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Improvising: Presk

Dutch producer Presk, known to his mother as Pieter Willems, makes music with a striking balance of soul, sub-depth bass and full-bodied rhythms. Having already amassed a number of highly ranked releases on the likes of Ramp Recordings sister label, Fourth Wave, and Doc Daneeka’s Ten Thousand Yen, the future looks prosperous for this one.

In particular his recent ‘Love Again’ EP on the aforementioned Ten Thousand Yen has shown that through a balance of muscular rhythms, intricate detail and devastating timing, it is possible to shine through the increasingly saturated realms of post-dubstep.

We emailed the man himself to talk through the problem with ‘live’ laptop sets, his dancefloor mentality and his recent collaboration with Krampfhaft.

Hi Pieter, for any of our readers unfamiliar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself and your music?
Hi! My name is Pieter Willems, I make music under the name of Presk, and I’m really happy these tracks are getting out now and receive positive reactions from people all over the world.

Can you talk us through your musical background and how your earliest influences progressed over the years?
I grew up in a small village in the countryside, making loops with free music software on a ragged PC and trying to head as often as possible to a nearby city to get my hands on drum ‘n bass records by the likes of early Teebee, Ed Rush & Optical and Konflict. I think the funk in those records has proven to remain the biggest influence on my music, even though I’m not making any d&b tunes anymore.

So you’ve had releases on Ramp’s sister label Fourth Wave and Doc Daneeka’s and Ian Yeti’s Ten Thousand Yen this year, how did they come across your music?
Once upon a time I got a surprise message on Myspace from Tom (not Myspace Tom, but Tom who runs Ramp) asking me if I was up for a release at some point in the future, and I said yes. Ten Thousand Yen came about after I played a liveset before Doc Daneeka’s set, which the Doc heard and liked, so he and Ian asked me to do an EP for them, and I’m really proud of the result.

Presk – ‘Love Again’

There is mixed opinion when it comes to ‘live’ laptop sets, as you play live yourself, what elements make a good live set for you, can you give us some examples of live sets that you draw influence from?
I’m aiming to eliminate the negative aspects of laptop-sets the best I can. If you can’t communicate your own enthusiasm the set will most surely miss a lot of energy. Thus I find the best way to approach a liveset is to entertain yourself; otherwise it gets boring really quickly, both for you and for the audience. That’s why I’ve designed my liveset in a way that gives loads of room for improvisation with short loops cut from my tracks. Concerning others, I was really impressed by livesets from Monolake (with amazing visuals by Tarik Barri), Mount Kimbie, Shackleton, to name a few.

Do you always approach a track with the dance floor in mind?
Yeah, I always like to make people dance, not just on the dance floor, but also to create that moment when your foot starts to tap unconsciously while doing the dishes at home or something. At the same time I’m putting a lot of effort in composition-wise, trying to create interesting musical structures you can listen to from start to finish.

Your brand of deep techno-inspired dubstep seems to have followed a similar path to fellow Dutchmen Martyn and 2562, have those guys influenced you?
I’m very flattered by comparisons with Martyn and 2562 (preferably in his guise as A Made Up Sound), both really nice guys, and definitely a big fan of their music. Holland is a small country with a limited amount of venues that book a lot of great foreign dj’s and producers, so it’s probably only natural to get in touch with all this quality techno, house and garage and combining it all together afterwards.

You hail from Holland; any producers/djs/club nights etc we should be keeping a close eye and ear on?
There’s a 12” coming soon on the Amsterdam label & event organisers Audio Culture. I made this one together with Cinnaman who runs Colors, probably the best bass music night in the Netherlands at a club called Trouw. Other people that come to mind are Krampfhaft, he has an awesome EP forthcoming on the booming Dutch Rwina label, and DJ+, who’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of his Sonic Warfare nights in December, which makes it the longest running bass music night in the Netherlands.

What do you have lined up release wise for the rest of the year?
There’s the 12” dropping soon on the fresh new Audio Culture label by Cinnaman and me, which will be having remixes on there from Doc Daneeka and Jon Convex, a track on a Krampfhaft remix 12” for Rwina, there will be new Fourth Wave material, and then there’s more cool stuff that I have to keep to myself right now, which will probably happen in 2012.

Presk – ‘4th 001’

Who are some of your favourite artists at moment?
At the moment I’m really into Gerry Read, Dexter, Sepalcure, Mike Dehnert, Skudge, Randomer, Blawan, there’s loads of good music coming out really.

Who would be the dream collaboration and why?
I just returned from an all inclusive two-week trip to Beijing, China with Krampfhaft to work on new music thanks to the In A Cabin With project, which arranges for artists to meet and work in a foreign place totally dislocated from your comfort zone. That was pretty much a dream collaboration already!

Where can we catch you playing over the next few weeks/months?
To pick out a few; I’ll be playing the Discovery festival on the 23rd of September, Off Centre festival with Jamie XX, Hyetal, Afrika Hi-tech & more on the 30th of September, 14th of October I’ll play at the Audio Culture label launch with Benji B, Jon Convex and Cinnaman and the 23rd October I’ll be playing the small room during the Ostgut-Ton night during Amsterdam Dance Event, with Marcell Dettmann, Ben Klock, Marcel Fengler and Planetary Assault systems in the main room.

Interview: Josh Thomas