Alternative Vice Feature: Celestial Trax
London may not have a typical sound pinned to its name, but if there had to be one, it would probably sound like the urban ominous cuts by Celestial Trax. The Shoreditch (East London) based producer started making music not so long ago, and he already seems to have left a mark with those powerful sounds. We took notice when his much upbeat Higher Freedom EP was released earlier this summer and have been following his work ever since.
Although it is a bit hard to assign a genre to his music, one can safely say this talented producer experiments with edgy jams influenced by UK Garage, Grime, Juke, Dubstep and realms like that. Make sure you check out his debut EP ‘Inner Gods, False Icons’ to really understand the depths of Celestial Trax’ style. And yes, believe us every track from this EP does justice to that title. Dreamy chilling stuff really.
He certainly comes across as one of those humble no-gimmicks producers who keep away from the spotlight and let their music do all the talking. We had a little chat over email to know a bit more about him. It was also real cool of him to do an exclusive guest mix for us which you can stream/download after the break.
AV: For all the unawares, please tell us a bit more about yourself.
CT: Hey my name is Jon, I make music as Celestial Trax. Currently based in Shoreditch East London. I started CT at the end of last year.
AV: What are your earliest childhood memories of music? When did you first think of producing your own?
CT: My family always listened to a lot of music. My dad was into a lot of 70’s and 80’s stuff, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, Pet Shop Boys. My mum’s boyfriend at the time would play a lot really weird shit, Brazilian music, Frank Zappa, KLF…
I started playing guitar when I was about 11. I was in bands, mainly punk and metal and stuff. I didn’t properly get into electronic music until few years ago. Being in bands got too much for me.
AV: And what in particular about bass, grime music attracted you?
CT: Just the way it makes me feel really. I love the rawness of grime lot of the early bass stuff. it doesn’t thrive to be perfect in anyway, and it’s full of emotion and energy.
AV: Your productions generally have a dark or melancholic sound about them. Is that intentional or it comes through naturally in your productions?
CT: It’s very natural. I don’t really mean my stuff to be super dark or anything. I think melancholy is often beautiful though.
AV: Tell us something more about your recording, music-writing process.
CT: I like a pretty hands-on approach, I write and play stuff live using hardware and just use a computer to edit bits and record. I mainly work off grid and that way try to give my music a real human element. I’m always writing and recording bits using whatever I can get my hands on.
AV: Are there any musical influences, or anyone that you aspire to sound like?
CT: Yeah sure I’ve been moved by a lot of music and artists: DJ Screw, Kanye, early Prodigy, lots of old dub stuff. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and grime too, but I try to do my own thing, it’s too easy to get caught up in trends and things.
AV: Which artists you enjoy(ed) collaborating with or would like to in future?
CT: I’ve done a couple of collabs recently that will hopefully come out soon, I’m talking to a lot more artists too. I’d love to work with more visual artists, I did a collaboration with V5MT, who’s from Poland and she’s totally amazing. Her work is really inspiring.
AV: Are there any personal ambitions that you’d love to achieve in long term, like performing at a particular festival or venue, or winning an honor, owning a label?
CT: There’s a whole bunch of stuff I wanna achieve, I wanna play loads, as much as I possibly can, meet cool people and work with them. I’m not really one for honors to be fair. I’ve talked about starting a little label/Bandcamp thing with someone recently – mainly cassette tapes and shit.
AV: Bristol and London significantly stand out in British bass music scene. Which one do you like more?
CT: London’s been my home for a long time so I’m always gonna be more partial to what’s going on here. I love the hustle of London, the struggle.
AV: What is your favourite festival memory of all time?
CT: Probably Beyonce at Glastonbury two year ago.
AV: What has been your favorite gig of this year, both as a performer and as audience?
CT: I got booked to play my second ever show in Lithuania earlier this year, which was dope, really cool venue, lots of vodka and super nice people. The promoter and his girlfriend who’s an up and coming artist let me crash on their floor. I saw Visionist play here in London few nights ago and that was really good.
AV: What are your plans for next year?
CT: Got some cool things lined up for this year still, don’t wanna say too much though. I’m basically readying my first proper release with someone very exciting. Next year I wanna play tons of show all over, would love to do some soundtrack stuff too, art installations, play unusual venues and things. And smash the festivals next summer.
And now, the guest mix. Here’s what to expect!
“It’s called wanton soul and it’s just a DJ mix I did for you guys one night. It has some sounds I’ve been really vibing lately. The leaves are turning in London and it rains a lot and this is a soundtrack for it. Hope you enjoy it.”
You can follow Celestial Trax on his Soundcloud, or tell him how much you enjoyed his mix via Twitter @CELESTIALTRAX.
NOTES ON THE ARTWORK: All artworks by Maximilianas Oprishka: http://www.behance.net/ickreativ