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Interview: Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy, the New Jersey/New York producer with a sweet ear for high-tempo remixes, released his first EP of original material last month on Hippos in Tanks. Stream the EP, called Safety Net, below, buy it on iTunes and check out our interview beneath it.

How did the EP come about? Hippos In Tanks approached me in the early summer of 2010 because I was friends with Laurel Halo and she had put them onto me to do a remix. I did a couple remixes and started talking to Barron [Machat, the label’s CEO]. I was supposed to hand in a record in like, August of 2010, but it just didn't come together. I basically worked on it from then until April of this year. I'm a really, really slow producer. Barron had to squeeze me back onto the release schedule because I had kind of just said, Let me get it to you when I get it to you.

Was that like a weight hanging over you? A little bit, because my earliest tracks were basically all really quick Traktor edits, like the Alicia Keys stuff. When I started using Ableton, I became a total anal retentive perfectionist. I was just holding myself to these really high standards. A lot of people I know will put out a ton of records or put out these quick things, but I wanted to wait until I had something that I felt really good about.

What's up with the urban cowboy thing? A little of it came from my personal style of being a little bit rustic. Then I guess it was—so many people do these kind of CG, appropriation-heavy covers, which I do like, but I wanted mine to be a little bit unique. So many producers are scared to put their face on their records. People want personality, and they want to see who they're a fan of.

Pitchfork's review of the EP linked you to this internet community of producers. Is that a meaningful thing for you? I don't want to be too negative, but I will say that people spend a little too much time focusing on trying to invent these imaginary scenes and micro-genres and trends instead of taking the music a little more at face value. I totally understand the internet artist thing because I would not exist without the internet. I would be in a bad garage rock band. But I think if they came to New York and came to the parties that we do every single week they would see that the music doesn't have its roots in just this Soundcloud world. It's about taking all that music that we have access to that is provided by the internet and then playing it on a sound system. It's not that me or any of the artists who are into this poly-genre pollination stuff don't want to take house music out of the clubs and put it on the internet, it's that we were given house music by the internet, and now we want to take it and put it back in the clubs.

Interview: Physical Therapy