Since 2002 Brussels-based Glenn Keteleer, known as Radical G and more recently as Linear Straight, has been a regular fixture behind the decks all over the Belgian techno scene, and can often be found filling Berlin institutions such as Tresor and Griesmühle with his own particular brand of underground techno and dark soundscapes.
As Radical G, Keteleer was at the forefront of the underground EBM and electropop scene, and with his first record under his new Linear Straight alias, he dives into a world of dark spaces, leftfield modular techno and industrial soundscapes.
His recent Roscosmos LP delves into this murky and uncompromising sound over 13 songs, resulting in an intense and noisy journey through the grittiest side of techno music. The variety of genres that Keteleer has as part of his musical background clearly shine through on this latest record, displaying obvious influences from all across the wide spectrum of electronic music. One of the stand-out features of this album is the innovative and varied drum patterns that are used throughout, seemingly taking influence from sources spread as far apart as IDM and military marches, and rarely falling back to the classic four on the floor techno trope. This unsurprisingly cultivates a far more rhythmic and diverse approach than would ordinarily be expected from such a heavy release.
We invited Linear Straight to deliver this week’s episode of Global Vibe Radio, and took the opportunity to have a chat with him while we were at it.
Hello! Congrats on the new album and thank you for taking the time to talk to us here on the other side of the world!
Hi, at this moment when doing this interview I’m at your side of the world, lying on my hotel bed, playing Mexico City tomorrowwith The Horrorist, but the pleasure is mine.
Your sound is fantastic, blurring the lines between EBM and techno in a seamless way, and your recent album continues to do just that. Can you tell us a little about when and where it was produced, as well as the creative process behind it?
Thanks for the compliment, much appreciated. In my head the debut album for Linear Straight was there a long time, I just needed to produce it and find the right time. The main sound engine of “Roscosmos” is my modular rack, basically all sequences and leads come from modules by different manufacturers like Noise engineering, Make noise, Erica synths, but also smaller companies like Animal factory amplification from Mumbai, Touellskouarn France, beats are classic Roland drum boxes thru external efx processors, I like to patch around, look for a unique sound. Since I’m working as a product specialist for Soma laboratory, a Russian synth building company, things finally come together.
When I received one of the first prototypes of the Lyra 8, a drone synth from another planet, at least that’s what geeks call it, I immediately noticed that this was the sound I was looking for to blending my stuff together. I had already some drone Eurorack modules back then but this was my missing link. Let me be clear, it’s not for everybody, it’s a niche instrument but for me it works. I came home with the unit and started to do the first sound designs of the album. 10 days later with little sleep I suddenly noticed it was time to grab something to eat, I kind of missed that part during the production process (laughs).
I listened over and over again but didn’t finish the final files back then, a few months later I took another week for the final production.
This is your first album, after many other successful releases. At which point did you decide that this release would be an LP and not an EP?
Hmmm, Well all of a sudden I had about 18 tracks in production. So I kept 12 and Jeroen Search did 2 additional remixes on the extracted EP which was earlier released on Konsequent this year.
What was your decision process when picking the tracks that would be a part of it?
I didn’t want to put like 12 4/4 techno tracks out. It’s raining those sounds these days on digital platforms and most of the tracks don’t have an identity. So I did the opposite, marching rhythms in most unusual patterns, more intelligent techno. Not particular dance floor tunes, though there’s some on the album like “Rotational Velocity”, “Vegen” to name a few. I produced a lot of music last year, like almost a track each day. It takes away the inspiration and I forgot the focus on my gigs. At this time my release schedule looks pretty good for 2019 so I can focus on other things.
What has the reception been to these tracks when you’ve played them live?
I’m a die-hard artist when it comes to live gigs, I play live. No pre-mapped shizzle, I don’t like to fool myself nor my fans or people visiting a performance of mine.
So it’s hard to redo the original tracks. Usually I have parts from a track and go with the flow. Sometimes it works pretty well, but some nights I played like totally new tracks during the performance.
People appreciate it when an artist takes risks on stage, exactly how it should be. You need to feel Techno, not drawing clips and automation, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with good production, but in my case it’s the moment when something happens to record it as soon as possible. If I don’t do it right away, the magic is gone.
