Truancy Volume 123: Volte-Face

For those who consider themselves regulars in the electronic music club scene in London or have lived here at any point in the last eight years, there is a remarkably high chance you’ve attended a night put on by, or in someway associated with, Casper Clark. In the last year alone he has managed to sort special eight hour back-to-backs from Morphosis and Ben UFO as well as bringing a host of names such as Laurel Halo, Demdike Stare and Objekt to play at his night BleeD. His incredibly forward-thinking approach to music has led him to curate lineups for festivals such as Field Day, Beacons and Donau and he’s become a go-to DJ for many other likeminded promoters and DJs. Earlier this year he added producer to his list of talents, doubling up BleeD as a label and releasing his debut Charlatan EP under Volte-Face, whilst also doing official remixes for Daniel Avery. Ahead of two big shows at Berghain and Fabric in the next month, we decided to catch up with Volte-Face for a little chat about London life and all things BleeD, as well getting him to mix our 123rd Truancy Volume. Describing the mix as a representation of what he likes to play in the clubs at the minute, the mix glides seamlessly through a barrage of techno tracks from Pysk, Bjarki and Abdulla Rashim to name a very few.

Hey Casper, thanks for taking out the time to do this mix and interview. I want to start with asking about your time in London – I understand you moved here around 2006. The Volte-Face project has only taken form in the last couple of years but for those who may not know your background you’ve been pushing London nightlife forward for a while now. Could you tell us a little about your history here and why you think you’re still grounded here after all this time. “Yeah, I moved to London in 2006 after periods of living in South America and on the continent, although I’m originally from Brighton, which is a great place to live if you perpetually enjoy nu-skool breaks. Pretty much straight off the train, I got a job as a full-time promoter, working on fabric club shows and festivals as well as live gigs in various UK venues. Although Volte-Face represents a renewed focus and my first moves into production, I’ve actually been DJing regularly ever since moving to London and very much consider myself DJ first and producer second. It’s probably not common knowledge that I have been playing at fabric since 2006, used to reside at The T Bar and Paris Social Club, and have played at venues like Trouw, Razzmatazz, Rex, The End, Culture Club, etc. I think my experience is invaluable, having the ability to see the industry from so many angles and cutting my teeth as a warm-up DJ first and foremost.”

BleeD has been one of your main focuses the last four years and it really shows you’ve put the time and effort into the night and label. Can you tell us what motivated you to start the night and any ethos behind the label. “BleeD represented my maturing tastes, and as I’d become a pretty experienced promoter by then (mainly losing other people’s money), it felt like a good time to branch out on my own. It was also an incredibly fertile time for left-leaning music, with the likes of Raime, Demdike Stare, Oneohtrix Point Never and Laurel Halo amongst my earliest guests. I hope the label retains some of the character of the night, although I should stress that it’s not ostensibly an ‘experimental’ label, whatever that means. Every BleeD release will be designed for the dancefloor, although it’s aimed primarily at the most open-minded DJs and dancers. BleeD has always been informed by club music, and taken place at venues like Corsica Studios and XOYO, so the transition shouldn’t be particularly jarring for those that have kept a keen eye on proceedings.” The follow up to BleeD001 is coming up in September right too? “We’ve had a few delays, but BleeD002, by a new artist, Rote, should be out in September. Rote’s a duo that chooses to remain anonymous, although they’re very close to the label. It’s an outlet for them to release pretty much whatever they like, free of any preconceptions, and there is some more material ready to come out in future. The remixes are from two of BleeD’s biggest supporters from day 1, and two of my favourite DJs to boot, Svreca of Semantica fame and DJ Nobu from Tokyo. I’ll be releasing a second Volte-Face EP very soon after, in October, featuring four original tracks and a DJ Spider remix.”

Do you feel like this musical ethos transcends well over to your occasional radio shows on Rinse FM? What’s the idea when it comes to them and the guests you invite. “I think I’ve settled into a groove for the sporadic Rinse shows that I do. It’s a good opportunity to play some music that I love on the more ambient/experimental end of things, as well as taking things clubbier as the show goes on. We’ve had some excellent guests in the past, such as Powell, D’Marc Cantu, Vester Koza and Lee Gamble, often just before they went on to wider recognition. I think it’s fair to say that the most basic motivation for everything I’ve done in music has been to help the artists that I am excited by to reach a wider audience.”

