“No bullshit techno”: an interview with White Material Records’ DJ Richard
You might remember DJ Richard from his recent Mix of the Day, which featured an energetically raw and uncompromising take on techno and house. As co-founder of White Material, that translates to the label’s no bullshit approach to techno, and while it’s only released three records so far, it’s quickly established itself as a label of note. Michael Aniser met up with DJ Richard to discuss Berlin vs New York, his noise beginnings, and White Material’s future releases ranging from Morgan Louis, Alvin Aronson, and Young Male.
When did you start White Material Records, and what made you start the label?
White Material was founded by myself and Young Male in the summer of 2012. Starting a record label ourselves just seemed like the most logical thing to do. We both were sitting on years of material, so we just wanted a way to put it out on our own terms. Just straight up, no bullshit techno, or whatever, records. Now that we’ve got the ball rolling, the focus has somewhat shifted onto the extended network of producers and DJs that we came up with. All of the records we are putting out in the next year are from people who have lived in Providence, Rhode Island, at one point or another. Young Male and I met there and we both spent a long time living there. It’s a great city, and probably my favorite community of musicians in the states.
Providence, I thought you were from Brooklyn. What made you move to Berlin?
I’m from Rhode Island and lived there until i was 22 or something. I lived in California for a year, and then moved to NYC in 2010. I came to Berlin for the first time last summer, and after the first couple days, my mind was completely set on moving here. Berlin is just way more my speed. I’d been living in Brooklyn for two years, working five or six days a week consistently, but here I have so much more time to focus on making music, reading, etc. I still love New York, but honestly I’m not sure if I would really want to live there again. Great people, but the city itself really drove me crazy. I think I made less than ten tracks living there, but within the first two months of living in Berlin, I made something like 20. I feel like Berlin has everything I loved about living in New York, just compressed into a much more manageable network of people and places.
Berlin also has a thriving house scene, do you see yourself in a house tradition?
Sort of. For most of the time that I spent living in Providence, I was focused on noise. House is something that I came to from a somewhat twisted path. If I had to place a starting point for me, I say the records that Wolf Eyes were making in the mid 2000s would be a good place. From there, a friend of mine introduced me to Detroit house and techno, specifically Underground Resistance and Sound Signature, and the rest sort of sequenced itself from there. When I DJ, I’m always striving to create a zone where noise records can coexist with deep house and I feel like Berlin in general is very open to this.
Listening to your mixes and tracks, I can hear a somewhat punk approach to these patterns, e.g. breaking the 4/4. What noise projects where you involved in? Was it more experimental stuff or harsh destruction?
Sort of oscillating between raw, messy punk, and projects utilizing primitive electronics, simple rhythmic elements, and voice. I’m definitely more drawn to the harsh side of the spectrum.
I wanted to ask about the persona DJ Richard? DJ Richard is like the hardest thing ever to Google…
It’s actually not a persona at all. When I was 18 or so, I didn’t have a computer, and was making music on my friend’s dad’s laptop. His name is Richard. So that’s that. It’s not some forced veil of anonymity. You just have to really know how to use google to find me, ha.
Your next release will be Galcher Lustwerk, tell me more about that.
Galcher Lustwerk is an old friend of ours. I’ve known him since I was 18. He’s actually one of the people who taught me how to mix. Young Male and I have always been really into everything the guy produces, so doing a record of his was a no-brainer. He’s a huge influence for both of us, I mean, I probably wouldn’t be DJing if I had never met him.
That’s followed by a White Material crew record. Then we have EPs planned from Morgan Louis and Alvin Aronson, who both live in New York now, but used to DJ in Providence. Second EPs from Young Male and DJ Richard should be out this summer. Young Male is doing a live set on May 4th at Source Material, which is a monthly party started by myself and Mo Probs in Berlin.
White Material 003, Galcher Lustwerk’s new EP, is out on May 9th and available exclusively through Honest Jon‘s. Source Material 03 featuring Young Male and TRAXX takes place at Chesters in Berlin on May 4th.
Published May 02, 2013. Words by Michael Aniser.