Saturday, October 29, 2016

Drexciya interview Melody Maker January 1995

Following on from the previous newly unearthed Drexciya interview (see post below), here is another one! Actually it's part of the same interview between James Stinson and Dave Mothersole and comes from the 'Orbit' section (page 37) of the 14th January 1995 issue of Melody Maker. I had to dive deep into my own collection to find this one (was sure I didn't have it as I have looked for it before) and was so happy to find it waiting there all this time. This is the first time the scan been shared online and I am archiving it here and have transcribed it fully below. It has previously been transcribed by the good folk at Daveg.outer-rim here.

The release of Chapter Five in the much sought-after Drexciya series is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Dave Mothersole is granted a rare ear-bashing from the Detroit team.
Drexciya are not your normal techno act. Having been together for some 10 years, they’ve released just five records. Fiercely independent and highly opinionated, they’re the ultimate perfectionists, working in total secrecy, concealing their identities and discreetly putting out some of the most outstanding, unusual, beautiful and disturbing electronic music ever committed to vinyl.
Their “Journey Home EP”, out this week on Warp, has already been hailed as one of the most important releases of the Nineties.

In a rare interview, one half of Drexcyia, James – he wouldn’t reveal his second name – talks about techno, DJing, the Drexciya philosophy and the fight against the “Caucasian persuasion”.

“As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anybody out there making original Detroit techno – apart from us, and that’s not being arrogant. It’s a plain and simple fact. A lot of people making so-called techno don’t understand where it came from and what it’s all about. I know this stuff; I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve been with the real deal, in the trenches, since this shit was born out of the womb. But so many people have come in and stepped over the name of original techno and toned it down. And that’s why were here: it’s time to turn up the heat.”

“Ever since the blues and early jazz, black music has been stolen and exploited. It pisses me off that we let it happen. It’s a political thing; everybody talks about it under their breath, but they don’t come out and say anything about it. As far as I’m concerned, Richie Hawtin, Moby, and all the rest of ’em can do what they want, but don’t step into my house if you don’t respect it. Don’t even call what you do ‘techno’! I don’t want to hear anybody saying Richie started any damned thing, ‘cos he ain’t started shit. All he did was step in with his money and his Caucasian persuasion and put himself on the market, and now he’s got all these kids riding his jock. We never had rich backgrounds; we were working jobs for $4.25 an hour. Our mamas never gave us money to buy keyboards and put records out. We work for our stuff. That’s why there’s a big difference in the music. Why do Richie and his Plus 8 family come down here and throw parties in downtown Detroit? He brings in all these kids from the suburbs and from Canada, and that shows a lack of respect. I’ve been to every one of those parties and I’ve never heard an Underground Resistance record, a Cybotron record, a Model 500 record or an Eddie Fowlkes record. It’s a total lack of respect, and it’s got to stop.”

“Only guys like Leon and Jeff Mills know how to spin. Serious, man, you have DJs who mix sound like a galloping horse. Give ’em a record that doesn’t have a 4/4 beat and they can’t handle it; their fingers get all tied up and they get all confused. C’mon, you gotta know those records. You got to have quick reflexes and make that record talk. Make those turntables work; you got to see smoke coming off those suckers. These guys fly around the world and people call ’em geniuses, and they don’t even warm those decks up – they’re still cold after a whole night. They’re just fader flippers.”

“The reason why we give a lot of our tracks aquatic titles is because waves are constantly changing. It moves in so many different directions, and that’s the way we see our music. It doesn’t go straight forward. It takes you on an adventure. We record all our stuff live. You have to capture that moment, that spirit, that energy. We could never recreate one of our records. Every Drexciya record is different. We’re dealing with your personality, your emotions. We try to get you to open your mind up and listen to the sounds, and hopefully then you can paint a picture in your mind. That’s what it’s all about.”

Drexciya 5 , 'The Journey Home EP', is out now on Warp

Friday, October 28, 2016

'Fighting Talk' - James Stinson Muzik interview June 1995

I'm very happy to see that the newly unearthed James Stinson quote above, from the first ever issue of Muzik magazine (June 1995), has caused something of a stir online with 70 shares and almost 250 likes after just 24 hours of being on the DRL Facebook page. You can read the whole issue here (quote on page 75). Initially I wasn't sure where the cutting originally came from (I think the scan first began to appear just a few weeks back on social media) but hoped if I posted it on the FB page first, someone might know and they did (thanks for that). It looks like the journalist, Dave Mothersole, was responsible as he edited the Muzik techno singles page that issue and the Drexciya piece ran underneath. A few months previous to this he also had an interview with James Stinson (where very similar sentiments were expressed) in Melody Maker (January 14th 1995), so this must be more from the same interview (read here).

It's 21 years ago now and it's great to hear James's voice and opinions breaking through so clearly to today's world. I have transcribed the quote below for easier cutting and pasting. 

