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INSIDE TECHNO


 Pleasurekraft interview

 

As the pioneer of Cosmic Techno, Pleasurekraft has wasted no time in making their presence known. With their Kraftek imprint paving the way for Cosmic Techno, the duo has also just released their new album, 'Love in the Age of Machines'. We had the opportunity to ask the duo a few questions regarding the album and the impacts of 2020 on the music industry.

 

24/7; If you could summarize this year in one word what would it be?

Relentless 


24/7; How do you think the music industry will look like this time next year?

There are so many moving parts to this question I'm not sure where to even begin.  First and foremost, it will depend on whether there is a viable vaccine that has become globally available to the average person (not just front-line health workers, etc.).  That is no small feat in itself.  Secondly, with so much disinformation out there, a vaccine offers more resistance if there are more people that actually participate in getting vaccinated, and we all know anti-vaxxers will be kicking and screaming when this time arrives.  By that time who knows how many promoters, nightclubs, and festivals will still remain, and who the new faces and venues of the scene will be.  COVID is akin to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago; many of the players of the past might not survive the coming months, and those that do will be surrounded by new people who hopefully have a different and better vision of what the dance industry should be like. I must admit, I don't hold out too much hope for the final part but it's nice to dream.  


24/7; Does "Love in the Age of Machines" stand out more than previous releases considering the climate of 2020?

Well, even our first album "Friends, Lovers, and Other Constellations" touched on many of the themes present in "Love in the Age of Machines", however, I think this album is a clearer distillation of the ideas in our first album, and in some ways a more pessimistic take on where we're headed as a species.  To be fair, technology is not inherently good or bad.  That is a trait it shares with its creators: humans.  That being said, when the primary funding for technology (and I am mostly referring to AI here) comes from the military (autonomous weapons/global surveillance), global finance firms (AI algorithms now account for more than half of all global financial market trade), and private corporations bent on getting to know you better than you know yourself (all of social media) in order to sell you tailored ads, then we can't be surprised at the situation we find ourselves in.  It's not all doom and gloom of course, but it just takes enough of the wrong people to be in power for the whole thing to go awry.  A dystopian global surveillance state is no longer the stuff of science fiction.  


24/7; What do you hope to achieve with "Love in the Age of Machines"?

I'm not sure I would use the word 'achieve'.  When you make music, or art of any kind, you're taking ideas from inside your head and giving them shape in the external world.  Then you send them out into the world and hope they resonate in the minds of others to think about things in a way they hadn't before.  Maybe the best answer might be, just to get people to think.  Music, like all art, is too holy a medium to be used solely for escapism.  There's no reason why techno records have to be just about popping pills and pumping fists and hands in the air.  Sure it can be all of those things, but that's much too limiting.  They can also have substance that transcends the musical form and inspires people to focus their attention on things that really matter beyond the superficial.  I'm not getting on a high horse here and saying 'A record isn't good unless it has something meaningful to say', not at all.  Sometimes that is all a record needs to be.  But there are plenty of artists making that kind of music, and frankly, that is just not interesting to me anymore.  We are making the music that we don't hear anyone else making, and we are privileged to have an audience that appreciates this about us. 

 

24;7; What was the biggest obstacle when it came to making "Love in the Age of Machines"?

Getting people to hear the record.  If you play the social media game, if you pay a substantial x% of all your earnings to PR and marketing firms and ad buys to get your music out there, you're going to have more reach.  That is how the system is set up now more than ever.  There are gatekeepers at every step of the process, and if you don't succumb to the rules of the game and their egotistical whims, and want to rely on a more organic approach, you will have a much more difficult time reaching audiences that would 'get' what you're doing.  To any producer out there trying to 'make it' in the scene: ask yourself what is it about this career that interests you.  What is it that you want to ultimately achieve? And then give yourself a healthy dose of reality by ignoring the advice almost all established people in the industry: "All you need is talent."  I don't know if some of the people that say this are so deluded that they actually believe this, or if they want to retain their lofty position in the industry so they repeat this mantra knowing it's false.  All you really need is to be great at networking, develop your 'image', and be willing to spend as much as it takes on marketing yourself online.  Talent MIGHT be third, though I would argue it's even lower on that list. Focus on what you love and have a passion for, if you're talented in that thing, even better.  With those qualities alone you have a higher than average chance at some form of success, but don't fool yourself, the road to the upper echelons of the pyramid involves the eating of an immense amount of bullshit, almost none of which has anything to do with music, and everything to do with image, industry politics, and money.  If you still want to do this for a living, I wish you the best of luck.  


24/7; What is a key lesson you learned so far this year?

That we are paying a steep price for not making critical reasoning a core part of our education system.  


24/7; Before 2020, how did you see the future of the music industry evolving?

A slow continual drift of power into the hands of fewer and fewer people who make all the important decisions.  In this sense it's not unlike many other aspects of society.  I think COVID-19 presents an opportunity for proper self-reflection of the system, I'm just not terribly optimistic about the capacity for reflection in many of the people that need it most. 


24/7; What is one thing you would change about the music industry?

Get rid of social media. And that wouldn't be just for the music industry.  


24/7; Who is one artist you would like to work with?

Prince? But we already missed that chance unfortunately (as if it would ever have been possible!).  But in all seriousness, once the global pandemic subsides (assuming it does), we will be working out a way to go on the road as a full live band with one of my favorite acts, UK jazz trio Mammal Hands and present our music in a way that no one has ever heard before. 


24/7; What would your dream line-up at a festival consist of?

I'm not really fond of big crowds, so I'd rather go to the Serengeti with my idol Robert Sapolsky, drop some acid, and watch baboons for the day.  Then marvel at the stars above, contemplate our miniscule place in the vastness of the cosmos, wonder if there are other beings looking up at the sky and having the same thoughts, and ultimately relish this one glint of an existence we have. 

 

Author: Techno 24/7

Pic: Pleasurekraft

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