Shawn O’Sullivan

As an artist, O’Sullivan has long since explored the juncture between hard-hitting, functional dance floor material and more lofty, conceptual work. From a purely structural stand point, the artist’s return to Avian bears all the hallmarks of previous output under the alias, utilising the same palette found on early EP’s for Guy Brewer’s label. Stripped back and driven, the music marries caustic drum-machine polyrhythms with warping, pitch bent leads and characteristically atmospheric use of reverb.

It’s a decidedly dance floor offering, but the music comes refracted through O’Sullivan’s own lens, with plenty of elegant references to a career spent exploring much of the Techno genre’s periphery, from Noise to New Wave. Crushed vox bubble up from beneath wrought-iron percussion and the artist takes time to step away from high energy 4×4 workouts to explore more complex rhythmic structures and harsh, low tempo grooves.

While O’Sullivan’s music as 400PPM might eschew the colour and vibrance of some of the unabashed hedonists that made up the Club Kids scene – who reinvented the DIY spirit of punk rock and incorporated Sci-Fi and the circus, there is on the one hand an undeniable sense of both the rising hysteria that comes with the pervasive and unbridled drug use for which the group were as infamous as their outfits and rejection of then societal norms, and on the other, a further anxiety regarding the notion of machine-made music in a contemporary society swiftly approaching a new and daunting technological age


1. Lacto-fermentation.
2. Riccardo Cioni mixes.
3. Might try to quit coffee and get back on green tea again.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My biggest early inspirations were probably the “Otaku” compilation on Fischkopf and Deadly Buda’s “Universal Dynamo” mix. Those things cemented my desire to become a DJ. As a live performer, my biggest inspiration is definitely Sean McBride’s early Martial Canterel sets at the Wierd party. I likely would have given up making live music had it not been for the Wierd crew.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
I’ve been DJing since 97 or so, making music since about 99, and performing live in a semi-serious fashion since 08. I was always destined to be a miserable person, so I chose the path most assured to maximize life misery.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Off the top of my head, some obvious ones: Chrome “Red Exposure”, Martin Dupont “Just Because”, Regis “Penetration”, The Mover – “Final Sickness”, Liaisons Dangereuses – S/T. DJ ESP “Bad Acid, No Such Thing” probably right up there too.

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Bad food, good parties, soft socialism. It’s great, I love the city. It’s one of the few places in the world I could consider living outside of New York. (And I’m mostly joking about the food, I’ve had some great meals in Berlin :P)

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Planet Rose, Dual Spices, Decibel. The East Village weirdly still feels more like the New York I moved to than many places in Brooklyn.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would be a baker.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Rank – “Electronic Awareness”, a relatively obscure Lasse Steen project. The Boidae reissue of the Mover classics is going to be my next vinyl purchase, although I have most of the tracks on it already.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
At this point, honestly, just some of my friends who I haven’t made music with yet. Dream collaborations aren’t usually a great idea. “I want to make a record with Alain Neffe, Obscurum, and Trevor Horn.”

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Playing in my band Led Er Est at an anarchist social center in Valencia, I think 2012. That was the only time I’ve ever felt like a rock star, insane energy in that room.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I make mostly electronic music, and mostly using modular synthesizers, so I’d say it’s pretty important. I don’t like using computers though.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My brother passed away in late 09 from a brain tumor. He was also a DJ, and we grew up together playing records. He was younger, but he taught me lots about music and mixing – he was the first person I knew who was into all the deep Detroit house stuff, Theo, Moodymann. Both the first Led Er Est LP and my first solo EPs were dedicated to him. I think he’d be pretty happy with the music I make, although some of my more monotone techno stuff might be a bit austere for him.

To listen his last album 400PPM – Fit For Purpose: