As a founding member of the KUNQ artist collective, False Witness has made some vital contributions to both the global art and dance music scenes. Since 2013, the group have held their own nights such as “In The Dark”, bringing artists from a range of disciplines and mediums to mix as the parties quickly became a monthly favourite amongst dedicated club goers and queer artists. Those familiar with the American will also appreciate False Witness’ immaculate work as a sound installation artist and a rotating resident DJ for Venus X’s GHE20GoTH1K empire, as the young artist continuously strives to break down barriers.
In terms of production, False Witness had made some notable contributions to the musical landscape with a plethora of EP’s on labels such as E-Missions, GHE20G0TH1K and compilation contributions for the likes of Whirlwind Trax, Allergy Season’s Physically Sick 2 and Gays Hate Techno Vol. 2. Returning to P.Leone & Caiazzo’s E-Missions imprint, False Witness delivers a six-track record under the name of “Third Space”, containing high energy techno from start to finish with the notorious Silent Servant on remix duties for the namesake track.
How are you? And what have you been getting up to recently?
Thanks for reaching out. I’m in the midst of an on-again/off-again lockdown in Berlin. The situation gets updated every week but so far the city has not done a great job at controlling the virus or distributing vaccinations, unlike back home in New York City. Right now, I’m focusing my efforts on writing my first album and painting. Pirate Studios in Prenzlauer Berg just reopened so I’m also spending a lot of time there lately.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey over the years?
I started my career DJing DIY parties like Ghetto Gothic NYC (GHE20G0TH1K) and promoting my artist collective KUNQ at small venues in New York. These makeshift warehouse parties were places to really test my productions and see what worked and what needed work. Early on, I took to artists like Total Freedom, Rizzla, and Venus X as producers and DJs who carefully blended chaos and harmony between a lot of different genres. By 2018, I had grown into my work — producing acidic, anxious, borderline industrial techno records that had a lot of melody and density. I was never really a fan of minimalism.
By early 2020, I played Saule at Berghain for the first time and it all clicked. I realized certain spaces necessitated certain methods of production. I could finally hear my own records in totality. Eye-opening as that was, I realized how privileged one is to have the ability to play in such finely tuned venues all the time. I’m openly critical of that but I also understand how my production skills have improved because of it. Unfortunately, that was one of the last times I would DJ in public due to COVID-19. Now, I find myself producing dance music for both future audiences and at-home listeners in mind.
Your new record ”Third Space” is another stunning release, can you tell usmore about the inspiration behind the EP and how you would describe it?
Thanks! I’m very happy you enjoy it. Third Space is set somewhere between the USA and Germany. I started writing these tracks when I lived in Los Angeles. When I arrived in Berlin in 2019, one of the first places I went to was Gropius Bau for Wu Tsang’s exhibition “There is no nonviolent way to look at somebody.” I sat with her video works for a while; her expressions of the third space reminded me of being between different cities and times, my mind being in one place and my body in another.
I spent a lot of the past few years in traditional gay club spaces and observing a lot of cross-cultural patterns. The use of drugs and the chemsex scene seemed to be pretty prevalent wherever I went. Participating in that world, especially with GHB and Ketamine use, also brought me into another type of ‘third space’, where the sober mind is actively dedicated to performing a very specific, hypermasculine gender but the drugs facilitate, especially during sex, the ability leave one’s physical body behind. Oscillating between these two states was, for me, a new kind of disorientating. Sex and nightlife spaces seemed completely intertwined at the time. I felt driven to soundtrack the emotional components of those intermediate experiences. The track titles pinpoint to places and people who guided me along this path.
What was the creative and production process behind the record?
This is the first time in a while where I’ve felt very settled in a city. Before Corona hit, I was hoping to establish a more-traditional studio space to work in and maybe actually acquire some physical gear. However, it’s been quite complicated to invest in that now, so my production methods haven’t changed much. I’m a strong advocate for sampling and sample culture, and I don’t believe in any hierarchy of sound quality between analogue or digital gear or methods of production. I think a lot about Availabism, a concept the artist Kembra Pfahler coined. It is, in essence, making the best of what’s available. I’ve also been reading work by David Wojnarowicz and just really embracing the idea of creating wherever and whenever possible.
If you had to pick a favourite track from the EP, which one would it be and why?
Each moment on the record is emotionally impactful for me. I do really love what Silent Servant did for the title track, however. His take on ‘Third Space’ removes a bit of the sentimental, earnest synth work I did and brings the track back to practical, functional, grooving techno, which I admit, I have a tendency to shy away from. Having his remix on the record is a blessing that reminds me of my favorite times being at the club.
Coming as the second release on E-Missions imprint, what’s it like working with the team and how has the label helped your development?
P.Leone, Caiazzo, and Cranks have been incredibly supportive since day one. Red Curtain Daybreak was a really fun record to release and it was amazing to see how far it reached with fans and other DJs. That wouldn’t have been possible without their support and backing. This past year, I was really excited to release a single with SHYBOI as our FALSEBOI project on their 3-Year anniversary compilation. That track alone got a lot of play from DJs all over the world so I was really happy to release it with the label.
P.Leone has sat with me personally to review demos and really took the time to show me production methods and offer feedback. Artists who also run record labels and are responsible for releasing other’s work do not have an easy job and I really credit him for being able to balance both. Support from other Berlin based artists on the label like Spencer Parker, Lawrence Lee, and Tred have also made the experience really satisfying. Looking forward to releasing this new EP as well as working with them in the future.
What in store for the rest of 2021 and are you able to shine any light on any upcoming releases?!
I have two other records slated for this year, one on Lobster Theremin and one on their sublabel, Techno Is The Devil’s Music. I’m spending the rest of this year focusing on my first album, along with new collaborations with Los Angeles based artists Bootee & Khabraal, NYC’s SHYBOI, Boston-based ambient artist Palm Fronds, and multimedia artist/experiential composer and librettist Richard Kennedy. I’m also experimenting as a painter in figurative subjects and calligraphy.
“Third Space” is out now on E-Missions and is available to listen and buy on Bandcamp.
1. Third Space
2. Third Space (Silent Servant Remix)
4. Long Island Lover
6. Downtown Boys