Ansome has fashioned a unique spot for himself amongst the Mount Rushmore of today’s techno scene; the journey there has been rather seamless but his mission has never been to fit in, if he’s had any mission at all.
A yellow page peeked its way over the railing at the arrivals area of Terminal 2. The words ‘KIERAN WHITEFIELD’ acted as its sole decoration. A debate with a taxi man on what a DJ looks like made us scan all of those making their way through the arrivals gate, highlighting clothes on each person that could be perceived as part of the stereotypical DJ uniform: Headphones, tacky sunglasses, spiky hair, including one who managed to combine all three into a horrifying eurotrance look that died along with the 00s. “That must be him.” A tall, skinny figure zoomed through the automatic doors, fully-clad in a waistcoat, adorning a pair of reflective blue sunglasses and a head full of Brylcreem. Assumedly, the taxi man’s surface- knowledge of the modern ‘Techno DJ’ meant it was indeed the gel enthusiast he believed the yellow page was intended for, however, it was the brown overcoat and Ralph Lauren capped man with a suitcase suffocated in stickers in tow, that allowed the page to be rustled up and thrown into the bin. Quickly glancing through Ansome’s interview history offers multiple references to his status as an ‘up-and-coming’ artist in the ever-growing industrial techno scene that has catapulted heavyweights like Dax J, Rødhåd and more to the forefront of modern dance music. Despite it being labelled a rather anarchic genre due to its sounds and following, those producing and playing the music always seem to maintain a degree of universal integrity and cutting-edge, from their sounds right down to their scarves. While the case may be that the Londoner is still relatively young in comparison to some of his counterparts, he is by no means an up-and-comer any longer, with an album and a series of EPs to his name, not to mention a renowned live set and a personality to boot. Ansome has solidified his position as techno’s enigma in the most prosaic yet erratic fashion.
“There are huge egos in this business. I have a huge ego as a joke. If someone misunderstood it as serious I could come across as an absolute cunt, I don’t really care. This huge sarcastic thing that a lot of English people do gets lost on these Europeans and you end up looking like a dick without meaning to.”
With multiple shows under his belt over the past few months among techno’s elite, he hasn’t compromised his own personality to fit into one of music’s most exclusive genres, both on a personal and music basis.
“I’m surrounded by a lot of dudes that have been doing this since like the 90s, playing with people like Perc who are older than me, so I definitely feel like the younger guy. I’m probably the least ‘techno’ techno DJ there is, there’s usually a massive difference [between myself and other DJs]. I like to party quite a lot and I think that’s not very prominent in the current techno scene; everyone’s very professional, they’re vegan, they stay off drugs, they don’t drink. Maybe it’s because they’ve been doing it longer, they need to treat it like a professional job, but I feel that if my job is to make people party and supply the music for them then I kind of want to join them, it makes it better, it’s more natural. I usually turn those guys [who are more professional] around and they can start partying with me. I’m also getting tired of it, it’s hard to do three or four times a week.
“When I get home that’s what I want to do with my friends, so it’s non-stop. I can see how it can affect your life and how you can get tired of it but I reckon I’ve got a few more years.”
His no-fucks-given attitude runs a direct line from the manner in which he speaks on social media. It isn’t the case in terms of his music which still pertains to his complexly reserved manner. Each sentence rides an indifferent wave but every couple of words culminate to a peak, re-instituting the Ansome that is reflected in his music: “I don’t give a fuck. I get some weird messages where people are quoting me on stuff I’ve said and I don’t give a fuck about what happens as long as I get to make some music. Social media is very tricky. I’m very aware of what I put on my social media, I want to put on no filter stuff. I’ve always been like that. I like the idea of the rawness of it and not having politically correct Facebook pages, etc. There are pictures of me getting fucked up or talking openly about drugs, it’s how I talk in real life, so I’m not just going to hide it away from social media. That attitude is definitely not from techno. I like the whole punk aesthetic, in the way that stuff’s done. Techno can be so polished and I just can’t stand that, it’s got to be raw. That’s the hardest part about what we do, because we’re all making the same one track that’s been made a zillion times: The kick drum, the high-hat, it’s all been done and that’s where the challenge comes in… to make something that’s done before sound different. That’s why I use sonic textures, different sounds to what people use and it’s easy to get set apart then.” The complexity of the entire Ansome idea stretches far past his music. The Ansome that casually walked through the airport covered in a jacket and navy jumper, now reveals arms sporadically dotted in a vast range of tattoos. All solely in black ink. All garnering equal attention. “There’s no look. I like more of a grunge-y look. They [The tattoos] mean nothing. I just get them for the sake of it, that’s the best way to do it. Sometimes I let the tattoo artists do what they want or what they think is good at the moment. There are a couple of branches of techno that all do their own thing. There’s like the German Berghain vibe that’s all-black, Vogue fashion-vibed and I think that in itself is a good thing. I’m not interested in it, but it is what it is. I’m kind of the furthest thing away from techno but I still fall into its brackets.” Keeping on top of a sense of home and identity is much more important than staying in touch with techno trends, for Ansome. The travelling isn’t difficult, it’s the lifestyle that goes with it that is, he explains. “I find myself at the airport almost every day.
You totally get lost in terms of what normal life is like. This is my full-time job now, all I need to do on the week days is either rest or make music. It gives you a weird sort of crazy lifestyle in which you can get away with doing a lot of weird, crazy stuff, a lot of bad stuff! Sometimes, even though it sounds horrible, you forget what country you’re going to. I go to some of the nicest places in the world and you don’t even get to see them, but you can experience it quite easily through the people. The food and the people.” Refreshingly, his music, the reason he’s dragged so far away from home, is also his strongest bond to home. “I think most of my favourite music and artists come from England or Scotland. The Clouds boys’ music is excellent and their attitude is perfect. The British sound is definitely a favourite for me, as well as the attitude of the DJs. We’re used to being more ridiculous in terms of partying and drinking too much, stupid British attitudes that get lost in Europe.”
He shows a total lack of self-worship, despite his obvious talent. He maintains that he’s not worth listening to, in a world where a sniff of fame can propel anyone onto a higher level of society.
“I tried to teach a class once at the DBS Uni in Berlin and after about half an hour of listening to myself I noticed that no one should ever listen to me! My opinion is actually worthless. They overvalue everyone’s opinion. I find with a lot of these big DJs you get it built up in your head that they’re something that they’re not and then you meet everyone and realise that everyone’s the same and that some of these guys know fuck all. You have a conversation with them and you realise they don’t know shit.”
His reserved manner carried on into the night where he delivered a stellar live set. He played another show the following weekend where his live gear got soaked in beer for the second time in two months to which he responded, “I’m a gambling man but the odds of that happening again is fucking mental.” Prosaic. Erratic.
Photos by Saffron Lily