Zeitgeber (Speedy J + Lucy) Interview

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Hi guys, thank you for getting interviewed for differentgrooves.com
First question: On June 5th you did your first appearance as Zeitgeber at a Boiler Room party. How did you feel about that and what do you think about your performance?

Jochem: It was the first time that we played together so it was really a new thing. Basically we approached in the same way that we approached the music in the studio. We didn’t go with any idea, we just exchanged some ideas about possible tracks to play and started and went with the flow. So, considering it was the first time and we didn’t have any time to practice or to meet up I think we did it all right! I’m very critic on our work, I’m not saying it was amazing but considering the circumstances we did it well and you know, doing this for the first time straight on camera is a sort of risk, I’m sure that Luca thinks the same way. If you’re pushed to do something usually the best way to approach is to back on rely on your instincts, so yeah I think we did ok.

Luca: Yes, it was pretty funny a little episode before the Boiler Room was starting. We really had – as Jochem said – no time at all, I was coming straight from the airport to do the soundcheck so we really didn’t had much time to discuss about it and then just before starting we sat down together and said “ok we should talk a little bit about the set thing”, we shout some ideas one to the other and the conclusion was “ok let’s go with the flow” and that’s how it was like, I’m pretty satisfied as well.

– In the last months a hilarious picture about Boiler Room was shared through Facebook, where its displayed the dj booth is full of people and the dancefloor is empty. What really happens to that kind of parties?

Jochem: the whole point about Boiler Room is that’s like a half way between a party and a workshop, you’re playing with your back to the audience and it’s something new, if you see the movies you maybe forget this aspect but usually you’re used to play with your face to the audience and you’re connected with the people and you can see what happens in the room, but in Boiler Room it’s completely the other way around, you’re playing with your back to the audience and this is necessary to catch the images on camera the way they want. So yeah it feels a little bit different than playing in a usual club but what I know is the party in the Boiler Room Berlin was actually really going on, it was felt like a real party, there were people drinking, socializing and it was really good, but on camera it looks a little bit more tight and less wild because the camera is not focussed so much on the people but on the performers.

Luca: I completely agree. For who watch the Boiler Room it’s focussed on both artists on the camera and on the people dancing in front of the camera etc, but from the artist point of view the interesting thing is you really don’t know what is going on behind you, so there’s like this sort of studio mood as well. Because in the studio we were just me and Jochem and it was like at Boiler Room, I was focussing a lot on synchronization with Jochem mood and vice versa (I guess) and mostly focussing in the music itself. Then sometimes you just turn around and you realize that the party is really going on, the place where it happens it’s a real club, but at the same time you have also this kind of focussed and so laxistic aspect of the artist playing because you don’t see this all the time, I think it’s cool and a nice social experiment.

– Briefly what is the setup you used? I noticed you handled everything with your usual midi controllers and you played many loops and parts of the Zeitgeber album.

Luca: my own setup was the usual one I play with when I gig which is mainly a laptop, a soundcard, a couple of midi controllers and things like this and a mixer, as we were telling you before it was improvised, it wasn’t a huge technical setup that we had to use to handle stuff like this but it was a proper and spontaneous back to back dj set.

Jochem: I use a large setup, usually it include a second laptop and some other controllers and also machines, but for this collaboration and especially also for the time – we had to play only for 90 minutes – I sketched my setup down similarly to what Luca is using, one laptop with some controllers, we had basically the same “arsenal” of stuff to play around with.

– How much time did you spent to produce the album? It seems like it was something hidden in a vault and you waited a long time before put it out.

Luca: Well the album was produced during a long time of two years but in very few and very intense sessions, we spent much more time taking a breath than producing itself so we took some distances from the sound we were making to being more critical about the thing we were doing, all this process came very naturally and spontaneously; at the end the total amount of time we spent producing wasn’t more than two or three weeks, but it was a lapse through a spectrum of time of two years. I think you agree Jochem?

Jochem: Yes, we didn’t set up to produce an album, we just got in the studio because Luca was playing in Holland in a Electric Deluxe party and I invited him to stay some extra days to do some works in the studio. After few hours of work we already discovered that our workflow was really fast and we could basically do more work than just an EP or something, so we did the same thing in Berlin after six months or so when I went to Luca’s studio and we did some more work. We basically didn’t even start with the idea to make an album, we just wanted to see what happen if we work together in the studio, without any preconceptions or any ideas in advance, we just went to the studio, the sounds that was coming went in such a fast way that we decided “ok that quite a lot of material coming out, let’s do an album”, it has been a decision took during the process.

