Material Object is no new comer or stranger to the global techno scene and his sound scape covers more ground than many similar acts both new and old. While his production and releases differ with dramatically thats exactly why his audience continues to grow constantly! From chill out ambient masterpieces to deep twisted underground techno, Australia’s favourite export to the Berlin music industry has you covered.
For those who may be unfamiliar with your work, could you give us a brief introduction of yourself and your various projects?
My name is ‘Material Object’ Ive been making electronic music for some time in both the techno areas and also a lot of Ambient / chill out music which for me is intricately linked to techno through history and the chill out rooms in the raves of last centuury. I live in Berlin Germany where i run a record label called ‘No.’ With the famed Atom™. I enjoy making dancefloors move aswell
You are originally from Australia but based in Berlin. What were the decisions behind being there and does it have a big influence on your music?
The decision to move to Berlin was based purely on being bored at the lack of any real scene or support for electronic music in Sydney. Having visited Berlin multiple times since 2000 i was impressed by the ability of artists to make a living doing their art, not needing to support it with a 9-5 job on the side as well as the fact that the city seemed full of artists from all over the world who had moved their to take advantage of that reality. The city itself is also very supportive of club culture and there are lots of big and small clubs regularly playing techno / electronic events without any restrictive policies placed on them by the government. Berlin has had a massive influence on my music as it has allowed me the time to focus on my art aswell as to meet other artists which I’ve collaborated with and released music with
You had the chance to collaborate with Pete Namlook, one of the most respected ambient artists of all time. Could you tell us a little more how that came about and what it was like to work with him?
I had known Namlook since 1997 when i used to sell his label ‘Fax’ in Australia. When i first visited Germany in 2000 he invited me to stay with him. I visitied Germany every few years after that and would always go and visit him in his house near Frankfurt. I was also doing the graphic design for his record label since 1999 and was responsible for around 250(?) or so album covers from Fax and his other label Ambient World.
The decision to collaborate with him musically was completely unplanned. I had moved to Berlin in 2010 and he was visiting the city for other reasons. He visited me at my house / studio and simply said ‘Let’s Jam’ as was his style, so we just sat down and started recording and spent about 80 minutes doing so. This resulted in our first project together ‘Elektronik’
Working with Namlook was great as is obviously a hero of mine so getting the chance to work with someone like that is a quite a big deal. luckily for me, it all worked out well. I also really respected the way he operated, in that we literally just recorded our output together and did some small edits and released that. This is the opposite process to how i work with most other artists where we will usually exchange material back and forth over a couple of months before finishing something. Namlook was a big believer in catching the essence of the performance in the studio.. as well as not wasting time!
We repeated this process in 2011, again at my studio in Berlin, and this resulted in our 2nd album ‘Elektronik II’
His untimely death was a tradgedy for everyone around him, especially his family and close friends and i constantly wonder what new music he and us both would have been able to make in the future..
Could you tell us more about your label No. with AtomTM? Him being based in Chile and you in Berlin, how do you manage to work on productions together?
I met Atom™ through Namlook. After Namlook died i got in touch with Atom™ and he invited me to do a live show with him in Berlin at the CTM festival in 2013. As i did not know Atom™ well at that time, i assumed he would be behave and work like Namlook as they knew each other for a long time and were both from Frankfurt. So Atom and i arrive at the sound check for this ambient gig in a theatre in Berlin having not discussed anything of how we would plan the show and what direction we would head in.. i figured, we would do it instinctively as i did with Namlook. So we did the gig and it was a success and some weeks afterwards we discussed the idea of starting a new label as Atom’s own label ‘Rather Interesting’ had died when Pete Namlook passed away. thats how ‘No.’ was born. Working with Atom is almost the opposite of working with Namlook as Atom is far more concerned with details and perfection. We have collaborated a number of times resulting in 2 CDs and 2x 12” releases, all under the name of ‘No. Inc.’ We have also release almost 20 projects on our label from Artists all over the world, from Chile to Poland and Australia.
In terms of how we produce together, when Atom visits Berlin he will usually stay with me and we will record a bunch of stuff, not necessarilly with a purpose in mind, in my studio. We then both work on the material individually and exchange files via the internet and repeat this process until we’re both happy with the result. In the end, everything we do goes through his studio for the final touch as he has some special tools and knowledge that really bring things to life.
What is approach and philosophy when playing a dj set in a club environment? Can you tell us a little about your setup and the effect you try to create on the dancefloor?
When im performing as a DJ in a dance music environment, my first concern is to be entertaining.. No one wants to see a boring DJ do they? My philosophy is simply ‘Play a set that i would love to listen to if i were in the audience.. i try to make things as intense as possible and also like to create a journey, an Arc if you will, rather than going from 1st to 6th gear and staying there for 3 hours. i think things sound way more interesting when they are varied. I do like to push things into weird places and play some unusual stuff but this depends on the reception of the audience . If they’re not having fun, im not.
Technically my setup is quite simple. im just using Traktor with 4 decks and a few minor custom modifications. Occasionally i add a hardware groovebox to this like the Octatrack but not always.
What are some of the most memorable gigs you have played?
The gig that left the most lasting impression on me was the Labyrinth festival in 2013. I was invited to play a tribute set to Pete Namlook who had passed away the previous year so the entire event was charged with emotion.. The event itself is light years beyond anything else in terms of production, artists, everything so it was a real eye opener.. but the most amazing thing for me was the audience. They were totally receptive to the most cutting edge sounds on earth, as well as being super friendly and receptive to strangers. it instantly reminded me of the rave parties i grew up with in Sydney, a vibe i thought had long since died. The fact that the promoter dedicated the entire event to Namlook, a man he’d never met, really filled me with emotion and the friends i met that year in Japan will hopefully be friends for life.
You are playing at the Eclipse Festival 2016. Are you excited about it?
OF course. I’ve not seen an eclipse before so it will be great to perform during this celestial event and ive not played in Indonesia before so im looking forward to seeing how far i can push things here. it’s also my first time in Bali / Indonesia so im very interested in the culture and people here.
We would love to hear your current top 5.
These are some face melters ive been using recently to good effect.
Wata Igarashi – Night (Time2Express)
Jolka – Five (Surgeon Remix)
Rrose – Cavity (Eaux)
George Issakidis – All In a Moment (Kill the DJ)
Material Object – Hentai (Semantica)
Check Material Object record label here