After a successful evening in Detroit, Oktave and Prosthetic Pressings brings the Perc Trax Showcase to Chicago this Saturday, 6/1. The event is at Primary Night Club, 5 W Division. See the RA event page at the bottom for more details.
We caught up with the Perc Trax label head, and asked him a few questions in preparation for Saturday.
1) How was your first experience in Detroit?
It was great. I really did not know what to expect. Beforehand I did not even think much about my time in Detroit or at the festival. My mind was 100% on the Perc Trax event on the Friday night, and my performance there. The label showcase was perfect. More people in there than we expected, and each room had its own unique atmosphere and energy. Once my closing set was done, my focus opened up to the festival itself. I had a great time there, mainly hanging out at the Underground and Red Bull stages. There were so many friends there and so much support and recognition for Perc Trax and myself. It was great to see the US techno scene come together like that, and hopefully some of Perc Trax’s UK artists will be coming along with me next year.
2) How has your creative process evolved over the years? Mentally, and physically (hardware, software, etc).
Over the years I have moved from just hardware controlled by a MS-DOS based PC midi sequencer to a hybrid set-up of Ableton and a selection of hardware. I have enough hardware without having one of those jaw-dropping studios some other producers have. But every item is there for a reason and gets used all the time. I like to use some hardware, but there are things that only a computer can do or are ten times faster with a computer, so a mix of both methods works best for me. Mentally I think I have a wider creative vision than I used to have, which means that sometimes I go in directions that confuse even myself and which often end with the final result never being released, but I do like to surprise myself. I still just dig around for an idea, something that catches my imagination and that can be built upon. Until I have that the track is going nowhere, sometimes this key idea appears quickly and sometimes it is never found.
3) What are your top 3 influences? Could you share how they’ve influenced you?
Hmmm. Aphex Twin for his musical talent, range, and just the way he presents himself. Cabaret Voltaire, my favorite band ever, and again their range from abstract ambient pieces to rhythmic dancefloor tracks is something I try to emulate. Also, their interest in the visual side of their music and especially video is a great influence on me. Finally Joey Beltram, his recent music might not have connected with me so much but from his early R&S releases through to Places on Tresor and his JB3 album on Novamute, he was basically untouchable. Tough, yet never relentlessly banging, and with such a defined percussive groove. I worship his early works.
4) What do you hope people get out of your tracks? Are you expressing something personally meaningful? Do you intend for people to dance? Or, do you just hope people get enjoyment – by any means – out of your music?
Most tracks are made for people to dance to. I mean, apart from some of my more abstract, ambient things. The tracks that are aimed at the dancefloor are still meant to deliver something new. Real success for a track for me is to make people move and to catch their attention without resorting to the same tired production tricks that so many other producers rely on. For me techno is a way of delivering new ideas to people, carried on a chassis that they feel some affinity with already, such as the straight 4/4 kick or certain tempos and grooves. This is a more effective way of delivering new sonic ideas to people than attempting to force non-rhythmic, abstract music on them. That kind of music does not have the powerful distribution system of the DJ and club that techno uses to reach people.
5) What is your ideal setting when you play out? Do you prefer a small, intimate club, larger club, or festival type setting?
Anywhere where there is a direct connection between myself and the crowd. Small clubs with low ceilings are perfect for this, but when I played at Awakenings there were thousands of people there but I could still make eye contact with the first few rows and see their reactions. That direct, instant feedback shapes how I play and is more important than the type of venue and total number of people there.