Alongside his brilliant mix, Jake Conlon took the time to answer our questions. Many interesting facts about his career, influences, projects and the techno scene in Birmingham. Enjoy the read !
- Hi Jake, we are very pleased to host you in our project, specially as you’re the first Birmingham artist on board. How are you doing and what have you been up to lately?
Thanks for having me! I’ve actually been a bit ill recently so have been sitting around making music very slowly and listening to other music.
- Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Jake. I enjoy making a racket at any opportunity, hopefully turning that racket into something that can be digested as a musical concept. When I’m not making a racket I do a bit of normal stuff like working Construction, distance running and following Football. I am a Dynamic Team-Player.
- You may have already been asked that question, but we’re curious to know your path through electronics…
My path started with a whole lot of messing around. Making mix tapes using multiple tape decks, getting the tracks as close together as possible, recording storms, tv hum, Radio.
Production wise, my Dad is an IT Teacher. He shoved a rubbish laptop and a copy of Computer Music magazine under my nose in about 1999, I’ve gone from there really.
I landed on my prefered set up of Reason and Ableton 4 whilst at college in 2004. This enabled me to manipulate stuff I’d created in Reason, Hardware, tapes, microphones, record samples etc. I haven’t looked back since. I’ll make the basics in Reason, render to audio and then take it to Ableton.
- You’re part of the Resonance crew which is pretty active in the local scene for few years now. How did you get involved in the project and what were the main challenges you faced in that story?
I met the rest of the Resonance crew at an after party, we wanted to put something on as at the time there was no House of God or Atomic Jam. Just small nights, doing their own thing. So we had nowhere to play. Eventually the whole concept turned into we had made an EP and needed to play it on a soundsystem, ANYWHERE.
The main challenges we faced were having maximum 80-100 people turning up, this is after Social Media, dressing up in all black and putting posters up in Birmingham, talking to people, going to others nights, handing out flyers. Birmingham is a weird place.
- How would you define the Birmingham Techno sound for someone who has never heard about that genre?
Birmingham Techno sounds like a loop, a sinister abrasive loop. It’s quite hard like the water is round here and it definitely got the sound of the monotony of Birmingham’s inner ring roads.
- How is the Birmingham scene doing lately? Is it still boiling as it was 2/3 years ago?
There seems to be more people making music than I remember previously and nights picked up a bit, although they are still quite few and far between. Atomic Jam and Hog are doing nights again, Rebekah has started a night called Elements.
Resonance will be returning soon, we slowed down a bit due to two of the lads having children and one doing a bit of work in New Zealand. Things are looking better already.
- Don’t you think the new generation of techno listeners are more and more pleased with harsher and industrial oriented sounds?
Yes, it’s nicer to play to people and they enjoy it and not turn their noses up because they came for Techno when they actually wanted Tech-House.
- Few weeks ago you’ve played at Tresor alongside Joseph McGeechan who was hosting the night. How was that experience like? Was it your first time to play in Berlin?
That was a lot of fun. We went over for my girlfriend’s birthday, but then turned into playing a few records at Tresor. It was so nice playing on that sound system, it was also nice having a sound engineer who knows what he is talking about!
- That’s a really cool video you have for your “Danica” track… Is it the official video? If yes, how did that collaboration worked?
My Friend Nash sorted that out. Anything he likes he will make a video for it, you’ll wake up to a video for one of your tunes. He does other people music too and records little snippets from events, his youtube channel is a bit of a Techno scrapbook. Worth checking out.
- If you had to pick up two tracks from the Birmingham techno scene what would they be?
Surgeon – Badger Bite as the first part of the Ep is worn out due to playing so much.
Frank Hunter – Nowhere To Run
- As one can see from your musical background and productions, you have a mixed and non-partitioned approach of Techno in its various shades. Do you feel you’re sharing this approach with the active members of your local scene?
The approach is shared, the people closest for example have any affinity with House, Grime, Hip Hop, Drum and Bass and Metal. Influences shape your output.
I’d find it a bit odd to be making Techno, only listening to Techno, going out to Techno, thats a quick way to exhaustion.
- How did you built the mix for Paradox?
It’s a selection from the CD and Vinyl from the Berlin case and some bits I got sent since then. It was all wrote to CD with no CD text or Pen, so had to just go off the cuff from Track 1.
- What kind of non electronic music do you listen to usually?
The Smiths and the rest of the 80’s Manchester thing. Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninov anything for Piano. Probably because I never got round to learning to play.
All the usual Warp, Planet Mu, Rephlex stuff but that’s electronic so doesn’t count!
- Is there anything that you find paradoxical in the techno world?
The whole Mixmag underground paradox.
- What artists/labels are holding your attention this year?
Tolkachev, SleepArchive, MORD and associated artists, Oscar Mulero smashing it, again. The Poverty is Violence label is quite interesting too.
- What can we expect from you in the near future?
I’ve got an EP on Martyn Hare‘s label Emetic due out this year, that comes with a Jamie Curnock remix. Plus, later in the year there will be a split Vinyl release on a label called Dubtek from the North of England. Playing in Berlin in June and there is some secret stuff in the pipeline.