Huerco S. Talks New Ambient Album: "Audio Xanax for the Masses"

Huerco S.
Huerco S. Photo courtesy of artist
In merely four years, Huerco S., AKA Brian Leeds, has emerged from obscurity as an experimental Kansas City producer and claimed a coveted spot on Pitchfork's "50 Best Albums" list in 2016.

For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), Leed's sophomore slab on the Proibito label, is not for everyone. But discerning listeners with a seasoned appreciation for ambient electronica are hailing the LP for its intricate if nuanced sound design and deeply contemplative hypnagogic qualities.

Of course, Huerco S. isn't here just to help you zone out and have lucid dreams. His eclectic DJ sets will make your feet move while expanding your mind. See for yourself when he throws down at the Electric Pickle with Miami's More or Less crew this Saturday. But in the meantime, find out what he had to tell New Times about his musical roots, creative process, and the highly lauded new album.

New Times: What did you grow up listening to? How did you get drawn to electronic music?

Huerco S.: I primarily listened to punk and hardcore growing up. It wasn't until I was 15 or 16 that I heard electronic music per se. I think it was right around that first self-titled Burial album in 2006, as well as my friend showing me drum 'n' bass.

Are there any specific artists, records, or music styles you consider most influential and formative to your sound?
Moritz von Oswald, Mark Ernestus, Jon Hassell, Éliane Radigue, and nature.

When we think of Kansas, we picture a location that is pretty isolated. How did growing up there shape your musical sensibilities?
You'd be right in saying that it's isolated from the hubs of culture. But I think from this isolation, a certain kind of person is created. Kansas City and the Midwest in general had their fair share of raves and parties, albeit before my time. So I think it forced people into throwing DIY parties wherever they could: an Eagles' lodge, a farm in the countryside, a gym. I guess just the idea that if you wanted something, you pretty much had to make it happen yourself really shaped my attitude growing up. There obviously wasn't tons of electronic music in the Midwest, so I turned to the internet and found my own scene.

What can you tell us about your creative process in the studio?

Nothing is formulated before each session. I rely on spontaneity to catch my ears off-guard. This spontaneous quality is shared by both ambient and dance music.

Your latest album does away with percussion and conventional dance music structures. Did you have a specific aesthetic vision?
I really just wanted to make something soothing for my own needs, and from this developed a bit of a narrative. I've been told by listeners that they put it on in intimate moments, sunrise walks, lights off at home on the floor, 30,000 feet in the air — audio Xanax for the masses.

So what's next for you on the production front? Any new projects or releases in 2017?
I'm sure some things will rear their heads this year, but as of now, I don't have anything concrete planned. I would love to just take my time and allow the beauty to come to me, and use this year gaining inspiration and working with others. I do intend to start my own music imprint this year — very excited about that.

We're excited to see you play Saturday. What is the Huerco S. DJ experience all about?
You can expect some hypnotic, tribal, and narcotic music in the styles of house, techno, electro, and disco.

More or Less presents Huerco S.
With Klauss Pelaez and Will Renuart. 10 p.m. Saturday, January 14, at the Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-456-5613; Tickets cost $10 to $20 via
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Sean Levisman