Where are you currently based?
I am mostly based in Berlin, but I split my time there with a lot of time in NYC. I’m lucky to call two of the greatest cities in the world home.
You have a new EP as Ambivalent coming out on your label Valence in the next couple of months, featuring a remix from Noncompliant, how’s the EP shaping up? What can we expect from this EP? What equipment have you been using?
Yeah, I’m particularly excited about this EP. The tracks are all really straight-ahead techno, meant for the dance floor and easy to play. They’re definitely big hits in my DJ sets, which tend to be my testing ground for new material. If something works in my sets, that’s the first hurdle to making it out. The tracks are all hardware workouts. Just an 808 and one or two other synths, not a lot of frills or fanfare. I’m really looking forward to the Noncompliant remix, she is one of my favorite producers and DJs and she also happens to be a very dear friend. Sometimes I think we share a brain. I’m also excited to have an Ambivalent track included on Drumcode’s “A Sides Vol 6” compilation. It’s one of those annual compilations that makes a big splash for techno fans and I am stoked to be a part of it.
Please tell us about your labels Delft & Valence, how and why did you start the label? Have you had any experience with running label’s prior to both?
Both labels were started with an eye towards having the freedom to push things I feel passionate about. There are consistently artists I encounter who are making great music, and have great energy, so I love having a platform I can offer them to expand their music. It’s also really rewarding to have each label function as a home for my two main aliases, LA-4A and Ambivalent. I love having both labels to create a context for myself and other likeminded artists. Running a label doesn’t have much of a financial incentive, but artistically it’s incredibly fulfilling. I’ve made some really great friends in the process as well.
You have two new tracks under your LA-4A alias to be released on a Hotflush compilation later this month. What have influenced these tracks? What’s the vibe / sound that you were aiming to achieve? Are you happy with the progress?
I’m really pleased about the chance to work with Hotflush. Scuba and the whole team at the label have been exceptionally supportive and done a lot to introduce my music to their audience. It’s a label with a pretty stellar history, and an impressive ear to the ground. The tracks are a collection of things I’ve made both in Brooklyn and in Berlin, so it feels like a really well-rounded picture. There definitely some acid, and some dirty analog business. I think it’ll make LA-4A fans happy.
Please tell us about the LA-4A project:
LA-4A started in 2013 as an experiment for me to try producing things in a very limited and classical way – all hardware, all simplified, all focused on avoiding the billions of options that exist in modern studios and just getting back to the inspiration of the first techno tracks I heard as a teenager.
What are you listening to at the moment?
In a word – lots. I am always digging through the demos I get sent for the labels. If I had the ability to release all of this, I would. Never let anyone say it’s a bad time for music. There are so many people making fantastic stuff. I have gotten really into the releases on Fundamental Records out of Madrid, as well as great new stuff from Ryan James Ford and Cosmin TRG. There are also a lot of great producers who I’m keen on working with, and you’ll see them coming out on my labels soon. Mor Elian has been killing it, she is up next on Delft.
Who are you influenced by?
This question comes up sometimes and it keeps changing to be honest. I think the things that got me originally started will always be major touchstones for me, Scorn, Mike Ink, Dan Bell, Plastikman, Derrick May, Two Lone Swordsmen, all stuff that inspired my love for electronic music. But some of that is likely obvious if you listen to my music. I think a bigger influence on my work is actually outside of music altogether. I spend a lot of time reading and looking at 20th century art. People like Robert Smithson, Agnes Martin, Sol Lewitt, Eva Hesse, Robert Irwin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Yves Klein. The ideas that many of them expressed, or the way they handled particular challenges in their lives and how those were expressed in their art really give me peace and energy at moments when I’m struggling to find inspiration.
Favorite place to hang out?
Summer – the Prater Garten in Berlin. It’s a biergarten in my neighborhood, behind an old communist theater, and shaded by massive chestnut trees. The air is so relaxing, and the vibe is just perfect to catch up with friends over some bratwurst and pretzels. I also really love going jogging with my wife. She’s the best person in the world to spend time with, but she’s a runner and a busy woman. Waking up at dawn is the perfect chance to catch some time together, and it helps me clear out the noise from all the touring and traveling.
When and where are you playing next?
I just played last night in Miami, and my next gig is in Chicago at Smart Bar. I love playing in the US. There was a time when there weren’t as many options for me to play in the my home country, so it feels great being here. I’m thrilled to see the American scene growing and bringing forward a really diverse and inspiring set of new voices in this music.
Featured Photo Credit : lars Borges