Before he was a regular fixture at Watergate and a core artist on Pan-Pot’s recently founded Second State imprint, Clint Stewart “cut his teeth” in the undergrounds and warehouses of San Francisco.
Since 2007, Clint proved himself an undeniable tastemaker and someone who always had a story to tell. He was one of the main residents at San Francisco’s legendary 222 Club and a regular at undergrounds and warehouses in all corners of the city as well as in New York, Detroit and LA.
Internationally, Clint’s travels have taken him to many corners of the globe, becoming a fixture at Berlin’s Watergate alongside Pan-Pot. With this relationship, Clint became Pan-Pot’s first signed artist to their Second State imprint, providing him s showcase for his own voice as a producer.
Second State touches down in London at the Studio Spaces for another showcase of the label’s talent with an all star cast in tow. Joining Clint Stewart will be, of course, Pan-Pot, as well as Miss Kitten, Stephan Hinz (live), Michael Klein, and The Reason Y..
Anticipating the event, we had Clint Stewart speak on various aspects of the industry, including his memories of San Francisco, place within Second State, and more.
“We all drive each other to be better and everyone has different strengths”
Does being from San Fran mean you have a certain sound or background or style? What music did you grow up on, for example, and does it still influence you now?
SF most definitely gave me a lot of perspective and it’s where I feel like I really honed my craft to where it is today, but I wouldn’t say I have an SF style. There are so many killer artists from SF and they are all different, so I’m not sure it would be accurate to say that, maybe besides Dirtybird, there isn’t really a “San Francisco” sound. If anything I think the consistency between all of the artists from SF is that everyone is very eclectic. I just did an interview with LWE for our Second State show coming up in London with my top 5 most influential albums and 5 more honorable mentions that covered stuff from Depeche Mode to stoner rock kings Kyuss and wilder stuff like The Mars Volta as well as Ricardo Villalobos and Minilouge so my musical background covers a fairly large spectrum. I’m not sure I consciously try to utilize certain things from musical influences, but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.
You play Watergate often – what’s your relationship like with the club? What makes it a special place to play? Is it the best in the world for you?
I love Watergate and the whole crew. It really is a family and that is super important to me. It all started in 2008 when I first played there with Pan-Pot and then every summer after until I finally relocated to Berlin in 2013 when I started playing more often. Then last year I signed to the W Agency so now they do my bookings as well which really solidifies our relationship. As for what makes it special, there so many reasons. It’s a beautiful club with incredible sound and the attention to detail in everything from the layout to the lights is impeccable. When you play there, no matter who you are, you are treated like a professional and that leaves a lasting impression. Also the club is always going off and the lineup is always diverse and cutting edge so you can always go and it’s a great time. For me, the water floor feels like my living room. I’m so comfortable playing there and it’s such an incredible space. I love the intimate moments when DJ’ing and the water floor is the perfect example of a place that enhances that vibe. So ya, I would say Watergate, specifically the water floor, is my favorite place to play
You were on Rinse FM recently – how was that? Has radio been an important part of your musical life and make up? Any shows you listen to regularly?
It was really cool for me because it was the first time I’d done something on proper FM radio. I never listen to the radio anymore unless it happens to be on, but I grew up on it so it’s definitely nostalgic.
You collaborated with Pan Pot themselves recently – what was that like? Who did what in the studio? When can we hear the results?
It was super fun. It’s been a long time coming and we had talked about it for years so to actually get in the studio and do something together was amazing. The whole thing came about as I was working on an idea with some recordings I had done with this really sick drummer from Portugal named Peter Xoben and Tassilo came in the room and heard it. Right away he said he wanted to be involved in the track somehow so I sent him the session and then he did a little work on it. A few months went by and I had to start preparing my collaboration EP ‘HUB’ on Second State, it was the perfect time to finish it so Tas, Thomas and myself got in the studio and knocked it out in a couple sessions. Between the three of us, everyone contributed pretty equally in all areas from melodies to harmonies to drums so in the end it’s a true display of compromising artistic visions. It will be out with three other collabs I did with Stephan Hinz, Micheal Klein and The Reason Y at the very beginning of summer, just in time for for the season to kick off.
Tell us about your own studio gear and process – what toys and tools have you got and how do you approach each new track?
To be honest, Im pretty in the box. There’s a couple of nice analog pieces in the studio and I use them regularly like the Jomox 888 and the Juno 106, but I love working with samples too so it’s a little bit of everything. As for process, it changes all the time. Generally I start with very simple drums and then a harmony. A nice warm harmony in the mid to low range on a short loop. I like to have that as my bedrock and then begin to layer the melodies, percussion and general personality of the track around that, but the way I finish tracks is always different so I don’t really have one process.
How did you first link up with the Second State label? Dd you send demos or meet Pan Pot at a gig or…?
Tassilo, Thomas and I are really close friends and have been for years. I met Tas when I booked him for a party in 2007 in San Francisco on their first ever US tour. We hit it off, stayed in touch and then they both came back the next time. Since then, they always stayed with me in SF and I would stay the summers with them in Berlin. We’ve had some wild times and became super close over the years. When I decided to move to Berlin in 2013 after some personal stuff and the need to change scenery, they were the ones who pushed me to commit to it and they gave me the opportunity, along with Stephan Hinz to be the first artists on the label when it was still in the conception stage. That being said, the label is something I’m really passionate about and being able to work with your best friends is priceless.
Whats it like working with such a big label and such well known producers? Do you feel pressure trying to write for them?
I’m all about healthy competition and there is plenty of that at Second State. We all drive each other to be better and everyone has different strengths so we all help each other any way we can. As for pressure, it’s definitely there, but it’s the good kind.
What will you plan for the special label party in London? Will you have any tricks up your sleeves?
Of course! I’ll be playing lots of the new HUB collaborations and other new tunes of mine that aren’t released yet. Also going to test drive some cuts that are still in the final stages to see how they do so it should be interesting.
What else have you got coming up/are you excited about?
There’s a lot coming up that Im psyched about. A bunch of new music, a month back in the states this summer for a tour, lots more Second State shows and of course my collaboration EP with the other Second State artists out at the beginning of the summer.
Catch Clint Stewart spin with Pan-Pot at Studio Spaces E1 on 26th March for their Second State label showcase, alongside an all-star cast of DJs including Stephan Hinz, Michael Klein, Miss Kittin, and The Reason Y. – Tickets