Had a lovely sit down chat with the guys at Ring Of Neptune Agency to discuss Berlin life and how my passion for collaborating music with art runs deep.
Hi Daniel, welcome to the PN Interscapes series. How are you feeling lately?
Hi Bruno, thanks for inviting me to do a feature artwork for Myles’ mix. I’ve been good, keeping as busy as possible while patiently waiting for things to get rocking and rolling once more. Had my first vaccine jab last week, which put me out of action for a few days but now I’m fighting fit again!
Are you keeping active & creative? You feel these past periods had an impact on you?
During this whole lockdown, I have had the opportunity to keep busy designing and creating, which has probably kept the wheels turning. It’s given me a chance to go back to the drawing board and look into new styles and avenues of design. Recently I have been working a lot with digital artworks and motion graphics. I specialize in graphic design for work, so it’s great to incorporate my creative side with more commercial projects.
When did you move to Berlin? Do you still find Berlin and its music scene inspiring?
I moved to Berlin 3 and a half years ago. I had set my eye on this place while still based in Leeds doing my master’s in art & design. With regular visits coming here to watch my mates spin and the unique art culture that seemed to slip in and around every corner of the city, I knew this was where I was heading. I did a couple of years in Dubai to build my design portfolio up and hosted my first solo exhibition there, then a stint in South America, and then it was time to set myself up here.
The music scene for me is growing and growing. I am surrounded by DJs and producers in their prime, so I seem to be spoilt for choice. On arrival to Berlin, I ended up shacking up with Josh Tweek from The Ghost I lived with back in Leeds. He introduced me to the tightly knit group of ‘sound heads’ that he beers with, and it’s nice to be one of the few visual artists in the group. From there, I moved on to living under the same roof as Huerta, who also offered up consistent daily bangers, so it’s always inspiring to see my mates producing at the highest level.
Your style is very particular. What are your main techniques?
Since I was 15 years old, my primary creative weapon of choice has been a scalpel and a black canvas which I cut and peel to reveal white underneath, leaning into the apparent limitations of a black surface. I’m inspired by life, nature, and structure – and I love to throw these ideas into an abstract form. These ‘still’ images achieve their animated effect through the fluid lines that I favor. Using a scalpel without any guidelines is fun because it means there are no mistakes! Every work is a one-take, free-form improvisation. From here, I like to bring my artworks onto the computer to reinterpret them digitally: applying color, zooming in to create more abstraction, or else repeating patterns for a kaleidoscopic effect.
I’ve seen your work also appearing on labels of some records. Since when have you been doing freelance work like this?
It was always a dream of mine to design artworks for vinyl covers. My first cover was for Andy Ash on Fullbarr Records back in 2014. After that, I was contacted by Berlin-based label Dreamers Recordings and have done the last 5 artworks for their releases, and last year I was invited to do 4 releases for Opia Records. It’s been a perfect way to crossover my love of music with my passion for art.
And video? Is it another one of your passions?
Yeah, visuals and animations have been some of the most exciting projects I have been working on in the last few years. I have jumped into experimenting with video-based modular synths, which has opened up many new avenues for creativity. In the last couple of years, the gigs have started to come in, which has been great. I’ve had some incredible gigs at Gottwood Festival, Houghton, Free Rotation, CDV, and Hoppetosse… Last year, I was invited to create a feature-length visual for Huerta‘s downtempo album Junipero on Andy Hart‘s Voyage Recordings. During lockdown, I teamed up with Josh to create our own audiovisual series called Boshcast, where we have invited the likes of Bruno Schmidt and Sugar Free to lay down an eclectic range of grooves — I provide the visuals, and we live-stream each episode online. I can’t wait for clubs and festivals to open back up to get the chance to perform again, hopefully, this summer.
Tell us more about “Just Jamming”? What was your creative process, and how did the music from Myles inspire it?
After listening to Myles’s mix, I wanted to create the idea of excitement, movement, and vibrance but keep a clean structure with shapes locking together. Each track is unique and beautifully blended from one to the other. I wanted to keep that idea of individual shapes coming together to create something unique, with each object complementing its neighbors. I’ve titled this one ‘Just Jamming.’
I’ve seen some lovely works done together with Conxi. Are you planning on doing more collaborations with her or other artists alike?
It was great to link up with Conxi in the last couple of years. She has been an incredible inspiration in terms of evolving my style and thought process. We are pretty similar in creating abstract characters and forms, so when we put our heads together for the first time, it felt right. We are currently in the middle of our third piece together, and hopefully, this will continue for many years to come as she offers up a whole fresh bag of wild ideas. I am always open to collaborations as it gives scope to experiment and develop new styles of work.
Short, medium and long-term goals?
In the short term, I would say is to keep pursuing opportunities to create more audiovisual experiences. I’ve just bought a new video synth, so that will keep me entertained for the foreseeable future. I’d love to look at applying for my work on clothing and textiles in the near future. My long-term goal is to eventually open up a gallery space here in Berlin. It was the 5-year goal I set myself when arriving here, to have a space where I can host audio-visual experiences and have a physical space for my work.
Full interview here: https://www.ringsofneptune.com/pluie-noir-interscapes-09/