It’s been a few years since last I spoke with LA-by-way-of-Barcelona artist TÂCHES, born Alex Christopherson. I recall the weekend fondly: Desert Hearts in the soul center of Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. We chatted about everything from life and music to his own project and what the weekend meant to him. At that point, Alex had been making music for a few years in the realm of house and introspective dance, but he had found himself at a standstill when it came to inspiration and the true calling of his musical endeavors. By the end of the weekend, he imparted to me a level of excitement I don’t often see in realtime. It was the pure elation of a lightbulb finally striking above one’s head. It was creativity reemerging and a newfound sense of purpose. This moment was the start of the TÂCHES we’re presenting to you today.
Without saying too much in honor of the mystery his project has enjoyed for the past few years, we’ll let Alex explain his project, where he came from, where he’s going, and how he’s getting there. All we’ll say is that this is the kind of mix you’ll want to put on for a lovely evening in, as the soundtrack to an introspective psychedelic journey, or any time you’re desperately seeking a moment of enlightenment and calm. Enjoy!
NEST HQ: Hi Alex!! Tell us a bit about how the TÂCHES project got start, and how/why you started making music
TÂCHES: Hi Nathan
Music production started for me as a form of escapism; a way to get away from the loneliness and stagnation that I felt after making the decision to leave the Spanish island that I grew up on to attend a boarding school in the south of England. While in those last two years of school, I had originally intended to pursue forensics at university, but in that time the direction completely switched to music.
While making music at boarding school was a beautiful distraction from my day to day school life, music was even more crucial in my running away from my actual music degree. I’ve always found it hard to put in the ‘suitable’ effort, and ‘apply’ myself when it came to things that I felt uninterested in, and a university level qualification in something that I loved as much as music production quickly became a chore. I guess you could say that the TÂCHES project was initially born out of my disdain for essay writing. It provided me with a tangible sense of pride and accomplishment, even if at the expense of university grades.
NHQ: I feel the same way about work. If I’m not totally invested in what I’m doing, it’s hard to put the focus and energy into it. What about music gives you that sense of fulfillment other things couldn’t?
T: I love that no one tells me what to make next, or how to make it sound. Music has ended up becoming a defined facet of me – and whatever I end up creating is something that I feel is true in the moment. Everything I experience in my life is the input, and everything I create is the output. There’s an undeniable beauty to that simple relationship. If I work hard to grow as a person, my music always grows with it. I feel that kind of personal journey is hard when you’re not working on yourself, for yourself; i.e. crunching numbers for a big paycheck.
NHQ: I remember us talking at Desert Hearts a few years ago about how you were looking for a new direction with your sound. It really seems like you found it. Can you talk about that moment at DH when you realized what kind of music you wanted to make
T: I think that moment was crucial because it was the first moment that I could no longer separate the music from the world around me. I had garnered a small amount of success in Europe prior to that with music that, although not ‘bad’, was not so much a part of who I was, but more of what I was around – and what I was around wasn’t as open, love driven and full of wonder.
This led me down a path of self discovery that I can only describe as pivotal to my journey as an artist. I don’t think I’ll ever categorically know what I want to make as a concrete concept, but I know now better how to recognise when something really inspires or excites me. The possibilities are endless when you’re honest to yourself and your desires.
NHQ: That must’ve been even more so the case with Burning Man this year. Did that give you the same sense of community as DH?
T: Burning Man was definitely a shock to the system. However much I thought I understood was I was in for beforehand, I had not anticipated the sheer level of physical, emotional and mental investment required to survive out in BRC for a whole week. I’ll be honest and say I’d overestimated my own personal strength, but, once I surrendered myself to my own vulnerabilities, I found a far deeper sense of calm and understanding within. After a midweek slump wherein which all I wanted was to be anywhere else, I got fed up of being fed up and came back swinging harder than ever. Those final two nights were nothing short of life changing and the personal growth that I witnessed has really stuck with me. I feel a zest for life like I’ve never experienced and have found myself to be so much more creative and patient in every aspect of my existence.
NHQ: That’s so amazing. I feel like I need that, too. I know attending a festival and playing a festival are two completely different vibes.
T: I stayed with the Pile Palace camp, who are made up of many of the same characters who make Desert Hearts such a special place, so I felt a real connection between the two entities. There was a real family feel to the camp and it was incredibly moving to see such connection and symbiosis between such a wealth of personal diversity. From my first moments at Pile Palace, I felt part of their TRIBE and I’m ever so grateful for how welcome everyone made me feel.
NHQ: That whole crew really is so tight-knit. You’ve been making some really introspective music for the past few years. Does the vibe you impart through your music come naturally or do you really have to dig deep in your creative process?
T: I feel that my music making process is relatively surface level. There is an immediacy to how I go about creating the things that I end up finishing. The music that I’ve ended up putting out over the years has always had a pretty direct link to an experience or connection in my life at the time. The best stuff I’ve made is what I’ve put out – and it was usually effortless and made without much thought or heartache. If I care about something too much, it ends up being forced and insincere.
