Enter the Psychedelic Techno Wormhole of No Way Back with Jasen Loveland's Mix
"When you roll in, you can expect to be immersed into a world with one purpose: to make you lose your fucking mind."
No Way Back 2015. Photo by Amy Hubbarth
Each year, Detroit label Interdimensional Transmissions hosts a Midwestern techno reunion of sorts in the form of their beloved Movement afterparty No Way Back. Hosted at the city's two-room Tangent Gallery, the party adorns itself in low light and a tapestried ceiling of large parachutes that create a vibe somewhere between a womb and psychedelic wormhole. This year the crew celebrates their tenth anniversary with their usual cast of characters, including IT label heads BMG and Erika, The Bunker's Bryan Kasenic, Derek Plaslaiko, Patrick Russell, and Mike Servito, acid connoisseur Carlos Souffront, as well as ambient specialists Scott Zacharies, Outer Space (live), and Grant Aaron. While they've long featured this core group of characters, the label also devotes focus to nurturing a new class of selectors, often via their actual releases.
In tandem with the anniversary, they're launching an acid-focused release series inspired by the sound of No Way Back, featuring a couple of producers who in part found their sound while attending the party as regular dancers: Brooklyn's Justin Cudmore and Los Angeles DJ and producer Jasen Loveland. To help celebrate the party, which kicks off 13 straight hours this Sunday, May 28, as well as the sense of community they've instilled over their history, Jasen Loveland made THUMP a mix.
"This is a compilation of forthcoming releases and unfinished studio work presented together in the form of a DJ mix," said Loveland over email. "While I generally leave the mixing to professionals, I thought this would be an interesting opportunity to showcase the sound, as it currently exists, which is deeply indebted to No Way Back and the Interdimensional Transmissions ethos." "When I work in the studio, I'm actively trying to recreate, or make real, certain experiences I've collected over my decades of raving," he continued.
"It is for this reason I find the NWB parties to be such a joy; the party always offers something challenging and new, despite a remarkably consistent lineup year to year. The DJs always push themselves and each other, Amber's decor is always on point and the sound system won't let you get away. When you roll in, you can expect to be immersed into a world with one purpose: to make you lose your fucking mind." Check out Loveland's meditative, unsettling, and acidic mix below, as well as an interview with IT heads Erika and BMG below the embed.
THUMP: No Way Back and IT clearly have a longstanding relationship with the acid sound. It seems to me in the last couple years there's a new trendiness to the word "acid" and it's thrown around a bit more frivolously. What's your take on how the word and genre have grown and changed with time?
Erika and BMG: Acid is directly descended from disco and especially disco edits, you can feel it coming in the intro to Rose Royce's "Is It Love Your After" from 1979 or the break in Kikrokos "Life Is a Jungle" 1978 that Ron Hardy brought to fame. But really it was the hypnotic way that Ron Hardy played at the Muzic Box at five in the morning that made this genre begin. If you've ever heard [Hardy's] edit of "Peaches and Prunes"—that insane mind bending repetition—it's the same concepts that inspired La Monte Young,Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, and Steve Reich, but in a soundsystem-inspired blend of mind and body. That is what acid is.
Words come and go in our consciousness. The word boogie has so many meanings, and I've lived through so many takes on the word "electro." None of this matters, ideas are ideas. Once this music became an industry, those playing the game are exhausted of their own ideas from having to take care of so many other details, so they scan the underground for inspiration. I only really care about the underground. I only care when this thing is actually real, in environments and contexts that actually inspire you.
Throwing parties gets tricker each year with new laws, spaces closing (and opening), and changes in government. How have you guys—and the city of Detroit—learned to adapt to that?
We only work with safe and legal venues. The Tangent Gallery has a rare license that allows them to stay open 24 hours with music and dancing, they are one of only a few of those licenses left. Thankfully the owners really care about safety too, and this year we've added another exit off the No Way Back room to make going outside so much faster.
The new acid series got kicked off with two "fresh" faces that are a bit newer to the IT family. How do you guys work to nurture new talent, being such a tight knit group, and how important is change and reinvention to the team?
Erika and BMG: The whole process is so organic. Things must constantly evolve, just as you yourself do, or you would tire of them. Everyone involved with No Way Back is on this quest. I met Jasen Loveland and Justin Cudmore through No Way Back, out on the floor. That's how we connected. Some artists I release and work with kept showing me Jasen Loveland's work, and it really connected. He sent me the multi tracks for a song I wanted to play overseas, and it all grew from there.
Justin Cudmore I first heard of through his HNYTRX release for Honey Soundsystem, which had a Mike Servito mix, and I was like what? How did you get him to do something in the studio?? Justin told me about making Mike chili, so it was easy to get him to come over! He's an amazing guy, a great DJ, and a great artist. He started sending me new compositions and once we got to the point of the Acid Series, he gave me stuff tailor made for that lost in it vibe of No Way Back. It was exactly the music I was looking to play.
Tell me a bit more about what you saw in Jasen Loveland and Cudmore and why they were two good artist to kick of the series?
Erika and BMG: Jasen Loveland is a mercurial force, he has a very active mind and is a very skilled artist in multiple mediums. His dedication is constantly inspiring. Acid Series Vol 1 is Jasen Loveland's debut release, and is perfectly fitting for the inaugural release for this series. He brought the tunes to my studio to mix, and we couldn't' be happier with how it came out. All killer, no filler.
Justin Cudmore was at No Way Back for Dekmantel in Amsterdam and I was asking for a copy of a secret mix of his HNYTRX release that I had heard Mike Servito and Derek Plaslaiko play because it had been stuck in my head. When he sent that he showed me a few other unreleased pieces to DJ with, and I did some quick mastering to them and started playing them in my sets. With the demos from him and Jasen Loveland and Romans and a few others, the idea just clicked that I should do an acid series to celebrate 10 years of No Way Back, and these newer artists were the way to start. It kind of is a full circle statement. Behind the parachutes, we would always say that we would continue these parties until we found the inspiration on how to go forward. Now it's a whole new generation.