No one makes music with the kind of character Heatsick can bring to a record. Berlin-based artist Steven Warwick’s back catalogue, filled with numerous cassette and vinyl releases over the years, is one of music’s most special, showing a playful, loud and simple way with sound and repetition that is entirely his own. He also makes music as one half of experimental drone duo Birds Of Delay.
His album ‘Intersex’, released on PAN towards the end of last year, was a niggling ear worm of flickering sounds and sparky rhythms, with tracks given the space to spiral out and grow. This month he’s releasing an excellent new EP on PAN titled ‘Deviation’, an elegantly disjointed set of lo-fi house compositions, and perhaps his most obviously dance music-informed release to date. He’s also playing in London in a few weeks time as part of a PAN label showcase, and considering his renown for delivering engrossing live shows using the most basic of equipment (he’s armed with just a Casio keyboard), it’s sure to be unmissable.
How’s it going?
Great, I just swam in a lake.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix?
It’s called British Summer Time. It’s about maps. There are some new Heatsick tracks and also some related tracks that I like. I don’t like Scott Walker in general, but I think that it’s a good song. Donna Summer was included before she died (RIP). Also RIP Günther Kaufmann.
Your music has a very immediate feel to it. Do you plan out tracks before recording, or is there a lot of improvisation involved?
Yes, it is very composed beforehand, and I mean composition in its literal sense, yet I am intuitive when I play. Different elements are worked and reworked and overlaid and altered, and are usually more delicate than when played in a live context, like stacking a house of cards.
Repetition is important to the music you make. Is there any particular reason for that?
Most music is repetition isn’t it? Even verse-chorus-verse is repetition. When I started the project I was interested in how much looping and repetition goes on in dance music and also early electronic music. It’s more related to time space expansion. I mean, who decided that a film has to be 90 minutes long? However I find that my music deviates a lot from it’s original starting point, so that you can look at the detours. It’s like walking up a hill, you can go from A to B, or you can pause, enjoy the view and remember why you are walking in the first place.
How do you find playing live?
Playing live is really enjoyable for me, I never get bored of it. It is always different as it depends on when you play, the setting, the crowd, the day, the time, the length. I enjoy playing late at night/early morning. It really alters the reception of the music.
It’s also about the amount of time that you are asked to play for. Concerts are more strict in a 30 minute chopchop last train home way, which can also be a fun challenge (I mean look at my equipment set up, it itself is quite limited), late night settings unlock the senses and let them roam.
You’re currently based in Berlin. How come you chose to move there, and what is it like at the moment as a place to be making music?
Yes I have been there for some years now. My parents are from London so it wasn’t new for me, and I fancied a capital city and could speak German. I make a lot of music there. I don’t watch so much live as I don’t know so many live musicians here, I see some DJ’s. That’s fine with me, there is a lot of music being produced here and it can be heard here or in transit or in another place. Berlin is funny, it has a reputation of people dancing in clubs, running in parks or looking at their Milchkaffees, but I work most of the time.
What are your plans for the near future?
I’m recording. I’m going to sing more.
Interaccion – Ente
Dziga Vertov – The Dombass Symphony
Skatt Brothers – Walk the Night
At the End of the Day
Heatsick – Benelux
Dezz – Boom Boom (Mixed by Frankie Knuckles)
Nadia and Makosi Reflect
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds (Cumulo Nimbus Remix)
Roy Ayers – Virgo Red
Scott Walker – Plastic Palace People
Fashion Freak – Bad Girl (M&S refix)
Heatsick – Tertiary
MFSB – Love is the Message (Danny Krivit Re-edit)
Heatsick – C‘était un Rendezvous
Franco Battiato – Un Cellula