The rise and rise of HAAi
Many may associate Egyptrixx with Pharaoh’s country, but in fact he hails from Toronto in Canada. Real name David Psutka, the noted producer has been bubbling under the radar since late 2000s, unleashing his debut electro and ghetto-oriented album, which features special contribution from DJ Slugo of Dance Mania’s fame, in 2008. Since then, he has dropped Chrysalis Records, a rippling, weighty piece of production marked by its metal plated textures and rising beds of misty, melodic synths. This cut was later included in his full-length output for the Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990-operated Night Slugs. On the remix front, Psutka has been pretty prolific, boasting re-imaginings of tracks by a string of artists, such as Brodinski, Subeena (now Alis) and Starkey.
What truly threw Psutka into the spotlight, though, was ‘The Only Way Up’, an EP that came out in early 2010 via Night Slugs. Comprised of two pieces of original material and backed with three remixes by Ikonika, Kingdom and Cubic Zirconia, it’s an unpredictably elastic release that sits fittingly among the rest of the label’s club-rooted, self-consciously futuristic offerings. The following year saw him return to the label with ‘Liberation Front’ EP, providing a preview into the full-length, ‘Bible Eyes’ – a 10-track release that exquisitely carves and defines his brand of sonic exploration under the Egyptrixx project. The album draws on a palette of sounds heavily influenced and inspired by techno and experimental music, showcasing a thrust of percussive patterns and abstract surfaces that pay considerable amount of attention to melodic aspects. Unhinged, and – crucially – unconventional, it has opened many’s ears, pointing them in the direction of Egyptrixx’s unstoppable energy and illuminating charms.
Hi David, it’s been awhile since we last spoke to you, what’s been keeping you busy?
I took some time off of touring to work on a few studio projects and essentially reconnect with some personal and artistic goals. I produced the new Bestial Mouths album (out this summer on Clandestine Records), put out a Hiawatha album, did some work with Anamai (a toronto based psych-folk artist) and a few other people, and wrote the new Egyptrixx album. Right now I’m working on a new pop project which I think will be announced soon.
What did you want to achieve with this mix?
Its basically a collection of songs I’ve been playing in DJ sets lately but also highlights what I’m drawn to in club music – and all music in general – simple, upfront and well-designed ideas.
Can you highlight a few tracks included and why?
J Tijn – IPS is from Untold’s new Pennyroyal label which has put out a few great, tough-sounding techno records. Excited to watch that label grow.
I love the edit Helix did of [my] song Adult – he completely “got” the intention of the song and then violently shoved it further in the same direction. Really great.
Your music seems to fit into a territory between misshapen techno and the colourful explosion of synth workouts. Where do you see yourself sitting?
People have labelled it all sorts of things but Egyptrixx is centred around a pretty specific idea of using the elements of club music – pulse-y bass sounds, thick drums, spectral synths, repetition etc – in a varyingly non-contextual and sometimes abstract or even experimental way. My main goal is to make music that feels simultaneously concussive and tranquil, and I think the material has been getting more focused.
Hailing from Toronto, how do you view the growth of it as a musical city?
I get asked this a lot but feel somewhat weird answering it – when I’m at home my life is pretty monk-ish; I work very long hours, rarely go out and if I do it’s usually to a film or to see some art. Anyway, from what I can tell there are lots of talented people in Toronto – like any big city – but the infrastructure of our music industry/community feels kinda provincial and outdated…media and promoters especially. People here still go nuts for dudes with banjos, songs about nature…shit like that. The Canadian obsession with reductive national-identity cliches is alive and well in Toronto.
I am aware that you’re black metal fan, for people who would like to get into the scene and know more, what would you recommend they listen to, and why?
Here is an RBMA article I recently wrote that goes over some basics of black metal.
Xasthur, Krallice, Darkthrone, Leviathan and emperor are some of my favorite black metal bands, feel free to check them out.
Hiawatha, though, showcases your darkened, psychedelic, non-club-rooted side. What initiated this project?
With Hiawatha I wanted to do something visceral and more driven by melody and noise. I also wanted to use guitars and acoustic drums and write and perform using a more traditional “band” setup.
You have a forthcoming new album, can you tell us more?
My new album is a collaborative project with one of my favorite visual artists. It’s finished now and will be out next fall.
Which artists/ records are you digging at the moment?
Lately I’ve been listening to Ensemble Pearl, Var, old Whitehouse records, Haus Arafna, Iancu Dumitrescu, Nocturnal Poisoning.
What does the summer and the rest of 2013 hold for you?
I’ll be doing a bit of touring, working in the studio on a few projects, doing some Hiawatha shows and preparing to release the Egyptrixx LP in the fall.