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Wednesday 28.11.2018
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Interview w/ Setaoc Mass

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Hello Sam, first of all, thank you for your time. 🙂

You’re based in Berlin, but born in Manchester. The city is well known for it’s rich and strong football teams, (imho) better of them even haid captain from Serbia just few years ago – Nemanja Vidic, did you know that?

Actually i didn’t know Vidic was from Serbia, but of course i knew him as a player, he was one of the greats from the passed Uniteds team, when i used to be more into football. Now my knowledge of Serbia is mostly its brutalist style architecture.

Lot’s of tradition there, but I’m interested in musical tradition of Manchester, through the 80’s and 90’s the city was hometown of bands like The Smiths, Stone Roses, New Order, 808 State, The Chemical Brothers etc. Most of them played in, now legendary, The Hacienda club pushing the boundaries, experimenting with electronic music. While growing up, were you aware of that musical legacy, and do you think it influenced you somehow? When and how did you get into electronic music?

The Hacienda was definitely something i became more familiar with during my adolescence, my parents weren’t into this scene, more into the early psychedelic sounds of Hendrix and Pink Floyd. I was definitely familiar with Joy Division, as the actual birth place of mine is where Joy Division are from, a small town outside of Manchester called “Macclesfield”

My first contact with electronic music was probably around 15 years old, while a friends older brother played some early Warp stuff, like Apex Twin, BOC and of course Autechre tracks.

What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your setup evolved over the years and what are currently for you some of the most important pieces of gear you own?

I wouldn’t exactly call it a studio, but it was in the corner of my bedroom, i didn’t know much about production i was always just fucking around. During my time at University it became more serious. And after this i got an external space in a warehouse in Manchester where i spent many hours and nights experimenting with various software, and some small hardware bits friends lent me for a few weeks at a time, i think during this time is when i really felt the urge to produce proper pieces of music.

In my opinion all of your releases are on point, last of them Surface For Air EP released on eminent Soma label is the freshest proof of that claim. Where do you find the inspiration for your music?

Most of the time i am listening to all sorts of music from Classical, to modern band music, to older rock, and weird Japanese ambient stuff. I feel like this is so key for me to explore these sounds, as i am not always making techno. With the more techno stuff i produce it is generally inspired by the brutal side of life, most of them tracks i write have a meaning to me. Its probably to deep to go into, but i guess the track titles may tell a story.

When starting working on a new track, what’s the first thing you do? And how do you know the track is done?

Well I always start with some sort of low end, for me this is the base of techno, it needs to be solid, i spent many years frustrated with this side of production, its a fine art in itself. Usually after this it is a case of building layers, much like you would a painting, movie or more from an architectural point of view.

For me if i can listen to the track on repeat for many hours at home, and keep on wanting to play it again then i know its finished, and then its a case of fine tuning them details.

What’s the story behind your own label SK_eleven, why did you started it? In four years you had six releases there, less than two a year. For me that’s a definite sign of searching for perfection. Do you “save” your best work for SK_eleven?

SK_eleven started out as a more frustrated me. I was sending out a lot of demo’s and getting offered deals which in the end never turned out. I took an investment from my Dad for mastering and pressing costs, and i was fortunate that the first record did well, otherwise i couldn’t fund a second one on a loss. SK11 is also the postal code from my family home where i grew up, its always had this base and this ideology behind it, i wanted to put music out there for myself and to be proud of when I’m older. I generally have a folder of tracks which I know are for SK i would never say they are the best tracks i save, but more a feeling these tracks have or an emotional connection.

What do you enjoy more DJing or producing music?

I started off as a DJ, and i turned to producing when i realised i wanted to know more about how this music is created, i couldn’t tell you which i like more.

Do you ever find yourself in a club thinking: “How the hell am I going to mix out of this track? Or onto this track?”

I like to put myself into tricky situations like this, its kind of my way of making me energised and excited, always playing 3 decks, i like that thrill, some sort of adrenaline junky for DJing. I’m not afraid of mistakes like some DJs out there who are so clinical , i appreciate that but for me the way i mix is i want to always challenge myself and test new tracks.

Which tracks for you describe some of the strongest feelings like happiness, anger, melancholia? Can you try and give me one for every feeling?

I can give you one for all 3. A track to play at my funeral.

Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYrQC-jWMFM

For the end, tell me what do you think you’d be successful in doing if you weren’t such a great DJ and producer?

Well i studied a form of Architecture at university, but it seems techno won. But I’d be following this path for sure if i never found Aphex, and maybe in the future i’ll still work in this field on the side, i still have a great passion for architecture, design and construction.

It was a pleasure chatting with you, see you soon in Belgrade! 🙂

Thnx. Sam

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