Cosmic creativity: DJ Fett Burger talks doodles, junk food and comics

 
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Art & Culture
Written by Sharon Andrews

‘Creativity is like a magnet to me.’ As an external party, you can see that this declaration from Peter Mitterer couldn’t be more true. Under his DJ Fett Burger moniker, Peter’s output has been prolific and steadfast, be that through his pursuits as a DJ, a producer, a designer, a label boss or as a curator.

Growing up in the industrial surroundings of Moss in Norway, Peter’s urge to create became one that would dictate his life’s path. Both him and his brother DJ Sotofett found freedom in music, drawing and graffiti — activities that have since become their longterm vocations.

As the co-founder of Sex Tags Mania and the driving force behind the well-respected Trush Mix series, Peter – who has been based in Berlin for several years now – has found a way of marrying his two passions through both his own personal output and the other artists he’s showcased across the two platforms.

Off the back of his latest musical offering – an atmospheric breaks-driven rerub of Ponty Mython for our pals at Not An Animal – he dives deep into a ton of subjects, from his work in the visual arts and fascination with comics to the importance of freedom of thought.

 

Are you obsessed with fast food?

No. I mostly like healthy food. I’m a healthy lifestyle person. But fast food is cool in a different way. So, I like it for that, and it inspires me in a weirder way than healthy food! More humour to it! Fast food is really good for my artistic career.

To say you are a creative soul doesn’t really cut it. Where do you think this driving creative spirit has its roots?

Creativity is one of the four most important things in my life. Those are freedom, love, creativity, and health. And since creativity is among those four things, it’s no way without that in my life. It’s just one of those things that keep me moving, and make me to who I am, and want to be. So, as long there is an inner drive, there will be creativity. Or it has to be replaced with something else I value equally high, but that hasn’t happened yet. Creativity is like a magnet to me, and it absorbs me in the most meaningful and productive way! It gives me joy, meaning and opportunities, and it builds social connections, and love relationships in my life, so it’s something that is rooted deeply within me, and it’s only a blessing.

Non creativity is horror to me. So, I need to stay in the creative sphere to be inspired and happy.

There are many faces of Peter Mitterer – Fett Burger, DJ Dog and Dogg. What strikes me as much as your music are your doodles. Your vision and your hands are wild! Would you tell us some more about the visual artist in you?

The visual artist is always there, present in everything I do. It’s inseparable from the other things I do. I always see myself as an artist, I’m no musician. I’m an artist. The way I think is always idea based, with a conceptual mindset and awareness. It’s always a whole project planned in my head when I do something, or things I make fit into a bigger whole. Of course, I do a lot of intuitive projects and tons of collaborations, but it all has to go together as part of my bigger wholistic project. And that’s something I have been working on from the very beginning. So, it’s like an organic and living production machine. Everything from projects, labels, tracks, drawings, exhibitions, graphic work, interviews, social connections, even stupid mistakes, and I’ve done many of those, make a purpose in my artistic project in one or the other way. And it’s a world of unlimited creative opportunities, and that’s how I want it, so that’s why I have been very aware curating my career after this idea and mindset from the very beginning. It’s always more then you hear or see behind the Burger man or a Sex Tags project. Always a story with it. And that’s important, I think!

And since freedom is the most important thing in my life, I chose a path that makes it possible for me to be as independent and free as possible. And I’m lucky, since DJing and my records have given me that opportunity. My international DJ career started fairly late, before that I was mainly occupied making exhibitions and other visual art projects. But always with music, DJing and the label activity as a combination. So, I have always merged music and art. I found the art-world tiering, and the music scene came along with opportunities I wanted in my life, so here I am like I am!

In the end all my projects, and things I do are about social connections with people. So, I basically provide an artistic output for creating those relations with people. I stick to a fairly strict or puristic aesthetics visually and musically. But in the end, everything is more about the non-visual, the conceptual ideas, and the social and spiritual connections. And those are omnipresent and have no physical shape. It’s like air, or it can be shapeshifting like water. Always on the move forward towards something new. But to get there I need to follow a path and have some guidelines, so that’s a good reason for me to have a set production, strong aesthetic, and a pretty consistent output.

