Genreless, genderless, limitless… Ghost Hardware has served up the biggest mix we’ve had so far in the 1 More Mix series.
A wild ride that flexes creatively from 120 – 170, taking in everything from breaks to jungle, techno to grime, dubstep to house, the London artist has been waiting to put out a sonic statement like this since they first emerged as an artist four years ago in 2019. And trust us; they’ve gone IN.
It’s a mix of Essential proportions and it resonates with everything 1 More Thing stands musically and ethically. We covered Ghost Hardware’s No Reality Music label last year when it launched. A label, movement and experience, Ghost Hardware explained at the time that it was inspired and motivated by their fine art and “blurring the lines between realism, surrealism, light, dark, fiction and non-fiction.”
Now several releases deep with dispatches from the likes of Section, Arxiva and – imminently – Jack South, No Reality continues to blue the lines and the collective’s movements are developing motion: A new show on Subtle Radio kicks off on May 30 and the label will be hosting its first ever event at Planet Wax on June 2.
For more Planet Wax action, Ghost Hardware will also be joining 1 More Thing for our 1st birthday party celebrations on June 17 alongside Baronna, Plasmator, LSN, Lakeway, Trex, Scartip and NoDave. In the meantime, dig deeeeeeep into this epic mix:
To me this feels like an Essential Mix! Are you into Essential Mixes?
Of course! I love mixes full stop. I’ve been listening to a lot of J:Kenzo mixes lately but when I got into D&B I was listening to a lot of Noisia, Enei and Friction mixes, a lot of Critical mixes in general as well as loads of Essential Mixes on Soundcloud.
I’ve always been into everything and it’s always inspiring to hear other people’s takes on different genres. When I got deeply into D&B I lost touch with a lot of genres for a minute, but when I go to festivals like Boomtown I’m always reminded of how much music I love. I love psytrance, I love house, I love garage, I love experimental music. It’s only recently I’ve started building up collections of different genres again. But it’s so nice to do that now.
You can tell. Each genre you go into, you go INTO. You’ve found your sound within each genre.
Thank you! I do put a lot of emphasis on digging for the right sounds anyway, but a lot of these are from friends. There’s a lot of dubs, there’s some No Reality dubs in there too, so loads of up and coming artists and a lot of fresh and underground music. I’m lucky to get sent a lot of other genres on promo too, so it’s nice to find a home for a lot of that music.
Sick. So this is the mix you’ve wanted to do forever? Like the most honest snapshot of Ghost Hardware so far.
Absolutely! I love doing guest mixes, but this came with an additional challenge which I happily accepted. It wasn’t easy; I almost scrapped it at one point and then, at another point, it was just going to be a 140 mix.
The problem was that I really wanted a particular tune to be the intro, but I didn’t have the right transition track. In the end I changed the intro and it built from there. I’ve been collecting some of these tunes for a mix like this for months now so it’s exciting to actually mix them in this way.
Wicked. I’m a big fan of multi-genre mixes. You don’t know where they’re going take you. I’m definitely noticing a rise in their popularity, too.
Yeah totally. I love that. For a long time D&B DJs were strictly D&B, but I’m hearing more and more 140 in mixes and different transitions. I think festivals like are hugely influential. They expose people to so many different styles and that inspires DJs and producers alike. I’ve been doing multi-genre D&B sets a lot now too with different styles like techy, liquid, jump-up, minimal. It keeps things a lot more exciting and interesting.
That’s always the vibe with No Reality, right?
Yeah that’s right. It’s more of a vibe and aesthetic that I want to create than an actual genre. I spent so much of my life listening to Burial and other dark experimental artists. That was my main sound! But going raving and starting to DJ took me in more of a club style direction, but I’ve always been listening to different things. From garage to ambient field recordings. I think it’s a confidence thing as a DJ, too. Getting more confident about transitions and finding ways to bridge those genre and bring it all together seamlessly.
Totally! How’s it going with the label anyway? You’ve just announced your first label night!
Yeah it’s going really well cheers. It’ll be the first of many events, but I wanted to wait and take my time and put some music out into the world before I stated doing any events. I’m so happy with line-up and Jack South’s EP will be dropping around that time.
Love that EP! Pushing the boundaries with each release
Thanks! That’s what I want to do and it’s what I want the artists to feel, too. I tell everyone to just be themselves. Not worry about what other people are doing on the label . just be the most honest you and that’s what I want.
You put the collective together before you released the music, which was interesting
I wanted to get everyone together and to start thinking about it from the beginning. With some labels you find a lot of artists sound similar but with this we’re all doing D&B in our own way. None of those artists sound remotely like each other and we all get along well. I wanted to a community of creatives. I want to push the fact we’re all unique and I think we all needed a home. I wanted to bring us all together.
Haha yeah. None of us are following trends, we want to make our own paths. So it’s more of a vibe and a spirit than a defined sound.
