There's no way to describe Dj Hyperactive as anything other than a staple icon in Chicago. A veteran of the Chicago house and techno scene, His solo work has found great success throughout the '90s and '00s. His work can be found on labels such as 4trk, CLR, Missile, Planet Of The Drums, Truncate, Impact Mechanics, Droid and countless of others. Recently, his mega hit "Wide open” was reintroduce by Len Faki on Figure and has been non-stop for the Joe otherwise known as Dj Hyperactive, In advance with his performances coming up at: The Marx Club, Mikroport.club and Berghain. We got a chance to catch up with him about the working methods and the secrets of his sound.
ORLANDO SOLIS: When did your artist career start? What or who were your early passions and influences?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: It all started somewhere around 83/84. We were big roller skaters and disco was a big big influence before house rolled around. No pun intended. I was into Hip Hop as a teen and Beat Street sorta threw it over the top for me and once BMX and GCI kicked off it was a done deal and I was hooked ever since.
ORLANDO SOLIS: What do you personally consider to be your most memorable moments for your artistic career?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: There's a few but the gig at the Orbit in Leeds in '96 was unforgettable. Planetary Assault Systems were playing live and I closed out the night to a jam packed club, multiple levels, and multiple levels of chaos and energy. The folks there had another level of energy and enthusiasm. They flicked the lights on and that's the cue for the finale' and I dropped Daft Punk's "Rollin and Scrathin" and they lost their minds. So we just killed the sound and there was a girl standing on the railing hanging hollering at me, fists in the air, commanding my attention, but I couldn't really hear shit ..... I still wonder what she said to this day. Lol.
ORLANDO SOLIS: I am sure you have been asked this many times before but, your decision to move to LA was a big one and now returning back to Chicago, can you give us a little insight as to how all this began?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: I met my partners to be in LA at a B3 show in the LA Crest Mountains, Sneak, Doc, Dan, Charles, a big ass lineup. One of the best shows I played in LA to date. Soon thereafter I got a call and from the LA crew and they wanted to open a record shop in Huntington Beach. Soon to follow was high rent, palm trees, and a thriving West Coast music scene and culture that was open and hungry for techno. Spent 17 years there and it was time to make a change and return home. No regrets on either decision.
ORLANDO SOLIS: It's really nice to have you back in Chicago. For all of the newer producers and DJ's out there I would like to ask the questions that they would be most interested in, such as how do you come to the decision to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at an event?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: I consider where I'm playing, who I'm playing with, my set time, the overall vibe. At the end I really just try to read the crowd. If there's a theme or expectation I sometimes factor that in but I really try to take the pulse of the crowd.
ORLANDO SOLIS: In the part of the production process? What do you find the most challenging?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: I struggle with arrangement. I hit a lot of writing walls and have to take A LOT of breaks to audition and figure out transitions. There's an element of sequencing & automation vs doing live improvisational playing that I'm struggling with. In the old days I would use midi only for arranging some of the sequences and then rely on live tweaks to get a live feel. I like a live feel more so feels more natural to me.
ORLANDO SOLIS: I know I would not be were I am today, if not for your music tracks such as S.O.S, Chicago, Venus and Reptillian Tank. Can you give us a bit of an insight as to what makes a Dj Hyperactive track?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: I don’t have a secret formula per say. I start with percussion and go from there. I wish I something more groundbreaking to offer up. These days I’m more engaged in how I’m mixing and where each element fits in the mix.
ORLANDO SOLIS: That being said, what excites you musically?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: Seeing/ hearing alot of the new synths that are arriving. I regret selling so much of my old gear. I'm definitely a hands on learner and musician. I've neglected having a keyboard in the mix, even if it's just a controller, versus writing notes in. I learn the hard way but I at least know what my strengths are now.
ORLANDO SOLIS: Is there a piece of equipment you regret getting rid of?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: Lets not go there. I might shed a tear. ;)
ORLANDO SOLIS: Ok LOL very well, I know you and I have had our share of good times, humorous times, in fact we spent some amazing times in Italy. What constitutes a good time on a night off for you?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: I'm a people person and always see the glass half full. I like getting face to face with my hosts & promoters, the clubbers, and get to know them in the short amount of time I have. I'm always up for dinner and drinks before the circus begins. Most shows are in and out the next day, leaving very little time to do much. I enjoy it even more when I can do these shows with friends and dj/artists I like. If I had my own personal jet I'd fill it for every event and bring a party to the party.
ORLANDO SOLIS: What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in 2016?
DJ HYPERACTIVE: Just finished a remix of a Ben Long's "The Solver" for Bullet Dodge Records out of Glasgow. Also working on a remix for Michele Pinna for his "Chronicles from 1957" project, and just wrapping up a remix of "Lannister" of DNGLS for Sian's Anemone imprint. Just recently finished a remix of Marco Effe's "Hidden Fields" for On Edge Society and a few other secret remix projects I can't quite discuss yet. I completed an acid track for Moe at Droid Recordings which will be part of a v/a compilation. Of course, there are some new 4trk recordings releases right around the corner that I will begin promoting real quick here. All of the above are future releases/ remixes and the following are current releases/remixes:
1. Fixon Moheno "Mis Muertos' (hyperactive remix) - Nachstrom Schallplatten - NST110
2. Mattia Trani "Iron Engine" (hyperactive remix) - Pushmaster Discs - PM013
3. DJ Hyperactive "Black on Black" EP - 4 Track Recordings
4. Mike Gervais "Churn" (hyperactive remix) -Blank Code - BCRLTD005
Thank you for doing this Interview. DJ Hyperactive performs at the Marx Club, February 19, Mikroport.club on February 20th and Berghain February 20/21st click on the flyer below for more details.