The Hacker - Noisy Techno & Sativae Nights

We did some crazy partying in Edinburgh and Glasgow... - The Hacker

Feature by Alex Burden | 17 Mar 2006
Halfway through our interview, The Hacker admits that although he always spurned the arduous task of sending out demos, he made an exception for Edinburgh's own Sativae records. Inspired by the "noisy techno" of Neil Landstrumm, Cristian Vogel and Dave Tarrida he sent some tracks, only to be told that it was "not hard enough". He persisted with another four tracks which became the 'Methods of Force' EP in '96. "I was happy and proud to release on Sativae because I was a big fan, and they're really nice people. We did some crazy partying in Edinburgh and Glasgow."

The Hacker aka Michael Amato began in Grenoble, France, playing out hardcore industrial techno. He worked with the Moneypenny Project under the XFM moniker, dressing up in full army gear: "I guess it's the kind of thing you do when you are young – you want to prove to people or yourself that you are powerful, hard, dark!" - to play 180 bpm sets. They set up the XFM label to release his first 12" in 1993, a move that started off a successful career and musical slalom through the criss-crossing genres of techno, electro and disco.

Soon he found himself signed to Grenoblian Kiko's Ozone label in 1995, before concentrating his energies on his own successful label Goodlife in '98 with Alex Reynaud and Oxia. It was also around this time that The Hacker began his famed collaboration with Miss Kitten, after meeting in their hometown of, you guessed it, Grenoble, at a time when there was "ten people into this kind of music [techno/electro]." The partnership brought the duo considerably more attention together than when apart, and gave us the classics Frank Sinatra and 1982.

Although The Hacker is hesitant to say that his music has matured with him - "It's a bit scary, I sound like I'm an old guy now!" - he feels his vision for music has clarified. For 'Reves Mecaniques' and follow-up releases, The Hacker has made a move back to the basics of production and traversed into analogue territory, shunning the equipment and virtual machines that are so easily embraced by electronic artists today.

"[It] brought me closer to what I really wanted to do. I bought some old tape FXs from the 70s, like echo, or delay. I think it gives a special sound and atmosphere to the whole album." He is keen to distinguish his tracks, because "everybody has more or less the same sound, because everybody is using the same triggers and programmes," preferring the "dirty" and warm sounds of analogue.

See Issue 6 of The Skinny for our review of his latest release, 'Flesh and Bone Remixes', for a little peak into the directions he is taking in music. Over the years, The Hacker has drawn inspiration from the Detroit electro/techno scene, experimental British artists like LFO, and the innovative 80s electro bands Nitzer Ebb and Front242 to produce a unique sound. Lingering in the background has always been Georgio Moroder and his infamous electro-disco. The Hacker expresses his current penchant for Dutch Italo-Disco, and "electronic space disco", so one can only imagine the future projects waiting. As a parting question I ask him which computer network he would hack into, and he laughs, replying; "Aphex Twin's computer, and listen to his new unreleased tracks!"

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Flesh & Bone Remixes' is out now on Goodlife. http://Links -