#033 – Counterpoint

For guest mix #033, we’ve come full circle in many ways. We can’t even remember when it was, 2011 maybe? but our second ever guest mix was a drum and bass mix provided by Edd Campbell-Rowntree, aka 10 Below. In the present day, we’re delighted to welcome him back to the fold for the debut mix and interview under his brand new techno alias Counterpoint. In the years following that first mix, Edd has diversified and transformed his style, gaining inspiration from the softly squelching, subterranean techno of Berlin and Eastern Europe, and it is an influence that beams through his mix like a lighthouse beacon on a dark night. In our interview we chat origins, directions, and futures, before he takes us beyond the event horizon of his new musical vision with a mix that can only be described as stunning. Enjoy!

Edd mate, it’s been a long time! How’ve you been?

I’ve been well, lads. Thank you for having me back!

It was so long ago now we’ve almost forgotten, but you produced our second ever guest mix for us. Thirty mixes later you’re back. Feels slightly mental to us, how does it feel for you?

Slightly mental is a fitting description for me also. There seems to be a lot of time between now and then! That was 5 years ago!

Now we understand that since we last spoke a lot has changed. First of all, you’re now enrolled at university. We also understand that your course is closely connected to your musical interests. Can you tell us a bit about it, what exactly it is your doing and why you decided to do it?

That’s right, From September I’ll be down at King’s College studying Music. The word ‘Music’ is pretty broad, but the course is concerned mainly with classical music and learning about techniques of composition and analysis, as well as a few other things. It’s an interest I’ve had for a long time, which is basically why I’ve decided to do it!

How would you say your influences have changed in the last few years? Do you get inspiration from a lot of different places now, both in terms of widely different styles of music and more generally?

I’d say my tastes have changed dramatically. Obviously the mix I’ve created has no drum and bass to be found, which is a real contrast to anything I’ve done previously, but I’ve always listened to many different genres of music and still enjoy doing so.

The mix you’re delivering us today is a techno mix. Can you tell us a bit about your shift towards techno music, what got you interested in it and what prompted you to start making and mixing it?

Like most people now, I learnt a lot of what I know about techno through the internet. I think when I went to my first techno party, I found the atmosphere so different to that of a drum and bass party that it felt like I was at my first ever club night. Without sounding cheesy, every time I have been to fabric I have left feeling very inspired musically which has also pushed me to start making some music.

Do you think drum and bass went a bit stale for you personally?

To be honest, I just lost interest in it, which is a shame. It’s still an incredible genre of music with many extremely talented DJ’s and producers to be found. Everything on Critical music is always excellent, especially anything from Ivy Lab. Although, I think the recent end to Renegade Hardware is a real blow to the scene.

Have you been producing techno too? And if so, what is the process you go through when you sit down to make a tune? Do you have a particular element you start with, or can inspiration come at random times and places?

I have been producing, although only a few people have heard what I’ve been doing. I’m just taking my time with everything and not rushing it. My process is changing constantly, as I’m still finding what works best for me. I usually start with drums and continually layer from a large selection of samples, then bring in some synths (mainly Absynth), but it really is arbitrary. However, 4am is peak inspiration time!

Now, we know you play the piano, and this obviously connects to your interest in the composition of classical music. But to what extent to you think that an understanding of and appreciation for some original classical composition makes both you – and people in general – better producers of electronic music? We know a lot of really talented artists, Andreas Balicki springs to mind, start life as classical musicians before making the shift across. What’s your thoughts on all that?

I really don’t think it is necessary at all. There are too many examples of incredible producers who have little or no classical background. As for myself, it’s helped with theoretical and harmonic elements of a track, but it really does nothing for a mixdown! Besides, I think a lot of dance music works on a totally different basis to that of classical music. It would be nice to see more people actively interested in classical music, but conservatism behind the scene puts many people off, which I understand, but I still think it’s a shame!

What other labels and producers are you really feeling at the moment?

I like a lot of techno coming from Bucharest, Romania, from producers like Barac and Dubtil. It has a very natural sound to it which I really like. Anything on Berghain, Ostgut, Mosaic, Shushitech is great. Stroboscopic Artefacts is a label run by Lucy in Berlin, which I think is a must listen for everyone, especially anything from Xhin. Opal Tapes also release some really interesting music. Edmondson in South London has been making some fantastic music as of recent also. Outside of dance music, anything by Tim Hecker is absolutely incredible.

Aside from all of this, you’ve also found time to spent a few weeks in Vienna, and more recently, Berlin. What have you up to over there?

I took a year out after school to attempt to learn a second language, as it’s skill I’ve always found very fascinating. Obviously I chose German and spent some time studying at language schools in Vienna and Berlin. It has been very special to visit these places and get a real insight into the culture as well as meeting some amazing people along the way!

A lot of music gets called ‘deep’ these days. We used to think that the German word ‘Erdmantel’, meaning the mantle that comprises the inside of the earth, might be a suitable replacement. “You heard this tune mate, proper erdmantel vibes.” Are we mad or do you think there’s something in that?

Yes! I think it’s a great idea, but you can start using it in conversations first! The German word ‘Unterirdisch’ (underground) may also work!

The questions we ask everyone…

What is the most prized vinyl in your collection?

An old pressing of The Richard D. James album.

What single piece of music would you have most like to be a fly on the wall when it was getting produced or composed?

Tough question. Burial – Archangel.

What is your food heaven and food hell?

Heaven: prawn toast.
Hell: goats cheese.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone who wants to start making music?

Start drinking coffee.

In a four way Hell-in-a-Cell fight to the death: who would win, Mario, Spyro, Sonic, or Crash Bandicoot, and why? (Score is currently Mario 1, Spyro 1, Sonic 0, Crash 0)

Too much love for Crash, he’d own it!

And finally…

And what do you think the future holds, long term we mean? What would you hope to have achieved in five years time?

Such a hard question, which I don’t have a definite answer to, but I can only hope to be doing something music related. However, I can be certain that I will have finished my degree and possibly be living in another country!

As a final thought, what’s your favourite German word you’ve picked up in Vienna? Ours is probably either Ermordung (assassination: it just sounds so sinister) or Feigling (coward: we love the idea of calling someone a Feigling). What would you go for?

I find the sound of the whole language pretty cool, so it would be hard to pick a single word based on the way it sounds, but there are some words in German which we have no words for in English, like ‘Fremdsch√§men’, which means to feel shame/embaressment for someone else’s wrongdoing. Also ‘Weltschmerz’, which describes that specific feeling of melancholy you feel when the world is just too much for you. German!

Well mate, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you and it’s wicked to hear things are going well. Any final thoughts or shouts before we dive into the mix?

It’s always a pleasure guys, thank you again for the opportunity. I hope you enjoy the mix! Just a few shouts to all my friends and the people I’ve met while travelling who’ve given me support, Dirk Gently, The Practitioner, Mudfoot Blaps, Turbulence crew and everyone else who I’ve forgotten. Thank you!

#033 – Counterpoint – Techno by Onehouronedj on Mixcloud



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