Jakub Alexander, better known as Heathered Pearls, has described the sound of his debut album, 2012's Loyal, as "indirect, huge, heavy, slow ocean waves off in the distance at night." The second album from the Ghostly International recording artist, this past summer's Body Complex, adds a bit more muscle to the template—but still, the LP's sublime and beatific tracks seem tentatively hover around the edge of the dancefloor, rather than jump feet-first into the action. But don't be fooled, because Alexander is a techno-and-house man to the core, as anyone who's caught his DJ sets can attest; our latest podcast sees the Brooklyn-based artist in full club-set mode, with tracks from Xamiga, Benjamin Damage and the almighty Robert Hood among those making the cut. The result is still plenty gorgeous, as is pretty much anything with the Heathered Pearls name attached to it. But it's also made for dancing—and that's the way Alexander likes it, as he explains below.
Those who know you only through your recorded output might be surprised by how dancefloor-friendly this set is. Is the mix indicative of what you would play in a club?
I can see why people might be surprised, that but most of my actual DJ mixes have been mainly techno. Ambient music came in later in my life.My second album, Body Complex, sort of does the job of bridging what I have done recently and what I am building towards—which is exploring straight techno. The first records I ever bought in the '90s were hard-techno and tribal techno records—I still love those to death, and its always been what I buy and hunt for. I feel ten times more comfortable playing techno tracks in front of people over my ambient live show. Don't get me wrong—I love both equally wholeheartedly. But when I play what I always refer to as "body music, a.k.a. dance music—like the tracks in this mix—I can go for hours. As for my ambient show, I can handle about an hour of the most attractive hypnotic swells before it becomes an endurance issue, only because of the lush heaviness in it. The tracks I picked here are melodically appealing groovers, where the intricate details are more colorful than just straight jacking—or than going into the house or acid realm. I got a little weird with it by clustering more melodies than your regular techno set, but I think this is what you can expect from my DJ sets. I usually go heavy on the looper—especially when finding the meat and potatoes of a track ,and riding that as long as possible if the crowd is feeling it. I learned that early on from Matthew Dear and Ryan Elliott.
What was your methodology for constructing this set—vinyl, CDJs, Ableton, Traktor, something else? And did you do much pre-planning, or was it more of a go-with-the-flow kind of affair?
I use a four-channel Traktor-like program, and looper/pedals. I always go with the flow—but pick what I want to bookend the mix with.
What's coming up for Heathered Pearls in 2016?
I'm working on a speedier techno EP, and also a hybrid live show that ramps out of ambience into a DJ set—it seems to be the most honest sequence I can present to a crowd of what I enjoying sharing, and of what people will positively remember.
01 BNJMN “Microgravity” (Delsin)
02 SeixlacK “Damas” (Delsin)
03 Xamiga “Unsolved Universe” (Rush Hour)
04 Austin Cesear “Alias” (Freq Edit)
05 Oskar Offermann & Kareem “Messiah Hometrainer” (White Music)
06 Ramirez “La Musika Tremenda” (La Tormenta Mix) (R&S)
07 Alland Byallo “Crepuscular” (Dave Aju Remix) (Upon You Records)
08 Yotam Avni “This Is How” (Sterac Remix) (Ovum)
09 Robert Hood “Alarm” (M-Plant)
10 Benjamin Damage “Up” (50 Weapons)
11 Truncate “86” (50 Weapons)
12 Steffi “Db011” (Dolly)
13 Gunnar Jonsson “Enkel Disko För Hand” (Aniara Recordings)
14 Orson Wells “A Connection” (777 Recordings)