We have neglected our podcast series for way too long and are more than happy to bring it back with an interview and guestmix from Berlin-based Canadian Mike Davis, a young producer we got to know through his release on the Sector 12/12 label.
Hello Mike Davis. You released your first EP on Sector 12/12 last year and that’s pretty much everything I know about you. Why don’t you start introducing yourself to our readers?
Sure, I’m Mike, an unknown electronic musician, who moved from Toronto to Berlin in 2012 to study in the Humboldt University and also find out what electronic could really means to me. I was DJing in Toronto as part of a crew & party called the Deep North, and decided Berlin was where I’d like to grow musically, rather than wait (or hope) for a big release or something before coming here, like many artists do. The three year anniversary of my arrival was just the other day actually, and I’ve since finished studying, put out a couple records, a tape, and co-founded Carousel and a label of my own, Brenda.
How long have you been making tracks and how did that all come together on Baniza?
For only four or five years, maybe two years or less in a serious way, and even less in a relatively calculated way. Only recently have I developed a technique from which I can, to some degree, truly realize ideas. It terms of that coming together for Baniza, it exists early in that process, the tracks are all around two years old, experiments with limited resources and techniques, simply exploring sound and writing some music along the way. The alternate versions of all the tracks on the EP might better illustrate it, but the project is a mess. I think even my old computer failed at some point and I had to remake some of it, I was just pleased that Sector12/12 wanted to release it. It was completed after a bike journey from Berlin to Sofia. There I became acquainted with the baniza, a traditional Bulgarian pastry. It’s not really nice looking, quite messy, wants nothing but to fall apart, but tastes good… so I believe that EP is a baniza.
Do you remember what sparked your interest to make music?
It originated pretty early, I suppose due to my parents. They put me in piano lessons as a kid, and I remember making terrible music on my dad’s Yamaha CS01 and MR-10 drum machine maybe around 8 or 9 years old. High-school in the late 90s brought all that was 90s and my first guitar, a birthday present from my dad. In college I played drums and bass in some punk projects, but nothing too serious. Eventually I became disillusioned with bands. Between jamming and beer drinking, creating was often challenging, so I was drawn to electronic music. I could produce on my terms, ideas and execution are completely up to me, I like that.
Having moved from one continent to the other, how has that influenced your image about electronic music? Are there still that many differences in culture in this globalized world?
That’s difficult to answer, as the move was still quite early in this budding career, I suppose it played a more developmental role than an influential one. Berlin has shaped me more than Europe, outside of Toronto I’ve only played in Germany and France, so there’s still much I need to experience. The accessibility here in Berlin has continually been a motivator, being a more vibrant and tangible scene has made it easier to reconcile the energy input. It’s not just felt at parties… record shops, rehearsal spaces aren’t 90% rock bands, even the small bars and cafes have decks, [ebay] kleinanzeigen is full of gear, albums and events are advertised in public transit, it’s hard not to feel it being part of the social fabric.
What are you future plans for the record labels and your own music in general, is there anything we can look out for?
Well Owen and I are currently working out details for CRSL002, hopefully will be out in 2015. We’re at the same time growing Carousel into a record shop which will soon be operational as an online shop, with the plan to go physical once it makes sense. It will be carefully curated music, nothing we plan to take over the scene with, of course. The second Brenda record, another 12″ from CNCPT, just came out a few weeks ago and I believe is pretty much sold out everywhere it was available, which is good. The third will also come out before the year is over. Personally, I’ve got a couple of collaborative projects actually. One with Owen on his other label Shades later this year, and another with part of my Deep North family Dan (as Jerry Riggs), I’m in on two tracks on his upcoming Run Out Run release.
Tell us about the mix you made
Yeah, as you know, it was not the first one I sent you, but the delay between recording and releasing had me always tiring of what I recorded. Anyway what I’ve settled on are some recent finds and some older stuff selected spontaneously while recording. Nothing so deeply planned, very Baniza.
Download | Subscribe (iTunes)
02. Steve Moore – Logotone
03. Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit – 124 0 09 (played at 33rpm)
04. Chra – Landmine
05. Dorisburg – Splade
06. Devianza – I Droni A Torvijanica
07. Vakula – Life Internal Sounds
08. Green Gums – Zozomono
09. Beat Detectives – Somethin’s Rippin
10. Bookworms – Exotic Auto Boutique
11. Broken English Club – Glass
12. Mistake Made – Loaded Memory
13. Charlie – Spacer Woman
14. Hiver – Vorticism
15. Obtane – Tericore
16. Johan Hansson – Vassvik
17. Jatoma – Helix
18. Roll The Dice meets Pole – Echo Hands (played at 33rpm)
19. Lena Platonos – Love in Summer
20. Moon B – Moments in Slank
For more of Mike’s doings, his Discogs profile might be a good starting point. Otherwise, you can find his label Carousel on SoundCloud, Twitter and Facebook, and his other label Brenda on SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Facebook as well.