Meet the two February residents of Amplify Berlin: Mentees Veslemøy Rustad Holseter aka Grinderteeth and Max Dahlhaus. And listen to the tracks they have been working on this month together with their mentor Born in Flamez. The two will present their new live sets this Thursday at ACUD Club. Born in Flamez will play a DJ-set.
Grinderteeth is the Berlin-based solo project of Veslemøy Rustad Holseter utilizes live improvisation through sequencers, midi-mapping and Max Msp to build cathedral-verb drenched, noise soundscapes blending pounding beats with layered, manipulated vocals. Her no boundaries approach to producing, DJ-sets & sound works build experimental beat textures fused with harmonic live improvisation, exploring socio-political themes of intersectional feminism, gender, and sexuality often drawing in lines from mythology, human relation and current day politics. Grinderteeth is a core member of Berlin-collective ‘No Shade’, hosting mentoring and training programs for female, non-binary and trans DJs, and has previously presented work in Istanbul, Vienna, Brussels, London and Norway to mention some.
Max Dahlhaus is a Berlin based audio visual artist and producer who while purposely focusing on contrasts like emotional and abstract, repetition and detail, opulence and minimalism, does not know any frontiers between those principles. Max Dahlhaus is not operating in the anonymous semidarkness, but there is always a person with a story emerging from his productions. „Finished“ is a word completely unknown to Max, he wants the audience to be part of the creational process- his visual creations support the music but leave a great room for interpretation and wonder. While his recent sound experiments lean on tech noir, he is not part of a scene or school, but an imperturbable maverick who is always finding the true mixture of his own intellectual world and the everyday life in a sizzling metropolis.
What were your expectations when you applied for Amplify? Would you say these expectations were met?
Veslemøy: I cant say that I had any specific expectations when I applied for Amplify actually, I knew I wanted Born In Flamez as my mentor, but other than that I really wanted to get on the residency program and I enjoyed filling out the application cause it was written in an unusual way that I felt allows you to showcase more sides of yourself.
To be honest, I had no expectations of being chosen for the program, so I was pleasantly surprised when that was the case and I guess you could say it has lived up to everything I thought it would be and has probably been even better.
Max: I have to admit that I didn’t really have any expectations except maybe to have an interesting time and expand my horizon. I thought that by focussing solely on my art for one month and spending quality time with artists like Born In Flames and Grinderteeth my creativity would get a boost. That definitely was the case! I also felt very welcome at ACUD with all the great people helping to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
How has your residency gone so far? Any highlights?
Veslemøy: The residency so far has been really good, I spent a lot of time in the studio this last month and its a dream to have access to all of this gear that I can’t afford and an own space to focus and work in for real. Its been a special period in my life, cause I had the time to be a part of something like this and it was also really the right time for me to double down and work on material I’ve been developing for a long time. I feel a bit ambivalent about that its almost over and I soon won’t have it in my life anymore actually, or get to hang out with James and Max on a set regular basis.
Additionally, it’s been such a motivating force as well.
I think my highlights have been having access to the gear and just hanging out with two as great musicians and people as James and Max, getting to know them and seeing how they approach things, learning from that and their approach to sound design. I really feel like I’m eyeing my next level of technical skill after this residency, and I have a newfound confidence and interest in this aspect that’s definitely down to Amplify.
Max: It would be hard to name just one highlight, as the whole experience was one big highlight for me. I didn’t just learn more about music, production and playing live, but more importantly about myself and what I want to tell with my music. Working with and learning from likeminded artists was an amazing experience and I am already looking forward to meet up with them after the project has come to an end for me and work on new ideas.
How was working with a mentor? Is there something in particular that you have learned during the residency?
Veslemøy: Working with James as my mentor has been great and I think they are quite good at mentoring. Their feedback is in solid form, as for instance that in this part there’s too much placed in the same frequency range, so you are given something concrete to work with, yet its always presented in a non-intrusive way. They always make it clear that there are many ways to work and it’s up to you what you decide to do with the advice they offer, which is good mentorship in my opinion. I think they also have a good balance between constructive criticism and positive reaffirmation on the quality of your work that’s really motivating.
Coming from a family with no ties to music as a professional career, having a mentor was always something I’ve wanted and on a personal level, it’s been positive having a mentor who I can relate to and that in some ways embodies the same experiences as me. Growing up and studying music I was always the only girl or one out of three out of thirty, and all my teachers in anything to do with tech have always been men so I always felt a bit like an anomaly. Being exposed to someone like James, with the level of skill and kind of career that they have definitely makes this feel like something that is also possible for me.
I think especially during this residency I have cemented my own workflow and developed a more organized system to how I approach things, plus broadened my knowledge on sound design and mixing which is something I wanted to do with the residency.
Max: Working with Born In Flamez was very interesting, because they have a different approach when it comes to music production and art in general. We didn’t only talk about my production, but also about the philosophy that stands behind it. They helped me to dig even deeper into my understanding of why my music is what it is and why I do it the way I do it. That’s THE important aspect that I’m taking home from this journey. Every being is looking for a tenor and James helped me getting closer to finding mine.
What can people expect from you at the showcase concert?
Veslemøy: Id say a lot of intensity, emotion, and experience of presence. Something you can sink into and let everything else evaporate for a while.
They can also expect some live visuals by architect Camille Lacadee who is also one of my closest friends,
Max: You can expect a lot of sound and a new minimalistic visual light concept that I developed during my Amplify time. I had a vision of this concept in my head before I started amplify and this month was the perfect opportunity to get the vision out of my head and into reality. I built light-elements that react to the music I’m going to perform- I want my music to not only be heard but also to be seen!
What are your plans for the future?
Veslemøy: My plans for the future after this is to release the EP that I’ve been working on in the studio while part of the Amplify residency, along with some videos for it that I am making with some friends who are visual artists. I love playing live and I’m aiming to get to the next level with bookings and play out a lot more. I have my eyes on a lot of collectives and festivals this season (book me, hejjj). As well as that I am now that I can close up this EP ready to and want to start writing new material. I would love to release another EP later this year, with more noisy beat structures and develop a new live set with more freedom to move around the space then what I have currently. I use my voice a lot in a loud, physical way when playing, and I love moving with this.
In addition to that I will continue to work with my collective No Shade and expand on my DJ-sets and skills.
Max: Just going on with what I am already doing, but with a different mindset. For me that means working on new music and visuals as I did before Amplify but with an even deeper thought on its philosophical meaning.
As an artist you always need to evolve and that is what Amplify helped me to do.