Associate of Tartelet Records, one third of Money $ex Records and prolific beatmaker, Glenn Astro has been grafting hard in his field over the past few years, to offer some of the most exciting dance music currently in Europe. A sound which is in close liaison with that of M$R affiliate Max Graef and fellow Tartelet name IMYRMIND, the Berlinite boys fuse all different walks of musical life in their own work – from broken beat and jazz, to hip hop and house, and all the way back again.
Following his masterful Hologram EP, Mr. Astro continues to amp up the heat for 2015 with three releases already in the pipeline for M$R this year, and his full-length Throwback LP due to drop next month. After having Glenn play at our Wilder Studios party with K15 late last year, we were happy to grab a few moments for a catch up and receive a reliably brilliant mix from him.
Glenn’s Hologram EP is out now on vinyl, and available to pre-order digitally from WotNot. Throwback LP is set to drop on 25th May via Tartelet Records.
How’ve you been since we last saw you in Bristol? Good couple months?
Yeah, quite busy actually, but cool.
What kind of music were you brought up on? Was there a particular track, moment or memory which made you want to get into music – in particular, electronic music?
I think my brother brought me up on music. He was always playing music in the house. He also played the guitar and bass, so he was more into rock/ folk stuff. I think it rubbed off a lot on me. There was no epiphany or a single moment that got me into electronic music though. I think it’s more of a growing process. I was into all kinds of shit music throughout my youth and kiddo years haha. It wasn’t until I was about thirteen years old when I really started to figure out what was my thing musically. It kinda became distinguished from then on.
Elements of all different walks of dance music life can be heard in your music – house, hip hop, jazz and soul, for example. Are there any particular artists/producers whose sound you look to most for inspiration?
I guess all of them. The cool thing is that my circle of friends (especially Rasho T and IMYRMIND, who are both long term friends of mine) were also really into music, so we went through a lot of those phases together. They ranged from experimental hip hop stuff (Word and Sound, Big Dada, Antipop Consortium) over to broken beat, jazz, techno, house, and all the rest. It’s all a big conglomerate really.
There are a lot of live instrument samples used in your music – a sound often heard in music by producers of the same ilk (e.g. Graef, von Erckert, IMYRMIND). Do you guys often record together and draw similar influences and inspirations from each other?
Yeah definitely. I think it’s gotten to a point now where we really influence each other, and exchange a lot of music and sounds.
What setup are you working with at the moment?
Nothing fancy. Mainly an MPC 2000xl, an SP404, and a Korg MS2000. Sampling too, of course.
What’s the vision with the label you now run with Delfonic and Graef, Money $ex Records? Is it just to release the material that you guys and your friends make, or do you hope to expand it to other producers?
It’s not really set to a specific direction yet, since we’ve only had the first release out. I guess the main focus is to let the producers have total freedom in their releases and not be bound to one specific genre. Also, we are keeping it personal with people we actually like and are also friends with. We do have the next three releases lined up already. The next one will be by IMYRMIND, and the one after that will be from HulkHodn (aka Hodini). I kinda like keeping it at that friendship level, but it’s not a neccessity.
How did you meet and grow to be a part of the Tartelet family?
I think Max [Graef] introduced the Tartelet boss, Emil to my music. He eventually liked it and contacted me. Not a special story behind that. It’s all one big circle of friends haha.
We remember from our December party that you’re t-total. What’s it like playing out and not drinking? Does it help you read crowds better as a DJ?
Don’t know about that. I do like to stay clear headed when I play, but on the other hand, it’s not something I chose to do. It’s more based on a medical condition. I guess I would drink if I could haha. A wasted DJ doesn’t make sense to me though.
Are you into any types of music that would surprise us? Orchestral soundtracks, death metal, gabber, Donny Osmond?
I do like The Smiths a lot. Is that surprising?
You’ve got an EP forthcoming on WotNot, your second for the label (not including your remixes for them). Would it be safe to say you enjoying working with Arun and Jed? How did you hook up with them in the first place?
Yeah, they’re really cool dudes. They contacted me on SoundCloud a couple of years ago, before they released my EP. Later on, they got me to London for the release party of the Power EP and we hung out for a weekend and got to know each other better. We stayed in contact throughout the years.
Could you tell us a bit about how the EP came together? Whether there was a particular idea behind it and how it might differ from your last EP for WotNot?
I do like to keep some kind of leitmotif when I do a record, so yeah I tried to keep it that way for the EP as well. Also, the vibe is very similar to the Power EP. I think it lined up pretty well. The Henry Wu remix is out of this world too.
Tell us a bit about the mix you made for us.
It was recorded in my bedroom using two turntables and a mixer. There was no real concept behind it. Just keeping it funky and diverse!
What does the rest of 2015 hold in store for you? Isn’t the LP set to drop soon?
Yeah, I’m remixing some stuff at the moment, though I don’t know when those are coming out. The LP is finished and waiting to come out. Going to be out in May on Tartelet!
Weldon Irvine – ‘Freaky Rita’
Pete Rock ft. Method Man – ‘Half Man Half Amazin”
Dwight Trible ft. Georgia Anne Muldrow – ‘Rise’
Karriem Riggins – ‘Tom Toms’
Skymark – ‘Nao Passo Me’
Seawind – ‘He Loves You’
Gloria Ann Taylor – ‘Deep Inside You’
Thomas Clausen – ‘Bio Rhythm No. 3’
Bileo – ‘Let’s Go’
mo0 – ‘Spacetravelin”
Glenn Astro – ‘One for Viktor’
Max Graef & Glenn Astro ft. Paul Frick – ‘Titel 08’
The African Dream – ‘Jazz Impressions ‘
Dwight Trash – ‘Mistor Trousorzoff’
Tenderlonious – ‘Little D (outro)‘