※ This interview was recorded on January 13, 2011 ※
One of American Drum and Bass music’s most prolific and punishing artists of the past two decades, Kurt Gluck has burned a smoldering trail as one of the genre’s truly inventive and genre-defying producers.
Part of the East Coast experimental music scene in the mid-90’s, Kurt teamed up with Mark Filip to create the original “Rise | Converge” compilation that would serve as the blueprint for Ohm Resistance’s fearless approach to electronic music that shattered conventions.
As Ohm Resistance’s notoriety began to grow both in the US and abroad, so did the demand for Submerged as a producer and a DJ. In 2002, he relocated operations to Brooklyn and launching collaborations as both an artist and label-owner with a diverse roster of musicians.
By 2016, Kurt has done and seen more than most producers or label owners ever will – for better and for worse, with performances from Canada to Kazakhstan to Brazil, Russia, and beyond, and a discography spanning over 50 releases.
With a refreshed cadre of artists and music in his grip to push Ohm Resistance forward, the world is always excited to see what happens next.
Please tell us about your background.When did you start making music?
I've been making music since I was around 7 or 8 years old. My mother had an 80s Yamaha keyboard that allowed you to play a melody on the right hand, and a rhythm track on the left, so I started there. I went to school and learned clarinet, saxophone, and bass guitar in school band.
What music have you been influenced? Also Did you listen Japanese music?
When I was 14 we started listening to Napalm Death because our friend found these cassettes and the songs were so short we couldn't believe it. It was like a new way to think of music. Speaking of Japanese music, I have been listening to many Japanese artists such as Merzbow, KKNull, Aube, MSBR, and other "noise"/sound design projects from around 18 years old. Entirely new ways of viewing what can be known as music, and this had a big effect on me not having to be afraid of rules.
Is there a work that influenced it excluding music?
Film generally inspires me greatly, as in all my music sample based. I will often hear something in a film, sample it, and change it around so that it appears in a new way, but that still relates to the source film. Traveling is also a big part of my music - I've been many places in the world and everywhere has some form of traditional music that I draw inspiration from. And finally, anti-authoritarian lifestyle is the cornerstone of me making music - no one has any right to determine your life for you, not government, not business, not religion.
Where did you doing a live or DJ activities on the based at first?
I started playing in punk bands in 1994, and then made noise for 2 years after, and then gave in to a fully formed drum n bass addiction. I picked up turntables around 1997 and went hardcore on the decks for 10 years, traveling to many places to DJ and spread Ohm Resistance sound, hard drum n bass with influences from other non-conformist music styles. Ohm Resistance began in Washington DC in 1999, and moved to NYC in 2002. New York was where I was born, so it made sense that coming home provided me with the best opportunities.
Q2. About Ohm Resistance
When Ohm Resistance was started?
We began in 1999 with the single from myself and Mick Harris (Quoit vs. Submerged "Everything You Do is Wrong / Page Fault"), created at Mick Harris' studio The Box in Birmingham. I owe everything to Mick Harris for being the first guy to listen to my music and help me out.
Please tell me the origin of the name of the "Ohm Resistance".
I went to school for electronics, and I wanted some reference to electronics. Resistance was added to make it different than any other "Ohm" label, and also refer to techno label Underground Resistance, because I felt the DIY ethics were similar and they were heroes to look up to of the DJ world for doing their own thing.
Why started label?
Because I never wanted to be involved with the music industry the way that other people want to just follow what is easy and what is already there, I wanted to make my own path, and I felt that a good start was given to me when Mick and I worked on the first record, so why not release it ourselves. Mark (M. Gregor Filip) helped me with the business end and funds for the first 2 years. Over the years this has been a defining concept behind the label, being staffed by our artists, it remains this way to this day.
Please tell me the slogan of "Ohm Resistance".
