Our fifteenth podcast is from Australian DJ/producer, Joe Miller: a young man that is possibly one of the most hard working and productive artists to breaking into the scene right now. His thoughtful productions have found a home with labels such as L'enfant terrible, All Day I Dream, Dream Culture and Nie Wieder Schlafen. It feels like every week he delivers a new podcast, but the quality is never compromised. He has an incredible intuition for selecting records that, when woven together, form a refreshing aural experience for the listener. Here we ask Joe about his thoughts on the evolution of electronic music, his current processes and relationship with his music, and more!
1. What would you like the title of this podcast to be?
'Ouroboros' would be good, because the mix is full of weird time loops - bookended by two modern reworks of Pachelbel's Canon (which is 300 years old), samples from nineties trance tracks and rave-related interviews, and finishing off with a spoken word cassette recording of me aged three. So an idea of themes echoing through decades, always a little mutated on each new appearance.
2. Take us through your approach with this podcast. What drove your song choices and what is important to you when making a mix?
I love that you said 'song choices' rather than 'track choices'! I had the intro in place already, and it was something I'd been fiddling with a few years ago without ever finding it a suitable home. Then Will asked for something 'multi-genre', so I made a mix with a breakbeat base and fruity harmonic textures on top - my idea of 'fruity' tends to involve nineties synth pads and the types of guitar pedals favoured by Cocteau Twins and the Durutti Column.
3. Going back to this idea of ’themes echoing through decades, always a little mutated on each new appearance’ … How do you think rave/electronic music culture is evolving right now? Have you noticed any changes and what do you see in its future?
We went through a patch where the definition of 'cheesy' music was creeping outwards, until anything with a melody or an unconventional timbre was considered naff by the people with cultural clout. Now, perhaps because of social media, we're realising we don't have to listen to those people, and there's an audience for uninhibited, melodic electronic music outside the mainstream. I don't feel like the nineties scene died from a lack of ideas - looking back, it appears more interrupted than 'spent', and we're at a good point to pick up where that scene left off - to build on its naive optimism and colour, while taking advantage of modern production techniques.
4. Do you think Australia (its land, culture, people, music etc) has much of an influence over your music?
Not as much as I'd like, because in most ways I still feel European - I was in England and Portugal until the age of nine, and my internal landscape is pine trees and moors. Australia has an intricate network of cultures and languages that goes back tens of thousands of years, and when I'm in the Australian landscape I feel a bit like how I feel looking at Tamil script - it's beautiful and it seems to contain oceans of meaning that I don't yet understand. If you haven't seen or heard much about Australia, these animations are worth watching: http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/countrylines-archive/
5. Have you been experimenting a lot with your sound lately? If so, what have you been experimenting with and how do you like to bring the element of ‘play’ into your sets or productions?
For the last few projects, I feel like I've arrived at a sound palette that I'm happy with, a set of complementary sounds that I've programmed or stumbled across. And I've been enjoying the feeling of making songs and remixes that sound as if they come from that same world. So for the first time in a while, music production has felt less experimental and more familiar. But it's not good to get too comfortable, and I'm going to try some fresh techniques soon - probably more in the direction of folk music than anything involving complicated synthesis.
6. Typically, how much does making music and/or DJing feel like a free-flowing creative process vs. something you have to really work and push for? What gets you in 'the flow'?
It's about twenty-eighty (20% flow and 80% struggle), and the feeling of flow is less important than the habit of working at it. If you're starting out in music production and you've had some ecstatic experiences listening to music, don't feel like you have to wait for 'flow' before you're allowed to write.
7. What are you passionate about aside from music?
Comedy, especially surreal British stuff, and thinking about everything that goes into making it.
8. If past lives are real, what was yours?
A peripheral character from a beat novel, looking on and saying 'gee, isn't that a gas?' And Fractal Darcy - he was a 19th-century Austenian character who rode a paisley horse and spoke backwards. He also perceived time in the wrong direction.
9. Lastly, please explain three things you are grateful for :)
Mum, Dad and Pete (my brother) - they're all supportive of me and my music, which is insanely lucky and quite rare I think. (I know they're not strictly 'things', but they do occupy space and have mass).
Thank you for the time and energy you've put into your music, this podcast, and this interview!
You're so welcome! Thanks for having me.
Tracklist (or as Joe called it, the Ingredients List):
DJ Koze - NooOoo feat. Tomerle & Maiko [Pampa]
Camille - Senza [Virgin]
Bibio - The First Daffodils [Warp]
Benoit Pioulard - Is in Its Clearest Form [Kranky]
ID - ID
Actress - Supreme Cunnilingus [Honest Jons]
Merveille and Crosson - ARP [Visionquest]
Yoni Yarchi - In Distant Places [Nie Wieder Schlafen]
Iain Howie - Fleur [Rhombus]
Inga Copeland - A & E (prod. by Martyn) [World Music]
Yagya - Sleepygirl 8 [Delsin]
Delia Derbyshire & Barry Bermange - Land [Psychic Sounds]
Russian Linesman - Archipelago [Loki]
Timo Chinala - Subzero [Nie Wieder Schlafen]
Hypnopedia - Cario [BOY]
Trux - Pulse [Office]
Alphonse - Smokey (The Pilotwings' Future Sound of Lyon Remix) [Emotional Especial]
The Future Sound of London - Among Myselves [Virgin UK]
Jon Hopkins - Luminous Beings [Domino]
White Afghani - Rain and Bliss [Noorden]
Space Manoeuvres – Stage One (Stage One (Space Manoeuvres' Total Separation Mix) [Hooj Choons]
Atish - Peculiar Colors (Dance Spirit Remix) [Manjumasi]
Sam Goku - Tanggu II [Atomnation]
Four Tet - Pyramid [Text]
Henry Saiz - Yurei [Natura Sonoris]
The Durutti Column - Requiem Again [Factory]
Idean & ApM - Sköna Moln (Joe Miller Remix) [Dream Culture]
The Future Sound of London - Domain [Virgin UK]
Enjoy more from Joe Miller: