“Return to Tomorrow”
Sound mixed and compiled by Jon Starks
Visual interpretation by Overdrijve
Welcome to the new Pluie/Noir podcast series. 8 years after our debut we decided to press the reboot button and return to our roots. With a new format and back to a regular monthly schedule, Pluie/Noir Interscapes will feature audio collages, mixes, live interviews, and live recordings from P/N artists, friends, and other collectives we admire.
For Interscapes 06 we welcome USA-born, Berlin-based chameleon Jon Starks to expose his most sensible side, with a visual interpretation by one of Berlin’s graphic wizards, Ina Freienstein aka Overdrijve. We interview both for the occasion:
INTERVIEW — JON STARKS
Hi Jon, such a pleasure to have you at P/N at last. How are you holding up in these hectic times?
Hey Bruno – It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in a series I have been fond of for so long. The change in day-to-day life throughout the world has been different for everyone – In particular, it has given me a lot of much-needed space for creativity to blossom. Much of the last few years had been taken over by my day job, while this year made room to focus solely on bringing my passion for art and music to the forefront. I can gladly say it was the change I have been craving.
So you are keeping active & creative? You feel this period has been life-changing?
Absolutely! I’ve managed to dive deeper into different music genres, which played a big part in my growth over the last few years. Having the time and patience to bring thought into reality regarding future endeavors / artistic ideas kept me at ease during this unusual time, the world is going through.
“this year made room to focus solely on bringing my passion for art and music to the forefront.”
And did you consider moving back to the USA at some point?
I’ve been asked this question many times. Family is a HUGE aspect of my life. I go through moments of missing them immensely, but they remind me of how proud they are to see where my “lust for life” has taken me. The future I am moving toward has its roots in Europe, but my mind is always open to new possibilities. So, I would answer you with: never say never.
How did living abroad help you grow as an artist and an individual?
Having the privilege to experience different traditions and ways of thinking from around the world questioned the Western World’s building blocks that I had been taught most of my life. You learn to trust your feelings, taking new memories every day, as a step closer to understanding what YOU truly believe in. That process can be challenging but incredibly fulfilling.
Last summer, you self-released an experimental / techno cassette tape. Can you tell us the concept behind that idea?
Surprised anyone noticed! 😀 The idea came to mind during an LSD trip at the start of the summer. I had been reading into sound therapy and wanted to try expressing the experience of sitting in nature, blissfully, through different tones and melodies. After speaking with friends about the idea, I purchased a few special records to fill in with music received by friends. Took a hit, clicked record, and made 10 cassette tapes at home to hand over to friends while traveling to NYC, Portugal, & Brazil.
And music production, is it something you want/are exploring, or you believe digging suits you best?
Yes, I’ve had a passion for producing music for quite a while now but never felt the urge to rush the process. Learning to use the world we live in as an “organic instrument” and building music from that is what I am working toward – i.e., Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nadia Khan, or William Basinski.
“Learning to use the world we live in as an ‘organic instrument’ and building music from that is what I am working toward”
Why, when, and how did you record this podcast?
This recording was made at the start of the year, just before the first Lockdown in Germany. I had just come off 2 months of traveling and had many thoughts regarding Family, Challenges, Trauma, Self Awareness, & Where I was headed in life… Relating deep thought to music, art, writing, whatever has always been a way of helping me understand it’s relation to myself (to me as an individual) – I’m also an “Aquarius” … All we do is deep thinking!
Short, medium, and long term goals?
Live a long life filled with tons of love to share, health to spare & friends who care.
INTERVIEW — INA FREIENSTEIN aka OVERDRIJVE
Hi Ina, such a pleasure to have you at P/N at last. How are you holding up in these hectic times?
The pleasure is all mine. We have been chatting about a possible collaboration for some time, and I am glad to finally contribute.
Well, it’s been an insane year indeed, but I wouldn’t describe the times necessarily as hectic, though – more slow and quiet and somewhat lame, aha. Sometimes I even forget which weekday it is. But I gotta say it’s worth seeing everything from certain perspectives and never lose the positive angle, which is undoubtedly there. This period has been perfect for reflection, self-care, and improvement. Since there has been less distraction in general, it’s been a good year to sort loads of stuff and focus on the important things and people in life, which leaves and enriches you with great insights.
Are you keeping active & creative? You feel this period has been life-changing?
