Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contakt (Turrbotax) interview & mix


Since moving to New York 9 months ago, there has consistently been one monthly event that I won't miss: TURRBOTAX®. First introduced to them by DJ Oneman while he was on tour in Australia last year, I quickly sought out the parties and made contact with the guys heading up the event - Contakt and Rem Koolhouse.

Allsorts took the time to have a chat with Contakt about TURRBOTAX®, his perspective on the world and what his bright future might hold, as well as securing an exclusive mix featuring a great selection of brand new and unreleased house and techno.

Q. First up tell us a little about who you are and how TURRBOTAX® came to be.
A. Is this the part where I say I am a Libra and like long walks on the beach?
My name is Contakt and I don’t really like talking about myself – let’s skip that part!
As for TURRBOTAX® it really started for two reasons; the first was that Rem Koolhaus and I were really excited about the new sounds we were hearing out of the UK by Bok Bok, Cooly G, and Altered Natives and how it connected to music we were inspired by growing up in the 90s – but no one was playing it here in NYC. The second factor was the sad state of affairs of dance music here in NYC; don’t get me wrong there are some great parties here in NYC (Dubwar, Bunker, Fixed, to name a few) but other than that, the scene when we started was either terrible electro-house remixes being played by washed up hip-hop DJs, or people taking themselves way too seriously with parties with serious names like “Pressure”, or “Heavy”, and events that people pay $30 to stand around stroking their chins. We rounded up our friends (the other residents; C-Sick, Mayster, and Space Jam) and decided to do a party (not an “event”) focused on this new sound that didn’t really have a name (that people now for better or worse call “bass music”) and being fun. Thankfully, our approach worked; and people seem to get it.

Q. You're pushing a sound that is reasonably new and quite UK-oriented, did you find that you had to educate New York audiences?
A. It’s interesting, a lot of people say that we are a UK night or a UK Funky night; and we don’t really see it that way. We think of ourselves as a cutting edge (for lack of a better description) music night – our booking policy has always been focused on innovators. That said; a lot of the DJs we have booked have been from the UK because there has been so much exciting music of London in these last few years – at the same time, we have also booked artists from all over; Robert Hood, Todd Edwards, CosminTRG, DJ Rashad, etc. As far as educating the audience, we have been really lucky to build a dedicated following over the last few years – our crowd is really up for anything, and responds when DJs really go for it. It’s so rare to have a crowd like that, and I think it’s a big part of why the guest DJs have so much fun playing our night.

Q. Who are some of the artists that you've had down to TURRBOTAX® and who are your favourites?
A. I know it sounds clichĂ©, but this really is a hard question because we have brought so many artists to NYC (60-70ish at this point, I can’t remember), many of them for their NYC or USA debuts. That’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of TURRBO actually, not only do I get to see inspiring DJ sets, but generally there is a few days before and after of adventure; that might be showing someone NYC, non-stop record-shopping, or going on mini-tours on the East Coast.

Top 3 TURRBOTAX® Sets in 2011:
1. Robert Hood – November 2011
2. Karizma – February 2011
3. Kode9 – January 2011

Q. Who were the first big DJs that inspired you and why?
A. The DJ that truly inspired me was Roc Raida (R.I.P.), seeing Raida, Q-Bert, and the early turntablist videos (VHS!) is what opened my eyes to DJing and turntablism as an artform. My other early inspiration was DJ Premier, who wasn’t as technical but just had such incredible style with his scratching and mixing – he will always be the #1 NY hip-hop DJ in my book. Other DJs that really inspired me early on were Juan Atkins, and DJ Assault – I discovered so many records from their mixtapes and CDs it was really an education about the history of dance music for me.

Q. Which producers are you loving right now?
A. Lately I have been revisiting a lot of my favorites from the 90’s and it’s been amazing. There are so many records from this era from artists like E-Dancer, Kenny Larkin, UR, and others that still sound so forward and futuristic; I take perverse pleasure in playing them in sets and having people come up to me and asking if a 15 year old record is a new tune from the new producer de jour. As far as new records; Santiago Salazar, Deetron, Julio Bashmore, Shed, Monty Luke, and Omar S are all buy-on-sight producers for me. Next year I expect big things from Helix, Bandshell, Ghosts on Tape, and Archie Pelago.

Q. Contakt we see that you have some releases of your own coming out. What are you focusing on musically in the future?
A. I really had a great year in 2011 in that I got to work with amazing artists, labels, and friends. This summer I rebuilt and switched around my hardware setup, since then I have just been trying to keep my head down, and keep writing. My aim for 2012 is to continue the momentum from this year with more releases, remixes and tours.

Download the mix here »

01. Miguel Migs - Close Your Eyes (Deetron Remix) [Om Records]
02. Ican - Plastic People [Division Del Norte]
03. Stephen Brown - Mini Mood [Skudge]
04. Robert Hood - Wandering Endlessly [M-Plant]
05. Mosca - Wray & Neph [3024]
06. DJ MikeQ - The Master Blaster [Fade to Mind]
07. George Fitzgerald - Feel Like [Hotflush]
08. Helix - Mono #1 [Other Heights]
09. Untold - Little Things Like That [Clone]
10. The Poetic Painter M - Marie's Transcendance (Chicago Skyway Rework #1) [MOS Deep]
11. Vince Watson - Sequential (DJ Rolando Remix) [Bio]

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