Recently decamped from Germany to London, Australian born Rick Bull may work under the name Deepchild, but that moniker alluding to juvenalia belies the sonic maturity of his labours. Deepchild’s most recent EP Blush gathered plaudits, whilst Rick’s ambient alter-ego Acharné has been grabbing attention from loftier quarters…
What’s been happening lately in the world of Deepchild?
The last 18 months have been filled with a substantial amount of change, travel and re-invention. After around 7 years based in Berlin, playing some wonderful DJ sets and live-performances at clubs like Berghain and Tresor (in addition to frequent North American tour outings), it felt like time for step back, and a chapter of re-evaluation.
My position in clubland – particularly as a touring artist in the US and Europe, has been an incredibly privileged one…and yet, after over 20 years of performing and production, it felt like change was needed. The techno world which nurtured me has most certainly changed, and I’ve felt like my focus has changed in response, too. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the last couple of years working as a teacher and producer with marginalised students and young artists in Sydney, at a university and community college level – and its been a reminder of why I fundamentally still believe in the deeper value of a practice like music. Only 6 months ago I moved to Hackney, and have been slowly establishing roots here in a rather new city, a long way from sleepy Berlin! I played a few club shows in 2017 at places like Tresor in Berlin, as well as debuting my new experimental / ambient project, “Acharné” at Berlin’s prestigious Funkhaus venue – I’ve seen everyone from Max Richter to Carl Craig and Four Tet have been playing there now, and its wonderful to have another rather incredible space in Berlin turning heads. Currently I’m working on new Deepchild and Acharné releases, and helping develop music education materials here in London…
Are you more at home in the studio, or behind the decks?
It’s curious – despite having played some rather large shows at placed like EXIT Festival or Berghain, I’ve never been particularly drawn to the spotlight. I adore DJing, and adore performing live-sets even more – though often I’m in awe of what a privileged roll it is to play. I still never take this for granted. In the studio is where I feel ‘safest’, but without the interface of club-performance, writing dance music would feel something of an abstraction. I need the studio to ground and centre myself, and clubland throws me back into my body.
The dancefloor feels like one the last fading examples of a sort of ‘cultural commons’ – we need them. Spaces of healing, exorcism, rebirth.
Who/what is influencing your sound right now?
I’m caught in a heady vortex betwixt influences as disparate as Drake, Ryiuichi Sakamoto, Prince, Aphex Twin, Basic Channel and Hessle Audio classics… With a liberal dose of Burial, and more experimental work by The Caretaker. I have a huge soft spot for a lot of Trap music too…and an insatiable fascination with contemporary hiphop…and quite an addiction to classic Ballroom / Vogueing music.
What 3 records are really floating your boat at the moment?
1. The new Nils Frahm “All Melody” album is dope. Its beautiful to hear elements of John Cage and Philip Glass massively influencing the work. Gorgeous. Vital.
2. Hodge / Randomer “No Single Thing” – walking (as with homies like Kowton) the smudged line between techno, footwork and ‘uk bass’, this and so much other gorgeousness from Livity Sound reminds is drenched in the spirit of futurism I grew up on. Genre-blurring, functional goodness. Everything Livity Sounds releases is a little bit special.
3. Phil Gerus “Based on Misunderstandings 05”. There’s something beautifully infuriating, compelling and addictive about what we’ve come to label ‘vaporwave’. Phil Gerus produces what I’d almost call “Vapor Disco”, very much in line with the kinds of sensibility artists like DJ Seinfeld are messing around with. It’s knowing, lo-fi, humorous and haunted at the same time. Phil Gerus certainly leans toward the accessible end of the spectrum, but is difficult not to love. Check out Grafton Tanner’s excellent “Babbling Corpse” or the late great Mark Fisher’s “Capitalist Realism” whilst listening to this ep, and then decide whether you’d to weep sad bitter tears into your K Cider, or whether or not we might still dream of a better tomorrow which no longer sounds just like the past run through an Instagram filter.
What’s next for Deepchild? What does 2018 hold for you?
A few more long winded blog posts, on Derrirda and Hauntology, more work here in music education, grim Instagram posts of toilets and industrial fixtures, gigs wherever I can swindle them, and too many hours in front of Ableton Live. I’ve just had a wonderful mention in The Guardian for my last Acharné album, “Innocence and Suburbia”, and had a huuuuge license request for one of the UK’s most esteemed artist-mix comps (people still buy physical product?) so I’m guessing gigs shall continue coming forth. I’m still recovering from November’s gig at Tresor, to be honest. Techno. Gawd.
The new EP “Blush”by Deepchild is out now on Goldmin Music