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SPIN Sets Presents: Blood Cultures

Blood Cultures is here not only to demolish social/systemic constructs, but to explore identity and empower free-thinking. Through an enigmatic alias, BC has reveled in being undefined and works as a producer that believes in the power of expression, using music to convey messages of liberation. An innovative visionary, they’ve set foot on a journey towards vulnerability, turning the attention inwards by creating discussion from their personal background and experiences. They took a powerful moment with SPIN to discuss their artistic mission, important ideologies, their upcoming album, Luno (pre-save here), NFT drops, and much more.

Who is Blood Cultures and what do you stand for?

Blood Cultures is whoever you want us to be. We stand for the individual’s experience above everything else. The experience that one has when listening to music, or engaging with art – we try to capture that experience in its purest form. Character, actions, and how an artist defines themselves all affect the listener’s experience when they’re engaging with the music. What we aim to do is to limit that knowledge, eliminate those factors, so that the listener, the one engaging in the art, has no other choice, but to face themselves, to hear what they want to hear, to take the message that they concoct in their heads and derive meaning from that.

Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?

I actively don’t speak on sonic influences as I feel they can sometimes take away from the experience. I love my influences and I honor them deeply in the music, no doubt you can hear them, but when you break it down into causation it becomes addition, it becomes like a formula and you can pick it apart. You see behind the curtain and you know how the trick is done. Once you can quantify something, it starts to feel more like math, rather than magic.But I do feel like I can talk about some of the philosophical influences on the writing of this project: Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Dan Harmon. Concepts like the shadow, the hero’s journey, archetypes and the collective unconscious in which they exist all fascinate me and have been the foundation of the philosophy and writing of this chapter of the project.

Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?

I think the way I would define success in relation to my mission, is resonance: Did what I make resonate with people? And if it resonates with even just one person, then I believe I’ve done my job. If it resonates with a lot of people, and you’ve spoken to something core, something maybe even primal, I think that’s maybe more of a large scale success.I think that maybe happened with my first song from this project, Indian Summer. The song was so personal and emotionally naked to me that it was uncomfortable for me to share with my family and friends, so I shared it anonymously with no context as Blood Cultures, and I think that truth and vulnerability I shared spoke to a lot of people. It proved a lot of things to me, but mostly that Blood Cultures could be my outlet and that could really bring something of value to people.

You have an upcoming album, LUNO that reflects values of change and self-discovery – what significance do these topics carry in your life and how have they inspired you to create an entire album concept centered on them?  

We are plagued with racial injustice, social inequality, and systematic oppression. I think it’s a positive thing that these issues have come to the forefront of conversation, it’s a clear indication that people want things to change. But the question remains: how does one create actual change? The “system” is nothing but people. Institutions that uphold these injustices are built from nothing but people. People who choose to hold up the status quo, “the way things are” out of fear of uncertainty brought on by change. If you want to change the system, you need to lead people to choose to do so themselves on an individual level. And in order to do that you must embody that change and become it yourself by facing that fear and uncertainty within you.

Storytelling is a vital factor in your visual and musical work –What other inspirations does LUNO contain within its storytelling?

Luno is inspired by the moon: the archetypal feminine symbol of rebirth and resurrection – its phases charting the descent into darkness and its return to the light, its development from nothingness to fullness acting as the cycle of birth. The moon itself tells a story. And if you look at story telling in it’s basic and most primitive form, it naturally follows a circular pattern, or arch, where the hero goes from the light, into the darkness, only to return having changed forever, having become someone they needed to be, having been reborn. The record mirrors this same notion of a descent into darkness, with eight tracks, each representing a phase in the moon, each representing a beat in the story circle, each indicative of the themes of change through this very cycle.

You’re not one to shy away from shedding light on important social topics such as heritage, gender, and inclusivity – how are these themes reflected through your artistic brand? What is your mission in getting these important messages across?

Ignorance and bigotry are problems that can only change by facing them head on. When you put on a mask you have the privilege of not being criticized for your race, ethnicity, gender and orientation – the choice of anonymity comes with the luxury of not acknowledging such aspects. But, as someone who is actively affected by those things in their real life, who doesn’t have that luxury, I realized my project did not actually reflect my worldview as a human being. I realized Blood Cultures had to change. Jung’s idea of change in the face of ignorance comes from acceptance of one’s shadow, or the side of ourselves that we actively choose to reject. Only by accepting this part of ourselves, that we may be ashamed to admit is there, that we may not even know is there, can we truly become whole and thus change. I wanted the new Blood Cultures and our artwork to represent this change in action. I choose to embrace and embody symbols of repression from both sides of my culture as a way of flipping them on their head to be reinterpreted, embracing them in order to change them. The suit and the burka both act as symbols of the oppressive idea of western masculinity and the eastern fear of femininity. This particular style of burka comes from the tribal regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan – where I’m from. By combining these garbs that come from such deep rooted parts of my identity that I personally reject, I hope to embrace these sides of myself in order to redefine their oppressive meaning by creating the paradox that is their combination.

As we’re looking ahead seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?

I’m looking forward to working with more artists and working more collaboratively on music. 

Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?

We’ll be releasing a “radio drama”, in the form of an audio NFT, which will feature characters from the Blood Cultures universe while previewing all eight tracks from the upcoming record. It will be roughly 10-minutes in length and hopefully be out by next month. We’re also hoping to create an art experience to accompany the release of the album. Not sure if this will be a virtual or an in-person event, we’re still in the development phase, but we created an interactive art experience for our last listening party that we’re really proud of and would like to do something similar.

What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?

Is electronic music even still a thing? Electronic music is so integrated into all other genres that I think almost all musicians use a form of electronic elements to record and produce and get their ideas across. So in a sense, almost every musician is an electronic musician, therefore no one really is an electronic musician because the title is becoming meaningless. So maybe there is no future for electronic music? Or maybe it’s the only future? The idea of genre is dying and I think it should. There is some amazing music being made today, and you don’t have to look forward or backwards to see it, you just have to look: if you want it enough, you will find it, and if you’re lucky, it will find you.

Any last words for the SPIN-verse?

“There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming”

Be unexpectedly enchanted and delighted by Blood Culture’s set below, and also make sure to check out their most recent release – “Set It On Fire” here and pre-save the upcoming LP Luno here. Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJs breaking the electronic charts.