Magda’s two hour podcast for Nocturama (part of a recording of a six hour set @ Phonox last month) follows her down the proverbial rabbit hole, through the glass darkly, and out into techno-bounce city, where the days are getting darker--indeed it is autumn now. So listen here to Magda's new mix, as you look out the window from your chaise-lounge, watching the leaves change from their weary summer green to a fresh Berlin black. You might also want to grab a scarf and head out to Magda's latest event series PERM, which she started in Berlin in 2016, or check out her new label, PERM RECORDS
--the twin sister to her party.
And check out below Magda's interview with Benjamin Myers (Of Benoit & Sergio
), in which they talk about, among other things, snare drums, hi hats, and the "trumpet man of jazz", Wynton Marsalis.
Magda, you make a track from many years ago, and it was called “48 Hour Crack In Your Bass.” It inaugurates your classic Magda bassline sound that reminds me of a thick rubberband stretching out over dark tunnel under river. How many hours did it take you to make this rubberband bass?
It took many 48 hour under river sessions in those dark tunnels. My love for rubber bands goes back to my eastern bloc days. I had a stuffed animal from a very popular Polish cartoon. It was a goat called “Koziolek Matolek”, which I brought with me to America. It was bigger than me and we wore the same outfit. I would rubber band my leg and arm to him and pretend we are a dance troupe. This is how I entertained myself in the communist era, so as you see rubber bands have a special place in my heart.
Because I have tried to make this sound before in my own and it is very hard. Is it because you make this sound on a classic, rare synthesizer? Could I trouble you to inquire: was this synthesizer rubber bass made on a classic vintage Moog? Or was it from a classic SH 101 synthesizer sound? Or any of the above that I am not understanding?
It is a rare Polish synth with built-in rubber bands which is traditionally used for Polish hi-nrg polka but became my secret weapon for the rubberband bass.
Your classic Magda rubber band bass sound is again prominent on your remix of Ryan Crosson’s “Gotham Road.” There seems to be some confusion online tho! Was this the label for which you remixed Ryan Crosson on Trapez or Minus?
That came out on Trapez and I’m happy to clear up the scandal.
I wonder a similar question in listening to this remix of Gotham Road: did you use a classic synth sound like on the previous track I said (“48 Hour Crack In Your Bass”) to make this classic RUBBERband sound?
My obsession with rubberbands was at its peak and my OCD kicked in. I had to make that bass lonnnnnnnnng, otherwise I couldn’t leave the house or eat. Bass stabs nearly killed me back then but thank god for hypnosis and some good therapy sessions for bringing me back to sanity. Now i even love bass stabs! My eye doesn’t twitch anymore.
What is a crack in your bass?
The twitch in my eye.
I know that Ryan Crosson is coming from the Detroit Area. Is Ryan Crosson a genuine Detroit man or from a different part of Michigan State?
Ryan is almost a genuine Detroit man. Very close, but just over the city limits. You can tell by his accent and distinct facial expressions.
Who are your 3 most genuine Detroit man (or woman!)?
Stevie Wonder! The count from the new dance show, and Kenny Dixon jr.
Unfortunately Insane Clown Posse didn't make this list because they're from downriver. However, I’m thankful these white raging rap clowns exist. perhaps they came about from the after effects of the toxic power plant downriver.
Because I would have to say that there are many of these genuine Detroit Man, but then others come from other parts. I know Matthew Dear—he is associated with Detroit, but I hear he lives in Ann Arbor, which is not technically Detroit? I wonder why sometimes the American Press is not as precise when they speak of these facts about whether an artist is from Detroit. Is this a problem for you?
Of course not. Detroit was a ghost town and kids came from all around to be part of one Detroit scene.
I have heard you play many times. Are there any moments you remember a man in the crowd with a black DETROIT TECHNO hat? I always wear this same hat when I see you perform your DJ SETS.
Ah its you! I’ve seen you creeping and lurking near corners and reenacting the crab walk, so thanks for your support!
Detroit, Berlin—Techno Mecca of the world. Would you ever play at a religious festival celebrating more traditional forms of faith?
