Friday, 27 May 2011

Wax Works & Equalised Present.. Eric Cloutier

In 2006 Eric Cloutier decided to leave Detroit for pastures new, but I doubt that even he would have imagined that within the next 5 years he would become resident at New York’s most important techno club, a mnmlssgs favourite and one of the fortunate few people who gets to play records across the world.

We caught up with Eric to find out how things are going in New York, how his production is coming along, why he has decided to withhold tracklists and what he has planned for his European Tour, which sees him play Glasgow on July 1st.

Firstly why did you decide to leave Detroit? And what made you move to New York, at a time when many of your peers had already made or were making the move to Europe instead, is this something that you considered?

The thought of moving out of Detroit was in my head for quite a while, as I'd always been fascinated with NYC, and eventually living in Europe, so that was one factor. A second was just that musically, in Detroit, I had kind of hit a plateau, and in order for me to take the next steps with my career in music, I needed to get out of there and get some new insight on to myself and the scenes abroad. Though most of my friends were moving to Europe, I never really saw iHt as a viable option that early on, and was fine with staying stateside for a while longer to build more of a name for myself.

The attraction of living in a city that never sleeps is obvious, but how is the electronic music scene there at the moment? And what role has Bunker played in this?

The scene in NYC is really great. There's a fascinatingly diverse group of people that not only attend but throw events, and there's never really a weekend that there isn't at least one thing to go to, regardless of what style of music you're in to. The Bunker definitely has a huge impact on the city, as we're one of the only parties around doing the kind of techno and house that we do. Most others are a bit more mainstream where as we're catering to the true heads and presenting new music and artists all the time.

New York has a rich history of great techno DJs from natives like Adam X and Function to Jeff Mills’ residency at Limelight, are there any producers/DJs we should keep an eye out for?

Fred P and DJ Qu aren't new names to the scene, but they should always be on the watch by people. They're constantly creating and DJing insanely good music, so if you see their name on anything, you can almost assure quality will be the standard.

Bunker recently celebrated it’s 8th Birthday with special 8 hour sets from Donato Dozzy, Optimo & Derek Plaislaiko, how was the party? And do you have any personal highlights from the 5 years of which you have been a part of Bunker?

The anniversary party was, without a doubt, absolutely amazing. I can't speak for how Optimo did because i spent the entire night in the back room listening to Dozzy, but from all reports, both rooms were completely rammed the entire time, with nothing but quality music pumping through the speakers for all eight hours. My highlights of the Bunker are too numerous to mention. Every party is a great one, every guest DJ is a joy to hang around, and every chance I get to play as a resident is completely amazing to me. Its just one of the places I feel damn good at, month after month.

Donato spent a few weeks in America after the party, playing a couple more gigs alongside you and Spinoza, did you have an opportunity to get some advice or tips from him in the studio? How is your production coming a long? What software/hardware are you using in the studio? And when can we expect to hear something from you?

Wasn't able to pick Dozzy's brain much while he was here, but we do talk on the regular and he's always giving me a pointer here and there. My production's, however, aren't going as well as I'd like them to, but that's all part of the learning curve that I've mistakenly taken too long to jump in to. I'm mainly using Ableton as a scratch pad to get ideas out quickly, and then I eventually bring things in to Logic to warm them up a bit and lay things out with their far superior sound engine. As for when I'll have something done...who knows. I'd like to get an EP out this year, maybe a remix of someone, but I'm having a hard time getting the proper amount of time to sit in the studio and work.

Many of your friends started producing years ago, is this something that you wish you had been more active about or does it provide you with some extra satisfaction that you are one of the very few modern DJs who has made his name as a DJ?

If I could have another chance, or go back in time, I'd have started much sooner than I have now. I really wish I'd have made something and been constantly working on things for years, because I know that would help me a lot with where my career is heading. But its also nice knowing some of the amazing gigs that I've obtained have come solely from my DJing and nothing more. That's a feat not many people can accomplish these days. Its a small group of people that are in that group.

Your European tour starts in a couple of months, which sees you visiting Glasgow on the 1st July – where else are you playing? And do you have anything planned besides your gigs?

There's a whole slew of dates that I'll be doing, including the Toi.Toi 1yr Anniversary in London, playing at Cookies in Berlin with John Osborn, and playing an awesome open-air party in Paris for my good friend Celine called Sundae...but more dates are being added all the time, and I'm hoping I have an exceptionally full schedule for the three weeks that I'll be overseas.

You also return to Japan this year, playing alongside Peter Van Hoesen in May, is there any chance you will be making another appearance at Labyrinth in September? Can you describe your experience of the festival, and what was it like to play in such a unique environment?

