I remember the time I stumbled upon a lone, dog-eared copy of Generator, an indie UK magazine, in the magazine section at Tower Records on 4th and Lafayette Street. I thumbed through it and enjoyed the mix of artist interviews and reviews. I was writing for music and culture magazines here in the U.S. and had been profiling local DJs and producers who were underground celebs at home and superstars abroad. Seeing an opportunity, I typed up an intro letter, stuffed my published clips into an envelope and mailed a fat package to Generator‘s office in London. Not too long later I received a call from the magazine’s editor, David Fowler. We instantly hit it off, and I started contributing to the magazine.
I recently unearthed my Generator interview with New York City techno stalwart Joey Beltram, who got a shout-out on Daft Punk’s “Teachers” off 1997’s Homework. It’s a cover story where he shares his background, early success producing genre-defining tracks “Energy Flash” and “Mentasm,” and why he slowed down the pace of his career in order to get his creative bearings. The issue dropped in tandem with the release of his third album, 1995’s Places (Tresor/Logic). All these years later any of the cuts could do damage on a dance floor.
The sleepy bedroom community of Orange County, NY, is a little over an hour by car from Manhattan’s perennial state of mania. Graced with quiet, tree-lined streets and sprawling, well-manicured estates, this is the suburban oasis which Joey Beltram moved to six months ago, desperately seeking a much-needed break from life in the urban jungle.
A far cry from his previous, cramped apartment on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens (which overlooked a cemetery), he now lives in a roomy, split-level home, complete with all the trappings you’d expect—except the white picket fence, of course. Aside from choosing Orange County for its bucolic charm, Beltram had a definitive reason for making the move: he wanted to get his life together, take his production career to the next level, and use the new surrounding s as an inspiration for his music.
On most nights when he’s not DJing, Beltram is usually sequestered in On One, his well-equipped home studio, where he’ll tweak loops, beats, and samples into the small hours of the morning. Amongst the well-appointed gadgetry and heavyweight synth technology, Beltram is ready to talk about Places, his eagerly-awaited new album on Tresor. It’s already well after midnight — the time of the day when Beltram prefers working — and although the sun went down hours ago, the air outside is filled with the sound of chirping crickets. The night is thick and unbearably humid. Inside, one light illuminates the suite, casting cross-legged to Beltram in an almost angelic light. Continue Reading