you pull the faders down and start again, you lose that vibe; that original kind of jam that just happens. So I always bounce it down, save that session. I will pull the faders down and bring it back up because sometimes you do get a nicer mix-down like that—it’s balanced. But generally I do have a point where I put the faders down, it’s not done as I go along and such. I think for most people it will probably work like that, but I’m more about not losing my interest in it and going with the flow. I’m going until I’ve got a track that excites me and then I’m worrying about the exact sonics and, “OK, how is this going to sound, how does that sit?” I’m more concerned about the energy of the record, the soul of it— is it alive? Because you can kill it if you have a shit mix-down.

Would you say you’re someone who works quickly? It could be two hours and I’ve come up with an idea, it’s not a finished track, but an idea. Sometimes it can take a week. It really depends on the track. Sometimes I get fed up and I move on and I work on something else, but I’m not the fastest worker too. I’m really self-critical, I don’t tend to believe in a lot of the stuff that I’m doing, so I’m often pretty slow. The best tracks usually come within six hours max. They’re usually the best tracks and I usually finish them within two days, but sometimes you need to distance yourself because you can get really carried away and the next day you walk into the studio and it sounds shit. So sometimes I like to give myself five days and you’re not so emotionally attached to it and I think that’s another important thing for mixing, is if you’re trying to mix it down too soon, you’re emotionally attached to some sounds and sometimes it’s not the best for them. It’s hard, coming back after, say, a week, sometimes I just know instantly where to put the faders—”No, that’s not right, that’s not sitting there.”

You’ve obviously got a specific way of doing things so I was wondered if you could see yourself moving away from that in the future? Or do you feel wedded to your process? No, I mean, that’s why I’ve got some empty rack space because I plan to get some modular synths and just play around.

Do you see modular synths as a way of breaking away from what you were talking about before: sounding like everyone else? Yeah I think you can get some great sounds from that. It’s more of a personal goal just to know more about that and to play around with that because it’s not something that I’ve delved into much and I feel like I’m missing out on some options of finding sounds. The whole [not using] synths thing was mainly people using presets… I don’t like a synth when it sounds like a synth, when you can recognize what it is, that’s kind of what the whole point was—I don’t want to recognize what people are using. I want to be like, “Oh, what the fuck is that sound? What’s that texture? Wicked, I’ve never heard that before,” and that’s what I’m trying to do with the albums is give people textures that they’re not that familiar with or can’t put their finger on what it is. Reposted from

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Short Circuit presents Mute Weekender at Roundhouse London

This looks to be an incredible event for Techno & electronica fans in London. Some great names playing.

Short Circuit presents Mute Weekender

Short Circuit Mute Weekender

13 May 2011 – 14 May 2011 / Roundhouse Main Space




Mute announce brand new additions to the line up for Short Circuit presents Mute festival – 13 + 14 May 2011 – at London’s historic Roundhouse: Martin L. Gore (DJ set), Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher (DJ set) and Josh T. Pearson performing an exclusive set of covers of some of his favourite songs by Mute artists join recent additions to the 2 day festival: Richie Hawtin, Moby (DJ set), Maps and Polly Scattergood collaboration, Beth Jeans Houghton and a Dirty Electronics Workshop.
On Friday 13 May, Moby (DJ set) and Richie Hawtin (Minus, Berlin – with visuals by Ali Demirel) join a line up that features rare UK live performances from Recoil (Alan Wilder), Nitzer Ebb, Richard H. Kirk, CARTER TUTTI with Nik Void, NON (Boyd Rice), The Balanescu Quartet and Komputer plus live sets from key German electronic music figures Pole, T. Raumschmiere, Thomas Fehlmann and Thomas Brinkmann. Mute’s founder, Daniel Miller will perform a DJ set.

On Saturday 14 May, Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore and Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher have confirmed DJ sets, while Josh T. Pearson plays an exclusive set of his favourite songs by Mute artists. These announcements add to a bill that already boasts an exclusive performance by Erasure who will be joined on the night by very special guests. Also performing live will be The Residents, Laibach, Liars plus recent Mute signings Big Deal, S.C.U.M Beth Jeans Houghton and Poppy & The Jezebels. Maps and Polly Scattergood will perform a unique collaboration interpreting each other’s songs whilst Simon Fisher Turner will collaborate with Mira Calix. Also appearing are James Brooks and Peter Gregson plus a special guest performance from Alison Moyet. Other DJs on the night will be Danny Briottet (Renegade Soundwave) and Irmin Schmidt (Can) & Kumo (Jono Podmore) who will play The Sound Of Can – Can Archives Special.

Saturday 14 will also include a program of talks and films, alongside live performances throughout the afternoon. Talks confirmed so far include Stefan Betke (aka Pole) with ‘An Introduction into the science of Mastering’ and veteran producer and long time Mute collaborator Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Erasure and Liars) will talk about his work with the label. Films include the 2009 Mark Stewart documentary ‘On/Off’ and an exclusive Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds film by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. More to be announced.

A series of installations will be running across the Short Circuit festival. Berlin based synth boutique Schneiders Buero will build a unique carousel where visitors can play with new modular and hardware synths. Flies, Guys and Choirs is an audio/visual installation by Irmin Schmidt & Kumo that will transform the sounds of people within the public space in to the bizarre and beautiful. Felix’s Machines (Felix Thorn) will be exhibiting one of his music making sculptures.
In collaboration with Mute, Dirty Electronics Workshop will design a special analogue electronic instrument for the festival. Young members of the Roundhouse studios will take part in the workshop, each building the instrument then performing it at the Roundhouse. A limited edition of the instrument will be on sale during the Short Circuit festival.

Short Circuit presents Mute is a 2 day incident which will feature performances and unique collaborations from Mute artists past, present and future alongside DJs, talks, workshops, screenings and installations. A celebration of Mute’s unique and influential work as a label and publisher, the occasion will see all of the Roundhouse’s public spaces open together for the first time.

The German electronic label Raster-Noton have confirmed a line up for the opening night of 2011’s Short Circuit – Thursday 12 May – and a specially created sound piece will link the Raster-Noton and Mute events. The Raster-Noton / Mute Sound Halo will consist of sound loops created by artists from both labels and will play overnight from 12 May to link the two events.

The line up for Raster-Noton’s event features the premiere of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto’s new piece, plus performances from Anne James Chaton, Grischa Lichtenberger, Atom TM, Byetone and Mark Fell. Tickets are onsale now.

Sat 14 May – £45 (12pm-12am)
Fri & Sat Weekend Ticket – £75
Limited Premium Ticket – SOLD OUT
Age: 16+

Roundhouse Exclusive Members Bar: Did you know you can get access to an exclusive bar overlooking the Main Space? We’ll also give you a glass of champagne, a Roundhouse bag and souvenir book. Tickets are £20 per person, plus the usual ticket price.

Space is limited and advance booking is recommended, so call now on 0844 482 8008.

Reposte from Techno Music News

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Perc Interview from Earwiggle Dublin

One of the few producers around who can claim to be putting a fresh stamp on the techno genre is London producer and label owner Ali Wells aka Perc. A gradual shift into the depths of underground techno has led to his position as one of the very best in the game; a producer with a relentless work rate and mammoth discography to match. Ahead of his live appearance in Dublin this Friday, Ali took a few moments away from putting the final touches to his debut album to kindly answer some questions we put his way…

How long have you been producing, and what inspired you to start originally?

I started at the age of 16 and I bought my first drum machine (Roland TR626) the day I got my GSCE results, so it’s been a while. At that age I had been in bands for a few years but was starting to realise that a group dynamic was not really for me. Electronic music was creeping into my life and the more I read about the DIY/home studio methods of producers the more I wanted to get involved.

You have released music on such a large amount of labels. With a lot of commitments to releases/remixes etc. do you have to limit the time you spend on each track?

No, by putting in long hours I can work on something until I am happy with it. When I rush, due to a deadline from myself or a label, then I am rarely happy with the results. I spend a lot of time in the studio, maybe 40-50 hours in an average week, some tracks and remixes come together in a few hours, whilst others have been tweaked on and off for up to a year. Every track is different but I know when one is ready to face the outside world.

You’ve taken an interesting route over the last number of years to where you are now. In a way you’ve done things in the opposite manner of many other producers, in that as you became more well-known and successful, your sound appeared to become (for want of a better phrase) more purist. Is this how you would describe your path?

Hmmm, I don’t see myself as a purist. I have a knowledge of house, techno, rave, drum & bass etc going back a long way but I like to think I combine my influences rather than adhering to any of the existing templates of how techno should sound. There are people out there still serving up purist Millsian loops and Basic Channel dub-techno clones. It would bore me senseless to stick to one of these well worn formulas. A good example is my track ‘Stoq’ on Stroboscopic Artefacts; it pulls on dubstep, industrial and techno and (hopefully) creates something new. Maybe my sound has become more compatible with the established techno sounds of Berlin or Birmingham etc but I like to think I mix in enough unrelated elements to not be filed amongst the hardcore purists.

By shifting your sound, you may have risked alienating part of your existing fan base. Was that a concern to you at any stage?

I make music for myself first, if I am not feeling a track even if I think it has dance floor or sales potential then it will be scrapped. If I looked at my more successful tracks and churned out copies of those then I would be dead in the water in a matter of weeks. I have to be excited with what I make and I like to think people can hear that in my tracks. Whilst my sound and style does develop and shift there is still a clear Perc sound/aesthetic that has been about since day one. The spitting snares, the big kicks, the broken beat stuff, and the kinds of distortion I use. Some things are constant whatever I am making.

You have continued to release vinyl on Perc Trax, when a lot of people and labels around you moved primarily to digital. Can you give a background into how you first started collecting vinyl?

Strangely enough my first decks were cd decks; this was a long time ago when playing from cd was commonly seen as fake or cheating. Then when I got my first paid gig I rushed out and bought a pair of 1210′s, giving me a month to learn how to play vinyl. My first purchases were looped up tribal and acid techno, which I found quite easy to mix and my collection has grown since then. Perc Trax carries on to do vinyl for a number of reasons, but if the day came when releasing vinyl was losing serious money then I’d have no problem stopping the 12′s rather than risk the label as a whole. I love vinyl but I can see a vinyl-less future for techno at some point.

Can vinyl survive? Will younger djs somehow embrace it or are we looking at a future dj culture that will bear no resemblance to the original model?

It will survive for a number of years but I don’t think it will be around forever. Younger djs are embracing it but I am not sure they are enough in number to replace people dropping out of the vinyl market. I laugh when I see a facebook post about a release that is coming out on vinyl and digitally, almost every comment is ‘vinyl for me!’ when most people posting will grab the release free from a blog and not even pay for the download. A lot of the ‘vinyl forever’ stuff is purely show, people trying to look like the real deal when they get most of their music for free from unauthorised sources.


Much of your recent material is industrial influenced. Is this the last area left in techno to truly experiment?

I think there has been an industrial element in techno since the very beginning. Even the old ’88 acid tracks created with a drum machine and 303 shared an atonality that a lot of industrial music thrives on. I think it is an interesting area that still has space for innovation and exploration, certainly within the grey area where techno, industrial, drone and noise music meet. I think for the more forward thinking producers techno is just a vehicle to carry their experimental sounds to a wider audience via the established system of djs and dancefloors. Of course Techno has other areas to move into apart from the industrial thing, some of which will be blind alleys whilst others will open up whole new worlds of possibilities. Going back to what I said earlier about the established templates that a lot of techno follows, it would be a shame if what was once seen as future music becomes too focussed on replicating past glories.

Industrial is also a style of music that could claim to have been a type of active techno before ‘techno’ the term was first coined in Detroit. Would you agree?

Yes, it was/is machine music, focussed on texture and rhythm over melody and lyrical content. Whilst industrial music has always featured vocals, they are often treated as another instrument, equal to machine generated sounds and that is the same with all but the most commercially driven techno. Without studying old Mills/Wizard playlists I am sure industrial music was as much an influence on the early Detroit producers as Kraftwerk. Not just through the choices of sound used but also due to a shared approach to music-making and the (mis-)use of discarded machinery.

Is techno as an experimental art form, sometimes weighed down by the now defined sounds of influential cities like Berlin and Detroit, or is it important that techno has reference points like this?

The reference points are important, to use a cliché, it is just as important to know where you are from as where you are going, but people get too bogged down in these cities and their history. Techno has often been at is most innovative away from these major hubs. Perc Trax’s Sawf is based in Athens, which has a tiny techno scene and his range of influences are truly his own, not those dictated by a select group of hyped clubs and record shops. People should remember that moving to one of these cities does not instantly make you a better DJ or producer. Often with the amount of competing creative types in the city such as Berlin your chances of making a name for yourself are reduced.

It’s argued that the innovators of today are not the producers but the people developing forward thinking software and equipment for producers. What do you think about that, and how has technology helped you over the last five years for instance?

The software developers and hardware companies have a part to play but talented people will always find ways to adapt and use a piece of gear beyond what the designs intended. It is easier than ever to make functional dance music that will ‘work’ on most dancefloors. This does not mean you should be making it or that it has any lasting value. Using preset sounds and samples is an easy way to get a few digital releases but without some innovation and thought you will not go much further than that. Technology has helped me a lot, the switch from a fully hardware based studio to Ableton interfacing with a few choice pieces of kit gives me a flexibility that I could not have imagined before. For remixing the ability to creatively and accurately edit audio visually has been a massive change for me, so much better than staring at the screens of samplers and grooveboxes.

Your debut album is about to be released. For someone with your prolific output, it seems like an album could have come a long time ago. Presumably you were holding out to do something a bit more conceptual then, that is not just a collection of 12″ club tracks?

I think the change in my sound has meant that an album is more viable for me than it was 3 or 4 years ago and now my drone/ambient tracks are getting good responses when before they were often overlooked in favour of my club tracks. One thing that really bugs me is when a producer waters down their sound to make an album more suitable for home listening. If people want an album to soundtrack their dinner parties then they will go for one from a producer with pedigree in that field, not a techno producer suddenly softening their sound. For me the classic techno albums are exactly that. Planetary Assault Systems on Peacefrog, the classic Joey Beltram albums on Tresor and Novamute, Vaporspace’s debut on Plus8 etc. Yes, there are some drone/experimental tracks on my album but they are far from easy listening. If anything they present more of a challenge to the listener than the dancefloor tracks as the sounds don’t have the tried and tested framework of a club track to cling on to.

What else can you tell us about the album?

Not a great deal right now. Roughly 10 tracks, more broken beat than 4/4. It is not a concept album but the title (to be revealed soon) focussed on two elements which run through all of the tracks. There will be one 12” released before the album and one after. The remixes for the first single are done and I’m blown away by who has remixed my tracks and what they have done with them. I know it is all very secretive at the moment but I don’t want to say too much until the album is finished.

How important was it for you to release it on your own label? Did it bring an extra creative freedom that you might not have been afforded elsewhere?

For an EP I am happy to send 3 or 4 tracks to a label and if they only want two of them then that is fine, but for an album I need 100% control. To submit an album to a label which they then start picking apart would kill my passion for the album dead.

Finally, what’s on the horizon for the rest of 2011?

The first half of 2011 is focussed on finishing and promoting the album. Aside from that a new collaboration between myself and an Italian producer is about to surface. The first fruits of that new project will be out at the end of March. Details of that will be made public very soon. Perc Trax has a full release schedule with albums from myself and Sawf plus EPs from Forward Strategy Group, Donor/Truss, Dead Sound & Videohead and Samuli Kemppi. From June or July onwards I have no real idea, a few festival appearances are confirmed and I guess I’ll start recording tracks for some other labels once the album is in the can. I don’t really know and that is what makes it exciting for me.

Reposted with permission from Earwiggle Dublin via Techno Music News

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Melt! Festival 2011 Announce New Acts.

The Melt! organisation. Today announced several new acts for the 2011 festival in Ferropolis, Germany. White Lies, Digitalism,  Jens “Jence” Moelle and Ismail “Isi” Tüfekci join the Berlin-based Melt! Klub Weekender with squealing synth sounds, brute breaks, and belling bass lines.

This year Modeselektor are curating the Melt! Selektor Stage for two days in a row and the labels Live At Robert Johnson as well as Bpitch Control are taking over Sleepless Floor. There is also the Total Confusion party at Big Wheel and an additional special celebrating the legendary Detroit techno label Planet E with label boss Carl Craig DJing back to back with Radio Slave – joined by label mate Loco Dice.

