Electronic Music Production & Performance student Olli-Pekka Hietto just launched his independent dark techno label Death and Dissonance (D.A.D.) We interview him about the project.
As we drag our heavy black coats into the shivering gloom of December, darkness – both inner and outer – can no longer be eluded. Autumn’s sapphire skies and golden leaves, last bastions of brightness, have waved their last hurrah. It is time instead for hibernation, contemplation, retreat. Except, of course, for Berlin’s techno breed, whose natural habitat is seasonless in its shadow. When the summer sun peaked, all pastels and picnics, they shrugged from the depths of their favourite club, ‘light is easy to love.’
It’s no surprise that Finnish dark techno producer Olli-Pekka Hietto gravitates towards the genre, considering his homeland’s famously short winter days. “Darkness is the place to be!,” the Electronic Music Production & Performance Bachelor student exclaims, ironically oblivious to the origins of his musical affinity. To Olli-Pekka, who goes by the artist name Surma, sonic sombreness seems to come naturally.
Last week, the techno reaper launched his long-anticipated label Death and Dissonance (D.A.D), along with its first track ‘DOSE.’ In the wake of the release, we caught up with Olli-Pekka to learn more about the exciting project.
Hey Olli-Pekka, how’s it going? First of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your music.
I’m a third-year student here at Catalyst. I love lasagna and synthesisers at a likely unhealthy level. I also have an audiovisual project, Foreign Mechanics – more on that in 2019 when the website is live. My music has always been about creative technicalities in production and sound design. Oph leans on the heavier side of the electronic music spectrum. I listen to a lot of drum and bass, IDM, break core and half time, so there’s influence coming from a lot of directions – at least in regards to designing sounds.
You’ve just launched your own independent label. Describe your vision for the label and the sound you want to propagate.
Death and Dissonance (D.A.D) is a project I have been planning for a long time. Coming to Berlin definitely locked that idea in. It is an imprint to publish my music with full creative control, as well as aesthetically like-minded artists’ work. The D.A.D imprint is very much tilted towards the darker sounds of techno.
Techno is mainstream in Berlin, but the genre’s darker or more sinister realms are less explored. What brought you to the dark side?
The dark side is the place to be! Nothing like the angry 40Hz rumble. I can’t say there’s a specific reason, I’m just drawn to it!
“The creative process was incredible. It was one of those when you sit down with your laptop and everything you do just works.”
If you could pick three artists to sign right now, who would they be?
You released your first track of the label, ‘DOSE,’ at the end of November. What were the inspirations and creative process behind it?
DOSE is an intense, low-end-driven warehouse-y track. The idea behind the track was ‘altered perception.’ The creative process was incredible. It was one of those when you sit down with your laptop and everything you do just works. But finalising it was tedious; I must have had about six or seven different variations of DOSE.
How has your Catalyst study influenced you as an artist?
The environment has without a doubt an impacted my progress. Being surrounded by creatives every day of the week gives motivation and perspective and pushes you to improve.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own label?
A clear vision is essential.
When can we expect D.A.D’s next release?
D.A.D’s next release will come in late December. It’s an absolute belter, made in collaboration with two very cool artists here in Berlin. There is a lot in store for 2019. Expect news soon!