Times & Tunes with Huerco S.

Huerco S ®-Daniel-Shea_02

Born in Kansas and bred on noise and metal, Brian Leeds is best known as Huerco S. Not much is left to be said about the head of West Mineral Ltd. and producer responsible for raising the profile of textured, gritty left-of dance music throughout the better part of this decade, so we thought we would reach out and try to get some words from the man himself. Having just come off a stellar release by Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus on his label and in advance of his debut performance at Montreal’s MUTEK festival, Huerco S. sits down with Bolting Bits to share a bit about his recent developments and musical philosophy.


Thanks for taking the time to share a bit with us today! How has summer been treating you?
I’ve been better to be honest, but I just moved to Berlin at the start of August so there’s certainly lots to be excited about and I’m looking forward to what the future holds here for me in Europe.

Huerco S interview boltign bits

Glad to hear you’re making the most of the transition. I wanted to start by asking about your label. West Mineral Ltd is a self-proclaimed “Audio-Mineral exploration company”—I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of music being a sort of archeological expedition, unearthing as opposed to creating whole cloth. What attracts you to the idea of sound as physical resource for mining and refinement?
This idea of audio as artifacts has been a part of my musical ideology since the first couple of Huerco S records, for instance on my Future Times record I titled a track “Ausschachtung” which in German means excavation.

The process of making music through pre-existing audio/sampling always fascinated me and in some ways it’s very much like digging in the dirt, discovering tiny fragments and piecing them together to create or even retell a story. Something out of time, neither past or present.

With two full length releases already, 2019 remains another marquee year for the label—what effect does running such a prolific imprint have on creating and releasing your own productions?
I appreciate you calling the label prolific, although I’m not sure I’d agree haha, especially seeing friends and their own labels putting out considerably more music. Regardless of how many records I’ve put out on West Mineral, it’s indubitably been my primary focus for the last year and a half. In many ways it’s freed me from trying to force myself into a production mindset and just focus on running a label, upping the crew, & grow our community. I should definitely hit the studio soon.

Following up about your own work, last year you had both a 12″ and an LP come out, albeit under the pseudonyms Loidis and Pendant. Can you shed any light on the importance to you that these projects stand apart from your output under other monikers?
Through the years the number of aliases have increased and they’ve become very specific things for me, whereas the Huerco S moniker has become increasingly difficult to put a finger on. I’m trying to reformulate my own ideas about the project and hopefully record a full length under Huerco S soon. My biggest fear is doing the same thing musically over again and I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to don that name again.

Huerco S interview

That makes a ton of sense. Even stretching back to your earliest productions…it’s been really amazing to witness the rise of the close network of artists and friends alongside you over the better half of the last decade. How do those relationships continue to shape the way you write and participate in the larger musical conversation, whether its personal output or the support of other growing artists, or something else entirely?
Once I moved to NYC I really saw that first hand and was really inspired by the likes of L.I.E.S. and others on how it truly was a family affair. As someone who’s always drawn back to my roots there was this sort of diaspora of Kansas musicians all over the place, be it NYC, Berlin etc and this family vibe always persisted and is very much the reason I started the label, to use whatever platform I had, albeit a small one, to showcase the many talented friends I had in my close circle.

If I’m not mistaken this will be your first MUTEK performance this year. What are you most looking forward to about the festival and being in Montreal?
Yes I’m very excited to be playing this year and grateful for the opportunity. I have so many friends playing this year so to see them getting the shine they deserve and the ability to play their music to an eager crowd makes me all the more stoked. I’m lucky enough to be staying in Montréal for three nights this trip and will be spending a lot of time at the festival, seeing & listening to as much as possible. Oh et les bagels aussi!!!

Besides MUTEK, can fans be on the lookout for anything upcoming, perhaps releases from you or your label?

We have a metal record coming out on West Mineral by a group called VDL, no release date yet, but if you’re into extreme computer music I think you might dig this!

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Grateful for talking with us today—as we leave off here, are there any producers or tracks at the moment you care to broadcast?
C’est un plaisir, thanks for having me! I’d give a shoutout to Russian artist Perila, she just put out a really beautiful record on Sferic and she’ll be opening up our West Mineral label showcase at Berlin Atonal this year. Additionally I want to give a shoutout to NYC-based Akanbi, although not a producer, at least to my knowledge, his DJ sets are always amazing and one of my favorite DJ’s. I’ll leave you with a song I’ve been listening to on repeat, Lil Gotit – “Opp Pack” featureng Slimelife Shawty produced by Wheezy.

Interview by Dan
Picture by Daniel-Shea