Your style is raw and almost childlike, but with deep and out-of-this-galaxy sensibilities. Tell us of your fascination with comic books, Sci-Fi, UFOs, and stuff not from this world?

Comics are something I always loved, since I was a kid. Especially the things from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. And some new stuff. I just love the stories, the drawings, if they are well made. And the fantasy worlds. I’m a big fan of the mainstream superhero comics, Marvel and DC stuff. But also like more classy and alternative stuff. Good or cool drawings and a catchy or deep story are the most important for me. One of my favourite comic stories is Thorgal. A Viking story, with Sci-Fi elements. The longer you get in the story, the more spaced out and spiritual things become. It’s a circle, and everything has meaning. Such a nice story. But also, I really love funny stuff like Gaston, Franquin’s drawings are the best!

Wish I had the talent to draw like a great comic artist, but I don’t, so have to be a fan who gets inspired instead! And make my own projects based on that. But that’s good also!

I like when you can combine supernatural and spiritual stuff with ordinary things.

Lot of the comics also have a lot of ordinary life things in them, and also between the lines there can be reflections, and possibilities for sub interpretations. And I love that. Creating your own stories by looking at the images and make new associations. Maybe someone finds this weird! Guess comics in general are not really seen as a high-end intellectual thing really. Depends on what it is of course. But it definitely feeds the creativity and the fantasy for me.

Comics have been a major inspiration for my visual and graphic art, as everyone can see. I just love how they are printed, especially the 70s-80s magazines. The ink on the paper, the colouring. Everything looks good! It’s a vibe and a feeling. It’s some of the ultimate graphic for me. And it’s so much of it, it’s an endless inspiration.

Also, when things get old, it’s another element to it, both in a visual way, and as an idea. Since many of the ideas and stories are supernatural, Sci-Fi or out of this world, they are not outdated. And it’s made in a simple and limited way, it doesn’t lose its edge.

And on the printed matter itself, when the paper and material becomes crispy, raw, and dirty from wear and age, or the sun will either fade out the colours, or make the pages yellow or brown, the message on the pages can get lost, it’s like a living organism, it’s beautiful and it’s alive. It changes and it becomes something new. The story gets lost in the faded pages, and new ideas and interpretations can be made. Time adds all those extra elements and layers. This is living art. This is for me the novelty of printed matter! Just thinking of it makes me almost cry of excitement and joy!

Did you train to be a graphic artist, or did you just pick up a Biro?

Never had any formal graphic training. But always been doing creative stuff and visual things since I was a kid. And both my brother and me got exposed and interested in graphics and printing since we were small, because our step father used to work with computer systems for printing. And his dad used to own a small offset pressing plant in Grønland, on the east side of Oslo, that used to be a pretty ruff, and run-down area in the end of 80’s – beginning of 90’s. So, the fascination for the raw, vintage design and print has always been there. It goes deep, and it’s a personal thing.

Later the whole underground culture with posters and stickers got on to us, that came through hip hop and graffiti in the beginning, and we became aware that every other scene, punk rock, hardcore, rockabilly, club culture, and so on also got their own style, designs, but still the same flyer and poster culture.

Also, Sakhö Recordings and Keys of Life from Helsinki, with Tommi, Harri and Vilunki 3000 had a huge impact. Because they basically did what has become so popular now, way before anybody was aware that vintage prints where amazing. They also put a lot of local jokes on their work, and it became something unique and original, amazing stuff. So, they are in many ways mentors for a lot of the early stuff. And from these things among others the Sex Tags graphic style developed and became a thing, starting in the early 2000’s.

So, when we did our fine art education and then after that worked as artists, the graphic part has always been a huge part of the work, and became an important element for the artistic communication, promotion and in general a style. Both in a visual way but also as a more in-depth idea-based language.

