Joe Gamp on 27/9/12
Jori Hulkkonen is one of the most enduring producers in contempoary electronic music. He's had a firm role in producing the likes of Azari & III and has also remxied and orked ith everyone from the likes of The Pet Shop Boys to John Foxx and more. Always looking forward and never back, Jori's approach to music is simple - to harness the creativity and drive of his musical output and to constantly progess and evolve. whether that's with his techno laced Jori Hulkkonen material for the likes of Laurent Garnier's F-Communication label or Tiga's Turbo Recordings empire, or his new moniker as Third Culture, his more deep house aligned character, who's just released his album Negative Time through My Favourite Robot Records. Subsequently it's the first album for the Toronto based imprint. Pulse sat down to chew the fat over the album format and it's importance in today's musical climate after 13 LP's and 2 decades of experience...
13 albums into a career – that’s quite a lot. You must know your way around the album format quite well now… When I started back in the ‘80s I had no musical education at all. So from the beginning it’s always been a learning process for me. I really like the album format, I get it because I come from the nu-wave electronic pop background, where the album was king, and the 12” culture came slightly later. I really liked the idea that albums can give you more freedom in terms of creativity. If you make a 4 track EP, t only sits In hat it can do – it’s really for the DJs only and for the dance-floor. With an album you can experiment more. Although this album is more dance-floor orientated there are moments of much more, lots of laid back stuff.
Because I’ve done so many albums already, it takes the pressure off after doing 13. Its takes the pressure off doing an album format... you may not be as scared as you were when you made your first.
This new album for My Favourite Robot is released under the name Third Culture – were most of your other 12 released under your own name or different guises? I tried to use my name as the main guy [laughs] but some of the albums have been collaboration projects or different pseudonyms. From the very beginning there’s been this linear approach but im not sure what’s next for Jori, so I decided to give myself time to figure it out and release under Third Culture. The album is fun - for me it’s fun to take on these roles and different guises. It’s all about coming up with fresh approaches.
What’s the difference between this new sound and the typical Jori Hulkkonen output? Musically speaking, Jori is more techno at the moment. I think the next stuff with Jori will be more techno and a lot harder and rougher. For Third Culture I wanted to go back to the sound I was making in the late nineties and explore the deep house thing more. I didn’t feel I want to do that as Jori – as Jori has already done that – so it was important to come up with a new moniker and explore that territory with a fresh approach. That’s mainly the musical difference.
This album is also the very first for the rising Canadian label My Favourite Robot… how did this come about considering the last 12 albums have all come out on Laurent Garnier’s F Comm and Tiga’s Turbo Recordings stables? I get sent lots of promos. I got loads of stuff from this label in Toronto that consistently released this great stuff that I can really relate to. Musically, I felt very close to their sound. So I spoke to the guys and a 12” came out on the label with Fotogenic. But last year I was DJing in North America and I met the guys and we were just talking and hanging out. One thing led to another and we decided to do something. It was actually me who suggested an album, as at the time I had a clear idea of the type of record I wanted to put out on the label. It was all very natural and nobody had to beg or anything [laughs]. We have a solid connection musically and we all get on great.
Keeping yourself aligned with just 2 labels has been an important part of your journey and identity… do you think it’s important for others to do this too? I never really wanted to do lots of stuff for lots of labels, when it comes to album it’s important to have a home and I think it helps creatively. When you know someone is going to put it out, you then have your musical freedom to explore what you want and you know it will come out. I’ve been very fortunate to have stuff with F-Comm, and then Turbo and now My Favourite Robot; to find the right people to work with who appreciate your music is a very important thing for me. I like to focus on the music and the creativity and I like others to concentrate on the business side of things.
Out of your never-ending credentials – which includes the albums, working with The Pet Shop Boys, hundreds of productions and remixes – what’s been your proudest moment? I’m not the kind of person who really thinks like that - I like to never look back and think about what I’ve done. I never listen to my own records. I'm really focused on what’s next all the time. I’m sure I’ll spend plenty of time looking back over my career in another 20 or 30 years – but right now I want to use the energy and drive to create new music. But, ultimately, having the chance to work with your heroes, - people like The Pet Shop Boys and John Foxx - for sure, that will always stand out as a big moment of course.
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