Liquid Earth steps forward with a briljant selection of hazy moods and modern-day steppers.
Operating under a variety of different monikers, Taylor Freels has produced some seriously good, deep and propulsive club music over the last couple of years. Mainly focused on his Liquid Earth project now, he recently landed original material on Kalahari Oyster Cult and Butter Side Up. Hitting the mark on both occasions with an effective bundle of classy dance-floor workouts that are firmly rooted in the 90s continuum.
While Taylor is busy working on material for his new record label, touring and diving into the world of electronic engineering, we caught up to hear the latest on developments. And, much to our pleasure, he delivered the latest episode in our mix series.
Taylor, great to catch up in between what looks like an intense period of travel between 3 continents in the last 6 weeks. Are you still in good energy? After leaving California, you toured Australia & NZ with 6 gigs in 9 days, how was that?
I quite enjoy touring, especially now into my 30s. I have most definitely found my pace with it and this round was no different. Australia and New Zealand were excellent, which I’m sure was in part due to the recent Covid restrictions being lifted as most clubbers were in good spirits. It was my third time in New Zealand. The space, Club 121, is a bare bones basement with a killer sound system situated in Wellington’s CBD. You can listen to my recorded set from the night in full here.
Now it looks like you’re enjoying a slightly more relaxed European summer with gigs in France, Germany and the UK, including a recent 6 hr performance at Berghain. How did that go down and what else do you have coming up?
It was my third time playing Panorama Bar, and each visit seems to top the last. I had the pleasure of closing out upstairs well into Monday morning, with a close knit crew of friends in tow and several Long Island Ice teas in hand. Up next I’ll be back in Europe starting at the end of August; London, Bristol, Tisno (Dimensions Festival), Tbilisi, Batumi and Amsterdam. For my full schedule visit Constellate Talent.
We understand you’ve developed somewhat of a new hobby during Covid times; electronic engineering. Using those newfound skills to build and repair synthesizers, can you tell us a bit about how you got into this?
Yes, the interest was sort of born after a botched build I commissioned (a clone of the Pearl Syncussion). Jokingly thinking to myself afterwards, “hey, why can’t I just do this.” Shortly after I spent a couple months with youtube tutorials and schematics, learning how Control Voltage works or understanding the Pinout of a Microcontroller. One of the first synths I opened was an old Sequential Six Trak (one of the first synthesizers to introduce Midi). I started with basic restoration, recapping electrolytic capacitors, fixing bad traces and replacing rotten key bushings. Now, two years later, I’ve found myself building kit Modular Synthesizers and then moving on to proper clones from companies like Din Sync, Steda and Black Corp (pictured below is Din Sync’s 808 clone sans case). It’s been a couple years of trial and error (admittedly I’m nowhere near being able to design my own synth), however this passion has kept me busy during lockdown and beyond. For anyone looking to navigate into DIY synth building I can highly recommend starting with sites like Thonk, Modular Addict, Pusherman or Synth Cube.
Also be interested to hear your thoughts on the underground scenes / communities in North America, Australasia and Europe… do you see any distinct differences or perhaps even adjust the way you play to the respective crowds?
Absolutely. I will always form my sets around the space, venue or community I’m in. I feel it’s imperative for any DJ to do so. Each continent with a variety of scenes, all intersecting and evolving of one another.
Moving on to production and your own music.. prior to us setting up this interview, you mentioned you’re pretty excited about a new EP you just sent off to mastering. Set to be released by yourself, can you tell us a bit about the motivation behind self-releasing your music instead of going through a record label? And what can you tell us about this particular EP?
Yes, sure am. It’ll be the first of the Liquid Earth Physical releases (LEP001), which is due out in Fall of this year *fingers crossed.* The EP is titled “The Electronic Brain” and explores the inconsistencies in rave culture throughout the late 90s and post millennia. All tracks are inherently built for the club, l blemished with their own – distinctive – melodies and playful percussion. I unfortunately do not have much to share, as pressing delays are unavoidable given the current saturation of vinyl pressing and supply chain issues.
What else might you have coming up towards the end of the year?
I’ll be playing Dimensions Festival in Croatia at the end of Summer. A now yearly excursion I so very much look forward to. I am also working on the next Liquid Earth record and hopefully an album to follow, although there is no set timeline for either of these.
Finally, what can you tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for us? Any specific vibe channelled, special bits in there you’d like to mention, etc.?
The mix is a bit of a slow burner up until the 45min mark, complete with a cosmic dipped intro and a few unreleased bits from myself and friends. The mix was recorded overlooking the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro on a Summer evening.