Through The Fire _ Interview with Israel Vines
Well said! How do you find running your own label ‘Borrowed Language’ and kind of relating to that, what do you think came first music or language?
Running the label has been a great learning experience, and it’s opened some doors for me. I mean, there’s nothing like seeing work that you’ve curated or made for your own label being charted or played by DJs and producers who you admire. It is also, however, a lot of work. When I started the label, a good friend of mine warned me and said that I would have no time to work on my own music and the like. While that didn’t turn out to be entirely true, there was a certain element of that at times. For now, the future of the label is unclear. It’s kind of on hold at the moment, I suppose. I’m enjoying doing releases for other labels and remixes for other producers more at the moment. It may be dead, it may not be dead. I don’t know…there are a lot of variables at play that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say that DJing and making music are my first priorities. Running the label, as seriously as I take it, just isn’t my highest ambition. It’s sort of third on the rung, as it were. If I had all of the time and all of the money in the world to do it, I would – but such is not the case. I hope to get back to it soon enough, but if I don’t – it won’t be the end of the world. The beauty of it is that’s it’s mine alone, so I’ve got nobody to answer to. I can pick it up or leave it whenever I want to.
And – to the second part of your question, I really have no idea. You’d have to ask somebody smarter than me. My guess is that they may have, in some way, evolved simultaneously with the same goals in mind – but I’m honestly not qualified to speak to this with any authority. I’m just glad they’re both around. We’d kind of be fucked otherwise, eh?
We really would be, yes. It’s interesting to hear peoples’ take on it though. As regards the label, it sounds like a lot of work. How do you feel about the way music is marketed at the moment, for example through social media and so on…
I think that people are doing whatever they can. There’s a lot of noise out there clamouring for peoples’ attention, so it’s tricky. The whole marketing aspect is my least favourite part of the deal. There are people who figure out a classy or subversive way to do it and be successful, and then there are people or labels who just blast you to death because they have the money and the connections with which to do it. Beyond that, there are people and labels whose work is so good that marketing is secondary because the music makes such a big splash on its own that they don’t need it. A lot of it is just a giant fucking game and a matter of who you know and who can help you out. I really can’t come to grips with it. Any time I do something beyond posting on Facebook or updating the website or doing a little mail out or whatever, I always think of Bill Hicks’ bit about advertising and marketing, and I’m paraphrasing here, but he starts the bit with: “Anybody in the crowd tonight in advertising or marketing; do the world a favour and kill yourselves.”
Hahaha, brilliant. To what extent do you think surrounding culture influences your approach to making music?
Well, there’s no doubt that it does – but the extent to which it does I’m not sure. One can’t help but be influenced by their surroundings, the culture, and the times in which they live – but rarely do I write music with anything like that in my mind in any specific manner. I would guess that the music is more a part of my psychological or emotional reaction to those things rather than a direct reaction itself; so while the influence is there, it’s filtered a bit through my own internal processes.
If you had to complete this statement, how would it go ‘Music is a means of…
Haha…do I have to? I mean, in the simplest sense, I would complete it with the word “communication.” That seems to sum it up, because communication encompasses pretty much everything that any creative person is trying to do – express themselves, react to something, connect with other people, and encapsulate ideas – all of which, at its core, the act of communicating attempts to do.
Seems you already answered haha. So would you like to tell us about any upcoming releases…also how did you go about preparing the mix?
This mix was done using Ableton. I really, really enjoy doing studio mixes using Ableton, but usually when I play out these days, I play vinyl. I used to be very “anti” any sort of digital DJing, but I got over that a long time ago. There are too many other battles to fight, and this particular one just seems a bit silly. What matters at the end of the day is what’s coming out of the speakers. Nothing else is worth discussing too much beyond curiosity of process. I do prefer playing vinyl when I play live, however, because I think it adds a certain amount of tension and immediacy – for me, anyway – knowing that things could fall apart at any moment. I’ve played live with Ableton before, and while it’s a ton of fun and you can do some amazing things – I just really missed the tension. Let me stress though, I have no issue with how anybody plays their music, as long as the music is good. In fact, several of my favourite DJs currently play exclusively in Ableton, and there’s nothing to say that I wouldn’t do it myself in the future. As far as releases go – the latest stuff is included in this mix. The remix I did for Erika will be coming out on Interdimensional Transmissions later this year, and I was honoured to be asked to do it. There are also three unreleased tracks on the mix that I’m currently shopping around – so we’ll see what happens with those. I think that these four tracks are the best things I’ve done so far, and I was able to sit in on, and contribute to, the mix-down and mastering sessions for them -which is something new for me. In the past, I’ve just sent things out raw and hoped that they came back OK, but my friend Juan hipped me to the gent who runs Darkart mastering out here, and these four tracks were completed at his studio.
The whole digital versus analog debate really provokes people that’s for sure. Well, I’m sure our listeners are really going to enjoy the mix, I sure did. Thanks for taking the time out to have this chat with me Israel!
My pleasure, Rachael – and thanks for having me on for the podcast.