Your productions have received great support from many successful peers of yours, and you’ve gotten to share the stage with many iconic names in techno. Are there any particular artists that inspire you as a producer and as a DJ?
Yes my career went fine so far, I was lucky to share stages with indeed iconic names. Too many to name, but yes closing after Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Rebekah, DVS 1 is always special but also Belgium offers some very talented artists to play with, and where to even start there…
One of my inspirations is still Oscar Mulero, truly a genius behind the decks, blending multiple track together on the fly.
As for producers, Linear Straight style I’m a big fan and good friend of Jeroen Search, an amazing artist, my cup of tea. And Tensal, such a good producer, I usually buy all his tracks and spin them gig after gig all over again.
And with regards to Radical G there’s Oliver Chesler aka The Horrorist, we became like soulmates during the years. It just works when we do a track together. He’s just a nice person, always a pleasure when visiting Berlin and dropping by his place, there’s always something happening, Fun for sure with a crazy twist. Besides the forthcoming remixes from “Here comes the Storm” we did some new stuff which will be announced early 2019.
Those I didn’t mention, do not shoot me, I’m here for like 25 years in the music scene and I met so many talented people, Just keep the groove going, you know who you are!
You release both as Linear Straight and as Radical G. How different are these two projects exactly? Do they ever combine in the studio and/or playing out?
Both are completely different. Radical G is typical EBM crossing techno with rave hooks, I even did some tracks with vocals in the past. But after 15 years I felt the need for a second alias, pure techno with an industrial twist, pure modular based, and so Linear Straight was born. I try to separate the two, for DJ sets and for live performances. Both are very different in sound and performance. I have to admit that the Radical G gimmick keeps haunting me, definitely now when remixes are coming by big-time players from songs I (we) did in the past, it looks like it will boom and I never expected this to be honest which makes it even more interesting.
There will be vinyl, a lot of vinyl…
Let’s talk about the mix a little, any standout tracks we should keep our ears open for?
Yeah for sure, there’s a lot of unreleased material inside the track listing. You can find for sure tracks from my preferred producers but I also tried to focus on my own sounds. Hope you like it.
Is this more Linear Straight work or Radical G?
This is pure Linear Straight stuff, it might be interesting to do a Radical G set later when releases are there so you can hear the clear difference when it comes to track selection.
What was going through your head when you put this one together?
You ask about the mix or the album? The album I got my inspiration from space, from the soundscapes I’ve used to create it. Roscosmos, the Russian space program was the perfect fitting title of the package.
The mix I did is pure, it’s what I always do when DJing, building up with layers and mostly 3 decks involved to create my own style and keep things interesting for myself, playing 2 deck sets after this long time in business can be boring with the modern technologies.
I need some competition with myself, I am always looking for that next step in what I’m doing.
What has been your best gig so far this year?
That’s a difficult one, my Berlin debut was definitely one of this year’s highlights. Played a Linear Straight live set in Griessmuehle and closed that night with a Radical G DJ set, so I was basically leaving my last sequence running while I headed to the DJ booth and mixed my first track in on that sequence, doing my RG thing. The second one was Tresor, it was one of those clubs which I always wanted to play someday and it actually happened in very good company of Alderaan, Psyk and no other then Jeroen Search who played a splendid live set that night, one to remember.
In Belgium we had the first edition of Garnizoen, a smaller techno event from the same people who organize Pukkelpop for more than 25 years. It was special because it was held in my hometown. My biggest lifetime fan was there as well, gotta love your mom! Without the help of my family, friends and partners I would be a nobody, probably the most important thing to keep in mind as an artist.
Will you be playing anywhere for NYE? if not, what do you plan to be doing?
I had one offer but decided not to take it and spent the NYE with family and friends for a change, playing shows and sets is important, music is my life. But without family and friends there’s no life.
But who knows I’m just in the studio, always tempting to make music, even on NYE. Let’s see what it brings this year, even better let’s see what Santa brought me under the tree this year!
The release of this album is obviously huge, but do you have any other releases in the pipeline for 2019?
Yep for sure, as mentioned before both projects have much interesting stuff coming up in 2019, fans will be spoiled and I will be a very happy man, keep an eye on the fan pages for announcements. I leave those to the labels involved. One thing is sure, I will release on very nice imprints so I can’t wait the year to start. 2019 bring it!!!
