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Stewart Walker: seems to be a verb

September 7, 2009
  • Is life an inspiration to make music or is music inspiration to live?
    >Life is often an impediment to making music. You get caught up with other stuff, and then when you’re back between the headphones, and a track starts to gel, you ask yourself, why am I not doing this all day. But, I need quiet times to solve musical problems. So the distance can be good.<
  • What would you do if there wouldn’t be music, starting with tomorrow?
    >I’d probably pay closer attention to my environment. Visual art doesn’t interest me very much, so maybe I’d be a tour guide or mountain climber.<
  • …and what if you had to produce in a different music genre? What would that be?
    >I’d like to just be an engineer for a band in a professional studio. To have access to the best processing tools, but with no creative decisions beyond setting the right parameters on the equipment. No computer. Just eyes, hands, and knobs. I guess because I wish to understand artistic decisions through technical applications.<
  • The beauty of silence or the chaos of noises?
    >Definitely the chaos of noises. I’m not much for yoga or meditation to find an inner peace. I need the 24/7 blipverts of audio, video, and news. It’d be cool to capture this noise and turn it into music, like “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” with better technology.<
  • What’s your favourite album ever?
    >My “favorite album ever” probably changes every 5 years. I listen to Elliott Smith’s “From a Basement on a Hill” more than anything else these days.<

  • …and your favourite album cover?
    >Ken Ishii “Pneuma”<

  • Is there some music you like – but ashamed to admit it?
    >Not shameful per se, but I really like staying abreast of new US R&B, and I can’t really share that with anybody in Europe. “Blame it on the alcohol” by Jamie Foxx<
  • If you could be a rock star, who would you be?
    >I fear I would be Todd Rundgren, or Andy Partridge<
  • Do you have a role model?
    >No.<
  • Who would you like to meet the most?
    >I’d love to have a beer with Robert Anton Wilson.<
  • What are your favourite movies?
    >Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man”<
  • If you had to direct your own movie, how would it look like?
    >”Slacker” vs “Evil Dead”<
  • What’s your favourite food?
    >North Carolina-style “pulled pork” barbecue sandwich, Kara Age (Japanese fried chicken with ginger and garlic)<
  • Is there a band/music genre you can’t stand listening to?
    >Motown records do nothing for me. Maybe just because 60’s music has dominated the radio my whole life, I’m pretty sick of it. Otherwise, I’ll listen to anything<
  • What’s your (original) profession?
    >Dishwasher, computer tech support.<
  • What’s your next plan musicwise?
    >I’m going to put my label on hiatus and hunker down in the studio and make a new album.<
  • Which language would you like to speak most and why?
    >Italian. So many vowels, it’s a nice reprieve from the staccato consonants of German.<
  • How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
    >I “seem to be a verb.”<
  • What are your vices?
    >procrastination, disdain, boredom, cigarettes and alcohol.<
  • What is the most unusual comment anyone has ever made about you?
    >A friend once told me I should be the Lou Barlow of techno.<
  • The best moment in your life?
    >Gigs: Playing on the beach in Calabria. Afterparty in Nishi Azabu. Dawn in the forests of Brandenburg.<
  • What does beauty mean to you?
    >an immediately overwhelming stimulus with a barb to catch in your mind for later playback.<
  • What would you do today if the world would end tomorrow?
    >Sex. Joint. Sex. Coffee. Cook up some all’Amatriciana.<
  • Which places you love the most?
    >Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, Miami (first 24 hours)<
  • Who’s your favourite superhero and why?
    >I really got into V from “V for Vendetta.” Haven’t read the comic though.<
  • What’s your favourite flavour?
    >Haagen Dazs “Dulce de Leche” ice cream<
  • Three things you could never get rid of?
    >Book collection, Dynaudio BM-15A studio monitors, internet connection.<
  • Your three favourite websites?
    >www.prodigy-pro.com/diy/, andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com, reddit.com<
  • What’s your favourite picture about yourself? (click on the image for larger size)

  • What’s your most favourite picture you made? (click on the image for larger size)

  • What is the question you always would have liked to be asked but nobody ever did?
    >Interview-wise, I think I’ve covered all the bases. I think if somebody were to read every interview I’ve done online, they’d know at least 75% of my thoughts. I like to talk but I feel like now’s a good time to stop saying so much, and just do my thing.<

Berlin-based Stewart Walker is a restless innovator. After making a splash in the late nineties on definitive labels like Force Inc. and Tresor, he’s had an inestimable impact on the development of current club sounds, yet consistently chooses the less traveled road: working as live producer in a world of DJs; injecting emotion into functional electronic dance music; quietly building a label family of unclassifiable artists on his own imprint, Persona.

After selling his guitar in 1993, Walker began assembling a synth-based hardware studio while in university in Athens, GA. Inspired by Jeff Mills’ Live at the Liquid Room he became obsessed with rhythm. A string of recordings appeared on Matrix Records in Detroit – including the 1997 single Amphetamine Sulphate – and later on Deepfried (Grand Rapids, MI) and Tektite (Austin, TX). A year later, his first European release Artificial Music for Artificial People was picked up by Cristian Vogel’s British imprint, Mosquito, and Walker hit the live circuit. Armed with only an AKAI MPC2000 sampler and a DJ mixer, he did what a DJ never could: move a club crowd with sounds shaped by his own hands. This original approach was welcomed across Europe and in Japan as well as his native US.

1999 saw Walker’s debut on Berlin’s Tresor Records with Nothing Produces Stark Imagery, followed up by the now-classic minimalist experiment, Stabiles, on Mille Plateaux. These productions proved to be seminal in the development of minimal techno.

Walker continued to release on labels such as Minus and Force Inc. until, in 2001, he set up his own imprint, Persona Records. Persona released eleven records in the US culminating in the second landmark album of Walker’s career to date: Live Extracts (2003). Live Extracts captured the sound and atmospherics of Walker’s in-club performances and was soon licensed by Tresor. Persona restarted in 2005, this time in Berlin. Now based in Europe, Walker performed in every capital and made incursions as far afield as Australia and Russia. Soon after, he released the downtempo album Grounded in Existence and a breakbeaty techno EP, Travel Plaza. These releases showcased Walker’s increasing attention to nuance, dynamics, and melody. Concentricity, Walker’s fourth full-length, was released in 2007 (taken from his MySpace page).

For more details check out his official site and don’t forget about last.fm where you can find some fine samples of his work!

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