For some, the breathlessness, the insular intensity brewed from bass throbs that saturate walls until they seep, is the ultimate satiation. What invisibly unravels on midnight’s far side – breathing loops, ambient sounds observed with only the whites of the eyes – becomes a musical asylum of both beautiful and dark things.
“I’m a sucker for those tripped out late night sets,” Brooklyn’s Clay Wilson says, the twenty-four year old producer enigmatically behind The Bunker New York 002 and his 2013 debut on Styles Upon Styles. Over three cerebral techno tracks, what begins as a hypnotic suffusion in “E4” moves into a jarringly anxious “Socorro,” and departs with the dubbier, though no less tilted, “Oizumi.” Sifting layers and deep smoke grooves are the keys here, opening the door to Clay’s free jazz-turned-techno mind, as well as a wraithlike slue of sound makers.
Most are hidden within the history of NYC’s The Bunker party. Known for condensing heavy explorations into a space of intimate capacity, after more than ten years, The Bunker evolved into a label in 2013. It self-describes as “sometimes very experimental, sometimes four to the floor dance party, and often somewhere in between.” Clay’s abstract The Bunker New York 002 comes alongside Leisure Muffin (BK 001) and Voices From the Lake (BK 003) for the label’s defining first releases. Whether escaping or just ending up lost here, it entices us into haunted hours where mania meets meditation, addiction turns calling; this is what the night has done to us.
You can catch Clay at The Bunker New York 002 & 003 Release Party at Output on March 14, with a digital drop date on the same day.
EARMILK: First thing’s first: New York City. Talk about the city’s scene. What types of parties are going down and what can you find inside? Anything you particularly gravitate towards?
CLAY WILSON: It's pretty great right now in New York, you can pretty much find a party to cover just about anyone's taste. There's a ton of interesting labels and promoters pushing good stuff everywhere you turn. I'm always at The Bunker, my friends Phil and Cam who run Styles Upon Styles have done some cool events around their label, Bossa Nova Civic Club always has some good line ups… I've been pretty spoiled by the soundsystem at Output, it's always a treat to hear my favorites play there. Most of the stuff I'm intrigued by is kind of heady / dubby techno and house, I'm a sucker for those tripped out late night sets. I'm also checking out experimental / ambient shows here and there.
EM: This is the second release on The Bunker New York, a decade strong (and dynamic sounding) party that recently started a label. Could you talk about The Bunker as a party and how your paths entwined for this release?
CW: I started going to the parties pretty soon after I moved to New York for good in 2011. My friend Nihal Ramchandani introduced me to The Bunker, and it pretty quickly became my favorite party. There's such a big range of sounds played at the party, everybody is really encouraged to do their own thing to the extremes and I was totally blown away by so many of the sets I heard early on. Once the label started becoming a reality, Bryan and I just started hanging out at his place and listening to my tracks. Eventually we narrowed down on some tracks with a little input from Eric Cloutier and Neel.
EM: What are some musical communities or experiences that have left an impression on you?
CW: I'm lucky enough that there have been a lot of those, sets from Patrick Russell, Peter Van Hoesen, Voices From The Lake, Carlos Souffront, Marco Shuttle, BMG, Erika, Atom and Tobias, Shawn O'Sullivan, Nihal, Silent Servant, Deadbeat, Adam X, Derek, Servito, Bryan, Eric, Luke Slater, all those guys have really messed with my brain at times… Pretty much all of those sets are from The Bunker.
EM: You’re a weekly DJ for online/underground radio station RWD FM. Seems like a cool concept and cool opportunity to shed light on unexplored territories. Give some background on the station. How’d your show come about?
CW: Cam and Phil who run the label Styles Upon Styles were doing a show at the time, and put me in touch with the station. RWD has shows from a pretty huge spectrum of electronic music, with djs from a few different countries doing regular shows. I can play whatever I want, so it's fun for me to just play through new music, and it's always cool to be able to play new stuff by my friends and kind of push their sounds out there for people.
EM: You went to music school, particularly for jazz. What urges or outlets does electronic production fulfill that pulled you in techno’s direction?
CW: Initially I liked to be able to compose totally on my own and have a finished product. With jazz, I would write ideas then have to work through them with other, people, make revisions, etc. It's nice to just analyze for myself, adjust and move on. I also like that you can be so abstract with techno. I was attracted to and studying a lot of free jazz in school and I think you can draw a lot of parallels with that and this kind of spacey techno or ambient music. Just playing with abstract melodic ideas and sound textures, and not relying on more obvious cadences is really appealing to me.
EM: Do you think jazz and electronic music can reach equal emotional depths?
CW: Sure, I've definitely had experiences of being totally lost in the music with jazz performances and djs. If someone's giving a really honest performance that resonates, regardless of what type of music it is.
EM: “CLAY WILSON” is written in big white letters alongside Voices From the Lake for The Bunker New York 002 & 003 Release party at Output on March 14. Pretty sweet. What can we expect from you in 2014 after such a kickoff?
CW: Yeah that's pretty intense for me. I've met Donato and Neel before, and Neel and I hung out a bit while I was working on the EP for Bryan so I know it's going to be a fun time playing with them. It's pretty crazy that I'm debuting my live set at Output with a bill like that, just a little pressure! I'm working on some new music now for a follow up EP, and there are a couple gigs in the works for this spring.
EM: And lastly, 3 headphone albums for late night listening, and 3 tracks for late night dancing:
1.Adam Michalak – Returning To Essence
2.Raica – Dose
3.Loscil – Sketches From New Brighton
1.Paranoid London & Mutado Pintado – Transmission 5
2.Deadbeat – Vampire
3.Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia – The Valley
The Bunker New York 002
- The Bunker New York