Muzik Magazine Issue 1 June 1995

James from Drexciya hits out at what he views as the current lack of invention in techno

"Techno was supposed to be about the future, but its been going backwards not forwards over the last couple of years. It's too easy now. People read about what equipment to buy and, because it's so advanced, all they have to do is push a few buttons and they've made a record. There's no focus, no direction, no understanding. It's meant to be an intelligent music form, but the only intelligent thing about it now is the equipment. 

I wish more artists would cut out the sampling and the loops, go back to scratch and programme the shit themselves. I've heard some good ideas, but there are just too many samples. We need sounds we haven't heard before, we need different rhythms and patterns. That's what electro is about. I mean, do you want a fine home cooked meal or do you want to go to some fast food joint and eat a bunch of chemicals and shit?

Too many people focus on what label a record comes out on, rather than what the track actually sounds like. To me, that means there's something wrong. I remember the days when nobody cared if you were on Warner Brothers or Booty Up, just so long as what you were doing was good. When you throw a party, what are you spinning? Are you spinning the middle of a record where all the writing is or are you spinning the wax? You know what I'm saying.  When a group comes to perform, who's up on the stage?  Is it the business people punching their little computers or is it the artists themselves? 

Drexciya won't be putting records out for a while now. We'll still be making music, but not records. We won't allow this form of music to just stop where it's at, but we're not even satisfied with the quality that we are producing. And I have to say that I really wish people wouldn't follow us. Be inspired, sure, but please don't follow. The minute we hear footsteps following us, we switch our style. We'll totally abandon what we're doing. We won't release any records or perform anywhere until things change." 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dopplereffekt Live, Underwater Montreal Show, Drexciya on UR's 'Cyberwolf' ? and more

There is a very special and unique Drexciya related event being held in Montreal, Canada on 23rd October as part of the RBMA Montréal festival. It's happening in an Olympic sized swimming pool and Dopplereffekt will be playing live and DJ Stingray will be playing what looks like a Drexciya only set. There are other artists on the bill and they will be using underwater speakers and you can be in the water and everything. It all sounds like something Drexciya would have dreamt up themselves, plus it's free. Click here to book tickets and details. Here is the blurb

'A custom-built Wet Sounds soundsystem will diffuse a specially commissioned work by Lorenzo Senni, a live set by Dopplereffekt and an all-Drexciya DJ Stingray set through a network of speakers located under the water, at the surface of the pool and – for those who don’t want to get their feet wet – a dedicated dancing space. We invite you to step inside the Aqua Worm Hole.'

Just before this there is another unique sounding show with Dopplereffekt playing live inside Bristol's Planetarium on 19th October. More details here.

There are two more upcoming Dopplereffekt live shows, one in Amsterdam 22nd October and London on 5th November.

Lastly for now there is a rare Arpanet show scheduled for Edinburgh, Scotland on 25th November.

One of the great things about Drexciya is that even after 20 years and more there are still things to discover about them. One of my readers just spotted that they are mentioned in the label artwork (see comments) for UR's Acid Rain III Meteor Shower 12" from 1993. While I can't hear any Drexciyan type signatures on the track in question, 'Cyberwolf', they must have been involved to some degree if you go by the text. Listen to track on YouTube here and decide for yourself.

"Cyberwolf" -The hunt continues; after landing on asteroid 909, with its liquid nitrogen based eco-system which have for eons been a stronghold of the Drexciyan forces, due to their being the only lifeforms capable of withstanding 909's violent, harsh weather conditions. The resistance teams, with their old allies Drexciya join forces and launch "The Cyberwolf" against the programmers. This hunter, killer designed by "generator" has had great success for the UR forces in their raids against the programmers in the void. Cyberwolf will aid UR's crossing of the asteroid belt by seeking out and destroying enemy probes launched from Jupiter. Launched 02.22.94

This is a link to a new 3 and a half hour radio show about the music of James Stinson and Drexciya. If you can understand Spanish you are in for a treat; the appeal of Drexciya is larger than ever and truly international.

The first recorded interview with Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Mueller can be found on the 'Fireside Chat' series by Red Bull Music Academy Radio. It's from August 2010 and previously it had a different link but now you can find it in full here.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and listen to a master. DJ Stingray with a brilliant new mix, with lots of Drexciya and Mueller tracks. There is also a short interview with him about the mix here.

If you are a fan of Zerkalo, then Victoria Lukas has a solo project, Inkamera, that you will probably really like as well. Last Known Trajectory are releasing, Time Rewind, a six track 12" EP, soon and you can listen to a preview of all the tracks and order it here.

This super smooth track, 'Drexciya Is Playing at My House', is from Beat Detectives 2013 album, Music 2. Available on cassette and download only. Links to purchase and sample its other tracks on Bleep here.