Many festivalgoers will be pleased to hear about our continuing co-operation with Ostgut Ton, the label which is connected to Berlin’s Berghain like no other. The label’s about to take over Big Wheel Stage for four hours on Sunday – yes, there’s a Sunday at Big Wheel, folks. Melt say they will soon be announcing the Ostgut line-up.


Last but not least, there is a planned small but nice Dial Records homage at Big Wheel on Saturday. The full line-up reads as follows: Lawrence, John Roberts, Pawel & RNDM and Redshape presents Palisade (live).

All newly confirmed acts
Bodi Bill | Brandt Brauer Frick | Carte Blanche | Clock Opera | Console | Carl Craig & Radio Slave B2B | Crystal Fighters | Dial Records pres. Lawrence, John Roberts, Pawel & RNDM, Redshape pres. Palisade (live) | Digitalism (live) | DJ T. | Errors | Everything Everything | Gold Panda | Guy Gerber | Calvin Harris | Housemeister | Junior Boys (live) | Junip | Katy B | Les Savy Fav | Little Dragon | Metronomy | The Naked And Famous | Proxy | SBTRKT (live) | Sizarr (live) | Sizarr Soundsystem | Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs | White Lies

All confirmed acts so far
Âme (live) | Atari Teenage Riot | Bodi Bill | Gui Boratto | Boys Noize | Bpitch @ Sleepless Floor: Ellen Allien, Kiki, Chaim, Skinnerbox | Brandt Brauer Frick | Busy P | Carte Blanche | Clock Opera | Console | Carl Craig & Radio Slave B2B | Crystal Fighters | Cut Copy | DAF | Dial Records pres. Lawrence, John Roberts u. a. | Digitalism (live) | DJ T. | Errors | Everything Everything | Gold Panda | Guy Gerber | Calvin Harris | Housemeister | Isolée | Junior Boys (live) | Junip | Fritz Kalkbrenner | Paul Kalkbrenner | Katy B | Markus Kavka | The Koletzkis | Les Savy Fav | Little Dragon | Live At Robert Johnson @ Sleepless Floor: Roman Flügel, Arto Mwambe, Oliver Hafenbauer, Gerd Janson, Manuel Raven | Loco Dice | M.A.N.D.Y. | Metronomy| Miss Kittin | Modeselektor present Melt! Selektor | Monarchy | The Naked And Famous | Proxy | Pulp | Robyn | SBTRKT (live) | Sizarr (live) | Sizarr Soundsystem | The Streets | Tensnake | Total Confusion B2B2B – Tobias Thomas, Michael Mayer & Superpitcher | Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs | White Lies

3-day tickets are available only at There will be NO 1- or 2-day tickets available for Melt! Festival 2011.

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Stephan Bodzin Interview from ResidentAdvisor.Com

Reposted from ResidentAdvisor.Com

These days you’re more likely to find Stephan Bodzin in the clubs than in the studio, writes Jeremy Armitage.

Bremen producer Stephan Bodzin is standing in the middle of Club Moog in Barcelona surrounded by people – label people, hangers on, fans even. People wait their turn to chat. “Look at him,” says Oliver Huntemann, Bodzin’s DJ collaborator. “It’s always the same. Everywhere we go, everybody wants to talk to Stephan.”

And it seems Bodzin wants to talk to everyone right back. A bit of background might explain it. This is a man who has spent the best part of his life cloistered away in the studio making records, hundreds of them, although you wouldn’t know it because until 2005 none of them had his name stamped on them. But then he decided to do a Buttrich, stepping out from the shadows to make records on his own terms, this time under his own name. The response was immediate and overwhelming: here was a producer who had seemingly come out of nowhere (which actually wasn’t quite true: he’d come out of trance) that possessed that rare thing in dance music: a fully-formed sound of his own. If you hear a Bodzin track, you’ll immediately know who is behind it: the melodies, the Moog bass and the hissing hats are instant giveaways. People dubbed it – unfortunately for other producers in his hometown – ‘The Bremen Sound’. Bodzin also seemed able to churn out a record a week, most of them good. What resulted was pretty much instant fame.

All’s well that ends well, you’d think, but nowadays Bodzin has moved onto the second part of his grand plan. Last year, at the age of 36, he learned to DJ for the first time, and he’s also just put together a live show – not such a bad move in a world where even successful producers find it hard to subsist on mere royalties. But one look at Bodzin, beer in hand, happily chatting to the people in the club, and you sense another, more benign motive to new career move: This is a man who needed to bust out. If you’d been tinkering in studios since you were five, you’d want to get out of the house, too.

Finally it’s our turn to meet Bodzin, and his first move is to immediately buy us beers (Bravo. He’s obviously getting this new partying thing down pat). He’s very willing to chat, but I manage just a couple of questions: “Did you choose this club because it was called Moog?” “Yeah, kind of,” he whispers before being dragged away by another well wisher. Soon he’s up on stage preparing his gear, and when his set cranks up it becomes obvious just how much he’s enjoying this second life as a performer. And it’s very much a performance: Behind his space-age controllers, Bodzin seems determined to make the party jump around through sheer willpower alone – white-gloved (?) fists pumping, he dances as hard as anyone in the room – and while the result is still a work in progress in terms of flow, what Bodzin lacks in club experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. Later Huntemann takes over and the room finds a more even groove (“He’s been a DJ for twenty years now” Bodzin explains), with Bodzin in the box egging his labelmate on as the night settles in for a party. Chances of getting an interview tonight: slim to none.

So we make our appointments, and call Bodzin on press day.

How are you feeling, Stephan?

[gravelly voice] Uhhh, I’m really hungover. And I’ve got four interviews today… 

You’re sounding a bit more, er, subdued than when we saw you at Moog…

Yeah, I’m not this kind of cool, minimal, relaxed DJ. No, that’s not me. I’m into the music. I love the music. I don’t need drugs to jump around. I have a few beers always but that’s it. I have to move to it. That’s what I’m producing for, to make people dance and have fun. 

I was surprised in Barcelona because that night drew quite an electro crowd. But your sound doesn’t necessarily fit into that. It’s not quite techno, but not quite electro either…

It’s techno. 

So how did you manage to come up with it? It’s so recognizable…

What happened was that I’d decided to take a break from producing. I didn’t touch music for a whole two years after around 2002 or so. I needed to regroup. Me and Oliver Huntemann had been doing Kaycee and other stuff in the nineties and I’d kind of come to the end of the line with it. So I just stopped doing music completely and tried to figure out what I really wanted to do. And then after two years, I just started producing again, but this time very intuitively and free of all the stuff that’s on the market and what other people play. And it just happened that the music I was making had a signature to it that somehow I’d created over the years. I didn’t have a plan or anything.

“I love James Holden as an artist. He’s a real freak. He’s eating music – I love that – and he’s spitting it out.”

So it’s true that you were making trance through the nineties?

Everybody wants to talk about that! 

It’s a very interesting history though. Maybe it explains something about your present sound. 

Well, me and Oliver Huntemann were involved in a lot of projects. I don’t like to talk about it too much. I’m really ashamed of it actually. No, it’s part of my life and you have to get where you are somehow so finally I think I reached something that I’m quite satisfied with right now.

What do you think about that kind of music now?

There’s a big market for it. There are some big guys working on that but it’s definitely not what I want to do anymore. I did that for a long time and was quite successful, but I broke with that and I’m pretty sure I will never go back to that again. But the love of melodies and synths has stayed with me I think.

Someone else who came from trance but broke with it is James Holden, and he doesn’t like to talk about it either. Do you like his music?

I love his music. I can’t actually play any of his tracks when I DJ, but I love James Holden as an artist. He’s a real freak. He’s really into his stuff. He’s eating music – I love that – and he’s spitting it out just like it comes. It’s cool really, somehow.

Stephan Bodzin at Moog, Barcelona

Hands in Gloves: “Because I am Michael Jackson,” 
– Stephan Bodzin.

Do you remember how many records you’ve made over the last year or two?

