this producer is inspiring björk from the berlin underground
"Houston raised me, Berlin saved me".
Photography Matt Lambert
“The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” James Baldwin's famous quote serves as a kind of life mantra for J’Kerian Morgan -- the Houston-born, Berlin-based producer better known under their artist name, Lotic. They've succeeded in creating such a special kind of place with their life-shaking debut album, Power. “I feel like I’m constantly creating it," they tell us. "But with this album, I definitely did."
Released during Lotic's residency at Berlin's MONOM last week, Power gives us a glimpse into the artist's emotional world. Electrifying tension takes our breath away as whispered words creep across electronic experimental sounds and hip-hop beats. But what is power? “Power is love. It is softness and vulnerability; being fearless and being yourself without the existence of any external influences."
You might recognise the name Lotic from 2015, when they reworked Björk’s Notget from Vulnicura -- taking the already emotional odyssey of a track to even more intense depths. Like the ultimate compliment, Björk handpicked them for the job, having been introduced to their work by Arca and falling for the dark, warped nature-like productions. She’s a fan, basically. You will be too.
We just met Lotic. Here are five things we learnt from the underground artist:
It's okay to lose yourself before you find yourself again
You know when nothing seems to work, let alone move forward? We've all been at this point and yet we're reluctant to admit it. Finding yourself at a standstill isn't exactly what you want as an artist, but remember, you're not alone! “I had to find my power in the last couple of years all over again,” says Lotic. “I've always been this person who knew who they were, but then I wasn’t so sure anymore.” It’s okay to not always know what the next step in life is, so long as you don’t forget about your dreams.
Without Berlin, there would be no Lotic
"Never move somewhere blind," Lotic advises from experience. In 2012, they moved to Berlin as life in the States became more and more problematic. “I was even afraid to leave the house, which was no way to live life.” But as we all know, having a fresh new start in a new city isn’t always the easiest. “At first I was depressed because I felt stuck here,” says Lotic. Luckily, things changed and they soon joined Janus, a collective and record label known to throw one of the best parties at Berghain's Säule. This gave the artist the right kind of foundation to work on their own music project. “Without Berlin, I wouldn’t have a career honey!” they admit.
Genres don't exist
"Musicians shouldn't work with genres," Lotic says. "The music that I like myself is so closely connected with the respective art-creating person that it would not exist without them -- and that's always what I wanted to achieve too." Their music is emotional, without a doubt, but still it’s impossible to put a label on it. “There is no genre, it’s just me.“
Everything is an experiment -- even creative slumps
"I don't like spending too much time on something," Lotic continues. “Because I feel like if you can’t figure it out now, you should just leave it and come back to it with fresh ears and fresh eyes.” This doesn't just work in a musical context, but pretty much any life situation. In fact, with this attitude, maybe creative slumps don't have to exist anymore? “I don’t really get stuck, per se, because everything is a kind of experiment."
Björk is Lotic's biggest fan
Three years ago Lotic reworked Notget but also performed with Arca as an opening act for Björk in Berlin. "There were 10,000 people watching -- I wasn't ready for that, but I learned a lot," Lotic says about the show. "Among other things, I learnt that Björk fans are exclusively Björk fans."
Lotic's debut album "Power" has been released on Tri Angle Records and is available now.
This article originally appeared on i-D DE.
Photography Matt Lambert