Luca: I think that even for the nature and for the substance of the output of what we were working was very evident, it wasn’t something you close into a two or three tracks release, it’s a longer speech, the type of material was inviting us to say what we have to say in a more structured way, so choosing a full album instead of a smaller EP.

– Thinking about your past experience, do you ever think this album was realizable with knowledge and instruments you had in the past?

Luca: I would say yes because most of the original material was coming from machines that were inside Jochem’s studio in Rotterdam, so most of the original sound sources was coming from machines which mostly were exceptional for some kind of processing – like for mostly vintage synthesizers machines, so it was technically possible also ten years ago or fifteen years ago, but of course the way you structure things and the musical taste change with the time, so in that point of view it wasn’t possible, it is a very contemporary album, that’s how I feel about it.

Jochem: I’m a very technical head, I love gear, I love buying gear and I love working with it, at the moment I’m involved in a process of creation, and in this case together with Luca, all this gear-fetish is basically not an issue, you basically work with whatever material you have your hands on and in that sense the album could have been made in all the times, because every time you go into the studio you use whatever is available and it isn’t needed a specific type of gear to use in this process.

Luca: Is the machine that needs us!

Jochem: Exactly, so there’s no specific gear needed for either me or Luca to achieve something, we ended of using some of the recordings that I had from my gear and some of the production techniques that Lucy is used to doing in digital environments and we combined everything. I don’t think is very relevant to the end product because if we would use something else we would come up with an album as well only with different gear, the creation doesn’t depend on a specific type of technology. So in that sense it could have been made in all times, but in this project we ended up using the gear of today, we used Ableton and all that standalone huge stuff including some recordings, some gear etc but I don’t think it’s really relevant, if Luca and I will come together in 10 years there will be a new generation of equipment and that’s what we’ll probably use, a particular gear isn’t really necessary to achieve another result, we just use whatever is available.

Lucy: Another thing I want to point out: in many cases it was very important to me also the “face” we were still working on the beginning and original source of sound; with synths coming from the ’70 , it was pretty an intense experience for me, it was the first time I was touching some of them like EMS Synthi A or the Roland System 100 which where in Jochem’s studio, probably for him is much more normal because his career is much longer than mine, but it was a really important thing to me.

– What do you think about the legacy between tradition and innovation in this project?

Luca: I think that Jochem while was working wasn’t thinking so much about that, it’s evident he has a much wider and longer experience than mine, he came through different faces of electronic music while my experience is shorter, but at the same time he has a treasure inside himself, we got some common points in musical education, it was very important for me the early Speedy J output, like the one on Novamute or Warp Records and the Artificial Intelligence series. We have of course two very different stories but at the same time “music makes people come together”, the common point you can find in music is timeless in a way, to be precise time doesn’t matter so much because I can find something from ’91 very actual and very contemporary for example. That was one of the most interesting side of our synergy with Jochem in producing Zeitgeber.

Jochem: The only thing maybe we could point out is that of course we both have different musical history but I guess that is true in every collaboration, each one brings the assets and backgrounds available in a common “table”, but in our collaboration we never really discussed this openly, we expected each others input when we were producing and we never discussed anything “in words” like “let’s do something more ‘70s, or dubsteppin”; we never really used any words, basically the music creating process guided us, without discussing anything in advance, about directions or style or genre, we never touched these words.

Luca: I would point out what I said before, it’s something that I’m thinking aftermath, after the album came out if you ask me these things so all this stuff comes to my mind, as Jochem said it was nothing about that, without using any words it was present in the process while we were working together.

– Have you any got any other projects you would talk about in the forthcoming months?

Luca: Not yet, now we are happy with this output and we want to let it breath, let it leave and see from there as we deep from the beginning, let it role you know!

– A sort of vacation so!

Luca: Not really because we both are really busy, some resting time on our side, but it’s time to leave from the project itself, because now it’s getting in touch with the actual listeners.

Jochem: I agree with the same conclusion as Luca, we started the project without a plan and now we have to make sure it gets to the right people. A project have always two lives, there’s a face where you work on something and it’s really your own thing, and then at some point you let it loose, in this second face the music belongs from the people, and now it’s time for this face, to see how it finds its way into the world and then we can always decide to leave it like this or maybe to do something else; we actually have no plans, so it’s not the time to see how it develops itself.

– Thank you for the interview, again congratulations for the album and good luck!

Luca: Ok thank you Matteo, speech soon, bye bye!
Jochem: Thanks for talking with us, ciao!

Interview by Matteo Pitton

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