With parties gradually returning this summer, many ravers have been craving some mind-melting acid techno. Well, rejoice, 303 fiends! Brooklyn’s Wtchcrft has been making the kind of high-octane tracks that we’ve been dreaming of losing our minds to on the dancefloor. Part of a new generation of young Black dance music producers in New York City, Wtchcrft has been reconnecting contemporary house and techno to its roots, while pushing the scene forward into exciting new realms.
Wtchcrft grew up in the suburbs outside New York City, and started producing lo-fi beats, dubstep and broader electronic sounds when he began high school. Cycling through everything from J Dilla to Benga to Aphex Twin, Wtchcrft found himself drawn to the acid sound. “I was producing for a lot of SoundCloud rappers and whatnot,” he remembers, “as well as making my own trap-ish instrumentals. I also started DJing around this time, and then in 2018 everything kind of shifted. I felt like I had hit a wall with that kind of music: while I’d always been into acid, I never did the deep-dive into the artists or their history,” he tells us. “This is something I’ve spent a lot of time doing over the past three years; it’s incredible to see how much of it is Black history. This makes me feel like I’m coming home, that I’m connecting with my musical roots here in America.”
Wtchcrft’s shift towards acid music was cemented after a few pivotal dancefloor experiences, like seeing Oli XL at New York’s Bossa Nova Civic Club in 2018 and Jamie xx at a midsummer forest rave on a trip to Sweden. Wtchcrft asked himself, “What am I doing? Like, why am I forcing this trap music on myself, when really what I want to be doing is making people dance? At that point, I set the intention that, from here on out, this acid sound is what I’m going to do.”
This new ethos of wanting to get folks moving, and caring less about trends or pretention, has allowed Wtchcrft to hit his stride. Even during the difficulties of 2020, his creativity gained momentum. “I almost feel a little guilty,” he admits. “When the coronavirus hit, I knew a lot of people who couldn’t find motivation or inspiration, but for me it just boomed. I was working a lot before, but once I was able to stay inside and do nothing apart from picking up my computer and synths whenever I wanted, I was making music constantly.”
This prolific period has led to Wtchcrft’s ascension as a vital voice in the new scene of acid producers. He’s self-released six EPs on Bandcamp since the first pandemic lockdown, and each new release is funkier and filthier than the last. This June saw his debut vinyl release through Posthuman’s I Love Acid series, and he’s also recently released an EP on Brooklyn label Sorry Records. There’s an immediacy to his recent productions that, coupled with stripped-down hardware set-ups and a laser focus on body-centric propulsion, envelops the listener in pure 3am insanity.
In recent months Wtchcrft has met like-minded, acid-loving souls through DJing and outdoor hangouts at Brooklyn’s The Lot Radio, and sharing his Bandcamp releases on social media. He cites local contemporaries JADALAREIGN, MoMa Ready, AceMo, Cosmo, DJ Shannon and Kush Jones as inspirations; as people, they are “all so nice, so awesome”, he gushes.
Between the support he’s found online, and now with venues reopening, Wtchcrft is feeling the love. “I feel like, with everyone I meet through dance music, I’m friends with them almost immediately because we have this thing in common — and it’s so Black,” he says. “Black techno in Brooklyn is a beautiful thing right now.”