Palmistry on how his father’s death inspired ‘Afterlife’ and working with SOPHIE on Rihanna material
Gothenburg-based producer 1991, real name Axel Backman, first appeared on the Dummy radar with his outstanding track Open To The Dark at the beginning of 2012. Sampling the casting of French actress Charlotte Valandrey – the footage of which later became the official music video, released by Astro:Dynamics – it’s an immediate stand-out piece full of melodies so rich it never tires, fabricating an uncertain groove from sub-bass, a forlorn vocal delivery speaking over the confusing swarm of sizzling and nauseous synth notes.
1991 might be pretty new to the scene, but he has certainly developed a fresh and distinct sound, focussing on a poignant, devastating but obscurely warm and welcoming production style without overloading his carefully constructed, shape-shifting sound. Having gained early support from Bristol producer Vessel, who mastered his debut self-titled album, out on Luke Owen’s Astro:Dynamics label (who also released a handful of quality releases from Vessel, Samoyed, El Kid, Zhou, and BNJMN under his Singing Status guise), 1991 has then put out a second cassette full-length called ‘High-Tech High-Life’ on new UK label Opal Tapes.
Similar to his nostalgic and dreamlike productions, the Swedish artist has delivered a mix just over 40 minutes, taking us on a ride through all kinds of dark and moody instrumental-oriented oddities. Listen below, and scroll further down to discover the producer’s thoughts behind the mix as well as a full tracklist.
Hey 1991, can you tell us more about this mix?
It’s sort of a slow moving mix for a slow coffee afternoon. It represents a small part of my taste in music.
Please highlight a couple of tracks included and why?
Gigi Masin is a new name to me, first heard him in a mix from Sand Circles a while ago, really beautiful sound. Clock DVA is a big inspiration, sound and visual.
You’ve had outstanding support this year from other musicians, including Vessel, who mastered your EP. How has that helped you get to where you are now?
All I know is that I’m in the best possible company. Astro:Dynamics and Opal Tapes families have been really supportive. Rekordah, Evian, Lukid, BAT, Ond Ton, Basic House, Vessel, Huerco S and Sand Circles all deserve to be mentioned.
The EP is outstanding, particularly all the glorious xylophone-y moments – how do you balance instrumentation and production when you’re making your music?
I try to work quite fast, I have a really short attention span. If I don’t find the sound after 15-20 minutes I’ll never finish it. I think of each track as one note that hit a certain feeling in that given time when I’m making it. So I try to keep it quite simple and direct.
You’ve got quite a gloomy sound. What makes you happy?
It’s not a huge music scene in Gothenburg but occasionally there is some really good clubs here. It’s a kind of nostalgic sound here, you won’t hear the latest stuff being played. But I think that for a couple of minutes every weekend when you hear something you really like on the dance floor, that’s when I enjoy myself the most.
What is exciting you at the moment, musically and out of music?
You know what, I am going to bring up the same names one again – Vessel and Lukid’s new albums are really good. Also loving what Huerco S. and Evian Christ are doing. There are a lot of old techno and synth/EBM sounds coming from my apartment also.
What’s your favourite food?
Hamburge… easily. They have a weird sexy aesthetics. I actually think it’s the best looking food, very cartoonish. But there seems to be a hamburger craze going on so it may be a quite boring answer…
What’s next for you?
Next is a new batch of the Opal Tapes release coming in November and in Jan/ Feb there will be a 12” on Opal Tapes with a Huerco S remix – also more stuff with Astro:Dynamics at some point in future too. Some live/ DJ stuff too, we’ll see.
1. Gigi Masin – Call Me
2. Flaming Tunes – Restless Mind
3. Cranes – Adoration
4. China Crisis – Jean Walks in Fresh Fields
5. Shoc Corridor – Artificial Horizon
6. Ismistlk – Flow Charts
7. Psychick Warriors ov Gaia – The Valley
8. Psychick Warriors ov Gaia – Intoxication
9. Borghesia – ZMR
10. Clock DVA – Fractalize
11. Actress – Hubble
12. Rolf Trostel – It is War in Europe
13. The Glove – A Blues in Drag