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Interview: Ital

Interview: Ital June finds rising Washington-born and Brooklyn-based producer Ital (aka Daniel Martin-McCormick) back in Europe, on tour with his 100% Silk labelmates. Before he became Ital, Martin-McCormick was involved with Mi Ami and The Black Keys, as well as his own brand of the synthpop experimentalism with Sex Worker before releasing successful records like 2011’s Ital’s Theme and 2012’s Hive Mind.

Electronic Beats: You once stated that you feel like an outsider in dance music. How do you mean it exactly?
I am an outsider. I mean, a lot of producers seem like they have started hanging out at rave parties when they were 14 and their older brothers got turntables at the parties for DJing, and they were 15 and they were working on tracks and then when they were 20 they finally had a record out. So they’ve been in this for years. You know, that makes sense, but that’s not really my story. It feels like I have to do a lot of catching up in DJing and learning production and stuff like that before I feel I can actually compete. Because if you take out your first record, it’s like ‘oh cool’, and it’s fine, but there’s a turning point that you want to be on a pro level and even beyond.

You have a history of not coming from dance music which seems to be your advantage, but do you also have influences from dance music?
I love music by people who are inside that world, the ones who are happy to be in front of you and people that are fabulous in that ambiguous world.

What influenced you while you were making Hive Mind?
Yeah, there was a bunch of stuff. Around 2008-2009 I wanted to create something wild, and around 2010 I searched for something to be more loopy. It might come from discomfort or disgust with the world; I think generally records I made are pointing between a feeling that is very much alive and wanting to live and enjoy or celebrate life, and on the other hand feeling disgusted with the sick world you live in, and things you want to reject. Dance music is especially something joyful, even if it’s hard techno, even dub techno is still something about creating a pleasurable, immersive world.

Have you seen the website Everything Is Terrible, where they make video collages of TV commercials, church sermons and other manipulative stuff to criticize and mock society?
On the one hand it’s really funny, because it’s speaking in a really trashy way: it maximizes the humor and the impact of it. It’s sort of related to a lot of house music I enjoy. There is a gap in house music, a place where there is something ridiculous and so stupid but at the same time it has a certain genuine emotional charge, as if it’s actually trying to connect with the mind and touch on fundamental things. You know, in one sense everything’s terrible, in another it’s still kind of beautiful.

Does your music also have a connection to images? I know Aurora Halal made the video for ’Only For Tonight’ and it seems like it conveys a kind of visual message of your music.
Yeah, we worked together and started another video, but couldn’t finish it before I left London. Hm, I’m not really thinking of fantastic scenes or whatever by making a song, but if I make a video, yeah, then I think about the visuals. But I can’t really take a song and make a cinematic connection or something.

Published June 06, 2012. Words by Andras G. Varga.