Tommy Four Seven is one of the most established names on the techno scene. His unique style is appreciated by reviewers and loved by the audience. Since over a decade he has been performing in the most important international venues. In 2015 he founded 47,”an event concept and label, which has become one of the leading and most progressive music publishers in the last few years. We are talking a day after the release of 5Y: a label jubilee compilation presenting some of the greatest names in contemporary electronic music.
Tommy Four Seven是Techno现场最成熟的名字之一，他的独特风格受到评论家的赞赏和观众的喜爱。因此，十多年来，他一直在最重要的国际知名的场所表演。2015年，他创立了 “47”，”这是一个活动概念和标签，在过去的几年里，它已经成为最领先和最进步的音乐出版商之一。我们正在谈论的是5Y的发布后的一天：一个标签禧年汇编，呈现了当代电子音乐中最伟大的名字。
Your label is celebrating 5 years of very successful running this year. You released 27 amazing projects admired by critics, including the latest anniversary compilation of phenomenal artists associated with 47 put out yesterday. The limited copies of triple vinyl sold out right away. You definitely have a solid and supporting audience and unique sound that makes a solid mark on the industrial techno scene. What was the idea behind the album?
Thanks for the kind words! The v/a compilation was a chance to mark an important milestone with the label. The idea was to compile a coherent collection of tracks that represented the direction of 47. Although it was important to include current artists from the label, I wanted to include 2 new names to the label’s roster, NN and EKORS. All of the other artists had contributed to the label at some point over the past 5 years.
How would you sum up those last 5 years? How do you keep the inspiration coming? What still fascinates you in music after a lifelong of working with it? What are you looking for in the modern sound?
The last 5 years have been defining both for the label and for my own career. 47 began life as a Berlin party and the label shortly followed. For the first 8 releases, the various artist mini compilations featured the guests who played the Berlin shows and whilst it was fantastic to release this way, it wasn’t until I began releasing single artist EPs (the first being from Headless Horseman 009), I could begin to define the label’s more forward and experimental angle.
I feel like there are many high quality artists right now, contributing positively to the sound of modern techno. In particular, I’m drawn to those producing ideas that seem like they come from the future or sound otherworldly. For me, that’s the essence of techno: to push the boundaries in pursuit of something fresh. If you draw a line and say “this is techno, techno should sound like this”, you create a kind of contradiction because the artists who shaped the sound we identify as techno today were the same artists who were striving to do something new. Techno is about innovation and not conformity to a template. I’m always looking for artists who share this understanding of techno and have vision.
过去的5年对于厂牌和我自己的职业生涯来说都是决定性的。47是以柏林派对的形式开始的，而厂牌也在不久之后成立。在最初的8个版本中，各种艺术家的迷你合集都是以柏林演出的嘉宾为特色的，虽然这样的发行方式非常棒，但直到我开始发行单个艺术家的EP（第一个是来自Headless Horseman 009），我才开始定义这个品牌更前卫和实验性的角度
Over a year ago you released your first LP in many years, Veer. The images you introduce us to on this album are pretty dark and disturbing. The Dean Ocean track I personally find heartbreaking. It is a powerful journey through our fears of tomorrow. What was the creative process behind those narratives? How do you compose? Do you follow any particular studio routine or rather keep the inspiration flowing?
The catalyst for the aesthetic of Veer came from the track Feed, which you might actually consider closer to drum and bass than what we typically think of as techno. The track drew from late 90s Virus records but rather than trying to revisit a certain sound – it was more of an aesthetic for the project to sit inside. With a defined world to operate within, I started imagining these hazy sci-fi themed narratives during the compositional process and the flow of the project came from there. The challenges of our times fuelled the perturbing sound and track titles of the album. I didn’t only intend the album to be seen as fiction, I was also making a statement about the fact there are huge problems we are facing and we need to take urgent action, otherwise our future will be as bleak as the album depicts.
As for a studio routine, I usually begin with a blank canvas and start with forming the rhythm. Often sounds generated through this process will spill out and inspire other elements, such as a top line, FX or a bassline. I record everything as audio, even if it came from a MIDI source, so I will commit to recording the audio and discard the MIDI track. I like to print everything, so I’m forced to commit and move on. If I need to change a sound at a later date, I either have to recreate the sound or modify the audio in some way. I see this as an advantage in a world where every setting is recallable, as you can get lost in the minutia.
Veer的美学催化剂来自于Feed这首歌曲，你可能会认为它更接近 drum n bass 的风格，而不是我们通常认为的techno。这首曲子从90年代末的Virus唱片中汲取灵感，但与其说是试图重温某种声音，不如说是这个项目的一种美学。有了一个确定的世界，我开始在创作过程中想象这些朦胧的科幻主题的叙事，项目的流程就从那里开始。我们这个时代的挑战激发了专辑中令人不安的声音和歌曲标题。我并不只是想把这张专辑看作是虚构的，我也是在声明我们正面临着巨大的问题，我们需要采取紧急的行动，否则我们的未来就会像这张专辑所描述的那样黯淡。
This year the pandemic hit the whole music and art scene very hard forcing us to redefine the way we share experiences. I would like to know your thoughts on the new reality.
I hope the so-called new reality is only temporary. The past few months have been a harsh wake-up call to the creative and event industries, who were the first to close and will be the last to re-open. They have been hit especially hard by the effects of the shut down. In my opinion, the support offered by the government in Germany for artists and mu
sicians doesn’t feel like it was enough.
The pandemic should have been a much needed wake up call to the general population, highlighting the wider impact of animal consumption and animal farming but it seems most people have missed the fact that this pandemic, as well as the majority of previous pandemics, is most likely attributable to animal agriculture and the consumption of animals. Viruses mutate, spread and become aggressive by jumping across the species barrier. If we want to avoid more pandemics in the future, it would make sense for more attention to be given to the health issues caused by animal agriculture.
