Published January 26, 2024
Present yourself for those who don’t know you yet
Hi, I’m Borenstein, a 32-year-old techno live act and producer from Gothenburg, who’s been based out of Copenhagen since 2013. I’ve produced for 12-ish years, going through more sub-genres and production styles than I can remember, before finally landing on a cheeky and playful form of techno the last four years. I’ve spent this time continuously developing my hardware set, and my production methods, working on releases as well as performing around Copenhagen, Aarhus and Malmö. I have a previous (non-techno) remix release on Moby’s label Little Idiot, and my first EP, in my current style, was released at the end of 2022 on Petite Victory Collective.
You are a part of the petitevictorycollective – tell us what is special about this collective
Petite Victory Collective is a truly unique hub, collective and label for like-minded hardware producers, performers and enthusiasts. It’s genre-less and inclusive to all types of electronic sound and serves as a platform and community for sharing ideas, projects, inspirations and collaborations – all in the name of the love for electronic music! The collective is founded and based out of Copenhagen, with a big group of members living here, but it’s truly international with members across many continents. Here in Copenhagen, the collective has hosted several events, including two editions of “Sonic Playground” (3d and the biggest one yet coming later this year) at local venue Urban13. Sonic Playground is an all-night, live-set-only experience, where the middle of the room gets filled to the brim with synth gear, and the performances slowly progress from ambient through to house and end up at fast techno.
Can you tell us about your journey as an artist in the electronic music scene? How did you first get involved in creating electronic music with synths?
I’ve had a love for electronic music for as long as I can remember and spent a lot of time discovering new productions and never-ending sub-genres. I think my first ever CD was an “Absolute Techno” compilation, back in the late 90’s. In 2012 I took the leap into actually creating my own music and started by producing 100% “in-the-box” (with only a computer). Creating my own first track (more like a short loop of poor quality), was one of the biggest total-bliss-dopamine-overload experiences of my life. I couldn’t sleep all night, all I could think about was getting back in front of the computer and continuing to compose. Since then I’ve been hooked on it and experimented with lots of different sounds.
Until recent years I didn’t really know that many DJs, so I was never really “naturally” introduced to the art of DJing, and in all honesty I wasn’t too eager about it. At the same time, I longed to perform my music live and started to look into how I could do this. The result was switching from Logic Pro to producing in Ableton, buying a few small “starter” synths and midi controllers and putting together a first live set. From there on it “escalated” quickly, buying more sophisticated gear and continuously developing the set. I fairly quickly got rid of the laptop with Ableton and have now been performing with 100% hardware for the last 2-3 years. It gives such freedom.
Could you share some insights into your choice of synthesizers and electronic instruments? Do you have favourite pieces of equipment that you feel contribute uniquely to your sound?
I’ve always gone for gear that I can use both for production in the studio and at the same time use for live performances. I believe almost every synth I’ve owned has, at one point, been in my sets, even though the rotation has been heavy.
I’m a big fan of groove boxes – machines that can create full grooves and even fundamentals for whole tracks within the same machine. It gives the possibility to quickly go from idea to result. Like so many others I’ve turned to Elektron and their lovely and versatile machines and have 4 of their boxes in my current live set.
The main “brain” of my set is the Octatrack (from Elektron). It allows me to both process sounds from the rest of the gear I use in my set and act as an effects processor but also resample what’s playing, which I use for transitioning to the next “track”. I also load the Octatrack with shorter “stems” from my finished productions, which I play in combination with my other synth gear.
To create textures and nasty “techno sounds”, I’ve recently added “Eowave Quadrantid Swarm”, a semi-modular synthesiser that really breathes techno into everything you do with it. I can highly recommend it.
What draws you to electronic music, specifically using synthesizers? Are there certain aspects of this genre that you find particularly appealing or challenging?
Using synths, for me, feels like the shortest step between producing in the studio and bringing the sounds out to the world. It allows you to not only perform finished productions but also to bring completely new ideas, grooves and experimentations directly to the crowd. Most of the material I play is “unfinished”, raw and rough around the edges – and I think that’s exactly what brings so much value to performing live. Each set is unique, no matter if you play in strictly the exact same order every time, or if you completely improvise – there are not two performances that are even remotely close to each other. I think that’s beautiful.
What emotions or experiences do you hope your audience takes away from your music? Is there a particular message or atmosphere you aim to convey?
Bliss, a deep connection to the music and each other and a sense of forgetting time and place. When playing live, sounds and atmospheres float into each other and blend into one continuous performance, and I want people to get lost in that endless feeling of happiness and presence. I also hope that people perceive it as a bit “different” from what they perhaps normally experience and that the live sound can show them some new aspects of electronic music.
Any advice for aspiring artists who want to explore a similar path?
The cool thing, but sometimes also the challenge, is the availability of music production gear and software. You can easily, with few means, get a setup that gets you started with production or live performances, but with so many possibilities it can sometimes feel overwhelming. I would say that any way of producing and performing electronic music is as good as the other, whether it’s 100% computer-based, or 100% “DAWless” (only with synths). Don’t overthink about the technicalities, best practices etc., that can always come later. What matters is what inspires you for the moment. Dive into that feeling and see how far you can take it. It’s definitely worth it.
But in a more constructive way: if you start from scratch, get Ableton and a midi-controller. That can take you very far. Luckily, there are a lot of lovely “nerds” in the synth scene, and most people you meet will be down to discuss details about new gear, and production techniques and share inspiration.
What is your favourite memory from Culture Box?
Oh, lovely Culture Box. Many good nights indeed… To mention one: Playing my debut in Red Box, performing directly after my label mate from Petite Victory Collective, Yukio Berholdt, was definitely a special one. It was the first time ever that two live sets were fitted into Red Box, or so I was told. Playing was fun, but being on the dancefloor during my fellow debutants’ sets was even nicer. Everybody was happy and uplifted for getting a chance to play, and I think that positive feeling spread to the audience. I made some good friends that day.
Now I’m looking forward to opening for NASTIA on the 26th of JAN 2024!