In the summer of 2013, a friend brought me to a hole-in-the-wall venue in Berlin called Chester's for a club night organized by the electronic collective Janus. The music conjured by producers like M.E.S.H. and Lotic was unlike anything I had heard before: bombastic eruptions of noise seamlessly melded with Sade samples; mechanical squeaks and whirls as if factory machines had an orgy with no safe-word; rap bangers spliced with sounds that could only be described as what it must feel like to be castrated. But amidst the aural chaos, the crowd never stopped dancing.
It's two years later and Janus has been the subject of a New York Times feature about "Brooklyn bohemians invading Berlin's techno scene," and eventually stopped hosting the club night that perked everyone's ears in the first place. All the associated acts continue to make music that can melt eardrums like laffy taffy in a microwave, but one producer stands out with his online mixes and in-your-face online presence--Lotic, né J'Kerian Morgan. This week, the Berlin-by-way-of Austin artist is releasing Heterocetera,his first record on Brooklyn's Tri Angle Records, also home to Evian Christ and Vessel.
While not necessarily a b-line from his earlier sound, the EP is a serious step up for the increasingly-hot producer. Starting immediately with the spine-shattering opener "Suspension," the record has a multi-sensory vibe where you can feel the tracks as much as you hear them--great if you're into BDSM or dancing until your shoes are filled with blood. Lotic's queer politics are also writ large on the release. Heterocetera references the LGBT club canon by sampling the vogue ball anthem "The Ha Dance," but in a way that respects the original before evolving it into something sui generis--a move that's indicative of Lotic's approach to electronic music in general.
Terms like "cold" and "abrasive" frequently come up while discussing the 25-year-old's productions, but Lotic explained over a Skype conversation that these qualities aren't just sonic ire for the sake of it. Instead, they represent an act of rebellion to prevent clubs and dance venues from being jeopardized by hetero-normative types--an attitude that partially informs the EP's title. "Clubs are supposed to be a safe space for every freak on the planet, but they're not," he says. "The whole EP, especially the title track, is the biggest middle finger I can do right now in response."
Lotic spoke to me about making music informed by the design of certain Berlin clubs, the feminist essay that inspired the title "Heterocetera," and needing to say "fuck you" to someone at least once a week. To read the full interview, head over to THUMP.