U.S. based Translucent’s love affair with music began in middle school, when he started studying the trumpet, the instrument that would stick with him along the way and help him create his signature style – a mixture of tech-house and live trumpet interventions, lots of improvisation and fresh rhythms. These days, he’s been collaborating with talented artists and producing awesome songs, having just released a new tune with Danny Daze on Kompakt’s Speicher 80. This is his second collaboration with Danny, and their former track, Beatdown, was remixed by Jimmy Edgar. We got to know him more and find out what’s next in his career in this week’s feeder insider.
keywords: trumpet, improvisation, live, techno, house
This is what feeder would like to know about you:
(please, fill in the blanks)
I’d say about myself that I’m… a nice guy.
I always enjoy a good talk about… the unknown.
The sound of the trumpet brings… emotion.
My musical style could be described as… dark and light.
Can’t say no to… coffee when I wake up.
I really want to visit… South America.
When I was young, I wanted to become… a musician.
My favorite movie is… too many, but to say one, The Matrix.
The best things happen…when we think positively.
3 tracks which always make me dance…
Lil Louis, Blackout
Cajmere , It’s Time For the Percolator
Derrick Carter, Where U At?
Ana Moca-Grama: Hello, Translucent, I’m glad we get to talk! You’ve been dj’ing for quite some time now, since 1996, having been part of the Chicago music scene. You’ve also extensively studied the trumpet, ever since middle school, you even had a jazz scholarship at uni. I’m really curious, does the mastery of an analogue instrument teach you more, or different things than the mastery of digital gear? When did you start experimenting with both of them in the same time, how did it come to it?
Translucent: Hey Ana. I’m glad we get to talk as well! I started off with piano and trumpet in my childhood, then moved into producing and spinning vinyl. I added the trumpet right away. I really didn’t think about it, I just loved playing the trumpet and spinning, so just combined the two.
Trumpet is life. It’s like yoga, discipline, and a way to stay connected. It’s not like riding a bike, you can’t take months off, or you have to retrain your embouchure (lips). It was a good foundation to get into production/ digital. I’ve learned different things from each of them and both have opened new ideas, helping the other out. I guess it’s all relative. I have friends that have never played instruments and make great songs. I think with the resurgence of people collecting vinyl and using analog gear there’s a new wave of respect for musicianship, which is always a good thing.
AMG: What really sets you apart is the live interventions you have with your trumpet during dj sets, your love for improvisation, while maintaining coherence and a nice flow to all of it. How do you manage to combine these two and make it work? What do you pay attention to when creating these fresh sounds?
T: The flow is really important. I try and not overuse the trumpet, but use it as an accent. Sometimes I’ll start off with the trumpet as an intro, or solo at the end of the set to help leave an impression. With the tracks I’m Djing, I never plan out a set order and just have a good time with it. I guess when I’m preforming I try to pay attention to the now, because that’s really all there is.
AMG: Your identity is well shaped, but also discreet when it comes to your life off stage. I’m curious about your name – what other identities have you used besides Translucent, in the past? As for Translucent, what’s the meaning of this name when it comes to you and your music? Also, tell me more about your sunglasses!
T: I wish I had a good story to tell you about it, like it came to me in a dream or something ha. I was really just attracted to the word and chose it. I’ve done some more mainstream/pop under another name and working on an electronic jazz project too. Translucent is my early DJ name and is my main focus.
My glasses are made by Scott at Urban Spectacles. He’s an amazing artist, and a really sweet person. Not to mention makes some of the coolest glasses on the planet. I actually turned Felix Da Housecat onto him and his glasses are made by Scott. You basically send in a head shot of yourself and the glasses are made to fit you perfectly.
AMG: I’d like to know more about your creative habits and rituals. Every artist has a way of creating, under some specific conditions, that works best for him or her; it’s always a pleasure discovering it 🙂
T: I’m really into creation starting from silence. I try and clear my thoughts and stay completely still for at least 15 to 30 min a day. It’s relaxing and gets you in the right frame of mind to start anything. With production I try to stay in the moment and adjust things as I’m building. It’s really repetitive, but there is something very freeing about the repetition. Whenever I’m adding vocals or trumpet, there’s another frame of mind that’s very different from production.The feeling and emotion has to be there or it doesn’t work for me.
AMG: You made two awesome tunes released by Kompakt, alongside Danny Daze. Your latest, “Speaker Language”, entered Top 10 Techno on beatport. What’s the story behind your collaboration?
T: Thanks! Danny is one of my best friends and we met when I was living in Miami. He found out I played trumpet and asked if I would play on something for him. He played me Derrick Carter‘s ‘Where U At?” (Bhq remix) and asked if I could play like this. I said, “That’s easy enough, it’s me on the record ha”. It was cool, he had no idea it was me, because a different name was credited on the record. The song I played trumpet for Danny was “Your Everything feat. Louisahhh!!!”. Destiny or Fate, who knows, but I live for these moments. This led into our work together on Ultramajic and our colab on Kompakt.
AMG: You’ve mentioned that, amongst others, collaborations keep you in a “creative state of now”. Do you have any particular artists you’d love to work with, but didn’t get the chance by now?
T: So many names that could go on this list. Whatever is meant to be is on the way…
AMG: Any new releases coming up? What are your plans for the rest of the year?
T: I just finished up an E.P. and announcing the label soon. I’m also contributing a song for a Soul Clap compilation, a remix for Night Talk, and vocals for Microluxe & Garate.
Just got booked in Europe again, so getting ready for that. Also doing some U.S. dates and looking forward to hitting the road and meeting new friends.
AMG: Do you know any Romanian dj’s or producers? The local scene is growing fast, lots of parties, would be awesome to have you here!
T: Please send me a list of your favorites. I have several new Romanian friends through the Kompakt release and everyone is beyond nice. It’s awesome that the scene is taking off, would be glad to spin for you guys anytime.
AMG: Thank you very much, Translucent! Peace!
T: You’re welcome and thank you! Peace Anna!
feeder insider w/ Translucent [ro]