Bruce Smear | “Junktion”

2 PRESS FINAL Bruce Smear web

Introducing Bruce Smear! A New York-based producer with more gripping pop energy than a Sprite celebrity basketball tournament. We were lucky enough to get a premiere and free download of his brand new track “Junktion” off of his forthcoming EP. We also sat down with Smear to find out how he keeps his music so lively.

Chlorine EP:

1. Intro
2. Pick & Roll
3. Junktion
4. Touchy
5. Rodeo

The EP has some subtle references to each track’s subject matter and some very literal ones. How important is sampling to you in telling a story?

The practice of sampling is crucial to my songwriting process, which in some cases may the take form of a narrative. Every Smear track is assembled from found sounds and snippets, all coalescing into a textural blob. Occasionally the aural fragments used are literal, and occasionally they are abstract. What is most important is how they twist around one another – this is what creates the song titles. In “Rodeo”, you have all these off kilter vocal and percussive elements manically wobbling around one another like a drunken cowboy on a bull, and on “Pick & Roll” the beat kinda gets twitchy and dodgy like you’re trying to juke Kobe. Smear is about squeezing samples into physical motion.

These literal references seem to imply a visual element to the music that doesn’t exist yet. What are the plans for that?

To me, the Smear universe has always been a vivid one. The way it looks is equally important to the way it sounds, and it has to be tangible and believable. When I’m writing new tracks, both senses usually augment one another to bring the overall aesthetic into focus. In order to bring this visual world to life, I’m currently working with a few designers and directors who will be unveiling more material in the upcoming months.

1 PRESS FINAL Bruce Smear web

Smear is a lot of fun! How does it relate to your music?

Thanks Finn! TOTALLY. Above all else, Smear needs to be fun. In the same spirit as pioneers like Mr. Fingers and Frankie Knuckles, I wanted something playful and suggestive. You gotta stay loose and sweaty; Smear fits that bill. From a literal standpoint, I’d say ‘Smear’ is sound collaging. Stretching and bending sounds into a new whole, like smearing colors on a painter’s palette. Oh yeah, and if you were ever curious about the origins of “Bruce”, let’s just say I’ve watched The Fifth Element more than a few times.

Every single one of the track titles on the EP refer to intense movement of bodies. Is music very physical to you?

Dance music is definitely a kinesthetic experience. At its core, I consider Chlorine to be a dance record. Each track has a distinct style which can conjure up its own specialized choreography. I would encourage anyone that listens to the record to break a sweat and experiment away. In addition, making a dance record boils down to me being a product of my environment. Beat driven music comes naturally when you’re power walking that BPM range all day in New York. Maybe I was subconsciously generating a subway soundtrack?

BRUCE SMEAR chlorine ep web

What about smell? The EP title Chlorine seems to suggest an interest with introducing an extra sense, or at least creating the idea of something harsh and substantial. Were any other smells or common disinfectants considered as titles?

In an attempt to make the Smear universe a more immersive experience, I wanted to add more sensory stimulation to the equation. I felt like the visual and aural ideas were prominent enough, but something more was needed for a listener wandering around the alien world of Chlorine. I loved the idea of this future world having a foreign atmosphere, one which was not dissimilar from our own, but with a minor alteration: an eerie chlorine smell in the air. Kind of like a bleachy sweetness that was ominous, yet welcoming. Almost like laughing gas. The more manic Chlorine becomes, the better.

Speaking of smell, do you listen to Perfume?

Just getting a whiff now, this kills…where have they been all my life?

Your sound world seems to be somewhere between the manic maximalist pop stylings of Max Tundra  and the club-oriented sounds of the Night Slugs boys. Do you have any plans to yank it out of club world by using vocalists on your songs?

Funny you should mention! Smear is very open to the idea…so much so that I foresee an adaptation of “Junktion” in the near future which may feature some vocal talent. I’ll keep y’all posted!

Chlorine is out August 26 on Joel Ford & Patrick McDermott’s label, Driftless Recordings.

