Although he's from Amsterdam, our next guest is a true Chicago house legend. Steven Brunsmann aka Aroy Dee has been pushing jack tracks in their many forms since the 80s.
As founder of M>O>S Recordings and later MOS_Deep, Brunsmann’s labels have become synonymous with Dutch techno music of the highest order, and are an extremely important cog in the wheel that is Holland’s flourishing underground movement. As an artist, Aroy Dee has spread his works across no nonsense Dutch labels like Delsin and Rush Hour, but only this month has he released his first long playing release, Sketches, which fittingly came out on M>O>S, complete with his own sketches of the foreign cities that have inspired his output over the years.
The mix hits all the spots for us, an edgy exploration of the emotional house and techno that he’s so well known for, with upcoming M>O>S releases and some Sketches previews hidden in the mix for good measure.
You have been releasing your own music for more than 10 years now, but you have only just this month released your first album Sketches on your label M>O>S. Why do you think now was the right time to do the album, and what can you tell us about the idea behind the record?
I always felt in general my tracks are part of a bigger story then one can squeeze on a 12″. That’s why some years ago I started saving all tracks I made rather than releasing them too quickly. Through the years I slowly built up a selection which I felt had a coherence in character but also enough differences to make it diverse. Besides making music I am an architect and like to sketch. I wanted to make this a very personal document so choose to use my handmade sketches as artwork.
The sketches on the album cover are incredibly unique and detailed. Which cities have you depicted in the sketches, and how has the architecture in those cities influenced your music, especially on this album?
Always when I have the change to travel, I bring a sketchbook. Through the years I made sketches in Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia, Portugal, Germany and off course in my home city Amsterdam. The sketches I make of urban landscapes have a strong relation (at least for me personally) with the music I make. Looking at these massive cityscapes gives me a similar feeling of melancholy and alienation as my music.
Arguably your biggest record, at least in recent times, was the remix you did of Design A Wave’s ‘Weird F’ for the mysteriously titled ##### EP, with MA Spaventi adding his own touch on the B side. The original is an incredible ambient track, but you guys were able to give it a whole new context altogether. How did that record come about?
My friend Mark from Rush Hour sent me the original version and asked me if I wanted to work on a remix. Sometimes I hear something the first time and instantly become enchanted by it, this happened when I first listened to Design a Wave’s beautiful tearjerking strings. I felt all it needed was just a simple, straight forward jacking beat. And that’s what I did. For me it was quite a surprise the release was so popular, maybe because of the fact that we kept the artists a secret for a long time. The only clue was that our initials were inscribed on the vinyl.
I read a while ago that MOS_Deep, the newest arm to the M>O>S label, was born mainly as a vehicle for providing you with new records for your DJ sets. Does that idea still hold true today, or has a new focus for MOS_Deep developed since those earlier releases?
That idea still holds true, but a release on MOS_deep has to be more than a contemporary dance floor pleaser, also on MOS_Deep I’m looking for a distinct beauty and musical relevance in the long term. At least for me personally it has to feel like that. I don’t release music following the craze of the day, all releases should be timeless in a certain way.
What can you tell us about this mix? Is there a main idea behind the mix? Who are some of the artists that feature?
Also when I play (or record a podcast), the idea of playing timeless music rather than following trends is important for me. That’s why my sets are always a mix of new, not so new and older records. For me it doesn’t matter if a track just came out or is 20 years old, if it’s a good track and didn’t lose its relevance, it fits in my sets.
In this mix I’ve hidden some tracks from my album Sketches. I also used a track from my first release ever on Rush Hour from 2001, OOXO, and some new and unreleased M>O>S tracks from Crystal Maze, Clendon Toblerone and Ike Release. Furthermore I used tracks I’ve been playing out often recently, like Joey Anderson’s After Forever album, the dark wavey Stakan from Gesloten Cirkel, Mick Wills remix of Elec 1 – Acidmark , DJ Guy and Black Sites from Miss Hauff and F#X on PAN. Also some of my favorite all-time tracks like Untitled by Richard D. James from Surfing on Sinewaves and Choke & Fly from Balil are featured in the mix.
After the album has dropped, what is the plan for you production wise? Also, what else will be coming out next on M>O>S and MOS_Deep?
Production wise I take it easy like I always do. I hope there’ll be a new Aroy Dee in a year or so. I rather wait a bit longer and be sure I really release something that matters, then having the idea I have to release a record every 3 months, like many artists do nowadays. Upcoming on M>O>S and MOS_Deep a number of 12″s from R-A-G, Vernon Felicity, Gerstaffelen, Perseus Traxx and Crystal Maze. Some yet unknown artists will have their debut, like Life’s Tracks and Stephen Breaux. A track from Stephen is featured in the mix. Besides these 12″s, in the coming year 2 album projects are lined up to be released, one of Ike Release and one of MaSpaventi.