[Thinks for a long time] Fifty? I’m not quite sure. A lot. After that two years off, I went through a really manic period in the studio. I would get up at seven in the morning and then make music until twelve o’clock at night. It just felt really liberating to make exactly the kind of music that I wanted. I’d have an idea and get it down, then another idea… 

What kind of music were you listening to when you were growing up?

I was definitely listening to early electronic stuff between five and ten years old. My father was a big fan of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze and all that stuff in the seventies. He had a big studio with all these original synths and analogue stuff, all the Moogs and the Arp modular systems. So that’s what I grew up with. I was turning knobs when my friends were playing football. My father showed me everything about those synths. In a way I feel that I’ve come full circle back to that situation, you know?

Are the Moog sounds in your music analogue?

No, they’re done with soft synths, which is better because they actually stay in tune. And you can program them. But I do really respect guys like Âme who get such a great sound with just analogue, but that’s not the way for me. I’m not a purist about gear.

Have you ever done anything else besides make music?

Actually, no. When I was a lot younger, I produced different styles of music such as theatre scores and some classical stuff. I had a piano education. But I’ve never known anything else other than music. I’ve been living with and from music for as long as I can remember. I just can’t imagine another kind of life. Maybe when I’m older I’ll get into some other stuff, but I just can’t imagine that now.

You said that after Rekorder 10, you wanted to take a break from producing and concentrate on DJing and playing live for a while. Is that still the plan?

Yeah. You know, everything has gone so very fast the last six months. I started DJing last February so everything is really fresh. Sometimes it’s strange for me to see that there are fans, you know? I’m happy with that, and it’s a real adrenaline rush, but they are real fans. I meet a lot of people who say, “Cool to meet you. You’re my man.” I respect that. But I still need to get used to it.

Have you ever been a fan yourself?

I guess when I was really young, like ten or twelve, I was a fan of some heavy metal stuff like Motorhead. There’s always been amazing music out there, but no, I’m not the type to be a real fan.

Did you learn to mix just recently?

Yes! I’d always had some turntables in the studio but I never used them. They were Oliver Huntemann’s. I mixed my first two records in 2006. In February, I stopped producing for two months and worked on my DJ skills for eight hours a day for two months. That was quite fast. But I had bookings a few months before I had even mixed my first record so I was really afraid of the first gigs. But for me, DJing was kind of a discovery of a new way of life. Now I can’t imagine life without it. Playing live and DJing is big, big fun.

What were the first two records you mixed together?

I guess it was some Rekorder stuff because I know them very well (laughs). I think I started with them.

“I had bookings a few months before I had even mixed my first record.”

Do you remember your first DJ gig?

It was in Hamburg in a very small club to about four hundred people. I was shaking like crazy. I remember that. I played four hours and it was a crazy party – really fucked up! But I was afraid. It took me six minutes to beatmatch each record, and even then they were just short mixes. But then I really got into it last year. Now everything is working perfectly and I’ve had so many gigs as a DJ. It’s cool.

Has DJing made you think more about how a DJ uses your music?

Yes, sure. Now I can hear if a DJ has been in the studio, if the track is easy to handle or if for example there’s an ending or a spot that you just can’t mix. When I’m making records, I won’t do that anymore. DJing also definitely changed the way I produce because you get the response at the club, which track is running well and why and where. That’s very good information for the week. 

Which do you prefer? DJing, producing or playing out live?

I guess I prefer DJing, playing live and then producing. It’s a tough question to answer as my answer always changes. I’m very into my live set now – I’m working on a big show for 2008, which is really exciting. I’m looking for new and strange equipment for a more futuristic show, like a body touch controller so I can touch my arms and have drums or something like that. And some infrared controllers around the stage so I can run around and have some sounds and lights or whatever. I think next year will be great fun. I also need a better stage dance!

But on the other hand, I haven’t produced a track now for maybe four weeks now. I can’t remember the last time I did that. So I’m really looking forward to my next studio session. And today I bought about twenty records so I’m also looking forward to my next DJ gig because I can play them. I have been listening to them all day. So I really love all of those three sides of my life.

Is one of them easier than the other?

DJing is easiest. That is really partying, too – not just hard work. When I play live I need to carry the equipment and do soundchecks, and deal with trouble with the stages. And also with airlines sometimes it’s really hard work. The studio is definitely work too. You have to work on the DJ thing too, but it’s quite a bit more fun.

Are you stopping some of your collaborations now?

Yes, we finished the production of Rekorder. We will close the project and the label forever so I feel very lucky and proud. Definitely proud.

Which is your favourite Rekorder? I like number six a lot.

Yes, I like it too. I’ve been playing it for a long time but actually my favourite is the zero. It’s a secret somehow. It’s really floor-smashing. We just produced it a few weeks ago and that’s my favourite. But I haven’t stopped producing with Marc Romboy – I only stopped producing with Thomas Schumacher and Elektrochemie, which I did for a few years. They want to be a full time project so I just decided to stop because I need more time for me to do my own stuff. I couldn’t work day and night. But I’m still working from time to time with Marc Romboy and Oliver Huntemann.

Your collaborations with Oliver Huntemann and Thomas Schumacher are more electro, but the tracks with Marc Romboy seem a little housier.

Yes, somehow it’s deeper and a bit housey. It all depends on the guy who you’re in the studio with. Marc Romboy always brings a very deep influence to the music. I love the way he’s hearing and working with music. But for me, I need to do different kinds of music. As long as it’s electronic and I can play it.

Finally, many other DJs and producers namecheck your releases but which producers do you rate?

There are so many good producers out there. Where can I start? For the last year, one of the bigger producers is definitely Booka Shade, who made all this Get Physical stuff. Walter is actually the one and only producer there – he’s been producing so many artists. I also love Radio Slave. And I love the new, reborn Josh Wink – he’s such a great producer. 

Radio Slave’s a bit like yourself in that he’s a bit of a production machine.

Yeah, unfortunately I haven’t met him yet. But I would really like to say hello and (giggles) be a bit of a fan.

Categories: Uncategorized

Adam X Traversable Wormhole Interview via Little White Earbuds

That Brooklyn’s Adam Mitchell might actually need this introduction is a reflection of the often fickle and fashionable nature of techno. Now based in Berlin, he ran the legendary Sonic Groove record store in his home city in the nineties before eventually founding a record label bearing the same name, pushing harder and darker techno sounds. At the turn of the millennium, Adam turned his ear towards industrial and EBM music, fashioning a techno-industrial fusion that was all his own. Unfortunately, loud and banging techno quickly went out of style and Mr. X was left with dwindling sales and a floundering record label. But with the prominence of the Berghain and its label outlet Ostgut-Ton, Mitchell found solace in the club’s preference, for, of course, loud and banging techno.

Then he had an idea. Inspired by what he heard at Berghain, Mitchell produced a number of dance floor-friendly tracks, and released them anonymously as Traversable Wormhole in a vinyl-only series, much like his contemporary Shed as EQD and WAX. The tracks were picked up by big-name techno DJs and the fires of hype spread quickly, proving that at least part of what you need to succeed in techno was obscure your identity. Now at the tail-end of a prolific and inspiring reissue campaign on Chris Liebing’s CLR label, and riding an immense wave of positive publicity directed towards the Traversable Wormhole project, Adam X is ready to be just Adam X again. Adam’s is a fascinating story of identity politics, personal reinvention, and career resuscitation, and he sat down with LWE for a revealing and surprisingly relaxed interview to explain the whole thing.

Thanks for taking the time to do this with us.

Adam Mitchell: I was doing a couple of written interviews in the last two weeks and they really get on my nerves because it takes me like seven hours to figure out what the fuck I’m going to say.

I know. They’re bad, they’re not fun.

Yeah, they’re not fun at all. And then you wind up saying the same thing in every one. I’m like, ‘Let me copy that and put that down.’ So yeah, feel free to ask what you wanna ask, and see if I won’t answer it.

So, speaking of saying the same things over and over again, I’m going to ask you a few general questions. First, just for background, how did Traversable Wormhole come about and what is the significance of the actual name?

