Jorge Velez, the artist that brought us the exceptional MMT Tapes series returns to Rush Hour with a new two-track 12″ called Ausland this week! Also known for his work as Professor Genius, amongst other monikers, Velez has long been one of the US underground’s most revered figures to those in the know. ‘Ausland’ features two deep and darker workouts by this veteran Jersey-based producer. Sonically approaching house and techno as open fields for experimentation, Velez crafts rhythmic and hypnotic beats across the two tracks on offer.
Velez his tape jams stayed in their little boxes for over a decade when we luckily took notice here at Rush Hour! The MMT Tape series were released in 2012, and we liked to look back on these … and we definitely wanted to learn more about Ausland. Jorge Velez was willing to give a few insights!
You have released a selection of your early productions under your personal name on RH in 2012. After you produced these tracks, you continued producing a different sound as Professor Genius and under other monikers. Why didn’t you put out the early work back then? The world wasn’t ready?
In the nineties I never thought anyone would want to hear that music. I made it for myself as I was learning how to make music with my machines. Then the tapes would go into their little box and I’d continue making more stuff. I still work like that today but it all goes onto hard drives. If it wasn’t for Danny Wolfers (Legowelt) hearing those tracks and really liking them they probably would have stayed in that box.
How did Legowelt hear about the tapes?
Two years ago I made a little mix for fun out of some of the many hours of material and put it online. Danny listened and emailed me to ask what it all was, and I told him it was my old music. He was into it and he pushed in the right directions to have it heard by people who could release it. The best part about it is how much love there is for this music. I’ve had people come up to me and thank me for it. It’s amazing. And I’ve always thought some of those tracks were cool. I just never expected anyone else to think so! At the time I made them I passed some around to people in the NYC Techno scene and never heard anything back. I guess they were too simplistic or crappy for them.
The MMT tapes were produced in the nineties, in a time that New Jersey was known for a completely different sound. Were you alone in this, or was there a small scene?
I didn’t know anyone else in New Jersey making this music. I had friends who knew people producing the House that came out of Newark, for example, but I never met those people. I just went to parties and clubs and danced and then came back home with a head filled with ideas. I wanted to be a painter originally. I went to art school and all that. But after school I decided to learn to make music instead of paint. I felt it was more immediate and I was still making decisions and using chance and things like that. Plus there was no mess!
Now you are releasing Ausland. Can you tell me how Ausland arose and how you produced it? Why is it called Ausland?
The records I made in 2013 that are being released soon, including Ausland, have been influenced by my experiences travelling and touring in that year. It was a fantastic year to be honest. I got to see so much and meet great people. My wish is to hopefully play some more live shows outside the US this year and present all this new music. Sort of bring it back to the source! I also miss much of Europe. I feel at home there.
How did the touring influence your productions?
It’s not easy to put into words. It’s all there in the music and even the titles of the releases and their tracks will point the listener to where I was. But what’s most important is how the person listening or dancing interprets this music. Sonically I’ve rediscovered that House and Techno are such open fields for experimentation. They always have been but I seemed to have forgotten that in the past 10 years I guess. Hearing amazing new music while in Berlin or Hamburg or Paris has opened my ears up again, so to speak. And then collaborating with amazing people – and musical heroes – like DJ Gilb’r in Paris among others has taught me how to approach creating music in different ways.
J Velez – Ausland is out this week!
2. Lost Highway