"Cherish your time and do all those things you ever dreamed of"
Keith Tucker aka Optic Nerve creates music that works in all settings and transcends genres. His openness to a wide range of sound is what has both made him a widely loved favourite, but also someone who operates in his own parallel musical world. We had a chance to talk to him, so enjoy your reading and check out his latest releases.
Can you tell us how and where you welcomed 2021? Where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
I welcomed 2021 at my home in Eastpointe Detroit Michigan with my wife enjoying a great meal and watching movies.
I am currently sitting in my office in my home going over my daily emails and things to do list and preparing for some studio time for current projects.
How are you living the current situation because of COVID? Has your work affected a lot? Do you think there is hope?
Well covid changed a lot of things at my home my wife now works from home permanently for her job, so we had a room converted to a beautiful office to accommodate her. It did indeed effect my workflow as I now know each day is never promised you have to do all the things you always wanted to do and focus on your health and mind…..IT MADE ME WORK EXTREMELY HARD. I think there is hope but the world will forever be changed by the pandemic and I believe there will always be some form of that particular virus in the world making us always having to wear some sort of facial protection in life. (There will always be people who will never believe in taking the vaccine unless forced).
I feel like the underground scene will continue to persist. Do you think we can go back to "normal" events and festivals?
I think the electronic dance scene will be even bigger as people are ready to get back to a certain joy and the young will always be the young who typically live for the day. There will be more money made for the events and festivals more than any time in history. I can picture a future of complete suits given to festival goers for festivals in a not-too-distant future.
How have you had to adapt to recent circumstances?
I truly didn’t make too many adaptions except for using my cell phone even more for shopping and ordering everything and having everything delivered at our doorstep. I’m a bit of a work horse I keep my self very busy with many musical projects and spending important time with my family to even get closer than before.
What can you tell us about your last job? How was it born? What was your production criteria?
I spent 4 months on a musical LP for Jeff Mills axis records entitled “Uncharted” under my techno alias Optic Nerve, It was slower process then usual as I was instructed to have a sci-fi experimental LP with a story . And treat it as though it was a movie score so that it can be presented as such. This was a great learning experience taught me to really convey mood and drama. And it’s a chance to start trying to fulfil my lifetime dream of scoring movies.
Your music seems to be linked to places, landscapes and moments. What else plays a fundamental role in your music creation process?
My music spans dance music in different genres and types like my former work with Aux88 and as K-1 it was electronic funk and my alias Optic Nerve and Alien FM take you to techno places elsewhere. When creating electro I concentrate on the bass line it’s like thinking of parliament Funkadelic it’s everything to that music and then the beat. With Optic nerve it’s techno music in a movie soundtrack type of way it’s all about making the music melodic and hypnotic loop grooves with orchestrated strings on top. My alias Alien FM is more Cybotron and Kraftwerk electronic funk from space with vocals.
How has your sound evolved so far?
My sound has evolved in many ways as just about every track has some sort of vocal which make my music stand out you can tell who I am as I use my real voice with, vocoders as many artist don’t which keep most artist sounding the same .I have been able to transfer it all very well from records to my live shows which has become something I’m most proud of in my career.
What is your current production setup and what instruments are essential for you?
I’m currently very happy with my final studio set up created 4 years ago, I wanted to create a pot where I could feel happy to be in. Optic Studios consist of 3 47-inch 4K TV monitors hooked up to my mac pro. Presonus studio live 32 digital mixing board. My essential must use synths are the Sequential PRO 3 Se , Arturia Matrixbrute, Nord lead synths, and novation synths quite a few.
Are you the type of producer who can create music on the fly or do you need to be rooted in a studio?
Sometime ideas just come to you, but over the years I don’t really like doing that unless it really is something that makes me really feel something. I’m meticulous I like to stack sounds in was you may not notice and accent my drum programming.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I created infinite 12’ production team 4 months ago as I have a lot of remixes and collabs coming in so I have a partner Blak Tony doing some of the work . I’m currently finishing up collab with the west coast pioneers the Xmenn and finishing touches to SOMA collab and artwork and final Alien Fm release slated for later 2021. And gearing up to release the next 5 releases this year from my Puzzlebox Records which are all release of my music.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
I only ask that everyone… Please think of others in this time nothing is so much more important than LIFE…Your LIFE AND EVERYONE AROUND YOU. Cherish your time and do all those things you ever dreamed of.