Interview: DJ Boring
Comprised of simple, melodramatic chords, modulated acidic klangs, a syncopated, chilled out 909 groove, and (of course) a now iconic sample, DJ Boring burst onto the Dance Music scene in 2016 with the viral hit ‘Winona’.
A track as much academic in defining the ennuie of a new dance music generation, as it is laid back. In an era defined by insecurity and judgement, and where few are able to make an imprint, ‘Winona’ bucked the trends that all one needs is a proper marketing apparatus, instead going back to the time tested truth that talent and approach will always trump network. Since his official debut EP on DJ Haus’ E-Beamz, DJ Boring has released music on Lost Palms, LPH White, and his newly founded label, Vienna.
With lots going on in the world of DJ Boring, including a new collaborative EP “Wasted Years Of Pumping Iron” alongside Frits Wentink, and an upcoming performance at one of our unmissable Spring festivals, HER DAMIT at the Bunkeranlage Freudenberg, we managed to to catch up with Tristan Hallis aka DJ Boring to discuss all this and more.
“…people should be on the lookout!”
In June you’ll be playing at an interesting festival outside Berlin, HER DAMIT, which will take place in a decommissioned bunker. What are some of the other locations or venues you have played that are a bit out of the ordinary in this way?
I’m not too sure about anything out of the ordinary, but many have stood out to me. I played in this really cool, small Italian town called L’Aquila about 1.5 hours away from Rome. It was a tiny warehouse that was packed. I tend to go into shows knowing that it will be a good night but every so often I get blown away by these smaller towns. They really get me!
Was it the event or the town that stood out to you?
The town was really beautiful. Very old and Italian!
I was speaking with a festival on an island off the coast of Sicily recently. Apparently, the entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the event will showcase the locations as much as the artist. I’ve been drawn to these kinds of events a lot more recently. If destination festivals are going to be a thing, I personally prefer the ones that showcase some kind of history or culture over, say, a beachside event in Bali or the Caribbean….
Yes, of course! This seemed like one of those kinds of places where the city, it’s building and streets really added to the atmosphere of the actual event I played.
I did want to get your sense of the underground scene back in your native Melbourne. I know you’re in London now but what were your early rave days in Australia like?
It’s really cool. I loved watching the development of Melbourne’s scene. It started off very mixed. There was some House, and a lot of Thrash Electro, and a lot of Dubstep. As the years went on more people were getting into the Julio Bashmore kind of House sounds. In recent years, about the last 4-5, the underground scene in Melbourne has become amazing. There are all these interesting, Techno-y, House-y guys taking over. All the parties sell out! People line up forever to attend.
I get this impression, and I’ve actually never traveled to Australia although I really have no explanation as to why that it, that Melbourne holds more of the fringe elements of the Australian art scene. Is that accurate?
Yes, definitely! In Sydney, the ability to be free at the events is lessened by the laws there. There are time limits to walk into events and it’s really ruined their scene because the time is 1am. It’s ruined businesses entirely. Even when I play there people will message me to get in, just if they’re running late, and there’s nothing I can do help. Even if I walk out I’d get in trouble trying to come back in. It’s the law…
It’s interesting because back in the US, it really is only city’s like New York, Miami, and Las Vegas that have a more open policy toward shut down times that are conducive to nightlife. Naturally, there are rich after hours and illegal scenes throughout the country but, even in a place like Los Angeles, the closing time is 2am….which, in my opinion, is way too early. It’s anticlimactic.
I agree, 100%
On the flipside, your current home of London is much more conducive to a robust nightlife scene…
…I’ve actually just moved out of London. I’m going to be with family for the next few days and then I will move to Berlin.
Can you reflect on your time in London and where the city now lies within the scope of your career?
It was very fresh to come to London from Australia with no real reference as to how the nightlife was. When I first came, it was beautiful to see people lining up everywhere. There’s always so much going on. Coming from Australia, there are times when everyone is at one gig. It was great when I first went out in London and we couldn’t get in the first place, or the second, that there was still a third and fourth option.
What’s the advantage for you in moving to Berlin?
I’ve got a lot of friends there. It would be nice to spend time around more musical people as I spend a lot of time by myself in London.
You also have an upcoming release alongside Frits Wentink. How did this collaboration come about?
We were working in Amsterdam at Frits studio, playing with samples. We did these forward/reverse loops and spent all day collecting them. The next day, we put some tracks together using them. They have a bit of groove and a bit of punch, which combines both Frits and my musical backgrounds.
Creatively, what makes this collaboration work?
There were never any real questions on what to do between us. We jammed on synths and it all naturally came. It was a big delight to work so well together!
You mentioned you worked on the EP in Amsterdam. What are your impressions on the city?
I love Amsterdam! It’s one of my absolute favorite places.
I also wanted to ask you about your Vienna imprint. What do you want it to represent?
I just want it to be a fun, enjoyable place where people can release music for my friends or interesting acts. I don’t want people to look at it as a new House label or something. It’s going to feature a bit of everything.
Can you talk a bit about the cover art approach? I’m looking at the first release from yourself and Stanley Schmidt that is pretty fun…
It’s Stanley and me as dogs. The artwork idea is that every artist who releases on Vienna is going to be turned into an animal. Then, there will also be a little comic on the sleeve, so the label incorporates art as well as music. We want it to be interesting and fun.
Finally, moving through the next few months. What’s on your radar as something that really stands out? What are you excited for?
I’ve loved Defected Records over the years, and I was invited to play their festival in Tisno, Croatia, so I’m very excited about that. London Field Day and Egypt’s Sandbox Festival I’m also looking forward to.
What about on the music tip…what’s coming up?
The collaboration with Frits, mostly. Also, getting some more releases on my label. I can’t talk too much about it but people should be on the lookout!
“DJ Boring & Frits Wentink – Wasted Years Of Pumping Iron” is available 18 May on BOBBY DONNY