Computer Controlled – Exclusive Interview With The Raw Acid Genius.
You currently live in Seattle, but originally you come from the Midwest. Could you tell us how you first got involved with the rave scene there and acid house in particular?
I don’t remember just exactly how I started listening to Techno, but it was back in 1991, I know that. Then I started hearing about these things called Raves and got interested. By mid 1992, some friends started to bounce around the idea of starting a “Smart Bar”. A portable bar set up was built out of PVC piping and plexiglass. And Cybertonix was born =o] Halloween 1992 was my first Rave, called, appropriately enough, Grave Rave. That got busted 2 hours in by the Milwaukee PD. Myself and a bunch of others spent 19 hours in a holding cell before finally being released. Normally, that would probably scare off any would-be Raver, but I was hooked =o]
As far as Acid is concerned, being in WI, I was at the half way point between Chicago, and DJ Hyperactive, where the sound was born, and Minneapolis, where DJ ESP Woody McBride was the dominating Acid king at the time. Also, in 1993, Milwaukee promoters Drop Bass Network had started a new label in cooperation with Woody called Drop Bass Records. This would turn out to be one of the most important and influential underground Acid labels in existence. So, the Acid sound was basically THEE sound of the Midwest in the early-mid 90s. So it was a natural attraction =o]
You have a passion for synthesizers whether they are the classic hardware units, modular systems or software synthesizers. Which type of sound is the most exciting for you to create?
No real particular sound, i just enjoy turning knobs and seeing what happens =o] But I guess if anything, i’d gravitate towards basses and sounds with lots of audio rate modulations and FM.
You are a DJ but also a live performer. Do you have a certain preference for either of the two?
No real preference. I seem to play more than DJ, so i’d like to do that a little more. Sometimes all I want to do is show up with a bag of records and needles, and not have to worry about all the gear.
If you could list 5 all time favorite records.. which ones would that be and what was special about these?
This is a tough one…
Woody McBride: Basketball Heroes
X-Crash: Don’t Fuck With Brooklyn ep
Phuture: We Are Phuture
Fuzz Face 2×12″ on Communique
Mike Ink: Dadajack ep
These are all seminal Acid records. Basketball Heroes kind of ushered in the more minimal Midwest Acid sound and the Fuzz Face/Sync Project releases continued with that sound.
Should remixes kind of sound like the originals?
Not always. They should probably retain some of the DNA of the original, but the fun in remixing is seeing what you can do with what is given to you.
Other than your interest in synthesis, you also have a passion for photography. Are there similarities in the approach of both these art forms?
Nope. Other than going through a bunch of gear until you settle on the one thing you’re most comfortable with =o]
Your all time favorite movie sample?
“Did I torment you? Did I perhaps, kill your loved ones” “Yes, you did.”
If you look at your list of productions you have done so far. Which of those stands out the most to you and why?
Maybe the release I did on the label Acid Allstars for their first vinyl release. Nice marble vinyl, it was a fun track to make, and I like what AA people are doing. Though they’ve been a bit quiet as of late… Also, Adam X was a big fan of that track =o]
You have a preference for playing vinyl records. Could you explain why you love vinyl so much since you take the back ache for granted carrying all that shit.
I just do. All the greatest tracks are on vinyl, it’s impossible to cheat with vinyl since there’s no Sync Button. Now a days, you stand out from the laptop crowd. Also, I just don’t plain trust a laptop in that environment!
If you could steal three items from Deadmau5′ studio, what would these be?
His monster Modcan Modular system, his monster Eurorack Modular system, and his white MacBeth M5.
You recently started a number of live performances around the Seattle area together with this guy called Hammahouse. Does it differ in a sense than when you perform solo?
Of course it does. You need to allow for the extra space in the mix for one. So you need to write your patterns a bit differently and be more sparse. You also need to be able to read your partner and know when they might bring in or drop out an element and be prepared to react to that. This was something that was easy to do with the guy I was doing the Acid Hazard project with back in WI.
Is there a final thing you would like to say to our readers?
Keep the sound Underground!
Thanks again Larry for taking the time for this interview!
No problem =o]