In a rare interview we speak to the Berlin-based producer on Hessle Audio making techno-heavy sounds ahead of his set at Bloc this July
Purveyor of premium grade techno bombs with a ghostly steppers’ edge, Objekt is one of the most hotly-tipped producers of the last year or two. We were granted a rare interview with the precocious talent ahead of his highly anticipated Bloc 2012 show to discuss his inspirations, production process, and - ahem - “lazy journalists”...
I suppose to some extent I use genre-hopping as a crutch since I'm still not very good at making DJ tool techno, but I realise that I should stop dicking around writing wobble-bass tunes before I cement my reputation as another "bass music producer turning his hand to techno", when in fact the opposite is true
Dazed Digital: You don’t do a huge amount of interviews. Do you think there’s an issue with over-saturation in the ‘underground’ music media?
Objekt: Not really - I think there's an issue of people talking too much and not saying enough. Most interviews are pretty boring. I'll do the occasional one if it seems more interesting than most or if it's really worth it from an exposure point of view, but I don't see what is to be gained by doing lots of totally superficial interviews and answering the same basic questions over and over again. It makes the artist look vacuous and the journalist lazy, so nobody really wins apart from the music PR machine.
DD: Do you think that audiences - both in a live situation, and more broadly - are becoming more receptive to a wider range of sounds and styles within one track, or set?
Objekt: I don't think you can really generalise. My three years in Berlin would suggest that to have been broadly the case here since 2009, but that might just be through making increasingly diverse friends. In the UK I've often found club audiences to have a short attention span to begin with, and if anything I've noticed a reversal in the past year or so, as the "bass music" soup congeals into more defined shapes (whether it's straightforward house and techno or the more colourful strains of UK bass – footwork and juke, house/electro/acid revivalism, saccharine "future garage" etc) following its initial period of experimentation. As for the conventional tech house clubbing brigade, well, they remain fairly conservative wherever you go.
It does seem that artists like Demdike Stare, 0PN, Alva Noto and so on have recently been pulled in from the relative margins of electronic music and been given the kind of exposure to a (comparatively) mainstream audience in a way that may not have been plausible ten or fifteen years ago. Perhaps to some extent this can be attributed to the influence of certain key magazines and blogs, but so much of your perception of 'popularity' or 'acceptance' hinges on your own tastes and those of the people you're close to, and my own field of vision is so much wider now than it was in 2005, that I'm wary of jumping to conclusions. In any case, I'm only 25 and cautious of claiming too much authority on broad trends that took root long before I started listening to dance music.
DD: Your own productions, though broadly aimed at the dancefloor, span a range of subgenres. Is this intentional? Do you know where you're going next?
Objekt: It's not intentional in the sense of being purposefully eclectic, no. Broadly speaking, my main focus for many years has been techno, but this time 18 months ago I had worked myself into a techno rut and was feeling kind of stale, so I wrote two dubstep tracks as a bit of fun. These ended up being my first record - which was released on a complete whim, at the distributor's persuasion (and expense). I genuinely never expected it to take off, much less that I'd initially be labelled a "dubstep revivalist" off the back of two tracks which I had written as a pastiche. More than half of my original tracks that I have released so far are a pastiche in some form or another. When I wrote Cactus (this was actually in 2010, before my first record even came out) I literally thought of it as a comedy song, an ode to Rusko if you like. I suppose to some extent I use genre-hopping as a crutch since I'm still not very good at making DJ tool techno, but I realise that I should stop dicking around writing wobble-bass tunes before I cement my reputation as another "bass music producer turning his hand to techno", when in fact the opposite is true. Despite two releases suggesting otherwise I'm actually not that keen on bass music at all - I had been buying some of the darker and more off-kilter records since 2008 or so, but these days I'm fairly ambivalent. The signal to noise ratio is really poor.
No, I don't know where I'm going next. I've been dabbling in industrial for a while... maybe I'll see where that takes me. Maybe I'll write something without a kick drum. Maybe I'll write a love song. Maybe I'll finally work out how to write loop techno without going crazy.
DD: Does inspiration for writing a track flow naturally for you, or do you have to work at it? Do you work on music with a specific aim of what you want to achieve?
Objekt: Sometimes yes; sometimes no. I rarely end up where I set out to. Almost every track I write goes through at least three or four major phases, which in some cases can sound like completely different tracks, over the course of 40 to 80 versions. If there's an abundance of sonic detail in my finished work then that's where it comes from - scar tissue from previous incarnations of the same (different) piece of music; clips that have been left behind; drums layered on drums layered on drums; a bounce of a synth that was once a lead part, now relegated to a 1-second incidental you only ever hear once. Hating a track so much that I scrap 80% of it (and again and again, 20 versions later) is an integral part of my creative process that over the years I have had no choice but to learn to work with.
Text by Lee Smith