An Interview with Kurt Gluck AKA Submerged

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Kurt Gluck | Discography | Discogs

The plague is upon us, but Kurt Gluck, AKA Submerged, isn’t too worried. In fact, he’s come to learn that he actually prefers isolation.

Kurt has been in the game since the mid-90s, spinning records and creating some truly eclectic music as DJ Submerged and via his Ohm Resistance label if you’re interested in learning more about that, head over to their Bandcamp here.

So, today I’ve got one Kurt Gluck with us. Kurt is a fascinating person, and I was happy to have a moment to chat with him. I think you’ll enjoy it too. We dig into Kurt’s early years as a DJ, the beginnings of his label, his favorite record shop in the world, and more. Dig it.

Andrew:
Kurt, thank you for taking the time to speak with us here. It’s been such an odd time. How are you holding up during this seemingly ever raging dumpster fire?

Kurt:
Actually, I’m having the best years of my life. Isolation doesn’t bother me at all. I used to be very extroverted, but over time that has passed. I tire of the inadequacy and narcissism of the common mortal. I’ve gotten married, had a beautiful daughter, learned valuable new skills, and moved to an island that requires a ferry to access. I’m having the time of my life.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about your background, your musical origins, so to speak? What came first, “the music or the misery?” Haha. How did it all begin for you?

Kurt:
I have been a trained musician since the age of 8. I learned piano and clarinet first, and then eventually became interested in the world of modern marketed music in early youth, and then Electronic music at age 17.

Andrew:
How about vinyl? When did that come into play? What got you hooked?

Kurt:
I started buying records in 1996, started trying to DJ in 1997, and played regularly by 1998, both live and as a vinyl DJ. The first amen track I heard was PCM’s remix of Scorn’s “The End,” and it was a wrap when I heard that break. It was all jungle from there on for a good while.

Ohm Resistance | Top DnB : Drum & Bass

Andrew:
You’re a DJ, an Electronic musician, and the founder of Ohm Resistance. Let’s talk about Ohm first. How did the label come about? What’s the backstory?

Kurt:
Mick Harris and I got in touch, and I showed up at The Box in Birmingham to make music for the pleasure of it. Not realizing the path it would set me on in life, I asked my friend Mark Filip, with whom I was working on a Downtempo label, Collision Substance, setting up with me a vinyl label for Drum ‘n Bass since we had these tracks and Temulent’s record soon after. Ohm Resistance was born in 1999.

Andrew:
How about your work as a DJ? How did that begin for you? What got you into DJing? As a DJ, you go by Submerged. How did the moniker develop?

Kurt:
I’ve DJed under Submerged since 1998 publicly. I have played all over the world, from Novosibirsk to São Paulo, to Tallinn, to Berlin, to Brooklyn, to Portland. I am available for international private parties.

Andrew:
Let’s dive into your new EP Distortion, which you collaborated on with Mick Harris. Tell us more about the new release. What was the inspiration? How did the recording process go, given that COVID has basically arrested our lives until further notice?

Kurt:
I was given the information that Kool Keith was looking for collaboration. As he had recorded previously at Studio G Brooklyn, of which I was an investor-owner during its expansion, I thought it would be cool to get him on the track, as Keith is a huge influence and my favorite rapper. So, with Mick having a Scorn album coming out and me having a bassline in the pocket I wanted to send him anyhow, the synchronicity was there. We set it up to happen at Studio G. Mick recorded his beat in Birmingham, my bass fit it perfectly with no key change or anything even needed, and Keith laid the vocals with Tony Maimone up in Brooklyn.

INTERVIEW with KURT GLUK – aka Submerged, D.J. and founder of the Ohm  Resistance label | XS Noize | Online Music Magazine

Andrew:
You’re a bass player, too, right? How did you get into the bass? Who are some of your greatest influences? How does the bass tie into your work as an electronic artist and DJ?

