Best known as Conforce, the conceptual producer whose works on Clone, Delsin and Rush Hour have helped shape the most recent techno movement in Holland, Boris Bunnik is undoubtably one of the most innovative contemporary artists around.
Bunnik’s history as a documentary photography and audiovisual designer consistently influence his long playing releases, with his most recent offering for Delsin, Kinetic Image, also integrating a full audiovisual performance to assist in conceptualising the project. Atmospheric techno is yet only one of many fields of expertise for the Dutch producer, with an arsenal of work under aliases Hexagon, Versalife and Vernon Felicity on labels likes M>O>S, Frustrated Funk and Clone’s West Coast Series adding to an already mouthwatering discography.
Fittingly, his addition to our series as Conforce is a deeply atmospheric affair, blending ambient soundscapes with murky techno in what is one of the most contemplative selections we’ve come across to date.
What have you been upto recently? I see you’ve been busy working on some new Versalife material, what can you tell us about that?
The most important thing is that I’ve moved to another city, namely Rotterdam. It was no longer possible for me to live up north because of logistical and work / profession related matters. So I’m grounding a little bit in my new place and the next step is to rebuild my studio in a more comfortable setting because I’m currently working from my kitchen table. It’s fun to have racks and other equipment in a strange setting, it forces you to be creative with very little but in the end I have to build it up again in a separate space. I had a lot of last minute gig requests recently so that’s what I have been doing also.
Production wise there are a few things coming up. Two EPs as Versalife for the electro orientated imprint Frustrated Funk.
This is again a bit of a more story telling concept series of around seven tracks spread over two records.
Delsin will also release a new Conforce EP soon, I made a few tracks after the album that have more similarities with the former Conforce records on Delsin. Moody with a lot of string pads and more 4/4 driven beats.
As Hexagon I will release two remixes next month on my own label Transcendent, these are part of an EP from a new artist named Caron from my former hometown, the record is called the Dualism EP.
I’ve read that as a photographer you’re generally most inspired by people and the environment.. I’m interested to know which cultures, people or places you have visited have inspired you the most of late?
I was in Russia for almost nine days last month, it was a strange and bizarre experience in many ways. I really enjoyed St. Petersburg because of its cultural places and museums. It’s the most western orientated place in Russia I think.
A while ago I played in Mexico, also a very corrupt and dangerous place in some ways but also a very inspiring and beautiful country. I’ve decided to do a road trip there with a former classmate and take a look at some hidden paradises in the country. Mexico City is a very progressive and vivid city if you are in the right neighbourhoods. The people in general are by far the most hospitable and helpful ones I’ve experienced in my whole life. It’s less individually driven and narcist than most bigger cities nowadays in my opinion.
But of course Japan is also a very different kind of place, something you have to experience for sure if you like technology and good food. We always speak about the world but in my opinion these countries are all worlds on their own with a lot of different cultural nuances. Every place has its charm but with some you can identify just a little bit more than others. But, I love to be at home, it’s not that I need it continuously, travel is in most cases work related and not for a holiday but you try to make the best out of it all and never complain.
Tell us about the audiovisual performance that you’ve recently created with Patrik Johannson as a part of your recent album tour, where have you showcased it so far, and what do you think makes it unique?
What makes it unique is that we both put our own signatures on a backing idea of the album’s musical intention in the form of a performance. A total experience of sound and images that have a consistency and coherency. We did it two times thus far and it was a very unique way of expressing my music. The are some technical specs that are really necessary, screens etc, but once this is present it can be very overwhelming.
The music from the album is very scarce and stripped back but in the right setting it pops out and can feel really intense I think. There are more settings for electronic music, I felt that a live show with this album wouldn’t do right to the music in a club setting.
You have talked a lot about the role experimentation plays throughout your sound production process. I’m curious to know if there is a particular bit of gear that in your studio that continually surprises you in terms of what weird and wonderful sounds you’re able to create from it?
The fun thing is that it shifts all the time! And that keeps in interesting. In the end you always follow your hearing and intuition to certain timbres you want to create. Getting to know your gear is one, but refreshing from time to time is another thing. It’s about reinventing oneself sometimes in the studio or workflow. I’m not the type that likes to play with two vintage drum machines and a classic synth all the time. It’s fun also but some more imaginary sounds are really more important for me. I think it doesn’t really matter what you use nowadays, it’s how you use it. Personally I love FM and wavetable synthesizers but sometimes I go completely digital.
What have you come up with for this mix? What was the main idea behind the selection?
The mix was made in different places whilst being on the road. That is the advantage of digital mixing. That you can work on your passion wherever you are and be creative with it I think. So it’s more of a conceptual studio mix maybe with smooth and floating transmissions of elements of different tracks. So nothing conservative here. It’s a blend of new and old material that I think still sounds up to date and maybe more fresh than what I heard recently maybe. It’s a transition from more ambient experimental sounds to more techno orientated tracks.
What else do you have coming up?
A hot baked baguette coming from my oven right now! It’s Sunday 10.00 in the morning.