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A Sit Down With DJ Troy Pierce

12:53 Oct/31/2017

Troy Pierce was among the first to pick up on DJs like Derrick Carter, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin and was always out and about at parties in Detroit, Ohio and across the Midwest. Strangely enough though, he never thought about picking up a pair of headphones himself, preferring to leave the DJ duties to his friends. This way he could fully immerse himself in the music, especially the experimental ambient tones of the after hour chill outs.

As a DJ, attempts to categorise his style pose more questions than they answer. Minimalism in its purest form is a tag he more freely associates with labels like Consumed - ?super sparse, difficult and totally out there?. Troy on the other hand, has developed a dance floor friendly hybrid sound that takes the best from the ?little movements and micro trends? that constantly spring up, helping electronic music to evolve. It retains the mechanical, futuristic sounds of techno but is slower and less abrasive allowing him to work between the lines, exploit the space between the beats and push out into the third dimension that epitomises the Minus sound.


"Some people now a days are exposed to obvious music like Trance, I was really lucky that I was there listening to the likes of Richie Hawtin and Jeff Mills...that formed the basis of my sound."


How were you first introduced to the world of techno and dance music?

The very first introduction would have been by a girl I was dating, she was super into Depeche Mode, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb – late 80’s industrial-ish dance music… I didn’t get it at all. I went to clubs with her to hang out but it wasn’t my favorite night of the week. Later (via another girlfriend) I started to go to midwestern raves and as luck would have it her best friend was dating some DJ named Richie Hawtin. So some of the first “proper” parties I went to were with Rich, Jeff Mills, John Aquaviva, Derrick May, Derrick Carter, Plastikman Live… just like it was normal. Looking back it seems so crazy, I was so lucky to be in the right place, the right time with the right people.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to make music?

I don’t know, I think started playing around with making music in 1997/98. It wasn’t anything serious as I didn’t know anyone else that made music. I had no clue and no one to explain it to me. It’s a bit easier these days as more people are doing it. Maybe I just hung around with the wrong crowd. I started messing around with Reason like it was a video game and my goal in the video game was to make a track that I liked. It was like that for quite a long time until I met Marc Houle, He showed me stuff and told me how to do this and said it should sound like that.

What influences you when putting together a track?

Part of me wants to just keep answering “in the attic while on acid” for all of these questions but that would be sort of annoying after awhile so… I never have sat down with the goal of making something “dark” it just sort of always ends up that way. I guess the choices I make when putting together a track come from a lot of different places but more often than not I go for spooky sounds and darker melodic elements. My Mom told me the other day that she is not really sure if making scary tracks is so conducive to making people dance. My reply was that if I like it, there has to be a few people out there that are also into it. Thanks Mom.

Can you tell us a little bit about some of the amazing venues and cities that you’ve played in?

There have been so many once in a lifetime scenarios I don’t really know where to start. Warung in Brazil is incredible, Womb in Tokyo, Fabric, Rex Club I love. Some of my favorite places out there, El Paso, Bogota, Mexico City, Lima and Buenos Aires.

Which track did you think help you to win credibility and opened you some doors?

I think there were a few key releases that really helped, a remix I did for ellen alien got a lot of attention, the first Louderbach album was well received and I think this track I did “horse nation” which jesse later did a remix was a big one.

So you got into Electronic music late?

Yeah I guess so, I wasn’t exposed to it as I was from a small town in Indiana. My choices were top 40 Radio or Metal, they were the only options. There wasn’t a dance scene there. I then moved to Ohio and I was dating girl there, she took me to a few underground dance parties and that was my first real exposure to repetitive beats. After dating this girl I went back to Indiana and I started going to parties in Detroit and other parties in the Mid West. So at the age of 22-23 I was exposed to all forms of dance music. I was in the mid west until 1995 and then I moved to New York to go to photography school. I moved out there by myself and bought a pair of decks and started buying more records.

What set up do you use when you are performing?

I use Traktor and Abelton together with Maschine so it’s a little bit live and mostly DJ. Let’s just say that I have the room to improvise.

What’s the concept behind Run Stop Restore’s new label Items & Things?

The point of that label was to have an outlet for other style that we are interested in. When Magda and I DJ we don't only play typical Minus sounding records, it is more diverse than that. So there are all these artists and all these tracks that we have personally that we really like, but they are not Minus sounding releases. So the first one was from Marc Houle and Konrad Black, and Magda and I, and all 4 tracks don't sound anything like what you would normally expect to hear from each of these people. So that is kind of the concept.

The label’s musical direction seems to be very clearly defined, is that difficult to maintain with three label heads?

It can be hard at times but we have made it work pretty well all things considered. We have been friends for a long time and are pretty reasonable individuals, we exchange opinions and ideas.

A lot of people say the U.S. electronic scene is not very developed. What do you think about this statement?

The U.S. is a very big place. There are some areas that are more developed than others. There are good parties there and plenty of people who are into the dance music. You have to be fair and look at each scene/city individually. You also can’t compare it to Germany or even Europe.

What is it that sets you apart from any other DJ?

I had no idea… I guess I am a bit into technology, using Ableton and Traktor together to hopefully come up with something interesting every night.

Whats the beautiful, the bad and the ugly of being a DJ ?

The travel is really tough sometimes and it gets lonely. Hotel to hotel to hotel to hotel… ugh. But when everything goes right it’s totally worth it. Good sound and a good crowd that appreciates what you do totally makes up for the 24 hours of travel and sleep deprivation.


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