The New York techno veteran enters the wormhole.
Adam X is pleased with himself, and rightly so. While every man and his dog were extolling the virtues of minimal during the last decade, the US veteran producer was sitting quietly on the sidelines with only his tastes for company. That may sound overly dramatic, but let's just say that Adam Mitchell stood firmly by the harder techno and industrial he was pushing during the '90s and is now reaping the rewards. That said, it did take an adroit name change to properly reconnect with the scene. Traversable Wormhole was established to put an anonymous front on his music: Mitchell felt that DJs and music buyers harboured preconceptions over his '00s "industrial/EBM" output. The TW limited pressings flew instantly off shelves. Mitchell remained tight-lipped, however, releasing five parts of the series in the second half of 2009 before casually unveiling himself in an interview with us at the start of 2010. Chris Liebing's CLR imprint picked up the releases for a five-part remix project—Surgeon, Marcel Dettmann and Funtion were among the talent—before compiling the originals to CD.
Mitchell started out in Brooklyn during the early '90s, running the Sonic Groove record store before founding a label of the same name back in 1995—his years of experience are brought to bear on this assured encapsulation of his range: from murky ambient textures to hostile industrial, right through to straight-up techno bangers.
What have you been up to recently?
I just got back from spending several weeks in NYC for the holidays and performing a few shows in North America. Since being back I have been hibernating in the studio from the dark rainy January days of Berlin.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I recorded the mix while in NYC. The mix was done using Ableton software, UC-33 Midi mixer controller and a Novation Launchpad.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the idea behind the mix?
I had wanted to have a go at creating a multi-song layered mix for quite a while now—something where throughout the majority of the mix you would have at least two records riding over one another at any given time. When I perform live at events I use Ableton and controllers. For my DJ gigs I prefer to keep the setups separated. I still also love DJing on Technic 1200s. I feel more in tune with the audience using two decks, a mixer and the pitch controls. However, I do feel there are more possibilities with using Abelton and a controller. You can really get into multi-layering tracks in a way that can't be done on turntables. So I wanted to make a mix in a different way than I could using turntables.
As someone who has always stuck with industrial, how do you now feel about its recent return to techno?
I'm very excited by it. It's nice to finally have friends in techno again who are like-minded to the same music as me. For quite some time I felt like an outcast around most people in the techno scene. Especially when most were full-swing into the minimal hype. I could not get with that program. I knew it was just a matter of time before harder edged sounds would return to the scene. So it feels good to have stuck by my guns with it the entire time, never compromising my beliefs in what I love to produce and love to play.
You began recording as Traversable Wormhole to shed any preconceptions people may of had of your music. In hindsight do you think the success of the series would have happened if the music was released as Adam X?
Definitely not because at the time of the first Traversable Wormhole releases in spring 2009 the return of more pure of techno was just starting to bubble up again. My name as Adam X was still heavily stigmatized as being an Industrial/EBM producer so most of those looking for techno probably would have skipped right over little old me.
What are you up to next?
Well, like I said before, I am hibernating in the studio this winter, so there will be some new releases coming soon from me. I decided with TW that I want to go back to the original mystique of the series, so I won't reveal anything about future release plans for the project right now. At the end of March I will be re-releasing my ADMX-71 Luminous Vapors album that was available only on CD format through Hands Recordings and sold mostly in the industrial music circuit. It will finally be available for digital download through all the major techno shops come March. I am really looking forward to get this album out to more people. It is some of my best work ever. Then for my label Sonic Groove, I have a full release plan for the label this year with a great roster of artists.