2019 Rewind: Deepchild


How was 2019 for you?
Deepchild: 2019 was a strange year. A year in which ‘post-nostalgia’ reached a curious peak. New producers born in the ’90s lamenting the supposedly ‘authentic’ sound of an 80s, whilst posting overly confessional tropes on Instagram. A year in which the narratives of capitalism conveniently suggested we forget the future in favor of stolid acquiescence (once more) into irony. Of course, I’m being facetious here,  but I feel we’ve been witnessing a growing self-obsession with the more aspirational side of DJ culture (alcohol and clothing sponsorship, selfies from business class flights, etc.) in a way which feels quietly tragic.

I hope that 2020 might be a year in which we hear far more from DJs seated atop their golden plinths – and not just more about themselves, but perhaps about the wider cultural challenges unfolding in front and within our digital communities. It takes courage to name the fact that success in dance music is as much a product of privilege and chance as it is of hard work and following your dreams. Ultimately, I believe that we need to learn to dream together, rather than as individuals. 2019 reminded me of the ecological and social cost of the narrative of individualism. It’s time to burn it all down and build again, I believe.

Seeing queer voices rise, defiantly, within the ranks. Witnessing (rather unexpectedly!) the incredible surprises and advances thrown forth as pop and trap music re-dream what song structures, hooks and form might resemble. Witnessing with glee when established artists like Jimmy Edgar throw their hat into the southern rap production ring, as purists stand aghast and look on.

Reconnecting with old friends forged through playing shows across North America and Europe – friendships holding strong and forged on unlikely dance floors. Working with incredible young artists in prisons, youth centers and my own fledgling studio called Neu Studios in Sydney. Seeing students of mine shine with potential and joy at feeling empowered to make work.

Traveling to India – not as a performer, but as a wide-eyed nobody with a wonderful wife reminding me of what I so easily forget. Spending time with my dad as he slowly dies.

Witnessing the continued cost of Australia’s right-leaning government on our arts, culture and environmental lives. Leaving London with some sadness because of family health issues. Witnessing some very real and heartbreaking mental health issues in fellow artists who can no longer compete/survive/find validation in their chosen position in the arts world. The arts, at best, is fickle and erratic, and traditional models are rapidly collapsing. Remember (to any listening) the process is the art. All else (as mentioned) is privilege and chance. If you can maintain joy in your practice, then this is enough. No one owes us (as artists) anything – and there’s a strange sort of liberation in the recognition of this; joy found beyond the modality of commerce is rare and precious, and in our power to take part in. All we have, ultimately, is grace and each other.

Song of the year?
East Of Oceans – “Hard Red” (R&S Records)

What’s your New Year’s resolution?
To be kinder. To learn to listen more clearly. To keep imagining a new kind of future. To learn to rest.

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2017 Rewind: Deepchild


How was 2017 for you?
Rick Bull: A huge, confounding, heart-rending head-rush of a year. Personally, leaving Berlin after so many years, re-inventing myself as a music academic/community worker in Australia for a while, and now living in London, straddling the worlds of music education, performance and composition. More than ever, any sense of personal “career” seems like wasted energy — in the light of late-capitalism’s brutalist death-rattle and the rise of the extreme-right, arts-practice has re-assumed a rather less “aspirational” role in my life. I’m interested in arts/music as survival strategy more than ever. I couldn’t give a shit about revisionist acid-house, dub-techno or (insert cliché-x) for the sake of assumed “authenticity.” Let’s remember that keeping it ‘unreal’ is arguably more empowering than “living the dream.”

Diving deep into the work of the late, great Mark Fisher. Remembering Kodwo Eshun. Weeping in stunned awe at the vitality of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Britain’s Black Diaspora. Realizing how fun sleep actually is. Feeling energized, inspired and deeply honored to work in music education with young people. Birthing the first Acharné album and remembering that the joy of music, for me, comes in witnessing it writing itself. Witnessing the much-needed voices of the likes of Holly Herndon, The Black Madonna and Honey Dijon rise radiantly in the nauseating “sea of bros. Seeing the way music-making tools, knowledge and power have been really democratized across once immutable class-lines is profoundly heartening. Discovering some inspiring trap, drill, grime and commercial R&B work. To start writing work for which makes me think of my dad and other’s with dementia.

