By Cooper Saver
(Photo: Max V)
TK, also commonly known as Travis Kirschbaum, is no stranger to LA’s dancefloors. Waving the California flag, DJing since the early 90s, Travis is one of our city’s finest to offer. You might know him as half of a duo called Split Secs in collaboration with SONNS, and you might know their label Machine Limited. And if you’re just hearing these facts for the first time, you can catch him on the decks this Saturday playing late into the AM at Midnight Lovers with SF pal, GARTH. Travis has recently been on a roll with solo productions, Split Secs releases, and touring – but he took out some time in his busy schedule to prepare an exclusive mix for us, and sat down with us check in on the latest. Hit play, and read on….
First off, you’ve had a killer summer. Let’s hear some highlights.
Oh yes, summer was great. I did a nice bit of overseas traveling too which was long overdue. Croatia, London, Venice, and spent a good amount of time in the rave capitol of the world (Berlin). Playing the Lighthouse Festival in Porec, Croatia was pretty amazing. I did a sleazy little jam with Hugo Capablanca one night and Renate another. CockTail d’Amore with Dunks and Mans on the Sunday morning was also a damn good time. That whole trip was awesome. Met so many great people and reconnected with many others. Alex and I also just did a killer Split Secs tour of Mexico where we played all night at MN Roy, Kin Kin, and Topaz. The vibe and the people are so amazing down there.
Tell me a bit about Machine Limited and how the label began. What’s coming out next apart from this next Split Secs 12”?
ML was basically just created as an outlet for me and Alex’s (SONNS), aka Split Secs’ better half, to be able to release our own stuff without the constraints of other people’s time and scheduling. At the same time we certainly don’t like to rush things. The catalog is small but it’s growing and we’re both proud of everything we’ve put out. The digital versions of the new record, Rhummy, just came out this week (vinyl still available here). Up next is going to be a 2 tracker – SONNS and Phil Kieran. It’s a slammer. As far as Split Secs goes, we just released Corduroy City on The Mole and Jon Berry’s Maybe Tomorrow label and there’s going to be a follow up to that.
How is the production process different with Split Secs material vs your solo work?
Alex and I just kinda clicked from day one and we pretty much got to work straight after we met. He invited me to come check out his studio and a few days later we had the I’m Not Losin EP. Ever since then we never looked back. We don’t really have a formula and that is the formula I guess, if that makes sense… Sometimes I’ll come over with a bunch of samples and we’ll try that approach. Other times he’ll have a beat and skeleton started and we’ll go from there. It all just depends. It’s been 4 years now with several releases and remixes under our belts – we haven’t killed each other yet so we must be doing something right.. haha. In all seriousness we’re great friends and love hanging and making music together. We got a lot things in the pike.
As far as my own stuff I guess the main difference is Alex is not around so I can’t drive him crazy with my stupid one liners, haha. The process is pretty much the same. I work off my laptop and a couple gadgets at home.
Tell me a bit about this forthcoming Split Secs release – you guys enlisted a heavy remix lineup! When and where were the tracks recorded?
It’s just out on vinyl and this week on digital. Everything we do together is done in Alex’s Atwater studio.. It’s the old Beastie Boys Grand Royal studios and there’s a ton of history and good energy in that place. The original version of Rhummy was something we started a while back.. early last year I think. And like alot of stuff it got shelved, forgot about it and rediscovered it. Once we came back to it and were ready get it out there we just thought it would be good to get some other versions done. We’re both fans of Robert’s (Compassion Crew / B.D.I.) material so we hit up Gerd Janson who put us in touch. We were surprised to hear he’d never done a remix before so we were honored when he said he was down to do it. It’s a monster!
Tom Noble needs no introduction.. He’s one of our favorite record weasels and if you haven’t been by his NYC Super Elevation record store then I recommend you do so next time you’re out there. Layne Fox is family, we worked together a lot in my first collective, 40 Thieves, when I lived in SF. He had just started his new solo project, Musik Nonstop when I sent him the track to play out and he had an idea for it so there ya go. Super stoked on how it all came together.
You briefly mentioned before that you have a few other collaborations in the works with favorites such as Mind Fair and Pacific Horizons – what are the plans for those and how would you describe each release?
Yeah, after I finished the Slaves Of Love remix for Jolly Jams I realized I didn’t actually even know who I had just remixed, I just had the parts. Ben from Mind Fair / Slaves Of Love hit me up and told me that he and Dean Meredith (Chicken Lips) were into it. It was a nice surprise because I love everything they do. After it came out, Ben asked if I wanted to collaborate on a another track so we did just that. It’s a heady left field dance floor number and I think you’ll dig it.
James and Warren from Pacific Horizons are our brothers. Seriously, they’re the best. Alex and I did the remix of ‘Stealing The Fire From Heaven’ and we had always talked about getting in the studio together. That said, this project ended up just being James, Warren, and myself. There are 3 originals varying from late night business to weirdo breakbeats. It’s coming out soon under the name Second Language on Total Stasis and there’s remixes by Tiago and Bluntman Deejay from Mood Hut. I’ve also got a new project in the works with the one and only Tavish that you’ll be hearing more about soon.
Where can we see you as well as Split Secs playing next?
Just focusing on the studio right now but we have some LA dates coming sooner than later. NY is in the works and we’re locking in dates for Europe, South America and Mexico. This Saturday I’m playing with Garth, Tavish, and Masha at Midnight Lovers. Come thru and I’ll freak you!
You can stay in touch with us here: facebook.com/splitsecs