What are some of your professional goals for next year?
I definitely want to play some venues and festivals I never played before, there’s a new project to be announced soon with one of my favorite techno producers out there. For the rest I’m just open for anything which takes my career to a next level.
Continue to keep last year’s positive attitude and focus on my own things. For like 6 months I kept getting the number “47” popping up like everywhere, kind of scary. All airport gates said A47, flying 747 planes, “47” notifications on social media on several accounts, each time I looked at the time on my mobile it said something like “47” minutes after an hour, dunno what it means but I have to talk to Tommy very soon I guess…
And yes, one day i would love to play a gig exclusively for animals, I’m just curious to their feedback and the reaction to specific instruments…
How about personal goals and objectives, anything you’d like to do in particular next year not related to music?
It might sound strange but I’m in a need for a vacation, like doing no gig related trip, something that didn’t happen for a long time, I feel my life needs it, urgent and it’s becoming a prior thing.
When was your last vacation and where was it?
There we have it, it was a long time ago. I need to live more, to enjoy life, but music is my weak spot… It kept me away from that objective for years … (laughs)
What’s your favorite meal?
I became vegetarian and let’s say almost vegan for like 7 years now which changed my life completely. I discovered an entirely new world, and I can look into the eyes of each animal without making any exception. I guess that was one of the best things that happened to me in my life so far. So my favorite meal is mashed sweet potato with half dried tomatoes, spinach and some vegan burgers. Or just raw food, basic stuff, I’m easy when it comes to food and we all know meat is not healthy, so it’s easy to cut it from your plate.
What are some of the things you do when you’re not touring or working on music?
Driving my motorcycle, I recently bought a classic Aprilia RSV Mille, a real monster on my wishlist. Where the trip takes me doesn’t matter. I prefer to drive to chill places, enjoying the silence when the motor is not running and just sit there for a while, get back on the motorcycle and ride it. It might sound boring to some people but hey, it’s what I like to do ….
Do you plan to come to the States at any point in the coming years?
I did a US tour back in 2011 as Radical G which opened a new world for me, it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things which you’ll never forget in your life. We did 28 shows in 30 days in support of Lords of Acid. I gained a lot of fans back then who still follow and support me today so I would be stoked to play the states again but maybe it’s better to wait until there’s a new president. I really don’t like that person so it’s no for me right now pushing gigs toward the States.
Someday I’ll be back. Would love to play COMPOUND for you though and I hope to meet you there someday… But first, you need a new president!
Global Vibe Radio Track List:
1. Linear Search – Another planet (Unreleased)
2. Michael Wells – Three Fates (SHXCXCHCXSH Rmx) (Weekend circuit)
3. Svreca – Linen (Acronym Tribe Rmx) (Ownlife)
4. Leghau – Curse (Knotweed records)
5. Linear Straight – The Loom (Illogic)
6. Blawan – The Narrowing (Dynamic reflection)
7. Tensal – Cobra (Kynant records)
8. Phara – Lfo unit (Form and function)
9. Vainqueur – Lyot (Linear Straight rework) (Unreleased)
10. Abstract Division – Dissonance (Dynamic Reflection)
11. Linear Search – Wave detector (Unreleased)
12. Jeroen Search – In More depth (Figure)
13. Marcel Dettmann – Ascending (Ostgut Ton)
14. Mike Gervais – Slink (Machine label)
15. Pttrn – S9.3 (Float)
16. Oscar Mulero – Unveiling of reality (Polegroup)
17. Linear Straight – Polished Mood (Unreleased)
18. Setaoc Mass – Forgotten words (Soma records)
19. Blue Hour – Introspective III (Operator rmx)
20. SNTS – Loyalty and devotion (SNTS)
21. Linear Straight – Random orientations (Konsequent records)
22. Planetary Assault Systems – The Grinder (Machine label)
23. Vertical Spectrum – Brusi Tytka (Granulart recordings)
24. Selección Natural – Transmutation (Polegroup)
25. Svreca – Nida (Polegroup)
26. Linear Search – Untitled 004 (Unreleased)
27. Ossa di Mare – Cepheid type1 (The Nursery/Dynamic Reflection)