To people wanting to put on nights in London is there anything you recommend possibly more on the business side of things that new people might necessarily skip over due to inexperience. “I’d always advise people to start small, and build organically. Booking a big name from the start certainly won’t guarantee a good turn-out, especially as agents will often attempt to charge inflated fees to promoters they’re unfamiliar with. I’d also advise that the press side of things is absolutely crucial. Don’t run before you can walk! It’s probably also worth dropping any notion that it might make business sense, at least in the short-term. My aim with BleeD was always to try to ensure that I broke even, rather than anticipating any significant financial rewards, and I experienced setbacks perennially.”

I’ve seen you play a wide variety of slots in London be it 5-8am closing slots at Corsica to 10pm warm up ones at Dance Tunnel. Taking this into account and knowing you love a good ambient set do you find you have a favourite time of night to play new music?  “No, I don’t! As long as the event is well attended, and fosters the right kind of interaction with the music, I am happy to play a small part of the big picture. I’d like to think I have something to offer, regardless of the context. Having said that, some sets do require a lot more preparation than others! As far as ambient sets go, they’re something that I really relish when the opportunity arises. My first time at Berghain, I was lucky enough to play a 2-hour ambient set, most of which can be heard on my Soundcloud. I would have been happy to play that set to nobody, as it was just so wonderful to hear the music with that much clarity and power.”

You work a lot with Daniel Avery be it remixing and playing each other’s tracks, playing b2b at a lot of shows together and it seems like you’re coming from a similar place sometimes with Erol being a major influence. How did you guys first meet and are we right in thinking he might have been one of the guys who helped push you into that next step of producing. “Dan’s a very close friend, and our paths have crossed ever since we moved to London. We’ve worked together on various projects since the very beginning, but our respective musical tastes have never been as close as they are now. He’s my first port of call for exchanging tracks, or seeking feedback on my productions, and his successful transition into production was definitely an influence on me finally getting off my arse in that regard. It’s true that Erol has been an influence to us both, although it might be hard to detect that from one of my DJ sets or productions these days. Broadly speaking, it’s his ability to take risks and make musical ‘volte-faces’ that have made the most lasting impression on my approach. I like to be immersed in what might be called the techno scene, whilst trying to remain an eternal outsider at the same time.”

What can you tell us about the process of making the Charlatan EP? “It came together fairly quickly, with some essential help from a studio partner. My productions wouldn’t sound as polished if I was working entirely on my own. On that note, my next EP has been mixed down by Jas Shaw, as I felt it would benefit from being run through some wonderful analogue machines, with the additional benefit of a second pair of ears. I’m really happy with the results.

What else can we expect from Volte-Face and possibly BleeD in the next year?I’m debuting on Semantica, with a track on the next Nonnative compilation. It’s something a little slower, weirder and more conceptual, based on the phenomenon of ASMR (great minds, with regards to Holly Herndon!), and I’m very proud of the results. I have more material ready to come out on future 12″s, and would love to start thinking about a concept for a debut LP. I’m also hoping to work on a second remix, as soon as the right thing comes along. On top of that, I have various collaborations on the go, some of which I would expect to see light of day on BleeD in the new year. I’ve got a lot of good gigs coming up, and hope 2016 will be even more strenuous!

Tracklist:

Dale Cornish – Ulex Pattern 1 (Entr’acte)
In Aeternam Vale – Non (Forthcoming Linda)
Abdulla Rashim – Asayita 1 (Abdulla Rashim Records)
JP Enfant – Subliminal Message Of Fear (Les Enfants Terribles Amsterdam)
Future 16 – Filaments pt 4 (Zadig Remix) (Gynoid Audio)
Eric Cloutier – Palimpsest (Forthcoming Wolfskull)
Leiras – Beginning Of Visions (Ownlife)
Eduardo De La Calle – Under Divinity Laws (Fanzine)
UnCUT – Deviant (Fanzine)
G-Man – Cosmic Shores (Exos Remix) (Bang Bang!)
Bjarki – Orange Juice Man трип)
Acronym – Realisation (Northern Electronics)
Sleeparchive – Window 092 (Oscar Mulero Remix) (Warm-Up)
Blind Observatory – And The Flying Saucer (I/Y Remix) (I/Y)
Rote – Rote 2 (Svreca Remix) (Forthcoming BleeD)
Psyk – Aumento (Mote Evolver)
Inigo Kennedy – Requiem (Efdemin ‘Journey To The Stars’ Mix) (Token)
Nima Khak – Nebulosa II (Sand)
Rennie Foster – Monochasm (Xplor Music)

Volte-Face Dates:
Berghain July 25th
Divided Love at fabric, August 14th

Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

OG at Truants / Graphic Designer / DJ as Melmoth Twitter Soundcloud

1 thought on “Truancy Volume 123: Volte-Face”

  1. saw this guy warm up for blawan last year but blawan was so blazed when he came on stage that dj volte-face had to stand in! hilarity!

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