This week on the pod: Four Tet turns in a rough ‘n ready mix of electronic music.
Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden a DJ? Believe it. Hebden has been holding down a regular gig at The End for a few years now, blending current electronic music with the jazz, post-rock and various other genres that has make up his musical world. Purists take heart: Hebden’s dance music bona fides run deep. His first single, Thirtysixtwentyfive, was released on Trevor Jackson’s Output Recordings and K7 tapped him in 2006 for a DJ Kicks mix.
Like that diverse comp, Hebden’s RA podcast isn’t about clean mixing and keeping genre-splicing to a minimum. Instead, the passion is the thing: Hebden delights in combining a whole host of tracks together into a whirlwind mélange of sound, all leading up to the placid and satisfying denouement that begins with C++’s ‘Angie's Fucked’ and ends with his stunning remix of Born Ruffians’ ‘I Need a Life’. In between those two? ‘Swimmer’, a track from Hebden’s new Four Tet EP, a release that makes clear that this dance music thing is something that Hebden is excited about exploring once again. Welcome back, buddy, it’s good to see you again.
What have you been working on recently?
I just had a new Four Tet release come out called Ringer, so I've been doing some live shows to support that. I've also just made another album with Steve Reid in New York and that will be coming out in October so I'm busy getting things ready for that. Otherwise there are the usual bits of touring going on and I'm trying to get to work on some new music in the gaps.
Where and how was this mix recorded?
The mix was done at home a couple of weeks ago. I don't have full DJ equipment at home at the moment, so I put it together on the computer using Ableton.
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the mix?
Just to capture a bit of what I'm doing when I'm playing out in clubs at the moment. I've been playing quite regularly at The End over the last couple of years and this mix is definitely inspired by what's been going at those nights. It's probably a little more freaky at moments because you do things in a different way when you are at home and it's also something people are going to listen to outside a club which probably changes the way I put things together.
You've been DJing at The End for the past few years, what's your secret weapon?
I don't know if it's secret, but my eclecticism is my main weapon...I like to try and keep the crowd on their toes, unsure of where it's all going and hopefully get them dancing to different things. I do really like to engage with the crowd though... I never have a planned set or anything. I have to be ready to change the record at any moment to keep the crowd going... I don't worry that much about mixing and stuff, it's all about having the right record for the right moment for me and keeping the crowd excited. That's the type of DJing I really like... raw and exciting.
It seems like your new EP, Ringer, is in some ways influenced by the fact that you're DJing to a dance crowd, rather than the varied crowd that might come see you play live. Would you agree?
Yes, it is influenced by dance music a lot. Recently dance music has been feeling really fresh and exciting to me. I think the dance scene is very music-driven at the moment, rather then being all about media and celebrity and all that shit, which I really like. DJing has really brought me back to electronic music recently and when I sat down to make these new tracks, a more techno direction seemed like the natural way to go... I didn't even have to think about it, I just starting using those rhythms and it felt totally obvious. It's important to me that my music always moves on and doesn't start repeating itself.
What's up next for you?
I'm really keen to work on new tracks. I feel full of ideas at the moment. And I'm enjoying playing live again so looking forward to the rest of the dates this summer that I have lined up. And DJing seems to be at the centre of a lot of the things I'm doing right now so I want to do more of that... I think people are only just starting to work out that I'm interested in DJing really.
Photo credit: Silvia Ramalli