Off Peak exists as a new collaborative feature between record label 48k and Insert which aims to tap into those recreational tracks that DJs and producers listen to in their down time, giving an insight into the sounds they feel, but don’t fit into a club context. The guidelines for this feature are challenging for the artist but important for instance, a certain portion of the tracks should be from non-male identifying artist and at least 25% created by people of colour.
Spurz is a producer and DJ, label head, and dear friend of 48k. His EP Vexed 2 Rest On U is out now via his own Drama Hands label. He gifted us a lovely, incredibly wide-ranging playlist designed for repeat listens (we found it particularly well-suited to long car rides), and we chatted with him about the importance of broad music listening habits for creators, his development into live performance, and his plans for the rest of the year.
"Many of the tracks in here are mood enhancers—selections that can help you feel things more intensely."
Tell us a bit about how this playlist came together. Was there a particular theme or listening environment you had in mind, was it motivated by a specific mindset, anything like that?
I put the playlist together under a loose theme of buoyancy or floating, interpreting that idea in a few different ways. Many of the tracks in here are mood enhancers—selections that can help you feel things more intensely. There are jovial choices that keep the mood light and jumpy, but there are also more than a few that can be used in low moments and introspective times that (hopefully) allow a listener to feel safe in exploring moments of sadness and detachment from the self.
What’s the motivation behind the breadth of this playlist? Is it an honest reflection of your listening habits, are you casting a wide net when looking for inspiration, both/neither/something else?
It’s equal parts a reflection of my own tastes and an attempt to connect a few somewhat disparate dots. My own listening habits are extremely varied, so I was really happy to be able to be a bit more expansive with my choices here. I say this all the time, but if you’re a music maker, it’s really worth your time to explore genres and sounds that your not familiar with—even some you can’t stand—and try to find something you could apply in your own music. Having a critical ear and an open mind is one of the best pieces of gear that money can’t buy!
"I love how a sound system can seemingly permeate the body and rewire you from the inside..."
You’ve told us that you’re looking into building a live set and expanding more out of club environments, and your latest record, Vexed 2 Rest On U, showcased a continued growth of your sound out of club textures and into a more expansive context. Would you say that the range of this playlist is reflective of where you’re headed as an artist?
The more ambient and textural selections in the playlist are a pretty good indicator of where my head has been at as I’ve been building towards live performance, especially in the overall contrast of elements in these selections. I love how a sound system can seemingly permeate the body and rewire you from the inside, and I’m interested in exploring that experience one step removed from a traditional context, with the addition of textural sampling as a narrative element.
What was one track you were going to put into your playlist regardless of the energy you were curating? Do you have a favorite track or artist on this playlist?
I knew for certain I was going to have a piece by Porya Hatami. Porya is an Iranian experimental sound artist who crafts some of the most delicate and beautiful aural textures, and his output is simply incredible, both his solo works and collaborative projects. I had to be sure to get something from Daedelus on the list as well.
What projects, dates, etc. of yours should we be on the lookout for as we head into the tail end of 2018?
Next up from me is an album on Vancouver-based label Aufect, a collection of sound system experiments/workouts that is a bit more dub-influenced and darker than my last record, Loud Futures. It’s been in the works for a while and I’m happy that it’s going to be seeing the light of day soon. There are a few other projects in the works, but I don’t want to spoil the fun!