Tag: Techno Artist

Tony Child AKA Surgeon Interview

Throughout the last 10 years, many people have been responsible for the development of the techno music scene, and moving techno forward and seeing what is achievable through new ideas and architectures of sound and boundless creativity. Within the techno scene, few people can claim to have done quite so much as DJ Surgeon.

DJ Surgeon

DJ Surgeon

Growing up in the industrial centre of Birmingham, he rose swiftly to worldwide recognition with a barrage of startling releases in the early ’90s. Putting out material first on local label Downwards, before progressing on to imprints such as Tresor, and his own project Dynamic Tension, he shocked the globe with his uncompromising, machine edged music. Under his moniker of Surgeon, he also began tearing up the dancefloors with his jerky, virtuoso DJ skills, earning him the enviable position of one of the most famous players of the era; and playing a part, along with his fellow Downwards crew, in setting up Birmingham’s premier techno event, House of God.

Having recently launched his new label Counterbalance, and for the first time involved with releasing work by new artists, Tony continues to be a driving force in the music.

Throughout his career, he has been well known for his interest in music above all else, and tired of press distortions and media bullshit. Because of this, we have chosen with this interview to explore some of the less known sides of his work, and his feelings on the techno scene as a whole.

Question: There has always been much talk of Detroit forging the dancemusic it has become known for – what and how much influence has the city you live and develop in had upon your sound?

Answer: I’ve always felt that environment and experience have a large influence on my music. I think the main influence Birmingham has had is the fact that if something didn’t exist there, then we had to make it ourselves. There was no techno club, so we made our own (House of God). We’d heard about Lost in London, but didn’t have the money to come down to London for a night out so we just made it up as we went along, we had nothing to compare it to. With Downwards, Karl (Regis) started it because I played him some tracks I’d done. I never thought about sending them to another label, I just did them for the hell of it. This whole ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude is very strong in Birmingham.

Question: What positive things have you experienced in the techno music scene since you first became involved?

Surgeon: There is a much bigger network of distributors, promoters, booking agents and a lot more DJ’s than when I first became involved! These days I think it’s a lot harder to break into the scene that when I first started, today people seem a lot more ‘career minded’ about trying to break into the scene and ‘work their way up the ladder’

Question: In a scene occasionally stagnated by repetition – generic music, constant plagiarism, etc., how difficult do you find it to keep pushing ahead and creating new music with an edge, when it would be so easy to give up and jump on the bandwagon?

Answer: The techno scene seems to ‘fold in’ on itself very easily. Techno influenced by techno, influenced by techno… etc. I don’t hear most of the tracks that are put out these days, that doesn’t bother me. I know the good records will find me in the end. Musically, I draw influence from music outside just the techno music scene, whether it’s Coil, or Missy Elliot or The Velvet Underground, etc. I try to create my own ‘blend’. Too much techno music sounds as if the same producer created it all with the same setup, no character or personality to set it apart from all the other generic records.

Question: What are your thoughts on the rapid commercialization of electronica – is it a passing trend, or will the promise of money clamp it down until it falls apart?
Answer: For me it comes down to the difference between creating music and creating product, it depends on the motives behind its creation, but you can always hear them.

Question: Do you have an interest in other art mediums (film, literature etc), and if so what (or who)?

Answer: Yes, but it’s hard to make the time. Film – Mike Leigh, David Lynch, Francis Coppola Literature – William S. Burroughs, Bret Easton Ellis Photography – Cindy Sherman

Question: Do you think techno music has a long term future, or is its life limited?

Answer: Electronic dance music is very effective, so as long as people want to go out and have a dance it will be here. I don’t think techno will ever be the most popular form of dance music but I’m sure techno will always be around in some form.

Question: You once cited your greatest influences as The BBC workshop recordings and the Doctor Who theme – – in what way were you inspired by such electronic experimentation?

Surgeon: I’m sure most of us remember watching Dr Who when we were very young. I used to love the music and sound effects, they were sounds you’d never heard before, not of this world, very dark. My dad had a few Sci-Fi/Space themes records by BBC radiophonic workshop. I really liked these when I was about 4 or 5.

Question: Some would say that techno has long been influenced by external media, particularly science fiction – do you draw influences from such areas in creating your music, and how do you think the shift in the media towards electronica will affect those already producing it?

