Since his first release in 1994, New York based Scot Neil Landstrumm has managed to build himself a reputation as one of the most original techno artists around. Over the years he had numerous releases on Tresor, PeaceFrog, Sonic Grove and his own Scandinavia label to name a few. Busy as ever with his new album coming up on Tresor, he found some time to answer our questions (many thanks Neil !!).
- Atome : I assume that while you were growing up in Edinburgh, there weren't many events or artists that could hook you up into the underground scene. So what are your main influences ?
- Neil Landstrumm : I wouldn't be too hasty to discount Edinburgh as a centre for underground music. Edinburgh has always attracted a wide variety of bands, artists and musicians. Edinburgh caught on to the acid house and techno rave culture very early with PURE and Sativae clubs and had such guests as FUSE, LFO, Leo Anibaldi, DJ Hell, Dave Clarke, etc. and in all scenes.
My main influences are dub, reggae, older early hip hop and of course techno. Anything bass heavy and dark. I've always liked darker edgy music, heavy metal and some tripped out guitar music also helped me out. Some British noise experimental shit too. I'm fairly open to all sorts and hope I can continue to learn new tricks.
- A : Was it just purely accidental that you moved from your home town of Edinburgh to Brooklyn the home of legendary techno artists such as Joey Beltram, Frankie Bones and Adam X to name a few ? In what way did New York affected yourself and your music ?
- N.L. : I actually moved to New York for different reasons. The City more than anything is a constant source of inspiration. New York has a whole range of opportunities and that's what excites me. I also work in video and animation so having MTV there, video games companies and other art projects helps. New York really opened up hip hop to me, I love hearing beats on the street from cars and boom boxes, always something new : Indian bangra , dancehall. All affect me. It's sort of like a sponge soaking up ideas. New York opened me up to difficult cultures and people, but it comes with a high financial price and no greenery.
- A : When your music is in question, it's always like "Expect the unexpected", and you always seemed to distance yourself from the usual banging stuff, creating your own unique style, even at some point your music seems experimental. Would you consider it experimental ?
- N.L. : Yeah, I consider it experimental. I'm not one to follow the herd and I always have a strong desire to sound different which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I make music for myself so if I am happy that's all that matters to me. Some of my best music is relatively obscure and on my own Scandinavia label. Straight techno is boring and un-imaginative to say the least and definitely not in the spirit of the original techno music.
- A : Nowadays, there's so many techno records released every week. Don't you think that the overwhelming techno production affects the quality of the music ? I'm not saying that good records aren't released, but it seems that so many crap is polluting the scene.
- N.L. : Yeah, couldn't agree more but what are you gonna do, at least some good music sneaks through.
- A : What are your thoughts on the current electro movement? Does it finally gets the recognition it deserves ?
- N.L. : I think so, but electro is a fairly limited genre by definition and it doesn't particularly hold a floor well. I'd love to see some electro hip hop again like the late eighties, less robots and more live vocals. I think it does get recognition but it's a limited audience.
- A : Your new album "She Took A Bullet Meant For Me" should be out soon on Tresor. Can we expect another step forward for Neil Landstrumm, and for the electronic music as well ?
- N.L. : Yeah I think so, it's more mixed up in styles but there is some strong techno for the floors. More hip-hop than before and also some trashy breaks. Represents where I am at musically and also the Scandinavia label too, not sure if it takes electronic music further but it's a dark treat !