Photo: Lisanne Schulze (Born In Flamez)
The music that Born In Flamez and others has often been dubbed “deconstructed club music”. However, the currently Los Angeles-based producer, who has recently collaborated with Modeselektor for the ethereal “TBF” track and appeared on the CO-OP compilation, seems to be less interested in turning the status quo upside down but rather draws on a vast pool of musical interests in order to find new modes of expression in music. The result can both be heard on the new two-track EP Careful You Might Tear The Sound as well as in Born In Flamez’ contribution to our Groove podcast, which crams 29 tracks into 53 tightly-packed minutes and ranges from stoic Post-Rock to R’n’B, rough Grime derivates, and even the tender Shoegaze sounds of Cocteau Twins mixed into Ziúr’s banging grooves. It’s a playful yet concise statement of a DJ whose own identity entails many others.
Your bio describes you as a “transhuman experiment”. What exactly is the concept behind Born In Flamez?
Well, I feel like music is never something made behind steel doors but always a product of what surrounds you. Especially electronic music. The computer and its algorithms inform the music you make with and through it as much as your own upbringing, your culture etc. It’s a bit like Julia Kristeva’s (theory of) intertextuality. Nurture through audio files, so to speak.
Identity has become a much-debated subject within electronic music, ranging from discussions about personality cults in the DJ world to debates about feminism and/or structural racism. What does it mean in this context that you “shirk notions of identity”, as you claim?
As I said, this “I” that is referred to as the creator of the music is a product of everything they have ever heard and its not a super creative genius self, which is creating these tracks in some hermit cave, but a tightly woven network of interactions between person and machine and between person and everybody else. If I go to a dance club and hear somebody’s tunes, some of the sounds I heard might end up in my own tracks as much as the classical piano lessons I was brought up with form the way “I” perceive music. Let’s say music is always interactive. How can you define interactivity without a notion of “otherness”? Yes, there is a single identity behind this, but this identity entails many others.
However, you describe your new EP Careful You Might Tear The Sound as a personal work. How does that go together?
Everything I make is personal. But it’s never that only.
You have been part of the CO-OP compilation, released in late 2016. What is CO-OP about and how are you connected with it?
CO-OP is a network – a kind of community of likeminded producers. We share a political stance and we try to express it. The need to act has always been here but in these dark times it is more pressing than ever. Most of what we wanted to do with the compilation was show people where they could engage and what projects they could support. How they could organize. Because we all need to organize and act right now.
You have regularly collaborated with other artists such as Robot Koch or Perera Elsewhere. What makes working with others so appealing and how did your recent collaboration with Modeselektor come about?
I love working with others. I wish I was in a band. The workflow opens your eyes. I hate watching video tutorials and letting the internet teach me. I rather learn from others. I was working in the same block as Modeselektor’s studio when Szary had his door open and I heard him make the basic beat for what was to become “TBF”. I was making a tea in the kitchen and just immediately started singing to what I heard. I asked him to send it to me and recorded the vocals. He liked it!
Much like your own music, your contribution to our Groove podcast combines many different styles, ranging from Rap to Grime derivates and even Shoegaze. What was your idea behind it?
I just wanted to showcase some part of the Born In Flamez universe – it’s always tough because I love so many different styles of music and it’s super hard to confine myself and just stick to one kind of BPM or sound for a DJ set. But actually i feel like this mix is kind of perfect. You can even hear the classical background that has nurtured me at a young age to what I love to dance to right now. It’s all there.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the forthcoming months and what are your plans with Born In Flamez for 2017?
The next shows I play are happening in mexico, but if you are in Berlin you can see me next at a workshop I am giving for CTM Festival on sound and identity on February 3rd. I am currently in Los Angeles recording some tracks with a noise band and I have planned a split EP with ANAKTA for April and i’m working on a mini album for later this year. It might be a more soundtrack kind of thing.
Stream: Born In Flamez – Groove Podcast 90
01. Keru Not Ever – Ode To The Present, Past And Future
02. Jikuruoux – Teardrop (Excerpt From Erotic Gestures of Sound)
03. Avbvrn – Containment
04. Santa Muerte + Tomas Urquieta – Hollowed
05. Loyd SB – Pirate bay
06. Pixelord – Smog
07. Obeya – Helicopter Riddim
08. Tortoise – Northern Something
09. Paul Marmota – Registro
10. Air Max’ 97 – Engaged
11. DJ Funeral – Last Breath
12. Abyss X – She Bruise
13. Dat Oven – Icy Lake (Lvis 1990 Fire Alarm Mix)
14. Jikuroux x Abra & Tommy Genesis – Slow Pressure Big Boi (Cache One Blend)
15. Santa Muerte + Rules – Dangerous Scenario
16. Schism – Attack Terrain
17. Radar Bird – Ghost Kick
18. Kaiser – Courtesan Riddim
19. Born In Flamez x Modeselektor – TBF
20. Cocteau Twins – The Hollow Men
21. Ziúr – Concord
22. Astrosuka + Ornamenti d’Oro – Ahaetulla Nasuta (Partisan Remix)
23. Nunu – Mind Body Language
24. Keru Not Ever – Scanners
25. Ausschuss – Coiled
26. Astrosuka + Ornamenti d’Oro – Ahaetulla Nasuta
27. Cyphr – Stretch Rephlex
28. Born In Flamez – Careful You Might Tear the Sound
29. Born In Flamez x Health – Outro