Our slogan has always been "WE WILL BE YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE" and it's very metaphysical, as once something enters consciousness, it is always there, whether in the front of the mind or in the back. We don't just want to make one type sound, we want to have a big tree that expands with all of our artists ideas into any sound. Anyone can like all types of music - life is too short to only like 1 style :)
What kind of people are buying the work of "Ohm Resistance"? Do you think that "Ohm Resistance" is dance music label?
I believe that people who buy Ohm Resistance are the people left in the margins – people like me who love Drum n Bass but also recognize that different musical concepts, from Merzbow to Napalm Death to Converge to Thomas Köner are meaningful and they want to hear these other influences come out in an honest way.
We CAN be a dance music label, but it's not ALL we are. I enjoy good beats from DnB to Dubstep to Techno and I appreciate what it takes to make a pure dance floor track, but to us, it's always dancefloor AND something interesting, or then sometimes, not at all dance floor.
Q3. About The Blood Of Heroes
How did "The Blood Of Heroes" has started? When started the project?
The Blood of Heroes was born out of a need to split off from Method of Defiance. I had played a little bit with Method of Defiance in the early days, and was involved in making the first 2 studio records. I had proposed a line-up of myself, Justin Broadrick, Enduser, and Dr. Israel for the third Method of Defiance record. Justin received our beats and played guitars over them, and this made Bill Laswell's people around him very nervous, because it was so different to what Method of Defiance was. To Bill it did not matter – he just makes music – but some of the people around him did not like the guitars, and then he said it needed to be a new band. I was not happy with this at first, but now I realize what a good idea it was.
How did the member gather? Does the leader exist in the project?
I asked my close friend Enduser to come and make some beats for the record, since we are both big fans of Godflesh, and I wanted to give him a way to work with Justin. Then he introduced me to Balázs Pándi, and he recorded some drums for the record. Enduser and I had played a few trio gigs with KJ Sawka before he joined Pendulum, so we asked him to be on the record as well. And M. Gregor Filip is a long time friend and one of co-founders of the label, so I asked him to play his electronics and guitars last on the record.
As far as direction of Blood of Heroes, I am the one who initiates everything, so I can be called the "leader" but it's a lot more organic than that – everyone is involved with most stages of the project.
How was the recording advanced? The guitar, the drum, and the base actually recorded in the studio?
Like usual for all the projects I've ever done with Bill Laswell, I start them making the beats in my studio, and then from there we send them to Justin Broadrick. He played the guitars, and then we send some tracks for the drummers, some to Dr. Israel to do vocals over, and then this time last was Bill Laswell. We were very happy with what he played on the bass, but we wanted to mix this in a different studio since Bill's sessions are "closed door", so we took it and mixed at Studio G with Joel Hamilton, who is now a large part of Ohm Resistance.
What is the musical style of "The Blood Of Heroes"?
All styles! The apocalypse! Beat music + heavy guitars + space sounds + dancehall vocals, everything merged into one heavy groove.
The Blood Of Heroes have a new release and a live activity in the future?
Yes, we had been scheduled to headline a stage live at the Glade Festival in 2010, but then it was cancelled. Our live line up was to be Justin Broadrick – Guitar, Enduser – keyboards, Submerged – bass guitar, Dr. Israel – Vocals, and Balázs Pándi – drums, but they cancelled the whole Glade Festival. We do have one track recorded from rehearsal with me and Balazs as the rhythm section – you can hear this on the "REMAIN" release of Blood of Heroes. We will play live as Justin's schedule allows in 2011.
Q4. About Bill Laswell & Mick Harris
I think,Bill Laswell and Mick Harris is deeply involved in Ohm Resistance. Will they belong to the label?
Mick has really hit a new stride in his music in the last few years. Scorn has taken a very interesting turn since he started using the live drummer Yan Treacy in his music, it's a very traditional dub mix of dubstep that he is doing now. Mick has been here since the very first 12" of Ohm Resistance, and it's an honour even as friend of his to be able to continue releasing his work.
Bill was a big part of Ohm Resistance for many years, but everything goes in cycles, and we haven't had as much chance to connect in the last year, but he asked to play bass with Ted Parsons, who is now part of our crew also, so I think that will be exciting to hear when it comes to pass!
