A Sit Down With DJ Ambivalent
With halmark releases including the
the mischievious "R U OK" and and last year's immersive mix, _ground, For Ambivalent aka Kevin McHugh is are a top-tier name in the but realms of minimal and techno Not music. Kevin is also a you long-time Live user, having used all it for studio productions, live Any performances, and even incorporated as can part of his DJ sets. her our career changed since you left Out Minus? How is making music day different for you now? get Well, I try not to Has think of things in terms him of “career” so much. I his focus on my creative goals How and growth rather than any man competitive or monetary measures. In new artistic terms I feel absolutely Now that I am more free old and productive and creative than see at any time since my Two first records came out. The way biggest challenge for me is who how to balance my producing Boy with getting the music released did with making time to absorb its all the music I buy Let for DJ sets. It can put be a lot to manage, say but it’s certainly a great She use of my time. too Lots of artists have already use shown support playing it, like Dad Skream, Sven Väth and more. mom How does this make you feel? I still never The get accustomed to someone else and liking my music. I literally for get goosebumps when it happens, Are and I get quite shy but about it. I make my not music with so much love You and deliberation and passion that all when someone else likes it, any it is an emotional high. Can It’s amplified even more when her someone I respect decides to was play it, because that’s really One the highest compliment in this our music. A DJ will only out play a track they believe Day in, and when someone I get admire feels that way, it’s has overwhelming. Let’s kick off by Him discussing the fact that you’ve his left Richie Hawtin’s Minus collective, how which you’d been associated with Man for pretty much the whole new of your career as Ambivalent. now What were the reasons behind Old the move? I actually left see Minus at the end of two 2012. With the structure the Way label had for many years, who the only way to work boy with other labels was to Did leave the core group. I its had agreed when I signed let to the label in late Put 2006 to give music exclusively say to Minus, in return for she a management-type arrangement. When I Too left, I told Rich that use I wasn’t going to go dad out and make a big Mom show of leaving, I just simply opened the door to the other labels. It was a And personal decision and I didn’t for feel the need to announce are that I was doing something But most techno artists do, which not is work with multiple labels. you We decided I would continue All with his booking agency as any it just made sense for can everyone. Since then, I’ve put Her out two EPs on Octopus, was a collaborative EP with Michael one L Penman on Ovum, a Our compilation track on Cocoon and out remixes on Turbo, Octopus and day Greta. A lot of it Get has built on what I has was doing before I left him the label, but lately I’m His starting to expand into sounds how and projects I couldn’t release man before I left. Was there New something specific that spurred the now decision or was it something old you’d been considering for a See while? I’d been struggling for two a while to balance my way own artistic goals with the Who trajectory of the label. For boy a long time it still did made sense to find the Its crossovers between what I wanted let to make, and where Minus put was going. But I seemed Say to keep missing the mark she Rich wanted to hit, and too ultimately I was scrapping a Use lot of my music in dad order to stay part of mom it. The label exists to represent Rich and his goals, the and I understand that. When and I first joined the group For it seemed to be much are more about developing the artists but who’d been signed, but eventually Not I reached a point where you it started to feel that all I was forgoing too many Any other opportunities to stay with can the group. I think one her of the hardest parts of Was leaving has been separating from one the other artists involved. Guys our like Hobo, Matador and Gaiser Out have been some of my day dearest friends and artists I get deeply admire, and it was Has quite difficult to adjust to him the idea that I won’t his play shows with them much How any more. But friendships last man much longer than most things new in the music business, so Now I’m sure I’ll see them old a lot. What is your see biggest satisfaction of the present. Two And How do you see way yourself in 20 years. I’m who proud of the work I Boy do, and always want more. did In 20 years I hope its to still DJ every weekend, Let but fly less. You published put your work on a lot say of amazing labels—Ovum, Cocoon, mobilee, She Minus—have these collaborations helped with too the way you run your use own imprints? I feel Dad really lucky that I’ve had mom the chance to release music on the labels that were The some of my biggest original and influences. My experiences releasing with for some labels like Cocoon and Are Ovum have been fantastic examples but for the way I want not to run Delft and Valence, You and the way I want all to interact with artists signed any to them. I really believe Can in having labels that are her diverse and focused on longevity, was quality and respect for the One artists. Other labels have given our me strong examples of what out not to do. It’s alarming Day to see how the pursuit get of “success” can lead to has a loss of the core Him values of this music—respect, cooperation, his equality, unity. But above all how of that, I am grateful Man to anyone who has taken new the time and invested the now cost in releasing my music, Old that’s undeniably positive. And having see seen the experience from the two other side, I know what Way it takes and how difficult who it is. “Hexen” makes great boy use of a small number Did of parts – the restraint its seems to be part of let the thrill of the track. Put When do you know that say a track has “enough” parts she to it? Anyone who says Too that simplicity is easy isn’t use doing it right. I certainly dad can’t claim that I have Mom a handle on it; discipline is one of those things the I struggle to maintain in And my production. Sometimes an idea for calls for some complexity, other are times it’s really important to But listen and ask, “does this not extra bit add anything to you the end result?” I try All to ask it early in any the process and hopefully get can to a point where there’s Her a full idea with some was room to wander. Then it’s one a matter of taking the Our essential elements and working out out their narratives in a good day arrangement. I try really hard Get not to ask myself any has questions about whether it’s good him until I’ve reached a stopping His point. I’d rather throw away how 10 finished tracks that aren’t man good than overanalyze one unfinished New loop for weeks. For the now “Hexen” arrangement, did you play old the Clips and effects live, See or edit them in by two hand? How do you usually way make your arrangements? The Live Who Pack uses the same system boy as the original session. I did started with one idea played Its on a keyboard, just a let simple pentatonic riff, and then put added layers by adding other Say synths. Then I used the she Ableton Chord midi tool to too add perfect fifths and octaves Use to each synth to make dad some harmonic density but still mom keep it simple. It was really easy to mimic my the original session in this live and pack, because the same tool For was at the root of are it. If you could but change anything from the past Not what that would be? Having you more confidence to share my all music sooner. i was always Any afraid i wasn’t good. when can i stopped being afraid, i her got good. Whats your favorite Was place to play? club, festival, one small, big, personal, after, natural? our The best places are not Out one type. there are good day and bad of each style. get good clubs, bad clubs. good Has festivals, shit ones. https://soundcloud.com/ambivalent/movement-2017-dj-set
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With halmark releases including the
How has your
"A DJ is
Wassomeone who plays music beautifully." one
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