Marc Houle and I were about to start a band called BAS (Beats Against Satan) and infiltrate the mega churches of the midwest. We wanted fortune and fame not to mention a mall tour of America following in Tiffany’s footsteps.
I wonder if you could tell me about percussion—what is more important for you: hi-hats or snare drum (besides of course kick drums which I leave aside for a whole other interview).
There’s nothing like a good ole’ snare drum to kick my ass. However, I prefer snares these days that don't sound like snares, so the weirder the better.
Because I think that hi-hats for me can be very boring. But I can listen to a good snare for a very long time. You take it out and bring it back. And it feels very... Inspirational. But I guess, also, you can take out hi-hat, then bring it back with a slinky GROOVE, and that can almost be as effective as a huge EDM drop, if the mood is correct. Do you agree?
I know EDM drops are your favorite and you do tend to reach moments of epic euphoria. I've seen you almost lose your pants jumping frantically up and down. It almost felt like a pentecostal revival episode. Hi hats don’t stimulate such hi’s for me. I love the slinky grooves they create and I like making loads of weird patterns with various ones but in a more steady emotionally way.
I speak of EDM: I like some of these songs. I know that it can be very risky to say (as an underground journalist) but I love some of these EDM tracks. They are like pop music which i also have a guilty pleasure for. Marshemello’s “SO ALONE” I listened to all summer because I heard it in Mexico in all the bars. Do you feel confident enough in yourself to admit to guilty pleasures of EDM sometimes or pop music in general? Or do you just never like these music?
I like Diplo’s Miami bass drops, what can i say?
I see you now run a record label and have party called PERM. What is philosophy of PERM, Magda?
Get that weave as tight as possible! I've been obsessed with the Detroit hair wars competitions since i was young and somehow always associated my parties with hair. I did a party called “gel & weave” in New York back in 2000 and now PERM. It has a nice ring to it and also stands for permanent wave, relating to music.
PERM sits at the crossroads between art and club culture with a big focus on creating a cozy atmosphere through visual installations by our resident wonder boy V/ \\\ . Perm’s very DNA is its spirit of collaboration and multimedia expression. This year we have done 7 parties along with one off shoot of PERM called FRIZZ (Perm’s weird basement baby) which focuses on more non-dance vibes.
The other night I was watching a documentary about Jazz, and Wynton Marsalis, the great modern Trumpet Man of Jazz, made this point about music: Sustained Intensity=Ecstasy, where ecstasy, it seems to me, would be a kind of deliverance from the norms of perception and locomotion (the Trumpet Man is not, I believe, talking about a cheesy ecstasy like we see in Hollywood movies with nun rapt in religious orgasm in front of the Cross during evening prayer). Do you like this equation from the Trumpet Man? Does it hold truths for you?
Oh it holds many truths towards my vicinity. That is a great equation indeed from Mr. Marsalis! i believe that’s what we try to reach during performances isn't it? i’m very emotionally attached to every DJ set (good and bad), and when all variables click it definitely is “sustained intensity = ecstasy”.
Do you think Sustained Intensity=Ecstasy might describe an ideal DJ set for you? If not, what equation would use? Please write you equation provided in the space below.
As I mention above, it is the ideal DJ set for me, minus the face gurning.
Is there a hi hat sound you will never die without?
I may die immediately if I hear hairspray white noise.
What is your least favorite grooves according to decade?
Happy Hardcore from the 90’s wins hands down. I’ll never forget a warehouse party I played in Detroit and the guy before me was a happy hardcore DJ, meaning he was playing like 200 bpm with super happy melodies and voices over top. It was like a bad chipmunk rave version of the movie children of the corn, with a thousand ravers pumping Pikachu dolls on sticks in the air. I’m still traumatized but also grateful to have witnessed such a phenomenon.
Thank you, Magda, for all your time. One final inquiry to you. David Bowie was once asked what his most treasured possession was. He said, "a pressed and dried Chrysanthemum picked on my honeymoon in Kyoto." Have you ever been to this place David Bowie mentions? If you have, would you recommend it for Holidays?
Oh yes you can bathe in cedar, cherry blossoms, and fresh yuba. Pure heaven. It is one of my favorite enchanted cities.