1. Who are you?
My name is Ciarra Black.
2. What do you do?
I am a producer, DJ and co-founder of the label and event series No-Tech. I also have collaborated in two different projects — Appetite with Jane Chardiet and Lunch With Carol & Stewart with No-Tech co-founder JR Nelson.
3. Where do you often create/produce?
In my bedroom studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
I try to devote a good chunk of my free time to working on music, it usually happens at night.
5. Why do you play music?
For me it feels like a necessary part of life. A process just like anything else that I can’t imagine not doing regularly at this point. Whatever I am working on during that particular week usually reflects my mental and emotional state pretty heavily at the moment.
6. When did you start making music?
I started learning how to play piano when I was 7 and took lessons for a few years. Other than that I was a trained vocalist growing up and learned to play drums later on and finally got my first synths and drum machines about 6 or 7 years ago. I played in a few bands and noise projects and started DJing around the same time. I started making hardware techno around 3 years ago.
7. Which track defines you the most?
Of my own tracks? My favorite is probably still “Chemical Burn” which was one of the first ‘real’ techno tracks I ever made. It is on my first No-Tech release. It’s a pretty minimal sounding track but encompasses all of the elements that I feel really capture my sound.
8. How would you describe your own music?
A lot of times when I’m making music I visualize a projection of what is going on in my mind into the track, recording or set I am working on. It’s a mixture of texturized loops, driving heavy beats, noisy synths and heavily mutated machine samples
9. Are you analog or digital?
I use both analog and digital hardware
10.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?
The brain of my operation is my Electron Machinedrum MKII that I use as a primary skeleton for drum sounds and I also use it as a sequencer for my synths — Moog Mother 32 and Korg MS-20 Mini . I use an Electribe ES-1 for samples that are heavily manipulated, noisy or crunchy sounding due to the low bit rate on the 90s electribes. I recently got an Octatrack though, so the electribe is most likely retiring for a bit, and possibly my Machinedrum as well. Really love the Volca Keys which I will run through some pedals and I am pretty reliant on my Allen & Heath Zed FX mixer and use the built in effects a lot as well. I have a bunch of other pieces of gear that I tend to cycle through but those are the most prominent fixtures in my set up.
11.Describe your creative process?
Usually I just sit down and start messing around with my gear until I find a sound that resonates and use that as a starting point and build beats around that. If i’m working on a track sometimes it will come together in 45 minutes or sometimes I will work on the same track for weeks until it gets rehashed to death and abandoned or occasionally leads somewhere … finding a middle ground between those two is pretty ideal though. If i’m working on a live set for a show in town it is almost always new material since I usually try to just focus on what i’m working on in the moment, or that week. Because of that my live sets can be vastly different from one week to the next. For touring I usually prepare a more cohesive set that can be played again and again.
12. Any secret skills?
I’m really good at credit carding open locked doors 😉
13. Any “mot de la fin”?!
“Technology is not neutral. We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We’re living in a world of connections — and it matters which ones get made and unmade. ” Donna Haraway