Listgeeks Feature #11 – Bruno Pronsato

Steven Ford (aka Bruno Pronsato) is a post-punk inspired techno artist who has been releasing electronic music on various labels ever since his 12″ debut, “Read Me/Silver City,” in 2003.  Originally from Texas, Pronsato spent several years in Seattle before moving to Berlin in 2006 to concentrate on playing music full time.  He has since crafted some of techno’s most imaginative and intriguing releases, continuously raising the bar as both a prolific producer and a restless live performer.  Apart from his own releases, Pronsato also worked on various side projects, cooperating with Daze Maxim as Others, Sammy Dee as Half Hawaii, Ninca Leece as Public Lover, Sergio Giorgini as NDF and performing alongside the likes of Ricardo Villalobos and Perlon boss Zip (in their laptop super-group, Narod Nikki).  In May 2011, Pronsato finally released his long-awaited third album “Lovers Do” on his own label, thesongsays. We’re happy he found the time to answer a few questions for us.  After you read the below, be sure to check out his lists.

Listgeeks: One thing I always enjoy about your music is that things tend to be just a little bit “off.”  Can you relate to that in any way?

Bruno Pronsato: I think working in techno/house (or whatever form of dance music you call your own), you’re pretty limited as far as looseness is concerned.  Mainly, the object is to make people dance, and to make that happen easily you need to make your tracks “tight,” so that the DJ doesn’t have a difficult time mixing your track with the others.  I have never really subscribed to that idea – I’ve always put a bit more importance in making what I make musical – at whatever expense.  Being a drummer, a lot of the fun in creativity is making rhythms a tad different than the expected.  A skipped beat here, a slightly misplaced snare there – coming from a rock background I’m not so tied to the idea of completely making things easy for a DJ.

Bruno Pronsato – “Trio Out”

LG: Before you started releasing electronic music as Bruno Pronsato you actually played drums in a number of punk/hardcore bands and were strongly influenced by experimental indie music.  Would you say you still draw inspiration from your musical past?  What other sources of musical inspiration influence your sound these days?

BP:  I still visit my punk roots, though it is a bit difficult to get into some of the hardcore I once enjoyed –  I guess I’m just not that angry anymore.  I still very much enjoy the more no wave/experimental stuff (if you can call it that) Gang of Four, DNA, James Chance, etc., and of course the sounds of My Bloody Valentine and the noisier side of 90s rock.  These days, though, I’m listening to a lot of classical stuff – I’ve been really into listening to these gigantic arrangements and focusing on themes more than straight four bar melodies –  I would like to get to a place like that some day.

LG: How would you say moving from the U.S. to Berlin has affected the way you work?

BP:  Well, I think having such a huge amount of support from the European side (in general) has done a lot to advance whatever musical vision I might be chasing –  Berlin has such a gigantic support system.  I guess I have felt more of an ability to experiment.  When you are in the U.S. making this music, you tend to look at what is ‘hype’ to sort of make out the direction of club culture, and that’s not really a good thing.  Berlin is sort of it’s own world, and in many ways, the world now sort of looks to Berlin for the direction of club music (or it used to).

Bruno Pronsato – “Winter Music for Summer”

LG: It seems like the human voice (not singing necessarily) has grown to be a key element of your signature palette. Would you agree?  How would you describe your use of the human voice in your music?

BP:  I would definitely agree.  I think I am trying to use the voice more as an element to slip in between spaces: fragments of words, breaths and on occasion full words and maybe a note or two…when I’m feeling really adventurous.

LG: You have worked with a number of different labels in the past (Telegraph, Hello? Repeat, Orac, Philpot, Perlon, DFA among others) – what led you to decide to start your own label, thesongsays? From all I’ve heard I thought record labels are dying?

BP:  Well, labels are dead.  I mean, if you have a label these days it’s a labor of love for sure.  My main reason for starting the label was because of a track I did in 2009.  It was almost 40 minutes long (divided into 7 parts) and I just knew that there was not a label around that would bother with such a thing.  In fact, I didn’t even ask any of the people I knew running a label to release it.  It was pretty much right at the moment where vinyl sales went absolutely awful – and they were already pretty nonexistent.  This was almost extinct style.  So, I spoke to my friends at wordandsound and they were like, “sure.”  Well, I was shocked…but we did it and it went as well as we could hope for such a track.

LG: Apart from your most recent album, “Lovers Do,” which only just came out, what other projects do you have in the pipeline?

BP:  Well, actually I just finished an album with my girlfriend Ninca Leece under our Public Lover moniker.  We’re gonna spend the summer working on getting that some exposure and getting it out in November some time.  Also, I am working with Sammy Dee on our Half Hawaii project this summer – hopefully getting something together for a December release.  Bruno’s sort of on hold aside from live shows – maybe that’s a good thing…

Bruno Pronsato on Listgeeks
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