Well how it really came about — I started to work on some music that I thought would work in the Berghain. I would go to Berghain and hear Marcel Dettman play and Ben Klock and the music I was making at the time, I didn’t really think a lot of it would fit in there. I was going so many times that I really wanted to do something that would play in this club at like seven in the morning, so I went home and I started working on some tracks and I got the first two tracks done. I think one of them is on number three — “Superliminal” was the first one that I did, and then “Tachyon” on volume two. Then I actually went to Function from Sandwell District; I mean he’s a close friend of mine for 15 years — I’m actually a roommate with him now in Berlin — and I was like ‘Check these out, maybe you’d be interested in doing this with the label.’ Now, I really didn’t know, Sandwell District was still building up at that point to, so it wasn’t clear if they were keeping it just to themselves or if they were going to put other artists on the label, but they wound up not really going for it. I had also played those tracks for Dasha Rush, ’cause I was supposed to do something with her for Fullpanda and she wanted to do it, but she didn’t have the money right there and then to put them out, and I was like, ‘Nah, I want to put these out now.’

I didn’t really want to put them put them out as Adam X because I thought people would just stigmatize me as usual. They’d be like, ‘This is hard rhythmic noise, EBM shit,’ you know? I really thought, ‘I gotta come up with another name’ and I think at the same time I was just reading some stuff on quantum physics and I saw the name Traversable Wormhole and was like, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty sick name.’ First thing that came to mind was, ‘Let me look this up on Discogs, because maybe Dopplereffekt used this on a track,’ [chuckles]because his stuff is always on quantum physics titles. But nothing came up anywhere. So then I thought, ‘Wow, this is cool, maybe I should do a white label thing,’ because at the same time I was playing in Scotland a bit. I was in Rubadub, the record shop, and I saw those Seldom Felt records and I was like ‘Wow, this looks cool,’ and I was trying to get the information on who did them and they wouldn’t tell me. I was like, ‘Whoa, this is some old school shit, some old school, white label, UK breakbeat shit from back in ‘91 when everybody was doing white labels.’ But you know there were only a few things I saw like that — and maybe the WAX records — and I thought, ‘This could be a cool way to sneak into the scene without people realizing who it is.’

It just felt like the time was right. I don’t know what it was, but I just knew that doing this, the time was right and I had enough material that I could come up with a couple of records quite quick to bam it out in people’s face, so that’s what I did. The first three records came out within four months. I also felt like it was easy to do it this way because the last stuff I was working on in the previous years was all album material, so I would sit down and I’d work on an album for several months at a time, but working on two tracks is easier, it’s just easier. I can do that in the space of a month. And that’s even a long time in today’s standards, I know people who can make tracks in a fucking day. But me, I like to take my time. So yeah, I had it pretty much all planned out. I have to say the whole project was probably the best planning I’ve ever done on anything, it really worked out 100% exactly how I wanted it to.

So you said you made them with tracks in mind instead of albums. Would you say the Traversable Wormhole more dance floor-oriented than Adam X albums, then?

Um, I would say a bit. I think as I was going on with them I had it in mind — though the broken beats tracks I really feel are good stuff to listen to at home as well — it’s a little more like mind fuck shit. I was never doing it with the idea of an album in mind. Then the CLR thing popped up and then I thought, ‘Wow, I could definitely combine all these tracks, there’s a theme to this.’ So, it was definitely different working in the studio compared to when I was working on the albums, which tended to be a little more conceptual. I would work on an album and I would be like, ‘Alright, let me make something a little bit deeper for the intro part of the album.’ There was a lot more thought process, maybe do a little more tracks with vocals – this was a little more liberating. I didn’t have a lot of pressure to really try and squeeze this in on anything. I just was going for a more of a stripped-down sound to what the Adam X sound is. I don’t think it’s far off, like Traversable Wormhole is definitely not far off from my State of Limbo album as far as sound design. It’s just a little bit more stripped – that’s how I would split up the two projects.

Why did you choose to make it vinyl only? Weren’t you worried that it wouldn’t get out there, or were you not concerned with that?

Well, you know what it is? Digital’s a weird market, first of all, because if you do something anonymous digitally it’s really hard for people to pick up on it, like via artwork. You can’t do any special packaging that grabs people’s attention. I do a lot of my shopping on Juno and there’s just so many releases on there. I like Juno because you can search for vinyl and digital at the same time so I like to see what’s digital and what’s vinyl. Even though I sound like a hypocrite and I’m definitely hypocritical ’cause years ago I had a totally different view on the digital vs. vinyl market, but now I feel like the digital market is so flooded that 90% of the good stuff is gonna come out on vinyl. If it’s not on vinyl, you’re probably not going find the same amount of good stuff on digital – it’s just not going to happen.

I think, before, people were struggling to put out good techno records, distribution companies didn’t want to carry proper techno because minimal was the market. I had this problem with Sonic Groove. I would try to put out records by Kim Rapatti from Finland, who’s been around for twenty years, and I can barely get any money to make any copies of it because it just wasn’t the sound at that time. Everybody wanted minimal techno, the distributors, that what’s they wanted to push, that’s what they were comfortable with selling. They didn’t want to sit on any records that they thought wouldn’t sell. So it forced people like me to put out digital only releases. I did some stuff from REALMZ, who’s a guy from Pittsburg, digital-only. I, as a DJ, definitely went digital in 2004 ’cause I really couldn’t find harder-edged techno music [on vinyl]. People were like, ‘How can you play digital when you owned a record shop for 15 years?’ Well, these distributors don’t want to support techno and this is my way of saying, ‘fuck you’ to that. I’m going to play music from the industrial scene in my sets that I think is very techno-oriented, and I’m gonna have an edge that other people don’t have using Serato with this kind of music, and that’s what I had to do. So I kind of stuck to the digital thing for a while.

Then the digital market just got so flooded and I was really having a hard time just sifting through everything, especially on a lot of websites. Everybody putting their digital stuff up that’s not even mastered, I downloaded these tracks I thought sounded good then they’re not even mastered, they sound like shit. I noticed that a shift to techno started to come back, and I was like, ‘Maybe vinyl is the better way now, because it’s less people and the people who are doing this are more passionate about it from an artistic point of view. To see 300, 500, 700 records, that’s not really a lot of money, so the people that are doing this are really doing this out of a passion for this ‘art’ thing. I just thought that Traversable Wormhole would be cool to come out on vinyl-only. I didn’t really have intentions of doing digital, I just kept the door open with it, but I didn’t want to do it right away. It feels a little hypocritical because of my stance and what I went through before, but now I think when I see everything, when I go shopping on Juno and I’m looking at all the vinyl, I’d prefer to see all the vinyl stuff without the digital. And then I listen to everything and I’m like, ‘Wow, there’s just so many better records out now, the market’s not just flooded with a lot of garbage.’ I can go through a lot of techno on Juno and find a lot of good music pretty quickly. It’s something I couldn’t do five years ago.

I don’t think it’s hypocritical. When the times change, you have to change with them.

I guess that’s true, but I’m hypocritical in the sense that I still play with Serato. So if I was a Traversable Wormhole and with Traversable Wormhole I would have to probably buy the vinyl… I mean, I’m not even that good at ripping vinyl that well. I never get it to sound the way I really want it to sound. I usually get my other friends to do it for me. That’s where I’m really hypocritical ’cause I’m not really buying vinyl. I’m not hypocritical, ’cause I have 10,000 records in my collection, I haven’t sold my records off. I think I’ve sold enough vinyl in my life that no one can bitch me out about it. I’m still supporting the vinyl, and I’m still supporting the movement with Sonic Groove and by pushing the label and pushing vinyl records on every release. I feel Serato is actually, using the turntable with the pitch control, keeping the turntables around. I’m not a beat-mapping DJ, it’s not my thing. That’s where I’m at with all that, the digital and the vinyl.

So how did the project build momentum, and were you surprised to the reaction that came about?

Yeah, it’s been really exciting even up until now, it’s still amazingly exciting for me. I kind of predicted a little bit that it would do well. I really felt, especially after the first one, that it would work. Now my friend, Dietrich Schoenemann, who does Protyotpe 909, he presses my label. He presses Sonic Groove and Traversable Wormhole. He was like, ‘Well you’re just going for this industrial ticket.’ I was like, ‘Listen I have this plan with Traversable Wormhole. We gotta do this, I want to do three records, we should start with 200 copies each and we see where they go.’ When the first one sold out straight away he pressed more. Number two was crazy, there was a hype on it by the time it came out, I wasn’t really expecting it to move that fast. Then it was number three, people went back and bought more of number one and number two. I was pretty shocked. I was a little confused about how quickly to reveal it was me. I definitely wanted to reveal it was me. I never had a plan to stay totally anonymous. For me it was more of a joke in a way. I just wanted to catch people off guard, all the people who kind of slept on me over the years.

