The guy you’re watching overhead with the strange mexican hat is Jochem Peteri, well known for the international electronic scene under Newworldaquarium. Liked for his unexpected slow-dance groovy tracks, after released 12″ for planet e, peacefrog, or delsin, he plans to release in March the cd version (with bonus tracks) of the acclaimed vinyl-album “The dead bears” few months ago. Let’s try to uncover the secrets of a very talented but so discreet artist from Amsterdam. Our ears are wild open…
Before talking about The dead bears, I would like to know more about you. So, when did you start to compose music ?
I started making music around 86 with some classic Roland machinery that I borrowed from a friend (a 101 and a Dr. Rhythm 110). It was mainly hiphop and electro. I did some beats for a terrible crew which were fortunately never recorded on any kind of media. After some times I got tired of the whole group-thing (I think there were about 20 plus people in the posse) and the house-thing slowly started to take shape in Holland. At that time I ran into Steven Brunsmann (Aroy Dee) and Arnoud Winkler who were doing small acid-parties in local bars and clubs, and we knew each other from school. It just clicked, and the records that came out at that time created some sort of magic. I guess that was the moment we all started to develop an unhealthy fetish for Chicago or Detroit. It was a mad period, my 12″ on M>O>S-recordings is from that time. Endless jams with synths and tunes until the neighbours went mad or away.
You have released some EPs on two very important labels like peacefrog and Carl Craig’s planet e. How have you been linked to theses guys ?
Well, they called me basically. When Carl Craig called me on a regular monday-evening I thought it was Marsel from Delsin pulling my leg. We talked about the record and what he had in mind and I was just pretty honoured he liked it that much. In the end the planet-e 12 never officially came out, with about 300 test-pressings I reckon its one of the rarest planet-e releases. I think both tracks on it were remastered and cut at NSC which makes them extra special.
And finally you choose delsin to release your music…
Marsel is a very close friend of mine, it felt good to keep it in the family so to speak.
Why did you name you “Newworldaquarium” (it’s not usual for a moniker !) ?
It’s an aquarium-outlet in New-York, a friend of mine lived above it for a year. I took the name and the sign of the shop which I photoshopped into the NWAQ logo. It’s a killer-shop !
The bead bears… Pretty strange title for an album ! What does it means ? There is a link with the film of Werner Herzog “Grizzly Man” and a the name of a kraut-rock band. Can you tell us more about them and the meaning of this title ?
Herzog is my hero, so any reference to Grizzly Man is more than welcome. The title was the name for a band I wanted to start with some friends, but it never happened. The name stuck though.
Who are your godfathers (in music) ?
There are simply too many influences to name here, from Steve Reich to Alan Moulder, Nick Rhodes to Bob Moog. Even Deuter or Bernd Kistenmacher ! Anything odd will do I guess.
About Avon Sparkle now, which is one of the most surprising and impressive track of this album. Do you remember when you have composed it ? What does a track like this means for you ?
Its hard to say something concrete about a track. The track itself is as concrete as I can get. On a technical side I think it’s a good clash of digital and analog synths, both really excelling in what they are good at. Yamaha versus Roland if you will. But that’s just the technique….
How many time did you work on The dead bears ? And how did you create theses tracks ? I’ve red that you’re not really enthusiastic about high-tech software equipments or things like that…
All tracks on it are sessions with strictly hardware, recorded on a single stereo-track on a computer. Most of the original sessions are about one hour-takes, then edited into the version which is on the album. Call it a director’s cut. I am enthousiastic about software by the way, I just think there is no substitute for hardware (yet). It has its own place in the studio. It’s a totally different aproach to creat a track. The greatest surprise of the digital revolution in the audio-world for me was that its not like with hardware that you can buy basic (cheap) machines and get away with it. The dead bears could have never been done with the amount of money the setup I had at that time cost, nor with the amount of time I put into the studio to make it function. Working with software in the studio demands a higher budget than the old Detroit/Chicago way of doing tracks with leftover gear. So maybe this digital revolution is a bit like reversing the democratization of music that House brought…
What do feel when you make “slow groove tracks” ? What does it mean for you ?
It gives the groove more details to dance to.
You released the Dead Bears once late 2007 in limited vinyl edition. The copies sold out quickly. Why didn’t you release the album directly on cd + vinyl through delsin ?
First of all the vinyl is not limited, I don’t really know who started the rumor (I guess it started on discogs, but I’m not sure). And if it were up to me the cd would have been released directly. But the whole Dead bears-thing just grew while we were working on it. What started as a single white label twelve became a double pack and then an album all of a sudden. So the distribution-office (Rushhour) said lets stop this for a while and put some more work into it, at least for the cd. I gave them an extra track, they threw in a few tracks from the old twelves, Redshape did some new mastering for cd and Boris Delta made a nice little booklet. I think it will be worth the wait…
In 2004 you have released an album (Strike) under the moniker 154. It’s quite different that things you produce with Newworldaquarium. Is it important for you to have a limit between theses two “worlds” ?
The 154 stuff is quite old, and made with really limited gear, which strangely enough somehow worked as an advantage I think. Also its more inward, more about thoughts and ideas. Newworldaquarium is more about life and the world. Hopefully I can manage to integrate the two more in the future, thats certainly one of my “goals”.
The tide you can’t feel
Do you listen to a lot of electronic music ?
Yes, I try to keep in touch with what is happening in electronic music, as a dj, a musician and a music-lover. And to me it seems that there is a pretty constant amount of good and bad music. But I don’t really feel here are real ups or downs in general in music. Legends are made anytime, anywhere. The sport is to find them.
You live in Amsterdam. How is the mood for electronic music and the electronic scene ?
It’s a very wealthy and lazy town with very low self-esteem. There’s a lot of money spent on importing proven talent, but not nearly enough is invested into building something of our own. We should be prouder of who we are.
Are you only a music producer ? Have you got an other job ?
Another job, undercover in society…
Do you think, with the “crisis of the musical industry”, a musician who makes electronic music can survive only in producing records today (without to be commercial) ? How do you see the future of the musical industry ? Is it a good thing or a bad thing what’s happen now ?
The future looks bright but there is still a long way to go. Too much money goes to the industry, not enough back into music. The digital revolution might change that but that’ll take some time.
Do you play live or dj ? I think I never see your name on a club program. You don’t like to perform live ?
I dj, and I enjoy that very much. I don’t perform live because I don’t have a portable kit to do that. Maybe one day, when it feels right…
Your plans for 2008 ?
To get the new studio up and running and get these tunes out of my head and into my Mac.
Thanks a lot.
Newworldaquarium – The dead bears (NWAQ / delsin)
Release date : 1st March 2008