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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

Interview.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005




I recently did an interview with a Croatian techno website. It was translated for that site, but here it is in English. Maybe you'd like to read it. If you're on this blog, you probably know all this stuff already, but I don't have anything new to write about now. =) Enjoy.

1. Recently you moved from Chicago to Berlin. How come? Since lots of guys
from USA did the same before, you probably get to see some familiar faces?
:)

I moved here for the same reason lots of artists moved here, because Berlin is
where everything creative is happening at the moment, and also to get away from conservative America. Lots of familiar faces are here, too. Tresor is taking care of me like family.

2. First impressions of living in Berlin?

Great people, great city, easy to get around by bike/train, plenty of cultural
things to do, lots of parties, galleries, museums, clubs and inspiration. Design everywhere. The weather's been great lately, as well.

3. When it comes to the influences and the interest in music, unlike many
other artists, you're mentioning rock and metal stuff on one side and jazz,
early house on the other. How did you develop such an eclectic taste? And to
return on the others, is it possible that everyone grew up listening
kraftwerk and acid house, or are they just afraid to mention names not
really close to electronic music?

I think it's the latter. Growing up in the '70s and '80s in Detroit, with the
way radio was back then, as well as the influences of my older relatives, I and
everyone else of my generation was exposed to a wide cross section of music,
not just one thing. I see no reason why I should not discuss that. The fact people are so shocked that somebody can actually like more than one style of music shows how little the world has progressed musically these last 15-20 years.

4. Tell me something about Fast Forward show and your involvement in
bringing techno to a bigger audience thru radio. How did you end up on WDET
in the first place?

Before graduation, I got an unpaid internship at WDET assisting the music
librarian. I was there for a short time when one of the on-air hosts quit. The
program director liked me, and approached me about doing a show. I had done a
smaller college show before, and let her hear one of my air-checks. She liked it and
gave me my own late-night show! It ran for five years and was pretty popular in Detroit at the time.

5. Although you were promoting lots of artists at that time, you dont get
to be mentioned so much, unlike Mills for example, or Mojo. Why is that?

Who knows, really. What's good is that we were able to put a lot of those shows
on the Internet. They're now heard the world over. I get e-mails and messages
from old fans who grew up with the original show, and appreciate hearing them
again, and also new people who are into Detroit history. The people out there
do know what I accomplished back then, and it still lives on today. That's what counts.

6. Some time back, you werent invited on the first DEMF. When I spoke with
another guy from Detroit about three years ago, he said this lack of credit
and respect is normal for the city?!

Yes it is. That's why I left.

7. As someone who works on the radio and its not really happy with not
having his hands free, I want to hear from your point of view: the radio
then and now?

With everyone walking around with their iPods on shuffle, it seems that radio is
superfluous now. I dont know anyone who really listens anymore, outside of the
occasional Internet broadcast. I have one friend who's got satellite radio and that's it.

8. Can we really expect from the kids to be open minded or develop a
certain taste in music if the media isnt supportive in this? OK, there's
always Internet, but to what extent is it helpful?

The media is pushing its own agenda and is promoting music that it can easily sell. It is not concerned with kids being open-minded and adventurous in their musical
tastes. Even electronic music people who were once very progressive musically
now seem very stringent and conservative in their tastes. As far as the
Internet, it seems to me that people use it to seek out stuff they already
like, as opposed to finding new things. That is my personal impression, anyway.

9. You left the radio after you were called to join UR and become their
assault DJ. How did it feel like to be part of probably still the best known
techno collective?

It was a great time for me. I spent a year on the road with UR. Mad Mike took me
around the world and taught me a lot. He made me a global name and helped me
start Generator. I wouldn't be where I am today without him. I'll always be grateful to him for that.

10. Can you explain the term "assault dj"?

The "assault djs" took the UR agenda on the road when the live unit wasn't going
out. I'd have special acetates, test presses and loop tracks made by Mike and
play them out. We would gauge reaction to the new stuff and it would help to
decide what would be released.

11. Its also the time when you choose artistic moniker: T-1000. Why
Terminator? Are you a fan of SF?

I think it's well-known that I love SF and comics. And if you watch "T2" again
it will become apparent why I chose that DJ name.

12. Difference between Generator and Pure Sonik?

Generator = different artists. Pure Sonik = all me.

13. Interesting thing is, it was you who opened UR catalog with UR001,
though, your very first EP was released in Europe. Is it again some Detroit
thing?

No, Banks and Jeff Mills were X-101, I released later under the name X-313. Too
much confusion in those early days!

14. Some of our readers probably arent aware of the fact that you did a lot
or artwork for record labels. How did it all start and for whom did you all
work?

When I did my first EP for Djax in 1990, I did the artwork for it, too. Saskia
asked me about it, and I told her I had done the art for Transmat. She was
really impressed and asked me to do art for her label exclusively and the rest
is history. I have also done artwork for Plus 8, Astralwerks, New Religion, Musik magazine, and others. I am now looking to do more artwork outside of the electronic music world.

15. You also did number of comics and had some exhibitions of your artwork,
which inspired some other people too: for instance Dan Bell and Claude Young
took the name for their Seventh City label from your comic. Where do you get
inspiration for comics? Any upcoming art shows?

I dont know, I get ideas all the time for comics. I'm working on a new one that
will arrive early next year. This comic is fully-painted, not the usual pen and
ink style. As for art shows, I recently had an opening in Paris that went very well. I'm doing large gallery pieces now also, as well as comics.

16. For one of the comics you also did a soundtrack with couple of well
known names. Tell us more about it.

More than a couple! It was called "The Sexy Adventures of Orietta St. Cloud." I
wrote and drew the comic with a CD soundtrack by me, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin,
The Advent, Bryan Zentz, Stewart Walker, Terence Dixon, and Marco Passarani. I
thought it was a good project, but it flew over techno people's heads. I read
on the Internet that some people didn't know you were supposed to read the book
and listen to the music at the same time.

17. Production-wise, what's coming next from Alan Oldham?

2006 is the 10th Anniversary of Pure Sonik, so we're planning a bunch of new
music and products. Everything will be extremely limited now, signed and
numbered where possible, and available largely thru www.puresonikrecords.net. We will release very few copies through distributors.

18. DJ-wise, I'm reading at your blog that you're interested in Ableton.
Does this means you're leaving vinyl soon?

Not at all, I am only interested in the loop/remix potential of Ableton to take
old tracks and be able to re-edit them on the fly into something new and
exclusive. It sounds very interesting.

19. Craziest party experience lately?

My show at the Tresor closing last April in Berlin was the best I've played all
year. I think that will be the last really wild party I'll ever play, at this point.

-AO :: 7:47 AM ::

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