WM Mix & Interview: Jan Woo

To celebrate our 4-year anniversary, we are re-launching our mix series and highlighting some of our favorite artists/selectors.

WEIRD MAGIC Mix Series: Jan Woo by Weirdmagic on Mixcloud

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Jan Woo is Brooklyn’s best kept secret. Meticulous curator of all musical genres trance-inducing, his impeccable filter has landed him gigs alongside Juan Atkins and a festival-closing set at Sustain-Release. A Jan Woo track is one that stays close to your heart, and this mix is one you can put on and dance to start to finish, knowing you’re in good hands.

Up until now, unless you’ve caught one of his dj sets in the flesh, it is unlikely that you’ve gotten to experience the Woo, but this mix is a perfect distillation/introduction: one amazing tune after another — most that you probably would never find — and then a surprise blend like “Makin’ A Living” into Mr. Fingers “Can You Feel It”, that makes you want to cry. Thankfully, Jan has more in store for the world: He is prepping his first 12″ for Greek label Echovolt which includes “Whyfor” (below), a dancefloor stunner, and he’s got a new label Tripper Disc in the works, with an upcoming reissue/compilation of the appropriately-named obscure New Age band, Woo. Some things can only be kept tight for so long…

We spoke to Jan at home at Body Actualized Center in BK…

What’s next for the Woo?

Tripper Disc with Etienne and Sasha - putting out our own music and people we met in our life. And then this Woo thing, a compilation of tracks from the 80s and 90s.. all of Woo’s material really important in my opinion cuz they’re doing live experimental minimal vibe jams but in that weird middle ground between 70s and 90s electronics… it’s like Cluster meets John Fahey meets Kraftwerk. I’m working with Jacob Gorchov who is also putting out Mariah.

In the coming months, I’m going to a retreat, then trying to go to Berlin, then coming back here in the late summer.

What’s this retreat?

[It's in Argentina,] a workshop on building with mud, gonna build a bunch of fancy forts upstate when I get back, build little elf houses or something.

What have you been into lately?

YouTube. YouTube users. Discogs.

Terekke? To this day, probably my biggest inspiration. Totally blows my mind…. I listen to his SoundCloud like everyday. Terekke and Huerco, I think, are the saviors of modern production; doing a lot with so little. Galcher Lustwerk is really on point, too.

Alvin Aronson. So otherworldly it’s really inspiring.

What do you try to accomplish with mixes as opposed to djing?

Mixes are the crystallization of djing so it’s made to be consumed at a later time or something, while djing is about live energy, so it’s a different pursuit.

With this mix?

That sampledelic music is really good [laughs]

Process?

Making music is such a mindfuck for me. Cuz I do it as like a ritual, so I’m making things almost abstractly, so I do things I don’t necessarily care about, but then I care about them obsessively.

Especially the prospect of releasing vinyl makes me work on things more than I should, like “Whyfor”, that happened in one day.. that’s probably the best thing I’ve done just because I work on things way too much and they become, like, more and more Berlin, or something. Just intricate. Automations and stuff…. I don’t think that’s good though, I think it should be more about using synthesis to create different timbres — fluffy drum sounds, bell tone bass sounds, or when people juxtapose different dimensions of sound, so I think using the computer it’s easy to miss the point, which is to make it float good… getting caught in like micro-shifts or whatever, I don’t think it’s about that.

I’m still obsessed with doing disco funk deep down, I think making house music is just a distillation of something much deeper…

House vs. disco funk is like acid vs ayahuasca… acid is like a cheap homemade version of something much more cosmic.

So you’re saying you haven’t really gone deep yet?

Yeah, my favorite songs are like pop songs, not house songs. House music is definitely something… I feel like Andy Warhol brought it in.. fetishizing sampling.

There’s some priceless quotes in Pump Up The Volume from Masters At Work, they’re talking about how house music was disco loops jacked up with drum machines, so they were like tricking out loops. So, the basis of house music is in disco funk. So it’s still a derivative or whatever — not that I don’t think sample-based music is amazing, there’s just something more visceral about live music.

Like I was listening to Radiohead and Bjork at work the other day and realized it’s really important for other reasons too.. like, there might be some samples in there, but it’s raw material.

Michael Jackson’s case in point. That shit’s gonna live forever… I mean, unless the world ends.

IMG_5625-jan

I was talking to someone about the major outer realms of modern musicology are indigenous music and electronic music, you know? They’re like the deepest spiritual strange attractors in modern music. Like gamelon or folk, taking these traditional things that manifested over centuries that are habitual ways people do things and then there’s this technology music that’s totally new, people still doing old forms in new ways… interesting gap between people that prefer the future vs. people that prefer the past… and then people like Animal Collective and Bjork.

Yeah kinda like dance microgenres, or like techno and Chicago house, following traditions..

Yeah like the deeper you get into musicology it’s all about little ghettoes of taste.. the further down the line you get in time, they start crossing and offshooting more randomly, like after Chicago house, everybody started getting influenced by the national booty scene… Miami bass, Detroit house, Baltimore house, all that stuff is pretty much crossing… like that’s why The New Dance Show is so important because it’s like a document of all those lines crossing…. like, let’s take all those different kinds of music and create a megamix of like, booty..topia. That’s like the most influential thing for me personally.

TRACKLIST:

kinetic electronix – astral kin
johnick – summer fling
andres – jazz dance
drew sky – wigged out
dj sneak – message of love
dj deeon – 2 b free
earth people – dance (dub)
chuggles – i remember dance (untitled mix 2)
ace & the sandman – ain’t that somethin
sex-o-sonique – I thought it was you (salt city remix)
soundstream – just around
the african dream – makin’ a living
mr fingers – can u feel it?
rick wade – night track
moodymann – i’m doing fine
ron trent – morning fever
wamdue kids – reflection
nujabes – world without words

https://soundcloud.com/jawnethon