Introducing MOTSA

Feature by Music Team | 13 Dec 2016

Back in November, MOTSA released his Petricolour EP via own label imprint of the same name. We caught up with Valerio Dittrich to get to know him a bit better, and found a very Scottish influence on his style

The Skinny: Who is MOTSA? Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to make music?

MOTSA: "I’m originally born in Austria and my father is Russian – I also lived a total of eleven years in Scotland whilst growing up. MOTSA is my most personal project with which I want to tell my story. Over the years I have experimented with many, and very different, genres of electronic music. All the influences I have had in the last twelve years have contributed to what I am doing now.

"I was originally drawn to dance music when I was about 15 or 16 and still living in the North East of Scotland in the little coastal village named Findhorn. Friends started organising the first home parties where lots of us from school got together and partied – there where no clubs in our area so we had a DIY approach to it all.

"Our party scene became a way of bringing lots of people from the surrounding towns together and became something special for all of us. Around this time I started playing with simple programs like GarageBand, and the father of a close friend of mine owned a studio where we would also have jam sessions. All of this was very inspiring and left a mark.

"I moved back to my hometown, Vienna, when I turned 18 and that’s when I started getting more serious with production and a hobby developed into a passion. I am now in the amazing position to say that I can call it my job, for which I am very grateful."

Does MOTSA stand for anything?

"I have been asked this a few times and until recently I kept it a secret. This is the first time it will pop up online: MOTSA stands for  Master of Talking Shit… Always"

What is the story behind the Petricolour EP?

"Petricolour means a few things to me and each song has its own meaning, but overall it is about the fall of our “developed” society. Walked This Road is about humanity repeating the same mistakes over and over, instead of learning from what history should have taught us. The Storm was also a song I wrote when feeling distressed about our world! I wanted something darker to finish off the EP (hence the harsh bassline and the driving drums in the second part of the song) yet still signalising a bit of hope – I recorded my voice in many layers to create a distant choir – I felt this lifted the overall vibe.

"With (lead track) Petrichor I was inspired by a recording I had made of my piano and a recording I made in Salzburg of the rain heard through the kitchen window of my girlfriend's apartment. I wanted to create a harsh contrast between the soft, charmingly out-of-tune piano bridge and the driving, pulsating synths and beats. Sophie’s (Lindinger) vocal was recorded many months later and fitted over perfectly.

"Colours also started as an instrumental – I remember starting it a few hours before I had to head out to a DJ gig, and so I tried to put down as much of the idea as possible, the reason being that I have noticed the importance of capturing a mood in the moment, as I find it harder to get into the same vibe in another session.

"I decided it would be good to have a male vocal over the top and I’m very happy I found the right voice after a few months of searching. David Österle added what was missing to the song. Colours and Petrichor were produced separately from each other, but when i heard them together, it felt like a very coherent story."

What was the inspiration behind the video for title track Petrichor? And where was the video filmed?

MOTSA: "The video was created by my dear friends Apesframed. When we agreed about working together I sent them mood words and emotions that I felt with the song and they came up with this incredible idea."

Apesframed:  "Our main intention was to visualise the name of the track Petrichor – a term which describes the scent of freshly fallen rain. Also, we wanted to capture the cold crawling under your skin when faced with nostalgia. Sophie's soft, almost whispering vocals left us with a feeling of uncertainty, not quite knowing whether we are at ease or being in discomfort.

"The foggy scenery of the Austrian and Italian Alps mirrored the tone. The very rhythmic and forever forward rushing of water through whatever obstacle, carving its way with all of nature's force, the fight of the elements – portraying this was our attempt at underlining the contrast of MOTSA's driving beats, melancholic harmonies and overall power of the song."

What are your plans for 2017?

MOTSA: "I plan to work on new music and see what direction it takes me. I have already got a few ideas marked down in my studio. I definitely want to continue collaborating with other musicians, as I love the exchange. I will also be taking my live set out on the road and will hopefully be able to see lots of nice places."

MOTSA's Petricolour EP is out now via Petricolour and available to buy here