Kurt:
Ben Green from Godflesh is one of my favorite bass players. I guess he and Simon Gallup from the Cure are my 2 favorites. I was around Bill Laswell a lot too for a long time, but he is another level. When I do Submerged live, sometimes I bring my bass guitar and have a pedal rig that allows me to emulate drum and bass basses from the instrument, and I can change the beats with a foot pedalboard. I played bass in high school band class, even played upright for a year.

Andrew:
You’ve really pushed the boundaries of drum ‘n bass music with your avant-garde and experimental compositions. You seem almost to eschew genre definition and boundaries. That being said, what are your thoughts on the idea of genre and labels in general?

Kurt:
I’m too concerned with what I hear in my head and what I want to create to worry about concepts outside of very broad strokes. The pieces I make they want to be what they want to be.

Andrew:
Let’s touch on some of your other collaborations. You’ve worked with Bill Laswell, Pharoah Sanders, and Buckethead. A truly eclectic bunch. What has it been like working with so many incredible artists within the realm of your truly boundless fusion projects?

Kurt:
I am a very lucky human. Things just seem to go my way.

Quoit vs. Submerged – Everything You Do Is Wrong / Page Fault (2001, Vinyl)  - Discogs

Andrew:
Let’s talk about vinyl a bit more. Do you still like to crate dig? If so, what do you look for when you’re digging these days? Are you into blind buys, or do you shop with intent, so to speak?

Kurt:
A bit of both. I absolutely love having a swing through record stores, and I still love some blind buys. Having music on wax is a very pleasurable aspect of keeping it special.

Andrew:
You’re from NYC. Do you still like to hit the local shops there? Where are some of your favorite spots to dig for vinyl?

Kurt:
I was originally from Brooklyn, but I’ve lived in DC, Berlin, Portland, and now Estonia. My favorite record shop of all time isn’t even a drum ‘n bass shop; it’s Hard Wax in Berlin. The taste of the buyers of that store is exquisite and has been since I started ordering vinyl in 1996 from them.

Andrew:
Do you only collect vinyl? Are you into cassettes? CDs? Regardless of format, how big is your collection?

Kurt:
Maybe about 5000 pieces total across Vinyl, CD, and others. After 3 years, I finally got my collection shipped overseas. I can’t believe I went without it for so long.

Transformation | Submerged + Ajamari | Ohm Resistance

Andrew:
What are some of your favorite albums, and why?

Kurt:
Too many, but I’ll give you 5 that everyone should hear if they haven’t: Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda, Have A Nice Life – Deathconsciousness, Thomas Köner – Nuuk, Godflesh – S/T. All of Burial Mix and Rhythm and Sound label 12”s.

Andrew:
One disturbing fact I’ve learned recently is that streaming services simply don’t pay or don’t pay nearly enough. What are your thoughts on that? What can we as fans do to help support the artists we love better?

Kurt:
BANDCAMP.

Andrew:
These days, we are more or less dominated by the never-ending barrage of social media. How has this affected music as an art form? Is an artist’s ability to get their music out there hindered by all this, or helped?

Kurt:
I think it’s a zero-sum game as far as to help or hinder. You gotta start in your own backyard, do shows, establish real-life support, and push from there. Now that’s kind of depressing ’cause of the COVID situation, and I get that, but…it’s just the plague, it happens like every 100 or so years, just bunker down, and it’ll get better.

Andrew:
Last question. For you, what is it about physical music that makes it so special? Streaming is easier, right? What is it about vinyl that keeps you engaged? Why do we need vinyl?

Kurt:
Streaming is like it says; it’s ephemeral. To be part of the world, you have to leap out of the computer and be real. You can’t live on a diet of 1s and 0s. If you want to occupy the heart of someone, there’s nothing like your favorite record. Going record shopping in person is one of the great pleasures of life. It is a ritual, and that ritual signifies the importance of music to both the creator and the listener.

Submerged · Biography · Artist ⟋ RA

Interested in learning more about the work of Kurt Gluck? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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