bok bok in conversation with egyptrixx
DJ Bok Bok's label Night Slugs has just released the second full-length album by Egyptrixx, one of several projects by Toronto-based artist David Psutka. Diving deep into conversation with the producer, Bok Bok discovers his artistic inspiration and...
Egyptrixx by Seth Fluker
As you read on, listen to the Egyptrixx 7 hour texture and drone mix.
The new LP A/B Til Infinity is Psutka's most thorough exploration yet into what Egyptrixx is about. The record is a result of a collaborative process with Berlin-based visual artist Andreas Fischer (or A.N.F). The pair agreed on a set of guidelines around which both visuals and audio would be created in tandem, with Egyptrixx reacting to A.N.F's visuals as they were being made.
David and Andreas first worked together back in 2011, on Start From The Beginning, the opening track to Egyptrixx' first album Bible Eyes. Using his unique 3D rendering techniques, Andreas captured the exact feeling of Egyptrixx music. This is fascinating to me as Night Slugs' day-to-day Art Director, because I am constantly trying to achieve that kind of audio-visual synergy with all the art for the label. David and I recently had a post-release London-to-Toronto Gchat about his work with Andreas and the visualisation of Egyptrixx.
I want to talk a bit about visualisation of ideas and maybe even synesthesia. What's interesting is you and Andreas sort of went through a similar process to what goes on with most NS releases and my thought process about representing them visually. But you guys did that almost totally independent of me, and with a very specific set of guidelines.
Yeah, definitely. I'm not sure if I technically qualify as having synesthesia, but I have an extremely strong color and texture association with music my own and stuff I listen to.
Can you remember what initially attracted you to Andreas' work?
You actually said something a few years ago now, how Andreas had more or less created a visual motif for Egyptrixx. It was very true, I think he was succeeding at doing things with his visual art that I wanted to do with music. It was more aspirational initially [laughs]. Texturally, we have very similar tastes. Like, the textures in his work are similar to sounds that appeal to me. Glassy, reflective, crystal...
The gyrating and seismic feel to it all too…
Also his early videos were so simple and really abstract in an almost confusing way. I love that. I love ideas that leave lots of room for the viewer, listener etc. to have input - to make things meaningful for them individually. Like Donald Judd, James Turrell, Eliane Radigue, Paul Thomas Anderson, etc.
It's almost like both the music and visuals of A/B put the viewer in a space - its a experiential project.
Yeah I think there is a parallel in his fixation on 3D movement and my own personal fixation on the stereo field. But we've actually never discussed it.
The space is described to the point of tangibility almost. You're so HD!
It's really exciting how well it came together. We really didn't discuss it much either. It was a series of very hasty and brief Gchats
So, I remember when we first started talking about the album cover, prompting you to try to describe the place your new music was occupying. I think a lot of those cues came directly from the video Andreas did for Start From The Beginning. Did you have preconceptions about how visuals would look and to what extent were those fulfilled for you?
Yeah, it's interesting how clear and precise my understanding of this project is now. At one point it was just the opposite - after the Bible Eyes tour dates I was in equal parts indecisive, unsure and ambivalent honestly. That was an amazing exercise for clarity, to try and visualize where a project exists in one's imagination. I didn't have much of an idea of how things should look. I had a few guiding principles in mind but nothing concrete. Andreas nailed it with a few of his early sketches and we continued in that direction.
Do you feel like visualizing your music is becoming an early part of your process?
Yes, I would go beyond that. I actually do most of the songwriting with a paper and pen. Once I've figured out a general focus for a song, I'll usually do most of the arrangement, sequencing and sound design with notes and sketches in a notepad. I don't even turn the synths and computer on until its mostly drawn up. Obviously things change a bit by the time its finished, but so much of the process is visual and non-musical. I was looking at a lot of Donald Judd stuff while working on A/B, and tried to copy some of his ideas with sound. "ax//s" for example.
A lot of people will find that fascinating to read I think, because a lot of producers work in such a hands on / trial and error sort of way...
Yeah, I think it's a stress-free way to work. When I've worked as a studio producer with artists, I usually force them to try it if dealing with writers block or something. It's a good trick. Also find it very hard to be creative in front of a glowing screen, you know?
I have to tell you, I find Egyptrixx very satisfying because of the continuity. I feel you really sealed that with this new record, but even before that there were really distinct threads running through your music under that project.
Yeah, I'm not sure I explicitly knew this when I started Egyptrixx, but continuity is so important to me. Doing less, saying fewer things. It's present in almost everything I like. I'm going to go deep with this one. I've been meditating quite a lot in the past few years and have really connected. Transcendental meditation and groove based dance music aren't really that different.
I have never meditated, but I think I would like it if I could embrace it.
It's like an antidote for the Internet.
Text Bok Bok
Photography Seth Fluker