Whether wearing a sex harness or dancing on the decks at his own gigs, Lotic demands attention. It’s a thought that must have occurred to thousands of concertgoers last month during the dance concrète producer’s opening set for Björkin Berlin, where Lotic – AKA Houston-raised J’Kerian Morgan – currently resides. All around, people stared at the stage, fascinated and perhaps confused by the lithe figure dressed in form-fitting black, occasionally dipping his body to the music, which combined creepy atmospherics and often astringent sound design arranged with innate rhythm. No wonder the Icelandic artist has taken to Lotic’s energy – she also commissioned him to remix the song “Notget” from her recent album, Vulnicura.
“It’s completely surreal,” Lotic acknowledges. “Having the support of someone who’s had such a ridiculous impact on the way the world approaches and appreciates music is extremely liberating, and a big part of the new, unlocked me.” He’s referring to Björk’s effect on his forthcoming work, which he’ll unveil as a second mixtape this autumn followed by a debut full-length, due next year on Tri Angle.
Along with recognition from one of his idols, Lotic – who calls himself a romantic – credits his maturing sound to an epiphany following a recent breakup. “I’ve realised a lot of my more unforgiving tracks are direct results of me being pissed at someone,” he confides. In person as well as in his music, he wears his emotions on his sleeve – whether he’s feeling shy with head lowered and arms folded in, or fierce and oozing with charisma. “But there’s a lot more softness now. It could be me realising the kind of love I need and expressing it through a melody rather than saying that to my boo. I do feel quite liberated.”
“Each set is an experiment to see how wild I can get the crowd to be. I'm getting better at maximising the wild” – Lotic
While he has always considered his sexuality a huge part of his music, he says that ‘gay’ as a term “doesn’t relay my sexual confidence or say anything about how my skin tone plays into my perception of sexuality. It doesn’t hint at the positions I prefer or the types of men I’m attracted to. And these are all things I try to imbue my music with.”
If there’s darkness there, too, perhaps that’s because, as Lotic says, “There are several gay Berlins, but the one I’m most familiar with can be really dark at times. It’s the most hedonistic place ever.” But he’s clearly found more than just carefree abandon in the city. He met photographer Matt Lambert while DJing at popular queer techno party Gegen – Lambert was doing visuals. “We impress each other,” Lotic says succinctly. That connection led to his first film score, for Lambert’s short “Meat”, as well as this photoshoot. And while Lotic now tries to stay out of the city’s more insalubrious quarters – “It really lowers my productivity” – he does a good job of energising them with his DJ sets. “Each set is an experiment to see how wild I can get the crowd to be,” he laughs. “I’m getting better at maximising the wild.”