Jeff Mills is the legend we don’t have to introduce too many of you. One of a kind, he’s a techno pioneer & innovator, and a forecaster in the advancement of electronic music. Mills has no fear of constantly blurring the lines between art movements as a visionary & futurist. He is known for his impact on the underground counterculture in the 80s in Detroit clubs to the contemporary high art concepts implemented into art galleries and avant-garde cinema. His newest release on Axis Records “Mind Power -Jeff Mills – Mind Control” brought us into the conversation about various aspects behind the project and curiosity about the other visions of Mills’ work.
杰夫-米尔斯是一个传奇人物，我们不必向你们介绍太多。他是独一无二的，他是技术的先驱和创新者，也是电子音乐发展的预测者。米尔斯作为一个有远见的人和未来主义者，毫不畏惧不断模糊艺术运动之间的界限。他因其对80年代底特律俱乐部的地下反叛文化的影响而闻名，也因其在艺术馆和前卫电影中实施的当代高级艺术概念而闻名。他在Axis唱片公司的最新作品”Jeff Mills – Mind Power – Mind Control “将我们带入了关于项目背后的各个方面的对话，并对Mills作品的其他愿景感到好奇。
Hello Jeff Mills, thanks for chatting with us today, and congratulations on your release of “Jeff Mills – Mind Power – Mind Control” on Axis. “Mind Power Mind Control is a conceptual album configuring nine tracks into a journey for the listener to enter the labyrinth of their mind and confront whatever lies before them.” This is the part of the description we can find on Axis website.
Hypnotic, cinematic, dreamy space sounds, calming down by sometimes giving a wake-up call of altering sounds coming through the mind – these are the thoughts that appeared while listening to your newest album.
Even if it could go very dark with the idea behind it – we had a very positive interpretation as a side product – once you have your mind under control, you can change things while sending particular energy and resonance to the universe. Mind power does not exist without mind control. Does it seem abstract to you or rather accurate?
Yes, this is the intention of the concept and album – to bring attention to what we, “the people” possess that might assist in the filtering of the World around us in a more intensive manner. In another way, societal editing.
你好，Jeff，感谢你今天和我们聊天，并祝贺你在Axis发行的 “Mind Power – Mind Control”。”Mind Power Mind Control是一张概念性的专辑，它将九首曲目配置成一个旅程，让听众进入他们自己心灵的迷宫，面对摆在他们面前的任何东西。” 这是我们在Axis网站上可以找到的部分描述。 催眠的、电影般的、梦幻般的空间声音，通过有时给予改变心灵的声音的唤醒而平静下来–这些是听你最新专辑时出现的想法。即使它背后的想法可能会非常黑暗–我们有一个非常积极的解释作为副产品–一旦你控制了自己的思想，你就有能力改变事情，同时向宇宙发送特殊的能量和共鸣。没有心灵控制，心灵力量就不存在。这对你来说是抽象的还是相当准确的？
The connection between the editorial photoshoot and the album strongly shows time travel in it, and we can feel how elegance steps into the different epochs similar to the electronic music movements. How did you prepare the concept of it?
The front cover image symbolically reflects the concept. A seemingly simple image, it displays two people. One in a dominant position that refers to big industry and sophisticated commerce, immaculately dressed showing how professional and masterful these companies are, the well-dressed person is strongly concentrated into the presence or mind of the other person (us, the people). Photographed by Lisa Spindler in Detroit, it was a quite tedious process to create this type of image, where every part of it should have conceptual meaning.
With your long history as an electronic music pioneer, while being connected to fashion and art, how do you perceive connections within the music industry over the years and now? Who would be the best example?
More specifically with Techno Music, the process to create “something from nothing” is comparable to those other art forms. All of them require a certain amount of research of the subject in which to work towards because an in-depth understanding allows for developing ways to modify and enhance. Knowing where and “what” to look for is an important part.
As a brief example of conceptualizing in other art forms:
a modern fashion collection inspired by the costumes in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis:
Because there was no color process in 1927, Metropolis was filmed in black and white, the collection only uses the colors black, white, and gray. The plot of the film is set in the year 2000, the film shows visions of what people might look like in that year and time.
Music about the film Metropolis:
The black and white keys of a piano/keyboard are designated for certain parts of the film. When parts reflect certain moods, certain notes and chords are used. As for the period style of Techno, one could borrow melodies that were recognizable 22 years ago back in the year 2000.
