Truancy Volume 101: Interstellar Funk

‘Two Degrees of Separation’ is the theory that everyone and everything in Amsterdam is two or fewer steps from each other, by way of introduction. This is how we first got in touch with Olf van Elden – alias Interstellar Funk – a few years ago. Not only does Olf know how to run an impeccable party but he also runs a first-rate label named Tape, through which he has co-ordinated the release of a slew of excellent records by the likes of Deniro and Mark Du Mosch. On top of his skills as a label boss and promoter, Olf is an excellent DJ and producer: his debut release “House Train,” which came out on Tom Trago’s Voyage Direct series last year, has been on constant rotation with us since its release. Needless to say, Interstellar Funk quickly established himself as one of our favourite DJs to catch in the city. We therefore thought it was about time to revisit our Amsterdam origins by catching up with Olf and giving you a little taster of his DJing in the form of the 101st instalment of our Truancy Volume series. Read ahead to find out what Olf and Tape have been up to – and will be up to – whilst immersing yourself in Interstellar’s distinct selections: from forthcoming dubs under his own name, established but dear Actress tracks through to current MGUN favourites and newer tracks by the likes of Stingray and Du Mosch.

It’s s been a busy few months for you, playing Boiler Room, Dekmantel and Trouw among others places. What were your personal recent highlights of the summer? “I had a great one, full of great bookings! No week has passed by without me playing a cool club or festival. When I think back to the entire summer, I think my highlights were my set at the X-Ray tent at Lowlands Festival, my set at Boiler Room during Dekmantel Festival and the Studio 80 night in Watergate at the end of August. Next to that, I’ve had some really good times in De Verdieping at Trouw. The atmosphere in there, to me, is how a club night is supposed to be: dark, raw, anonymous and with a proper sound system.” Which sets of others did you enjoy seeing? “The sets by Traxx and Antal on the Selectors stage during Dekmantel Festival were personal highlights – they both capably destroyed the place. Other than that, I really enjoyed seeing Intergalactic Gary during Boiler Room at Dekmantel Festival, as well as Robert Turman’s performance in club OCCI last month. I’m familiar with his music because of a reissue of Way Down. I didn’t know he was still performing so I was pleasantly surprised!”

For the uninitiated, could you talk about Tape a little bit, both as a label and as a night? “We, as a collective, started Tape to release music from our friends that we think should be heard and that’s why we’re mainly focusing on new artists, or artists we’ve been working with for a while now. We released two 12”’s after last Summer: one by Haron and one by Deniro. In the near future we’ll be releasing a new record by Mark Du Mosch and the third installment in our Sampler Series. When it comes to nights, we don’t really have a fixed plan we follow. We organised several nights in Trouw the last few months and there will be one more before Trouw closes (in January, red). Other than that, this year is the first one where we’ll be participating in Amsterdam Dance Event.” What are your favourite things about being based in Amsterdam? “Amsterdam is flourishing. There’s so much stuff happening out here and the city is offering people a lot of opportunities. It’s not by chance that a lot of international artists find their new home here. We have Trouw and Rush Hour, and those combined with newer initiatives like Dekmantel, Red Light Radio and Red Light Records have all bases covered in this city.”

How do you go about playing sets in clubs? Do you go with spontaneous decisions on the spot or do you go in prepared? How does your approach differ from making podcasts, if at all? “I like to take my time selecting records. I always take an entire week to pack my record bag and select the records I want to play, usually. I’ll listen to every record before I put it in my bag, and in fact I re-pack my bag every week, and never take the same bag to different gigs. On the night itself nothing is set in stone: what I’ll play depends on the moment and the atmosphere. When it comes to podcasts or radio shows, that’s where I don’t play for the audience’s reaction.. it gives you more liberty to familiarize your listeners with different sorts and genres of music.”

Production-wise, what does your set-up look like and could you tell us a little bit about your history with and passion for hardware? “I first got in touch with hardware because of the people and friends surrounding me. Before that I had toyed around with Ableton and Logic a lot but nothing about it ever particularly spiked my interest. Music is something organic to me, and that’s why I try and work with computers as little as possible. Every machine in my studio has its own character – for example, when you compare two Juno 60’s, you will find that you can never achieve  the same sound. This imperfection as well as its feeling of antiquity is something that interests me. These machines live their own lives and the sounds they produce are in no way comparable to plug-ins.”

Where and how was this mix recorded? Was there anything in particular you were trying to convey with this mix? “I recorded this mix in the studio of Red Light Radio. I used two Technics, 2 CDJ’s and a Pioneer DJM-800. My Truancy Volume consists of tracks that interest me a lot: both music that’s been released in recent times and tracks that will be released in the near future. I tried to showcase a wide range of music that goes beyond what you’ll hear on the dancefloor. It’s not necessarily genre or time bound. I think it is the variation between the new and the old, and different styles and genres, that makes a set interesting.”

What do you have planned for the upcoming months, releases-wise and shows-wise? What’s in store for you this next Amsterdam Dance Event? “The kick-off of Amsterdam Dance Event this year is on October the fifteenth. I’ll be playing the Rush Hour night at Trouw. We’ll also be organising our first Tape showcase with FunkinEvil (Kyle Hall and Funkineven), Marcellus Pitmann and all the artists on our label. Later that month, I’ll be playing a Rush Hour showcase at Dude Club in Milan. When it comes to releases, there’ll be a bunch of new TAPE releases like the new Mark Du Mosch with a Voiski remix and a new Tape sampler coming soon. Both will be exclusively on sale at Rush Hour during Amsterdam Dance Event. Other than that, keep an eye out on Rush Hour Store Jams!”

Beau Wanzer – Grooves No Zone
Morgan Buckley – Weather Report
Actress – Bubble Butts And Equations
Marc Romboy – The Awakening (Omar S Remix)
Gherkin Jerks – Strange Creatures
45 ACP – Bad Ways
Interstellar Funk – Untitled
Theo Parrish – Black Mist (extented version)
Aroy Dee – Beauty ( Ra. H’s Cabinet Mix)
Randomer – Huh
Unit Moebius – Sensor
DJ Stingray – Temporary Bond
Untitled – Untitled
African With Mainframes – Nubian Rainbows (Intrumental)
Mark Du Mosch – Amulet (Voiski Remix)
Crotocosm – Fanatic II
Robert Crash – Natilbox
Mgun – Exort
Mr Fingers – Finger Fuck

Soraya Brouwer

LONDON VIA AMSTERDAM - Soundcloud & Instagram