I think it’s important to put some of your own context and identity into the work. Like on an idea- based level. Put your own language and voice into what you’re doing. Then it becomes interesting, I think.

Have you ever had an exhibition of your work in the UK? You had stuff in Norway, right?

Never had an exhibition in the UK, did a temporary mural in Edinburgh two years ago, but that’s it. In Norway I have done tons of exhibitions and similar projects.

Would love to do stuff in the UK though! Have enough stuff to fill a museum!

We need a Fett Burger book of Sex Tags, rave flyers & posters! Can you do this for us?

Would be great to do a book sometimes that covers a lot of the visual creative side.

If so, I want people to know it’s out and happening big time!

On the SPLASH Magazine you work with Bjarne Melgaard, right? He does the base art and then you mix it up? Is that how it goes?

On the first edition of SPLASH, it was a collaboration with Bjarne Melgaard. It all happened by a coincidence through other things. But I just asked Bjarne if he wanted to send me some drawings for a magazine, I been a fan of his art and always loved his expressive drawings, and he sent me the whole Theresa Duncan thing. Which I don’t have much relation to. That was his idea and project. I just reproduced the things he sent, remade, and added elements, and put it together as a magazine. Basically, I did a visual remix of his idea and parts! But of course, it has a very strong presence of my visual signature in it, I always leave a strong signature when I do projects with others. That’s how that came about!

You’ve had four editions, but can we talk about Theresa Duncan. This is one spooky story that gets deeper and more mysterious by the moment. What’s your take on this? How often do you produce the mag? Where can we find it?

I have made four editions of SPLASH Megazine till now. And they can for now be found on my Bandcamp.

I just make one whenever I feel like, the first was made back in 2013, then the second in 2016, and the two last ones I did last year, 2020. Planned to make another one, but then I did other things. It’s just a whenever I want kinda thing. it’s pretty niche, so it’s not like the world is holding its breath  while waiting for the next issue. But it will come sooner than later, maybe.

With the whole theme in the first issue, I really don’t know much about it. Doesn’t really interest me so much either. Did some research and learnt a few new things. I got aware of oxycodone, and all that.

But yeah, for me other things about the project where more interesting.

I think it was just really cool to do this project with Bjarne Melgaards stuff, and also, I’m really happy about some of the pages and the cover artwork I put together visually speaking. So yeah, that’s my take on it.

Casa De Fett looks like a highly industrious place, your music output, the labels, your pen work. Do you ever take the time to not work? What do you do to relax?

Casa de Fett! A place where dreams come though, and the unknown becomes known!

I like to be very productive. But I’m using a lot of my time not working, lazing around.

But my brain is always working. I have this ability to get a lot of things done, even if I sometimes don’t do much. It’s a wonder of the world for sure. So, I’m lucky. (But it’s a secret trick to that ability, and most people can learn it).

Often, I think of how much I could have done if I actually had been working making things most of my time. It would be amazing how much it would be. But I just have to follow my energy level, and creativity. I can only get things done when I’m inspired really. I’m a fast worker. That’s how it is for me.

When I relax, I like to sit down listen to music, and think.

You talk a lot about freedom of thought. Is that a choice you’ve made in your life? Is this a way you were raised to think? Do you have to work at free-thinking?

It’s super important to have freedom of thought. Especially if you are an artist, but I think freedom of thought is important for humans in general. It’s the basis of being an artist, and a human that wants to express something. Without freedom of thought, no creativity, and no new, interesting ideas, no life basically. Freedom of thought is what’s needed to keep things moving. And then later you can argue about good or bad ideas of course. But freedom of thought is the first spark in every fire.

I was raised to learn to think a bit extra about things, which was done by my step father. I remember one time when I was maybe ten years old, the whole class got some “tricky” homework. And it was so easy to solve. But then he said to me, just take another look at this again please, and actually try this out. It was something like, how many scissor cuts do you need to make seven pieces of paper out of a paper sheet. The easy answer was seven cuts of course, but if you try, it is six.

