Inspired by Underground Resistance ‘DIY’ attitude, Rod Modell did something a lot of producers would think was crazy. In the 90s he turned down some the worlds top techno labels to start his own. But after 20 years and 50 releases later, the decision paid off.
After being submerged in the Detroit techno scene, Modell started experimenting with techno and co-founded DeepChord in the mid-90s. After 16 releases he then founded Echospace. His releases “The Coldest Season” (2007) and “Liumin” (2010) are critically acclaimed electronic music classics with critics saying “This album is bound to be one of the most fully realized listening experiences to grace your stereo this year, and is proof positive that DeepChord and Echospace are the rightful heirs to the dub techno legacy”.
Dub techno is a sound that continues to be experimented with throughout the world but DeepChord was the original. He’s headlining A Lovers Rock Showcase at Good Room on July 16 with Lovers Rock founder Ital calling his work “Raw yet otherworldly, the album became an obsession, one of those records that keeps revealing different sides of itself the more you get into it”. We asked Rod to share some of his inspirations ahead of the party in this Good Talk.
What is your holy grail of records?
Not sure I can recall a Holy Grail, only some interesting ones… like many of Hafler Trio’s albums, or maybe more recently… Jan Jelinek’s “Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples” project. I like albums that buck trends and do things differently. “Un Peu De Neige Salie” by Bernhard Günter and “Leisure Zones” by Bernd Friedmann taught me volumes about negative space and less being more. Sound effect and field recordings are more interesting to me than any music to me. Like the field recordings of JeanLuc Herelle. Some Fushitsusha records were really religious experiences for me.
If you could choose anyone to dance to one of your sets who would it be?
Charles Manson or The Pope, because it would be really interesting.
Has the dance music industry changed for better or worse since you started playing/making music?
Absolutely worse, big time. Things seem far more disposable nowadays. Back in the mid 1980’s, you would buy an album, and it was your favorite album for a year. In the 1990’s, the thrill would last 34 months, and today… you’re onto something new in 3 days. Shelf life of a new project is ultra short. There are no more classics anymore.
Output is higher than ever, and quality is lower than ever. The side effect of cheap, easily accessible technology. Synth companies are retarding the current stateoftheart by churning out so much garbage. Everything is repackaged 1970’s technology. There have been little-to-no interesting products in the last 20 years in my opinion. In the last 40 years, synth technology has advanced 5 years. It’s a sad state of affairs. Very disheartening. Makes me want to go back to playing bass guitar.
What would be your last meal on earth and to which sound track?
A big bowl of Tetsugakudou Ramen at this little place in Tokyo just outside the Uguisudani Station, with “Trust Me” by Mick Karn playing in my earbuds. Or a nuttydonut and cup of coffee in some seedy 24hour donut shop at 3am on a rainy night, while listening to “Midnight Radio” by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. That would be nice too.
Could you share with us five tracks you’ve been digging lately…
Krishna Das: – “Township Krishna”
Because it’s just so happy. A great way to start every day.
DeepChord – “Red Lantern” (Hanyo Van Oosterom’s Red Lantern at the Kallikatsou Version)
This is an unreleased version of a Deepchord track that was remixed by a friend from Rotterdam Netherlands. He recently sent it to me, and I’ve been listening to it ever since.
Ray Conniff: – “La Mar”
Great summer music.
Emmylou Harris & Gram Parsons – “Love Hurts”
One of my favorite covers (probably tied with Jose Feliciano’s “Light My Fire”).
Carlos Puebla – “Hasta Siempre, Comandante Che Guevara”
DeepChord is playing at Good Room on July 16 at A Lovers Rock Showcase with Ital, Gunnar Haslam, Earthen Sea and Sweet & Low. Tickets available here.