The most frequently used adjective to describe the music of Avatism is 'muscular', mostly referring to his characteristically pounding beats and positively pummeling live performances that have taken over dancefloors at Berghain, Fabric, Sonar and more. But on his new 'Bad Summer' EP, which is released today, there are surprising layers of emotional risk and blatant fun below the rhythms, defying categorisation, veering from techno to 90's breakbeat and effortlessly steering away from your average techno template constrictions.
To celebrate the release of 'Bad Summer', we asked the man about his current inspirations, worries and hopes for his music.
‘Bad Summer’ works great on our headphones as a soundtrack to pacing around our offices and staring out the window. What other things do you hope your music will be a soundtrack to once the rest of the world gets to hear it?
I used to always wonder whether my music would even work outside my studio walls. This doubt, a kind of lingering insecurity, this feeling that I simply can’t be 100% right is what really pushes me to refine my work as much as possible. With time I learned that “to err is human” and I’ve come to accept the majority of the issues left in my productions as their biggest appeal. I believe music that is broken enough becomes more relatable and tangible, allowing it to blend in with more situations. With that said, I still think it’s hard for me to really say what I’d hope it would soundtrack. Considering the nature of this record, I feel obliged to imagine some sweaty rave full of beautiful people. In reality, I’d be more than happy knowing someone jammed to it in their car on their way to their grandma’s Sunday lunch.
How do you work on your music? Do you work on a track from beginning to end and then move on to the next one?
I usually tend to work on just one track at a time until it makes sense as a “standalone.” Once I have a group of productions I’d like to add together for say, an EP or an album then I will try to rework them together. I usually do this at a later date and after taking a bit of a break from the music, as it helps give me a fresh perspective on the ideas. I try not to think about the process too much, the common vibe is usually a result of writing the music over the same period of time rather than due to planning.
Can you name a piece of music you wish you had created yourself?
Napalm Death’s “You Suffer!” from their 1987 debut. The sheer extremism of the piece, which used to be the Guinness World Record holder for shortest song ever recorded, is brilliant. It feels a bit bland in 2018 but as a kid it showed me these guys really didn’t give a fuck about anything.
Has anything changed for you personally recently that also changed your music?
After having to deal with a few health-related problems, I took a step back from everything (including touring and music) and re-evaluated my priorities. I started caring about what I was eating, my body and my mind. I started working out a bit and got into meditation, essentially turning into that dickhead friend no-one can stand. Eventually, all these things settled into my life and are now just my new habits, and I think it has changed my relationship with music for the better. I have a fresh, saner and calmer approach to it now. The music no longer owns me, but vice versa… The way it was always supposed to be.
What are you worried about these days?
I’ve been trying to stop worrying for a while now. Worrying is a waste of time… and nothing worries me more than wasting time.
What do you currently have as wallpaper background on your desktop and/or phone and why?
I have a collection of solid colour backgrounds that change every night at midnight. A bit boring, but the desktop is the first thing I see when I step into the studio and it can help get different ideas flowing… I think.
If you could pick any artist, dead or alive, to make visuals for your live performances, who would you choose and why?
It’s something I think about often but it’s really hard to say. Peter Saville? His designs have always been very iconic in my eyes, but maybe it’s in part because he was involved with so much of the music I love.
When was the last time you made someone laugh? What happened?
I hit my foot on a chair for the fourth time this week and my girlfriend found it amusing. I also sent this picture with Drake next to a miniature Drake to a friend just now, you know one of those “Don’t speak to me or my son ever again” memes? But you never know if LMAO actually means anything. Ugh… I guess explaining why you made someone laugh makes you sound pathetic and boring in some way. I swear I’m usually a decently funny guy.
Tell me about something you bought recently that actually made you happy.
I just bought new luggage for my new live set’s equipment. I’ve used the previous one for over five years now and I’ve grown to hate it with all my heart, so this is definitely an exciting time.
Any parting words for our readers?
Thanks for reading this and supporting in any way!
Thank you for the talk!
Thomas Ferriero, the man behind Avatism, is also releasing new, darker and more atmospheric music under his 'Maenad Veyl' moniker. Definitely worth checking out.