Let’s begin the new decade at this point. Like House Music never really died, it just altered mutating into new, equally exciting forms. And you get that feeling as the bass and drums kick into gear on Forward, suggesting a yearning fed by rigorous rhythms and tough, hard-edged production values. Funky yet technological. Backward, doesn’t do so but points at ways forward via emotive voices alongside pounding beats, all creating a sense of resonating space. Finally, Per Hammar remixes Backward highlighting seductive, breathy vocals plus a definitive sting in the percussive tail as underlying sounds unfold to heighten, then explode tension.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Per Hammar. Let’s begin with your new single due out on INFUSE: Conscious EP which you have co-produced alongside Rossko. Tell us about how you got introduced to each other and how have you found the experience of co-producing, as opposed working as a solo artist?
Hey! It actually all started with a high five in the booth at Watergate here in Berlin. I was supposed to play the closing set, and was ready to take over from Ross when he drops a track from me and Edvin Wikner,”Lindström”.
We hadn’t met before, and I thought he played the track since I was there, but he hadn’t seen me. So I was like “Nice one! high five” And he responded High five!”Who are you by the way?!” The day after we had coffee and then we produced for one year.
Since I’ve started to make music by myself over a decade ago, I’ve only done a few collaborations. I need the space to be able to try stuff and do weird things without explaining why. Also I need to feel relaxed. Not many producers can give me this, but Ross is definitely one of them.
The first track on the EP: Unconscious is a brilliant combination of sights, sound and voices. Can you talk us through how the piece was created, including the more unconventional pieces of software/ hardware you used in the production?
A funny thing with this track is that it was actually the first track we ever started together. Even if it kinda came together smoothly, it did take at least 15 sessions. We had 3-4 different drafts that we played during the weekends for research. We just started jamming in my studio with my usual suspects: The eurorack, x0xb0x, Yamaha DX-27 and tons of Roland RE-301. For all the little blips and glitches we used a Форманта УДС, a Ukrainian drum machine from the 80’s USSR. During one of our lunch breaks we found a cassette with hypnosis exercises in a box of trash on the sidewalk, Neukölln style. Back in the studio we recorded it and used it as a vocal in the track.
You recently celebrated your eight year anniversary of Kiloton in Malmö, Sweden (the club who co-run with Kajsa Lindström). Eight years is a long time these days. What do you put the success of the night down to, and what do you feel can be offered by regular nights that one-off festivals cannot?
At the night during our first birthday party I remember one of the owners of the venue telling me”Thanks for a great year! Let’s aim for one more, yeah?” Indicating that it would be cool, but let’s see how it goes. Suddenly we’re here 8 years later. I think the most important ingredient is to work with real people that you can communicate with. Someone needs to be the party pooper that sometimes say no to things due to financial reasons, and you need someone that says yes to things so you don’t ending up in a loop of planning.
Malmö is a small city with a very tight scene. If you’re true to the crowd, they will be true back.
You are originally from Sweden and now live in Berlin. How would you describe the two cities and what has living in each taught you?
That’s a really interesting question. I questioned it myself a lot while living in Malmö. Compared to other cities around the world with around 300.000 citizens, Malmö has an outstanding scene. We have a few artists heading from here. Minilogue/Sebastian Mullaert, DJ Seinfeld, Kontra Musik and Patrick Siech to name a few. When I moved there in 2007 until a few years ago the electronic scene was thriving. There was underground parties driven by enthusiastic people pretty much in the city center. You could go out and see big international DJ’s Fridays and Saturdays on a wide selection of clubs. On top of that we had a quite big punk scene, squatting houses where they threw techno parties. The whole scene was, and still is, intimate and very friendly. Something really special actually. The pulse of the community gave me the energy to keep on doing what I wanted. And for many years I didn’t wanna be anywhere else.
Which is not a completely common thought, when most people working with something cultural in Sweden move to Stockholm. Things changes and so did Malmö, and I felt I wanted more of the belonging to the scene. Then Berlin was the obvious choice. It’s the completely opposite of the friendly scene in Malmö, but on the other hand I met so many new friends and created so much more music than I ever did before.