Recent Posts


What is a piece of clothing that “works”? Who is working whom? Is the one who poses the one who actually “works” hardest? The S/S 2017 collection of Berlin-based, Swedish- Vietnamese designer NHU DUONG entitled ‘WORK COLLECTION’ plays with the ideas of professionalism, leisure and appropriateness through a range of garments that are inspired by work outfits and hobby uniforms. Overalls, raw denim outfits, kung-fu pyjamas, biker pants, baggy tights and gloves, bomber-jackets, bomber suits,… [read more »]

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene | Agustina Zegers

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene is a text made up of living exercises to accompany Haraway’s theorization of the Chthulucene and her upcoming book Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Haraway posits that not only should we name the Anthropocene carefully (including the terms Capitalocene and Plantationocene within its narrative) but that we should also be using this crucial ecological timeframe to move towards a dynamically multi-species, “sym-chtonic“, sym-poietic future: the Chthulucene.… [read more »]

Laboria Cuboniks in Conversation

Laboria Cuboniks is currently a group of 6 women working together online to redefine a feminism adequate to the twenty-first century. They collectively wrote Xenofeminsim: A Politics for Alienation in 2014. Here, in conversation with Postcontemporary Issue guest editors Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik they discuss the dissatisfactions and limitations of historical feminism and the importance of theorizing “the future” as a feminist project. Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: The initial formulation of your political… [read more »]

Situating Global Forms: An Anthropology of Cosmopolitan Science

Aihwa Ong, interviewed by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik Constructing Globality Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: Your anthropological research pays close attention to specific emerging and inventive configurations of globally-constituted modernization, particularly in East Asia and its diaspora. Throughout this work you identity many ways in which ‘things that used to be fused together — identity, entitlement, territoriality, and nationality — are being taken apart and realigned in innovative relationships and spaces by neoliberal technologies… [read more »]

Ways Of Living ⎮ Arcadia Missa

Ways of Living, curated by the team behind Arcadia Missa, moves beyond the home as a site of political contestation and into the working place, the artist studio, the public sphere, and nature. While so-called ‘social practice’ taught us that any attempt of art to engage with issues outside its own institutional reality are easily coopted into the mythologizing machinery of individualism and patriarchy, art still possesses an ability to address issues far beyond the… [read more »]

What is at Stake in the Future? | Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek

Every ‘future’ inscribes a demand upon the present. This is so whether at the level of human imagination, or within the sphere of political or aesthetic action necessary to reach towards their realisation. Futures make explicit the implicit contents of our own times, crystallising trajectories, tendencies, projects, theories and contingencies. Moreover, futures map the absent within the present, the presents which could never come into actuality, the wreckage of dreams past and desires vanquished. Futures… [read more »]

Dog Plays | Hayley Silverman

Hayley Silverman’s “Dog Plays,” an ongoing series in which a cast of untrained dogs take on the role of characters from a range of pop-culture texts, disrupt the canon of identities traditionally represented in Hollywood as they are re-inhabited by animals. Calling on artifacts ranging from Richard Linklater films, to science-fiction thrillers, to Depression-era musicals that rhapsodize class difference, these performances investigate how our understanding of narrative, authority and identity transforms when we project stories,… [read more »]

A poem by Ser Serpas

ripped apart you rip me apart collage million dead collage donde queda mi cuerpo el temporal como dios en mil partes clothing as point of impact a totem is a wrap around a city as it is engagement with one’s surroundings and engagement with that which has been worn out discarded and filtered into alms buckets and newly tagged i wear my surroundings on my feet when it wears out i see only my vantage… [read more »]

DISCREET Call for Participants

DISCREET – An Intelligence Agency for the People The 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art invites you to apply for one of fifteen spaces open to individuals interested in taking an active part in a three-week-long public workshop conceived of by Armen Avanessian and Alexander Martos for the formation and development of a civil secret service organization. Held from June 22 to July 11, 2016, the workshop brings together renegade experts from art, theory, technology,… [read more »]

Parent and Parroting | Nancy Lupo

Each year retail displays are readied in preparation for the gestation and labor of the catch-all holiday season before floating into a colorless postnatal celebration of mundane plenty. Capitalism’s sympathetic pregnancy makes for a cold and lifeless pas de deux, at times humorously inseparable from the vitality of social milestones. In Parent and Parroting, Nancy Lupo continues with a series of interventions into commercial products and industrialized food. Her interferences often reveal or reconfigure the… [read more »]