When I saw this thing on Twitter, I was doing a Traversable Wormhole Google search and I saw Chris Liebing was talking about the records on Twitter, so that’s what made me approach him in Berghain. I know Chris and I haven’t seen Chris and I said, ‘Hey man, I hear you like these Traversable Wormhole records.’ He’s like, ‘Who’s doing these fucking records? They’re amazing. I don’t even play vinyl and I had to buy all four of them from Juno.’ Under my breath I’m laughing and I’m trying to keep a straight face. And then he turns around and says, ‘Why are you asking me this question? You haven’t seen me in years and this is what you’re asking me? Is this you?’ Then I tried to deny it, but he got it out of me and then he was like, ‘These are amazing, why haven’t you put these out on your own name?’ ‘Because people like you wouldn’t play them.’ And he’s like, ‘No, that’s not true. I play your industrial stuff.’ ‘No, you played my industrial stuff, but I don’t think you play that stuff now.’ That’s how it all came about.

It was really trying to remove the stigma around me, and for me it was kind of a running joke as it was getting bigger. All of a sudden places that I wanted to play that I couldn’t get booked in, people were starting to contact me via Myspace to book me and they don’t know it’s me so I’m pushing them off to a booking agent. A few people knew the whole time, like Hard Wax, the guys from Rubadub and Function. People who are very close to me. But everybody kept it very under wraps, nobody ratted me out. I’d say around number four, number five, I started wanted to reveal myself, but even Philipp from Pullproxy, he was telling me, ‘Nah nah, just wait it a little more, just keep ridin’ it, keep going with it.’ Then at number five, I thought the time was right. At that point it was time to come out and reveal myself. And it worked perfectly with the way I did it, ’cause I didn’t want to do a flashy announcement. My friend Finn, who writes for Resident Advisor, wanted to do this Playing Favourites feature on Adam X and I figured I would make a subtle mention in the RA feature that it was me. I swear within an hour of it being posted it was already listed on Discogs. So that’s how that all built up and it’s been a good ride man, it’s been fun.

Do you think it was successful because of the anonymity factor, or because of the timing? Do you think it could have been as successful five or six years ago as it was last year?

Um, no it definitely wouldn’t have been as big five or six years ago. The time wasn’t right, man. I mean Berghain: I’m very vocal about Berghain because I live in Berlin, I’ve spent a lot of time in that club and I really, I haven’t been to many clubs in my life that I feel have changed the sound of music. They open people up to something different. People were going to Berlin in 2007/2008, going to all the minimal parties, and here you have this club where they play house upstairs and when you’re downstairs they never play minimal and the experience of going to this club and hearing techno in there, even if you didn’t like techno so much where you were into minimal, it could easily convert you very, very quickly, just the atmosphere of this room.

For me it wasn’t very far off from my roots of what I grew up with. They were playing industrial sounds in there with techno, and they play a lot of classic techno, a lot of music which used to play back in the ’90s. I think this was a turning point for the techno scene and because of that, and because minimal was dying out, it was just the right time for all of this and people were looking for something new. I believe the overly hyped imagery of these top DJs who are acting like rock stars and not really putting out great music anymore.  These people know who they are, I don’t need to mention names. These artists used to be on top of their game but they gave it up for the big money for their DJing rather than sitting down in the studio and making some proper new shit. I think the techno people got sick of that, and now that they were seeing a lot of these anonymous records coming out and a lot of the people that were buying these records, probably a lot of them were back from the old school and were intrigued by this. Maybe it was the… I can’t really even explain it in words. It was like a renaissance period. That period, when Traversable Wormhole started coming out and all these white labels were coming out, it was like it was in the early ’90s when it was sort of faceless and there wasn’t a lot of information and the music sort of spoke for itself. That’s been lacking in the music for a very long time – there’s too much information about music and now anyone can out information on an artist or a release in a touch of a keystroke.

It seems that techno’s been a little more defined and everybody’s doing their own thing. My label, you have a lot of new guys that come onto the scene. Not new guys, but people that are really getting it like Perc, and Lucy from Stroboscopic. There’s a lot of people, but I like it ’cause everyone’s a family right now, everybody is working with each other – it’s a really community-based thing that’s going on with techno right now. For me, personally, it’s probably the best it’s been in 15 years for the scene, for techno music.

Do you feel like the new market for this dark, booming techno, the old school techno as you call it, is a resurrection, or a necessary re-route?

I don’t really feel it’s a resurrection as much as it’s something new. I think for a lot of people it’s probably new. I mean, there are people who haven’t been into it for 15 years. I think it’s a natural progression to hear harder music in a night club. I never really figured out how minimal got so big, man — that’s not music for peak time in the night. For me that was always after hours music. For me that was music that I wanted to make for my morning sets, I never really understood how the minimal thing came back. And I think this techno thing is coming back because people want to dance together. I dunno, maybe people want a little bit more of a full-on experience when they’re out. Even with something like ketamine, and K is not a big drug anymore, I don’t know. [laughs] I don’t really know how the minimal thing got so huge for so many years and hard techno went into the cracks. It’s 2010 now and I think techno is back and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon, and I think there’s a lot more passion with the producers that are making this music. It’s going to be here to stay for a while.

Do you feel that the reissue series on CLR adds anything to the Traversable Wormhole story or narrative?

Do I feel they fit? That’s a really good question. If I had to break them down, I would say Function’s remix is the closest to the Wormhole sound, and Surgeon’s remix, ’cause they’re both really deep and they’re mental. But I have to say that I really like what James Ruskin did with “Tachyon.” He really used a lot of the original sounds and he warped it out, it trips me out when I listen to that remix. I dunno, they all are kind of special. Marcel Dettmann’s mix was killer, man. It was ferocious.

It’s great!

Yeah, it’s so intense. That’s more like an Adam X thing, you know. I mean, I like Peter Van Hoesen’s mix of “When 2D Meets 3D.” It’s really kind of spatial. I think everybody came through; Tommy Four Seven definitely kept the original intact. Fixmer’s mix and Brian Sanhaji, I mean I really like all the mixes. The only one that I felt really strayed away from my sound a lot was Kevin Gorman. It doesn’t sound like anything from me, but it’s a really good song, it’s really well done. But if I listen to it, I can’t really tell what he remixed from me. That’d be the one that was furthest away from the project, I would say. The rest, they’re all good.

So why did you end the series with an album? Isn’t that a contradiction to the white label vinyl-only releases?

Well, I’m sort of an album artist, so it was like, I like putting out albums. There’s a different market for that, and also, really, I want to make sure that the industrial people and the EBM people who have supported my last albums are aware of this project. I had my other project, ADMX-71 that’s done very well in the industrial scene. The album called Luminous Vapours on Hands is really like a downtempo album of Traversable Wormhole [tracks]. I did the music before Traversable Wormhole, but if you listen to that album you can definitely hear where the birth of Traversable Wormhole was coming from, along with the album I mentioned before, State of Limbo. I wanted to get this into that scene, and the industrial scene is a very album-oriented market and that was really my main goal with it. Initially I was talking to some friends in the industrial scene about releasing it as a CD in the industrial scene. It was something that I had in mind for the whole time actually.

So it’s safe to say that you’re a believer in the technoalbum, then.

Yeah, man. I believe in the album format still. I dunno if it’s something that could be really be pulled off these days. I think the only way to only pull a successful album off online is to market it at a cheaper price. If you go on sites like Beatport and Juno, I mean I wouldn’t quote me on the albums because I don’t really look at full-length albums, as of recent. I think if you want to download a 12-track album, you’re paying 13-14 dollars, or 10-11 euros to download an album for just digital files. If you do an album, it might be cool to market an album like 12 tracks, like 6 euros or 7 bucks and make it affordable so that the people buy the album as a package and listen to the album from beginning to end as it’s designed by the artist. We used to buy a CD or vinyl record, you’d listen to it even if you didn’t like one of the tracks, you’d still want to check it out as a conceptual thing. I think when it’s digital-only these days, they’re taking the tracks they like and are missing the whole album, the artistic album point. You know? This is a problem in this day and age if you want to sit down and write an album. It’s tough. You don’t want to write something and have this whole conceptual idea and then people are like, ‘Oh I like track two and track five,’ and they never really give the rest of the tracks a solid listen. I think that if the digital sites made a cheaper package, it would work. I guess I ‘m still a little old school in my way of thinking with all that.

