21/07/2015
NOCTURAMA004: Heartthrob
NOCTURAMA004: Heartthrob

Stepping up to helm the fourth installment of our Nocturama mix series is ISNISNT label boss and all-round top guy, Heartthrob. He has been exploring various strains of house, techno, acid and minimal over the years, but for Nocturama he's gone with some fun and easy-listening house. Given it was put together over a glass of white wine during a recent heatwave, that's perhaps not so surprising.

With selections from Harvey Sutherland, STL, Galcher Lustwerk, Palms Trax and Christopher Rau, Heartthrob delivers a smooth, hour-long listen, mixed with finesse and a laid-back pace. The occasional left turns - like with the hyperactive rhythms of Minor Science's 'Glamour' after 28mins - are worked into a coherent whole and give the mix a welcome dash of the unexpected.

We interviewed Jesse on insights into where to eat ramen in Berlin, the new Heartthrob live set, the best pizza topping anyone could ever ask for and more (below).


"Plasticbag" - Mixmup
"Cricket's Theme" - Galcher Lustwerk
"First Thought" - TB Arthur
"I'm Backwards" - STL
"In Silence" - Simon Haydo
"Broke" - Christopher Rau
"Gib dem Zauber Zucker" - Comfort Fit
"New Paradise" - Harvey Sutherland
"Glamour" - Minor Science
"Angiogram" - Lrusse&Bleeker
"Get Free" - Lady Blacktronika
"Into the Wild" - JML
"My Secret Diving" - Coni
"Bagels" - Justin More
"Crash In The Dark" - Jex Opolis
"Bacardi Beach House" - Credit 00
"Late Jam" - Palms Trax
"Tepper" - Doms & Deykers

Jesse, firstly, thanks for this awesome podcast! Where are we speaking to you from today and what's new?

My pleasure! I'm sitting in my Berlin studio with a view of today's overcast sky and sipping coffee. I am wondering if summer is already over.

Any tips for us on favourite spots to eat, drink or just hang out in Berlin?

Later today I am planning to meet some friends and have some Ramen at Cocoro in Kreuzberg. I think it is the best in Berlin. The record store Hardwax is very close as well. I may pop in and see whats new.

How has the Summer been to you so far?

My summer has been a lot of fun so far. Balancing travel with time in Berlin. Besides the usual gigs, the third release from my label ISNISNT hit stores a little while ago. It's taken ages to see the light of day, so I'm happy to get the feedback. I'm back in the studio working on the next project and prepping for a South American tour next week.

And how do you think 2015 has been to the world in general?

Turbulent, like every year. The ship is sinking.

Recently, what/who have you been listening to when relaxing?

I really like Harvey Sutherland. I have a few of his EPs. The new one on MCDE is very funky and rich. The track "New Paradise" is on this mix. It's a bit like Metro Area and is unmistakable.

How about films and books, anything to recommend?

I am curious about Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman". I think I may pick that up to read on the way to South America. I'm also reading the Game of Thrones monstrosity. It's doing my head in with all the details.

This mix is more house-focused than others of yours I have heard - were you in a particularly cheerful mood when recording? Was it sunny?

Yes the mix is very easy house, with only a few abstract moments. I wanted to include some new music along with some favorites that I can't play in prime time sets. I put the mix together during the recent heatwave we had. I was sitting on my terrace drinking white wine and melting from the intense heat.

How would you recommend NOCTURAMA 004 be best enjoyed?

At a chilled summer BBQ with friends or on a sail boat. That's what I had in mind. Summer fun.

Do you have a favourite song on it, and why?

I love the second track called "Cricket's Theme" by Galcher Lustwerk. It's lush and carries a cool vibe.

Do you have a favourite song ever?

I suppose "I Feel For You" from Chaka Khan would be my favorite tune. I have loved it since I was a little kid.

Tell us about your new live set. How does it all work and how did the debut at the ISNISNT night in Tresor go?

My live set at Tresor was a combination of hardware and laptop sound. I brought along a SH-101, TR-8, Monomachine, Eventide Space and Ableton Push controller. It was a proper jam session. It was great to do a hardware centric show again. It's a much more direct way of working.

The name Heartthrob speaks for itself, but what does ISNISNT mean?

I wanted to invent a word that had visual symmetry and relayed a sense of humor. I find it funny when Americans abbreviate "and" to "N" and wanted to incorporate it in the mix. It's nonsense just like the music. A way to invent an idea that reflects the music.

How is it meant to be said out loud? Have you heard some interesting variations?

It is meant to be pronounced. Is n Isn't. People have a really hard time with it. Probably a real "no no" for corporate branding.

What makes you such a Heartthrob then?

Good question…

I read you're planning on opening the label up a bit with some digital releases from other artists. Can you spill the beans on that yet?

No not yet.

Your last record 'Haus Arrest' seemed to get a great response, has it been going down well in clubs?

Yeah I have to say this release has received the most support from the general DJ scene. I was surprised with the feedback to be honest. The tunes are more extreme and slightly more aggressive compared to the last two releases. I didn't have high expectations. It's encouraging to find people playing the record that you wouldn't imagine embracing it.

When were the tracks made and did you have a specific vibe in mind?

I recorded the EP in Berlin at the end of last year and early this year. I just wrote a collection of tracks that worked to me.

Your label's artwork really makes it stand out. The pizza design on 001 is a personal favourite. Who is the designer and how do you come up with the ideas?

I designed the first and third releases. The second release uses two artworks by McDermott & McGough. Two artist friends working in New York and Dublin. The general approach is rather random, though I guess a kind of pop surrealism holds things together. Familiar but strange.

What toppings would be on your dream pizza?

World Peace :)

To finish, what was the last non-music related thing that amazed you?

Just how much New York keeps changing and how quickly.

ISNISNT003 is out now. Buy here.
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