Seeing how soul-crushingly white, male, hetero normative techno has become. Embarrassed and saddened by ill-considered comments from the like’s of Giegling’s Constantine, and more. 2017 felt like the year when those at the extreme edges voiced their Trumpian, Brexiteering, indignant juvenilities. It’s all been cause for a lot of self-reflexion on my behalf. I wonder how i might better speak of those I don’t commune with? Ultimately, though, the tragedy here is that many of us like myself were naive enough to assume that there’s ever been a Golden Age of PLUR. These voices have always been there – but I’m glad that at least now they aren’t permitted to endure without response. To paraphrase Birmingham’s finest, Techno “Will Eat Itself”

Song of the year?
Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Child of Rage”

My close second is Drake’s skeletal dancehall gem “Blem”


What’s your New Year’s resolution?
To laugh way more. To give less shits. To forget music in order to remember music.


Premiere: Archarné Innocence And Suburbia Mix


Berlin via Sydney DJ/producer Rick Bull has earned a legion of fans for his brilliant exploits as Deepchild on labels like Get Physical, Face II Face, Thoughtless, and Trapez. Since 2014 he’s attained the highest of professional highs, including playing Berghain/Panorama Bar last in 2015 as Concubine with Noah Pred where he “felt both honored, elated and strangely disconnected afterwards – hovering 6 feet behind my body.”

A breakup, losing friends, crisscrossing around the world on tour and a new relationship led him to dive into new musical waters. He surfaced as Acharné, a stark, minimal/ambient project espousing gorgeous, emotionally vulnerable music intended to help him make sense of so many changes in his life.

Today Bull releases Archarné’s full-length debut, Innocence And Suburbia. He says, “It’s the rawest collection, sonically, I’ve produced in decades – reading more like a curious live-performance than a unified thesis. There are so many of these little sonic ‘fragments’ hidden in hard-drives, and here are some which felt adequate to share for now.

“It’s an offering to those I love in cities which have meant to much to me. To those who have taken me in. It’s a requiem of sorts too, and a celebration of strange new things to come. A farewell, a ‘thank you so’, and pause of drink in the wonder and ferocity of change.”

Here’s the world premiere of an exclusive mixed version of the album which Bull put together. Hit the play button and enjoy.

Album Review: Deepchild / ‘Neukolln Burning’ (Thoughtless Music)


Deepchild adopts the mantle of prodigal son when it comes to expressing a laboratory-tested digital sludge. Like techno dirt sieved through a hi-spec filter, Rick Bull shakes up beakers, holds up test tubes to whatever light he can find and uses Petri dishes for turntables.

The scientific slant naturally serves tech/deep house cold as the Australian goes native in Berlin by grasping the sterile feel of up-down machinery, though Bull makes a good fist of adding warmth in places, coming up for air before moving down the next corridor. Doing its research far removed from civilisation also means Deepchild can plug in and fire away as abrasively as he wants. The icy blast of “Riyadh,” defined by a patent howl of wind in the distance, and the frankly magnificent battering “I Woke and You Were Smiling”, deliver two loud-as-they-like scavengers of the night, although “Rage” manages to hold itself together.

Bizarre manifestations of the familiar, presumably through isolation getting the better of its professor, rewires Christina Aguilera and Redman out of the boxing ring and into the scary webs of “Dirty Cutlery.” Another trademark has “Then We Dissolved” haunting in its hammering, releasing ghosts from their frozen state of playing dubstep’s mournful accomplice. Clinically, surgically sharp, yet always of a complete rhythmicity, Deepchild smoulders in every sense of the word.
File under: Tiefkind, Gary Beck, Mr G