In conversation with Black Asteroid, dark industrial suffused techno producer, DJ and live performer. Touching base on fashion, inspirations, loud audiences and his full length album titled ‘Thrust’, that features singles in collaboration with Zola Jesus, Cold Cave and Rick Owens’ muse Michele Lamy. Stay tuned till the end, and listen to the ultimate nine tracks selected for us that are obsessing him lately.
Both title and artwork of your latest release seem quite cryptic, can you tell us more about the concept behind your lataest album ‘Thrust’?
‘Thrust’ is a play on thrust engine. The sound and energy of an engine, of take-off. My first single was called ‘Engine 1’,
I like the imagery and sounds of engines – it implies energy and the excitement of going somewhere with confidence.
In your career you made many collaborations with artists such as Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode, Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb, Zola Jesus, Cold Cave etc. How come the choice to connect your creations with other talents?
I always want to hear vocals in my music, even though its not common in techno, it is something I can’t escape. Growing up with Prince, and then moving to industrial rock and alternative rock from the UK, vocals are essential. I love the dynamic of vocals against machine driven music.
Which would be the featuring of your dreams?
Aphex Twin, Trent Reznor, Brian Eno, Flood, Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash…
Which is the most intense concert/performance you have ever seen and left a mark on you.
Seeing Nine Inch Nails on their first major US tour. The raw energy on stage inspired me to start my own band. I loved the mix of classic pop song structure with grinding electronic music and guitars.
Black is evocative and abstract, mysterious and timeless yet it stands for the abyss, for the unknown. How come you chose this word to define you?
My first band was called ‘haloblack’… a name i came up with mixing Depeche Mode songs ‘Halo’ and ‘Black celebration’. Since then all my projects have played on the black theme. For black is also hopeful, but ultimately it exudes confidence.
In one of your recent tracks, ‘Tangiers’, appears Michel Lamy on vocals, fashion icon and Rick Owen’s muse and wife. How did this all come about?
Rick Owens used one of my songs for his SS2012 collection. I reached out to thank him, and I got sucked into his world. Michele is this amazing light, energy in the room. She asked me to remix one of her songs shortly after, and since then, we have been collaborating on all sorts of projects.
Can you tell us more about your relation with the fashion industry?
Raf Simons used my music for a collection, and then Rick Owens, completely without my prior knowledge… So I accidentally stumbled into the fashion world, through my music being chosen for catwalk. Before I met Rick, I was already obsessed with clothes, I was wearing Yohji Yamamoto mostly. I will never forget the first time I met Rick, he saw my Y-3 shoes, and called the Paris store and told them to help me find some new shoes. I do think music and fashion is inseparable. I went to school for visual arts, I feel very strongly in accompanying music with a strong visual aesthetic.
With your past and very successful band ‘Motor’ you have been touring for 2 years along with Depeche Mode, playing live music in big venues and stadiums, but you also work constantly as DJ at techno/electro parties, which one of the two on-stage experiences satisfies you the most?
I’m at the point now, when I dj, I’m banging my head on speakers and interacting with the audience. I prefer being in a DJ booth, in front of a big audience. This I enjoy more than being in a traditional band. I discovered I like performing alone.
Are you already thinking about a new project or do you prefer to take some breathing space between one release and another?
I decided my next album will not be hard techno per sat. I am gonna try something different, something more experimental, but with melodies and vocals for sure.
You have just played in Italy in the beginning of November, do we have chance to see you in Europe again soon? / Can you share with us some insights regarding your future performances?
I play in Europe about 2 weekends a month. Coming up I have Los Angeles, New York, London, Budapest, Tokyo, Rome, Frankfurt, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and working on Paris. I try and keep blackasteroid.com updated with my tour dates.
Enjoy the latest music video ‘Tangiers’ featuring Michele Lamy.
IX SELECTED TRACKS:
I. Cold Cave – Don’t blow up the moon [link]
II. Nine Inch Nails – Add Violence [link]
III. Byetone – Symeta [link]
IV. Aphex Twin – Xtal [link]
V. Front 242 – Operating tracks [link]
VI. Depeche Mode – Going backwards [link]
VII. Autechre – Elseq 5 [link]
VIII. Jozef Van Wissem & SQÜRL – Only Lovers Left Alive (OST) [link]
IX. Clan of Xymox – No words [link]