Music by VICE

Prepare to Reach Verticality with Lucy at Mutek

Lucy explains techno through brain stimulation and cognitive science.

by Geoff Harricks
May 12 2015, 9:11pm

The determined melodies, filtered frequencies, and overall exhilarating experiences that go along with a journey at Mutek are fast approaching. Utilizing the convivial and composite character of Montreal, the five-day, nonstop cultural adventure will descend upon the city, showcasing some of the most innovative digital and electronic artists from around the globe.

The Stroboscopic Artefacts label boss Lucy (aka Luca Mortellaro) will perform within the Canadian borders for the first time at Mutek. In preparation for this inaugural event, we caught up with the Berlin-based producer to discuss sound fashion, cognitive science, and the social ritual of techno.

The Sicilian-born artist began his journey in the studio long before his DJing career. He started as an architect of atmospheric and ambient sounds, but while studying cognitive science in Paris, he discovered dance music and the purity of techno. "I started understanding the dynamic of clubbing and why I was so attracted by it. It is a very important social ritual, one that I didn't just want to be a part of it, I wanted to shape."

It was in Paris where he hit the crossroads of whether or not to devote himself to the studio or his studies. "When I was making music there were two doors in front of me on the horizontal plane, meaning I couldn't do both because there was not enough time in the day." Although he chose the path of a musician, Lucy sought to find the similarities between his two passions. "Theoretically there was no contrast at all. In cognitive science and in music you study how your brain reacts to external stimuli and transform it into actual knowledge. Sometimes I try to get my head in the studio and try to transform theories that I was in studying into practical forms. I want to understand why applying certain elements in music make you go vertical much faster than other elements."

As he began exposing his sounds to the world, he realized that the discipline he had in the studio was not being applied to how and when he released new music. "People were asking me for music and I was just giving it out. Producing was much more essential to me and I needed to structure the way I was communicating it to the public," he says. "That's when I started thinking about the record label. I first thought of it as a community of beautiful minds that would get together and try to say something. When I moved to Berlin that idea took form. That was the moment when you could start to recognize the modern Lucy."

Lucy sharing some words with his contemporary, Berlin neighbour, and good friend Ben Klock.

Stroboscopic Artefacts has since presented some of the most influential releases in the techno realm. The boundless vision it promotes comes from a roaster of artists who seem to seek the unknown with each release. With a range that stretches from dark techno to ambient electronica, Lucy says that these labels undermine the understanding of the works themselves. "I believe there is sound fashion, but I don't believe this is a good thing. This begins when the art is over. It is the aftermath of something sincere and powerful that has happened. The releases that generate the most controversial debate are the best ones. Those are the ones that stay for years because you are questioning things."

This interpretation of controversy in art could justly describe the open-mindedness found while scouring through the many concepts within Mutek. It is within these uncompromising views about music, that Lucy finds dignity and peace in his productions. "I am happy where I am. It would be so easy to follow a fashion, but what does it bring you? You get a glimpse of glory, and then you get dumped into the garbage can forever," he explains. "For me, I stick to a separate series of values. I choose this lifestyle when I was very poor, in the deep shit in a lot of senses, for the reason of integrity. If I choose it then, I can't just forget it and move somewhere else. If I did that I know my artistic fire would go out in a second."

To help distill Lucy's many views is his take on techno. "Techno is about energies, the sound is just the medium," he says poignantly. His drive to go beyond the sound has placed him amongst some of the most influential label bosses touring today. Although his label might not strive to attain a specific sound, the innovative elements that it is known for can be seen in full effect within Lucy's sets.

Lucy will play twice at Mutek in May—one ambient set and one darker and dancier. With Steffi, Rrose, Andy Stott, and Stärker, he is also slotted to play the "Faith in Techno" night, the event will help to initiate yet another summer of heightened vibes for the city of Montreal.

Lucy is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter