OEB’s 5 SXSW Q’s – Amtrac
Hometown: Louisville, KY
OEB 2013 SXSW Review
On Thursday night, Amtrac grabbed a key spot for his SXSW showcase at Haven, squeezing brilliantly between OEB favorites Anna Lunoe and The Crystal Method. I’m imagining the Louisville-based artist will drop some tracks from his latest EP The Scheme, but for now Amtrac checked in with OEB to discuss his past, including reminiscing on his first art show gig in Indiana, drawing sonic influence from John Carpenter and Stanley Kubrick’s films and what songs turned him onto electronic music growing up.
SXSW is a fairly big stage, difficult to reach without first conquering smaller ones. Do you remember your first true live DJ set? What details if any stand out? ”True” as opposed to, say, playing for three friends in your dorm room. ”True” as in where multiple strangers were watching and listening to your performance.
Yea man, I’m excited for SXSW! I can’t really recall my first ever DJ gig. I do remember the first real live electronic set I had though. It was an open house art show at Big Car in Indiana where the top floor had some electronic acts performing, along with live visuals being projected on the wall. I had about 7 different pieces of equipment, some running samples, synth sounds and a laptop to keep everything together. Now I’ve kind of just simplified that setup – ha!
Do you or did you ever spin vinyl records? How does the technological arms race make life easier or more difficult for you, in either capacity, as DJ or producer?
I actually started DJ’ing with vinyl. I had a pretty decent collection of drum & bass given to me from an old friend, along with another 1,200 to boot! I mixed in some old rock records & tinkered with those for a year or so. I still love digging & sampling records, my “Hey There Kiddo” Mixtape consisted mostly of all sample-based production, given a few synths here and there. I don’t think vinyl is ever going to go away, it’s still awesome to be able to hold music in your hands. I feel more connected with what I’m listening to when I can look at the LP cover while listening.
What inspired the I’m All Yours video? What non-musical inspirations influence your sound?
I think that video showed my affinity to John Carpenter & Stanley Kubrick’s work. I grew up watching Carpenter’s movies and being drawn to the auditory aspects of his flicks, due to the fact he directed and scored most of his films. There was always a vibe and overall sound that really connected with the visual for me. Instead of taking a more traditional approach to “I’m All Yours” I wanted to try something different, I wanted to make a separate score for the visuals. Me and the other director Corey Black drew a lot of inspiration from Kubrick’s aesthetic looking at all the shots in the video. Big fans here.
What hooked you to electronic music? Was it a song, a video? Did you ever experience something to the effect of: holy shit, what is this, why haven’t I heard it before, how are they making that sound, where do I get some more…
I distinctly remember seeing all of The Prodigy’s videos on MTV right when their “Fat of The Land” came out. Mix that in with some videos from The Chemical Brothers & Basement Jaxx & I was sold. I remember having to buy the “Fat of The Land” cassette twice - I wore that shit out.
Is there a particular non-music attraction/feature/site you hope to take in during your time in Texas? Do you plan on visiting anywhere besides Austin?
I Imagine I’ll just be hanging in Austin this time around. I’m in town for about a week - looking to get into whatever I can.
Bonus Question: Have you or will you ever play a live set at the Henry Clay ballroom? It seems like a venue that deserves some Amtrac sound.
Would love to, lets put that on the to do list.