How has it been since last year?
This has been a very different year for me actually. My wife and I have a baby now, and of course that means new responsibilities and schedule. Everything pretty much revolves around the baby. We both work at home so it’s a challenge to balance everything, but we’re having a great time.
Lately, you have been playing gigs in South America or Asia. What’s your impression on these places? What did you think of the audience’s reaction in these countries?
Lately the best gigs I’ve had are in the less usual places. There’s something about cities with smaller scenes, where the people are not as jaded. Sometimes it turns out to be more energetic and exciting, and rewarding for me. My first visit to Taipei was
actually quite memorable and left me with a really good impression. And more recently, I played in Lima, Peru which was really excellent.
How is New York’s party scene these days?
It’s definitely been on the upswing. There are many good events, and a great variety of music all the time. Everyone comes through New York at some point so there are many notable artists and DJs performing, and of course a lot of excellent local talent.
You’ve been releasing a lot of collaborative projects throughout your carreer, notably with Christian Smith, but also lately with Dave Turov, Tony Rohr or Ulysses. Can you tell us a bit more about these projects?
在你的生涯當中，你有過許多的合作專案發行，其中最有名的就是與Christian Smith，但最近也跟Dave Turov, Tony Rohr 還有 Ulysses。可以請你告訴我們一點點關於這些的合作? 有哪些是你特別喜歡一起工作的?以及最近與Christian Smith會有甚麼新的計畫呢?
I truly enjoy collaborating, for me it always leads to something greater than the sum of its parts. I might be able to do similar music alone, but between two or more people there is a greater dynamic and more creative possibilities can arise.
Christian and I have been working together for many years, we have a very solid creative relationship and a very effective system to follow when we are in the studio. We’ve taken a bit of a break, Christian has been focusing on his own work and on building his Tronic label up again, but we will soon get back in the studio for another round and see if we can top the success that we had with Total Departure.
我跟Christian Smith已經一起工作有數年之久了，已經有非常堅固的夥伴關系，也發展出很有效率的工作模式。但最近就稍微休息一下。Christian正忙著他自己的工作還有他自己的廠牌Tronic。不過我們很快就會再回到錄音室，看看可不可以做出超越Total Departure的東西來
With Neurotic Drum Band I’ve had an opportunity to explore other musical directions. Ulysses and I started out making very sample heavy tracks, almost like really complex edits – just throwing many different elements together to make something fun and crazy on the dance floor, that also has a kind of nerdy sense of humor about it. But we really started to find success when we stopped sampling and started writing all original tracks. Stylistically we range from cosmic and italo disco, to old school house, electro funk, even
Neurotic Drum Band(with Elliot Taub aka Ulysses)的合作，讓我有了機會去開拓其他的方向。而Ulyssesep跟我一開始是嚐試作一些簡單且重的歌曲，幾乎接近是大雜燴了，丟了非常多不同的元素進去混合，創造出一些有趣又瘋狂的東西在舞池中。不過當我們停止這種惡搞開始專注在原創上，應該也就要接近成功了。我們把範圍定位從cosmic、italo disco到old school house, electro funk甚至是 krautrock.
My other collaborations are on the techno and minimal side, for my label CSM. Tony Rohr is a good friend in NYC and we are getting together in the studio more and more often. I think the stuff we are doing is a departure for both of us, it’s definitely a bit different.
Dave Turov is the manager for CSM, we’ve been working closely on the label for several years now and it’s only natural that we would also do music together. He is an experienced live drummer so his approach to rhythm contrasts with how I do things, it’s an interesting dynamic.
You mention on your Soundcloud that you are heading in a new stylistic direction with house and techno: can you tell us a bit more about that?
您放在Soundcloud上面的歌The Ocean Before Me ，您說您嘗試用浩室和鐵客諾元素做出一些新的風格，您可以說說看您創作的過程嗎？還有請問您最近在做些什麼樣的創作呢？
The solo productions I’m working on at the moment is a bit deeper and introspective. I want to explore more melodic ideas and use different sounds than I have before, and keep things very listenable, not only pumping beats for DJs. But as for remixes and collaborations, you can be sure that I’m still always keeping the dance floor in mind.
There’s a big house revival at the moment, and more generally, house & techno are styles that have been constantly revisited since their inception. What do you think about this: is it sterile repetition? or is the old stuff still a source of inspiration for creating something new?
I guess I’m one of those who enjoys the nostalgia because I love the old school styles as much as the new directions. What matters most is that it be good music and stays relevant. But I also don’t wish to hear the same thing repeated again and again: there should be some step forward, some kind of twist or innovation to keep things fresh and interesting as well.
How do you generally prepare for a gig? Do you have any idea of what you are going to play in Taipei?
Usually I spend some time listening to new promos and releases to see what I might try out, and then I go through the music I’ve been playing recently and make a new playlist for the night. I’m thinking this time in Taipei to play a mix of house, tech house and techno, building from deeper to harder depending on what the crowd seems to go for.
Last question: what’s your favorite Chinese food?
There’s so much to choose from! I don’t know if I have one single favorite one, but I can say for sure some of my favorite dishes are Szechuan, and recently I’ve also tried food from Xi’an that had a unique middle eastern influence I really enjoyed. And of course what I’ve had in Taiwan is really excellent. My wife’s mother makes amazing homestyle Taiwanese dishes, it’s always a treat when we visit them.
John Selway is playing this Saturday, April 10th at The Wall (Taipei), with Yoshi, BB and Databass
Admission is 650NT (presale) / 800NT (door)
Interview and Chinese translation by the Earworm Team