Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Austin Speed
Luis: So Austin, how did you first come to find yourself in the world of electronic music? What attracted you to the scene?
Austin: I've been into music since I was a little kid, I used to play guitar and bass in metal and hardcore bands in junior high and high school. One of my friends turned me on to industrial music back when I was in junior high and I was really intrigued by the sounds I was hearing, I was trying to figure out how it was all made. Around that same time I got a DOS-based sample tracker and started making my own beats and sketches, and it just kinda progressed from there. I started listening to more electronic music than metal, started going to raves and really fell in love with the whole thing.
L: Who were some of your favorite artists back when you first started raving? Who are some of your inspirations or artists you are just generally enjoying now a days?
A: Well I got into the music first and raves second, so a lot of what I was listening to I wasn't hearing at raves. I'd have to say one of my all-time favorite acts is Autechre. When I first heard them it was like hearing something from another dimension, like it's just so out there that it takes a while to grasp what's going on. I still listen to them a lot and even though their newer stuff is mind-blowing on a sound design level, it's really kind of amazing how their stuff from the 90's still sounds like it's from the future. Orbital and Chemical Brothers were a couple of other acts that I enjoyed when I first started. I've always been into live performances and they both do it proper. Nowadays I've been listening to a lot of electro and I've been going back to IDM. Some artists would be Jensen Interceptor, Carl Finlow, Sync 24, Morphology, 214, Plaid, Proem, Jon Hopkins etc.
L: You focus on bringing a live element to your own performances. Can you explain your creative process a little bit, and what your audience can expect to look forward to? How has you performance evolved over your years on stage?
A: I used to do all-hardware sets a few years back but it was a really cumbersome setup as I'd have to drag out a huge chunk of my studio every time. I started DJing more after that but picked up the live setup again recently. When I restarted it was an Ableton-based setup but I was never happy with it. I was always struggling with latency and getting it to sync up to other gear and no matter what controller I used it just never "felt" right. After a lot of research I ended up going with an Elektron-based setup and it'g been great. The Elektron stuff is built for performance, the timing is rock-solid and you can do some wild stuff that you'd never think of doing in software. So I have my tracks set up in basic blueprints but I rework the structures and mess with a lot of synth parameters in real-time. It's really cool because it gives me the flexibility to make shifts in energy happen as I see fit, for instance I can extend a part or make a breakdown happen at any given time really.
L: Now I'm even more excited and curious to see and hear what you have in store for us on the 22nd.
If you had to slap a label on the type of music you've been most interested in producing lately what would you call it?
A: I call it electro but that word gets misconstrued and confused with electro-house, which it's vastly different from. It's more akin to breaks but it's more synthesizer-based. There are also a lot of other influences going on as well, some bits of techno and IDM will peek out here and there.
L: Anything particularly exciting you've been working on? Or shows in addition to the upcoming toy drive at Kava that you'd like to mention? I saw we both are playing Bloom NYE, that should be a great way to ring in the New Year.
A: Yeah Bloom is looking to be really great! They're pulling from lots of different segments of the scene so it'll be cool to get everyone together at one party. I just finished a remix for Carl Finlow, he's taking submissions and picking six people to get their remix pressed to vinyl so I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one. He's doing it in a really cool way too as you submit your remix in an alphanumeric code so that he doesn't know who did it keeping the playing field level. Also shout out to Brandon Vazquez for letting me know about that and to Brian Millar for his help and input.
L: Heck yeah, best of luck to you being selected my dude. Really looking forward to working with you in the coming weeks for the toy drive and ringing in 2019. Thanks for taking a little bit of time to answer some questions so we could get a chance to learn a little more about your history and evolution as an artist.
A: Thank you guys for having me and I’m really looking forward to playing for you guys! I always love the vibe that Triptych brings!
Every time we work with Austin he is a total professional and we really admire and respect him for that. It certainly doesn’t hurt that his is a killer performer to boot! We are incredibly honored to have him collaborating with us this year for Hope for the Holidays. We are also looking forward to taking the stage with him again for New Years Eve for Bloom being produced by ENTER THE TECH, Mindfruit, In Da Hoody as well as Monarch who is providing a lot of the stage design elements.