Wednesday, 10 March 2010
INTERVIEW: Non Person [Channel Zero]
Hailing from Finland, Non Person, came highly recommended to us by Dead-O of Clouds; a fact that remains near impossible to ignore considering that particular Finnish duo’s sublime discography to date. After dialogue and dubs were swapped it became obvious that the recommendation we’d so informally received was infact the buffing of a bonafide gem. We’ve since become incredibly smitten with his off key lurching into snare drums and jagged melodic patterns, reloading the deep omnipresent bass tones he produces for months now.
Ahead of his debut 12” release, ‘Presener’ b/w ‘Mi Empress,’ on Dead-O’s Channel Zero imprint we caught up with Non to pry a little about his geography and his use of technology. Oh and... dude drops a killer mix too.
Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
I’m a producer from Helsinki, Finland. I’ve always enjoyed being on the experimental side of things, and have been lucky enough to find like-minded people to work with. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn and develop my craft as a part of a group of friends/musicians/artists. Making music and performing with my friends RRKK, Teeth and Kirill Lorech, DJing on the radio weekly, playing clubs, working on a few sound installations and making deep listening music is what I’ve been concentrating on in the past years. Then I started developing my current sound a bit over a year ago, and became Non Person.
Now exploring this sonic world has become my first priority.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
Outside of music I live a simple life. I go for walks, or out to hear music, or just chill and drink tea. I like to read, eat, think and stare at walls; or at the sky outside during summer. I travel whenever I can and spend time with people I love. I also work as a freelance writer and translator.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do produce?
I’ve always wanted to make music; to me it’s been the most effective form of human culture ever since I was little. I taught myself to play some guitar and bass and played in some bands when I was younger. At some point I got into making beats for fun, inspired by American alternative hip-hop and Murmurecordings.
But it was deep and meditative electronic sounds of labels like ~scape, Chain Reaction, City Centre Offices, Mille Plateaux, Rhythm & Sound in its various forms, and other artists like Autechre, Boards of Canada, The Bug and Portishead that opened up my mind, inspired me to take production more seriously, and gave me courage to experiment. Then at some point I got the MPC I’d always wanted, and eventually built a small studio with a friend. Discovering dubstep was another significant step. It pushed me into a new direction and taught me how to make harder beats.
What’s your production set up like?
My main tools are Ableton Live, a MacBook Pro and a pair of nice Dynaudio monitors. I have an analogue filter by Akai which I still use, but I’ve sold most of the hardware I had at some point. I share my studio with other producers, so there are people coming and going, lending or just forgetting synths and other equipment for undefined periods of time. There’s always something lying around to pick up and start messing with. But I’m buying an MPC again, I miss having one. I’d also like to get the equipment to control midi synths with a guitar.
Where do you take inspiration from when making music?
Emotions, things people say; the weather, the city, nature, changes in life, stillness and all the music I hear. I pick things up easily, consciously or subconsciously, and they end up in my tracks in some form. I think life is such a fucking trip, that it’s impossible not to be constantly inspired.
How would you describe your sound?
My tunes have strange rhythms, emotional melodies, some dirt, hissing, ambience, and heavy bass. I often operate at 140 bpm, but a lot of times I don’t. I do what comes naturally, and hope to sound original. If a gun was pointed at me, I think I would categorise myself somewhere in between hip-hop and dubstep, but there’s no gun, so I’m not saying it here… haha.
What’s the scene like in Finland? It looks pretty strong from the outside with the likes of you Clouds and more recently Desto coming to prominence...
For a city this size the dubstep scene is doing really well. There are a lot of different promoters doing different kinds of nights (almost too many parties at the moment). Just like there is variety of producers with different styles, all supported by the open minded and music loving crowds. Tes La Rok, obviously, Clouds, Desto, Late, Khid… too many to mention. Teeth has been making so many quality tunes lately. Jkrl is someone to keep an ear out for. And you’ll all need to take cover when RRKK’s tracks get the attention they deserve.
How do you think you geography affects your music? Like I guess being located in London we’re constantly bombarded by all these upfront mutant sounds that sometimes never really get a chance to fully develop before everyone moves on to the next thing... Do you think that being situated outside of that helps you define your own ideas a bit more?
