Techno Tuesday: Better Lost Than Stupid on collective innovation
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Last week, Dancing Astronaut debuted the vocal version of Better Lost Than Stupid’s electronica-inspired, “Inside.” The newly branded “supergroup” comprised of Davide Squillace, Martin Buttrich, and Matthias Tanzmann was conceived half a decade ago, and have since began operating at full capacity in the studio. An album is officially on its way, and prior to its release, we’ve seen the quirky, yet raunchy “Alto,” “Dynamite,” and the aforementioned “Inside” emerge as three distinctive singles that point to a diverse body of work that stretches beyond the members’ comfort zones.
Better Lost Than Stupid is an exploratory project, drawing upon a variety of musical influences that David, Martin, and Matthias have admired for years that might not fit in with their traditional molds of house and tech. The result of this new mindset is music that is accessible to a whole new audience outside of traditional dance music; yet, the group’s aesthetic is still adaptable to a club setting if performed correctly. To that end, the outfit are currently roadtesting new approaches to create a well-oiled live set that they’ll be taking on tour with them throughout the rest of 2019. Their chemistry together has already been proven numerous times since their formation, amplifying the anticipation for what Better Lost Than Stupid will have up its sleeve come album release time. To dig a bit deeper into their inspirations and MO, we invited this burgeoning supergroup onto Techno Tuesday for a chat.
What makes you three good partners in the studio? Describe your chemistry.
First of all, we would like to triple mark how close we are as friends. Even being three very different people, this gives us the peace of mind of being together in a musical and creative environment without being stressed about performance or good behaviour. Things develop naturally. In the end it comes down to us three being children playing with music.
How does a studio session go for you three, given that’s quite a few producers in one room? Are you always together when writing tracks? What do each of you bring to the table during the writing process?
We don’t really have a fixed structure in our work flow. Martin is the one at the technical control more than the other two of us. When it comes to writing music, it is often a bit of trial and error. And sometimes we bring in some melodies or beats from our individual studios, so they can be tweaked into something BLTS could use.
Tell us about how “Inside” came together; how you found the vocalist, how the track was produced + with what gear, and inspirations behind this track in particular.
Theo apart from being a lovely person has been a great resource in finishing the track. We wrote this track quite a while ago. It was originally recorded at Martin’s studio in Hannover. We loved the melody and building up of the track, but we wanted vocals on top. We met up with Theo for a song writing session in London last year. He laid over some stuff and we instantly fell in love with it. Martin made the track even more beautiful with a few arrangement twists here and there and with a fantastic mixdown.
Is there a certain aesthetic that has been defined in making your album? Which specific “bands and other directions” have inspired your songs? For example, ‘Inside’ almost gives us 2000s indie disco/80s synth pop vibes
Obviously, all the music we have listened to and played in our lives have had a strong influence. But we didn’t have a specific band or musical style in mind. In fact, when we worked on the album we kicked out a few ideas because we felt like they sounded too much like this or that band. We took a lot of motivation out of the fact that we don’t have to think about where our music will have to fit in. This was an exciting reset after being around for quite some years. With Better Lost Than Stupid we are able to make music that is independent from our individual careers.
Can you give us a bit more detail into what your live show will look like when you go on tour? Any instruments involved?
We are in the process of creating how we will play the show. We have few options laid down from the classic old school set up with lots of instruments on the stage to maybe a bit more modern with just a bit of selected gear that does the job on stage. Or maybe playing some backing tracks and modulating them live. There are many options that we’re working on at the moment…
How do you/how will you set yourselves apart from other live electronic acts that are currently dominating the market? What makes you different as a collective?
In short, we’ve deliberately tried to be different. We’re aiming to bring an energy, and an enthusiasm, and… Well, basically, to just put the fun back into techno. After all, we’re three distinct characters that complement each other well, and our shows are going to reflect that dynamic – we’re very excited.
You’ve stated that it’s very important for you guys to go in a different direction than you’ve ever gone before; what led to your desire to go completely outside the box together rather than make a house & techno group?
We were trying to go beyond our individual careers and create something we haven’t done before. And we enjoyed it a lot. There were no boundaries when we worked on the music, no techno police saying this is cool or not. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be in a techno boy band.
Has the way you three have created together affected the way you produce/perform as individual acts? How so?
Collaborations are always influential. When you work with other artists you are usually forced to break out of your creative routines. This will let you come back to your own studio or gigs with new ideas and inspiration.
Any final comments you’d like your fans + readers to know about the project, future goals, etc?
We are excited to have our debut album out later this year. Follow us on Spotify so you don’t miss it. And hopefully you can make it to one of our upcoming shows.