One of the most key elements- live gigs are all cancelled. We are facing a new challenge of finding the ways to connect with the audience. How can we keep up this connection? How do you see the future of rave and club culture?
I think communicating to your followers is a start. I’ve recorded more mixes this year than ever before and it feels good to at least give something of an experience back to my supporters. Though no live stream or podcast can replace the real thing, I do think a more interactive virtual reality version of the club experience could be an interesting alternative. VR could also be something that could still run alongside real club gigs, even when this crisis is over, as many do not have access to clubs or even have a scene where they live.
I think 2021 is still going to be a tough year for our scene and it pains me to say it but it will probably take until 2022 before rave culture and clubs will fully return to normal.
Listening to music at home is a whole different experience. You definitely have time to focus and immerse yourself in it. Do you think that more isolated music experiences will encourage people to buy more records? Search for more adventurous sound?
It is hard to say because of the popularity of streaming. People are generally spending more time at home, so I think people are more likely to stream adventurous new music they’ve never heard before, which may lead to people buying more vinyl. However, shopping for vinyl at a specialist record store is an experience in itself and is not only about the music you buy. For example, some people visit Berlin and will visit somewhere like Hardwax to buy a record, which they can take home to remind them of their trip. Sometimes when I go to a new city, I will see if there are any cool record stores and I might grab a record and it will remind me of having visited the place. I may have never bought this record or even encountered this record as a digital download or ordering a vinyl directly from Bandcamp. This is why record stores still play a big part in the experience of buying music and clubs play a huge role in the consumption of music.
Humans are social animals and that is such an important part of the experience of music. You can interact on social media but there comes a point where you just want to be with other people and enjoy music together with others in real life.
Would you like to give a shout out to the ones you admire in the scene? What labels or artists do you listen to?
I’d like to give a shout out to those artists in the scene with enough courage to stand up and say what is right: about meat consumption, climate change, animal rights and the huge issues we face together as humans. It’s so easy to make music, stay silent on the tough issues, just smile and collect your money. It seems to be the norm to stay apolitical and dismiss any issue by giving vague answers like ‘everyone is different’ and ‘it’s up to the individual’. Well, no. The doomsday clock is currently at 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to human annihilation it has ever been – and we are in the midst of a global virus pandemic. If an artist
with any influence at all, stays silent on these issues they are abusing their influence because urgent action is necessary for the survival of the human race. I really admire any artist brave enough to say what is right environmentally and ethically, such as promoting plant based eating, veganism and denuclearisation, even when it risks offending a lot of their fanbase.
我想向现场那些有足够勇气站出来说正确话的艺术家们致敬：关于肉类消费、气候变化、动物权利以及我们人类共同面对的巨大问题。做音乐很容易，对棘手的问题保持沉默，只是微笑着收钱。保持非政治化，并通过给出 “每个人都是不同的 “和 “这取决于个人 “等模糊的答案来否定任何问题，这似乎是一种常态。嗯，不是的。末日时钟目前距离午夜还有100秒–这是有史以来最接近人类毁灭的时刻–我们正处于全球病毒大流行的环境中。如果一个有影响力的艺术家对这些问题保持沉默，他们就是在滥用自己的影响力，因为为了人类的生存，必须采取紧急行动。我真的很佩服任何勇于说出正确的环境和道德的艺术家，比如提倡以植物为基础的饮食，素食主义和无核化，即使这有可能冒犯他们的很多粉丝。
You toured all around the world. In 2017 you played in China. I am very curious what impression the local culture and people made on you? Did you have any memorable adventures? Would you like to come back once we are able to travel safely again?
Yes, my debut in China was a positive experience. Although I only played 3 small shows, I felt a strong energy and appreciation for good music from the crowds. I also had some of the best vegan food I’ve ever tasted! I now see a lot of interesting and inspiring projects from China, for example the clothing label, HAMCUS. I’d absolutely love to return and explore further because it seems there is a strong appreciation for techno.
What are your dreams and plans for the upcoming future? Can we expect another LP from you any time soon?
With the current COVID crisis it’s not easy to plan. If there’s any positives to take from this crisis, it’s that it has given me time to really think and explore new ideas that perhaps I wasn’t doing because of the constant touring. The pause has also highlighted to me that we should not rely on just one direction – diversifying and having more options is important, especially for anyone wanting to make a living from being creative. I also co-own a vegan coffee shop called Kaffee Ingwer and I’ve really enjoyed having the extra time to contribute to this project, which is very important to me.
As for a new solo LP, there’s no immediate plan though there is more solo music in the works with the next being a track for a newly launched solidarity label called Affinity and Empathy. There’s some new music coming from my side project, These Hidden Hands and I have also produced a few remixes this year including one for Blac Kolor which will drop sometime soon on Aufname + Wiedergabe. Of course I’m eager to develop 47 as we enter the next chapter and look forward to the next 5 years!
至于新的个人专辑，目前还没有计划，不过有更多的个人音乐正在制作中，下一首是为一个新推出的团结厂牌Affinity and Empathy制作的歌曲。我的副业项目 “These Hidden Hands “也有一些新的音乐，今年我还制作了一些混音，包括为Blac Kolor制作的混音，不久将在Aufname + Wiedergabe推出。当然，我很希望47的发展能进入下一个篇章，并期待着下一个5年的到来。
Photos by www.keyi.eu
Link to GET PRINT copy on MagCloud ( WORLD, BESIDES RUSSIA ) https://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1892408
Link to GET PRINT copy on Peecho ( Europe / Russia )