Drifting through moods with with the c- co-founder.
Slowing the pace for a sec, this week we’re joined by Ryan Loecker aka mdo, one of the three brains behind the prolific c- (c minus) mix and compilation series specialising in mind bending ambient electronics. Collaborating with some of the best new ambient producers to emerge from his hometown of Kansas and the likeminded underground hubs of LA and Berlin at the minute, mdo’s hazy takes are at the centre of a softer electronic movement driven largely by Midwestern artists through c- and labels like Motion Ward and West Mineral Ltd. Spatial and contemplative as always, we’re treated to another sublime journey for the mind here, with upcoming releases from Pontiac Streator, Ulla Straus and Phil Struck hidden along the way.
Hey Ryan, how’s things man? What’s been going on in Kansas City?
Hi Myles, I’m well thank you! It’s snowy here, but not too cold. Umfang, Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus came back to visit recently. The Chiefs are in the playoffs ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You’re one of the brains behind the brilliant mix series and digi label c-, a welcome hub for eclectic minds with ambient sonics venturing across the entire vibe spectrum. Tell us how that all got started and what is the general approach with it all?
It’s three of us – me, Ken (Pil) & Eli. We’ve been travelling and throwing parties together for a few years. With the compilations, I just aim to release fun/chill tunes from friends and artists I admire. With the mix series, I try to make sure it doesn’t cater to any one specific person. Try to find something for everyone, but still keep it personal in some way..
There’s been a fresh new wave of ambient producers from Kansas in recent years with artists across labels like Motion Ward, West Mineral Ltd. and your own c- compilations to name a few. What might you put this down to? Do you feel like there’s some common themes of inspiration among the artists?
Good question. There’s something special about Kansas..
I was listening to Huerco S., Exael, Ulla Straus, Beta Librae, Pontiac Streator & Mister Water Wet before I was involved with music at all.. Out to Gabe/Lillerne Tapes as well. They’re all really deep, sincere people. I think that comes through in the music. Jesse (Motion Ward) isn’t from Kansas but is another amazing person/one of my best friends.
Things seem like they’ve been coming together nicely on the production front for you as well with some new collaborative works alongside Soft Fit for Ambient Assistance, and another under a new moniker with Ultrafog and ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ that was recently previewed in Nadia Khan’s RA podcast. Tell us some more about those projects, and why you enjoy the collaborative approach in the studio?
Yes shoutout Nadia Khan! Ultrafog, ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ and I are in a band together called Folder. Hopefully our first full-length will come out this year – it’s finished.
I feel that collaboration is a good way to stay in touch with friends. Kris (Soft Fit) is such a great dude. We’ve made a couple tracks together and I hope to work on more. Kouhei (Ultrafog) and I are very close friends, but we only get to see each other about once a year. None of these tracks get made ‘in the studio’, we’re just sending each other samples via Facebook messenger.
What can you tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us? Any special tracks you would like to mention?
Just drifting through different moods I’ve been feeling lately. Good for early or late hours. Keep any eye out for upcoming releases from Pontiac Streator, Ulla Straus & Phil Struck.
I see you’re heading over to the Euro zone with Jesse from Motion Ward in June, what can you tell us about all that?
Yes very excited! Looking forward to meeting some online friends and visiting some new places.
Jesse, Pil, Ultrafog & I will be over there in June. Berlin, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, maybe more?
What else do you guys have coming up with c- this year?
Our next compilation ‘cm008’ will drop soon. We also plan to do a spring event series in Kansas City with Huerco S. & Nadia Khan. Hot mix from Myles Mac coming soon…
id theme – red canoe
madegg – yellow
ecology141 – eupho
shintaro matsuo – track 5
jonathan william scherk – you make
mistareez – acne [unreleased]
ben bondy – echinasea 2 [unreleased]
ulla straus & js – sun [unreleased]
crys cole & oren ambarchi – burrata
ura – winter 2018 [unreleased]
seekersinternational – movement
lena tsibizova – stinky scarf
mutate3k – safeguard (art crime remix)
mental mixing – 2po
mistareez – errant cloud [unreleased]
phil struck – speckenback [forthcoming seance centre]
exael – papillion [unreleased]
sasha very – sound of superstitions
ulla straus – leaves and wish [unreleased]
pontiac streator – transier unt [forthcoming motion ward]