Dutch producer Boris Bunnik has been releasing material under various guises over the past two decades such as Conforce, Versalife, Hexagon, Vernon Felicity and of course Silent Harbour. We sat down with this incredibly talented Dutch artist for a Labchat where we talked about upcoming 'Noctiluca' LP under his Silent Harbour moniker which will be released via Danish imprint Echocord on August 17, his routine in the studio and what's new to be expected from Boris in the future.
You’ve been known as a producer who has multiple monikers. When do you decide which moniker you will use for the release? Is the decision made before you start working on a project or after you finish one? Like, this track sounds more suitable for Versalife or I’ll make a track for Versalife for example.
Usually I work with no particular project in mind, during the production process of tracks I kind of get a feeling where things are going and what type of track it will become. Sometimes I leave things for a while and don’t give nametags at all. At a certain point I start to organize music and make selections for ep’s or albums based on my intuition and the semi objective view I can still have. For versalife tracks the concept is usually quite clear, the beat aesthetics are quite different and sound wise it is also a bit more musical I think. When it comes to the conforce stuff I’ve always progressed and made music with an open view, different monikers help me do that. In this case it could have been a conforce LP as well but the silent harbour stuff always leans a bit more on the dub influence of techno so the decision was obvious.
Your new LP is set for release on August 17 via Echocord, which was home to your first LP under the Silent Harbour moniker as well. How did the collaboration with this Danish imprint start?
Kenneth Christiansen (Echocord label owner) and I have known each other for a long time, he booked me several times in the Culture Box venue in Copenhagen. We stayed in touch through the years and also exchanged music every now and then. I once send him the first concept version of that album and he was instantly determined to release it. It was only a cd at that time. But I’ve reissued the album on double vinyl on my own imprint Transcendent. Now I had this new selection of tracks in a folder that didn’t really had a destination or concept behind it. It was just a nautical dubby techno selection that fitted very well together and to my ears would be at home there. Without hesitation this was send to the pressing plant shortly after that.
You’ve been quite productive recently; already 2 LP’s released this year (Severnaya - Polar Sky via Fauxpas Musik and Versalife - Soul of The Automaton via Transcendent) with a third LP on its way. Needless to say, it’s impressive. How long does it take you to finish an LP? Do you work on different projects simultaneously or concentrate on one until it’s done?
Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Yes I have sketch folders and have taught myself not to push it too quickly with albums, you need a long breath to finish it or sometimes if you are totally in the zone of techno and electro and it can take several weeks.. You need focus, and that’s sometimes quite scarce in nowadays-online society. To be honest that is struggle. I see music production as a full occupation and interest and love to explore further and see where I can take it. I think I’m my personal biggest critic. A lot of music doesn’t even see the light of day because it doesn’t surprise me anymore or I think it sounds lame after a week or so. I need to be 100% confident and not just a little bit like, hmmmm this is ok and some dj might use it as a tool. The Severnaya album was a different one, I think it’s a collection of tracks that were made over a timespan of 4 years in different cities. There was no album intention at all, at some point I had a selection of tracks and I was like, this is a complementary project now… Maybe those are the best. It’s not that I wake up and decide to do an album, it’s more a question of, when is the inspiration there to do it
Do you have a daily routine when it comes to music production, or you go to the studio when feeling inspired?
When I feel uninspired I try to avoid the studio and work on sound design and patches. My routine is that I work mostly during daytime, before it was different. My studio used to be placed underneath my bed and I would work non-stop at night and skip breakfast. I cannot do it anymore, sitting behind a screen all night, it’s exhausting and unhealthy. When I have the energy I can work very quickly. Leaving things for a while is helpful and I have more interests. I study wine theory and analytical tasting and it’s a nice activity on the side.
Do you use different equipment when working on different projects?
Yes this is rotating constantly, sometimes less is more. I even have projects that were made completely outboard or inside the box. Or it can be a hybrid combination. This is important, for some periods I used the same stuff and it gets boring, you know it inside out. Sometimes I even forget I have certain synths, after a year or so you’re suddenly inspired by it again, or not… You have to be familiar with what you use but also not too familiar because surprises are always the best. In general the gear remains and rotates for every project.
What was the Noctiluca LP made on?
Waldorf Microwave 1 rev a, Alpha Juno, Omnisphere, Eventide H3000 and an Elektron Rytm.
The new Silent Harbour package has an aquatic feeling written all over it, where did inspiration come from, and did you use any field recordings in a process of making this LP?
It’s subconscious, I can’t say where it comes from.. I used to live on an island for a long time and live in a harbour city now. It sounds funny but I think it’s just a certain vibe you have in the back of your mind.
When you perform live as Conforce for example, do you combine elements from the tracks that you produced under other monikers?
Yes it’s always an eclectic hybrid kind of thing but with a focus on the dance floor I would say.
2018 has been very fruitful already for you, is there anything else planned to be released this year?
2 releases as Versalife. One on Shipwrec and another one on TRUST.
Listen to the mind bending mix by Conforce made exclusively from his original work. The mix was broadcasted on London based NTS Radio in June.