SCRAAATCH is the project of digital art and music duo E. Jane and chukwumaa. The pair started collaborating in 2013 in Washington DC before moving to Philadelphia, where they are both currently in the process of finishing MFAs in Fine Art. "We’ve been looking up to Mendi+Keith Obadike, early pioneers of digital performance and sound," E. Jane tells The FADER over email.
Ahead of their performance at New York's MoCADA with Chino Amobi this Saturday January 9, SCRAAATCH have rustled up an exquisite FADER Mix to reconfigure your innards to a 2016 setting. It kicks off, however, with a potent blast from the past: a rightfully indignant Whitney Houston giving Wendy Williams a dressing down on her radio show back in 2003. "Ask me no questions like I'm a child," Houston says in response to probing questions about drug use. "Y'all wanna know what I'm doing all the time? I don't give a shit about what you doing all the time." From there, SCRAAATCH provide a masterclass in invigorating listening, blending cuts from Kelela, Haleek Maul, Elysia Crampton, and ANGEL-HO with jagged samples and unnerving sirens. Listen below, and scroll down to get to know the Philly duo.
Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings.
E: In an attic loft in West Philly, sitting on a futon, double fisting a laptop, desktop and iPod. There’s a bird in the skylight above me (it freaked me out for a bit). I can hear sirens faintly in the background, every two hours or so.
c: In an attic loft in West Philly, sitting on a futon, fumbling with audio cables. There’s a hum from the AC unit above me (it always floats in and out of my attention). I can feel the cold air faintly through the floorboards, every few minutes or so.
Tell us a bit about this mix—what do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
E: A fugitive traveling through the night.
c: Having a fever dream.
What did 2015 teach you?
E: Resistance is my futurity.
c: There’s no sound without friction.
What are SCRAAATCH's plans for 2016?
We’re graduating and we’ll also be doing some more NON showcases as well as Kahlon in Baltimore (xoxo Abdu!). chukwumaa is developing a couple sculptural performance pieces. E. is showing a video piece at the end of this month at Edel Assanti in London. They’ll be featured along our friends Yulan Grant and Devin Kenny, amongst others, in a group show curated by Jesse Hlebo titled "people sometimes, die". And of course, more ATM [#ATMDATA].
You're performing with Chino Amobi at MoCADA this Saturday. Can we look forward to a NON release?
E: One of my alter egos (Mhysa) has already released on NON and more things are coming.
c: ...from all sides.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you? And why?
E: Wild Seed by Octavia Butler. Last year, when I first got to grad school and felt pretty lost in my artistic production, Lorna Simpson told me to read Wild Seed and I did and it really changed everything for me. Anyanwu and Doro are also the ultimate shape-shifting, pre/post-cyborg fugitives.
c: Sonic Warfare by Steve Goodman has been really helpful in introducing me to some key ideas and writers dealing with sound, but really I think my best books are ahead of me! This is tangential, but I’m really looking for more Black writers who deal with electronic and experimental forms of music. I was recently in a workshop on Julius Eastman and damn near cried thinking about how he was creating at the same time as folks like John Cage, but had such a small critical reception and died mostly in obscurity. We need more people.
And finally, what's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
E: I really like to make big pots of black bean chili with ground lamb. I like to take about 3-4 hours that I can devote just to cooking it, take my time like I’m back in Maryland living slow. chukwumaa helps me by cutting up all the vegetables.
c: I’m a Domino's Coupon Don.
Mhysa - Jezebel [prod. SCRAAATCH]
Arca - Alive
Haleek Maul - LOVE [Prod. Dubbel Dutch & Shy Guy]
ANGEL-HO - GREY AREA
Zutzut x Rabit - Otra Vez Hex (Fez Momo Edit)
Lechuga Zafiro - agua y puerta
Kelela - DOWN ACTIONS, LOW KEY CHILDISH THOUGH TF
Paris Suit Yourself - I'll Let You Know
Exit Sense - Weib, siehe, das ist dein Sohn
Photek - Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu (Two Swords Technique)
E_SCRAAATCH - Incase
Timbaland - Break Ya Back (Instrumental)
Born In Flamez - Dreams (CYPHR remix)
Beek - Nobody
Eydie Gorme & Steve Lawrence - Black Hole Sun
Chino Amobi - New York Will Not Save You
Gary Mason - K holed
Nacy Holt & Richard Serra - Boomerang
Elysia Crampton - Guns&Synths [Remix] for Lamia Beard RIP
New Impressionz - Don’t Say You Will