Interview: A Virtual-World Chat with Bloomfeld

As I stood in the giant purple-and-blue underground cavern, I looked down at my huge spotted pink cat-paws. A great river flowed around the small sparkly island. Tall alien-beings lingered passively nearby. In the distance giant robots and unknown creatures danced and writhed as frantic lights flashed from Spirit World’s “Rave Cave” stage. Suddenly another figure appeared – dressed in a puffy jacket which pulsated with blue glowing thunderbolts. He was trailed by an enormous peacock-tail of blue flames. Only his eyes peeked out from behind a face mask and underneath a black baseball cap. It was Bloomfeld – or rather the virtual avatar of the multi-disciplinary powerhouse producer, DJ, curator, writer, visual artist and more – his physical form usually based IRL in Berlin. He had recently DJ’d a set in the Rave Cave where we now met, as part of the Spirit World IMVU Festival, a three-day jam-packed lineup presented by Spirit Twin including names like Yves Tumor, Pussy Riot, and Cakes da Killa. I caught up with him in the IMVU chat about performing virtually, how he entered the world of producing and DJing, his platform Overthinker Mob and its first anonymously-authored releases, his upcoming EP, his recent experience calling out the racism of a powerful local creative studio, and how our creative industries could change for the better.

[Interview has been edited for length and clarity]

 

 

Heather Mitchell for Soulfeeder: hey! : )

Bloomfeld: Hi Heather!
Bloomfeld: should we find a spot to lounge?

Soulfeeder: yes!
Soulfeeder: I was thinking by the bar might be a nice place to start

Bloomfeld: cool!
Bloomfeld: sry let me find it real quick lol

/*Bloomfeld accidentally transports to the bartender position*/

Soulfeeder: hahaha

Bloomfeld: oh damn lol
Bloomfeld: here we go

 

Soulfeeder: Can I start by asking what your IRL surroundings are like right now?

Bloomfeld: Ofc, I escaped Berlin for some time and went to the green south of Germany. Right now I’m looking out of the window. I’m not too far from my hometown, but somewhere where the nature is a bit more spectacular.

Soulfeeder: oo that sounds lovely.

Bloomfeld: Yh, really enjoyable.

Soulfeeder: Since we’re having this interview in IMVU, and you performed here for Spirit World –
I’m curious what personal experiences you have with spaces like IMVU. Do you have any strong feelings about virtual social spaces?

Bloomfeld: The only game I was fully immersed in in my childhood, next to Super Mario, was one called Habbo Hotel where you had far less realistic avatars, but we were also navigating virtual rooms. At that period I was so obsessed with this game that I started dreaming from the birds eye view you see the characters in.

Soulfeeder: Whoa! That reminds me of the instagram scrolling dreams I’ve had a few times in quarantine. Did you have friends or meaningful experiences on Habbo?

Bloomfeld: Yes, I turned one of my best mates onto it – and at times I was quite shook at how real life and virtual life can interfere with each other. There were incidents where this guy scammed me for virtual currency, lol. Which then the next days in class altered the dynamic severely. A betrayal can happen in a virtual or even in a hypothetical world – and still have an impact on real life.

Soulfeeder: What was it like to perform in IMVU, in a virtual festival?

Bloomfeld: I found it quite interesting, I play on the radio on the regular, and there you also have no clue who’s observing you – but here you have a visual representation of the audience. The ppl are still anonymous, but you can see a version of them that’s probably close to who they wish to be. And obviously the animations are mental, so it felt like peak time in a space where time isn’t a thing.

/*My IMVU crashes and I have to log back in*/

Soulfeeder: haha true – I feel like the awesome animations are what my computer is struggling with.

Bloomfeld: haha a space inclusive for everyone with enough processing power.

Soulfeeder: So stepping back in time – how did you start producing and DJing?

