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


Monday, June 25, 2007

This interview was conducted by Basic NYC in conjunction with my upcoming gig there July 21st. Photo taken in Berlin by Graham Hains.

So you've always been associated with Detroit, but now you split time between Chicago and Berlin? How do you like living overseas? When did you decide to leave Detroit and why?

I broke out of Detroit in 2004. I should have left sooner. When you're living in a negative situation and recognize it as such, it's up to you break the cycle, which is what I did. I live in Berlin a few months out of the year now and love it. Lost a lot of weight, gained a new perspective and got inspired again. Chicago is a great city, too, especially during the summer months.

Speaking of Berlin, you recently played at the new Tresor club. We've seen some of the new pictures of the new spot, but what did you think of it? How does it compare to the old venue?

The new Tresor is actually far bigger than the old space, very futuristic. There's an underground techno bunker too, just like the old club. Sound system first-rate, crowd off the hook. I played for two hours and didn't want to get off for the next DJ, it was so good! I could have went on for hours.

What are some of the projects you've been working on recently, and what can everyone expect from you in the next few months?

Right now, I'm working on a trip-hop album with some friends of mine. The band is called The Inside. We're hoping to have the CD out this fall at some point. I sing on it, wrote most of the lyrics and produced the tracks. I also did some new DJ T-1000 techno tracks for Tresor, which will be released on two different compilations, one on vinyl and the other on CD. And finally, I'm doing a mix CD for Pure Sonik, my first in several years. It'll be all my own tracks.

You've been spending a lot of time with gallery openings and your artwork recently. Talk about how you view your art as opposed to your music. How do the two work together for you?

It's kinda like two different departments in the same company, you know, the music department and the art department. There's not a whole lot of interplay there.

Did you ever consider pursuing a career as a comic book artist?

I actually did a comic back in the late '80s called "Johnny Gambit" that was a cult success. I even came very close to doing stuff for Marvel back in those days, even came to NYC to have a meeting there, but the Detroit Techno thing started happening. I saw Derrick May disappear overseas and come back paid, while I was in my grandmother's basement freezing my ass off drawing comics. I was like what's wrong with this picture.

Most people associate your music with techno. But talk about the "Art of Transformation" CD, and where the inspiration for that came from? Is that type of music something you'd like to pursue further?

Definitely. The inspiration for "The Art of Transformation" came from two places. Firstly, I saw the market changing and home-listening music on CD becoming more popular. Many people are older now, but still like electronic music to chill to. Secondly, I wanted to make a project that I didn't have to explain first. You're on a plane talking to somebody and they ask you what kind of music you make. So you have to go into the whole spiel of what techno is, how DJing works, blah blah blah. I wanted to make something normal people--especially women--could get right away.

Minimal music has been all the vogue in techno for the last few years. But you've been doing the minimal thing for a lot longer than that. Do you feel somewhat responsible for the attention that minimal has been getting?

Not really. The kind of minimal I used to make back in '97-'98 and the stuff that is called minimal now are two completely different things.

You've earned a lot of attention for your DJing skills. How did you hone your DJing style and sound? What were the early inspirations for that?

Derrick May was my DJ hero back in the day. He used to rock shit, really tear it up. I also looked up to Mills as an icon, of course, and still do. Mike Banks gave me my first chance to DJ internationally. It was do or die with him, so I had to put on a show and get people's attention fast.

Where would you like to see techno headed in the next few years? As someone who's been in the scene for so long, where do you think things are going right now?

Well, techno almost made it in America, but the moment has long passed. Despite a lot of distributors and retailers going under, iTunes and Beatport will keep the music out there digitally. Vinyl will not die, however. But only big labels that get respect will be able to thrive. Tresor, UR, Axis, Gigolos, Music Man, Minus and the like. The days of every single artist having his or her own individual label are finished.

Finally, do you have a top 10 or recent chart we can check out?

1) Blaster
- DJ T-1000 (Tresor)
2) Elektrofive (Ultradyne Remake)
- The Neon Sex Fiend (Generator)
3) One Man Spaceship CD
- Jeff Mills (Axis)
4) Sound Device
- Pacou (Cache)
5) Beyond EP
- Echoplex (Filtered Visions)
6) Rock My Dub
- Octave One (Tresor)
7) Dream Express
- Intrinsic (Emphasis)
8) Wrath of the Almighty
- Ultradyne (Pi Gao Movement)
9) My Neurosis (Jamal M. Remix)
- Obsolete Music Technology (Emphasis)
10) The Art of Transformation CD
- Alan D. Oldham (xfive)

-AO :: 6:50 AM ::


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