17.10.2017 | Words by:
I write this piece not from Amsterdam but San Francisco - a place that Job Sifre's sound has already reached. Only a few nights earlier I stumble upon the smiling local faces of Solar and Mozghan playing a track of his to an ecstatic American crowd. It provides a perfect illustration of how Job’s energy is becoming harder and harder to escape, wherever your chosen dark dancefloor might be.
I spoke to Job about his knack for navigating the tunnels of the post-punk, weirdo wave and scummy lo-fi electronica underworlds, as well as his passion for true DIY values when both playing and producing music.Q: You've been doing your fortnightly Red Light Radio 'Antikunst' show for quite some time now. Can you explain the concept?
A: I was looking for a platform to display my musical taste in its full width. I played parties for quite some time at that point, and often struggled to be able to play the music I really loved most. I often found it scary to put an experimental wave track in front of a crowd, as I wasn’t sure if other people would enjoy it in the same way as I did. I also gathered a lot of non-dancefloor music, ranging from ambient to weird industrial, which I could not exhibit at the parties I was playing at, at that time in my career.
I came up with the concept, because all the music I wanted to display could be considered challenging when compared to pop music, or the more traditional forms like jazz or classical for that matter. A lot of music in the 80’s pushed the established boundaries of music at that time, mainly because of new production methods and the start of the DIY movement. The name antikunst literally means anti-art, and is inspired by the Dada movement. Q: What draws you to DIY punk values?
A: The thing about DIY is that it’s completely free to interpretation, especially when it just started in the late 70’s. With all kinds of technological progress, making music became cheaper and easier to do at home, so it granted that generation a certain amount of freedom, like no generation had ever experienced before. Where previously studio time was limited, you could now experiment in your garage, bedroom or wherever for eternity. Especially in combination with electronic instruments, that transformed into a more abstract, psychedelic sound.
It’s not only the music though, I’m also attracted to the state of mind. In theory, your only limitations are the limitations you give yourself. Besides maybe, the fact that I don’t have the money to buy a Roland Jupiter 6, or a real 808, but still, I am completely free to make whatever I want, and this freedom is also really a key aspect of the DIY mindset. Q: In the unrefined, rawness of your music would you agree that there's an element of rejection in what you do?
A: I ‘reject’ certain types of music. I’m approaching my own music in a ‘antikunst’ way, it’s a way to counter to what I hear that displeases me, whether that’s music, politics, feelings or simply culture. For me, the only way to reach this is not to be precise, to be intuitive about it, and just try to capture what I feel. In a way, you’re right, I reject certain ideas or values, and implement this in my songs, but I would never say people shouldn’t make music just because I personally don’t like it. Q: I want to know how you stumbled upon this sound. What producers (or even bands) pointed you towards it?
A: I started with heavy 2000-ish techno, 135+ beats per minute, a lot of tribalist rhythms and so on. Looking back, it was just a lack of knowledge about what was what: I knew techno, so everything was techno. I remember playing this song that I found - ‘No More – Suicide Commando’ – from when I just started DJ’ing. Although tracks like this intrigued me, and left me searching for more tracks like that, it wasn’t until later I discovered this wasn’t actually techno but new wave, and that there were loads of other cool genres like industrial, synthpop, electro etc. From that point onwards, other big influencers were (obviously) both New Order and Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle, SM Nurse, Chris and Cosey, Linear Movement, just to name a few Q: From a DJ perspective who influenced you?
A: From DJ perspective, I must say I am most inspired by DJ’s like Solar, Vladimir Ivkovic, Lena Willikens, Helena Hauff and Traxx, just because their sets taught me a lot about how energy should be more important than genre, or style. Also, Aroy Dee has always been a big favorite, not only because of his music, but also because of his whole appearance. He’s having more fun in the DJ booth than anyone in the crowd, and that’s something I really admire! Q: So fun is very important?
When I’m Djing I’m trying to have fun. I’m used to being on the dancefloor. I’m trying to dance always. If I’m not having fun, why would anyone else? I don’t want to be serious. I don’t want to be doing it if I’m not having fun. While DJing, making a party is more important than being obscure for the sake of being obscure. But if you can do both, that’s even better, and that’s what I’m trying to do, Q: Your first 6 track LP just came out on Interstellar Funk's new label Artificial Dance. How did that come about?
A: I met Interstellar Funk a couple of times out and about in Amsterdam. I just spammed him with unfinished demos every now and then, through facebook. Then at one point he wrote me a message, and asked I could send him a folder with all my tracks, because he might be interested in releasing something. I did, and then shortly after that we made a selection and I started finishing the tracks we selected. I’m really happy with the EP, and really thankful to Olf for giving me the opportunity! Q: I know you live with another producer, Identified Patient. Do you find that the two of you have influenced each other's sound? I see definite connections...
A: We even share names, so it gets confusing sometimes around the house. But on a more serious note, I think we definitely have influenced each other. I came to live with him just before he was releasing his first record, and way before I released mine. We were both making a lot of music, but we were (and are) actually extremes when it comes to our methods. He is more the jam-based ‘have to finish it in one sitting’ kinda guy, and I am more like the ‘I’ll listen to a loop for 5 hours, and then draw out a arrangement a week later’ kinda dude. Our musical taste was totally the same though, so through sharing a lot of music, and talking about it, we definitely have similarities of how our music or DJ sets should sound like, and then process this ‘vision’ both in our own way. Q: Is there any competition?
A: I think there is a tiny bit of competition as well, but in a good way. When he released his first record, I was like: “fuck, I want this too”, so this turned into a big motivator to finish more songs. It’s never jealousy, and even if it was, it just inspires the other person to work harder. Also it’s really nice that we can borrow each other’s vinyl. Keep an eye on this guy! Job Sifre will play De School's club space during Het Weekend at ADE. On Saturday, October 21st he will play from 23.00 until 03.00. For the entire schedule, click here.