Dubspot Radio Podcast: Ulysses (Scatalogics, Hallucienda, The Bunker) – Exclusive Mix and Interview

In the latest installment of Dubspot Radio Podcast, New York City-based DJ/producer Ulysses (Elliot Taub) delivered an hour-long mix of raw, grooving, and undeniable electronic dance tracks. The exclusive mix can be heard in full below. Also check out our interview with Ulysses in which he talks about his early influences, numerous collaborative projects (including the excellent Neurotic Drum Band with John Selway), his contribution to Hallucienda’s Phono Obscura compilation, and some very exciting news for the upcoming year.

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Ulysses’ DJ career began in 1991, when he started his university’s first Techno radio show. Shortly after graduating he returned to his hometown and became a player in the late-90’s electro scene in New York, running some of the earliest large-scale electro parties in New York. Guests included legends such as Alexander Robotnick and Arthur Baker, as well as recent stars like I.F., Miss Kitten and the Hacker and Adult.

Ulysses is not only about party promotion, however, and a close look at his diverse musical career will quickly shatter this misconception. Although a long-time advocate of obscure Disco and classic Techno, Ulysses is currently best known for the Piano House anthem “Robotic Hypnotic Adventure” from his Neurotic Drum Band collaboration with John Selway. In addition to the NDB Ulysses collaborates with Thugfucker’s Holmar Filipsson as “Filipsson & Ulysses”, who are releasing soon-to-be classic EPs of emotive electronic disco on Internasjonal and Bearfunk Records. Ulysses still continues to chart his own musical path with an incredible EP of dark Pop for Internasjonal Spesial in the works, as well as some new club-friendly dance tracks on Wurst and a number of remixes.

His music suggests the nostalgic fun of yesterday’s classics without ever overlooking the new sounds of today. Its Ulysses’ unique combination of Dance music’s history and dance music’s ever-changing nature that makes him a unique force in Dance music.

Tell us about some of your early influences.
My older brother was my earliest influence … raiding his record collection was my education. He was into classic rock and punk so I was, too. He spent a lot of time learning to play guitar, but I was too uncooperative for that. Instead I got into experimental music through his more left-field guitar gods, like Frank Zappa. The early rave (and late disco) sounds were in the air around this time, too, and somehow I picked up on the signals. Kenny Larkin was the first techno producer I glommed on to and from him I discovered all the Detroit Techno guys. Freeform college radio also played a big part.

When did you start to write/compose songs?
Sometime around 1997 or 98.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating? Please tell us about the artists/producers you worked with.
Both are valuable. When it comes to making club tracks I prefer collaborating, but if I’m in an experimental mood it’s best to go solo. It’s hard to find somebody who wants to follow you into the weird places in your head that you need to go to for that kind of stuff.

How did Neurotic Drum Band, your collaboration with John Selway, came about?
Back in the mid-‘90s this woman I had just become fast friends with dragged me to the Korova Milk Bar to see some dude DJ. We had to climb this crazy rickety ladder to shake his hand.

What tools do you use to produce? Software, hardware, etc.?
I’m probably one of the first people to start entirely on software. Somehow I had ended up with a bunch of random hacks of DAWs and John and Todd Sines kept pestering me to figure them out so I could make music, like they did. Eventually I taught myself to use Logic and later John showed me Ableton (version 1!), and now I use anything I can get my hot little hands on. But I’ve found I like the un-predictability of hardware, especially cheap unpopular/unstable hardware.

How long do you usually take on a tune? One sitting? Multiple?
Sometimes I start and finish a song in one sitting, though that’s rare. From time to time I try to do that as an exercise … I try to channel the Swedish Techno and House producers from the ‘90s (Håkan Lidbo, Jesper Dahlbeck, Cari Lekebush, etc.) who would start and finish 3 tracks a day. It seems insanely fast but it’s true! Håkan showed me once.

Usually I’ll work on one for about 2-3 days before I get tired of it or distracted by something new. I’ve certainly worked on songs for more time than that, though. Sometimes they take a few months and some others I’ve started and then revisited years later. Those are usually followed by an effort to do a song in one sitting.

What is the most inspiring thing about the current state of dance music?
There seems to be groups of artists pushing against the boundaries of genre and experimenting with new combinations in interesting ways. People aren’t as scared to be seen as experimenting with what makes something dance music and happily audiences seem to be moving along with them.

Tell us about your imprint Scatalogics and your connection to The Bunker New York.
Scatalogics was the label I owned and ran from about 2002-2006. It was meant to be a forum for my own music, as well as any artist I admired that would let me talk them into releasing their stuff. I took the name from a party I used to throw at a spacious Lower East Side bar. As you can see it was essential for my meteoric rise to somewhere near the lower middle.

My connection to the Bunker is my relationship with its owner, Bryan Kasenic. Bryan and I met through the group of people who used to hang around/work at subTonic, the venue that later spawned The Bunker. I’ve also DJ’ed at the Bunker parties several times over the years and have done nearly all my live shows there. When I heard he was starting a label it was obvious that I should send him some tracks.

Tell us about your connection to Hallucienda and the Phono Obscura compilation.
I got to know DJ Three when he lived up in New York for a period and we connected on our sometimes random (sorry, “diverse”) tastes in music. He had commissioned a remix from me a while back that never saw the light of day but we still kept in touch. I sent him some music when he told me about Hallucienda. I’ve also known his label manager for a long time as well. He and I once got trapped in a Venezuelan funicular for a few hours. Right before a gig, too. Thankfully we made it in time (barely).

Any advice for up-and-coming DJs and producers?
Never sign away any of your publishing rights. Nobody will ever “work extra hard” for you because they’re getting a cut.

What do you have coming up next? Any releases or shows coming up?
The big news is that I’m releasing an album on Hallucienda that will be out next year. There’s possibly going to be a 12″ with some remixes to support it. I just had an EP come out on Soft Rock’s record label, Kinfolk (vinyl only, I believe) and I’m going to be on a split 12″ on their other label, Vibrations. The Vibrations EP is not out yet and I have no idea when it will be out. If you find out, let me know.

On November 10 a crazy, collaborative EP is coming out on Hezekina Pollutina Records called “Kyle and the Effusions“, with some remixes from Legowelt and Throne of Blood label mate AKA JK. Speaking of Throne of Blood, I have an ambient song that will be on the Moon Rocks 2 compilation. It’s also out on November 10 (Nov 24, digitally). I’m also working on a follow-up EP for The Bunker New York. Plus: world domination.

Keep up with  Ulysses on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, and on his site.


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