Filed under: Interview
Midwest born Troy Pierce eventually found his way to the minimal Mecca of Berlin and the welcoming arms of the Minus family but that wasn’t before a brief stint in New York where he first learnt to ply his trade. After a meeting with Magda -queen of subtraction- and later Marc Houle the trio formed Run Stop Restore which helped push Pierce’s career forward to the heights he has now reached. His life now involves not only endless touring but also label management duties.
Shortly after a grueling and hectic European bus tour Troy Pierce was slowing things down in Tokyo where he chatted to HigherFrequency.
Interview by Mark Oxley (HigherFrequency) _ Introduction by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : You just finished up the Minus bus tour through Europe. What was that like? Didn’t you all get tired of each other?
Troy Pierce : No…it’s funny, like the first one we did was in the US, in June, and I kind of thought maybe after two weeks with the same people, it’s going to get annoying or someone is going to get angry with someone some how, but it wasn’t like that at all, it was totally [fine]. Like we are all really really good friends, so the one we did most recently was really really easy, the distances were very long, like the distances between each place, because we went from Frankfurt to Ljubljana in the Czech Republic then back to Leipzig then to…I forget where.
HRFQ : So it was like a proper huge bus with places to sleep and everything?
Troy Pierce : Like a proper rock band bus! But each drive was probably 10, 12 or 14 hours. Leipzig to Lausanne, Lausanne to Paris, Paris to Madrid, it was like really far, but if you are asleep the whole time [it is no problem]. We would finish playing at 6 [am] then get on the bus instead of going back to a hotel, so we sleep 6 or 8 hours and then we are almost to the next place, it is better than flying though.
HRFQ : Last year Richie released “DE9; Transitions” and this year Magda came out with “She’s A Dancing machine”. Any chance we’ll see a similar type of Ableton mix soon from yourself, one involving more than 100 tracks?
Troy Pierce : Yeah. I’m doing it right now. For only Minus releases, and originally we were going to do a history of Minus, like for the very beginning to the most recent and somehow incorporate as many tracks as possible.
HRFQ : Do you have any idea how many tracks that’s going to be?
Troy Pierce : Well we kind of changed the idea in the middle, because in two years it will be ten years of Minus releases.
HRFQ : 2008 or 2009 ?
Troy Pierce : 2009, so that will be the whole history, so what I will do is probably starting with the Run Stop Restore release, like what is known now as Minus, I will do a mix from that, and then later – I don’t know if I will do it, or Rich will do it – but it will be a more intense project. But saying that, this one will be as intense, with probably around 60 tracks.
HRFQ : How much time are you going to be spending on something like that?
Troy Pierce : It takes a long time. It is not only doing it, but preparing everything and sorting out how to approach the concept and how to realize the concept I guess, it’s about how to put it all together. It is like a gigantic puzzle that you don’t even know what it looks like yet. So you have to come up with what it is going to look like then how to make it look like that, if that makes sense.
HRFQ : What’s the concept behind Run Stop Restore’s new label Items & Things? How will the music differ from the stuff you guys are producing on Minus for example?
Troy Pierce : The point of that label was to have an outlet for other style that we are interested in. When Magda and I DJ we don’t only play typical Minus sounding records, it is more diverse than that. So there are all these artists and all these tracks that we have personally that we really like, but they are not Minus sounding releases. So the first one was from Marc Houle and Konrad Black, and Magda and I, and all 4 tracks don’t sound anything like what you would normally expect to hear from each of these people. So that is kind of the concept. Cool sounds, but it can be anything. It can be weird electro sounding, it can be spacey disco sounding, but interesting is the key and also not Minus sounding. Because we have so many demo’s and we like them but we question whether they are the Minus Sound.
HRFQ : Why didn’t you just approach other people to put the stuff out why did you create a separate label for it?
Troy Pierce : Rich asked us to do it. He saw what we did for other labels and gave us the opportunity to do it. So it’s kind of like the A&R part is us, and the office is Minus. So they handle distribution, they handle sales, they handle press, they handle all that stuff, so it is a really cool deal for us. We do none of the hard work and have all of the fun!
HRFQ : In 2004 you released free tracks through a net label called Textone which has also featured works by Villalobos, Jay Haze and Matt John. Can you tell us a bit about this project?
Troy Pierce : This label is run by Jay Haze, and it is a cool thing to be involved with because everything is free for everyone, and it is just a cool promotional thing. I don’t know how frequently they are doing it now, but I think it is still up there. Anything they have done in the past you can get, there is really really good music on there. Maybe it is demos he had from someone which were cool but not good enough for his vinyl labels so he puts it on that or maybe it is an artist he wants to develop so he puts it on there first, it is a cool outlet for things.
HRFQ : How different did you think your career would’ve turned out if you didn’t move to Berlin back in 2002?
Troy Pierce : I’d still be in New York doing nothing. Paying crazy rent and not doing anything.
HRFQ : Why ‘not doing anything’? What do you mean?
Troy Pierce : New York is really distracting, that is one part. It is easy to feel like you are really busy but not accomplish anything and there is no venue for things, you can’t make a living doing what I do in Berlin, in New York. Maybe you can, but it is not so easy, there aren’t any venues in the states that support the kind of music that I make and play. So that’s the first problem you know.
HRFQ : We keep getting regular news of New York authorities closing down this club, and that club, you know, banning dancing here and there, did you feel any effect when that kind of politics came in?
Troy Pierce : It just creates and environment which caters towards hip hop things or rock things. I mean it is really hard to do something cool in a cool space with good sound because at the time it was difficult to get people to come to something you know. We would try to do parties in New York and it would end up costing us money just to play, you know, or you wouldn’t get paid. It really isn’t what you think it would be. People think ‘oh yeah it is New York it’s gotta be amazing’ and it is not. Though I think it is getting better.
HRFQ : So 2006 was a big year for you with tours, a debut album and appearances on mix CDs like “Get Lost”, “Min2Max” and “Boogy Bytes”. What do you have planned for 2007?
Troy Pierce : I’m going to LA in January to work with the guy who does the vocals for me, so we will do another Louderbach project, I’m sure there are tons of work in the pipeline from Rich, and everything and I just kind of go where he tells me to [laughs]. Which has worked out fine so far…
HRFQ : Not a bad boss then?
Troy Pierce : No, amazing really.
End of the interview
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