更具体地说，技术音乐，创造 “无中生有 “的过程与那些其他的艺术形式是相当的。所有这些都需要对该主题进行一定的研究，因为深入的了解可以开发出修改和加强的方法。知道在哪里和 “寻找什么 “是一个重要部分。作为其他艺术形式的概念化的一个简单例子。 一个现代时装系列的灵感来自弗里茨-朗的《大都会》中的服装。
Considering futuristic aesthetics and ways of production and presenting fashion how do you predict the next step to satisfy the audience while including the music movement in it?
It is impossible to know exactly so, I cannot say. But, if we look back to the past to see the cycle of trends and what we were interested in at certain periods or before/after memorable events, we can come with up a ballpark estimate of what might be. In popular culture, we maintain a cycle of influence. We do so because we feel a necessity to immortalize and preserve as our time stamp on humanity.
Related to the outer impression of your album you worked with two amazing photographers; the cover was shot by Lisa Spindler and the editorial was by Manuel Obadia-Wills. How did you pick those two creatives to work with you on this project? How did you know they would satisfy your vision or did they also help you with the art direction?
I was aware of the work of Lisa Spindler, as I originate from Detroit and I met her while in the group Underground Resistance in the early 1990s. Manuel Obdia-Willis is someone I only met recently after the album was released. We met through a mutual friend that worked with the French fashion brand Off-White in Paris. Both are artists and more than just photographers so, it was necessary to seek them out with such an idea and concept.
The front cover image is one that required a lot of attention and detail because it had to appear simple, but in truth, it addresses the main problems with currently have with social media and privacy.
The images of Manuel address this but from a different perspective. They show the person on the cover in somewhat of a laboratory. Working behind the scenes, concocting formulas and new systems of deception.
与你的专辑的外部印象有关，你与两位了不起的摄影师合作；封面由Lisa Spindler拍摄，编辑部由Manuel Obadia-Wills拍摄。你是如何挑选这两位创意人与你合作完成这个项目的？你怎么知道他们会满足你的设想，或者他们也帮助你进行艺术指导？
Thank you one more time for letting us exclusively premiere your Track “Vermlilion” worldwide. Could you tell us more about the process of the creation?
It is the longest-produced track on the album. Well over of year in production and most of that time was actually listening to it over and over again. Making adjustments, edits, and modifications. As within the concept and all other ones, the track had to appear simple.
I wanted the percussion and drum sound to feel as if they were caught in a spider’s web, where one stretch of a sound affects the others.
There are other aspects that I won’t reveal, but it was quite complex to materialize. In terms of the “pulled back, but forced forward” rhythm, I can’t recall ever producing anything like this before.
这是专辑中制作时间最长的一首歌。制作时间超过一年，其中大部分时间实际上是在反复听。进行调整、编辑和修改。在这个概念和其他所有的概念中，这首曲子必须显得简单。我希望打击乐和鼓声能让人感觉到它们仿佛陷入了一个蜘蛛网，一个声音的延伸会影响到其他的声音。还有其他方面我就不透露了，但要实现这一点是相当复杂的。就 “向后拉，但被迫向前 “的节奏而言，我不记得以前曾制作过这样的东西。
The idea behind the album has a strong portrait of problems in our society and the impact of overloading our minds with data on the quality of our lives. How do you personally deal with it? What’s your best way to disconnect from it all?
The idea that the “user” of social media must forfeit their rights to privacy and that the people we politically elect to protect us from such hazards like this can’t or won’t find a reasonable solution is quite remarkable. I use social media therefore, I’m vulnerable. So, I deal with it as best I can. Purposely false and misleading information now takes the process onto a new level and it is an urgent call to resort to other means of self-protection. Naturally strengthening the mind to build more stability in unstable times seems like a good start. But there are many other things we can do (if we really wanted to).
社交媒体的 “用户 “必须放弃他们的隐私权，而我们在政治上选出来保护我们免受这种危害的人不能或不会找到一个合理的解决方案，这种想法相当了不起。我使用社交媒体，因此，我很脆弱。因此，我尽我所能地处理它。有目的的虚假和误导性信息现在把这个过程提升到了一个新的水平，这是一个紧急呼吁，要诉诸于其他自我保护的手段。自然地加强思想，在不稳定的时期建立更多的稳定性，似乎是一个好的开始。但还有许多其他事情我们可以做（如果我们真的想做的话）。
If you would like to pick one place on planet Earth to organize an art residency and bring 11 artists with you, where would it be and whom would you like to bring with you and why?
It would be 11 artists that were close to death. In a place where the sunrise and sunset wouldn’t be obstructed and all forms of timekeeping would be taken away.
Translation 翻译: Emi