Anthony Rother talks Expedition
Interview by Maurice Dharampal
The concept of an expedition can be interpreted in many different ways. In the simplest form, it’s an organized journey for a particular purpose. But what that journey or purpose might be, is completely up to the expeditionists. Exploring new sites, venturing through the jungle that is electronic music, setting up camp in surroundings with unheard sounds, we’re stimulating these various interpretations at Expedition Festival. In the upcoming interview series, we’ll explore these concepts with artists who’ll perform July 6th. This week, we’ve got Frankfurt’s finest Anthony Rother.
DJ Anthony Rother was described as an influential visionary, an electro pioneer and one of electronic music’s most prolific producers. For more than two decades Rother aggregated a vast musical canon that reflects his unique career as a sound researcher, exploring the aesthetics far beyond the boundaries of electro, techno and pop music. We chatted it up with Rother and asked him about his sound, the relationship between man and machine and what experimentations we can expect from his live performance at Expedition Festival.
How would you characterize your own expeditions through music? What has been a constant and/or what has changed?
From the 90s until today, it’s still all very interesting to me as a musician. There’s so much music kept timeless from the time I started by other great artists. I think the most change can be found in the technology to produce music and the consumption of music. This causes the profession of being a musical artist to change. Just take one look at streaming services and how artists need to utilize them.
Your music – both behind the decks and your productions – has always had a dystopian feel. With your recent release CLOSING THE 3RD EYE / Synthesizer Music Vol.2 this is more the case than ever. But you’re approaching this from a sound researching approach. Tell us a little bit about the philosophy behind it.
I released CLOSING THE 3RD EYE on my own experimental label. It is an important release for me as an artist, as it allows me to connect to a deeper feeling of my creativity. The music relaxes me, especially when I am traveling during tours. I feel like my creativity hits a reset button while I was creating the album, [starting with a clean sheet]. It helps me establish new ideas for my more techno and electro oriented productions, the stuff I tend to play with performing live.
What are your current pursuits regarding music? Any releases coming up which we might hear at Expedition Festival?
My latest releases are two 12-inches on DVS1’s label Mistress Recordings. The first features 4 brand new techno/electro style tracks, while the second 12-inch has a remake of my classic track BACK HOME, now named THE WORLD NEEDS YOU, on it. In July I’ll return to my own PSI49NET imprint with a new EP followed by a 12-inch in September on Radio Slave’s Rekids offshoot called Stranger In The Night. I’ve incorporated these in my sets lately.
It’s commonly understood that man and machine come together when it comes to music, especially during live performances. Your music embraces these inanimate sounds. What role does the human (i.e. you) play in the mitst of the machines (i.e. live gear)?
The music gear or machines that I play live with have a very different function compared to the machines I am using in the studio. When I perform live, I need machines that I can control directly and intuitively. During these performances I have no time to think. I need to be one with the machines.
How is this relation between the human and the machine outside of your life of music?
Like most, I’m struggling with technology. More specifically the amount of mass media that are available all around us. I try to keep technological things very simple. I try to reduce the time of keeping operating systems running correctly at the minimum. I really hate updating computer operating systems. It slows down the process of making music, but also just regularly using the computer… I think most of us can relate to this.
The ubiquity of festivals introduced a lot of people to music (and emotions) they might not’ve come across otherwise. It encourages the audience to go on an adventure themselves, with you being the captain. How would you say the susceptibility of audiences around the world has changed?
As a musician I personally try to live life freely. That means I try to keep away from planning everything down to the minute, but also keeping expectations of moments low. I personally think life is about spontaneity. It’s not about your expectations of what happens and the preparations for said moments.
A tour could be synonymous to an expedition. What are some items you never forget to bring during these expeditions?
I always have a book to read with me and a notebook to write down ideas. When I’m on tour, I like to maintain a feeling of being at home. It might not be an item, but I try to keep that feeling with me while I’m on a musical expedition.