Bryan Black is Black Asteroid. After a fledging career as a sound designer for none other than revered Purple Rain music legend, Prince in his hometown Minneapolis; Bryan learned and honed sound and production skills which inspired him to start his own band, MOTOR in the UK back in 2009.
After sharing stages with big guns Daft Punk, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode, a burning passion for acid house and techno in his veins catapulted Bryan to start Black Asteroid last year to showcase his new sound. Signed by Chris Liebing's CLR three weeks into the project, it’s been a rollercoaster journey that we couldn’t wait to get the scope on ahead of his debut in Room Two next Saturday with techno compatriots, Gary Beck and Dave Clarke.
We’ve also got his debut ‘Engine EP’ on CLR remixed by Dave Clark and Mr Jones ready to download after the jump.
Hi Bryan good to meet you. What’s in the name Black Asteroid?
It’s a title that was written in my journal a few years ago for a future song title or something - when the time came to christen this new project, I made a list of 10 names late one night, and this one was the first one that popped in my head the next morning. I’ve always been drawn to Astronomy and it seemed to fit the sound and vision for this project.
Tell us about your musical upbringing and the main inspirations to you growing up as an artist?
I’m from Minneapolis originally, so I was there when Prince was just becoming popular. I was too young to attend his concerts but ironically he eventually hired me to be his keyboard tech/sound designer, after seeing one of my shows with my first band, Haloblack.
I learned everything about music production from Prince and took that knowledge and moved to London and started an electro band called XLOVER and then shortly after that MOTOR.
I think it was acid house that really got me into dance music. Up until I discovered acid house, I was mostly inspired by industrial music, bands like Nine Inch Nails, Meat Beat Manifesto, Nitzer Ebb, DAF, as well as alternative rock like Love and Rockets, New Order, etc.
How did your career as a sound designer for Prince inspire you as an artist to go out and achieve everything you can?
Working for Prince really opened my eyes. He is the most driven person I’ve ever met. He’s working 24 hours a day. He might sleep 3 hours, wake up and page me to come to the studio, and then work all night. Then he's rehearsing with the band on the soundstage all day for a secret gig for 100 people the same night. He just loves performing and making music. Being around him inspired me every day to work on my own music.
What lead the decision to start Black Asteroid after your band MOTOR shared huge success along the techno stages with Daft Punk, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode?
After we finished the new Motor LP, we spent some time working with EMI to approve the rights to have Martin Gore on the song/LP, then we spent even more time speaking to labels and finding the right option, etc. It dragged on for a while and I decided to start recording some really raw techno, something that I had to get out of my system. Techno is in my blood. I always go back to it. I didn't expect it to take off so quickly, but I’m glad it did, I’m having the best time with it.
How did you hook up with CLR to release your debut 'The Engine EP' last year?
I sent Chris Liebing and Dave Clarke the demo. I had researched the scene and concluded that CLR were the most interesting label around. I didn't even know if the music was techno or even playable for DJs. It was so different to what was happening. Almost immediately Dave Clarke put it at #1 in his top 10, and starting playing it. Everyone was talking about Engine 1. At the same time, Chris Liebing received my demo and wrote me back instantly about releasing it on CLR. It’s not always that easy. I recall spending years trying to get a deal and make things happen with other projects. Black Asteroid was signed to CLR 3 weeks after I started the project.
Can you tell us more about the track you’ve given us on CLR and its remix duties from Dave Clarke and Mr Jones?
This track 'Engine 1' was remixed by Dave Clark and Mr Jones (Unsubscribe) and comes from my debut on CLR. Dave Clarke was the first DJ to break the song. Up to then he hadn't done a remix for 5 or 6 years I think. Just for kicks I suggested he remix it. I was shocked when he said yes. He took the track and made it even more mental.
You’re sharing the bill next month in Room Two with Dave Clarke and Gary Beck. How much does the future of techno depend on artists like these still doing their thing?
I think Dave has a good ear for what’s coming up and he will always be a pioneer and champion for techno. I think it’s important for techno to keep evolving and stay fresh. I haven't had the pleasure to meet Gary Beck but I am a big fan of his productions. Right now there is so much great techno and the more people pushing the boundaries the better.
What are you looking forward to most this year away from the music world and in your personal life?
After 9 years in London I relocated to New York and my goal this year is to explore the city more. Since most of my gigs are in Europe, I don't get much time to spend in my hometown. I’m also going to start teaching my daughter the piano and spend more time with her and hopefully less time being hung over.
What projects do you have in the pipeline for 2012?
I’m working on 2 new Black Asteroid EP's now and a few remixes. The new LP from MOTOR called "Man Made Machine" finally comes out on April 16. Already the first single feat. Martin Gore has gone top 20 in 4 countries. So I anticipate being back on the road with Motor this year quite a bit.
Are there plans to release an album under Black Asteroid one day?
Yes, I’m hoping to have it finished this summer and released in the Autumn. I’m currently writing some deeper tracks to give the album a nice dynamic. I like the idea of being able to listen to an album from start to finish in any environment.
Finally, tell us a couple of records sitting at the top of your crate this month?
The new single on CLR by Brian Sanhaji and Drumcell- Structure EP is great and I really love the raw sound of Mondkopf's 'Ease Your Pain' single