Main operator of the Melbourne-based Power Station club night and its eponymous record label branch, minute sound tweaker, omnivorous DJ and avid industrial-EBM head, Kris Baha has emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the field of genre-mangling electronics over the last few years, releasing on labels such as Bahnsteig 23, Cocktail d’Amore and Malka Tuti.
Solo or via the duo he forms alongside Dreems, Die Orangen, Kris Bahoudian keeps exploring a wide-spanning horizon of sound, true to his love for gnarly beats, distorted audio reliefs and rust-eaten atmospheres, as further asserted by his new instalment on Patrick Marsman’s Pinkman.
Eager to find out more about the making of ‘Can’t Keep The Fact‘, from conception to completion, we sat back with Kris to chat all things studio, Berlin and the Australian scene amongst other things. Stream the highly volatile, gut-churning hustler ‘Flashback‘ down below.
Interview by Baptiste Girou
Hey Kris, your new EP ‘Can’t Keep The Fact’ is about to come out on Rotterdam’s Pinkman. Can you tell us more about it? What’s the main idea behind the record?
As cliché-ish as this sounds, it was written in a period of my life last year when I was living with a lunatic flat mate, the unraveling of the Trump presidency and how to deal with it (tied in with my lunatic flat mate) and other things going on in my life which weren’t so great (although temporary). So this was a release – hence the darker tone of the record and the title ‘Can’t Keep The Fact‘ – directly aimed at the new trend of some people not caring about facts, #fakenews or being accountable for what you may have said… #factsfirst.
It makes for a very cohesive listen, each track following the other very naturally. Were the tracks gathered from different sessions or all recorded in the same time frame?
Actually yes, most of them were taken from different sessions across three years but updated and re-done to fit this package.
How did you and Patrick Marsman first get in touch? Are you familiar with the rest of the Pinkman/Charlois catalogue?
The internet brought us together and yes, of course, I had been following the label, reaching out to Patrick and sending him some initial demos that changed about 3-4 times. Thanks for dealing with me Patrick, although for the better I’d say.
If you had to pick just one or two record(s) from the Pinkman/Charlois catalogue, what would it be?
I know you said two but here’s three:
- Bionda e Lupo – Die Kinder Aus Dem Park
- Das Ding – Industrial Universal
- Identified Patient & Sophie Du Palais – Aborting Your Dreams
How do you generally operate in the studio? Do you enjoy playing with samples, cutting and patching them to suit your whims and fantasies, or do you prefer to focus your attention on sculpting your tracks out of tailored, original sounds?
The latter. Everything is multi-tracked as live takes as I work pretty fast with my Octatrack and Tempest at the helm and then a bunch of different synths to follow suit, depending on what sound or feel I want to go after. I work pretty hard with treating synth sounds whether it is through pre-amps, outboard FX on the way in or plug-in FX. I’m a big Universal Audio and Soundtoys plugin fan.
My work habits change every couple of years though, to keep it exciting for me. For example since the last couple of years I now separate the initial creation and finishing process, jamming and then comping. As I am a sound engineer I love having the multi tracks (stems) to play with further, treat, edit, mix and also it is a good way to give myself enough time to emotionally separate myself from the creative process and to get into the next stage with a clear direction.
You’re also the driving force behind Melbourne’s label and weekly club night Power Station, which has a new mini-album courtesy of Berlin artist Piska Power coming out this month. What prompted you to release Stefan’s music?
Stefan’s music came to me via my Orangen in crime, Angus Gruzman aka Dreems. Stefan had sent Angus some demos and Angus and I were living together in Berlin in 2016 and did a music swap and I ended up with a track titled ‘DUMM DUMM‘ with no artist name and fell in love with it. Then it became the A1 on the record, ‘Riemen‘.
From there I asked Angus who the artist was and he could not recall but then after some investigation he realised it was a demo from Stefan and he put us in touch. Most of the music we put out is generally people I meet under interesting or organic situations.
What’s been the biggest change for you since moving from South Australia to Berlin? Guess it’s given you quite a lot more opportunities to share your music around…
Agreed, moving to Europe has been one of the most liberating experiences for me as an artist and as an individual, even though the hardest part was obviously leaving family and friends behind. Being half-Italian (technically an Italian citizen) there may have been some subconscious undercurrents pulling me here as well, but as you said there are more opportunities to share, everything is connected and I like that. I like inclusion.
Australia has enjoyed quite a massive upward swing regarding the output quality of its underground house and techno scene over the last decade. How do you keep up with the constant influx of new artists and structures from OZ? Which Aussie artists should we keep an eye on?
Contrary to the land mass of Australia which could create the illusion of a large dance scene, it is actually not so big and everybody knows everybody, which (I felt from my own experience) is a lucky situation to be in. That being said I haven’t been back since 2016 and have not been keeping up so it would be unfair for me to judge from abroad whilst not living there anymore about who’s on the rise.
There are loads of great Australian artists working hard across different but closely related scenes whilst being based in Australia though. Some of them whom I admire as artists and DJs: Lucy Cliche, Jensen Interceptor (coming soon on Power Station – PLUG), Andy Garvey, Forces, Tarquin Manek & Ying-Li Hooi, Laila, Forces, Kiti, Multiple Man, Michael Kuyck (Noise In My Head) to name but a few.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you bag there?
How’s 2018 shaping up for you? What will you be up to in the coming weeks?
Over the next coming months I’ll be in the studio doing mix-down work for other artists as well as finishing up my remixes for Joakim, Inhalt and Jun Ramos, as well as my LP which will come out on Cocktail d’Amore with some features from Eva Geist, Job Sifre, Alex Akers (Forces).
And regarding my other projects, with Die Orangen we also have some remix packs and originals coming from our LP ‘Zest‘, followed by a collaborative release with Jono Ma from Jagwar Ma. Also there will be another release with the talented Niklas Wandt and myself on Themes For Great Cities plus a few other bits and pieces tricking out through the year. I’ll try and sleep at some point as well.
Can’t Keep The Fact is released via Pinkman on 5th February, pre-order a copy from Bandcamp.
A1. Notion Of Dismay
B2. Safety Pin
B3. Can’t Keep The Fact