junk-E-cat’s smoky combination of delicious Jazzy intonation alongside uncomplicated drums and Treaturette’s captivating vocals score a big plus with this release. Also the fact that just one version is all that’s required to speak volumes is likewise highly desirable. The message is in the music….
Welcome to Magazine Sixty. You have just performed at Melt Festival. What was that experience like? And can you tell us about the team of people that assisted you and their roles in the performance?
The experience was quite overwhelming. Getting the opportunity to perform three sets at such a special festival and getting such an amazing response was something the creature will never forget.
I feel so privileged to have a team built out of people who are friends and partners in crime rather than hired hands. They have joined one by one over the last three years and have seen the operation grow from just a crazy idea to what it is today.
We played two of the days at 5am with the creature performing on top of the moving vehicle luring people from the festival area to the so called sleepless floor – a bit like a new age pied piper.
For this operation you need a driver you can 100% rely on while performing, a sound engineer to check levels and some helping hands to set everything up and to escort the truck during the performance – to make sure that everything goes down safely.
The last set was played with the truck stationary and an 82“ screen to the side of it with a live camera feed and visuals. The show itself is run by three people. The creature on the roof, one camera operator and live VJ putting all the images together.
And finally you need a manager who makes sure that everything runs smoothly with the festival and I must say that the MELT team treated us really well.
We set up a camp with the fire truck behind the main stage and I think we added a nice vibe to the backstage area 🙂
Can you tell us about the set-up of keyboards and instruments you like to use playing live? What can ‘real’ instruments give you that electronic ones can’t, and vice versa?
My setup is a hybrid of electronic and acoustic instruments. In the center of the electronic side is a Maschine MK3 which allows me to perform and produce beats and patterns in real time. A Maschine Jam controls the arrangement and manages different patterns and effects. The horns – bass clarinet, soprano and alto sax – add a natural and special texture to the music and allow me to also play freely on top of my tunes whenever I feel like it. The main challenge is to merge both worlds in the most natural way possible. It creates a beautiful symbiosis where the result becomes bigger than the sum of the electronic and the acoustic elements.
From the technical side, everything comes together in an Ableton session with the Maschine software running as VST with two looper plugins for the horns. Additionally there are some knobs and foot controllers to trigger and control effects, filters and transitions on the fly.
From the musical side, I feel like the journey has just begun and I will keep exploring the boundaries of both worlds.
What does wearing a mask signify? And what does that feeling of anonymity give you?
The mask frees the creature from the performer’s doubts and original background. It eliminates facial expressions and therefore emphasizes gestures and movements.
The creature’s mask is a Venetian Bauta which allows whoever wears it to speak their mind. In junk-E-cat’s case, the mask enables him to create and play the music he always wanted to make.
You recently released the excellent KREATUR EP containing the track Levitation, now backed up by a series of remixes. Can you talk us through how you produced it?
KREATUR is the result of two years of touring and creating beats and performances in special locations. Last autumn it was about time to take some of the live tracks to the studio and to produce them properly. With the help of Antonio de Spirt – a Berlin based producer and sound designer – we took the stems based on the live performances and added textures and transitions to five of the tunes. The EP was finally mixed by Martin „Lucky“ Waschkowitsch – a Berlin based producer and mixing engineer at BeWAKE Studios who not only mixed the latest Parcels album but also has his roots in hip hop beatmaking and a profound knowledge both in the electronic and acoustic world. We clicked instantly when we met. Lucky also helped translating the newly produced sound back into the live performances and the BeWAKE Studios became junk-E-cat’s musical home in the process.
After an all-important and highly skilled mastering session from Zino Mikorey, the recordings were ready to be released into the world.
Therefore KREATUR is not only the EP but also set the path for long term allies and friendships for the project.
Jazz obviously figures highly in the creative process for you. Where did that influence originally come from, and who for you are its most important players?
I love Jazz music and young junk-E-kitten listened a lot to Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Michel Petrucciani. While my project could not really be labelled as Jazz, there are some specific sounds and chords that I use that have their roots there for sure. I always wondered what would happen if you play this music in front of a dancing / clubbing crowd and junk-E-cat is the experiment whether this could work…
Outside of music where do you take inspiration from? Any favourite writers, painters etc?
I take a lot of inspiration from comics – the dark aesthetics mixed with a dry sense of humour. I’m a fan of street art and love the idea of artists showing up really special places and leaving their own unique mark.
How do you see club culture developing over the coming decades? Will clubs as spaces to express yourself still exist, or might it just become about the festival experience in the future?
We’re living in such fast-moving times so it’s pretty impossible to make a long term prediction for such a multi-facetted culture. Both club and festival cultures have historically been places where acceptance, diversity and togetherness can thrive. I feel in these increasingly politically difficult times we need those spaces more than ever and I hope we can find yet more ways in which they can be even more accessible and welcoming. What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
My four favorite instruments are the bass clarinet, the alto saxophone, the soprano saxophone and the Maschine. And hell yes – I own all of them.
Your recent video’s feature industrial landscapes. Are these an inspiration for you? And what is it about them?
The creature feels comfortable in urban industrial environments. These landscapes represent the technological progress of their time but also the decay and transience. For some reason these sites have a magical aura.
And finally. What comes next for junk-E-cat?
playing a couple of new tracks that I’m really excited about at MELT, the
creature can’t wait to get back in the studio and record them.
Let’s think of some words to describe this debut: Strange, haunting, spell-binding, alluring, wonderful. All of which are true as junk-E-cat’s brilliant concoction of sights and sounds illuminates the landscape with smoky horizons. Each of the five tracks feels like a story in itself, each offering different duration, each adding unique angles to the given situation. Occasionally jazzy, defiantly individual slices of music which come in a class all of their own. From the horn blasts and insistent voice of Levitation through to the tougher tones of the opening title track I can’t wait to hear all of this and more expanded across an albums worth of material.