Saturday, May 9, 2015

Interview with Andrew Flores of Jock Club

Chicago starts to get cold in October - sometimes even September. The trees magically drop their leaves, car accidents become more commonplace, and people who once left their apartments hesitate before making a decision. For a city that's often described as the biggest small town in the United States, Chicago can also be intimidating: even the most chipper person begins to look slightly haggard and hunched as the wind and cold take their tolls. But the winter also provides a common enemy, allowing for some overdramatized "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" opportunities.

One such moment was in the basement of the Babylawn in late November in the Year Of Our Lord 2014 when members of the Ascetic House crew, Jock Club, Gila Man, Encapsulate, and Memorymannn, rolled through to remind us frozen midwesterners what it was like to dance. Though each act makes electronic music of some form, Jock Club's was perhaps most appropriate for the setting - after all, Chicago has some history of House Music. Jock Club has less Kraftwerk elements than the early house pioneers. It is, however, one hundred percent as danceable as anything Frankie Knuckles or Jamie Principle were doing back in the day.

Last year, Jock Club just released his first piece of wax called After Hours on 540 Records, though he has roughly a dozen or so releases on tape and CD-R. They're all worth hearing. He's got more planned down the pipe, but I'll let him take over from here.

Jordan Reyes: I read the interview you did for Noisey back in December and I remember you saying you had studied classical and jazz music in school. I don't hear too many cats saying they studied music in the DIY circuit. Do you think it's been important to you? Are you happy to have studied it?

Andrew Flores: Yeah! I think it was immensely important to my musical evolution. Jazz music is really all about the study of improvisation; creating something meaningful out of complete nothingness. That is a very valuable thing. The art of thinking on your feet. I also observed the hive-mind relationship between myself and other musicians. Rhythmic communication through sounds. I apply this to my everyday life; very important to me in producing Jock Club music or DJ’ing.

JR: Destruction Unit and Jock Club are pretty different entities, but do you think that the drumming that you do for DU informs your music as Jock Club?

AF: Definitely 100% without a doubt. Rhythm is everything for me. House / Techno music is really all about the drums; if club music doesn't groove in a certain way, I almost want nothing to do with it.

JR: You’ve been making music as Jock Club for a few years now. Has the equipment you use to make music changed at all since you begun?

AF: In those few years, I've grown and evolved as a person. I can say no one ever stays the same. Music especially is always changing so yeah the equipment I've used has changed along with my style. 

JR: What about the method? Is there anything you do to get into the headspace of making new music now that you've gotten more comfortable with it?

AF: Now more than ever I've been finding new methods to create music with. I really enjoy the idea of taking a sound from an unconventional source; creating a sculpture out of sounds from all over the place. And I don't ever set out to make "the best track ever" I'm trying to document every part of my life. Through music, you can create a timeline of life events, interests, and struggles. I try to stay true to my interests, I like music to have that raw, unmastered, damaged, 'out-the-bedroom' kind of vibe.

JR: You got to release your first Jock Club record on wax last year - the stellar "After Hours" 12" on 540 - why did you decide to put it out on vinyl rather than a tape or CD-R?

AF: I really like putting out tapes and CDs because it is super low profile and easy to produce. Some of my finest moments are on cassette. But as a lover of House and Techno I've always wanted to put out some tracks on vinyl. For the past few years i've been friends with Timmy from 540 in Austin and when he reached out and wanted to put something out, I was like "Hell yeah, lets do it!" I was also pretty intrigued in the fact that I would be releasing a record on a predominantly punk label

JR: I got to catch you on the tour with Memoryman, Gila Man, and Encapsulate in Chicago last year. How was that? Do you have any plans for another Jock Club tour any time soon?

AF: That tour was dope, we played in a some cities i've never been before and in a bunch of different settings: clubs, venues, warehouse space, art galleries and basements. I love touring with Ascetic House acts, and hope to do it again soon.

JR: In my limited experience, I feel like a lot of the crowd that comes out to a Jock Club show might come from a more punk-oriented background. I certainly wanted to check out more house music after seeing you. What's it like playing to a crowd like that? Do you ever think of the expectations and how you might be opening people up to new music?

AF: It has been a complete blessing to be able to bring music to people that maybe haven't heard it before. That is a beautiful thing. We are at a point now where musical boundaries are being knocked down, and everyone is enjoying each others tastes. The last few years has been the grand melding of genres. There is a very large community of people that work on all opposite ends of the spectrum (ex. Punk, Harsh Noise, Techno / House, Experimental) Without this community support, I don't know where I would be today.

JR: For someone like me, a house music novice, who would you recommend for getting your feet wet in the genre?

AF: I get frequently asked this question. The way I see it and explain to others is to focus on the label instead of focusing on the individual artists. When I think of "the essential" labels i think of Strictly Rhythm, Nice n' Ripe, Dancemania, and Henry Street. But overall, the 3 labels that dominate my music tastes are:

-Music is Love records
-Slapfunk records
-My Love is Underground records

JR: I know you're also heavily involved with Ascetic House. What can you say about what's coming up from that camp? Anything we should be on the lookout for?

AF: A full scale interstellar takeover is in the works. I'm not legally obligated to disclose any information

JR: What all is in the future for Andrew Flores and Jock Club?

AF: Some more traveling. New music coming soon

-5/13 - Output NYC - Panther Room 
-6/07 - Threshold AZ (w/ Shifted, Silent Servant, Deep Pill)
-6/21 - Suoni Per Popolo II Fest - Montreal, QC - Secret Location 
-8/14 - Beserktown Fest - Los Angeles

JR: Anything else you'd like to say?

AF: Thanks for your time

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