Interview: Ron Morelli

A interview with L.I.E.S. label boss Ron Morelli about his debut album, Spit.

Photographer Bryan Derballa
November 15, 2013

The L.I.E.S. label head releases his debut album and it is hard as hell

Though Ron Morelli has released an ever-increasing number of records from a globe-spanning crew via his L.I.E.S. label, his own output as an artist has been small. That changes now, with Spit, a fairly brutal collection of tracks that do not fit easily into any genre heap. That's a good thing. Some tracks sound like they could fit in with L.I.E.S., some tracks sound like a broken trash compactor. Spit is out now on Hospital Records. Morelli spoke with us about the album via email from his new home in Paris. Read the interview below, and check out FADER's feature about L.I.E.S. along with our oral history of the label.

Why not release your debut album on L.I.E.S.? Why work with Hospital? Dom simply proposed I make a record for him. If he did not ask, then I would not have done it.

This is a harsh record. How come? Well, that's just what came out. I submitted about 20-plus tracks—some leaning towards a more gnarly vibe, some not. There is another record from these sessions that will come out next year which is a bit more subdued.

Some of the songs—I'm thinking specifically of "Sledgehammer"—seem to operate far outside the realm of techno. In fact, they sound closer to noise or industrial. How did you get there? What did you want to accomplish? All of the songs or whatever they are, as they are not really "songs"—they're made without intent. They are the victims of their own doing, and end up dictating themselves. You turn the machines on, mess with them, and what happens, happens. You can't think about it too much. "Sledgehammer II," for instance, was a field recording. I took this 15-second recording, threw it into the computer and messed with it until it sounded like something that made sense for what it was. Then it was done.

How did your environment, NYC or Paris, affect the sound? I don't think NYC or Paris affected the actual sound per say, as in the actual textures of the music. More so these environments affected the approach taken to the recording and the mindset. You live in a city and you're in a crunch; it's feet to the pavement always and the crush is always on. So more so I think being in these cities during the recording lent to the immediacy and urgency of getting it done and getting it done quick, rather than taking a month in a secluded cabin in the woods and letting everything breathe.

What do you like and dislike about the current techno universe? I'm just a lover and huge fan of music across the board—don't know shit about techno. I follow it all but could care less about the politics and jabber, I just wanna hear heavy cuts. I ignore what I don't care for and praise what I love.

What's your ideal zone to listen to this record? Time, place, etc.? I have no idea. This is a very schizophrenic collection. To me, it's less of an album and more of a collection of tracks on two sides of a record. You know Led Zeppelin IV is an "album," Black Sabbath Paranoid is an "album,, Kraftwerk Man Machine—these are albums. Complete start to finish listening experiences that take you from point A to point Z. There's no "Black Dog" on Spit, and surely no "Stairway to Heaven," unfortunately. So yeah, it's not a listening experience—more like a 21st century, throw-it-on-and-get-distracted-by-something-else, come-back-in-15-minutes-and-throw-on-another-track kind of record.

Do you want to DJ these tracks? If the time is right.

Why keep this release so low-key? L.I.E.S. has been so popular on its own, and many people and the artists point that back to you, but lots of people don't know you make music. I'm not one to shout about my own bullshit. I would leave that to the label to let people know that there is an album coming out.

What is making you excited in culture now? Music or otherwise. In culture? Everything. I love seeing the world fall apart in front of my eye—it's great. Things just keep getting heavier. It's all gonna come crashing down; everyone's number is gonna be up soon, for sure. Music-wise? Everything is exciting me. It's all been blown wide-open. There are so many great artists, projects, releases from all over the world, I can't even keep up with it—it's way crazy to me. I'm much...can't even begin to name things.It's mega-inspiring. But yeah, the world—the world is gonna end. Vlad TV is dope too...get a laugh in before you die.

Interview: Ron Morelli