Bristol has always been the city for cultivating and expressing innovative techno. The city never ceases to be without a wide range of electronic influences and producers. In the realm of techno, Other Form is another uprising talent who will be sure to go down the list of amazing Bristol, electronic talent. Releasing on labels such as Observant (IN), Unterwegs (DE), Diffuse Reality (ES), Dissonanze (IT), Soptik (DE), and even his own label Unknown Movements, he’s been on a consistent track record delivering the most atmospheric and hardware-first techno in all of his original pieces. With 2021 coming to end, Other Form is working hard on making sure that the year ends with a bang.
How have you been during the pandemic? Can you share any new perspectives that the pandemic has given you in regards to your music?
I’ve generally been pretty fortunate throughout all of this craziness — thanks for asking! At the height of all the international lockdowns, some of my musician friends have had all of their creativity sucked out of them and couldn’t produce a thing, while others used it as a period of ultra-focus and put out a ton of records.
Personally, I’ve not been hugely affected either way. The hardest thing for me was that just prior to the pandemic I played my very first live gig as Other Form, at Zür Klappe in Berlin, and I felt like it was the start of gigging in general. Obviously, that was all put on hold.
I also had a hard time making money with my day job as a designer at the beginning of the pandemic, as a big contract I had fell through. That added some financial pressure for a while, but on the plus side, I managed to spend a load of time learning, including some one-on-one music theory and production lessons with Hüseyin Evirgen (Magna Pia, and one half of Cassegrain) over Zoom. That was nothing short of mind-blowing.
I’d started out 2020 with a plan to grow the label and put out a load of new music from artists other than myself, and the pandemic didn’t affect that plan.
Other Form put his 2020 plans in fruition for this year.
I think we’ve all learned that clubs being closed doesn’t mean people don’t want to continue discovering and enjoying new music. And now that clubs are open again — or at least in the process of opening — all of that music that was created during the pandemic is actually getting played.
Since music has been your passion for many years, can you describe that “click” moment where you realized that music is what you wanted to do as a career?
It was probably around the time I bought Korg’s first line of Volca analog synths, around 2015. Playing with that hardware at the same time I was discovering music by people like Shifted and Andy Stott and Mønic, it all just coalesced into this realization that I could make this sort of music. The sound design, the textures…up to that point, “techno” as a genre wasn’t on my radar at all.
I was then very fortunate because Simon Shreeve (Mønic, half of CUB, owner of Osiris Music) and I became friends, and he ended up being a sort of mentor, teaching me all about the industry. If it hadn’t been for his encouragement, and most of the connections he made for me, I’m not sure I would’ve ever released that first EP.
Congratulations on having your label, Unknown Movements. How did you find the discipline to motivate yourself with creating your own company?
Thanks! I’m a designer by day, and I’ve owned my own design company for about 12 years now, so I’ve had a fair amount of practice through the day-to-day running of that business.
The upcoming EP has a mixture of talented artists working together. What advice would you give to musicians when it comes to collaborating with other artists?
Firstly, don’t be afraid to approach some of the more established names. Secondly, whoever you’re approaching, be polite, humble, and direct in your messages. Establishing some sort of connection via social media before a more official email is almost always beneficial. Above all, be respectful of people’s time, and the value they bring to the collaboration.
Your label, Unknown Movements, closes out 2021 with this EP. Looking back on this year, what’s been one of your proudest moments as an artist?
This year feels like it was the year that people started to take notice, in many ways, and overall things have been growing slowly but surely.
Putting out my last EP, ‘Change, Release, Rift,’ on Audio Units’ Observant label was a personal highlight because it was my first “full” EP on a label other than my own.
But if I had to choose one single moment, it was probably watching Charlotte de Witte and Enrico Sangiuliano open their “Age of Love” livestream in August with my track, “Further Still”. Seeing these two dance music superstars playing my music on a rooftop to thousands of viewers was just unbelievable.
Your tracks and remixes are defined as, “rich and immersive,” what’s your secret to maintaining this style in your music?
I guess there’s a lot of focus on the sound design rather than the melodies. I mean, I suppose a lot of techno is like that, but I try not to put too much emphasis on making anything club-ready, you know, with drops and whatnot.
I’m not interested in trying to make something on-trend. What motivates me is the music I personally enjoy, and to be honest I’m not aware of a lot of the big celebrity DJs and producers.
Other form creates what feels musically right to him.
Also, in my opinion, working with hardware always leads to the unexpected — happy mistakes and all that. So although I do a lot of editing in Ableton Live, most of my tracks start life as jams on actual hardware, and there’s probably a fair amount of that improvisation and spontaneity that makes it into the final piece somewhere. Hopefully, that adds to its immersiveness.
The life of a music entrepreneur can get hectic, what advice or tips would you give when a schedule starts to become overwhelming?
It’s important to give everything involved in music-making the time it deserves. Although I don’t see music — or even label admin — as “work”, it can be useful to treat it as if it works in terms of setting yourself deadlines, giving yourself budgets for things like promotion, and just generally being disciplined with how you spend your time.
Very few of us are lucky enough to be able to work on music full-time, especially these days, so it’s important to use the small amount of time we do have to be productive.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to thank everyone who’s shown support for the music in some way this year: DJs including tracks in sets, labels believing in what I do, customers buying something on Bandcamp, premiere channels promoting the releases, or just followers liking posts. Even the little gestures go a long way, and I’m grateful for them.