The UK techno artist mashes his aliases.
"Finding production processes that have just a kick drum, a hi-hat, a 303 and nothing else, and to be able to turn that into a six minute track that actually works, I've always found [that] fascinating," Tom Russell told Juno Plus earlier this year. He was speaking in reference to MPIA3, an alias he adopted last year to explore the outer limits of his sound through simple production means. As Truss, Russell has been producing varying forms of techno—either solo or in collaboration with Donor—since 2007. Perc Trax has been the primary outlet for his music during this time, with Russell's functional but always intriguing take on techno becoming a cornerstone of Ali Wells’ standout label. Hints of Russell's rave and hardcore roots can be traced in much of his work down the years, but it was in 2012, with the introduction of MPIA3, that they properly flourished. The gnarled stepper "Ganymede" as Truss served as a precursor, before three MPIA3 12-inches dropped in quick succession. The onus, it seemed, was very much on extremity: charged acid lines scarred Ely and Wttp for Ventress and Shifted’s Avian label, while Your Orders, a six-track EP for R&S, fused broken beats, distorted kicks and tons of attitude.
Russell stands among a currently thriving UK techno scene—AnD, Perc, Shifted, Regis, Surgeon, Karenn et al—and their shared sense of adventure courses through this mix, a roughneck trip through techno, electro, hardcore, acid and even a splash of progressive house.
What have you been up to recently?
Writing a lot of music, travelling to places I've never been to before for gigs, meeting new people and trying to organise my wedding.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I spent a lot of time sourcing tracks. I tapped up some of my friends for any new material they were able to send me, sifted through my promo folder and recorded a lot of vinyl during an NYE get together at my house—productive partying. The majority of the mix was done in Ableton before moving over to Cubase for some mastering.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I wanted to provide a snapshot of what makes me tick. The type of tracks that I like to dance to, music that inspires me to produce and records I like to play when I DJ.
Why did you adopt the MPIA3 alias?
My MPIA3 alias was born out of a mixture of dissatisfaction with my own productions at the time, and a frustration with hearing too many techno records that sounded so similar to each other.
We spoke to you last week as part of our piece on industrial techno, but in summary, what are your thoughts on its recent re-emergence?
For me it's a very exciting time right now in techno. There are a lot of producers bringing their own unique identities to the table and I welcome the renewed interest in harsher sonic territories. That said, it's all about variety. While it's great that a harder sound is being pushed again, it shouldn't become a singular focus.
What are you up to next?
More of the same hopefully. I joined the LittleBig agency a few months back and gigs have really picked up. I feel incredibly lucky to be traveling to lots of new places and meeting so many wonderful people through DJing, it's very humbling. Studio-wise there's lot's going on, including my solo projects, the long standing collaboration with Donor, a new collaborative project with Tessela as TR\\ER, as well as the customary anonymous techno record or two.