Monday 17 September 2012

TEA with Myles Sergé

The enigmatic Myles Sergé Clark is a low flying techno producer, hard working label head and old school DJ, but he prefers the term "reclusive perfectionist". He also avoids so much techno radar, there should be a top secret submarine named U.S.S Myles Sergé in his honour.

However, his label RE(FORM) is now really starting to bleep, thanks to a slew of analogue stripteases by himself and label mates Myk Derill, Ozka and Sev Dah.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sergé now finds himself living down by the beach in Brighton, England.

His productions bypass the traditional musicality associated with Michigan and Sergé adopts a European and minimalistic approach to making music and DJing.

His dry, gritty and mettlesome machine funk comes from his “all you need is a beat and a sound” modus operandi.

TEA tracked down Myles Sergé for a chat on his early productions, growing up halfway between Chicago and Detroit, his new project Space, as well as a big up for Markus Suckut and an admittance to embrace tea now that he is living in the UK.

How did you record the mix?

I recorded the mix in my studio with two Technics 1200MK2's and my fateful Korg Zero 4. Man I love that mixer. I don't play digital and I don't do edits. Everything is all live. But I am considering picking up a CDJ. I have never used one so I'm curious to see how that will all pan out. I get a lot of great promos sent to me but sadly I can't play them. I usually try to pick them up when they get released on vinyl.

Markus Suckut features heavily in the mix. Are you enjoying his music specifically at the moment?

Yeah Markus is dope. I love the production; raw, funky, straight forward and to the point. This is the kind of stuff I like to play because the possibilities for creating new grooves within a mix are endless because of the versatility of the tracks. Using Markus as an example I can play one of his tracks and then take the mix in any direction I want, techno or house.

How long have you been producing for? Your style is very raw and stripped back, as heard in you podcast.

I started producing somewhere around 1995 after meeting Donnell Knox. Donnell and I met through a mutual friend KIKOMAN and we started hanging out. He's in Poland now and we still talk just about every day. Okay, okay back to the story. At the time Donnell was living in Kalamazoo and I lived in Grand Rapids about a hour north. We both would come to each other’s house and make tracks. We would spend days in the studio only to leave for food; Hot ‘n Now.

This is where and when I learned about making music. I later would meet Jay Denham, Donnell's cousin, Fanon Flowers and Chance McDermott who are all from Kalamazoo. As far as my style I have always loved the "True" minimalist approach. I believe music doesn't have to be over complicated, all you need is a beat and a sound, that's it. There have been a few people who have asked me about the rawness of my sound, I can't really explain it. There isn't any formula, it just happens.

How did you first discover electronic music?

I first discovered electronic music well, as we describe it now in the mid 80's. I was in the fourth or fifth grade and at this time "Breaking" was in. During the summer I would stay at my grandmother’s house in Flint, where I was born. The next-door neighbor James aka "Stinker" was attending The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Stinker would bring back tapes that he recorded from the radio of "The Wizard" aka Jeff Mills; and that was it. Since I was about 5 I have always lived in Grand Rapids up until the move to Brighton U.K. where I'm living with my lovely wife Edurne. Love will move mountains.

I recently interviewed Fanon Flowers and saw you two collaborated on a project called Star Blazers. Tell me about your relationship with him.

The Star Blazers EP was the first time any of my productions actually saw the light. The EP was more like a compilation of artist. I had one track on the EP. Over the years I have learned a lot from Fanon. We haven't kept in contact as of late but I see he's doing his thing.

You run a few labels. Tell us a bit about Dosed Recordings, 6ONE6 and DEFREC.

Dosed Recordings was my first label that I started back in the late 90's. That came to a halt after I had lost distribution during the distributor meltdown around 2000. The first artist was Mark Verbos, then everyone else were my close friends; Crispin Klemp, PHREK, KIKOMAN and Matt Hyatt. The last release before the end was DOS07 Del Sud, which I think I can say now was Echoplex. In 2011 I decided to re-launch the label as another outlet to further expand the creative visions of not only myself but to other like-minded artists and the next release was DOS08 Myles Sergé and Tommy Vicari Jnr Sheffeld and Hove.

As you might be able to see there is a good working relationship between me and Tommy. 6ONE6 is the dream work of Brian Miller aka PHREK aka Detroit People Mover. Brian is one of my best friends and I have known him for years. After the shutdown of Dosed I didn't do anything with music, no production, no Djing - I was done - until he asked me to come on board with him with 6ONE6. 6ONE6 started as a net-label and outlet for Brian and Jeremiah Wood aka Sub Surface to get there work out and it quickly became something bigger. We suddenly had people sending demos, a cult following. Mike Dehnert, M-Rahn, PLURAL aka James Johnson, Russ Denman, Schwanbeck, Quantec, Mario Massaro, Tommy Vicari Jnr and ourselves all have released on 6ONE6.

Things were moving so fast we needed to have a second outlet so we started DEFREC the sub-label to 6ONE6. DEFREC had a vision but it simply became an overflow. Things at 6ONE6 slowed down. Brian went back to school and things were changing in our day-to-day lives. Brian is currently re-tooling the label and I will be back very soon.

