Deepchild- on Pioneer DJ Radio- I’m trying to Rediscover Techno-Fundamentals (interview)
Fiercely articulate about culture (whether Berlin nightlife or Australian nationalism), Oz-in-Berlin DJ/ producer Deepchild is equally passionate about music, in particular his beloved techno which permeates his new DJ mix for Germany Calling on Pioneer DJ Radio ( http://www.pioneerdjradio.com )
“At present, I’m trying to keep mixes like the one I’ve cooked up for you quite dense, energetic and vital – almost like a 1hour reduction of the 3-5 hour set I might play in a club,” says Rick, “I’m trying to rediscover techno-fundamentals. Tough, robust, percussive-driven tribalism.”
Rick’s DJ mix for Germany Calling on Pioneer DJ Radio broadcasts on Friday October 25 (show-time is 14.00 CET/ London 13.00) then on Sunday October 27 (show-time 19.00-21.00 CET):
Skrufff: What approach did you take with the new mix?
Deepchild: “The way I put together online podcast/mixes is a little different from the way I mix in a club – which, for the most-part is a little fast and loose, haphazard and unplanned. With podcast/streaming mixes, I actually take a lot more time in pre-preparation, being mindful that the context of experiencing the mix is likely to be a little different.
For me, it’s generally quite a time-consuming and involved process – one which (even after well over a decade) I still find challenging! At present, I’m trying to keep mixes like the one I’ve cooked up for you quite dense, energetic and vital – almost like a 1hour reduction of the 3-5 hour set I might play in a club.
In contrast to my regular Diversions podcast (check ‘em out on Soundcloud) which explores a completely contemporary-classical / drone / ambient / experimental field, I’m focusing more on fairly gritty, up-front techno in my dj-mixes, with a few subtle references to Afro-Futurism and artistic-practice thrown in along the way, by way of sound-snippets and spoken word. The short answer to your question, is that I’m trying to rediscover techno-fundamentals. Tough, robust, percussive-driven tribalism.”
Skrufff: What do you look for in tracks you select (how do you find tracks generally? what’s your process of discovery?
Deepchild: “My track-selection and discovery process is part of my daily arts ‘practice’, really. Sources range from vinyl to digital, Youtube rips, bootlegs, re-edits, Beatport, Bleep.com, even Itunes, blogs, recommendations, unreleased material . . . wherever.
I’m not so interested in where a track comes from, or what format it’s published on, as much as the relationships I can trace between tracks, sounds, or authors. Every mix is like a diary-entry, or a micro-history for me. I’m also adamant that there’s a beauty in multi-format sound-sources: the ‘warmth’ of vinyl, the gorgeous bit-reduction of a crunchy mp3, the hiss of cassette-tape, the superb artifacts of youtube compression. I love it all.
I’m vehemently non-purist in this respect. Music never exists in a vacuum – and discovering these hidden relationships and encoded messages are what keeps me excites as a selector. Everything is sacred. Nothing is sacred.”
Skrufff: How much has your style been affected/ influenced by moving to Berlin?
Deepchild: “This is question I could spend quite some time on – particularly as Berlin continues to change and shape my sound, my cultural-inclinations, and my ears, in SO many ways. First, and most identifiably – in contrast to Australia – djing/performing in Berlin demands a necessary increase in performance stamina! A regular set-time in Australia is often under 1.5 hours – contrasted to the 3-5 hour standard here in Berlin.
In the context of much longer events, longer sets and fewer DJs afford a different sort of communal synergy over the course of the night, which I love. I think it also provides every DJ a wider scope for experimentation, ebbs and flows in the course of a set. Someone should probably write a doctorate on the subject . . .
In another sense, the climate here – in both the artistic and physical sense of the words – has had a profound effect on the sort of music I’m producing and playing. There remains a transient, almost urgent creative here energy in Berlin – a deep, and paradoxically non-localised sense of identity; an urgent pull toward a language which reflects this deeply non-localized neo-tribalism.
We live in Berlin, we are Berliners, but a ‘Berliner’ is neither strictly ‘German’, nor identifiable by typical signifiers like, for example Sydney’s beaches or SanFrancisco’s parks. We exist in a landscape of constantly shifting community-groups and spaces.
Techno, for me, is an important grammatical component of this language of non-localisation. It’s an alien-language, but only works as such when it is spoken with a degree of unselfconscious freedom – and a constant risk of being misunderstood. Some of the most unlistenable music is so called ‘Detroit’ techno or ‘Berlin’ techno, which insists on referencing an arbitrary set of sonic-conventions. It’s a deep paradox, and a wonderful one to keep exploring.”
Skrufff: How has moving to Berlin changed the way people in Australia perceive you?
Deepchild: “One of the most wonderful highlights of the last 3 months of travel and touring for me (New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA) has been a run of about 10 Australian shows. I’ve been gone long-enough now from Australia, that (I hope) I occupy a sort of ‘between-world’ spaces – in as much as my investment in Berlin is clearly more than a novelty. My tours in Australia have certainly become a lot bigger since moving away, but more importantly, I’m finding myself having some wonderful conversations with Australian individuals and arts-bodies about the dual-nation experience, AND questions of ‘nationhood’ and identity.
Australia is currently struggling with a renewed pressure to re-discover what nationhood is, and could be, and should be. Recent elections swung the political climate toward a radical right-wing shift, which has certainly been reflected in Germany in the last 50 or 60 years.
Germany’s answers (and failures, and recovery) to the question of ‘what does it mean to be a German’ are pretty vital ones, historically. I like to think that through living here, I might be able to offer some ideas and share some insights learned whilst living here, in this beautiful, strange city.”