If you're into dark electronica in Melbourne, the name to watch is Jake Blood. After years playing devastating DJ sets at every great party in town, Blood recently revealed he was also producing seriously terrifying analogue techno on the side. While utilising vintage hardware to make his tracks, Blood's personal aesthetic adds a decidedly fresh approach to the creation of heavy dance music. A brutal minimal backbone is overlaid with layers of manic industrial repetition and a tastefully muted psychedelic sound palette. It's bleak and heavy and danceable as hell. He's also one of the only artists around employing a completely analogue production method – no ones and zeros are harmed in his creative process whatsoever. After a year of increasingly brain-shattering live shows, he's just released his first collection of tracks, recorded live to tape. We caught up for a coffee to talk about vinyl research, electronic improvisation, and punk rock raving.
THUMP: How did you start making techno?
Jake Blood: By playing with a drum machine—that would have been the start. I started playing around with an Electribe and then kinda just went from there. I was DJing already and I had always wanted to make music. I just wanted to get together the right gear that I could plug in and get that immediate techno thing.
What would you say is the connection between the music you play out when you DJ and your own music?
The tools used in the recording. When I buy records I'll buy a bunch of different stuff: weird house, techno, darker stuff—they may be different style and tempo—but they are all similar machines, similar methods. That lo-fi kind of sound quality is really appealing to me; nothing is ever too much in the high end. When I buy records it's like doing research essentially to see how people are doing it and what they're doing. Also, mixing records helps with song structures and performing live. I treat it the same, so for me mixing records is kind of the same as mixing the machines.
You got a pretty massive rig is it all analogue?
I've scaled it down a bit, as I have my modular now.
Did you put your modular together yourself?
Yeah it's basically a drum machine and two 303's which all sync up to the xoxbox and sh-101.
Do you have pre-prepared sequences or songs at all?
I just have my patterns, on the sequencer at the moment I have 32/16 step patterns, but when I play live I'll step-write the patterns as I go along. That way I'm a lot more free—I can change it as I'm going and not worry about having to practice everything.
I've heard you describe your music as "stream of consciousness techno", when you make recordings is it the same kind of process?
I used to write a lot of poems in that manner but nothing's really hidden when you look back, techno lets the listener choose how they feel, rather than telling it to them, and the journey is up to your imagination. It's a more enjoyable/rewarding expression and it's easier to show your mates a track rather than read them a poem. So it's kind of like doodling, I start with one thing and build upon it. Everything is synced up and running in separate channels. I just start playing until everything sounds right, then I press record on my tape player.
In Melbourne there's a growing community of band scene people who have started making techno, how do you look at that, considering they are embracing your stuff. I feel like you're in between that scene and the traditional techno scene, how do you feel about your relationship with these scenes?
I think I sit in my own world, but I really like both of them. In the band scene there are no rules, it's a lot more free and that what I like about that.
So you're kind of borrowing from both worlds.
Yeah. I try to keep my sets with no gap, that's coming from the DJing world, but also from growing up going to hardcore punk shows. At a certain point in that scene, between every band you started to get people just raving on about all this shit. Even if you believe it, like straightedge and stuff, you're just like: "yeah cool but why are you telling me? I just wanna hear some songs—I'm not at school! It's good for people to talk about this stuff but it's not why you're out, its a Saturday night! I think music draws you in when there's no gap or people clapping in between tracks—it's best when it's just a continuous thing.
Jake Blood's Out Here On Your Own album is available now. His debut 12" is due early 2014.