Damcase, or Super unknown is a solo hardware live performer, whose sound ranges from Old school Acid cuts to aggressive techno to Experimental Noise. He started his journey back in his hometown, Thessaloniki, Greece, where he began producing live electronic music, and releasing his productions independently.
Once he moved to the Netherlands it didn’t take long for Damcase to begin branching out into the scene. He would go on to create his alias ‘Super Unknown’ and create a 4-track EP for the highly regarded TH Tar Hallow. When his industrial side began to show recognition, he was featured on the Mord complication, and soon after granted the opportunity to release a double EP with Mord entitled ‘Anom Valley’. Damcase has provided innovative analog tracks for the finest techno labels including Mord, Bunker Den Haag, Melodies Souterraines, without a doubt we can expect more for the Netherland based Producer.
Mord regularly gives a chance to artists, if accordingly to their standard, the artists fits on the label. You were one of these guys, but not everyone in the scene will have heard of you. Can you tell us more about yourself, and your journey before you got signed to Mord?
“I was performing live or playing with records on a weekly basis back in my hometown Thessaloniki. I was also releasing music with friends most of the times D.I.Y. and in totally abstract forms(2004–2012). In 2011, one track got released on Granny Records, featured in the Wire Magazine UK-Wire Tapper 27 cd. At the same time I always wanted to see what was happening outside Greece. In 2012–2013 I went to the Hague to complete my studies at the ‘Institute of Sonology’. At the classic analogue voltage-control modular synthesis studio (Natuurkundig Laboratory 1956).
After some months I went to ‘Dystopia’. ‘Bunker Records Den Haag’ studio and event space. I thought: fuck I need to give my music to those people, they know, they will understand. Some months later I received an email saying: Bunker Records wants to release 4 tracks, tracks 1,2,3 and 8 from the first CD. They asked if I’m ok with that and if I am still in the Netherlands or went back to Greece and they send me an invitation for the upcoming Bunker/Panzerkreuz event. This is how Bunker/Panzerkreuz 4008 ‘Untitled’ by Damcase got out in the ‘4000 series’. The series with Unit Moebius, Schmerzlabor, Klankman, Legowelt and Ellis de Havilland.
Hanging around at ‘Triphouse’(Second Hand Record Store and local DJ act spot) I met Charlton. One of Rotterdam’s Raw and Industrial sound contributors. We ended Jamming for hours or sometimes even days. All this was happening when Mord just started. We went also to Mord’s label night at Maassilo-Rotterdam and gave Bas one copy of my ‘Tar Hallow’ release as ‘Super Unknown’. He played 2 tracks on his podcast for ‘Soma Records’ and since then we are in contact. He was checking my tracks and this is how the double pack 2×12’ ‘Anom Valley’ EP and the ‘Low FX to Aux’ track on the ‘MordBox 001’ 7×12 ‘ various artist compilation appeared.”
How did you get into live performances? Was it something you aspired to do or did it come naturally?
“The truth is that back in the mid-late 90’s it was complicated to present live electronics. There were not so many people with similar interests around, no YouTube channels or hardware reviews and even less access to the information. So I remember my self trying and finally after some years I made it. The point is that I am still using hardware as compositional method even at my live acts. Couple of drum machines, mixer with auxiliaries, Moog Mono synth, Roland SP404 ampler, Akai tape machine and some more. That’s what inspires me most of the times, the procedure, how everything is connected and what can I do with that. You can make an interesting piece with 2 stones and a d.i.y. contact mic but you won’t have the TR Roland sound, if that does not bother you, that’s my theory.”
Can you tell me how the creative process begins? Do you program drum machine(s) or synthesizer(s) first? Does inspiration come from an external source or is it all in the moment?
“It is always about the moment even if you are programming. I prefer not to spend so much time in editing tracks. I try to keep the natural flow of the original recording. That usually works better for me. There is no specific way of starting a track. It might be a no input little noise that gradually changes into different shapes. It could start from rhythmical parts or a polyrhythm element or sequence, there are really no rules and endless possibilities.”
What are a few pieces of gear that you couldn’t live without?
“Moog, Pearl Vintage mixer and the 1721W Akai tape Machine.”
Not that long ago, you were part of a group called “Ton”. The style of that group was pretty eclectic, ranging from electro influenced techno to menacing soundscapes, and that’s quite different to what you release now. Can you tell us in what ways you have evolved as an artist and performer throughout the years in order to develop your own sound?
