For some time, no one knew exactly who was behind LA-4A; the techno production alias and anonymous force behind Berlin's Delft label that launched in 2013. One year later, NYC-via-Berlin artist Kevin McHugh, who's also known as Ambivalent, came out with an as the man behind the project and label with a new EP on the label, and performed his first set under the name at Berghain. "I didn't really hide my identity as LA-4A so much as just not make it public, McHugh tells THUMP over email. "A few friends like Mike Servito and Magda found out eventually, and we finally made the connection public when I released an Ambivalent EP on Delft. It would have required some strange spin to talk about that EP without mentioning it was my label."
The techno tale continued on in 2015, when McHugh brought the LA-4A project to NYC for a set at The Bunker on New Years Eve alongside regulars like Patrick Russell and Bryan Kasenic, for something of a hometown glory lap. And finally, on May 30 of this year, the entire project came full circle in the form of McHugh's debut artist album on Delft under his formally anonymous alias, Phonautograph. Along with an exclusive stream of LA-4A's banging Bunker set below, we caught up with McHugh to hear a bit more about the new album that's finally out there.
THUMP: Your new album just dropped—how does it feel to finally be out there with a proper full-length as LA-4A?
LA-4A: It's a huge relief! I don't know if I've ever felt quite this pent-up about a project in the 10 years since I started releasing music. I had worked quite a while on it, and finally finished late last year. Since then it's been a long exercise in patience as I'm really proud of it, and feel that it represents a side of my music I haven't shared before.
What other plans do you have down the line with Delft in the coming months?
Some of the regular crew who release on Delft are preparing their new contributions, and Delft's sister label Valence has a furious stream of killer releases to fill in the gaps. As always, we try to under-promise and over-deliver, but I am excited about what's coming.
Can you tell us about your gigs as LA-4A currently and what the summer has in store for you?
The LA-4A gigs are a lot of fun as they have a wide remit, but they're definitely heavy on the acid and electro, as this album would indicate. They almost always involve me digging through my vinyl collection for old cherished favorites and winding them into new stuff that have a classic vibe. It can be anything from an old Speedy J acid track at Berghain to a new Unknown to the Unknown promo at Bunker.
'Phonautograph' is available now on Beatport.