Artificial dancing can be traced back to the early days of electronic music, moving through the underground via the neon-infused 80s and speedy 90s, right into today’s sonic dimension where numerous pre-COVID-19 dancefloors featured adventurous music, that didn't follow the path of streamlined four-to-the-floor monotony.
Dutch producer and DJ, Olf van Elden alias Interstellar Funk has been a familiar face around those club nights of nonstandard grooves and as a producer, he has dropped multifaceted records on renowned labels like Dekmantel, Berceuse Heroique, L.I.E.S., Rush Hour and his very own imprint Artificial Dance, that caters for the free-wheeling dance floor scenes with music in the cross-section of Acid, EBM, electro, house, Industrial, Synthwave and Techno.
As a DJ, his name has featured on famed festival and club flyers including Dekmantel, Montreux Jazz Festival, Sonar, Berlin’s Berghain, Chicago’s Marble Bar and Amsterdam’s now-defunct, Trouw and De School, where he held residencies. In his DJ sets as well as in his very own productions, Interstellar Funk fluently unites hominid warmth with a hard-hitting machine charm, creating a sound that moves between contemporary sound design and the multiple roots of electronic dance music and beyond.
Via his label Artificial Dance, he releases music by artists like Greek producers June and Trenton Chase, London based libertines Sebastian Melmoth and Amsterdam’s Stallion’s Stud as well as archival music from legends like Hypnobeat, King Ende Shneafliet. He also recently released a compilation for the label Rush Hour called Artificial Dance, featuring legendary electronic music pioneers like Chris And Cosey and Liaisons Dangereuses.
For The EDWIN Music Channel, the Amsterdam-based creative has shaped a gently propulsive mix that features, as he puts it, "some older stuff and some forthcoming releases on Artificial Dance and labels from friends" by musicians like Donato Dozzy, Exhausted Modern, Ploy, SSiege and pioneering British electronic music group, The Black Dog, to name but a few.
The mix is accompanied by a limited-edition long-sleeve T-shirt with artwork by Australian graphic artist and occasional DJ, Steele Bonus.
AVAILABLE NOW ON THE ARTIFICIAL DANCE BANDCAMP - BUY NOW.
Q. Hey Olf, you are a DJ from Amsterdam and you have released music under the alias, Interstellar Funk, since 2013. What made you start your artistic career?
A. Back in the day my brother used to organise parties at Club 11 (former Trouw), and I used to go there to support him. When I was 18, we moved to Amsterdam and I studied Music at the Art School and started to work at Rush Hour as well. I worked there for eight years, and during that time I also released my first few records and started to play at club nights in Amsterdam like the early Dekmantel parties.
Q. Do you have any new Interstellar Funk music coming out soon? If so: where and how does it sound?
A. I've had quite a productive year musically speaking. Usually, I never have this much time in the studio, but obviously, because of Covid-19 I suddenly have plenty of time and I must say I really enjoy spending most days in the studio. I did a collaboration with Sjoerd Mertens, who is a visual artist from Amsterdam. We worked on an old film together with the Dutch Archive of Film and Sound. This will come out on Dekmantel before the summer. Besides that, I'm working on some releases that were rescheduled from last year.
Q. What made you start your own label Artificial Dance in 2017?
A. I worked for the Rush Hour label for years, where I had to produce the records, help other labels with production or artwork and stuff. So, I've been doing this for a while already and had all the connections. Besides that, I had a lot of friends around me that were making amazing music, so at some point, it was a logical step to start a label myself as well.
Q. What future projects are you working on now?
A. I've got quite a few releases lined up, also due to the long production time at the pressing plants at the moment, it's important to plan ahead. The first release of 2021 is by a good friend that releases music as June. He is an amazing contemporary musician from Greece, and this will be his first release on the label. Later this year we will release an album by June as well. After that, there will be a release by Tommy Gillard as Curved Needle, who released music as Zov Zov (together with Oliver Ho). Besides that, I also started to work on a new reissue, together with a friend who got in contact with a Dutch musician from the 80s. We have around 20 unreleased albums and CDs so this will be quite a big project.
Q. How does living in Amsterdam shape the work?
A. Amsterdam has a rich electronic music culture and we've always have had plenty of clubs and festivals. Unfortunately, my favourite club in The Netherlands shut its doors last year (RIP De School). There is another really cool club called Garage Noord, hopefully, they will be able to reopen soon. Then there are loads of record shops and festivals. So, in my experience, Amsterdam is a really good place to live when you’re into electronic music.
Q. What or who inspires your work generally?
A. It’s much harder to get inspired these days. Normally travelling, playing gigs, the culture and all the people I meet inspire me most. Nowadays my life takes place in Amsterdam and I mostly travel between my house and my studio. But I’m going to the studio almost every day and I’m just trying to spend as much time there as possible. Even if you can’t create something new every day, I do learn new stuff every time I’m there.
Q. How did you select the tracks for your EDWIN music channel mix?
A. I haven't done many podcasts or shows this year but there is still plenty of good new music coming out. I mostly selected new music that I've bought in the last few months but also included some older stuff and some forthcoming releases on Artificial Dance and labels from friends. I'm really glad to see that, even though the whole electronic music scene is on hold at the moment, there are still plenty of labels and musicians that keep doing cool stuff.
Q. The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive negative impact on the global music scene. How do you see the culture’s future and what will change in your opinion?
A. I don't think we can predict how things are going to be when we are back to normal again, whatever that may be. Many places will have to shut their doors, but new places will open as well. Here in Amsterdam, festivals started to sell tickets for this summer and they were all sold out within 24 hours. People have been stuck in their homes for over a year, and I'm sure everyone is dying to go out. Maybe travelling won't be as easy as before or will take longer, but eventually, most things will be as before I think.
Exhausted Modern - Pineal Gland (Philip Otterbach Mix)(Endless Illusion)
Aura Nox - Intuition (Black Merlin Remix) (Science Cult)
Donato Dozzy - Tao (Samurai Music)
Mike Parker - Yog Monster (Spazio Disponibile)
Venus Ex Machina - Mysterium (AD 93)
Varuna - Paleo-drainage Channels (A Walking Contradiction)
Christ. - Spengly Spengly (Benbecula)
SSiege - Il Re Delle Mandorle (Knekelhuis)
Exhausted Modern - Abrakadabra (Marguerite Records)
Bola - Forcasa 3 (Single Mix)(Skam)
Alva Noto, Anne-James Chaton - SO-ZOU (Noton)
Sepehr - Narcotica (Osare Editions)
Ploy - 2 Busy (L.I.E.S)
Bad Tracking - XP1 (Ossia Remix) (Mechanical Reproductions)
Venus Ex Machina - Grace (AD 93)
The Black Dog - Chase The Manhattan (Warp)