Bloomfeld: From what I remember it must have started with a 69€ Keyboard my Dad got me for Christmas from the supermarket – it had a built in drum computer which is wild for that price. Big up Aldi (the supermarket). They always have instruments for Christmas. I started recording several sources into my tape deck, which was one of them colorful fisher price ones and I honestly gathered everything from the house that had circuitry in it to see if I could somehow plug any random items together. It ended up all sounding like bullshit but that’s where the hunger for experimenting with sound must have started.

And in terms of DJing, my interest in it was always bubbling, but when I moved to the UK for a while I lived in a house with rather competitive DJs when it comes to blends. And to see the technical component behind it as a bit of a sport is a common thing in the UK. After emigrating I had stopped any physical activities, so that might have compensated for it haha.

I moved there in 2018 and am in my mind still commuting between Manchester and Berlin.
The scene and musical innovation I identified with in my teens happened and happens there, so I wouldn’t feel accomplished by the end of my life if I didn’t ever get involved.

Soulfeeder: What are those scenes and innovations you identify with? And in general your main focuses of interests and artists who inspire you?


Bloomfeld: UK music has everything from excess physical enjoyment to pure braindance to absolute irony – a collective mindset where all these things can happen under the same roof is one that I’m trying to get involved with… and that’s one that seems more apparent to me in the UK than anywhere else. My interest at the minute has shifted to afrofuturism – better late than never. The recent events have forced me to reflect my heritage more profoundly than before (My african heritage). Over time I stopped obsessing over artists in order to get rid of expectations.

Soulfeeder: In terms of music, do you see your direction going through a large shift currently? What have you been working on or thinking about most recently?

Bloomfeld: It doesn’t feel like a large shift, rather like another lesson that will leave its traces for my future trajectory. I just finished an EP yesterday, that’s exciting – it’s a collaboration with the homie Packed Rich and sonically a bridge between the LA Beats scene and UK Bass. Production has taken a bit of a backseat recently, my Overthinker Mob label is going to release its first compilation in early September, and that needs a lot of prepping.

Soulfeeder: I want to ask you a bit more about Overthinker Mob and your other projects –
want to find another spot to perch?

Bloomfeld: cool cool

 

Soulfeeder: So – you also run an online platform called Overthinker Mob, which includes a newsletter calledThought Cue, and a genre defiant series called Culture is Fiction . And you said you’re preparing for your first release as a label in September. What was the inspiration for starting these various projects?

Bloomfeld: The projects all aim to solve immediate problems I notice in the young music bubble: “Culture is Fiction” means to instigate thought on how arbitrarily and forcedly we categorize sonics. Our listening experience is conditioned by our expectations, and our expectations come with what values we link to a genre name. A pure listening experience can only be given if we listen to the music for the music’s sake and not to satisfy these expectations, if that makes sense.

Soulfeeder: Right – maybe not already expecting what we will hear.

Bloomfeld: Exactly. With the series of releases the aim is to make the music public that’s resting on producers’ hard drives. Because in my environment probably 85% of the music that’s being made doesn’t come out due to overthinking. Still, to a fresh and unbiased ear, this music can be potentially life changing haha.

Soulfeeder: I’m guessing that’s where the name Overthinker Mob came from haha. And the artists are releasing anonymously in these, right?

Bloomfeld: Oh yes I should have mentioned that the music gets published anonymously. And yes, that originally – later it just made sense, because the sphere of people involved consists of people that over intellectualize every burp a member of the scene rips.

Soulfeeder: And with Thought Cue – the focus is more editorial and conversation-focused?

Bloomfeld: Exactly – my background is in journalism, and I have been rather upset with the dynamics in some editorial offices. There are a lot of things to be said, and a lot of people that have things to say that aren’t trained journalists. So this platform curates important messages around the scene detached from the content marketing industry… I’ll have to correct, content marketing happens everywhere, including our personal profiles – but the big music publications will more than often have to censor their writing in order not to bite the hands that feed them. And thought cue is happy to bite with platinum grillz on.

Soulfeeder: I was really drawn to the first newsletter – and the metaphors used of the scene being “like a crashed video game…that seems a useful starting point from which to think about the scene’s future”. Do you see Thought Cue being one of the players in these needed conversations about this future?

