Interview: 5 minutes with Time Traveler
Michele Pinna aka Time Traveler is an Italian-born experimental techno producer and DJ currently based in London, UK. Influenced by the earlier techno and rave scenes, Time Traveler’s music could be best described as hard-techno with elements of industrial and modern electronics, fully equipped with dizzying synthesizers, driving basslines and explosive beats with the exception of harsh noise-esque moments.
Time Traveler’s debut 2016 album, I’m Made Of Stars / Journal released via Chronicles Diary is a gritty adventure through waves of blackened techno and raw influence, setting the tone for darker experimentation throughout the unforgiving tides of the cosmos. The LP also spawned numerous remixes by the likes of tech-giants Brian Sanhaji, Detroit Techno Militia and Dave Clarke, to name a few.
We caught up with Time Traveler on eclectic influence and raising fists:
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I’m born with a personal and divergent understanding about life and everything, naturally the necessity to express myself and my vision become urgent.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Sometimes the idea comes first; an image, a piece of art that’s inspired me to give it a soundtrack. This sometimes goes hand in hand, but sometimes I’m just inspired by a sound or a rhythm pattern.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
In the next feature I will start to collaborate with some of my friends who remixed my last album, I’m Made Of Stars.
What’s on your current playlist?
A Time Traveler playlist is quite far from regular Techno DJs. I like to mix whatever I love in music – from Industrial, to Techno, to Heavy Metal or Grindcore, to arrive to EBM and old-school Rave. But on my playlists I can say that there are always tracks by my favourite producers, to name a few: Black Asteroid, Dave Clarke, Regis, Bas Mooy.
And from the UK scene: Sterling Moss, Chris Liberator, Cj Bolland.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I love to rave. I have been a long time clubber and I still like to party hard when I can, so basically I try to play exactly what I’d like to dance to, this lets me release loads of energy and a strong chemistry with the people dancing, and as I love to say, start rising their fists.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
A lot of my sounds come from experimentation and sound design, I love to shape my sounds with guitar effect stomp boxes to give them a gritty dough.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Usually it starts with me preparing a big hot coffee and sitting on my sofa with my guitars, playing some riffs. Then patching my modules and exploring the sounds table to find the best grinding sound, and shaping it to be programmed into some drum pattern or melody line. I try to write music as I’m describing a scenario, giving it a soul and not just a working with DJ tools, that’s why I mostly used to be inspired by Photography, or Sculpture, or everything that is part of my daily art dose. My brain works by imagining the full soundtrack I’d like to give to a frame I have in my mind. After I find the right sounds and beat, it all comes together, and I just have to bring the light. I usually like to spend my studio time from early morning to the evening, around 7pm. I’m a lone worker and I don’t like to have too many people around when I’m creating music, I need to be focused.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I realized this during my University period, after one of my first records was spun during many DJ sets, performing and creating music was what really made me happy.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
A glass of Cognac.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Matasism from Rome, and Moth from Paris – they both are really stunning producers!
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I’m loving Elektron’s Analog four and Octatrack, and modules from Noise Engineering.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I honestly don’t care about the industry and its rules, so it’s more about how “the life refined my craft.”
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I’m starting a new label called “RAVE YOUR SOUND SYSTEM”, where I will release proper hard techno and techno-rave music.