Upon entering into the sonic world of Staffan Linzatti, you will find yourself immersed in icy synths and intoxicating patterns of loops and field recordings. Provocative perhaps of his native Swedish landscape, for Lanzatti it is more about his personal self-development and a re-imagination of a wider life experience helped along by his lifetime discourse with his brother, his silent collaborator. When Linzatti first took to releasing records back in 2005, it was more reflective of the music around him at the time, featuring a more pronounced kick drum palette which also saw him collaborate with Jasper Dahlback and release one of his most memorable tracks, ‘Quibble’.
However, currently for Linzatti things have come on a bit in terms of personal development, an outlook that overflows into his musical workings. He founded his own Searchlight imprint as a vessel for more contemplative approach to his music. It’s worked to bring him strongly into a new phase of his work, his self-made landscape of immersive techno is also pretty well realised in the live sphere through what he describes in the interview as a “sort of a deconstruction and reconstruction philosophy”, something he endeavours to guide us through with an audial insight in this exclusively recorded live set for our blog.
Where in the world are you from?
I am from a small Swedish town called Eskilstuna (in Sweden it is actually considered to be a medium size town, of about 90 000 people), it is located roughly 160 kilometers west of stockholm. It is an industrial city, with a few bars and restaurants, two not-so-good ice hockey teams and several not-so-good football teams, a good handball team and a good speedway team. It is rumored to be one of the more violent cities in Sweden - I don´t know if that is true though.
Did it play a big role in getting you started out making music?
Not at all. There was no real community for that kind of music there at all - not that I knew of anyway.
When was is that you began producing, what would you say first inspired you?
I don´t really know exactly when the interest started to develop. It was my brother who introduced me to it. I remember he was using a tracker program to do music, and I wanted to do the same, it must have been in the mid/late nineties. A few years later he bought turntables and started buying records, and of course I picked up on that too. It wasn´t until many years later, when I finished school and moved to Göteborg (Gothenburg; a much bigger city) that me and my brother found people who were into the same kind of music. That was a big step, to actually feel like you were a part of a community - and most importantly to have places were you could buy and play records.
So your bio doesn’t state too much aside from that you are ‘Inspired by watching people on the move’ – what’s been the strangest thing you’ve witnessed people watching?
Hehe, I´ve been meaning to change that bio for years now, but I never got around to do it. I do still find it inspiring to observe human behaviour and how we interact. I can´t recall any specific act. Although I do find it incomprehensibly weird that some people drink their coffee with milk and/or sugar (laughs). Another weird thing, to quote Arnie Love & The Loveletts, it is weird that the fare on public transport keeps going up, but the ride stays the same.
I’m sure many of our readers will have heard your track Quibble, it’s a powerful one. What track from your backcatalogue would you say is the one you’re most proud of or happy with at least?
Hmm, hard to say. Both me and Mathias (we wrote the song together) are proud of "Quibble" (and the rest of the music I did at that time) - that it was well received and became quite popular. However that song is very much connected to the sound we liked at that specific time and I don´t really feel attached to it anymore. It is behind me, and I would rather focus on all the music, ideas and concepts I have yet to start.
Going back to Quibble, that sound seems to have developed into a more mellow loop techno based sound even quite abstract at points – how did you make this move? Was there anything that encouraged or inspired this development?
I think it is a natural human emotion or feeling to want to move forward - to not thread the same water forever and ever, so to speak. Naturally we find new areas and ideas to explore, and new ways to explore them. New influences hit us all the time as well. It could be something said in a record store, music you bought or something read in a book , a movie - everything and anything basically.
As you grow older you learn new things. For example; over the years I learned how to write and understand music better. I realized how to express the ideas I had, not just musically but also how to approach new ideas and how to develop them further. This learning process and accumulation of experience is something that will follow you and continue as long as you do what you do and you allow it to challenge and inspire you. I have also been fortunate to have my brother to develop ideas with - to be able to have a constant discussion and to push each other forward, was very important for me.
Like I said before, I might not feel attached to "Quibble" or any of the music I did years ago, but they are a part of that process. They may not feel very relevant right now, but they were an important step of getting here, just like the music I am doing now will be years from now.
You’ve recorded this live set for the blog ahead of your live set here, what can you reveal about your set up? How much is your set pre-written and improvised?
I used my frost laptop and a few controllers - hoping to build on that when it is possible. Basically I break down the songs into the building blocks that I made the song with in the first place. And with these building blocks you can start to build again - sort of a deconstruction and reconstruction philosophy. There is a lot of room for improvisation, which is also a great chance to come up with new ideas, and experiment with concepts I have not fully developed yet. You have to make it interesting and challenging for yourself as well, what would be the point of doing it otherwise?
Can you tell us some more about Search Light, all I know right now is that your Soundcloud links there is that your own label then I’m guessing?
Do you have busy year for the label planned out ahead?
Yes, "searchlights" is my label. The idea to start a label is something that was brewing for a long long time before it actually happened. I was talking a lot with my brother many years ago about starting one.
When the time felt right, I took the step and started to develop the concept behind the label. In short the concept of "Searchlights" is to interpret and express the observations and stories we encounter on our searches, or voyages if you so wish. How we observe occurring events, how we remember them, how we process them and ultimately how we communicate our observations. The concept of the first release was to discuss how a single event could be observed and interpreted differently depending on who was observing it.
The second release was discussing the tools we use when we observe. Can they be trusted to give us objective data? Are they infallible in their portrayal of this data? etc… Next up is SIGHTS-003 which will be released at the end of January. It is a project called "VIA", more information about that project will be revealed soon. The first two "Searchlights" records was made by me, but "VIA" is not. I´m not gonna give away who made it just yet.
Record number four is planned for spring and number five for late summer, that´s about how far I have come in the planning process. I try not to plan too far into the future - keeping the release schedule to 4-5 record each year.
Staffan Linzatti will be performing live in Room Two on February 26th, joining Sandwell District and Locked Groove. For more information and to purchase tickets go here.