Summer is here! And the winds are warm :) We have the perfect June match with this month's mix by the (THE) techno power duo, Nancy Kim and Erin Keeffe. Nancy is by trade an architect, designer, and apparel mastermind; Erin is a photographer, designer, and one of the founding members of Acid Camp. Together, I call them my rave parents (and many of you do), as they help usher in new talent across techno and make space for newcomers from Taiwan to New York. Listen to their mix and read up on their interview and tracklist below <3
The first 30min is Nancy Kim; the second 30min is Erin Keeffe.
Nancy and Erin grew up in relative contrasts: Nancy in Queens, New York and Erin in Minneapolis and northern Wisconsin after his parents moved from a hippy commune in Nashville called The Farm. "Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the world," Nancy notes. "I’d ride the subway at a young age, people watching and digesting the diversity of the city, culture, and its characters. I experienced the sounds of the city as a social binding agent." Erin saw another side of America, especially in a small suburban white neighborhood. "It was the world where my parents grew up and met, so we had lots of friends & family ties here, but I knew there was so much more outside this place just waiting to be experienced and explored."
These geographies also explain different routes into music, and eventually techno. "I first heard RuPaul’s Supermodel (You Better Work) on The Box (Video Jukebox Network) in fourth grade," Nancy notes—a song she highlights from her mix. "It was a generous music video platform that aired from 1985-2001, where anyone could make requests and almost always your song would come on after just a short wait. My older sister and I would call in, copying dance moves all night while my parents were asleep. RuPaul was a role model for me, exuding grace, confidence, and a neutral uniqueness in personality, sass and style. I have vivid memories of silly fashion shows at home with my mom and older sister, strutting down the corridor to disco on Soul Train Classics, Frankie Knuckles mixes on Kiss FM, house music playing in the background of MTV’s E! and voguing videos. I’d write down some of the songs that stood out and try to dig it up on the internet or at a music store. This was when disco and house felt mainstream—in the best way, at least for me growing up in NY." That's why the first half of the mix is a reflection of Nancy's early times in the city.
Erin's entry points into music come from his father, a talented drummer and collector of vinyl, and his sister, who returned home with an EP that changed everything. "I grew up in a home with lots of family living room dance parties, but the real saint of musical discovery that got it all started for me was my sister Katy. She came home after a year of hopping freight trains across the country to Seattle and back, and one of the first things she did when she got home was plop a copy of Aphex Twin’s 'Come to Daddy' EP in front of me. Somehow she knew that 15 year-old me had to listen to this, and she couldn’t have been more right. I had never heard anything like it. The trajectory of my life changed dramatically from that day forward. At that time there were no record stores around me carrying this type of music, and almost no one — that I was aware of — in my town listening to this stuff, so plumbing the depths of the internet was my only real avenue of discovery. Most of my selections for this mix come from that time in my life when I was reprogramming my brain via my insatiable appetite for weird glitchy electronic music from record labels like Warp and Merck." That's also why we hear Squarpusher's track Beep Street end the mix.
As for techno, we begin to see their paths merge for the first time. Nancy knew of Aphex Twin in middle school, "but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I really encountered techno. A good friend handed me a CD of Aril Brikha’s music, which included Groove La Chord. It was groovy. It was spacey. It was dreamy. I was mystified. It enveloped me.
"Since then, I‘ve developed a more spiritual relationship to techno, due in part to discovering DJs like Claude Young, DVS1, and Patrick Russell. These days, I find myself experiencing it within my consciousness, dancing cerebrally as much as I'm dancing on the dance floor."
For Erin, techno didn't really click until 2014's No Way Back, an infamous after party thrown by Interdimensional Transmissions that happens the Sunday night during Detroit's Movement festival. "Before that, I had been DJing and throwing parties for roughly 6 years, but this was something completely new. For me, techno—although often associated with a certain type of sound—was less about a genre of music, and more about a specific feeling of connecting with the dance floor and other dancers. Some of my most memorable 'techno' moments or favorite sets are in large part due to the DJ moving in totally unexpected directions. For me, techno is about music that moves the body, mind, and soul together with little care as to the 'genre' that it lives in."
"For me," Nancy ends, "there’s no place more special than the dance floor. Let’s always respect it, learn from it, and most importantly give back to it. Without it our community wouldn’t exist. Honesty is the best policy. Success is a collection of well-curated failures. And dress to express." Erin's last words: "Expression > Expectation."
- Logic - The Warning (Inner Mix)
- Robert Owens - Bring Down the Walls
- The O’Jays - I Love Music
- Jomanda - Make My Body Rock 1990
- Black Box - Everybody Everybody
- RuPaul - Supermodel (You Better Work)
- Barbara Tucker - Beautiful People (Underground Network Mix)
- J.J. Fad - Supersonic
- DMX Krew - Bump to the Beat
- Chris Clark - Slow Spines
- Prefuse 73 - 90% Of My Mind Is With You
- Kristuit Salu - êthno-cen
- Squarepusher - Beep Street
We paired Nancy and Erin's mix with an infamous detail of a poster by artist Jeremy Deller. The yellow smiley face—eponymous of the acid house genre—has the words "Do you remember the First time?" with the "First" and "time" replacing the eyes of the face echos the moments Nancy and Erin highlight in their interview. The first time—which could mean the first time on a dance floor, the first time listening to music, or something totally different—is a method we've also been using on Moods to discover each other's paths and directions. "How did we get here?" has really become the question we've been answering here. And I want to thank y'all again for sticking it with me here, and for the future. We're archiving together <3
To read up about all things Jeremy Deller's up to, head here.
To keep up to date with Nancy Kim, follow her here.
And to keep in the know with Erin, follow him here.