Find out about all our releases on Bandcamp. Have a listen, click here.

Interview: Zuckermann

Zuckermann produces “electronic music” with an experimental edge and a serious attitude. His DJ-sets reflect his work as a producer. They surprise and go beyond the obvious. He has a fresh release up his sleeve and this is intoxicating and all experimental. We took the time to sit down with this master at work and talked about his new full-length album “Solenopsis”.

Connect with Zuckermann on Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

Hi Zuckermann, what’s the idea behind your latest release “Solenopsis”?
To go where no one has gone before, i.e., backwards to that point in time (roughly early Warp) where everything seemed possible and ‘genres’ were not yet clearly defined in electronic music. Then use that as a starting point, and explore where electronic music could have arrived at also.

In my case: 5 to the floor, dry Dub, the (not so) unexpected use of composition techniques from baroque music (repetitive basslines and musical forms), adaptive aleatoric complexity, silence, improvisational sprees inspired by Miles Davis’ Fusion/Experimental Jazz of the early 70’s (rarely mentioned as an influence on electronic music but I think it was), or finally, some contemplative boredom. More generally, a deconstruction and a disruption of ‘functionality’ as we know it (now).

All this is less about a ‘nostalgia’ but more about that “it is not important where you take things from, but where you take them to” (Godard).

In other words, white spots on the electronic music landscape that hopefully are rather interesting, crazy, or weird, in a way which gets under the skin – or crawls on your skin (Solenopsis is a rather dangerous type of ant, also known as ‘fire ants’) ….

What was the recording process like?
Rigorously Logic Pro only as a DAW. No hardware, no third party plug-ins. I always use controllers though and improvise on the master keyboard (I used to be a pianist in a former life). So, I improvised the solo on “Tirez sur le pianist (pour Magali)” in one go on a two octave Akai toy. Very little editorial work was done later, mostly just some chords were added, the left hand couldn’t play them but only a note. Then, always trying to push the envelope, rather experimenting than filling out pre-conceived arrangement forms/ templates. So, a lot of work was done on the sound design, the concept, and the ideation, as well as the actual playing. Not so much time on the creation of the final results in front of my laptop screen.

You’ve said the album was heavily inspired by the early 90’s electronic music, what is it about this time that you wanted to revisit?
It’s openness and newness. Producers were (re)searching and exploring rather than trying to come up with something that ‘works’. Or, something that’s a ‘hit’. No one knew what all this would lead to, everyone was more on a ‘path’, rather than trying to pursue an end goal. This album was my self-imposed retreat into a world where ‘success’ as an electronic musician was less dictated by the mainstream business we are witnessing now, but by the enchanting moments when one made a discovery in the studio – that was a success! I know, this sounds like a romantic idea, but back in the days that genuinely was the vibe. In the words of George Evelyn (one-half of Nightmares On Wax): “It felt like a revolution”.

This album was my self-imposed retreat into a world where ‘success’ as an electronic musician was less dictated by the mainstream business we are witnessing now, but by the enchanting moments when one made a discovery in the studio – that was a success!

What are some of your favourite releases from that time?
Ha! Where to start? I’m sticking with the Sheffield classics:
– Sweet Exorcist – Testone

  • Mr. Fingers – Can you feel it

  • Forgemasters – Track with No Name

  • LFO – LFO.

Then the US:
Jeff Mills with his Axis releases, Daniel Bell’s Acid spree, or Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir’s strike of genius “Frictionalism” (very experimental in many ways, wonderful in almost every way!). Not to forget the Germans (and the Nordics)! Basic Channel, Philus, DJ Hell.

Then full circle back to Britain: I looooved Jungle and actually started Djing Drum ‘n’ Bass later, occasionally mixing it with oldskool Hip Hop and … Techno.

How do you think the scene has developed since then? Has it been for the better or the worse?
Let’s say, it’s different. It became a business and adopted a lot of the ideas and behaviour of the majors. It’s also under the influence of signs o’ the times, generally more social media and hence, appearances oriented than substance driven (I dangerously generalize here). That’s normal since electronic music doesn’t live in a bubble. It just reflects what’s going on in society. Artistically, it’s now so much more as compared to the 90’s. So, a lot of genuinely interesting talent is out there to be discovered. But on the other hand, you see a lot of mediocrity in the clubs, i.e., DJs and live acts playing it safe. No space to fuck up with so much competition around. Much admired Berlin is a rather instructive example of that….

What can you tell us about your own label Destroy All Monsters?
Just so much, Destroy All Monsters is our way to put out what we want, whatever the fuck anyone thinks. I think we failed musically with some of the releases, but others are just outstanding. We don’t have the means or the time to promote it well, so we more or less gave that idea up right from the start. It’s a platform to experiment with rather interesting (Techno) music.

Which release on Destroy All Monsters is most special to you?
Our latest EP, “Under The Paving Stones” by my label partner in crime Negativ Dekadent. Our most mature EP IMHO. The original and the 2 remixes cover a wide range of moods, from a political inspired Techno tone of protest, to a banging nod to acid (HD Substance remix), through to an, at first, introspective sounding remix that suddenly releases its bass claws when you play it out in the club (Zuckermann remix).

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate within the near future?
Too many, to name but a few: Perc, Boris, Planetary Assault System, Cosmin TRG, Yan Cook, Pev & Kowton, Blawan, Levon Vincent, Barker & Baumecker, Matias Aguayo, and … Gonzales.

What 3 records do you always keep in your DJ bag?
That’s a secret (fuck KUVO by Pioneer and also fuck Shazam), just so much, some early 90’s stuff.

Like what you are reading? Please check out the other great interviews we have on our website. Check them out »

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

We are a magazine & record label dedicated to quality underground electronic music. We do not look for just any music or anyone, we are looking for music, and people who create memorable experiences, that inspires and invokes emotion. Let’s create timeless music.