A Sagittariun has been involved in the electronic music scene for the best part of 25 years — running labels, representing artists, producing under other names. He won’t tell DJ Mag who he is, hiding behind a silly mask, but we don’t mind because his new EP, ‘Across the Celestial Sphere’, and forthcoming ‘Dream Ritual’ album are so sublime.
“A Sagittariun is a very personal project, I’m making the music that comes most naturally to me, to be honest,” he tells DJ Mag, “and not really compromising or playing the industry game.”
Veering from ‘90s-sounding ambient electronica that could’ve been on the seminal Rising High label to Paperclip People-style spacey journeying techno, Orbital-y shakey breakers to popcorning, body-poppin’ deep electro, the ‘Dream Ritual’ album is going to be a real treat for headz. ‘The Mojo Odyssey’ from his last ‘Rapid Ear Movement EP’, released on his own Elastic Dreams label, set the tone for what follows — quality, rich, techno-tinged tunes that ping at your neurons and engage the mind as well as the body. When we put it to A Sagittariun that some of his material seems to have a ‘90s influence, he counters that nothing is deliberate.
“The music that I produce is what comes naturally, what sounds right to me, what I am comfortable with,” he says, “I’m not out to ape a certain sound. If anything, I enjoy pushing through many different shades and tempos of electronic music, and I guess you could say that the whole '90s techno and electronic movement was all about this.”
The ‘Dream Ritual’ album doesn’t conform to any one genre, and indeed he is dismissive of the concept of genres. “You could say that techno, breaks, house and so on have all got very predictable over these last few years, everything in its own little box,” he says. “I think many producers are afraid to go with their inner feelings, they are just content to bang out more of the same in the hope of clocking up some digital chart positions and getting some DJ gigs and their mush on a flyer.”
Even though it might seem odd to talk about maturity with someone who hides behind a Mickey Mouse mask, A Sagittariun believes his age has helped him make better music. “I think with age, it’s the most natural thing to create and pull from your own influences and pathway, and really you can’t expect the younger producers to carry a knowledge of the last 25 years of electronic music into the studio with them,” he says. “That’s not a diss, just how it possibly can be explained.”
He is somewhat coy, though, when we ask if he produces on old analogue gear. “The age of the equipment is irrelevant,” he says, “it’s the sounds that you can achieve from the tools you have. I naturally go for big, emotive sounds, melancholic sounds, classical… if you can make music from the heart, it will shine through, whatever your sound carrier is.”
We ask if his location in Bristol has helped him to explore different genres and tempos away from bpm restriction, and he bats this away too. “I guess I’ve always gone against Bristol’s grain anyway,” he says, “I was promoting parties — techno and house parties — when there wasn’t really a scene for that here, so perhaps in some way I’ve been an outsider in my own home city, but that’s not an issue.”
“The only music that I really got out of Bristol was the dub and reggae tradition,” he continues. “The whole On-U Sound/Mark Stewart axis was really strong here, and also the punk scene which was my gateway into music. Bristol always had good punks and great gigs, squat parties.”
Behind the mask and the music, is he quite cosmic in real life? “I’m not sure about cosmic, I’d say I was a thinker, a dreamer,” he says. “I like to read, to get a better understanding of history, philosophy, society. I find it stimulating, and enjoy leaning on certain thoughts and narratives when producing music.” Independent, freedom-loving, philosophical, craving new horizons… is A Sagittariun a Sagittarian, then? “No, I’m a Leo,” he counters, “what do you think? Yes of course, I’m one under the ninth sign, The Archer. And when’s my album out? ‘Dream Ritual’ comes out on the first day of the Sagittarius calendar, 23rd November.”
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