interview by Damage
Göran Sandström a.k.a. VEQTOR runs netlabel/record label Oxo-Unlimited with Nitro2k01, having a huge hit with his track Virus (co-produced by Moshisushi) back in the old days when mp3.com was still up and running. We talked to him about his thoughts on drill and high frequencies.
THE DOSE: After experimenting with lots of genres, you ended up with experimental/IDM. What captured you this much, what's the beauty in glitch and high frequencies?
VEQTOR: The beauty of IDM is its pushing of the limits of what sounds and rhythms we can perceive.. to me it's always been about taking everything one step further, if possible, that is.
THE DOSE: That kind of experimenting with sounds is also found in the psy/goa scene, although they're based on the more psychoacoustic and body-related effects. don't you have similar aims?
VEQTOR: Slightly, yes, though mine is roughly to make people wake up rather than to fall in a trance *laughs* I think this is very close to what I feel that a lot of us have been very pacified in our society, like our perception is starving from all the crap that mainstream media feeds us. I want to give people something different but a lot of the time it's just sheer anger or frustration that I'm trying to transfer into my machines.
THE DOSE: What are your experiences on being an independent musician?
VEQTOR: It's really hard at times but I think it's probably more rewarding in the end because of the freedom it gives me. Although being on an experimental electronic label would give me freedom, I suspect I'd always have a desire to please my employer.. it is natural, I wish to avoid this, hell, sometimes I even try not to please myself!
THE DOSE: And if that is the case, how can you market glitch/IDM more effectively, even to the point of financial satisfaction?
VEQTOR: I think this has never been a goal of mine, though I've always had that that there is something naturally appealing about IDM to many people and that alone will be enough for it to gain its success. Combined with a lot of hard work, of course.
THE DOSE: Okay, let's talk about some harsher matters. What are those elementary albums that you wouldn't leave behind in any case and what are you listening to nowadays?
VEQTOR: The usual suspects: Squarepusher's Go Plastic is essential to me and I'm also very found of Aphex Twin's work in general. Lately I've been listening a lot to Venetian Snares, The Flashbulb and especially Wisp's latest work. But my listening habits aren't only confined to IDM, a lot of my records are psytrance, such as Scorb's self-entitled album and not to forget drum 'n' bass such as Photek's Form and Function.
THE DOSE: What synths and music softwares do you use and optional is there any optional feature that you'd love to use in music software that they still haven't implemented yet?
VEQTOR: All of my work is heavily based on Reaktor, the modular, programmable software by Native Instruments. It, unlike a lot of the other available music software out there (with exceptions such as cycling 74's max/msp which I find very cryptic) gives me the ability to warp samples and drumloops in ways that previously has been impossible to me. Well, partially at least. But lately some of my work has been done in ReNoise, a modern tracker, it is much more of a painstaking process to do stuff like "timestretching" and granular synthesis in ReNoise, because you have to do it 100% manually. It really depends on how lazy I feel I guess. A lot of the time I combine the two.
THE DOSE: Are there any more obscure softwares that you use?
VEQTOR: I guess I could say that the customized ensembles I use in Reaktor are pretty obscure, since they were programmed or modified by me, thus making them one of a kind.
THE DOSE: Please tell us about OXO Unlimited and the artists whom you release!
VEQTOR: Well, we're a very small label, at first I saw it as an opportunity to release the music that some of my closest friends are making, but it's quickly grown from that into something very different. Fredrik Mathtiiaas Rosén has been there from the beginning, he makes really obscure, psychotic breakbeat, drum ‘n' bass which could be qualified as IDM. I teamed up with nitro2k01 about a year ago, he's helped out with solving technical issues and we've done a lot of DIY hardware stuff toghether. I should probably mention that he's also a major driving force in the Swedish chip-music scene, being one of the organizer's of the Microdisko Club in Stockholm. I found awt through last.fm and was surprised to find out that I had missed out on the music of such a talented Swedish IDM artist for a very long time. He immediately realized our concept and has an excellent track for our upcoming compilation. Those are what I'd say the key figures in OXO.
THE DOSE: So you're releasing tracks via OXO and also iTunes and previously via mp3.com. In your opinion, how did music distribution techniques and attention towards indies change in the past years?
VEQTOR: Well, I think what's really beginning to happen now is that people are beginning to look more seriously at indie labels with since it's spawned artists with huge success such as The White Stripes and Tom Waits. I read in Wired a while ago that if all indie labels would be counted as one it'd be biggest of all the major labels.
THE DOSE: Your father's one of the greatest Swedish jazz musicians and your brother's also a very talented jazz guitarist. as a family heritage, did the techniques and concepts of jazz influence you?
VEQTOR: Well, I think what's influenced me the most is the concept, since a lot of my music is based around live improvisation. Techniquewise I think it's hard to transfer jazz into computers, since you're working with a completely different medium, but I've tried to give myself as much possibilities to vary rhythm in real time as possible. I guess in a lot of my tracks you can hear jazz influences, take Proxy for example, it has a quite syncopated bass-synth sound that has something of a conversation with the drums that varies alot throughout the track. Like in jazz music in live constellations would have something of a conversation, repeating and changing each others' phrases...
THE DOSE: Have you ever tried to do anything like that live?
VEQTOR: I've tried doing some work, in my home studio with my brother, such as "improvised" we're we experimented with a one-take recording approach, jamming toghether.
THE DOSE: Thanks for the interview, is there any final message for the readers?
VEQTOR: Yeah, keep pushing the limits of cultural expression!