Interview

Ital

Ital

By Tim Gentles

Wednesday 18th January, 2012 12:09PM

Ital is the alias of Brooklyn-based Daniel Martin-McCormick, otherwise known for his work as one half of psych-dance band Mi Ami and his deeper solo excursions as Sex Worker. He only released his first 12” less than a year ago, the enticingly raw Ital's Theme on the new dance-oriented Not Not Fun spinoff label 100% Silk, but is already making waves in both the underground and dance music presses alike for his messy, DIY take on classic house music, with his debut album Hive Mind due next month. We caught up with Ital on the eve of his New Zealand debut, Friday the 20th of Jan at Whammy Bar.

Your 12”s from last year, along with the rest of the output of the 100% Silk label, are part of a noticeable recent revival of interest in house & techno amongst the US underground. What's your take on the whole (cringe) “hipster house” thing?

As always, a blanket label serves as a shorthand in a larger discussion about what people value and desire in a specific context (dance music in this case), and in some ways I am as critical of certain corners of the US underground as anyone. But what can you do? People are gonna get into house music or abstract expressionism or radical activism when they're ready and there will always be an old guard around to question their motivations and to feel threatened. I can understand if you were into clubbing and djing and making tracks for like 10 years and then this crew from LA comes around and it seems like they just heard "Big Fun" you might be bummed, but then again perhaps the energy is just the shot in the arm you/your scene needed. The people who are serious about what they're doing will quickly stand out and prove themselves, and people who are just dabbling or dicking around clearly won't last.

It seems like a lot of recent underground dance music is interested in an early 90s house aesthetic. What is your interest in this era and how do you see your work relating to the sense that the 90s for whatever reason is currently ripe for revival?

Well it's obviously ripe right now because people who grew up on those sounds have enough distance from them that they seem appealing. You're not gonna be nostalgic for the 90s in 2001, you're gonna be into Fugazi or whatever. But then you get a little older and you've learned your Fugazi and a zillion other records by heart and you remember that actually those 90s records were kinda sweet. It's powerful because the "Show Me Love" era is both very familiar and evocative and at the same time discarded as trash. This is fertile artistic ground, even if the end result is 99% nostalgic self indulgence. At least it's fun.

Personally I have some interest in it but mostly in the energy and the naivety rather than the idiom itself.

You've got an album coming out (Hive Mind out next month on Planet Mu), and from the two tracks I've heard, it sounds more polished but also darker, more difficult. Where is the Ital project heading sound-wise?

Lord who knows. The record was finished at the end of last summer so now I'm just starting to put together new stuff. I always want everything to be more raw all the time, so perhaps future releases will be... more raw?

I've also noticed that you've started using cut-up vocal samples, is this inspired by UK Garage?

Not specifically, although I suppose Burial's legacy is inescapable in the current e-music milieu. I don't know what it's 'inspired' by, other than the power inherent in the vocals themselves. 

What else have you got in store for this year? Both with Ital and other projects.

Ital + Magic Touch split 12" on 100% Silk, Mi Ami 4 song ep on 100% Silk, collabs with some top secret types for now, a grip tours, hopefully two more Ital albums, you know...


related gigs
Ital (US)
Fri 20th Jan, Whammy Bar, Auckland


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