Raw, ominous electronics.
Wessel Janssen, the Dutch artist better known as The Spy, connected with music in his youth, when it became a distraction to a serious illness. But it wasn’t until around 2015 that he began to take it seriously, buying his first Roland MC-303 synthesizer and using it to produce functional techno as SØRN. He enjoyed the way music “connects people,” Janssen says, and how it can help you “forget about certain stuff that’s going on in your life.”
Nowadays, as The Spy, Janssen has veered towards a more experimental, evocative style, and in June he released a full album on Osàre! Editions, combining boot-stomping techno with cybernetic groove, jittery IDM, and sinister electro. Like much of Janssen’s work, it’s a fitting soundtrack for a dark, pounding basement devoid of time, and the same could be said for his XLR8R podcast, which has been in the works for weeks. Recorded in October in the Netherlands, it’s filled with electro, IDM, and pumping techno from R Gamble, E-Saggila, Violetov General, plus some unreleased music from Janssen and his favorites from his vinyl collection. Press play for some brutal ominous electronics from Amsterdam.
01. What have you been up to recently?
There’s a cassette release coming up on Osàre! Editions called The Male Body Will Be Next, which also includes artists like Laurel Halo, Upsammy, Solid Blake, Sepehr, Levente, plus many others. I’ve also been working on an album together with the Mechatronica crew. The selected tracks are now with the mastering engineer and the artwork is in the making. You probably can see it’s mainly producing music and releasing it at the moment; not that many gigs right now.
02. What have you been listening to?
I’m really into dubby stuff. I don’t know why but it keeps drawing my attention. That’s why I really like the new podcast from Identified Patient for Voltage. Mix-wise, I’m also really into the new one from Nite Fleit for DJ Mag. I met her the last time I was in Berlin; she’s just so humble and easy going. Release-wise I’m really into the new Modern Intimacy Volume 2 on United Identities, the label from the Dutch Carista. Besides that I’m still digging the Violetov General album called Gentle Reactor on Osàre! Editions. The album is so diverse and every track has its own story.
03. Where and when did you record this mix?
I recorded the mix on October 14 at my apartment in Amsterdam.
04. What setup did you use?
I used a Pioneer XDJ-RX. This one is handy if you don’t have the money for a full Pioneer setup. Plus one Technics record player.
04. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
I always try to add as much new music as possible, from myself and other producers I like, and I combine that with older tracks. In this case I did a dig in my own vinyl collection and added some of them. Most of the “new” tracks come from promotions in my inbox.
05. How does it compare to what we might hear you play out live?
I think this podcast is the same as what you would hear from me when I play somewhere live. I always try to build up my DJ sets and get the people on the dancefloor into a rollercoaster, going up, down, and doing that all over again to keep it interesting. The only thing that can switch per gig is the amount of electro or IDM tracks that I play in a set; I’ll always try to push some through and check how the crowd is vibing on that. But that’s a normal DJ thing, I guess!
06. What’s next on your agenda?
Next on my agenda is the various artist release from Osàre! Editions, which I mentioned before. I also have some radio shows and I’m working on some gigs.
XLR8R Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Bobby Boycott “Plasma Display” (Unreleased)
02. Exhausted Modern “Thought Forms” (Brokntoys)
03. RNXRX “Symbol Skin” (Veyl)
04. The Spy “Spiegelpaleis” (Unreleased)
05. E-Saggila “Digital Them” (Northern Electronics)
06. RX-101 “Sys.rx.3.a006” (Suction Records)
07. R Gamble “Pit Of Vipers” (Public System)
08. Muslimgauze “Hand of Fatima” (Soleilmoon Recordings)
09. Panoramic Barrier “Az Erők Harca” (Dalmata Daniel)
10. R Gamble “Disrupted” (Public System)
11. Ether “Detonator (Furious Frank’s Placid Acid Edit)” (Kalahari Oyster Cult)
12. S.R.I. “Grand Slam” (New Transatlantic Cologne)
13. Lord Jalapeños “Step Function” (Unreleased)
14. Violetov General “Give me all your love-III” (Osàre! Editions)
15. Chino “Shiny Leather” (Mindri/Pinkman)
16. Tafkamp “Lost In Translation” (Revenge Techniques)
17. cv313 “Stained Glass (Variant Etherscope)” (Modern Cathedrals)
18. Solar “Leo” (Pildoras Tapes)
19. Jensen Interceptor & Assembler Code “Material Rhythm” (Kaptcha)
20. L.F.T. “Nest Of Bones” (Return To Disorder)
21. Talismann “Matam” (TALISMANN)
22. DJ Hash4cash “Cairo” (Gestalt)
23. NVST “Drum in the Bass of Attention (Jan Loup Remix)” (Big Science Records)
24. RNXRX “Proto Net (Rave Mix)” (Veyl)
25. Nasenbluten “Blinded” (Bloody Fist Records)