Berlin-based producer Minor Science has spent the last few years releasing some of the most exciting electronic music to date, beginning from a distinctly left field house sound and creating a sonic output unique to him. Three years on from his critically acclaimed debut album Second Language released on AD 93, Minor Science has returned to the soundsphere with a brand new two-track project entitled 064 containing a giddy rush of beats, bass and pitched-up samples. Consisting of “Workahol” and “Casheine”, the multi-faceted artist offers a cheap thrill ride through a world consumed by work — mashing up hardcore, baseline, electro and booty bass to offer what’s best described as an ‘(over)stimulation for crisis-era dancefloors’.
Continuing to pave the way for electronic music, we caught up with Minor Science about the main inspirations behind his scintillating new release…
The Bang Face Weekender 2020 was my last rave before the pandemic. Bang Face is an annual pilgrimage for me, I’ve been something like 12 times. For many years there was a gap between the music I was enjoying at Bang Face and the tracks I was making and playing in my DJ sets. 2020 was the first year that I DJed at the festival, so I was forced to find the middle ground. There also happened to be something in the air at that time: tempos were cranking up and the pendulum of taste was swinging back towards hard and silly music. (From the vantage point of 2023, it’s hard to remember a time when gabber kicks and chipmunked Vengaboys vocals weren’t cool. The past is a foreign country.) When lockdown kicked in, the stuff I ended up playing at BF 2020 – nightcore, hardcore, donk etc. – was still bouncing around my brain. That set really changed the scope of my DJing and productions, and I think you can hear it in the new record.
Stripe n Co
We all made weird decisions during lockdown. It was a difficult time. Some people took up elaborate new hobbies. Others developed substance dependencies. I fell in with a dodgy crew calling themselves “STRIPE N CO”. There was very little to recommend these people, but somehow they coerced me into helping them out with their production “career”. I tried my best to mitigate their worst tendencies, but I don’t think I succeeded. Stripe tracks have been going up on Bandcamp since December 2020, each one more disrespectful than the last. Regrettably, these tracks have been appearing in my DJ sets and – somehow, subconsciously – influencing my own productions. If you hear a little bit of Stripe in this new record of mine, I can only apologise.
Before COVID came along I was just about living from DJing. I was lucky to be in Germany when the virus hit: state support got me through to the end of 2020. Since then, it’s been a grind. Making music around the other stuff I do often involves working long hours and operating in a state of nervous excitement. “Workahol” and “Casheine” (“cash” + “caffeine”) were attempts to capture this state. I don’t think it’s unique to me, or to DJs/producers. Wired and anxious, juggling your passion project with a precarious white collar job, jostling for attention on social media, checking emails at 10pm: it’s the Millennial condition, baby. That said, DJs are pretty much the ultimate burnout-bound neoliberal subjects. So capturing this vibe in a couple of club tracks seemed the natural thing to do.
As I mentioned, Germany was one of the better places to be during the pandemic. State support meant I didn’t have to scramble to find work right away. (That came later). When lockdown hit, my album, Second Language, was just coming out, and suddenly I had months of unstructured studio time ahead of me. It’s difficult to summarise all the things I learned and developed in that period. My approach to production is completely different as a result of it. Distortion is a big part of this. If I had to describe Second Language in one word it would be “clean”. Since then I’ve gotten interested in all the ways you can use distortion or saturation to make things sound heavier, louder, and more interesting. The tracks on the new record feature some kind of distortion on most channels.
The first version of Workahol (made in Spring 2021) had an uncleared vocal sample all over it. I sometimes work with samples, and you’re always flirting with litigation, but most of the sampling I do is pretty tough to detect. (Touching wood hard.) This time it was obvious. So the decision was made to swap the vocal out for something royalty-free. A lot of people hate on Splice (which, for those who don’t know, is kind of like Spotify for sample packs, offering access to a huge database of royalty-free samples for a monthly subscription). For sure, it can be used unimaginatively. But to my surprise I’ve found it a nice creative lubricant. There’s a side of club music that’s in dialogue with wider pop culture: I’m thinking of sampladelic UK hardcore, Jersey & Baltimore club, bootleg culture, etc. Generic sample packs (“Deep House Diva Vocals Vol. 5!”) lend themselves well to this play with the familiar. The creativity comes in the way you twist them.