Galcher Lustwerk. The only thing smoother than his name rolling off the tongue is his music. Grabbing from house to jazz to techno to hip-hop, Galcher Lustwerk’s music is consistently inspired and inspiring – he’s connected with the much-hyped (and rightfully so) White Material label / crew, but there aren’t any other producers, American or otherwise, who sound like him. He’ll work up a dusty Theo Parrish-esque groove and drop some simplistic, Madlib-style raps over top, or get all happy mixing a field-recording into a tight shuffling beat. It’s all part of his world, from Wu-Tang to Rick Wilhite, and he is constantly working on tracks, carefully considered for both vinyl pressing and streaming online mixes. He seems so untouchably cool, I kinda figured he’d blow off my request for an interview (sadly it sometimes happens), but nope – Lustwerk was kind enough to oblige, a true gentleman through and through. Now if only I could peer into his vault of unreleased material…

First off, I don’t wanna pry too deep into personal inspiration on a topic like this, but can you comment on your name? Is it meant to be read as first name: Galcher, last name: Lustwerk? Is a French pronunciation necessary?
It’s a name and you can pronounce it any which way; it doesn’t matter.

I feel like your music exists in a very modern state of popularity, where there are thousands of people across the internet who are rabid fans of yours, but you might have difficulty drawing a crowd in smaller American cities like say, Louisville or Minneapolis. Do you think about that disconnect, what it’s like to be a coveted producer to so many across the internet, but also kind of anonymous in day-to-day life?
It’s cool, though. If I wanted to tour the rest of the country I would have to get Facebook and do photo-shoots and I’d have to rap more and curse more. I would have to demand even more attention online because Americans need to be marketed to. But the gigs I’m doing now are great, everything is cool. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing for awhile. Play clubs, put out music. Maybe get a Snapchat or something. I’m anti-social, I like being anonymous, so this current situation is manageable right now.

That’s an interesting point, about the American audience needing constant information on an artists, lest they be forgotten. Do you think music loses a little bit of its magic when the artist is constantly promoting themselves on Twitter or Facebook?
Definitely, and it’s a waste of time. People go crazy over social media.

Do you consider yourself part of an East Coast techno/house scene? Is there any specific aspect of say, Brooklyn techno, that you won’t find in Bristol or Detroit?
I can’t articulate on any scene, but one specific aspect about Brooklyn techno is how long it takes for everyone to get their records pressed, haha.

I get the impression that you have a ton of unreleased material, and only a small handful of records under your belt. Are you just incredibly picky with what you release, or is it more that you don’t have the finances available to press up all your tracks?
There is a lot of unreleased music, but there’s no rush, I’m patient. Gotta test everything out in the club, too. That takes time.

Is that a necessity for a Galcher Lustwerk track – it has to go over well in the club?
Gotta make sure it sounds good in that environment for the DJs, but how well it “goes over” is their problem. I got a lot less clubby stuff lying around, too. The most important thing is to keep creating. Progress is a necessity.

At what point did you decide to incorporate your vocals into your music – was that something you knew you were going to do the moment you started messing around with samplers and drum machines, or did that idea arrive later?
I’ve always tried vocals with different levels of success. I guess now I don’t try and force anything. Be as natural as possible. I can barely raise my voice, so it’s not like my range is all that. I just do what’s comfortable.

When you are actually in the process of making your music, are you nitpicking over smaller details in pursuit of perfection, or do you just try to get into a groove and let it flow without thinking too hard?
Just keep working on a thing until it’s right. Then mix it good.

Photo by Sean Revill

Is there anyone you look up to, when it comes to making music? Have you had any mentors who helped you figure out what you wanted to do?
Morgan Louis. He’s next up on White Material. Man, he’s gonna demolish all the clubs in Europe. Total destruction. He’s gonna be everybody’s favorite DJ. Everybody’s favorite producer, too. So good. When I first moved to Providence he had sort of a college night playing stuff like filter-house and electro and Jersey Club and stuff, so that’s where I got my chops DJing. I learned a lot about production from him, too. He still lives in Rhode Island but comes down to New York often, so I advise anyone who sees his name on a bill to go cause you will have a good time for sure.

Could you share something in particular you learned from him about production? Anything you’d want other producers to think about when they’re working in the studio, just for the benefit of music in general?
Haha, I dunno, I don’t remember much specifics. It’s more just like, tuning your ear better, listening more closely to the sound in an abstract sense, and not just as a collection of instruments and effects. Paying attention to dynamics. Also just be sure to listen to your tracks everywhere, on all types of speakers. Before, I was very punk about my approach to mixing because all I knew was bars or DIY venues with shitty PAs. I just figured things should sound noisy and harsh no matter what, but once you study sound more you can learn to only be harsh when you want to be, and have clarity when you want, unless the PA sucks. I think some people are naturally talented at these things, but I’ve had to learn over the years. I’ve been making music since like 1999 or 2000, it’s been a long road, haha. And it will never stop.

Is there any track, either of yours or someone else’s, that absolutely never fails in a club setting, no matter what the crowd is like?
Yeah, there’s an edit I made, I think Sarah Miles is the only other DJ who’s got it. I saw her play it at Farbfernseher in Berlin and the place went mad. You could play it at a high school dance and same shit would happen. No askin’ around for it either, haha!

White Material hasn’t put out a ton of records yet, but the word is definitely out. Do you think quality control has been a really important factor? Does everyone involved with White Material have to be 100% behind everything released on the imprint, or is it more of a blanket label for any of the things you’re all interested in releasing?
Young Male and DJ Richard run the label. It takes awhile to press records here in New York, and you gotta have some real cash-flow to be constantly putting records out. But downtime is good. It lets people sit on their tracks longer and decide how they want to present themselves, so yes I guess that’s a form of quality control. But for me, I’ll let them listen to my stuff and I get their feedback. “Tape 22” wasn’t my first choice by a long shot. But Young Male insisted, and it turned out to be a good call.

Tape 22 is currently pretty pricey on the secondary market – how do you feel about that? Do you wish everyone who ever wanted a copy of your record could pay ten dollars for it, or are you cool with records being in-demand to the point where people will pay collector’s prices?
Represses are coming so the price will be back to normal soon. I don’t care about collectors at all. These records are made to play out. I abuse the all the records I buy. I’ll scratch the shit out of em till I can’t play em anymore.

Before you were making this music, did you come up in the punk/DIY scene? Are you into much rock music?
I was what you would call a skater kid, so in turn I was exposed to a lot of punk and hardcore as a teenager. I don’t listen to much of it anymore cause it’s too nostalgic. I’ve been making electronic music since way before all of this, though. The rock thing was like a phase. Nowadays I just listen to rap music and my own stuff… and The Sea and Cake.

What’s next release-wise for yourself? Have you thought about a cohesive album release, or are you sticking with singles for the time being?
Yeah I definitely have enough material for several albums, but it’s all a matter of editing down. It would be sick to do an album. Almost every day I listen to like thirty or forty of my own tracks, and there’s a lot to think about, and a lot of research to do. I would want the artwork and any supplementary material to be properly considered as well. When you put in the work, it pays off and then all of a sudden you get a dope record! But yeah to be more specific, it will be on White Material sometime next year. There may be more releases related to me coming out this year, but new Galcher material will be next year. Right now I’m preparing to DJ a bunch of parties in the fall. I’ve been looking for some records to buy, but the problem is I can’t stop downloading rap mixtapes…