It took four years for Bell Towers to deliver the followup to his now incredibly sought-after Büro Hahn Edits 12″. It’s been well worth the wait though. Picking up where the first instalment left off, the globe-trotting Public Possession mainstay got on the cut and paste once again to edit long-forgotten rarities into functional heaters that’ll rarely leave your bag.
Sharing a maverick spirit that also runs through the veins of PP founders Marvin and Valentino, the genre boundaries of original Bell Towers material are so fluid, you never know quite what to expect. Seeking out pastures new, a rare outing away from his spiritual home gave evidence of this as the Melbourne native took a departure from his recent disco-leaning output to roll out a pair of space-faring house jams on Unknown To The Unknown. We didn’t have to wait long for make his Public Possession return though, serving up the most highly-anticipated released to date with the Büro-Hahn Edits 2. In light of that, we thought it was as good a time as ever to catch up with the man himself.
Hi Rohan, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. How are you today?
Mondays are always tricky.
After some time in London, you’re now based in Berlin. How, if at all, has that change of environment influenced your outlook when it comes to music?
Berlin’s slower pace affords me time to experiment and play around with different ideas. It’s cool – so far I’ve made some ambient work, dance music, soundtracks for short films and have plugged in a microphone.
Quoting another interview, you noted “London is culturally rich but it’s just not very healthy [in its lifestyle and approach to nightlife],” and well, you’re not wrong. How are you finding Berlin life in comparison?
I must say it’s really refreshing to party with an older demographic in Berlin, makes burning out seems far less inevitable.
Still think clubs are boring?
Can be. It all depends. I know it’s obvious but what I’ve learned recently is that if you don’t feel like going out you shouldn’t force yourself to do so.
Someone once told us you bought a lot of your second-hand vinyl on eBay. How come? Are there any benefits opposed to buying on Discogs?
What’s your best eBay find to date?
TBH I can’t remember as it’s been years since I’ve bought a record off eBay. Most recent happy purchase on there was a cheap Sony camcorder I used to film the clip for ‘My Body Is A Tempo’.
Reading an interview with FACT from 2014, there are zero references to Italo, but today, it seems like you’re almost synonymous with the genre. Is it frustrating to be pigeonholed like that?
If it helps me appear somewhat knowledgable in some weird esoteric field then I’m cool with that. Between 2009-2014 I was buying A LOT of Italo records but eventually got over it, especially when I realised I was beginning to buy records for their genre rather than content. Five years later I’ve sold off what I consider to be the (expensive) junk and have rekindled the love with some icey-cold classics. After all these years I do still consider it (Italo) to be one of the greatest genres in the history of music, that said it is junk food so moderation is key.
Similarly, original Bell Towers material has often varied in style between releases. Is that a conscious effort on your part?
Not really – I do think it’s good to evolve (for better or worse) but most of all I’m just being me.
Considered unfashionable at times, Italo has seen more than one resurgence with record diggers and fans of obscure dance music. If you had to put money on it, what’s your prediction for the next forgotten genre to gain favour with adventurous DJs?
’90s commercial new age: Enya, Enigma, Waterlilies etc.
You once said you were finding it difficult to write tracks that had the balance of being functional for the dancefloor but also something you found interesting. Feel like that’s something you’ve over- come in the time since?
Watch this space!
The recent release on Unknown To The Unknown was the first non-Public Possession outing in 5 years. How did that come to be?
Wanting to branch out, try something new and potentially reach a new audience. I probably should have done that earlier but really enjoy working with [Public Possession founders] Marvin and Valentino.
Tell us about the new release on Public Possession.
A small collection of edits produced over recent years that used to private, now public. There’s some French synth-pop, Italo (der), more Italo, UK sax and a ’70s TV soundtrack thing. Pick of the bunch for me is ‘Sexy Sexy Sexy Sex’ (more of a mashup than an edit).
Did you anticipate first Büro Hahn Edits 12” would be so well-received?
No, and as you could imagine it’s kind of frustrating that none of my original productions have reached that kind of popularity, especially since in general I put much more work into those than an edit (cut + paste). Not that I’m complaining.
Some people tend to believe that the vast majority of dance music edits are totally unnecessary. Any thoughts on the matter?
Hmm tricky question. Surely there’s loads of superfluous edit 12″s out there tho I suppose it also has something to do with how popular in general vinyl is at any given moment – I reckon if I were green and looking to jump on a trend, bootlegging and editing would seem like an easy way in.
I think in general reissue labels could be a little more discerning re: what they’re putting out, you see it happening all the time for titles that are still readily available for cheap on the 2nd hand market… Shit’s landfill!
And finally, what’s next for Bell Towers?
A long cold bitter winter full of exciting developments and revelations in both the personal and professional spheres of my life.
Büro Hahn Edits 2 is out now on Public Possession.