I saw Mike Dehnert has done one of his only digital releases on 6ONE6. He has also remixed you. You two seem to share a dialogue.

I haven't talked with Mike in a few years. Mike and Brian had been talking with each other for about a year or so before his release on 6ONE6. The two of them were exchanging tracks, this was way before the huge success of Fachwerk. Mike did the "Werkstoff" EP and two tracks on the 6ONE6 CD Comp Dreams of Home. Shortly after that thugs took off from him.

About a year later we had obtained vinyl distribution for 6ONE6 and we wanted to release his Werkstoff EP on vinyl because it was and in my opinion and still is one of the best works he has ever done, but It didn't happen. So we kept in contact and when I was coming up with tracks for my Urban Renewal EP in early 2010 I asked him for a remix. Before the release came out I met him and Roman Lindau at Freerotation were we all played, and the rest is history.

RE(FORM) seems to really be taking off at the moment, tell us about that label, Archer Crutkaew and its artists.

I started RE(FORM) just after my Urban Renewal EP came out on 6ONE6. I wanted to release more of my own stuff more frequently. At first It was only supposed to be for me but that soon changed with RE(FORM)-02. The concept with RE(FORM) was to show the world artists could make music that didn't have to compromise their own creative ideals. You didn't have to conform to the so called "rules" or so called "formulas" that seems to dominate electronic music at the moment.

If you look at the roster of artists we have we are all different, we all have our own styles and we’re all not afraid to step out of our own box. That is RE(FORM). Archer Crutkaew is my partner at RE(FORM) and is also one of my best friends. I first met Archer in the early days of 6ONE6 where she helped marketing and promotion for the label. She knows her music and is a living techno discography.

Around the 6th release on RE(FORM) I asked her to come aboard to be a part of what I was doing and she accepted. Archer is responsible for finding Sev Dah, Kazuya and a few other artist that have been on both RE(FORM) and 6ONE6 and DEFREC. There seems to be this perception that because she is a woman, she doesn't know anything about music and that she shouldn't be running a label. She know's her shit. So people please give her respect, she has earned it. She is a damn good photographer.

Myk Derrill is also making some great music. So much so I had to check it wasn’t a Mike Dehnert alias. Tell me how you came across him.

That man is a machine. At the moment Myk is doing his thing with releases on RE(FORM) and Philippe Petit's Knotweed Records. I came across Myk during the 6ONE6 days shortly after Mike Dehnert's release. He sent us a few demos but things were full at the moment so nothing ever came about. After the first release on RE(FORM) he contacted me and sent me some tracks to check out and I liked what I heard and that was it. I asked Brian to get down on the remix and the Two Weeks EP was finished. I can see the comparison between the two but Myk's sound is a little more funky.

You don’t go for the big names necessarily and it seems as if the guys on your label are quite close knit. Tell us about how you discovered producers like Myk, Ozka , Kazuya Kawakami and Sev Dah.

I don't want it to seem like I discovered them, hell they have a bigger profile than me. These guys are already unearthed, but simply because they’re not a big name or not on a mega label no one seems to care, or for that matter even take the time to look at the quality of music that they’re putting out. It's sad. I think Archer and I simply keep our ears to the ground to find music that we like and enjoy.

Tell us about your Transitional man LP in 2009. How big of a project was that?

That project was great, but it didn't see the light. I did it in about a week, I was on a role. I named it, got PHREK to hook up the cover art and I got about 100 CDs manufactured. The project was ready to go, but I had second thoughts so I killed it. Yeah I know. I was unsure on how it was going to go over. The finished CD didn't get officially released but I did give out copies to friends as promos. Some of the tracks on that CD can be found on a few of my other vinyl releases.

Tell us about the Space project?

Space is special for me. I wanted to showcase a different side of techno that I believe doesn't get much exposure. I'm a huge fan of experimental and abstract sounds and music, not your average dance floor stuff, plus I love Space thus the theme of the label. Space is strictly limited. There will only be four releases a year with only 200 copies per release. The next release is SPC02, Tommy Vicari Jnr’s Looom which should be out around the 25th of September via Decks Records. I have releases in the works form Miles Sagnia, ESHU and Detroit People Mover aka PHREK aka Brian Miller.

What’s coming up for Myles Serge?

I have a few projects in the works that won't surface until next year. I'm slowly working on my first album on RE(FORM). I have a release coming out in the early part of next year on Aubry's DOT label. I have been also been talking with Marcus about working with him on a project. I'm working on a few other releases with remixes from a few people I like. I have also done a few remixes for Advanced Human, Sebastian Krenzlin, Chance McDermott and Sebastian Bayne. I'm not sure when these are coming out, hopefully soon but we will have to just wait and see.

What is your favourite tea?

I'm not a big fan of tea, but now that I'm living in England I have to get with the program. So far my favorite tea is Earl Grey.

You can check Archer Crutkaew’s photography at

Pic Credit: Edurne Iriondo