Premiere: Adra – Arrakis
It's a fair slog to plow through all the promos that land on the doorstep of Ransom Note Towers, but we try our best – and discoveries like Adra are the reason why. A newcomer who grew up in dusty surroundings of Nevada before moving to San Francisco, Adra (otherwise known Alandria Scheffer) has kicked off her own Denied American Techno label with a superb 4 track EP, Fear Is The Mindkiller. Arrakis, The track we're premiering today is – and we don;t say this lightly – near perfect. When we say 'techno' this is the sound we mean – cycles of machine music locked into an infinite spiral of andoid funk, machine music shot through with human warmth, both alien and familiar. The fact it's named after the desert planet of Frank Herbert's Dune series only gives it extra retro-future points.
As Adra's such a mystery, we thought we'd fire her some questions to go with the premiere, read below, grab yourself a copy of the full Fear is the Mindkiller EP from her bandcamp, and while you're at it, follow her on twitter over here.
What sort of stuff were you listening to in Nevada as a kid?
Industrial punk & metal. Stuff like Throbbing Gristle, Severed Heads, Crass, Judas Priest, Slayer, etc.
When were you exposed to techno?
I don't recall the exact moment but Richie Hawtin's Plastikman Sheet One got into my hands. After that I started digging in…then came Robert Hood & Jeff Mills followed by many others.
Was there any opportunity to go out and hear the music, or was your interest maintained by internet exploration?
Las Vegas didn't offer anything for Techno. We would head out into the desert parties mapped out by glow sticks in the dirt leading into a ditch powered up by generators and whatever local DJs were around to spin some records. Which mostly was house jungle & happy hardcore.
What was the inspiration behind your move to San Francisco?
A lot of my friends had made the move. I was flying back and forth visiting. I needed to get out of the desert and find some substance. An opportunity for a room opened up, I packed a suitcase and that was that.
Arrakis has become a real favourite for us, what were you thinking about when you made it?
The melody for that happened over 2 years ago so it's hard to recall what I was thinking, just making a lot of music non stop. Later on I was digging into those old files and found it again. A local techno mentor actually convinced me to do more with it, so I added some spice.
Do you have an internal mental image that goes with the track? And were you particularly inspired by anyone?
When I make music in general I tend to picture dark, dystopian troubled planets. I don't pick one person to be inspired by. It's more of a collection of artists mashed together in my brain.
Who would you get to make the video for Arrakis, and what would you have them do?
Heleen Blanken who did Rødhåd's video and give full control to do whatever.
Are you a big fan of Dune? Be honest – have you read all of the Dune books? And what do you think of the film?
A fan, yes. Dune had a local Vegas Cult following. We were all into it. I didn't read all the books, just a fair amount and the comic book. I love David Lynch so anything he touches I have nothing bad to say. I think he captured the essence of the Dune story, and eliminated what he needed to make it fit as a film.
Fancy recommending us a good sci-fi book/film
Carl Sagan's Contact.
Do you feel like there’s a ‘scene’ in SF that you’re part of?
I never feel like I'm really "a part" of anything. I do feel like me and some of my good friends are going to be a voice for Techno here in the Bay Area. I'm excited to rep the bay, it's a great city.
Has the rise of EDM helped or hindered American dance music?
Man I'm so disconnected from EDM. I literally know nothing about it. I know for me, I don't want that to be what we are known for over here.
Techno in the 90s was all about looking to the future – with the internet flooding us with the music from the past, is that still possible?
I look at Techno as a time traveling machine rather than just the "future". The future to me is being able to go backward and forward in time…with no limitations. That is what's exciting about techno, there's no right or wrong. Or this necessarily has to sound like the future. There are some great old sci-fi films from the past that inspire a new futuristic sound to be born. Along with old classical music & so on. I think Techno has a lot of room to grow into something we see not just on the dance floor but in art performance and films.
What have you got coming up in the future, and what’s you’re favourite thing you’ve written to date?
My future is creating and releasing as much music as possible. A goal I have in mind is to do soundtrack for a film. I have no idea as far as a favorite of my own music goes, I do love everything Dystopian has going on at the moment.
What song do you want dropped at your funeral?
I'm not planning on dying, hopefully I can upload my brain before then.