INTERVIEW TO JEFF MILLS
On its 20th anniversary, Axis Records presents SEQUENCE, a compilation book and a CD format.
"What began as a dance music label has evolved into an undeniable creative force for his role in the quality of shape, colour and textures of dance music, probably the best we know today and tomorrow. Formed in 1992, the acclaimed Techno DJ, producer and artist Jeff Mills, formed Axis, the independent label that continues to be one of the best producing electronic music, in the limits of creation and perception of the Cosmos. Axis is the science of body and soul. Following 20 years of fervent activity, the archive of all his work and his projects have been collected in a collection of art, photographs and designs. Axis Records is in 320 pages 30x30cm. hardcover book with USB card with 30 tracks selected by Jeff Mills to represent the history of Axis Records Between 1992-2012. Out on December 10, 2012. Double CD compilation of 24 tracks released as the book release simultaneously - www.axisrecords.com
R. Hello. Thank you!.
P. What does it make your sounds particularly special?
I don’t really know the answer to this question. I try to relay what I feel about subjects through music and sound. Why it sounds this way might have something to do with
my musical history that pre-dates today’s DJ culture. I still try to play electronic machines like instruments, not like programming a computer.
Now is 20 years of Axis Records presented in a book and in a CD, titled Sequence. Tell us about why did you decide to make it?
R. We thought that two decades was a good number of years in our history to look back and reflect on what had been attempted and created.
P. Your last job is the Alpha Centauri video in collaboration with VJ Heleen Blakeen. It is an excellent video art work. How has it arisen?
R. The idea of Alpha Centauri was an idea that we had been thinking of for quite a while. We felt that by having an outlet dedicated for images and film would be greatly helpful for people to understand what Techno music looks like. The initial contribution of Heleen Blakeen was a perfect beginning. We asked and offered Heleen to create a film every 3 months of 2013. The next will debut 4/1/2013.
P. Your music is very qualitative. Have you ever received any offer from labels such as EMI or Universal?
R. No, I’ve never been. I always assumed that those companies specialize in making very large sums of money so, the more people the music appeals to, the more money the company makes. I never thought my music has that mass appeal.
P. Kraftwerk is also in EMI. They are the pioneers of the "Computer Music", low electronic and techno sounds. Is this also your music style?
R. Bands like Kraftwerk made their mark in the Music world when major labels took chances and were more interested in artist development. Those companies like EMI saw a value in bringing people something new and different. By the time I began my career as producer that progressive thinking larger companies had basically disappeared when the very creative A&R people were replaced by people that were better and making money than discovering innovation. This task was left for independents record labels.
P. Your attitude as a DJ is admirable; you have created your own label, one of the best known independent labels. How busy have these years of work been?
R. Very busy. We’re usually working on numerous projects at the same time. I’m constantly coming with concepts and new projects to make music for. I never take a break. We’re always planning and preparing.
P. Your works are stunning, magical, with deep sounds, transcendent, always mysterious, and a bit visionary. What do you pretend? What are you looking for?
R. I believe what I’m really searching for has very little to do with people. I suppose the same as people dancing in a club aren’t really there for the DJ, but they’re there for a psychological and mental release. I’m suspect I’m trying to locate my inner self by creating music.
P. Your works are still being cutting edge sounds, very blues and tectonic textures. Rapid and profound, they move us into the matrix of sound. How have you get it? What technique do you use?
R. I think it is all from the way I see reality and the future. I generally use a technique of wiping away and trying to forget what I’ve done in the past so that I have more chances to make something new. I read and follow a lot of science fiction.
P. Your mix is Techno, with the bass lines always strong, along experimental sounds from recent years. Which is the secret of your success?
R. I don’t think “success” is the right term because I’m never sure if tracks are really being understood. In fact, I’m not very good at giving people what they want. I’ve rarely made music for this objective and a large acceptance and understanding does not show in the sales of our releases. I try to stay honest with my creative and technical capacity and never believe that what I’m doing is absolute – there is much room to expand.
P. The Bells is a classic, a hit everyone could recognize. How many years have passed since The Bells?
R. I made “The Bells” back 1993, but did not officially release it until 1995. It was a track that was made part of a collection of music I was making for only for myself to play as DJ. It worked so well and effective, that I thought it might be something other DJs could use. Those other tracks I was making for myself eventually developed into the label Purpose Maker.
P. In Sequence we are in front of a work between human and machine? Maybe between life and death?
R. Yes, this is correct. It is a movement between two points. Like the Exhibitionist DVD we released back in 2005, I thought this was important to create and present as a piece of history. A archive of the past to be reviewed and examined later.
P. How do you use music to open doors and discover universes?
R. I believe that doors to discover have always been open. It’s a matter of us taking the time to connect to realize. I think the structure of music has a formula of reaching this realization. Or at least an conceivable impression.
P. You will be playing at MUTEK.es what will you do there? Any surprise.
R. The presentation at Mutek.ES will be a concept entitled “Oneness”. A musical exploration on the subject of Singularity, focusing on the transformative existence from human to man - machine.
P. Thank you very much for you time. Best wishes.
R. Thank you very much.