NHQ: Overthinking can be just as detrimental as underthinking. How does this new EP coming up relate to your previous work?
T: The music may be different in some aspects, but the intentions behind it are identical. I’ve never presented more than two songs at once and so it’s really great to be able to share three contrasting sides of myself in one package.
This EP stands to represent my deep love for creating and sharing music with the people who it resonates with. By starting my own label, I’ve cut out the need for middlemen to approve of my work before it can reach an audience. No one in the industry will ever understand my vision like ME, so I decided to stop giving them a say in how I do what I do and take complete control in how I present and shape my output.
NHQ: You’re starting your own label! That’s awesome. How’s that process been, and what do you plan to do differently from other labels like those you’ve released on in the past?
T: It’s a great reminder about how rewarding it is to stick to your guns and refuse to settle. I want the best for my music and I feel that only by curating my own label, can I accurately craft the world I want my music to live in.
I want this label to serve as an emblem for my instinct and passion. It’s not about lots of releases or even a particular direction, rather a direct link to my heart and desires artistically. If I choose to sign a project from another artists, you can bet your bottom dollar it is something that I really, really care about and I will do my absolute best to ensure it is given the respect it deserves.
NHQ: Do you have any other releases lined up so far?
T: None whatsoever. But they’ll come along ❤
NHQ: Can you talk a bit about the art direction of your new label?
T: I wanted Glitter Cowboy to reflect the elegance of a fashion house but maintain the ruggedness of the deserts where the idea was conceived. I’m a huge proponent of minimalism and I wanted that to be apparent in how I painted this new world.
NHQ: Minimalism is such an under-appreciated art, and when people try to do it they usually miss the whole point of it. Minimalism isn’t just making arranging simple shapes in black and white; it’s conveying meaning with as little as possible. I feel like your music does that in a great way. The elements you include, although few, work in harmony together to actualize far grander and abstract concepts.
The TÂCHES project had a bit of a mysterious, anonymous element to it. Why was that and will you keep it going forward?
T: Mystery was a large part to the aesthetic in the beginning and I didn’t put my face or identity to the project until roughly three years in, however, that anonymity was never meant to be a key element to the project. I just valued the detachment at the time.
It’s not like I’m uninterested in the mystery anymore, but I’ve found myself leaning more towards the concept of being open, unapologetically passionate and driven by love (Goddamn hippy).
NHQ: Hahaha. Hippies make the love go ’round, like ground zero for the world’s happiness. Foundational structures.
How’s LA treating you? I feel like a lot of musicians who move here feel they need to live and be a certain way to be successful. You seem like the kind of person to completely disregard that and do things your own way.
T: Over the past three years, I’ve split my time between Barcelona, where I was living, and LA, where I would come and exist on peoples sofas for a few months at a time. There was a palpable difference between these two sides of my life that was rooted far deeper than in just geography.
I loved life in both places, but I would only really live it in LA. Every time I would go back to Europe I would stagnate comfortably.
In LA, however, I am so explosively alive it borders on being tiring – which is exactly what I need to keep growing. The people I surround myself with are all striving for the same thing but in different directions. This means that there is no moment that my exposure to creativity stops.
The people I live with are incredible human beings, and we all share the same passion for throwing exuberant themed dinner parties and doing things simply because ‘why not?’. Last night, I watched a swathe of black paint dry with my housemate and it was both hilarious and thought provoking. The abundance of ideas out here takes the concept of creation off of its pedestal, blurring the line between art and life.
I’m generally impulsive and erratic as a person, but when I set that energy in the right direction and am surrounded by people who welcome my eccentricities with open arms, I feel capable of doing so much more for myself and those around me.
NHQ: Any plans for a tour in the works?
T: Not yet haha. I need an agent before I start forming big plans like that. I’m hoping by taking it back grassroots and just doing me with my label, the right agent will find me.
NHQ: What have you got for us today with the MiniMix?
T: The MiniMix is a harmonically mixed selection of some of my favourite releases I’ve put out in the past year and a bit. I’ve only recently come to free myself of listening to my music so critically and so this also serves as a reminder to myself to be more proud of my work. Over the years, I’ve rarely played my own stuff in sets, but I’m making a conscious effort to fuse what I make and what inspired me to make it in my performances. Watch this space; life in progress.
TÂCHES MiniMix Tracklist:
TÂCHES – Dear Ishiv (Part I)
Human Movement – Right Thang (TÂCHES Remix)
TÂCHES – Mi Destino (Ft. INGA)
TÂCHES x Eli & Fur – Lookalike
TÂCHES – Intentions
TÂCHES – Milk
Marbs – Tusks & Tales (TÂCHES Discovers Keyboards Remix)
Catch him playing at a few California dates in the coming months.