Biography of Stewart Walker
|Real name / ||Stewart Wallker|
|Moniker(s) / ||persona|
Born in 1974, Stewart Walker began toying with music at an early age, writing songs at the age of 5 about his ambitions to become a rock star. Years of structured guitar and piano lessons afforded Stewart a strong musical background and the ability to gain aptitude from later experimentation. High school and college were defined by frequent day trips to record shops, sifting through used bins hoping to snag the new promo cutouts of the day, and late nights spent sitting in front of his guitar amp with the reverb turned all the way up. About midway through this time, he became conscious of the electronic music bouncing around the college radio airwaves. Habitually tuning in to hear a techno pop, industrial and EBM show plus one focused solely on house music, Stewart began recording tracks from these programs that he found inspiring. In 1992 he bought his first drum machine and became infatuated with plugging it into his guitar amp and manipulating beats for hours.
The fascination with electronic sound grew into an obsession and before long it became essential for Stewart to purchase his first sampler. Using this piece of equipment he started constructing music in a sequencer and as a result, his tracks started progressing into the techno genre. His earliest releases from 1997 appeared on Detroit's Matrix Records and shortly afterwards came his first European release. This period was marked by great productivity as Stewart had finally quit his day-job to pursue making music on a fulltime basis.
With his records gaining popularity among DJs, he began accepting offers to perform live locally, which resulted in a slight predicament. The dilemma Stewart faced was how to perform live using his limited studio setup. Lacking a DJ background, he found his initial performances intimidating yet educational for it was early on that Stewart gained an appreciation for the vitality generated from crowd interaction at live performances. This energy was non-existent in the studio, but he noted its influence on his sound and considered it a critical part of the creative process.
As Stewart continued making a name for himself in the techno music scene his releases followed on well-known labels - Tresor, Force Inc., and Richie Hawtin's m-nus imprint. Each new release brought greater acclaim and thus he was able to perform more frequently and in increasingly exotic locales. Hooking up with Sven Väth's Cocoon booking agency based in Frankfurt guaranteed his ability to play in Europe as often as he wanted.
The differences in music requirements (preferences? Hard vs. Soft, Danceable vs. Listenable) in Europe and the USA pushed Stewart to work more and more on perfecting his live techniques until he felt confident that he could match a DJ in intensity and stamina every night. (Having two styles has resulted in a demand for stylistically different releases. He's flexible, and able to perform music as prescribed by the situation/vibe of the audience at hand.)
In 2001, Stewart decided to found his own label and christened it "Persona" with the sole intention of bringing personality back into the genre of techno. The label is devoted to releasing recorded works that retain originality and avoid the made-for-DJ copout. Stewart remains committed to defying techno music standards by playing live and pushing him self to interact with his audience, resulting in intimate shows consistently characterized by a fresh/sharp/cutting-edge sound.
In the December of 2003, Stewart packed up his life and left Boston and the USA to move to Berlin and participate in the more vibrant European electronic music community. Since then he has been recording remixes for such labels as Kitty-Yo, Tongut, and Tuning Spork; he's also been practicing his Sprache during the week, and performing in a European capital every weekend. He has recently finished a downtempo album entitled "Grounded in Existence" scheduled for release in March 2005