Featured Broadcaster: VLR

Due to popular demand, the next featured broadcaster is VLR.  Known for dropping complex, eclectic sets, VLR is the work of Norwegian Livar Særheim.

We asked him a few questions about his musical influences, Norway, and what makes him tick.

 

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Give us some background on yourself:

I come from a rural area on the southwestern part of Norway, with little or no scene to talk about really. Geographical challenges aside, I still managed to get hooked to underground dance music  (bar a few missteps regarding eurodance and such…), and at 13, I was pouring over the dance-sections in NME and Melody Maker.  I caught the scent of the experimental/ambient techno thing going on in England around that time. Aphex Twin quickly stood out as something worth checking out. From there on I started following labels like Warp, Rephlex and Skam. I kept tabs on the techno and electro side of things, and tried (and still do) to keep an ear open for new and exciting stuff.

How did you get into DJing?

As many others, I suspect, dj-ing was a way to rationalise getting even more records. I’m first and foremost a classic bedroom dj, as the stuff I play and the interest for it around my parts was never that great. I have done a few gigs in Manchester, but apart from that I haven’t pushed things towards being a dj full time.

What was your early equipment like?

When I was 10 I used to tune in to a radio show on the Norwegian Broadcasting Network (NRK), where they featured hip hop, hip house and house music. They used to have a slot for mixtapes that listeners put together and sent in, and I was fascinated by how they put the records together. I tried doing something similar myself, but the double tape deck I had access to didn’t quite cut it. Six years later I got myself some Technics 1200s and a mixer and started throwing things together. I really liked doing long blends, and even though i trainwrecked about 75% of them, the thrill of finding that perfect combination kept things exciting. I guess this is still valid today, although I try to keep a certain logical flow to things I’m always looking for the perfect blend.
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Has the growth of digital DJ technology changed the way you DJ

When I discovered Traktor, i started to incorporate the laptop more and more into my vinyl sets, I ran it as a standalone, pitching tracks using only the mouse. I couldn’t afford the Digital Vinyl version, so I kept at it using keyboard shortcuts and mouse. When I eventually got it upgraded to a full DVS, I was too far into my mappings that I never saw the need to use the timecoded records.  Although not on the impressive level as the “controllerists” i found that I could do edits on the fly and push things together more violently that I could on the decks.  Having more decks at hand was also a bonus.  Usually my mixlr sets is done on a 6 year old Macbook running Traktor with a pair of Kontrol X1s – I still prefer working a real mixer, so everything goes through that and then eventually into the Mixlr client.  It’s a setup I feel comfortable with, and I doubt it’ll change anytime soon. For the times I feel adventurous I dust of the trusty old 1200s and do a vinyl set, and I still feel that this is definitely the most fun way of mixing.

How did you come to use Mixlr?

I’ve been doing random shoutcast streams for a while, mostly when I felt like doing a kind of practice-session without a safety net.  Then a few years back, me and Phresch started doing a few weekend sessions, due to bandwidth troubles we quickly went looking for a reliable shoutcast server that we could use/abuse, but we never really found anything good, until we read about something called Mixlr in a Soundcloud newsletter.  I think we both fell for it immediately, even though we had some issues at first, help was never far away (sounds like brown nosing, but it’s true!).

Have any particular broadcasts drawn large amounts of attention?

The broadcast that I think has done the most rounds, is probably my Strictly Aphex mix.  That one started out pretty much as a spur of the moment thing.  A quick and easy way of getting exposure is by doing megamixes of big names.  I had already done a “featured” ones of Autechre, Squarepusher amd Aphex’s Analord series, so I decided one Friday afternoon on my commute back from work that I’d do a proper Aphex Twin broadcast.  It’s done quite well on my Soundcloud, and quite possibly on Mixlr as well!

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So there you have it; a brief excursion into the background and musical development of one of Mixlr’s most respected broadcasters. This by no means does justice to the breadth of material he’s covered however, and with over 70 shows on Mixlr and thousands of listens on Soundcloud, VLR’s back-catalogue is certainly worth checking out.d

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