Because the last cut makes two pieces. Of course! The next day in school I was the only kid who got it right.

Another time in school they talked about the polar bears you see when you look out the window on both poles, this was of course a trick question from the teacher. And everybody went along with it. But I just randomly said, no, it depends what pole you are on. And of course, again, it depends, since polar bears only exist on the northern hemisphere.

These are of course super banal and simple things. And it’s basic critical thinking. But I was only a kid, and in these moments, I realised one thing. It was very strange and fantastic at the same time, I was alone, and I outsmarted a whole group of people, actually the whole class, just by thinking differently than everybody else. It was an inner rush. It was bliss, I felt different! And it stuck with me ever since. My brother and me, have always been the two with a different twist, and it made a huge impact in our lives.

So, from there I learnt and cultivated that side of life. Free thinking is a beautiful thing. And it has to be something you have to work on. Being critical to what you hear and what you see. And trying to understand things on a deeper level or broader context is good. But not only that, also to dare to move towards what you believe in, it’s difficult to go against the current and the opinions of the majority in a given context sometimes. It’s a risk always, since you actually make a statement that you are different from them or disagree. And majorities don’t like that. Doesn’t matter what political side you are on, as we so clearly see in these days. You become a burden, and it can create waves of things they can’t control, or elements they don’t want. So, the easiest thing is to cancel you or make things uncomfortable. So, it’s definitely not for everybody.

I’m not saying it is a point being different or go against the current for the sake of it. I think freedom of thought is connected to being enlightened and try to do smart and reflected choices in a broader perspective. At least that’s what it is for me.

Also listen and learn before rushing away with things that are good. Trying to learn about the things you engage in are important. Doing a bit extra research and ask questions, and sometimes listening to opinions of those you disagree with, can be a good eye opener, you might learn a lot. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, or things can be challenging. But it can be a lot to learn about you and yourself, or your set opinions. Hard to see yourself from the outside from your likeminded peers.

Freedom of thought is essential in every way. That’s the only thing I can say.

You think things through, and hopefully good things are expressed, or good actions come out of it.

It can go both ways of course. evil brains can also use the power of thought their way. So, it’s like a sharp knife, hopefully it’s a tool for the good! That would be the ideal of course.

Being a wizard of sound, your experimental approach can often be niche. Does this phase you or please you? Do you feel the need to reach the masses?

I’m glad you think I’m a wizard in sound. Quite special to be that!

I would love to reach big masses. But I also want things to be creative, and a bit out of the standard route. I would love to make big mainstream hits, but they have to be in a way and in a quality I appreciate. And I’m not able to, or still have not been able to make music that is on that level.

I’m not a musician, so I use my skills in a bit of a different way, what lacks in musical standards I fill out with creativity and experimental approach. So, my musical output always becomes  a more quirky or niche thing. And it’s pretty raw since I’m not a high tech/hi-fi kind of dude. So, I just have to do my thing really. Seems like there is a scene out there that like it. But it would be really great to reach big masses with what I do. That would be exciting, and weird!

It’s also good to stick to something I feel I can develop further. And always nice to have a personal touch within the artistic output. And I know I have that. And that is more important than making big hits, or become famous, I think. And most important, I enjoy what I do. Just that is a reason to keep on moving with a big smile!

Not An Animal Records are a couple of English blokes from the North, living in London. How did you hook up with this slick comedy duo? What have you done on your rerub?

I never met them, in fact I don’t even know who they are, except the name Not An Animal Records. I got a remix request from them, and I did make a mix. And they liked what I made, so it will be out on a record soon! I guess that’s why I do this interview now.

You’ve got a good thing going on with Jayda G. Why have you collaborated with her so much?

Here goes the story!

Jayda and me, meet in 2014 through a mutual friend in Berlin. And we got really close. She was totally new to DJing, but was talented, had a great energy, and really good music taste, so I invited her to play at parties with me, some here in Berlin, like a party called Welcome To The Pleasuredome, which I did together with good friend Double Dancer at Paloma. Or the basement parties I did at Samehead with PLO Man.