Why end the series on CLR and not your own label Sonic Groove?

Marketing, getting it out to more people. I want my voice to be heard. I’ve been struggling for my voice to be heard for a long time and people were kicking me to the curb, kicking the man down, stigmatizing me. ‘Oh, he’s not into techno anymore, he’s into that industrial stuff. He’s probably wearing black eyeliner or black nail polish or some shit.’ I mean, some of the shit I heard from people! I was going more to industrial parties, I didn’t want to go stand around to minimal techno music, and because of that, people started to stigmatize me. They’d see me around a lot, they’d see me wearing black all the time. ‘Oh, he’s not one of these happy people.’ I guess I felt like when I was with the label and I wanted to put techno records out, no one was listening, so this was my way of making people listen. I had to do what I had to do, doing it anonymously and having Chris put it out I thought was a great move for getting my music out there more. I want some recognition for what I’ve done for 20 years on the music production level. People have always given me respect for having the shop and doing the label but I don’t want to be one of these guys, ‘Oh yeah back in the day, these guys they were the shit.’ Sometimes people come up to me and they’re like, ‘You’re a legend’, and I’m like ‘A legend of what?’

I don’t play around the world, I’m not playing out every night of the week. People aren’t writing about me innovating the techno scene. I’ve been around 20 years, it’s been cool, but ‘legend’ is a little over the top. For me, I just want to get a little more recognition for my music production ’cause I felt I’ve never really had that recognition. A lot of the other people who grew up with me, all the people who I’m friends with, people who just came up after me go and for me, this is why I did this this way and I’m happy with it. If I die tomorrow and go to my grave, at least people finally heard my voice through my music. That’s the plan.

Do you feel like with this last series, that you have a bit more recognition than you do before, with new fans and new narrative surrounding yourself?

Oh yeah, this has been absolutely the pivotal moment of my career on the music production tip. Did I play more gigs in the ’90s? Probably. At that point in the late ’90s, the U.S. rave scene was booming, then I was going to Europe and I was playing multiple times a week. I haven’t gotten back up to that point yet, but to be honest with you, I don’t know if I even want to do that. I don’t really like traveling all that much, I like doing gigs but I like doing really good gigs and you know, I don’t have to travel two times a weekend. It’s just, it’s for me, it’s just getting the music out there and having more people hear my music than ever before, that’s what’s most important to me. It’s not about money, it’s just about getting my art out to more people, I really look at what I do as a really creative artistic thing. Like my painting graffiti for 25 years, I like my graffiti to be seen as well. It is what it is for me when it comes to doing my art. Just getting it out there for people to hear or for people to see.

So are you going to be Adam X solely from here on out?

I’m not going to reveal any information on that, but there was a volume six and seven on Traversable Wormhole right? I’m also focusing back on Adam X as well, it’s time; and then I’m also going to go back and do another ADMX-71 album, because I think for me that was actually one of the most liberating and exciting projects I’d ever recorded. I felt so unconstrained writing that album that I just made what I wanted to make and I want to do that again ’cause that was a lot of fun. Traversable Wormhole gets a little a stressy. If I make the next one, you know, there’s a lot of pressure to make sure that next one is good, right? I also want to do some other stuff where there’s no pressure. But there should be more Traversable Wormhole coming.

Did Traversable Wormhole influence your sound as Adam X at all, because I feel that your release on Prologue is different from the other Adam X stuff, it’s more techno as opposed to the industrial EBM kind of stuff.

I think in general, I’m making a little bit more of a techno comeback. I don’t think with that one, I don’t think it sounds anything like Traversable Wormhole, maybe the B-side a little bit but the A definitely not. The A is very industrial and reminds me of some old EBM stuff, like some of the drums and stuff. I don’t think that the 12″ on Prologue is really that much different from the State of Limbo stuff I was doing. Yeah, I mean it’s a little bit, but that’s also me as a producer getting better with using digital stuff. Just getting a cleaner sound, you know? I’m definitely more about a cleaner type of sound these days, but that’s just part of the natural progression. You look at the Prologue record and then six months prior, I had the record out with Ancient Methods. The Ancient Methods that I did with them is definitely in the industrial rhythmic noise vein that I was doing before.

I wanted to do a record for Prologue, and he asked me about doing something for them and I didn’t want to do a Traversable Wormhole thing, but I didn’t think I could do something as hard as what I did with Ancient Methods. I was actually going to do something deeper than that and then I heard the Dino Sabatini records and I was like, ‘Mmm, this is really industrial. I can make some shit like this, this is cool.’ Clean techno, industrial sounds. Dino Sabatini’s shit is amazing. He’s got a record coming out on my label next, I love his shit. It’s great. So when I did the thing for Prologue, I would definitely say his records were a little bit of an inspiration.

So what kind of sound are you going to be pushing with Sonic Groove? Will it be any different than before?

I never like to pigeonhole the label. In the past, I was always doing very different stuff, you never knew what to expect. You’d do an electro record, like a proper electro record — of course not that electro house garbage. You’d do something, maybe I’d put out an old school classic with remixes, or you know, put out a a solid techno record, or an industrial record. Right now I think I’m going to stick a little bit more to what I’m playing and what I’m really into at the moment, which is just really solid, hard industrial techno. What I’m doing now is what I wanted to do four years ago, but I couldn’t. If you ever go online and listen to digital only releases from REALMZ, that’s on Sonic Groove, you could see that I actually wanted to do this stuff before, but I couldn’t get any distributors to take it. This is kind of what the Berghain sound is right now.

Now that people are into this sound I can actually do it now on Sonic Groove and it’s working. I can do it on vinyl now. This is why I put the REALMZ record out this year. That was his first vinyl release after doing three digital things for me. So I’m definitely going to stay in this vein for a while, I’m not really listening to a lot of other stuff right now stylistically. I’m very happy right now. If techno met industrial, it’s where I want to be and it’s where I’ve wanted to be for 10 years. I’m going to stick in this kind of arena right now, that we’re kind of in.

Do you dislike the trend oriented movement of techno, or is it just the way it is for you? Do you accept it?

For me, like I’ve said, I’ve been pushing the rhythmic, noise, industrial techno shit for 10 years. So for me, whatever’s happening now might be a trend for other people, but it ain’t a trend for me. While everyone was playing all the little minimal gigs and making all their little money and running around every weekend, and I was stuck at home because I couldn’t get any bookings because I was sticking by my guns and I was putting out vinyl records, like you know, “Europa Power Electron Industries,” which is straight up techno, the hard shit that’s coming out now and people were not paying attention. Now people pay attention.

I think for some it’s trendiness, but to be honest with you I notice with a lot of people who are making music like Perc and Lucy and people like Surgeon and Regis, a lot of these people have industrial backgrounds already and I mean, they’re into it not as a trend. I feel like a lot of the producers who are making this stuff, Dasha Rush has got an industrial, experimental, noise background. They’re all very passionate about what they’re doing, so I don’t think from an artist’s perspective that a lot of the people who are hot on the scene right now are doing “trendy” yet. I think a lot of people are going to jump in this scene, but I think the people who are doing it right now will know what’s up and won’t really support that, actually.

What role do you think the Internet plays right now, especially in your previous success over the past two years; do you think the Internet played any role in that?

Oh yeah, mnml ssgs was definitely very good for me. They put a Twitter message out asking if anybody knew who I was. The people of Rubadub relayed that message back and I emailed anonymously. When they put that mix up for me on mnml ssgs back in July of 2009, that did huge things for the project. That made a really big dent, that really opened up a lot more people to it. I think all these blogs — such as you guys — and all the stuff, it’s great, it’s been a great movement for techno because again the industry was very controlled not only by the distributors, but by what the magazines said. The printed magazines, they were dictating the scene for so many years and the blogs like you guys and mnml ssgs in Australia, and all these blogs in different regions have really helped the music out immensely. It’s a source of information if you want to find out about new stuff or you want to find out about artists that you like. So it’s a major, major role.

