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Interview & Premiere: Vohkinne – Bathed In Dust

Vohkinne - Bathed in Dust - Interview and premier on Cone Magazine - Atrophic Society

Melbourne based Vohkinne has been providing the Australian culture capital with thwarting techno explorations for some years now. And this latest release reminds us why he’s certainly one to watch.

This month Craig (Vohkinne) released his ‘Bathed in Dust’ EP on his own label Atrophic Society (marking its fifth release). With Patrik Skoog on remix duty, the EP is a wholesome exploration of sombre and wirey techno, reminding us of Melbourne’s longstanding affiliation to the sound.

“My visit to Berlin was definitely a big part of the reason for starting the label”

Alongside providing us with a premiere of the title track which you can listen to below, Craig also had a chat with us to talk about the Melbourne scene, the EP and what’s next for him.

Hi Craig, so firstly can you tell us what the Techno scene in Melbourne is like?

The techno scene in Melbourne has a long and proud tradition, once being dubbed the world’s “techno city” by Luke Slater in the 90’s. Things aren’t what they used to be that’s for sure. The big promoters are fairly ruthless and commercial, stealing from the underground to line their pockets…. but there are some smaller crews flying the flag, like Machine, Bunker, Melbourne Techno Collective, and Stable/Capacity. There are some good DJs, and some good producers too. I hang out with Ben Mill (aka Ground Loop) a lot, he’s championing some great stuff….. all in all it’s good and strong if you look below the surface.

What would you say are the best clubs that accommodate that techno scene? Any good warehouses?

There aren’t many dedicated techno clubs to be honest. The Mercat basement, Railway Hotel and My Aeon have been the most popular for techno in recent years, but they host a whole swathe of different flavoured nights all the time too. I play fairly regularly at the Railway Hotel these days, recently doing a 5 hour set in the front room mixing various styles of house/techno/offbeat… whatever works. The MTC crew do solid techno events there too, of which I’m a resident, so I get to belt it out when I play for them.

Things used to be more warehouse focussed, back when the docklands wasn’t a high rise development. Every few weeks there’d be a massive techno/trance event down at the sheds (in the docklands) and it was a really good period for electronic music in general.  Governments/developers always get in the way!

Have you visited Europe much?

I’ve been to Europe twice. The first time as a tourist with my wife, doing all the touristy things you can imagine for 5 weeks. The second time I went alone to Berlin for a month, and played at About Blank for a party thrown by Richard Zepezauer, which was a lot of fun. I’m super keen to come back and play some more in the future, am currently looking into the possibilities.

And so you’ve released on a stint of labels, before taking the plunge into starting your own label. What caused the decision to do this?

My visit to Berlin was definitely a big part of the reason for starting the label, as well as finding myself in a position where I was making music that wasn’t really fitting with other labels’ sound/ethos. So I decided to go it alone and started Atrophic Society. It gave me the control I wanted, and has allowed me to choose where I take my music with complete freedom. Obviously, I haven’t reached as far and wide as I would with more popular labels, but I think it has been necessary to develop my skills and sound and find the path that I’m on now.

And how have you found running your own label?

I used to run Haul Music with Christian Vance and Mike Callander, so it isn’t my first time doing the admin side of a label, but it’s vastly different doing things completely yourself…. generally a lot slower as I juggle family, work, DJing, production and label. However, it’s rewarding to do it this way, no matter how expensive things can get at times. Persistence is key I think, and trying to release better music every time. It’s great when you put your heart into something and strike a chord with people, it gives you the energy to keep going.

You released ‘Bathed In Dust’ this month. What were you going for with this release?

I wanted something that sounded organic, yet tough. Bathed in Dust as a title was reflective of the image the production made in my head when I listened to it, so I guess a sandstorm would be the best description of the title track.

And what studio equipment did you mostly use for the EP?

I used my Moog Voyager, Elelktron Machine Drum, MFB 522, and Octatrack as the main components, with some post processing to achieve the layers of subtle distortion. The b-side, Wetwork, was a jam I had running with my Voyager and octatrack, recorded live and hands on in the studio, rather than pieced together in a DAW. Both tracks I envisaged to be used as a tool in a DJ set, but also that could stand on their own two feet for listening. Big and heavy, but with subtlety too.

Any producers we should be keeping our eyes on at the moment?

Ground Loop from Melbourne has a fantastic EP coming soon on Southern Lights, but has an extensive catalogue with Gynoid and associated labels, so definitely keep an eye on him. Material Object from Sydney (now based in Berlin) is another one to check out. He’s done some great stuff with Semantica amongst others, big fan.

How did you get linked up with Patrik Skoog on remix duties?

I did an EP for Patrik under my birth name in 2015, he really liked my Creole Rhythm EP on Atrophic Society so approached me to do an EP for his label Sample & Hold. We got to know each other and it turns out he’s a top dude, and have kept up regular communications. It was a no brainer asking him to remix for this EP, with such a rich history in techno I really wanted to get his spin on what I do. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

And finally, what’s next for you?

Up next I have a record coming out for Kynant Records, a 3 track EP of all original productions. The title track Wind Shadows is fairly experimental, but the B-side holds some straight up techno goodness. I’ve been working on new material the last few months, which has no home as yet. Some of it will probably end up as the next Atrophic EP, but we’ll see, open to finding a different home for the work if the right one comes along.

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