Yeah I think with having a vibe the holy grail for a label
That’s what I want for No Reality. That ethereal and melancholic type of sound that’s always been a part of my sets. That’s what I gravitate to as a DJ and from an A&R level. And I want to look back over the No Reality back catalogue over the years as if it is a mix that has its sections. Like we’re on the D&B / jungle stuff now, but we can go deep, we can go experimental. The order I’m going in is kinda like an as-and-when flow. There’s something divine about that; like whenever the artists are ready, I’ll put it out. There’s no pressure there at all.
Art over business!
Absolutely! I want to create a very free and open creative space with no pressures at all. I’m not thinking about numbers or deadlines, I don’t want people to feel rushed. We’re all humans and have lives, things happen. I’m a creative myself and know how it goes and how I want to be treated and there’s a lot of patience involve when you’re trying to encourage art and help people bring the best out of themselves. Let things flow.
Patience. But it has to have a structure too, right?
There are loose deadlines and I give long lead times. I give myself deadlines and try and get things in early. So there is a schedule but there’s more than enough time for artists to create their thing. Everyone’s got their own way haven’t they? But I do personally respond well to deadlines especially with mixes, as it gives you a timeframe or you just never get it done.
It’s all heavily influenced by your art as a photographer too, right? How has that been?
Right now that can be felt with the release artwork and I’m collaborating with designers for everything from the logo designs to EP artworks. It’s been really inspiring. Right now it’s been with Katon. He’s known as a producer but he’s also a graphic designer and it’s been really great to keep it in house. We have other producers here who do art as well so we will be pushing their work on here too. It was amazing to finally find a home for my artwork as I felt it never really had one before No Reality. But once I started the label it all made sense to put it there. I had previously done artwork for other labels so it helped direct the idea to just save it for my own label, mixes and music! I was always told at uni that my work would suit album artwork, so I’m glad it’s all finally fallen into place.
This makes No Reality and everything you do even more personal to you doesn’t it? The genreless remit and vibe is a reflection of you as a non-binary person isn’t it?
Absolutely! I find that running the label and curating our music is an art form in itself so it still feels really personal. My artwork in any form takes a really long time. From walking for hours at night in unknown places to editing films, or setting up installations so it’s really special to me.
Art and music can be anything you want it to be as a form of self-expression. There’s a beautiful freedom to it and a safe space to really be yourself in a therapeutic and healing way. I didn’t want any boundaries or limits to the music being produced whether that’s in the genre/subgenres or style as I want everyone to have the freedom to experiment do whatever they want and just be themselves.
It feels great to finally be out as non-binary as I never liked conforming to one gender, or having to choose. I never felt like I ever truly ‘fit in’ to anything and I’ve always been very fluid and my own thing so being non-binary has helped me find my freedom within it all. I guess No Reality is non-binary too as it’s genreless. There are no borders or limits and we really welcome and support non-binary people too. We’re not particularly gender focused in any way either, we support anyone for who they are and it’s really more about if you have the No Reality sound regardless of whatever genre you’re making.
It’s also in the name No Reality; there is not just one defined reality, you get to choose which one you want to live in and create in. You get to be whoever you want to be which is beautiful and there is way more freedom to this life than people think. There is something otherworldly and somewhat alien to really being yourself and non-conforming in this highly structured society and I love that!
I love that too. That’s incredibly inspiring and liberating. This is also reflected in how you present yourself when you perform with a mask isn’t it?
Yes definitely! When getting into DJing I wanted it to be less about my gender or perceived gender and more focused on my music, selection and skills. There was always a lot of misogyny towards women presenting artists and how misogynists think they get success. I really just wanted to do this in a more anonymous way so wearing a mask helps me do this.
It keeps it gender neutral or genderless for me. It’s less about how I look and more about what I’m playing. I did this before coming out as non-binary so it really helped. Sadly, it is hard not being a man in the music industry and you have to really push to prove yourself. I wanted to be taken seriously because I was never messing around. It also goes well with my sound and selection to maintain the ghostly presence.
You could call this a socio-political move to say a huge F**k you to all the people who told me I could never make it as a DJ. Or if I did, it’s because I’m a “woman” or because of my body and looks. I have way more to offer than this. I do however have a lot of respect for people who do the opposite of what I’m doing, everyone’s free to do whatever they want and whatever makes them feel comfortable or confident. That’s the beauty of it. So doing this makes me feel happy, comfortable and confident. It’s more of a personal thing that works for me as a non-binary person and it’s been something I’ve been having a lot of fun with. I enjoy it and I see the mask as part of a performance art.
That’s amazing. I can’t salute that hard enough. What can we expect from the label following Jack South’s EP?
We have loads of amazing music coming out this year from a lot of underground artists on the collective, and I’m really proud to say that some of the EPs are by non-binary artists on the label. We will be running some more events, launching a new guest mix series with some really exciting artists getting involved and we’ll be launching No Reality Music show on Subtle Radio on May 30 from 9pm-11pm.
We’re mainly trying to push out more music for people to really get a feel for what to expect from No Reality and the No Reality sound. You can keep up with all our releases, updates and content on our socials!