JD Twitch takes us into the Interzone…
Talk us through the mix
I have a very long relationship with what gets called industrial music. A lot of artists who came out of that movement soon tired of making clanking noise and went on to make some of the most interesting, hypnotic (and listenable) music I’ve ever encountered. A high % of the music is by artists who are perhaps often more associated with “sturm und drang” than with mediative hypnotica.
There are a few “songs” on the mix as the voices of John Balance, Holger Czukay, Robert Wyatt, Nick Cave and Arthur Russell (amongst others) have a distinctive character to their voice that perfectly fits the feel I was looking for. The mix takes in music from the early 1960s right up until the present day and I think it’s maybe quite hard to figure out what tracks come from what time period.
For me the best music has always been timeless and ageless and I don’t really care whether music is current and hip or old, unknown or forgotten. I think the pace changes quite a lot over the course of the mix but also remains firmly in a certain headspace, if that makes sense?
How was this mix made?
The mix was made using turntables with some tracks that aren’t on vinyl being played from Ableton (I don’t have and have never used a CDJ). There is zero beat mixing as there aren’t really many beats. Everything is either layered or segued by key. There is a bit of echo and delay in places but very few fx were used although i did use some multi band compression to boost the bass frequencies a tad in places.
The mix was done in the wee small hours (around 4 - 6am). Track selection was made entirely based on what sounded right for the headspace that that time often engenders and involved pulling out and listening to a large number of records at a similar time the night before. it’s about two hours long but could have gone on way longer.
What is your relationship with night time? How does this manifest itself in the music?
I have always been a fairly nocturnal creature. It’s hard to know if that’s a result of what I do for a living but even before I started dj’ing I always liked the dead of night and would do university work very late at night if possible. I tend to get my best ideas well after midnight and rather than letting insomnia be a curse that drives me crazy, if I’m lying awake I’ll get back up and do stuff. I think all the best music i have ever made was finished late at night and sometimes when i surface the next day I have little recall of how i actually did something. It’s a little like the Interzone William S. Burroughs talks about where one enters an almost dreamlike state or a sort of trance. There is definitely a noticeable shift in temporal space after about 3am where the still of night and the dark, or the prequel to dawn creates a very different atmosphere for creativity, listening to music or reading.
I’ve always sought out music that works best for my headspace at these times and that tends to be music without drums or at least without too regular a rhythmic structure, or if there is a rhythm, something that is quite trance-inducing. In recent years there has been a trend towards making music that specifically meets these requirements - i.e. hypnagogic pop or whatever it is called - but I find most of what I have heard a little too contrived.
Would you recommend any particular activity or surroundings whilst listening to this mix?
It is probably different for different listeners. For some, being in an altered state may assist, for others, simply the time of night might be enough. it might be music for trancing out to, for enjoying a psychedelic experience, for reading to, for thinking, falling asleep to, drifting in and out of consciousness or being intimate to. I’d also HIGHLY recommend NOT listening to it on shitty laptop speakers.
You’re better known for playing music in clubs, but you’ve done a few mixes that are a little closer to this theme in the past, namely the Sleepwalk compilation and your mix for Fact (214). How does this one compare?
I used to co-run a Sunday evening club in Glasgow in the early 90s that played a lot of what got called “ambient” music (a term I’m not entirely comfortable with). People would come and fall asleep or completely trance out, which in its own way was as satisfying as getting people dancing. DJing can take many forms and for me a big part of it has always been about introducing people to music and types of music they might not otherwise encounter. I’ve have always felt there is more interesting music to listen to late at night after the dance impulse has died down than mellow (or not so mellow!) dance music. There comes a time when the 4/4 in whatever form becomes a little tiresome and not so conducive to the state of mind at that time, although from experience I’d say I’m in the minority on that front. Perhaps I just don’t hang out with enough cosmic explorers? :)
A couple of the tracks on this mix are also on Sleepwalk and the FACT mix but I think this mix delves deeper into the Interzone (and is way longer). Maybe “Sleepwalk” is a beginners guide to the Interzone, this is an intermediate guide and one day I’ll do a mix of more extremely hypnotic, perhaps even disorientating music, strictly for the Interzone headstrong?
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Photography - Kirstin Kerr