Your music has a very free-flowing, almost improvisational quality to it. You are your main influences both within and outside of electronic music – any particular writers, poets, painters or musicians?
It’s nice to hear that you notice that. I used to be inspired by music within the electronic dance music genre. But more and more I’m enjoying to start with a completely clean slate. Wake up in the morning and hit the coffee maker. Do a quick beat and jam on the euro rack and dub things through my tape delays and spring reverbs. I often ending up doing takes that are 2, 3, 4 minutes long. Maybe it only loops once or twice during the whole track. It’s actually a bit contradictory since loopy, distinct stuff is what matters on the floor. But this is just how I do, I guess.
But I can’t hide that I’m very influenced by the scrappy stripped sound of older dub cuts. The simplicity and rawness of stripping everything down to just the beat, and let the musical parts just come in once in a while drowned in space echoes, phasers and reverbs. Just on and on and on. No hooks no nothing. It’s like meditation, you know.
You run two record labels: Dirty Hands and 10YEARS. Tell us about what for you the positive and minus factors of doing so are in 2019?
My labels gives me the security of being able to do exactly what I want. The minus is that if I do exactly what I want, there’s no filter between my brain and the rest of the world.
To make sure to stand out of the ocean of new labels during past years, one trick was to give your music out on vinyl to show that at least someone believe in the music on the record. When everyone adapt to that concept, the vinyl sales drops of course. Despite that, 10YEARS will remain as an outpost for mine and Maya’s (Parallax Deep) more minimal sounding productions, which fits good for the vinyl format in my opinion. Dirty Hands works more like an umbrella for all my creative ideas. Besides the vinyl’s I’ll keep on doing label parties, mix tape cassettes, clothes and stuff. There is no limitation really.
Talk us through a typical working day (or night) in your studio. How has the space evolved, and do you have one keyboard or instrument which you couldn’t live without?
I like to hit the studio as early as possible. My productivity window is between 10:00 and 14:00. I often work in bursts of a few hours. Long sessions and tired ears is not for me. I have a few things that I literally can’t be without. The Roland RE-301, Fender spring reverbs and my tape recorders for example. My two cases of euro rack modules would also be hard to live without these days.
What does DJ’ing mean for you? What do you seek to convey to people when you play?
I’m not trying to say something with the music I play in my DJ sets. It’s instrumental rhythms with a bass on it. It’s made for dancing. And if it trigger a feeling in someone on the floor, it’s something personal I think. Everyone has their own angle to the music, and I think it’s nice to leave it like that. It’s not complex art or something.
To me it’s a pleasure to work around people that just want to let go of everyday life for a minute and just enjoy. And it’s a huge honor to be able to play my own productions and get feedback in return from the crowd that I can use in the studio.
And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans for the future?
2019 is busy! First up is mine and Rossko’s”Conscious EP”, which drops on Infuse March 29th. Three tracker 12”.
In April, me and Malin Génie will drop the first EP in our new collaboration series,”Scania EP” on Malin Génie Music. Our next record will drop later this summer.
Later in the spring there will be a new 10YEARS record, 10YEARS12. It’s a 12” split with me and Parallax Deep called “Trim/External”.
After that I’ll drop a track called Short Waves on the London label Planetary Notions, a 12” V/A in May.
The a V/A track with Malin Génie on Berg Audio in June.
And finally there will be new Dirty Hands record. This time from Edvin Wikner and his track,”Skritt”. Comes with a remix from me and Rowlanz. More info about that soon!
Feeling like consciousness melting into air is a sensation that you will come across as all three of these excellent productions introduce themselves. Beginning with, Unconscious and its unfolding layers of crisp percussion, rolling bass and tripped-out blend of voices alongside a vigorous number of stabs fuelling the imagination, this is an arrangement of the art of the possible. Subbconscious follows with another assault on the senses while getting that touch deeper, leaving Dubbconscious to return to a more feverish amalgamation of spacey Jamaican roots plus brisk, probing drums.