Around that time Jayda and I started to organise underground parties together in Vancouver as well, and we called them Freakout Cult Parties. On these parties we played, but also invited friends and locals like Hashman Deejay, LNS or Scott W to play with us. I made the flyers for the parties, and since they were illegal the promotion was very secretive, and just a few selected artist studio spaces were used for these parties. There was a really fun and great energy in Vancouver at the time! The timing for these kinds of parties was perfect! It was just before and when Vancouver got the big hype, before that bubble burst it was really cool!

Then Jayda and I made two tracks for fun,” NYC Party Track” and “Wind Waker”. And we really liked them. Jayda had never produced music before, so I showed her how to produce, use Ableton and electronic music gear. Since we really liked the tracks, we wanted to release them. At the time I wanted a small break from Sex Tags UFO. And Jayda wanted to make music and needed a platform for her releases. So, we started the Freakout Cult label in 2015. And “NYC Party Track” was the first release. A grand introduction to the international underground DJ scene for Jayda G. And another label venture for me.

Our relationship ended, and so did the label, and our collaboration. And we went each our ways! Jayda up to the stars, and me still rollin’ hard in the underground!

The time we had together was a beautiful and exciting time, full of fun memories.

Musically and personally!

We hear a lot of Tromsø on the edge of the arctic circle, cut off from the rest of the world, churning out a scene and a huge amount of talent. Insomnia looks like a great place to party. One thousand miles away from your hometown of Moss, how do the towns compare? Is there a scene in Moss?

I don’t think the two places compare at all really. Except that they are both medium size cities in a Norwegian standard, and what comes with that.

Moss has kind of a small DJ scene. Mostly consisting of friends, I have known for twenty years or so. Don Papa, Tage from Fan Club, the reggae dub Soundsystem Kambo Supersound, and Lene B, she is a party starter! Some other personalities as well. Hip hop producer Palla B, Christian Oberti, he has been a producer for thirty years, but never records or releases stuff. Kokk n Roll and Frisyro Bolani both live in Oslo but play occasionally in Moss. Then it’s AK and some other dudes and hopefully girls who roll. But I don’t think it’s much more. At least not as far as I know of.

Tage from Fan Club has this year done a monthly club night at a place called House of Foundation. And it’s going really well! And I’m super happy about that!

So, there you go! Moss massive! 411 for ever!

Will Berlin to be your forever home? Will you go back across the Baltic sea someday?

That’s not the plan to stay here forever! The dating scene is horrible in this city, no funk and soul, or humour hahaha! But many other good things. Only the future will tell what there is to come!

Free thinkers don’t tend to follow the advice of others so much. Is there some advice that you’ve had along your way that sticks with you?

If you take a shower in a bath tub, make sure to have the shower curtain on the inside of the tub, because if the curtain is on the outside, the floor will get wet!

What do you think is the greatest threat to humankind? What should we do to stop it?

Think pretty much humans are the greatest threat to ourselves and everything we do to mess up our life and planet. So probably need to reprogram our mindset and learn to have a more in general healthy balance to life and our planet, to keep the things we need to live on a functional level.

Not gonna be easy. Major changes never are. But better to try than not.

Tell us you’re coming to the UK soon please.

I would love to come over to UK soon again, especially London. Has been way too long since last I was there. I always have a great time! Love the vibe!

All time sci-fi film?

I really like John Carpenters ‘The Thing’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ movie from 1979. These movies are made in such a remarkable stylish way, and on point aesthetically, even if they are old, they aren’t outdated. And of course, both of these films have an amazing story and build up. I like the horror aspect of them both. Everything is made in a great way!

Sex or ice-cream?

Sex!

Burgers or pizza?

I like both really good! Depends on the situation. Sometimes burger, sometimes pizza! Can’t make up my mind!

ACTION SHADOW! Roll it Caballero!

Buy Ponty Mython – Onimano X991 (feat. DJ Fett Burger Remix).