Refections on decolonisation and sauvage curatorship in the current BOZAR exhibition
Berlin-based Mechatok, real name Timur Tokdemir, comes across as an optimist, brimming with plans, and as someone who knows what he wants. In spite of his tender age (just 21) the producer has a long-established and recognisable aesthetic: a stripped-down interpretation of pop music. Through some lag and falter, we connected in cyberspace to discuss upcoming releases and collaborations, the irrevocable fate of his former collective Staycore117, and making a big pop hit without compromising. A different take on pop music
Interview by Dennis Meersman
Photos by Vivek Vadoliya, shot in Berlin
It took six months to make those four tracks with Lorenzo Senni. It was the longest time I took to make the smallest amount of music
Hi Timur, nice to virtually meet you.
Nice to virtually meet you too!
What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been home a lot, working on music. I was on vacation in Morocco with my family, that was quite nice.
In your Against the Clock feature on Factmag.com, I saw you have this little smoke machine!
Yeah, that’s my aroma diffuser. You put different oils in it, and it keeps the air fresh.
You released your last EP on Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!?. How was that?
I’ve always been a fan of Lorenzo before I ended up working with him on this. I think it was the longest time I took to make the smallest amount of music [laughs]. It took, like, six months to make those four tracks for some reason. It was a very considered process.
The next release as well?
There’s nothing confirmed but we’re in touch. The next release will be under a new name as a duo with Toxe. We always made songs together but now we decided to form a duo. We made this EP and it’ll come out in the beginning of May on Yegorka, Why Be’s new label. I’m excited because it differs from the music we both did before. The set of references we decided to be influenced by is quite different. It’s a lot more house-y and disco-y. Just a whole bunch of stuff that we never channeled into our main projects that we’re letting out on this one. I’m very excited to see the reactions!
(Mechatok and Toxe form Emiranda. Their EP ‘My Face’ came out May 6th through Yegorka, Ed.)
What’s up with Staycore? I don’t see that much activity any more.
You’re not wrong, I guess [laughs]. Staycore was this moment where all of us kind of were on the same vibe. But it became more and more clear that we’re all very solo artists. Everybody started working with different labels, and having a collective stopped making sense in a way. Somehow, it’s not flexible to stick to the same aesthetic. But Mobilegirl, Toxe and I are still hanging out all the time, always exchanging stuff.
A lot of people started having me on their radar because of Tobi’s (Why Be) lowkey way of sneaking stuff into people’s awareness
Subbacultcha’s theme for this month’s magazine is ‘mothers’. Do you consider someone as a ‘mother’ in the scene you feel a part of?
So much goes out to Why Be and Total Freedom. Those two pioneered a certain attitude and way to look at music that influenced almost everyone in this pool of artists. When I didn’t have any releases out, maybe some tracks on compilations here and there, Tobi (Why Be) kind of put me in the spotlight by making edits of all my tracks. A lot of people started having me on their radar because of his lowkey way of sneaking stuff into people’s awareness.
If I made my music fuller you’d just be listening to a regular pop track, the whole point is that it’s stripped down
You recently collaborated with Bladee on ‘All I Want’. More on the way?
Yeah, always! Benjamin and I always try to make new tracks, maybe even a full project. Our workflow is very flexible. That track was fun to make, the sound works. It’s quite vulnerable. Bladee generally has a distinct sound, and also the production since it’s usually Whitearmor. So, it’s really fun to recontextualise him and do something completely different with his voice. I also did some productions on the new Palmistry album which is coming out soon. I started on some tracks for Hannah Diamond too.
What’s the worst description of your music you’ve read so far?
One time in a review someone was saying something like: ‘Sounds cool but it’s like, too empty.’ And I was like, ‘Man, you’re really missing the point here. If I made it fuller you’d just be listening to a regular pop track. The whole point is that it’s a bit less and stripped down. It’s a conscious artistic decision, not a technical failure you know [laughs].’
What’s your ambition in music?
It’s very unlikely to happen, but one thing that would be sick is to have a fucking number one [laughs]. Just a straight big pop hit. It would be nice to work with a great pop artist and write a solid song for them. It’d be cool to make actual innovative pop music. Shit that’s weird but still kind of approachable enough for everyone. I’d never want to dumb down the music or sound. But other than that, my current goal is to make a full album.
Mechatok performs at Nacht Van De Beeldende Kunst.
Also on the lineup: Shygirl, Romi Luna, Yunobi and 9M-MRJ.
De Studio, Antwerp on the 18th of May
Free for members. Join us here.