This week’s Friday Mixtape is by graphic designer Michael Satter. As a designer we’ve written about numerous times, whether it be about an identity he has worked on, a record sleeve or club posters for Oval Space and The Pickle Factory, we got the feeling that music was a driving force behind his design work, and we were right!
As Michael is also a DJ this week’s mixtape is one he has carefully curated for quite some time. Titled Chambers of Reflection, spanning over an hour and a half and sliced together seamlessly, it’s a mix to start your day to or even save until you’re hungover on Sunday afternoon. Below we chat to Michael about his varied music taste and the records, clubs and mixtapes that have informed his design career.
Why have you picked these songs, what do they remind you of or make you feel?
I’ve been listening and digging through all sorts of music for a long time. I work as a graphic designer but I also DJ sometimes and most of the music I play is House. I really love it, but I am also into other genres too. I have folders full of all sorts of rare music, folk, ambient, new age 80s stuff, soundtracks, rare boogie and cold wave to name a few. For this mix, I started with some quiet and peaceful ambient tracks and ended up with some Japanese avant-garde funk. I let the flow decide what comes next and came up with this mix as a result.
When or where should this mixtape be listened to?
I think it works really well when you’re starting your day while having a coffee or beginning to work. But, it could also be listened to on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Are there certain albums you listen to during the different parts of your creative process?
As a child and teenager I was really into particular albums (listed in the next question), but beside this, I was also very influenced by music from the radio and the 80s.
In the early ’90s, I listened to a lot of mixtapes from a club called Milk! Most of those mixes had some bleepy UK rave music on it but they also played house or even trance. Listening to this had a huge impact on me. During this time I was a bit too young to get into this club, but listening to those tapes made me dream of the party. I remember that there was a part of the mix where you could hear the people screaming while playing a song, it was this one Liquid is Liquid by Liquid. I imagined the whole atmosphere. The people, the architecture of the club, the energy of the party, the fashion, even the VIP cards some guys used to wear as a pendant, all these details. Because some of the tracks on those tapes used some samples from other songs I also got interested in the original versions, trying to find out what they were. For instance, I Need Your Love (like the sunshine) the N.R.G original mix from 1992, uses the sample Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime by The Korgis.
Researching this music was very important because I was always on the search with an open mind for something new. From this, I discovered so many great musicians and genres. In my 20s I really got hooked on disco music played in the Paradise Garage, Italo Disco and Chicago House and I started to search for some rare mixes around this time. The internet made it possible to find information but not as easy as it is today. Nevertheless, I did and collected all kind of things like photographs, interviews, history of clubs DJs and collected rare flyers, VIP cards, mixtapes and album covers. I think this had a strong influence on my creative process.
What records did you listen to as a teenager?
Off the Wall and Thriller by Michael Jackson, True Blue by Madonna, Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses and Nevermind by Nirvana.
If a feature film about your life was to be made, what song would be on the trailer and why?
This is a hard question, maybe Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears.
Culatra Island – Dolphins Into The Future
Hiroshi Yoshimura –_ Green_
Midori Takada – Mr Henri Rousseau’s Dream
Suzanne Kraft – Renee Sleeping
Smith & Mudd – Wem
Coti K – Θέρος
The Orb – LIttle Fluffy Clouds (Cumulo Nimbus Mix)
The Primitive Painter – Invisible Landscapes
Soichi Terada – How Does It Work
Innocence – Natural Thing
Maya – |Lait De Coco (Dub)
Maxx Mann – Bloody and Blue (inst.)
Colored Music – Colored Music
Chiemi Manabe – Untotooku (真鍋ちえみ – うんととおく)
Polaris – Aragon
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.