Few artists can say that they’ve played alongside true techno pioneers such as Juan Atkins, Octave One and others, but Future Beat Alliance can. The artist has been releasing quality records for over two decades, having a versatile and constantly evolving body of work.
Five years ago, he decided to start his own imprint FBA Recordings. We sent over a few questions to Future Beat Alliance, and here’s what he said.
What pushed you to make a retrospective album? How did you decide to do that now?
It was an idea I’ve had for many years now, I have released lots of music on various labels since the 90s, and I recently started getting more social media attention and more emails from labels and distribution companies asking me to re-release some of my earlier work. So I simply thought that this is the right time to bring my ideas to life and collect all of my music to release it on my own label.
It just came out. How has the feedback been so far?
The feedback has been really positive so far and we have almost sold out of the first record pressed! I couldn’t be happier right now. It’s all very encouraging and inspiring to move onto something completely new next year.
You composed music for H & M’s 2012/13 winter campaign. How did that come about?
This job came through James Lavelle, who I've worked closely with on various projects over the years and the film Director was Jonas Åkerlund who is one of the biggest music video directors in the world who has worked with the likes of U2, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Iggy pop and many others! Jonas is a big UNKLE fan, so that’s how I guess it all happened.
Why do you think fashion brands are turning to legendary DJs for their shows and campaigns?
Well, I guess it's to sell their product and to make it look attractive and appealing, to have this direct connection with the young hip consumer. I think it has to be the perfect creative marriage to get the message across to a younger generation.
Berlin has been the hub for electronic music for a long time. Do you see it maintaining that status, or is there another city coming up in the ranks?
Berlin nightlife still seems to hold onto the energy and excitement, it still has a very very exciting nightlife with lots of diversity to offer. Obviously it's changed a lot in the clubs with a different younger crowd, but that's always the same in club culture and you are asking someone who is 44 years old, so it's older perspective. Yes I still think Berlin holds the flame high for late nights.
How has playing in Berlin’s historic nightclub Tresor shaped your career and sound?
It hasn’t really, and i'm not saying that in a negative way. I’ve always made music and played like this, and it was great for my music to have a nice home with a label with lots of history and the whole Detroit connection. We really did some really great nights at the club and I definitely feel proud of what I have created for the label.
You are a DJ, producer, part of UNKLE, and you’ve done film scores like for "Shelter." Are there any other aspects of your career that we don’t know about? Or any territory you would like to venture into?
I would like to explore making music for films, I think that would be a perfect “home” for my sound. Somewhere I feel most excited with when I see end results with the sound bed and moving image together.
Having just gone through the entire body of your work, have you identified any monumental shifts you made in your sound over the years?
The main thing that has happened in my process is that it takes me so much longer to finish music now because there are too many options with technology and many different paths you can take when you start a project. In the early days you were very limited with sample time and I always had trouble saving the sounds, so you just stayed up all night and worked on a track until it was finished so you wouldn’t lose anything. I think it's good to limit yourself to certain key sounds before starting something.
Which track that you unearthed for your retrospective carries the strongest memories for you?
"Intruder" and "Beginner" because they were my first experiments and I was just finding my feet with it all and learning how to use my equipment for the first time!
The dance music scene has undergone many trend shifts, for example, the resurgence of vinyl. What do you foresee as the upcoming trend?
It depends on which side of the trend spectrum we are looking at here! If it's from the music or studio side then for a long time it's been the modular systems, i'm not actually sure where it will all go after this and also whether it did anything for the scene at all! I'm not knocking it or being negative, it's just a very scientific approach to making music. As far as the way we listen to music, I guess streaming will be the normal way. It kind of is already. I'm not a big fan of trends.
What are you working on currently?
Music for a TV Trailer and New FBA music for 2018.
What is your guilty musical pleasure?
"In the City" by The Eagles.
If you had the option of playing in Egypt and were offered a boat on the Nile or inside a pyramid as a venue, which would you choose?
A boat on the Nile.