We’re excited to announce a collaboration with New York stalwart Michael Baltra, who will present three events at Bushwick’s sci-fi themed dance bar, Jupiter Disco. The parties each showcase two acts, for whom Baltra will provide opening and closing sets. He has been making his mark on the underground nyc house scene with numerous releases over the past year, for labels such as Lost Palms (Shall Not Fade sublabel) and Of Paradise, as well as remixes for artists like Jacques Greene. With his increasingly frequent international bookings and acclaimed productions, you can expect to see much more of Baltra in the near future.
New York is known for cultivating artists and building unique musical scenes. How do you think the city has influenced your production sound?
New York City is very unforgiving – one of the many reasons why I love it so much. It has made me a bit thick-skinned, yet has allowed me to remain compassionate for others who find themselves in a similar situation. It’s all about the hustle and how hard you’re willing to work in order to succeed. The gritty, raw sounds found in my music are congruent with the nature of this environment. As I’ve became more honest with my emotions, music production has become the most sincere outlet of self expression for me.
You’ve been playing more international gigs with greater frequency – I saw you were recently in Tbilisi, Georgia. Have you had any favorite cities, clubs or specific shows so far?
It’s so hard to choose as every show has been special in its own way. I recently played at Khidi in Tbilisi and it was amazing. Lovely people and an incredible club experience. My first live show was at Concrete in Paris will always be one to remember – the surreal moment came when the table where all of my gear was set-up was slowly lowered from a hide-a-way in the ceiling at 2:30am after an incredible all-vinyl set from Huerco S. My first visit to Russia where I played at Nii in Moscow was pretty unreal. My friend Sergey linked me with a super dope collective called the Great Fruit and we actually shot a guerilla-style music video in between my arrival at the airport and my performance. On top of that, playing with the most recent Lobster Theremin party at Corsica Studios in London was super class.
If you could have your pick, who are five artists you would love to have remix one of your tracks?
This is a question where the answer will be different every time, as there are so many artists I admire and some of which I am able to call friends. Outside of my guests for this party series, off the top of my head, and in no sensible order: Delroy Edwards, Donato Dozy, Baba Stiltz, Yaeji, Actress
What’s one thing you miss when you’re away from New York?
I miss the energy. It’s amazing to frequent cities and countries that I’ve never been before, but after more than a few days I begin to yearn for a return to New York. Living here has it’s ups and downs and but in the end the grass is always greener. The convenience, passion, diversity, & authenticity that this city has to offer is unlike anywhere else in the world that I’ve had a chance to visit.
You have a record coming out on Tape Throb, and just announced a remix on DJ Boring’s forthcoming Lost Palms (Shall Not Fade) release. What else can we look forward to from Baltra in the coming months?
In addition to the summer series at Jupiter Disco, I have a small run in Europe at the end of July in Lyon, London, & Berlin. Then I’ll be back in New York working solely on new material (perhaps fitting in a collab session or two) before taking off for Europe again in mid-September for a couple of live shows at XOYO + Boxed Off Festival.
Interview by JJ Nozell