Exquisitely eccentric club sounds.
Peder Mannerfelt first slipped onto the radar with straightforward house and techno under the name The Subliminal Kid. Over the next decade, his sound underwent an extraordinary transformation. He began making textural, freeform electronic music with Malcolm Pardon as Roll The Dice. He then worked with Karin Dreijer on her first album as Fever Ray as well its 2017 follow-up, Plunge. On his own, he crafted dynamic and creatively unhinged tracks that contain all the best energy of club music and none of its stylistic constraints.
Mannerfelt's explanation for these changes makes for excellent advice to any young producer: "It was when I stopped trying to do 'techno' that techno people started paying attention to what I was doing," he tells us below. "At a certain point I just stopped giving a shit and started banging out whatever I felt like at the moment." That nerve to follow even the oddest creative impulses is what electrifies not only Mannerfelt's productions, but his DJ sets as well. On RA.669, he leads us on a colourful, twisting, unpredictable journey through his eccentric musical universe.
What have you been up to recently?
That's a very good question! I guess I'm still stumbling out of winter. But I've got a lot of things bubbling and a positive vibe about the year so far! I'm continuing to work with my latest album, Daily Routine, that came out at the end of last year and just followed that up with a new EP called Life Without Friction on Modeselektor's label Seilscheibenpfeiler.
Roll The Dice, the band I have together with Malcolm Pardon, released a new track featuring Swedish trumpeter Goran Kajfes. It's part of a series of one-off collaborative tracks called "Assimilarity" that involves different people that we admire. The idea is to write, record and then release each track as soon as possible to keep a bit of urgency, then we will summarise the project with a record at some point. It's very refreshing for us to keep things a bit open-ended seeing as we otherwise pretty much operate as an old married couple after having released four albums over the last ten years.
Then I've got this new project together with Pär Grindvik called Aasthma. We've written loads of music and done a few shows already. We're still in the process of throwing loads of ideas around to find our sound. There's so much great new music and vibrant scenes to be inspired by right now that keep blowing our minds. Right now it feels very rewarding to open up to new ideas and ways of looking at how to do things like releasing music and performing. That's pretty much what Aasthma is about. Oh yes, and we have two singles coming on during the spring, distributed through Boomkat.
How and where was the mix recorded?
It was made in Ableton Live on my laptop at home, mainly at the kitchen table but also working out of the sofa and a bit from the bed. I've never really had a proper DJ setup so the Ableton route started out as a means to an end to be able to do podcasts and mixes. At this point, I have a rather specific process of doing this that has surely grown on me. It involves a lot of hours selecting tracks, cueing and trying out the different blends (which sometimes can be up to 4-5 tracks deep) the actual piecing together I can then basically do in real-time.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I like to treat a mix like a composition that can tell a longer story, unfolding through multiple pieces and genres rather than just throwing together a few tracks that share the same BPM. The idea was to do a fairly accurate representation of what I would currently play in a DJ set combined with music I wish I would play in a DJ set topped off with some all time faves. I spent some time ripping a bunch of tracks from vinyl and I also reached out to some friends to get some exclusives and dubs. I believe I landed somewhere in between all of these things and that's a territory I really enjoy being in, where things get a bit unclear and ambiguous and could go down different paths at any given moment.
Listening back to your early club records as The Subliminal Kid, there's little hint that ten years later you'd be making the kind of wild, genre-bending stuff you're releasing now, to say nothing of your productions for artists like Fever Ray. What happened in those ten years? Was there a definitive breakthrough at some point or was it just a gradual evolution to where you're at today?
After putting in a whole bunch of years trying to do techno (and failing at it), it was when I stopped trying to do "techno" that techno people started paying attention to what I was doing. I spent so much time trying to fit in and imitate others, which is great as a learning process, but a certain point I just stopped giving a shit and started banging out whatever I felt like at the moment. It has been a very freeing and rewarding journey and I'm very grateful not just for having a platform and an audience that will listen to what I do but also feeling inspired about the scene in general and all the amazing artists coming up. It feels like to me that we're in an incredible golden age of music atm and that this in our scene in large parts has to do with the fact that women are finally being let into what has practically been a closed boys club. This brings a whole different level of energy and excitement that feels absolutely necessary in order to let the music grow and reach new heights.
What role did DJing play in that journey? You're known as a producer first foremost, but as this mix shows, you're an adventurous selector as well.
DJing has always been a big part of what I do, ever since starting to make electronic music 15 odd years ago. In the last couple of years, it has taken a little bit of a back seat to my live shows but it has been really great getting more back into DJing recently. The whole shift to CDJs is the best thing that could ever happen! I was never that good at the technical aspects of mixing vinyl (a bit like I was pretty shit at playing guitar which got me into expressing myself thru electronics in the first place...) but without having to spend a whole night focusing on beat matching and not train to wreck every mix. It opens up so much more potential in track selection and just having some plain old fun whilst playing. Fun is probably the most important aspect of DJing and what a DJ should project towards the audience. You're playing at a party to full of people who came to have a good time! That way of viewing things has really helped me enjoy playing so much more. But I still train wreck mixes.
What are you up to next?
I'm in the final stages of developing a new audiovisual show together with Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant that will premier at the STRP festival in Eindhoven the weekend after next. It's a truly impressive setup based on add-on software to Ableton Live called Showsync that Tarik has been part of developing. It makes it possible to control both video and DMX lighting from within an Ableton Live session. We can do some really mind-boggling tricks with this setup and it's gonna be awesome to present what we've come up with!
For Roll The Dice, Malcolm and I are currently working on tracks together with Sophia Loizou and El Perro Del Mar respectively that will see the light of day soon. As Aasthma we've got the first couple of releases coming out very soon and we're also going on a little Japan tour in the middle of April together with Haruka who is bringing us over there.
In addition to all of that, there's a bunch of releases in the pipeline by a few different artists on my label and we're also working on some remixes of "Sissel & Bass," the standout track from my latest album. That track really took off and it's probably because Sissel Wincent is the boss and everything she touches is magic.
Other than that I've just started going to a CrossFit class. I've never gone to the gym or done any form of organised sports in my entire life, so I figure this might be the last chance to whip my dad bod in to somewhat decent shape. Will keep y'all updated.