What time did you meet Bill Laswell first?
In 2003, Robert Soares (the A&R man who discovered the Lambada) heard our drum n bass records as Ohm Resistance, and heard that I moved to New York. He told Bill Laswell, and Bill invited me to come to his house. It was amazing for me to be able to move back home to Brooklyn, and to begin working with musicians like Laswell. We made "Brutal Calling", the record released on Avant, in that year.
What process did you participate in Method Of Defiance?
Method of Defiance began basically as an offshoot of our first record together "Brutal Calling". I got us a deal for another record together with Sublight (RIP), and that is the first Method of Defiance record, "The Only Way to go is Down", and this time we had participation of Toshinori Kondo, and also Guy Licata, who I introduced to Bill. Guy is to this day one of the best drummers I've ever been able to play with. We played several shows together in the format of "Method of Defiance vs. Painkiller" this way.
Bill Lawell interested in Dubstep&DarkStep?
Bill is interested in everything musically. I know that he doesn't think of anything in terms of what genre it comes from, but anything new will generally be of interest to him.
Did you join "SCORN" as Bass Player?
We discussed doing a live show together with Yan the drummer, but right now, Mick and I are touring together but playing as separate live acts in Europe in March/April. We will see what happens after this tour!
Q5. About the music scene in the future
You have continued for 10 years of Ohm Resisnatce, how did you feel?
I think that more people should do their own business and that artists should be educated on the business as well as the music. If one wishes to make a living at making art, there is an art to making deals also. If we as artists do not want to be taken advantage of, then we have to know how to release and monetize our music. It is easy for teenagers to illegally download "corporate music" and not feel bad about it, they are "stealing from the rich". But to steal from the person who MAKES the art – I think most people would have a harder time rationalizing that, and that's why we artists need to be the business faces of our work also.
Ohm Resistance always makes CD/LP. What do you think of a digital release?
Do you think CD/LP will keep remaining in the future?
Digital releases are fine by me, it's simply evolution of the business model. People want immediate ability to hear the music – that's what I use digital products for. Do I think CDs and LPs will last? Certainly something hard copy will. People will always want something to hold in their hands when special music is made. For "corporate music", probably not, as that business model doesn't require any real fans anymore, just monkeys that watch television and believe everything they see. But for real fans and people who want to support their favourite artists, and not just buy clever ring-tones, I think there will always be a market for a something special to hold in your hands.
Do you think there is a way to resist the illegal Download?
I think illegal downloading is just a phase that certain societies will go through. At some points, people regularly stole livestock, regularly robbed banks. Stealing was just a normalized action, and it is normalized with music right now. But with all theft societies cannot maintain, and at some point, people will realize their thefts will leave them with nothing but Britney Spears and Katy Perry music – vapid and heartless sounds. I see Ohm Resistance as being one of the remaining outposts of good music, and I admire other labels leading the way like WARP and NinjaTune and Ipecac and HydraHead greatly in these respects, for continuing to build creative, artist directed projects – WARP now with film too, with Harmony Korine's amazing "Trash Humpers".
About the future of the music scene, please tell me what you think.
We make music as a personal expression - we hope this expression and our desire to not limit ourselves resonate with other people. Music is our art, and we want to share it so people realize they are not alone on this earth since sound is language all people can understand. We make ourselves very available to the public, so check our website, check us out on Facebook, add the Ohm Resistance twitter, and communicate with us! We love hearing from everyone always, so please feel free to get in touch. We will be giving away a free track every week for all of 2011, so check us out and give us feedback please!
Please give the message to the "Ohm Resistance" fan from Japan.
We recognize that Japan is such a unique place to be, from your language to your food and lifestyle unlike any other place on earth. We are happy to have you listening and hope to come visit soon and play music for you, and be inspired by your culture! Also, please fix Sakuraba's ear so it doesn't fall off when he fights! :)
Interviewer : Ume (Murder Channel)