Inland (real name Ed Davenport) is a British producer, DJ and founder of Counterchange Recordings based in Berlin. Known for his detailed and explorative techno, he’s released numerous EPs on his home label Counterchange which was set up in 2013, appeared on Ostgut Ton, Figure, Infrastructure and Nonplus, and released his debut LP on Ostgut Ton sub-label A-TON, an Audio-Visual collaboration with conceptual artist Julian Charrière.
In recent years Davenport has gravitated more and more towards the contemporary art world, finding inspiration in the fruitful cross-pollination happening in Berlin’s art and music scenes. Earlier sound design collaborations with Charrière have been exhibited in institutions in Lausanne (‘Somewhere’, 2014), Vienna (‘Iroojrilik’, 2017) and Mainz (‘An Invitation To Disappear’, 2018) while Davenport also made a soundtrack for duo Wermke / Leinkauf’s ‘4. Halbzeit’ video installation – part of the prestigious Berliner Herbstsalon at the Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin 2017. In 2019 soundtracked a video installation for Mischa Leinkauf’s first ever solo show, ‘Fiction Einer Nicht-Einreise’, at Gallerie Alexander Levy, Berlin.
We got a chance to speak to Davenport about Stream State, his largest project to date, conceived as a “celebration of the DJ mix / compilation format”, is a behemoth of techno, showcasing the best styles on offer currently.
You’ve worked with some fantastic artists between your label and your own productions. Do you have any particular stand out moments in your career so far within collaborations?
There have been so many inspiring moments shared, it’s hard to single any one out, but I’m super proud and happy to have a roster of artists like this for the label now – for me running a label is vey much about creating a community spirit and team, not just a singular show. To be trusted by some super respected artists to release their music is really humbling!
Working with other labels is different to working on your own one. What is the main thing that attracts you to working with a particular label in order to release your music through them?
There really has to be mutual trust and respect – of course a label’s catalogue and reach is very important, but it all comes down to the professionalism of the individuals behind the scenes. I’ve had some bad experiences over the years, but actually some very good ones too, so you learn to read the signals when you start working with people and listen to your gut.
Counterchange has had some fantastic records released since its inception. When releasing music on Counterchange, is there a sonic identity that is unique to the label?
I would say it’s always changing and developing, but I’m a sucker for classic, driving, chordy, deeper techno with a focus on the dancefloor. Although I play out a lot of styles in my DJ sets, I think that the music I release on Counterchange generally fits within the ethos of ‘timeless’ club music. I try not to jump on trends, rather consider carefully if a certain record will still sound good in 10 years time, or more!
Do you have a different approach to music from behind the decks to within the studio, or is there a constant personal identity that you identify within all music that you play?
I don’t think about it that deeply, honestly. As I DJ I just select music from the heart, and with an instinctive feel for what works and what will shine within my current sets. I like to look for stand out moments and build around that. I’m always happy if I have that ‘one’ new standout track to play at each gig (at least one) – whether it’s one of my own new tracks, something from a friend, or an edit I’ve done from an old record.
Do you approach artists to release music on Counterchange, or do they come to you?
Yes, but almost all of them are friends, or respected colleagues I’ve got to know over the years – bumping into each other in airports, clubs and DJ dinners. I love that aspect of our scene, there’s a mutual respect and camaraderie about being in these bizarre situations – a long car ride to a gig, or a train journey home – they can be the source of great friendships and collaborations! I’m receiving more and more demos too, not just from newcomers but also from cemented artists in the scene, so that’s exciting.
Stream State is the largest project to date on Counterchange. It features artists that have previously released on the label, but also a lot of new faces. How did you approach the project’s creation?
I had been planning a compilation for 2020 for a while, and once I started reaching out to the artists for tracks it just kept growing. I thought, let’s be ambitious, and create a little vibe here, a team effort, and run with it. I had also always dreamed of creating a party concept – something to build on and curate – so now we have put together the Stream State tour with a handful of dates where I invited artists from the compilation. Next up on march 13th we have our big party at about blank in Berlin, and then the night after at Ifz in Leipzig.
Jamaica Suk – Drumtaktics is a definite highlight of Stream State. What was your favourite point of the record?
Honestly every track included is very close to my heart. I played them all out in the clubs and tested them to be sure they sound great, and in many cases I worked with the artists closely to workshop different versions, edits, mix-downs etc. So, I went deeper than ever before with a release on the label, and with 20 tracks that resulted in a lot of work, but I feel like it paid off as the reaction to the music has been overwhelming.
It’s early in the year, but this will surely be considered one of the top mix records of the year. Renaissance and, in recent years, Fabric, have pushed the mix CD to unparallelled heights. How important do you think that mix CDs/records are within the realm of electronic music?
Thank you! The mix CD culture with Techno and House is hugely important, as it’s the best way to connect the art of production with the art of entertaining an audience as a DJ – and I’m happy the format still has legs. Now with the fully digitalised era we also have the luxury (and often overload) of an endless supply of mixes to choose from, so the pressure is high to make a mix connect and really spread organically.
Best of luck with the upcoming events, and thank you for taking the time to speak to Monument.
Thanks for having me, respect!
You can catch Inland presenting Stream State in Berlin in ://about blank on the 13th of March and in Leipzig in Institut fur Zukunft on the 14th of March. Stream Stream State in full below via Counterchange’s Soundcloud, and check out our review of Stream State.