“Like I said everything started in totally abstract forms. My first track that got released was some field recordings from heavy weight trucks passing next to my house, ’Backwater’ CD, various compilation I & II. Behind those releases was an Italian friend and a well known bass player in the punk scene of Thessaloniki: F. Paolo D.
‘Ton’ is the project with my music mate Haris. There is one cd release on Granny Records mastered by Jusepe Jelasi in Milan. We still got loads of recordings withHaris and we jam and record whenever we meet. You might see something coming out in the future you never know. But that release was a result of years of frustration, of trying to realize what we hear why and how, be patient and self-sufficient.”
About a year ago, you dropped an EP under your alias “Super Unknown”. Why did you decide to create another alias, while it seems the music for Super Unknown is pretty similar to the Damcase stuff?
“Super Unknown is a concept started here in Rotterdam. I came back home one night totally disappointed about the music I had to listen during all night. I turned all hardware on and recorded a live set with heavy sounds in a lower tempo, something like what I would like to hear that specific moment. I checked the results by accident some days later and it sounded like a journey with no way back. The world of ‘Super Unknown’ in a situation without hope, doesn’t matter what you do we are fucked, nothing is going to change the current situation. Solution is not there. I uploaded the whole 23 minutes live set just with a small description:
‘Super Unknown-Live, Live Recording by Super Unknown.’
‘There is no need for so many mid and high frequencies. Dark, Wave, Low Tempo, Raw, Hardware:ER, EFX, RT, LP, MC.’
Thanos Hana, a basic member and one of the curators of Granny Records, was already preparing his personal label ’Tar Hallow’. The ‘Super Unknown’ concept was humid, rusty and with no future at all. We changed a bit the tempo in some tracks and that was the ’Tar Hallow’ 01 EP. Klankman’s and Charlton’s came later and there is one upcoming with DimDJ TH04. “
Your debut on Mord is called “Anom Valley” and receives positive feedback from lots of people. What kind of experiences was the production of this EP? How long did you take to record this record?
“Most of the tracks were made here in Rotterdam during 2015. The artwork was made by the Swedish artist ‘Tommy Dwane’ and the ‘Hades Rowing Club’ crew, but the whole production curated by Bas Mooy. ‘Anon Valley’, yes. Some people might think anomalies or ‘’anon’ from ‘Anomos’= no law. Sometimes I care more about the sound of the words orhow they appear and not so much about the meaning.”
How did you establish a relationship with Mord?
“Meeting up with Charlton here in Rotterdam was the starting point.Gatherings in places like Strobe and warehouse ‘Mord’ nights, but the most important was to give my music to Bas.”
What future plans do you got for your Damcase project? And do you have something in mind for Super Unknown?
“ ‘Anom Valley’ and ‘Bunker 4008’ are available right now. There is also another one Various Artists EP coming from Lyon France and the new labelcalled ‘Melodies Souterainnes’, featuring my track ‘That At’. Got some more offers but I won’t release anything at the moment. People can check my solo Bunker 4 track Album, 2 of the tracks are 12–13 minutes long each and the Mord Doublepack EP. The Mord EP mastered by ‘Simon’ at the ‘Exchange Studios’ in London and the ‘Bunker 4008’ by ‘Guy Tavares’(Schmerzlabor) him self at Dystopia in the Hague and there will be, if so, more ‘damcase’ releases in the near future.”
Damcase is happy to announce that he has recently joined ‘Pakt Booking’, an agency who provides services for Ansome, Bas Mooy, Defekt, Giorgio Gigl, UVB and Yan Cook — just to name a few. After a successful release, Damcase has been traveling through Europe playing many show including; The Basis Club in Urecht, Netherlands — Decadance in Ghent, Belgium, and Nuits Fauves in Paris, France. You can check out Damcase at these upcoming gigs: The Annual Bunker/Dsytopia Event which is scheduled for August in Hague, Netherlands, also at the Mord/Strobe Event in September in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
By Kirk Gonzalez
Techno is machine-made music. But to get sounds of these machines, there’s the necessity of human input. This kind of unavoidable element gets us to the point of these series of articles. On The Record will deliver you articles of various kinds like interviews, event reports and more.. always with the involvement of at least one artist to get an idea of what’s going around in the current business of techno. On The Record files insights, pieces of music and whatnot, to broaden and idea on techno.