by / March 22nd, 2017 /

Special: The Pursuit of Experimentation – RESIST, Belfast

“People often criticise electronic music as being soulless or not having emotion, but my experience of it has been totally different. I have left gigs feeling awe inspired to just to get into the studio and create.”

Watch a Koichi Samuels live set and you are truly witnessing an artist at work. In his time working alongside Belfast’s Phil Kieran he has learnt to “use every piece of machinery as if it’s a musical instrument.” Manipulating the modern to create complete sonic artistry.

I’m here with Koichi to talk about RESIST, his experimental music night, co-founded alongside David Porter (Kapoor), and now co-presided over by composer and electronic based musician Liam McCarten due to Porter’s commitments with his self founded Four Sides Records imprint.

As we take the first agonising sips from our scalding hot cups of coffee Koichi begins to explain the inspiration behind the event. “Basically, we wanted to put on techno/electronic music parties in Belfast that were unrestricted by genres and emphasising an experimental and diverse approach”, he tells me. “From the outset Resist has focussed on hosting live electronic music performances and visual art.”

Koichi first began producing music on his parents PC, channelling inspiration from artists such as Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and the Prodigy. Next on his expedition into sound was an infatuation with hardcore and garage, which later evolved further into an undying love for all things techno. This lead to him becoming part of an illegal soundsystem crew that would host parties in warehouses and barns across London and England. A sense of realness that can only come from DIY.

Koichi goes on to educate me on his love for experimentation. Once falling out of the free party scene the artist turned to turntables and mixing desks to conduct live noise sets. After putting on a few events across the water in England he began to develop a passion for diverse and individual sound. Today sees Koichi as a part of several creative endeavours; most notably SPIRES, a collaboration project with Phil Kieran that fuses live nature recordings and an oxymoronic tale of ambient and hard hitting techno.

It’s refreshing to see a concept so heavily focused on individuality. Every event around claims to be the most original out there, but in most cases that couldn’t be further from the truth. Repetitive bookings, heavy focus on income and catering to the mainstream can threaten any scene with the gloom and doom of boredom. The representation of experimental and alternative takes on electronica are clearly elements that remain close to Koichi’s heart.

“It’s extremely important. Electronic music is often connected in people’s minds to drug taking and hedonism but I genuinely love electronic music itself and that’s what it’s about for me,” explains Koichi. “I find the sounds and the feeling of experiencing music produced by people and their machines, reproduced live played through loudspeakers at high volumes, very exciting.”

“There’s something almost ritualistic and primal about dancing in front of big speakers, with everyone together,” he says. “Especially now with the focus on visuals and installations, different sensory spaces and experiences, promoters and artists can create through live events in a new form of artistic expression, and I think the more experimental and alternative side of electronica lend themselves more to creating immersive, sometimes challenging atmospheres and experiences.”

Now in its fifth instalment, RESIST invites Kapoor, Autumns, Kandehha and Marion Hawkes to dictate the noise on April 21st, and Koichi promises there’s even more to come. As our time together draws to a close I reflect on the passion and drive for all things diverse that Koichi possesses.

Be it through visual artistry, electronic composition or presiding over his own experimental brainchild, Koichi illustrates every component of a complete artist in one original and diversity soaked portrait. RESIST is a reflection of the composer himself, refusing to bow to the demands of mainstream restriction in favour of electronically composed soundscapes that remain indefinable. 

The Pursuit of Experimentation is a feature series that maintains a longing to shine an illuminating spotlight on experimental events throughout Ireland. If you or someone you know is hosting an event that falls into the category of experimental, please get them to hit up in order for the opportunity to be featured in the series.