Born and raised in Detroit and now based in Berlin, Alan Oldham aka DJ T-1000 has been labeled as ‘Detroit Techno’s Renaissance Man’, not only as the owner of legendary Detroit labels such as Generator and Pure Sonik, but also as a veteran international DJ. Also boasting unique illustrator skills, the Detroit-born polymath is widely regarded for his iconic artwork for Djax-Up-Beats, +8 Records, Transmat Astralwerks, along with many others.
Having found himself under the tutelage of Underground Resistance’s Mad Mike Banks during the 90’s, Oldham was eventually tapped to replace departing friend Jeff Mills as DJ on UR’s world tour, and thus his DJ T-1000 alias was born. For a year, Oldham toured with Banks in the UR techno boot camp, and still to this day keeps to his old Underground Resistance vinyl roots. Anyone knows that if DJ T-1000 is on the line up, they are in for a treat.
After stellar EPs for BPitch Control, Sound of Berlin and a star appearance on the “Arkham Friends” compilation on Arkham Audio last year, DJ T-1000 kicks off 2022 on his homebase label Pure Sonik Records, with the pure techno of the all-new Don’t Complain, Don’t Explain EP. We were able to catch up with Alan around his brand new release.
How was your Christmas and did you get time to relax?
Christmas was nice and quiet. Clubs in Berlin are closed, so all I did was relax.
You’ve got a brand new EP dropping entitled Don’t Complain, Don’t Explain. We must ask, what’s the story behind the name?
The short answer is that’s just always been a mantra of mine. If you follow my socials, you rarely see me complaining about anything, and I generally feel as if I don’t owe people explanations. Except for interviews, haha. I have friends who put their foot in it online trying to explain things, they should also say that mantra before they post.
The record contains four tasty techno tracks by your DJ T-1000 alias. Inspired by the tracks you played during your US tour – can you give us an insight into some of these songs that you were dropping?
I played a lot of Setaoc Mass, Truncate, Robert Hood, Hertz Collision, FBK, Drumcell…as well as my own stuff. Tracky, loop-based, back to basics type stuff which has always been my style. When you are on tour playing these tracks, you see what works and internalize it to bring back to the studio.
What was the creative and production process behind the record?
It was pretty straightforward. I just blocked some time out last November when I got back to Berlin from the USA, and sat down to make the EP. Sometimes, you’re struggling to find new sounds, or things aren’t coming together musically. But this time everything worked out. It didn’t take long to finish.
Our personal favourite and Dance Wax premiere is “Resonance”, a straight-up jack with powerful beeping acid lines. What or who was the inspiration behind this track and have you had a chance to unleash it on the dancefloors yet?
Thanks for your kind words. “Resonance” is me doing my version of a Truncate track only with more distortion. Just a straight-up loop banger like the old “A Pure Sonik Evening” days. Haven’t had a chance to play it out yet, the clubs are closed! Frustrating!
If you had to pick a favourite track from the EP, which would it be and why?!
“Indonesian Girl” for me. I wanted to bring down the BPMs and go into a more classic Detroit Techno direction. People are always so surprised when I make something chill and melodic.
Releasing on your very own Pure Sonik Records, where does this particular record rank in terms of the label’s catalogue and can we expect more DJ T-1000 this year?
I always think everything new I make is my best work because I’ve learned and improved from the last one. So in terms of label output, this is my best work! For your second question, I am working on an album, so yes, there will be more DJ T-1000 music in 2022.
Gene Richards Jr is on remix duty for this EP. How did this partnership come about?
I played Gene’s remixes a couple of times on HÖR. That’s how he got on my radar. The Marco Faraone remix for “Frog Face,” and his S-File remix of “I Am.” He was following me on Instagram and reached out to thank me for supporting him. A really cool gesture. So I asked him if he wanted to do a remix for me, and here we are.
You’ve dubbed Gene Richards Jr as a hugely exciting artist breaking through right now. Can you recommend a few more rising talents we should keep an eye out for over the course of 2022?
Kai Von Dongen, Hertz Collision, The Lady Machine, Decka, and this new young Black kid from Detroit, Henry David Brooks. He’s the only new Detroit DJ that plays driving techno. He just recently opened for Charlotte De Witte in Detroit and apparently was so good she asked him to open for her in Miami as well, so be on the lookout for him!
Final question! If DJ T-1000 had one superpower, what would it be and why?
The T-1000 already has superpowers. Unstoppable liquid metal shape-shifting assassin!