Borrowed Identity's musical upbringing is best described as a smorgasbord of concurrent sonic templates. Rooted in Romania but nurtured in deep South Germany, a love of Romanian folk music, Moodymann and Snoop Dogg deem to be the basis of a pretty eclectic sound palette. Reaching beyond the typical four four stratosphere and into the domain of what he describes as "hard banging techno, cheesy pop music, funky disco and experimental noise" he’s been releasing a fleet of material since he jumped into the scene back in 2012. In truth, you only need to look to labels like Mistress Recordings (DVS1's self-operated imprint), Home Taping and most notably, Ostgut Ton, to hear his flourishing cultivated style, but it's his newly coined live show that he’ll be presenting to us next month aims to really showcase his experimental taste and musical dynamism.
Set to grace our Martin Audio rig on Saturday 7th February alongside Kyle Hall, Funkineven and K15, the 24 year old producer has kindly offered to answer a few probing questions on his musical journey and illustrate exactly what he means by ‘never limiting himself to one genre’ by putting together an exclusive promo mix…
Can you introduce yourself to our readers who may not be aware of what you do?
Hello fabric people! I'm a 24 year old beat junkie, DJ and producer from the deep south of Germany, Freiburg near the black forest.
How would you best describe your sound?
In my opinion, there is no Borrowed identity sound. It is in a constant change: sometimes it's deep, sometimes it's hard banging techno, sometimes it's cheesy pop music or funky disco stuff and sometimes it's experimental noise. I try to expand my sound universe everyday with something new. Unfortunately most labels only pick my house and techno productions. I would actually quite like to release a lot more crazy shit!
Can you tell us about your first contact with music – what kind of music were you brought up on?
The first music I ever heard was Romanian folk music from the part of Romania my parents come from. I then would always get thrown out of play school, sometimes for the whole week while my mother was at work, because I was fighting with other kids so I would end up watching MTV and Viva2 all day at home. I remember jumping on my bed to the sounds of Daft Punk, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg as well as Scatman and all the stupid Euro dance music! From the age of ten, I became deeply into hip hop and started making beats when I was about 13 or something like that. Through digging for samples for my hip hop beats I got in touch with all kinds of music: jazz, soul, funk, disco, krautrock, rock, ambient, reggae, gothic and industrial - pretty much every single genre. I always searched for the most exotic styles and sounds to borrow for my hip hop beats.
And then how did that move to the place you are now – in the world of electronic music?
I didn't listen to a whole lot of house and techno besides Alan Braze, Daft Punk and all that funk French house and commercial stuff that was on the TV or radio when I was in my younger years. I actually got into techno when I was finally old enough to go to a techno club. I was 18 and I was bored of the whole rap game and it just took this one first night in a techno club to completely brainwash me. Soon after I stopped listening to hip hop and everything else and got deep into techno - first minimal and then mostly industrial. A few years ago I realised there was something missing and I got depressed from all the dark apocalyptic music I was listening to day in and day out so I started Borrowed Identity and brought back the soul and art of sampling into my music. I said to myself I will never ever limit myself on listening, producing or DJ'ing just one single genre.
What have been the best moments and greatest challenges so far?
The greatest challenge was to not quit music to come to a point where I was able to live from it. I knew when I was 18, after I left the army, that the only way I will be happy in my life is if I will be doing something music related. Music was the only thing I lived for back then. For years everyone around me, expect my girlfriend, told me I would never make a living out of music because I wasn't good enough and that I should study instead. I was completely broke for years. So, not giving up was the biggest challenge. It's hard to pick the best moments. Playing Homopatik and Panaorama Bar for the first time was a highlight as well as going on tour around Asia but there are so many great moments. Last year, I played in over 20 countries and will never forget 99% of all those great experience I had with so many amazing people.
I read that you’re inspired by the likes of Larry Heard, Robert Hood and Moodymann – what is it about them that inspires you? And where else do you take inspiration from?
They all have a timeless sound with a lot of soul and groove in their music. I have to keep my answer short otherwise I could write a whole book about what I love about them. They are simply my heroes and I'll never get bored of listening to their sound universe!
My inspiration comes from everywhere: films, books, my record collection and the people around me. Most of my music is made in the moment and my tracks are finished after one or two hours. I always try to avoid thinking about them too much. I only ever feel and translate the feeling I have into sound as direct as possible.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to these past few months?
Throughout December and January, I took some time out from touring (I travelled around Asia for a whole month last year) so I could fully focus on developing my live act, produce some EPs and work on my debut album.
Can you share with what plans or aspirations you have laid out for yourself to achieve in 2015?
I want to start my own label, produce my debut album and I want to work in the studio a lot more. DJ'ing really took most of my energy last year.
So you’re performing live in Room Two next month, can you tell us what it is you’re performing on exactly?
Only hardware, no lap top. My set up is MPC5000, Mackie CFX16 Mixer, Octatrack, TR-8, TT303, Volca Bass, Microkorg and a FMR Audio RNLA 7239 Compressor.
How often do you change things up in your live set?
Until now I haven't done a live act, so I will be doing my first sets throughout February at Rex Club, fabric, Panorama Bar and Rote Sonne. So until now I've had no experience with changing things up but I guess the more I do it the more I'll change the set up. I get bored fast so I've no doubt I'll bring some new toys in at some point!
How much of it is new unreleased material?
It all depends on where my mind goes. On my MPC I have about 50% new and 50% released material but it's all set up in a way that allows me to be spontaneous and creative. I want every set to be unique so I plan to just go with the vibe and feel the crowd. I'm not exactly sure how much will be complete improvisation and how much will be new or old material.
Can you run us through why you’re working in this set up and what creative freedom it allows you?
Because the music sounds more human. There will be mistakes and it won't be perfect but that's what I love about it. laptop live acts sound too clean for my taste. There are artists like KiNK that do an amazing live show with laptops but most of the time it sounds too clean and perfect. My set up gives me the creative freedom to do anything from house and techno to hip hop or 80s electro. I don't want to come across to nerdy here but thing I love most about my set up is that I don't lose myself in a laptop screen. Instead I will have a better connection to the crowd and everything I do will be based on what I hear not what I see on a screen.
Finally, other than performing live, what are you most looking forward to?
Of course meeting all you fabric freaks on 7th February for the first time and my debut album!
Borrowed Identity - fabric Promo Mix
01. Borrowed Identity - Groove On (Unreleased)
02. Borrowed Identity - One Night Stand (Unreleased)
03. Borrowed Identity - Searching Forever (Home Taping)
04. Borrowed Identity - Leave Your Life (Mistress)
05. Borrowed Identity - Beat Street (Foul & Sunk)
06. Borrowed Identity - Vogue (Unreleased)
07. Borrowed Identity - Dance With Me (Unreleased)
08. Borrowed Identity - Faith (Foul & Sunk)
09. Borrowed Identity - Tribes Drumming (Unreleased)
10. Borrowed Identity - Acido (Unreleased)
11. Borrowed Identity - Addicted (Unreleased)
12. Borrowed Identity - Leave Me (Ostgut Ton)