The enigmatic 30drop joins us for the latest instalment of Secret Weapons ahead of his From Beyond the Unknown release this week. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight talks to the producer about intergalactic influences, astrophysicists, and the human race’s sense of self-importance.
This Friday (October 12th) sees the mysterious producer, 30drop, releasing his From Beyond the Unknown record – his first on the Token imprint. The Gent label has seen releases from the likes of Antigone, Oscar Mulero, Inigo Kennedy, CTRLS, and Makaton, so suffice to say it is a label that stays true to Detroit techno‘s common tropes. 30drop‘s productions on his latest release sit well with the rest of his Token stablemates, as he explores themes of science, space exploration, mathematics, and physics, using techno as the vehicle through which to render concepts and ideas from each school of thought.
The album features six tracks, all of which explore one of the themes mentioned above, be that directly, through the titles that 30drop has given them, or indirectly, through the messages conveyed by the sounds themselves. Opener Surrender instils the listener with a sense of foreboding, the track increasing in urgency as panic-siren samples rush into the auditory sphere, helped along by the gradual climb in volume toward the midpoint.
From here, it is impossible not to remain hooked to 30drop‘s narrative, as he lays out an entire universe before us. The Informant, brimming with sci-fi noir, segues us nicely into the interplanetary play of Space Beacons; layers creeping up underneath the haunting bell-tone that dominates the mix. Mathematical Language is Detroit through-and-through. From the clipped string stabs to the driving percussion and oscillating synth, this is a track that would easily be at home on a long player by any of the sound’s originators.
Visitors From the Stars follows suit, encapsulating the science-fiction themes – so prevalent in early techno and productions from the likes of Jeff Mills, Drexciya and Mike Banks – perfectly. Sagan’s Implication, which closes the album out, sets pulsing sonic bursts against a swelling pad and unnerving bass oscillations.
Our editor, Ste Knight, spoke to 30drop about his influences and more. You can read the interview, below, and check out his Secret Weapons playlist, post-chat.
Waveform: You’re quite the enigmatic being. Do you think that the themes in your productions, particularly space and that ‘final frontier’ we are yet to cross, that unknown void, reflects your 30drop music project? That sense of the cosmic mysteries that lie beyond our reach, can that apply to a piece of music?
30drop: 30drop is the reflection of my interests as a human being. Music is only a universal language through which to communicate. And the one I use to express myself.
Through the language of music I try to express my curiosity for that infinite loop that defines and includes everything, from the smallest molecule to the great spatial void.
Music is maths and maths is an implicit language throughout the universe; and the universe seems to be only the projection of our mind. As you see, everything is interconnected.
Waveform: Clearly you feel that the messages in your music are more important than the perpetrator of those messages, in terms of their identity, at least. How do you listen to music, given that everything today is so pigeon-holed, and many artists do not share your ethos?
30drop: When you drink water, you wonder who made it? Or do you simply know that you are thirsty and drink? The really important thing is the music itself, not who make it.
The sense or the message on the music is not premeditated; it is something that comes from the subconscious, something instinctive and innate. That is why the language of music is so interesting; it is something irrational that we drag from our ancestors.
People and industry tries to pigeonhole music but it’s just a sales trick. At the end you can feel which music is done just for business and which is real music.
Waveform: It is clear where you take your influences from in a non-musical sense. Who, if anyone, has influenced your sound? What were you mainly listening to in your formative years?
30drop: Stanley Kubrick, Dario Argento, Ennio Morricone, Angelo Baladamenti, Arvo Part, Klaus Schulze, Dead Can Dance, Throbbing Gristle, Pan Sonic, Jeff Mills…
Waveform: In an interview with Self-Titled Magazine, back in 2016, you talked about the divisions present among the human race and on Planet Earth, which are arguably more prevalent now than ever. Do you feel that music is something that can unify people, transcending the borders and barriers between us? Is this an intention of your productions?
30drop: No, I don’t feel it like this. I’m not this kind of person with a “hippie” point of view about humanity. I don’t believe in a future where all the humans live in peace and in a perfect harmony.
I have hope in a future out of Earth, and in evolved beings with a morality much better than the one of humans – and probably helped by technology to – can arrive to this superior state of mind.
My productions have no intention. They are just a way to express my thoughts and reflexions about what I feel and see.
Waveform: You also stated that you wish you weren’t from Planet Earth. Is this because of what you see going on around you? Or is it simply an intergalactic fernweh that calls you to the further reaches of the universe?
30drop: To think that humans are something like “the best” in the Universe is to be so silly. At this point of the human evolution, who cannot see the great limitations of the human being? At least as far as the physical part is concerned. If we talk about the mind or what some call “spirit”, then I think there is still much to discover and admire.
Waveform: You have just released your Token Records debut, From Beyond the Unknown. Can you talk us, a little, through the journey you embarked upon when you produced the record?
30drop: I’m very happy with this release and I want to thank Kr!z for trusting in my work for Token. The full project is about my investigations and conclusions about a CIA declassified files that have literally this title: “Apollo X Gets Glimpse Of An Extraterrestrial Monolith In Space. Later A Secret Military Space Shuttle Retrieves the Space Beacon.”
These same files were the inspiration for Arthur C. Clark’s novel ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and the Kubrick related movie.
Waveform: One of the tracks on the album is titled Sagan’s Implication, clearly referencing the legendary astrophysicist. Are your productions your own ‘golden record’ messages, like those created by Sagan to reach interstellar beings?
30drop: Sagan was another one of those involved in the CIA files. The track is a tribute to his work and amazing point of view of the Universe and the human role on it. He was a real originator of this way of thinking.
Waveform: What does the future hold for the 30Drop project?
30drop: Still making music, I’m always making new music. I make music because I need it, not to be released on a label, be considered an artist or this kind of human things. Keeping in mind the future or the past does not exist, I do not expect anything but to make music and play live.
Waveform: Thank you for talking to us, and best of luck with everything, going forward.
30drop: Thanks so much for your interest and approaching to my project. I hope to can meet you at some point of the journey.
So, you’ve heard it from the man himself. But what of his Secret Weapons? Well, here they are, all 13 of them, ready to devour your inner planet.
Mika Vainio at his best. The perfect definition of a timeless, minimalistic and hypnotic track. A must!
Equalized #001 (B1)
Chords and harsh sound creating a perfect combination of ‘real techno’ endless loops.
This is real industrial infected techno, not the bored distorted kick of the actual “industrial techno”. Sexy, groovy, hard… Excellent!
Jeff Mills Step to Enchantment (Stringent)
What to say…Maybe the best techno track ever. A distorted TB bassline combined with a TR-909 created that beast.
Makaton Lead You Astray
Amazing detuned chords that works awesome on the dance floor at some point of the night.
Pan Sonic Urania
To create a heavy ambience. To say “Hey, today we are going deep to a serious journey.” A gem from my favourite band!
Robert Hood The Core
Try to mix that track in the middle of a set and you will see what happens…The challenge is to find the perfect match track for this.
The perfect sound from Berlin. Nothing sounds like this. Absolute veneration.
Scorp Crashed at The End
That’s what happens when the master of groove-techno goes harder. Can’t stop listening that track.
Sigha Desire [BP042]
Mr. Sigha knows how to drive the crowd to a deeper state. Great one!
From my favourite techno album ever. Tony is one of my biggest influences into techno. Genius!
Terrence Dixon Untitled (UT033 A2)
Fucking raw and intense! Pure club sound.
Vainqueur Lyot (Maurizio Mix)
I can’t believe how great that track is. This is the perfect track for a perfect techno set.