No word on a return booking to the Labyrinth festival itself, but I just returned from my trip to Tokyo to play "Enter the Labyrinth," also thrown by Mindgames, as a pre-party for the festival. Without getting in to too many details, the gig itself was an absolute blast, and the entire night was filled with incredible music. Peter and I had an absolute blast, and I must thank both him and Russ from Mindgames for the chance to make it to Japan again. But regarding the festival...all I can say is its the best party I've ever been to in my life, filled with some of the greatest people I've ever met, which created some very long lasting, very strong relationships with many people, and I would absolutely love to do it over again - both as an artist and as an attendee.

mnmlssgs are huge fans of Labyrinth, and are also keen admirers of yours (Eric is one of the few DJs to provide 2 ssgs mixes), can you tell us how your ssg mix came about and if you have a personal favourite from the mix series?

Chris from ssg's had heard a few of my podcasts, and I was a pretty frequent commenter on the blog, and eventually we struck up a good friendship and he asked me to do a mix for them. It took me a while, as I wanted to present something really special to them, but once I did, myself and others were extremely happy with the results. The second one came about after I played at Labyrinth in 2009, and it was really meant to just be a continuation of the festival in some ways, highlighting some tracks heard while there as well as from what I learned being a part of Labyrinth. Too hard to pick a favourite, though - almost all the mixes are so solid you can't narrow down to one.

You mentioned recently that you are no longer providing tracklists for your mixes, is this something that you have been considering for a while and why have you made this decision?

I've always tossed about the idea of not including tracklists, but for the longest time I always did because it really helps people decide whether or not to download the mix. Everyone scans the tracklist, and if it seems interesting, everyone downloads it. That being said, though, I'm also a bigger fan of people just taking a chance - quit checking the tracklist, and just expand your mind for once, without having some pretense as to what the podcast may or may not sound like based on the song selection. I've been spending even more time hunting down quality music and spending hours a day on the hunt for new tunes that I don't want them to be easily picked up by sniping poseur DJ's and kids who just want to undercut me and what I've worked so hard to achieve.

Your most recent mix was a vinyl only, dub techno mix, why did you choose to record this strictly on vinyl? And is this something that is being reflected in your DJ’ing at the moment?

I chose to do it strictly on vinyl because most of the tracks that were used in that mix are vinyl only and impossible to find on digital. I don't see the point in encoding a record to play with Traktor Scratch when i have the physical vinyl in my hand, so I wanted to prove a point that not everything needs to be on Beatport's Top 10 to be good. But I've also been using more and more vinyl in my sets because the overwhelming amount of pathetic and mediocre music that comes in to my inbox was just becoming frustrating and tiresome. I'd rather ensure I'm buying and performing with the best music I can find, so eliminating one of the repeat offenders - shitty promos and underproduced / overthought techno and house - isn't clouding my judgement or taste.

Many DJs have been extremely open about their dislike for digital DJ’ing, as a DJ who utilises both vinyl & digital, what stops you from being exclusively digital?

Well this is not only a tired argument, but its also open to interpretation by all. "Digital DJing" to me is using Ableton or Traktor to autosync things, not using an encoded vinyl solution like Traktor Scratch or Serato, so firstly I have to address that separation. That being said, I don't really see the point in having the argument - if you're playing a set that makes me move, then you're doing something right. I don't really care how you go about it, playing good tracks in an intelligent manner is far more important than the avenue you take when presenting it. I've heard DJ's that can't beatmatch to save their lives play some of the most amazing records I've never heard, and that will be more important to me, every time, than if you can be rock solid behind the decks and play terrible music for ten hours. I'll never stop using vinyl in my sets, and I always like to surprise people now and then with a vinyl only situation, so it really depends on my mood. Very rarely do I ever perform with only my laptop...probably closer to never.

Can you tell us a bit about the mix you have recorded for us, what we can expect from you on the 1st? and what your plans are for the future?

Not really much to say about the mix - I'll let it do the talking. Its typical of me, though - deeper, slower, slightly darker, a little dubby, with a dash of house on the side - so it should fairly accurately represent at least one portion of the night when I play there on July 1st. Since I'll be doing the entire evening again, from start to finish, you can expect this to be a warmup to my warmup. As for my future - make a damn record!

It’s unlikely, but if we ever get the opportunity to visit New York, where’s the best place to get some Pizza?

Ahh, the standard "I'm visiting NYC..." question. Its impossible to answer who has the best pizza because there's so many pizza places. But if I had to shoot for two in my neighborhood, Roberta's and Grandma Rose's are pretty hard to top.

Check out the mix from Eric HERE

RA Event & Tickets

Massive thanks to Eric for thi and I hope you all enjoy the mix.

See you on the 1st.


  1. Nice interview, had my eye on this guy for a while, should be good to see him in Glasgow.

    I like the stance on tracklists as well... used to find that idea a bit pretentious but now I quite enjoy listening to a mix before checking out the tracklist if there is one :)

  2. Great, was looking forward to this after Eric spamming his Twitter account about it. ;-)

  3. wooop! really excited for the 1st july!

  4. Really enjoyed that interview- nice one!! I hope it goes really well for you :0)