With his new album, Year Of The Living Dead, Vienna-born and LA-based producer John Tejada finds a blissful, extended moment of balance between the new and the familiar. Anyone who has followed his career to date, which has included four previous albums for Kompakt, outings for storied labels like Plug Research, Playhouse and Cocoon, and numerous remixes and collaborations (most recently, his Wajatta duo with comedian and musician Reggie Watts) will immediately sense the warmth and eloquence that Tejada brings to his gilded, pliant techno and electro hybrids. But there’s more here, too: an explorer’s glint in the producer’s eye, with new ways of working and being, while offering a reflective opening for the listener, echoed in artwork by graphic designer and ‘contemplative artist’ David Grey.
1: Different DAW render comparisons if done correctly will null. They do not have a different “sound.”
2: Wearing a mask helps stop the spread of Covid. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and not on your chin.
3: Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Music that my friends and students create. Listening to old favorites that made me want to start making music.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Both of my parents were working classical musicians when I was young. So from my earliest memory I saw that practicing your instrument was something you do daily. That made quite an impact I’m sure compared to a non-musical household. I got started on piano around age 4 or 5 and I did not know this till recently, but I would compose little songs on music sheets. I suppose that could be the beginning of starting any composition. But starting to work with electronic instruments came around the age of 16 working with sampler/sequencers.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Kraftwerk – Computerworld
Orbital – Brown
Polygon Window – Surfing on Sine Waves
Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
The Art Of Noise – (Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Close friends, cold weather, jetlag, long walks, late nights.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Living in the San Fernando Valley in LA County, especially these days being home, a very important place for me is a very large park about 5 minutes away that offers almost any outdoor activity you can think of. I can go for runs, play four different golf courses, sit by a lake. Besides my home this is really the only other place I really need at the moment.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I have quite an interest in golf, playing and learning the mechanics of it.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I’ve just picked up Kyle Hall’s ‘The Shark’ on vinyl.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
That’s a tough one as I normally don’t reach out to collaborate with people I don’t know personally. It’s more about working with friends whose work I respect. Recently I’ve been chatting with Alessandro Cortini a lot and that could be fun to try.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
There are so many possible answers to this. For myself performing, it would be these sort of life-changing firsts. Like being invited to play one of the big festivals for the first time at a much younger age and seeing a large crowd in front of me, or my first international gig back in ’97 which at the time seemed like it might be the only one. As a spectator probably seeing any of the artists I mentioned on the top 5 album list. Those are exciting moments.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It is essential being an electronic musician. My other job teaching at CalArts in Music Tech also would not exist without technology.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?