I have to say I am surprised how business kept going in my case regardless, mostly because my main focus lies on the music scene for most of my projects. So yes, in fact, I was active and creative and realized nice projects. Beyond that, I am trying to get more and more into free artworks to keep the juices flowing and express myself and my vision more straightforwardly without any guidelines and rules. It’s fun, really, and reminds me once more why I am into graphics in the first place. The artwork I now realized for P/N is one good example, as I could freely choose the approach.
About your question, if this period was life-changing – so yes. It kinda changed my life upside down, so to say. Times like these show us more clearly that change, in general, is an essential and unavoidable part of the whole game, and it’s vital to embrace it and flow with it; letting go was the most important lesson for me lately. A good one.
“This period has been perfect for reflection, self-care, and improvement.”
Do you still find Berlin and its music scene inspiring?
That’s is a tough one! Especially since I live here now for more than 11 years and the city has changed massively in the meantime. And so have I. And now, with the true spirit at the core of clubbing shut down for an unforeseeable time, I have to admit that I sometimes get to the point to ask myself what the heck am I still doing here. Most of us didn’t come here for the good food or the lovely views. But then my love for Berlin remains strong – in particular, strong with Kreuzberg, which is my home by choice for a long time. If you keep your eyes open, even during those un-eventful times, you will always notice many small things on a daily base, which cheer up my spirit and inspire me deeply.
Regarding music… the tribe is strong, and we will always find the niches to do what we love and live for. Legal or illegally, I mean, that’s pretty much how rave culture started here in the first place. And I do believe that this enforced step backward from the overhyped, capitalistic tourist boom Berlin was becoming will do us all right in the long run – to keep its origin authentic and neat. I had the most inspiring house parties in small circles this year, so yes – it’s good that we are all still here and keep doing what we do and won’t give up the belief in the strong culture Berlin was built on once.
You’re becoming a very familiar “face” in the design of crucial event promoters and vinyl labels alike. Since when have you been freelancing?
I am a freelancer in that field for about 15 years, and it’s where my passion truly lies. Club culture gives you such a wide array and playground to express design in its purest form – in no other field you can be as free, artistic, and innovative. I still see graphic design tendencies nowadays being born from the music scene, which can dictate the trends on a larger scale in the commercial industry. Even back then, in Düsseldorf, I started working for an agency involved with clients from the scene and which was basically the main reason for my application to begin with. I have to say I am very grateful, looking back at all those years, that I had the chance to keep doing exactly that here, in the capital of it all, and so many great labels trusted me and my work. Though I have to say, I am deeply missing printing in the poster and flyer forms.
“I still see graphic design tendencies nowadays being born from the music scene, which can dictate the trends on a larger scale in the commercial industry.”
Tell us more about your artwork for this series? What was your creative process, and how did the music inspire it?
Ye well, as I mentioned earlier, it’s been totally about having a free mindset for this one. So I took inspiration out of my personal life – friends inspired me deeply and were there for me the last few months, so I guess that’s where the idea came from mostly.
I’ve personally seen your DJ debut at ‘Ik Onkar’ as Ina FM. Do you plan on making more of these “selecta” appearances?
Oh my, this has been such a fun ride, and therefore I definitely wanna dive into it more on a personal level. I am not planning on becoming a DJ or whatsoever, there are enough good ones out there, and I believe everyone should know their game, as graphic design is mine. Yet I figured that you can express so many emotions and statements thru music, and I enjoy it a lot to fuck up genres and do precisely that, with no restrictions, with no expectations, with no fame and hype and all that pressure. Only free-minded, that’s what FM stands for.
“I am knee-deep into music and purely interested in it.”
So yes, wanna definitely go for more fun like that. And if I get the chance to express myself again in front of an audience like the one at the Michelberger Hotel, even better. The girls were so sweet to trust me, even though I am such a rookie, yet I experienced truly flattering feedback.
And music production is something you want/are exploring, or you believe digging suits you best?
I am not a producer, nor am I a digger. I am knee-deep into music and purely interested in it. So since I am consuming music in large amounts myself, I am naturally checking stuff and exploring. If I get the possibility, like I did just now for the London based show Icarus Blue, it becomes a pleasure to combine all this and put it out there and express my interests within a particular concept. I think my last tag line for last year’s show was: “no politics, just rip-offs,” so that’s pretty much where I stand.
Short, medium and long term goals?
Short, getting into 2021 like …
Medium, going strong with Overdrijve once more.
Long, getting the fuck out of here and grow avocados or whatnot – self-sustainability is the future – with lovely weather, the sea.. an excellent environment to do so. Let’s see, there were never better times to mix the cards new.
M: info (at) pluienoir.com