For me this is definitely the case. I think a bit of ignorance can give you a more innocent approach, which can be a good or a bad thing. But it definitely allows free creativity, which results in a personal style. You can keep track of things pretty well online, but I only do that to a certain extent. It’s kind of naïve, but I try to hang on to a philosophy of listening to everything as just individual pieces of music.
From an outsiders, well from my own perspective, one of the most exciting musical forms in Scandinavia is skweee. I noticed a couple of producers like Coco Bryce and Mesak in the mix tracklist. Do you follow it much?
A bit, yeah. Mesak also keeps me up to date by sending me stuff. I’m happy to support those guys whenever I like some tracks. I think it fits into what I play. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon, kind of like a pirate genre… I like the attitude.
What producers are you feeling currently and why?
I like the latest good tune just as much as anyone, but what I really like is when someone does something personal, something that you need courage to do. I think Peverelist is one example of this, his sound has always stood out (album of the year, anyone?). Clouds keep constantly surprising me. James Blake and Mount Kimbie obviously, you can’t not like that stuff. TAKE is a producer with a special brand of catchiness, and so is Offshore. Illum Sphere I like for the deepness. Ras G for the attitude. I’ve also been feeling a bit of Roska, Dark Knight, Martin Kemp and Cooly G, because to me it sounds fresh. Mala’s ‘Livin Different’ has been playing for a long time, it’s a special track. I‘ve also been listening to The XX and Ben Frost. Oh and Bon Iver.
There’s a huge amount of good and interesting things popping up all around at the moment. It’s a nice time to live in, in terms of music at least.
So your debut 12”, ‘Presenser’ b/w ‘Mi Empress’ is coming up (hear it above) on the Channel Zero imprint. How did you hook that up?
Dead-O of Clouds runs the label, and he’s been a friend for a long time. Originally I know him from years ago, I used to buy his mixtapes and we had a lot of mutual friends. We’ve gotten to know each other well over the years and we’re both involved in running the Alas nights in Helsinki. He was starting the label around the time I finally sent him some tracks, this was about a year ago, ‘Presenser’ was one of them. He cut it to a dubplate and wanted to release it. He’s been liking most of the material I’ve given him ever since, and been helpful and supportive in a lot of ways. And I don’t mean just pushing my music, but also being a good friend.
Can you tell people what they can expect from it?
This one is two tracks for an open minded dance floor or headphones. Emotion disguised as synthetic; at 140 bpm… with big kick drums.
What else have you got coming up? (releases, gigs etc etc)
I’m working on songs all the time and some of them will end up on an EP for Channel Zero. I also did a remix for Michael Black Electro that’s coming out on Black Acre digitally. At the moment I’m working hard on a project with Teeth and two visual artists, we’re performing together at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in the end of March. And I’m playing a collaborative live set together with Clouds soon, to celebrate the release of the 12”. I’m looking forward to putting that together.
We also have James Blake and Scuba coming over to our Alas parties within the next few months.
Can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us? Exclusives? What tracks just had to be included?
I wanted to make a mix with a range of some styles that I usually play, but on a bit of a headphones tip, it starts with some really easy vibes. A few exclusives, or one of my tracks is at least! The first track was the only one really obvious this time, I knew I wanted to start from there. After that the rest just took its form naturally.
Have you got any words of advise for our readers?
Pretty much what Bill Murray said to the kid he thought was his son near the end of ‘Broken Flowers.’ Look it up... and stay true.
DOWNLOAD: Non Person – Sonic Router Mix
01. Ponytail & Lotta-liina - Hot Slow (Unreleased)
02. Nosaj Thing - Voices (Alpha Pup)
03. Non Person - Similar Snowflakes (forthcoming Channel Zero)
04. Mesak - Virgins of Bergen (Harmönia)
05. Coco Bryce - Ghetto Freaks (Harmönia)
06. 1000names - Saturn Race (Team Acre)
07. Flying Lotus - I Feel Like Dying (CDR)
08. Clouds - Four Hands (Unreleased)
09. Kuedo - Glow (forthcoming Planet Mu)
10. Non Person - Presenser (forthcoming Channel Zero)
11. Asylum Seekas - Magic Words [TMU Remix] (Unreleased)
12. Brandy - FMF Bootleg (forthcoming Erca Mysteries)
13. Eskmo - Let Them Sing (Planet Mu)
14. Late - Secret Paths (Unreleased)
15. Pangaea - Router (Jkrl Remix) (Unreleased)
16. Eternal Golden Void - Witch Finder (Metatronix)