Bloomfeld: I don’t expect – the people will decide who they’ll want to listen to, all we as Thought Cue can and want to do is keep it real at any point.

Soulfeeder: Of course, that makes sense.
Soulfeeder: Also want to shift to those seats over there?

Bloomfeld: comfy

 

Soulfeeder: Nice : )

Soulfeeder: Also on the topic of Thought Cue – I wanted to ask about the most recent series of articles you published, on long-term reflections of your experiences of racism in rural Germany and in “avant-garde” Berlin. And with specific creative powerful figures in the creative scene. What has it been like speaking more publicly about these experiences? And what has the reception been like?

Bloomfeld: It was definitely a harsh couple of weeks before and after it, first off the deep reflections, the reliving of these traumas cost a lot of energy to get those pieces written in the first place. Then that whole shit show the addressed company turned the cause into afterwards. None of this is new to me, but in the public realm things can get real nasty real quick – people have been trying to hack my accounts in the weeks following and the fear was present that I sabotaged my professional career.

But the positive response outperformed all of that. Right after the first piece published my inbox was full with people expressing their gratitude – people had way more horrific experiences with the addressed company than I had and were rightfully spooked to speak out.

Soulfeeder: So comparatively your already awful experience was the tip of the iceberg.

Bloomfeld: Yeah absolutely.

Bloomfeld: /* performed Nod */

Soulfeeder: I also wanted to ask – if you’re down to chat on it – I’m curious how the Black Lives Matter movement has translated to Germany and the creative scene there more generally.

Bloomfeld: To be brutally honest with you – right now I’m temporarily isolated on the countryside and no-one gives a damn around here – I only see what’s going down on social media, but my bubble doesn’t really reflect the public’s nor the whole creative scene’s sentiments. But of course the recent crises have had their impact. The real effect will only show in the long run.

Soulfeeder: Of course.

Soulfeeder: In regards to Overthinker Mob – I was also very drawn to the visual design. Is that you as well?

Bloomfeld: Where do I do the blush here – Yh that’s all my fault too.

Soulfeeder: You seem to truly have a wide variety of skill sets and projects! Production, DJing, radio, commentary, journalism, a label, and the visual design… Are you always someone who likes to juggle a lot at once?

Bloomfeld: Juggling is the exact word I use with my homie Nirav to describe the hustle – yuk, “Hustle” sounds disgusting. There is just so much exciting stuff to do and so little time really…

Soulfeeder: What are some dreams and goals you have for creative projects? I guess more immediate is the EP release and compilation release on Overthinker Mob.

Bloomfeld: Yes – these things absolutely, step by step we’ll roll out more of the content formats that are in the pipeline. They all have their individual purposes and goals. Other than that now is the time to reconfigure the industry. Which is not in my hands (lol) but now is the time to invest the time into rethinking our practice. The funnel of money that is supposed to feed the industry currently exploits the actual makers and innovators. This has to change sooner than later. We are for the most part chasing symbols rather than substance. Which results in us putting the money in Nike’s and Red Bull’s hands without knowing. In effect – Us as music lovers – whether we contribute to the scene as spectators or cultural producers – we’ll have to get a better understanding of the industry’s “supply chain”.

Soulfeeder: I completely agree.

Bloomfeld: Loads of the tracks that were spun in Berlin clubs in the months before Lockdown stemmed from producers in need. And by that I don’t mean ur average broke Berlin artist, but people in townships, slums and favelas. There is nothing wrong with having a good time clubbing, or with escapism. But we’ll have to develop a sense and infrastructure for distributing the money we put into the scene appropriately – if not, all we’re gonna listen to in 2025 is Tech House produced by Beatport’s algorithm and music made by Amazon’s mechanical turk following the formula Spotify is generating. People might forever feel the urge to express themselves through music… but it seems like the market will win.

Overthinker Mobs’s first release “The Biotech Issue” is out September 4th, available now for pre-order on Bandcamp.

 

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