Photo: Press (Chino)
Artur Oleś has been active as an producer under the name Chino for about a decade and helped shaping the Polish as a member of the We Are Radar collective for roughly the same time. Besides releasing his solo records on, among others, Uncanny Valley and its offshoots, he also forms Radiation 30376 together with We Are Radar fellow Olivia and works as a graphic designer. His mix for our Groove podcast is similarly multi-faceted, taking the curious bagpipes-led (yes, you’ve read that correctly), highly sought after early 1980s post-punk track “Anguish” by the mysterious Jimmy Smack as a starting for a set that includes both one of Chino’s own production and one by Jeff Mills’s industrial project Final Cut. Oldschool and rough indeed.
During the pandemic, the Soil Records compilation featuring tracks by Adrian Marth from Italo Moderni and me was released. We have been in contact since then and at some point Adrian asked if I would like to record a song in a similar vibe for Modernation Vol. 4. This time it went smoothly, because I already had an idea in my head on a piece of “shoplifers”. It was a bit like entering a store and easily tearing out what you want.
You’re a core member of the collective We Are Radar, which turns ten years old in 2022, and has recently organised a club night in Berlin, though it still operates mostly in Poland. What’s the status quo of We Are Radar, what are you currently working on and in which direction would you like to take it?
Without your attention, I would have almost overlooked the fact that it’s been almost a decade! This is a good time for big changes. The pandemic has reversed a lot on the scene. We Are Radar also has another female member who turned 1.5yrs this month. Training a new player takes time, but also stimulates creativity. On the other hand, it creates a certain space and allows you to look at the activities carried out so far from an appropriate distance. Therefore, it is difficult to talk about the “status quo” in this situation, because we are planning many changes. We will still organise events that bring the profiles of artists who are in our opinion important for the present times and often flowing on a rising but not full wave closer together. The coming months will also be a challenge for us in terms of being consistent with what we have been doing so far and with what tempts the unknown. We would also like to say more about shaping the scene in terms of releasing the music. This is not that easy anymore if you’re thinking about vinyl form.
As a graphic designer, you also contribute to Radar’s visual identity. In what other ways does this work tie in with what you do on the musical side?
At this stage, I stop separating these two paths. In both cases, it’s about expressing yourself, but also about solving certain puzzles. For as long as I can remember, one side was the driving force for the other in my case, but so far I was not fully aware of it. Nowadays, when the image plays such an important role in society, it is difficult to underestimate its importance in terms of music and sound in general. Thus, the picture without sound seems to be something from a distant era. So I am currently working on a project that binds both layers together.
Your joint project with Olivia, Radiation 30376, debuted with a record on Pinkman last year and in her interview for Groove, she said that there was more on the way. How is the work coming along?
We have literally hours of material that is usually recorded during preparation for our live shows. I think that we have material for at least one LP in quite an advanced form, but as I mentioned before — the pandemic changed a lot, and releasing vinyl records, with which we are strongly associated with in terms of ideology, is not so easy anymore. We are looking for a record label, but we are very attached to our concept of the album. Sometimes consensus is not easy. So we take into account the option according to which we will release our music on our own in the near future.
Radiation 30376 is a strictly hardware outfit. What gear is especially important to your sound?
I think that in our setup there aren’t any devices that are unique to our sound. When we put it together, we thought that as many functions as possible should be at our fingertips. We wanted to be able to improvise freely without having to dive into the manual. I think that instead of using unique machines, we rather focus on being a band whose members attach more importance to listening to each other than playing solos. This is the most important element of the Radiation 30376 setup in my opinion. Besides two 303 clones, of course!
How is it when you are performing alone, what does your setup look like?
After years of traveling with a large suitcase and playing live in various situations and conditions, I wanted to have a setup that is as portable as possible, which can be taken on a plane without checking it in. So currently I’m using Octatrack as the main sequencer, drum machine and smuggler of elements that could not be recreated from any synthesizer. The other box is a Monomachine which is probably my favourite piece of gear. It has a very unique and diverse sound and, what’s most important, it’s six synths in one. It is the perfect solution for my backpack concept.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
I had been haunted by Jimmy Smack’s track “Anguish” for a while, so I thought it was a good start. Then I just followed the flow, trying not to run into futuristic regions that I also like—this mix was supposed to sound more old-school and rough.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
I plan to spend more time in the studio, developing my live set towards an audio-visual project. Two records are to be released on Mindri and Brokntoys as well as a few compilations that I’m part of, so I hope 2023 will be an interesting year.
Stream: Chino – Groove Podcast 352
01. Tony Price — ROOM 641A
02. Jimmy Smack — Anguish (Original)
03. Anna Funk Damage — Eh (Original Mix)
04. Findus — Jonquera
05. ADULT. — I, Obedient
06. Alessandro Adriani & Cosimo Damiano — Flashblind (Original Mix)
07. The Spy — Suicide Rock
08. System 01 — Know Time
09. Harlem — Safe Bet
10. Filmmaker — Fictional Portrayals
11. Chino — Shoplifters
12. Serial Error — Drum Abuse
13. T de CObre — No Nunca (1989)
14. Final Cut — She Destroys
15. Disco Morato — 2020
16. Exterminador — Goth Murder Madness
17. Jauzas The Shining — Frustration (Original Mix)