Answer: Apart from my answer to the last question, I wouldn’t say that science fiction is a big influence on me, I don’t follow it, but I do draw a lot of influence from external media and other types of music. The shift in the media towards electronic music makes it more popular, more people want to DJ than play the guitar and all that. None of this changes to way I work, the music is the most important thing, there are no real stars anymore


Legendary Techno Artist Richie Hawtin Talks Plasticman Tour & iPhone App

5 questions with Richie Hawtin, a.k.a. Plastikman, legendary techno artist

It’s probably safe to say that for most techno fans, Richie Hawtin needs no introduction.

In a musical career that stretches two decades, the 39-year-old Hawtin — who grew up in Windsor — has strived to push the boundaries of technologically inspired electronic dance music.

Considered to be part of the second wave of Detroit techno in the early 1990s, Hawtin got his start playing underground parties in Detroit, then launched the record label Plus 8 with fellow Canadian John Acquaviva.

His early works, recorded under the guise of Plastikman, were noteworthy for their spare, minimal acid techno style. By the turn of the century, Hawtin was one of the most-sought-after DJs in the world. He eventually moved to Berlin — another techno music mecca — where he still resides.

Ritchie Hawtin AKA Plastikman

Ritchie Hawtin AKA Plastikman

Hawtin’s adoration of technology was almost always a centerpiece of his artistry, consistently influencing his music and vice versa. He has long incorporated effects units, samplers and computer technology into his DJ sets.

To coincide with the rebirth of the Plastikman persona and subsequent tour, the ever-experimental Hawtin has upped the ante once again. Partnering with visual architects and designers, Hawtin’s latest concept involves an innovative integration of audio and visuals via a large curved screen placed in front of the performer throughout the show.

Fans can interact with Hawtin’s show via a customized (and free) iPhone/iPod Touch application called Plastikman SYNK. Fans who download SYNK will be able to interact with his performance in several different ways, including:

• Reorganizing word samples via 20 touch buttons, and then hearing those words through the sound system.

• Viewing a live video stream of Hawtin during the performance.

• Exploring the synchronicity of real-time generated percussion patterns and their visual counterparts.

• Seeing the console Hawtin interacts with in real time. We talked with Hawtin to find out more.

QUESTION: Tell me about your new iPhone application, SYNK, in relation to your current Plastikman live performance.

ANSWER: On a creative level, it’s my attempt to play with the crowd, blurring the border between the audience and the performer, which is where it should be. The app enables the audience to interact with me, playing samples back, taking visuals from the screen.

Plastikman has always been about a weird, crazy, unique experience for people. The iPhone app is a bit of an extension of that. … I decided that with this new Plastikman show, let’s play with (the audience). Let’s take this opportunity to use and (toy) with technology. Everybody knows I’m totally into that.

Q: Are you pleased with how SYNK is working with your show?

A: I’m honestly still changing and readjusting, especially with the syncopation with the visuals on the screen and iPhone, the triggering of the back and forth we’re still playing with.

We’ve been pummeling people with intense reds, then going to darkness, while adding the sonic landscape of Plastikman … taking it down weirder and slower, weirder beats … making the package part concert, part art installation, part rave.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for SYNK?

A: When we were doing the Contakt shows, everybody held their cell phones up recording it. We thought, “Let’s use that to be part of the experience, take that idea of recording the show into being part of the show.” At the end of the day, it’s a great physical and mental experience as a group. It’s all of you together in that moment of time experiencing something at once.

Q: How does the app work? Is this the next step in the evolution of musical performances?

A: It is a real-time data flow from every iPhone in that performance. Everyone’s saying electronic music is pretty easy to make these days — everyone has GarageBand (Apple music software) or some variation thereof. The next step is cloud computing. It’s part of the creative movement. Then it’s: “Who is the audience? Who is the performer?” I’m opening a window for people and anything within that window, they can do.

Q: Why did you opt to launch this app for the Plastikman guise?

A: This tour is really a conglomeration of everything I’ve experienced in the last 20 years. It’s a way to go back to where I began and modernize it in a way … using digital technology and plug-ins. This show represents updated versions of those early Plastikman records, while also allowing the live show to evolve and mutate. … To me, it’s like a Plastikman album. The beginning was 18 years ago and the end is yet to be determined.

Written by: Tim Pratt. Reposted from freep.com


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