Gnork is our producer of the hour, sending over his brand of spacey, left of center techno tunes. A resident of Budapest, this Hungarian DJ/Producer has his hands in all sorts of ventures. Whether it’s running his two labels blorp and Outskirts or releasing on others, DJing internationally or producing at home, his sounds and visions have started to take hold. Fresh off from his debut album The Lost Tapes, Gnork (soundcloud) brings an eclectic collection of tracks to the plate, blurring the lines between House, Ambient, Breakbeat and more. Dive into this week’s Mixed By podcast and hear what this rising label head has to offer.
Hi Gnork!, thanks for joining us for the Mixed By series. You’re from Hungary, and Budapest is where you call home. Have you always lived in/near the city? What are the most exciting parties you find are happening there at the moment?
Yes, i always lived here. Currently I’m waiting for the summer season to start with my favorite deylight party saries called Sunburst on the A38 boat. It’s made by the same 3 djs, Crimson, Chrom and Isu every weekend over the summer, and I can’t get bored of it. There should be more daylight parties in Budapest and everywhere :)
What’s the record shop culture like in town and where are some of your favorite places to dig?
We have a few cool record shops like Deep and Aktrecords that play quite an important role in the scene. More and more people buy records these days, there are group orders and discussions and record fairs and so on. Looks like the vinyl community is starting to grow and I’m quite happy about this.
You’ve recently self-released your debut album “The Lost Tapes” on the new imprint, Outskirts. It’s a testament to your rediscovery of vintage 80s gear and also a nice collage of diverse sounds dubbed straight to cassette tape. Tell us a little behind the concept of the album …
I’m inspired by lots of styles and sounds and for this album I wanted to give myself total freedom to play around with all that. The point was to make the music I really feel and to not care about what people would expect from me in any sense, or about how underground dance music should be done. Maybe some tracks meet these expectations others not. But in any of the cases it wasn’t the point.
I wanted to make an album to listen to. I mean to sit down and listen to it all the way. A long material that can keep your attention with its diversity, with its ideas – and in the same times it has a coherent, warm, lovable sound, with a human, DIY feel.
…and the rationale behind its distribution medium.
For me as a listener, a cassette is the perfect medium for a long form material. You can’t skip those parts that are not that pleasant, you are basically bound to sit and listen to the whole material, to wait for the best parts, to submit yourself to the work of art.
I also love the cassette because of lots of reasons. It has a very characteristic but warm sound, it has this lovable compact look and this overall “garage” feel. And it’s way more versatile than vinyl. It can be short or long, you can produce 20 copies or 200. So it gives more freedom to experiment, to play around both as an artist and as a label.
What would you say is the ethos of Outskirts going forward? How does it differentiate from your other label, blorp?
Blorp’s ethos is kind of perfectionist. I have something in mind and I won’t settle with anything else. Outskirts is really different. With this new label I embrace the failure, the errors, the imperfect, the unfinished. It’s like a playground at the edge of music.
Outskirts’ ethos is the total artistic freedom. For me, artistic freedom is not that you make dark experimental noisecore techno. Artistic freedom means to be brave enough to do whatever you are into and to free yourself from all the expectations. True bravery is to show that you are vulnerable. That you are not perfect and your music is not perfect either. True bravery is to make elevator jazz with cheesy latin vocals and maybe a violin solo. It is to be humble and to commit yourself totally to what you are doing. For Outskirts I’m not looking for sure shot bangers, I’m looking for these unique and special materials in that I feel this fearlessness and freedom.
I think “outskirts” is a nice metaphor. It’s usually the outskirts where all the fresh and interesting stuff happen. There are a lots of mess too. Dirt and chaos. But it’s the place where you can free yourself from rules, where nobody is watching you, where you can find a new identity, or you can build something new. Here it’s okay to fail, too.
blorp has turned out a couple various EPs as well as releases from artists like No Moon and 外神田deepspace. How did you meet some of these artists? What are a few of your favorite tracks from the label so far and what has been your process behind choosing the right tracks to sign?
Sometimes they send me demos, sometimes we meet on soundcloud. But in the end it turns out that they are all wonderful people with unique personalities.
I’m looking for all kinds of music from ambient to jungle. It can be any style but it’s really strictly curated. Sometimes I’m looking for years to find the perfect tracks for a release. That’s why I only make 2-3 releases a year.
It’s hard to choose my fav from all these great tunes. But I’m really excited about the upcoming debut EP from Serious A. She’s an amazingly talented girl from Paris with such a unique and mature sound and I can’t imagine how she could stay unnoticed until now.
Your studio setup serves as the cover art to The Lost Tapes, clearly this is your musical sanctuary. Has it changed dramatically over the years? What sorts of sounds are important to you when looking to bring in a new instrument into your productions? Which are vital to your workflow and how did those come to be?
For a long time I was only working with software but in the last 1.5-2 years i was putting much effort to build a hardware based studio. I’m still in the process. Right now i’m quite into an MPC1000, it knows much but it has these constraints that force me into a much more conscious and structured workflow. It also motivates me keeping my work more simple, fresh and spontaneous and it gives a character to the sound too.
Last year your No Gravity EP came out on Magicwire, home to other artists like Lone and Project Pablo. What’s your relationship like with that label and how did that EP come together?
For me it was like a miracle when Matt and Sami approached me. 6 years before, Emerald Fantasy Tracks, Lone’s album on Magicwire was one of the few super influential records for me that inspired me to find my true musical style. Lone and Magicwire showing interest in making an EP with me? A real dream come true. After that we met in person and we had such a great night, awesome dinner with an amazing conversation and a great mix session. I found out that these are great guys and we are connected in many ways.
You’ll be part of a Magicwire label showcase at the end of May in London. Do you find yourself in the UK often?
For the last 5 years, I visited the UK like 2-3 times a year.
What sorts of things are you planning to get into outside of the party there?
Meeting friends, getting lost in some amazing record stores.
What’s next for gnork?
I’m having a bit of a rest after my album. In the meantime, Blorp005 is approaching with a stellar selection of leftfield space house anthems, and Parisian space jazz maestro, S Channel comes with his debut album on Outskirts! Stay chooned!
Tell us a little about the mix you’ve made for Bolting Bits. Any special tracks included?
All of these trax are really special for me. And I think they are one of a kind. Expect lot of breaks.
- Slow life – As High As It Can Go (Slow Life)
- Phrased – (LB Produce)
- Claro Intelecto -Peace of Mind (delsin)
- Ever Moving – Underwater Love (Get the Balance Right)
- Dj Heure – Outsider Resource (All My Thoughts)
- Chasindub – Still here (Phonogramme)
- Dj Nephil – Spectrum (Gravitational Waves)
- ERP – Ancient Light (Solar One Music)
- HVL – Escape in Time (Hesperian Sound Division)
- ESB – Words For Us (normals Welcome)
- Hundred20 – Upper Alley (MCDE)
- J. Albert – See you at the bank (Exotic Dance Records)
- DSC- Too Hard (Holding Hands)
- 2Bit Crew – Peanut Butter & Jam (Central Toast Mix) (2 Bit Crew Recordings)
- The Order – X-Ray (Male Recordings)
Interview by Evan