I know you’ve had problems with record sales, just due to not being able to sell music in the first place because it’s not fashionable; how do you feel about file sharing on the Internet? Do you think it impacts the music negatively, or it’s just the way it is?

I’m probably as guilty as the next person [laughs]. I think we’ve all stolen something online, whether it’s watching some movies that you’re not supposed to be, you know, and I mean, I’d be a hypocrite to download a movie and say, or you know, a director made that movie but I just fucking downloaded it, he’s not making his money. I think it’s evil where people that never want to spend money on music at all. You know the worst is the people who download all the music for free that always want to get on a guest list for a party. That’s the worst. If you’re downloading all your music for free, at least pay the promoters to get in so the promoters are making the money so they can continue to book underground artists — especially in the techno scene, where it’s a really small scene and the promoters are really not making a lot of money. If the people would just go out and support the parties by paying to get in, it would really help all the artists get gigs more. It would help more parties. Then maybe the artists wouldn’t be so grumpy about their music being downloaded for free, because I think most of us are more interested the gigs than really worrying about making a shitload of money on the downloads. It’s a really tough debate. It’s a hard debate because I definitely think [purchasing music] helps, which is another reason why I like physical formats. You know there will be always the collectors who really appreciate it. Even if I ever had children, giving my kids like, ‘Hey, here’s my hard drive of all my music from when I was young.’ I don’t see anything special in that. It’s a tough debate on that one.

It’s complicated for sure. I guess my final question for you is just what’s happening in 2011, for Adam X?

2011. I live day-to-day man, I dunno. [laughs] You know, I’m the guy who loves techno in the future, but I think as I’ve gotten older you don’t really want to look into the future as far ’cause you feel like there’s not so much future left. [laughs] So you kind of just enjoy every day like your last, in a sense. I don’t really think too far in the future. I can think a few months at a time, but I don’t really think super far in the future. I think I let the music do that. When I write futuristic music, I’m not thinking about me in the future, I’m thinking about the future of the world, but when it comes to me, I’m more day-to-day. Maybe next month, two months, but not long-term. I’ll definitely be making a lot of music. Under what names, one’s an anonymous project I might be doing. [laughs] I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of music production, I mean I’m always working on stuff. And you know, playing gigs and doing that. The same as I’m doing now, pretty much and hopefully more, you know. We’ll see.

You said you might do more anonymous releases. Do you feel the fact that you might have to do anonymous releases, or that it works in the way it does, are you cynical about that at all, or do you enjoy doing that? Is that just part of the fun?

I think if I was to do another anonymous project, it would probably just be the music I’d want to do, that I don’t want anybody to know… it wouldn’t be the way I did it with Traversable Wormhole. It’d be more like, put some music out that isn’t really relevant to what I actually produce, because I write a lot of different stuff now. I’m always making different types of music. I mean I like so many styles of electronic music from over the years. I’m sitting on a lot of really cool broken beat electro tracks that I’ve never done anything with. And maybe I would actually not even put it out anonymously. I might just make another name up and say it’s me, I don’t really know. It depends, sometimes I go back to some of my stuff from a while ago, and I’m like ‘Shit, I never put this out, this is really good, maybe I should do something with it.’ So you never know.


Reposted from

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Blawan Mix from Sonic Router

Were really enjoying Blawans recent releases while perhaps not strictly speaking “Techno” We felt we had to push this guys stuff out its that sharp.

Check this tune

Now the Blawan Mix

INTERVIEW: Blawan [Hessle Audio] – Reposted from Sonic Router

One such dude we felt compelled to push, is Blawan. The Hessle Audio backed producer – his debut 12” on the label ‘Fram’ b/w ‘Iddy’ was released recently – has a strong and rugged approach to his drum lines; a similarity he shares with label mate Joe and to a lesser extent – given this player’s more dancefloor centric wanderings of late, Ramadanman. Making tonal wanderings simply from his selected percussion he booms out bass stabs on ‘Iddy’ rollocking through the beat’s progression with whispered layers of phrase and machine hum atmospherics plucked straight from the bows of dystopian warships and the winding lead synth on ‘Fram’ could have been taken straight out of Kode 9’s ‘Black Sun’ era. It’s simply the way he cracks out his drum loops that grabbed our attention, subtle snaps of snare drum piquing through the top end perfectly.

We caught up with the South Yorkshireman between train journeys, giving him the opportunity to further introduce himself and his music ahead of his forthcoming date at fabric for the Hessle Audio takeover…

Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?

Blawan: For starters I am not Ben UFO despite the kind rumors. My name is Jamie, I am a DJ/Producer originally from the cultural melting pot that is Barnsley and I recently had my debut release on Hessle Audio.

Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?

On the daily, I drink a lot of tea, don’t finish tunes, delete ones that I have finished and get easily distracted…

How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do so?

Like a lot of people, school really got me into music. I went to a pretty rough school that thanks to Labour’s deprived schools policy had mint facilities, so I started playing drums at the age of 10. I first got into making electronic music on a dodgy version of Fruity Loops when I was 15 but didn’t really get serious about making tunes until I was about 18. Prior to the Hessle Audio release I had a pretty random musical background. I used to drum in a couple of bands playing like post-punk stuff as well as making dance tunes, and just muddled it along until now.

What’s your production set up like? What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?

My set-up is pretty simple, I run Ableton Live, midi controllers and some decent monitors… oh and some nice flat response headphones and that’s really it. My favorite bit of kit has to be my Ozone 4 plugin; it’s a sweet all rounder.

Where do you take inspiration from when making music? And how did you get into this current flux of dubstep?

Erm, that’s a hard question, I’ve always found it hard to pin point what inspires me to make a tune and to be honest I still don’t really know. I think trying to keep my mind occupied when making a tune helps, as I find makings tunes when am bored rarely has a decent outcome or it ends up turning out as some weird jacking house thing.

I got into dubstep around late 2004/5. Before this, mates from Sheffield used to send me their badly recorded vinyl rips of Big Apple releases and old garage tunes and things just carried on down the usual routes from there really. I’ve also always had a passion for house music and think that’s had a big impact on me musically. The tune that really pushed me to think I wasn’t just making some weird garage type music was Pangaea’s ‘You & I’ (HES006). The vibe caught me perfectly, it’s still easily my favorite tune to date.

How would you describe your sound? You’ve got this proper tough percussion going on that drives everything… is the rhythm a main focus for you when making tunes?

Honestly, if I could just make drum loops for a living I would. Percussion is definitely something I focus a lot of my attention on when producing. Other elements of my tunes are always considered but are subtle enough to make sure they don’t take away purpose from the rhythm and percussive melodies. The outcome of that in a tune is something minimal, but I fought my last battles with complex synth arrangements a long time ago and bare rhythms win hands down for me each and every.

Your first couple of releases are out now on Hessle and Folkwood respectively. How did you link the releases?

My debut with Hessle was a pretty surreal affair, I had a few tunes that had been sitting around and one day, I just said ‘Fuck it. I’ll send these to Untold.’ I did that then within about 2 hours I got a phone call off David (Ramadanman) saying Jack sent him the tunes and the guys liked them and want to put something out. A simple but crazy outcome and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be in the Hessle camp. Oh and I still haven’t bought Jack a drink yet to thank him.

The folkwood thing really was something that happened a while ago, a group of friends at Uni got hold of some cash to press up some music. They asked me to submit a track so I did. The tune is kinda old now, but it’s nice to get bits out there when you can. Big up Ste Shine on that one! Oh and you guys for the kind words about it…

What other projects have you got in the pipeline? What’s happening with you in the rest of 2010? Gigs, releases, personal growth etc?

2010 has been an amazing year already; I am just focusing on putting out tunes I am happy with, when I can so theres no rush. Hopefully DJing as many gigs as I can because that’s what really gets me making more music. There are a couple of things in the pipeline that should be surfacing soon, so watch this space.

Any words of wisdom for our readers?

Yes, it needs to be strong with one sugar and milk. Secondly, catch me at Fabric on the 20th August, for the Hessle Audio takeover.

Posted on Techno Music News

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