5 Mag meets the Mancunian producer whose label Lost Control 2097 is capturing a certain raw, sometimes psychedelic but viscerally rhythmic brand of techno and deep house.

Hailing from the UK but now resident in Berlin, Black Eyes is a producer of rare talent and enviable skill. He was heavily influenced (as so many of us were) by the late, great Mike Huckaby, by Norm Talley and other evangelists of the Detroit house sound. It’s a sound you could hear all over Hydro-Trip Vol 1, his EP from last Summer which also featured a remix from another Detroit stalwart, Rolando.

5 Mag premiered that remix on our SoundCloud channel. I had no idea who this funky cat was but I was hooked. Black Eyes’ sound and that of his label Lost Control 2097 (“I was interested in releasing music from the future so the 2097 is meant to be the year”) was right in the groove where I love it — techno-futurism grounded in soul, gritty, a little grimy but somehow also floating above it all. It’s fuzzy, it’s a little psychedelic and it’s unapologetically made to make people move.

We all have a story inside of us. Sometimes it comes out as music. That seems to me to be the case with Black Eyes. But here is a version with words about one of the most exciting new artists, with a signature style, to break through the noise using little more than some incredibly dope tracks.

Where are you from and where are you now?

I’m from Manchester and moved to Berlin at the end of 2021 with my partner.

What was life like for you when you were young?

Nothing like the cliché answers these sort of questions probably get haha. I definitely wasn’t brought into a jazz inspired music teaching parent background. But in my teens I was interested in music, but mainly old school hip hop; I guess that’s why I probably got into deep house as it’s fairly similar production styles with sampling and MPCs. Not that I knew what an MPC was until at least 25 years old haha.

There have always been myths, probably going back to the Madchester days, that Manchester was like the Midwest of the US — the Rust Belt where things were grimy, blown up, people left behind and kind of have a chip on their shoulder. Was that ever true and is it still true for artists coming from Manchester?

I couldn’t say tbh, but there is a lot of great music in Manchester. I read somewhere that Manchester is number 2 in the world for the most languages spoke in 1 city, like 200 or around that many. So you can imagine how many different styles have come from there. I’ve heard or seen literally every artist you can think of over the years in Manchester.

I know what black eyes are, where did the moniker come from?

Years and years ago my moniker was Black but it was way to hard to find me on Google searches so I added Eyes to remedy that. The Black Eyes name now is the feeling you get when you take ecstasy, the feeling of pure joy with big bright eyes.

Tell us about Lost Control 2097, where did that name come from? What is the concept behind it?

Lost Control was the original name of the party and came from the title of the Sleazy D’s track which some consider to be the first acid house record. When I started the label, I was interested in releasing music from the future so the 2097 is  meant to be the year; as in we are releasing music from this time. The label focuses on mainly deep house and Detroit style house these days, basically anything that’s got real soul.

Do you consider yourself a DJ who produces or a producer who DJs, and is that question becoming not just cliché but horribly out-of-date?

I used to just concentrate on being a DJ and occasionally produce but now I’m obsessed with producing and barely DJ these days. DJing is not the same experience anymore for me personally, it seems more about dancing about behind the decks than actually playing timeless music. I’d rather the DJ booth was out of site and people just came to dance to great music but the DJ is the star now, not the person who made the music.

You had a show on NTS Radio that ran for about seven years. Can you tell us about it?

I used to do NTS back in Manchester because I originally lived with some of the people that ran the programming. When I moved to Berlin in 2021, I stopped doing as I wanted a change. At the beginning of the 2023 I started a new show on Balamii with a later slot and the show focuses of the deeper side of house and techno.

DJing is not the same experience anymore for me personally, it seems more about dancing about behind the decks than actually playing timeless music. I’d rather the DJ booth was out of site and people just came to dance to great music.

Who was the last DJ to blow you away?

DJ Deep in Berlin earlier this year. He reminded of how good DJ sets can still be. He played a load of deep house and US style house. Very inspiring stuff. I walked away from that night thinking about the set for some good few weeks after as what the standard should be for a DJ set.

You’re digging for records today. Where are you doing this, how are you doing this, where are you finding them?

Discogs, Spotify, YouTube, mixes and music news sites.

What does a track need to have before you’ll play it? What are you looking for when you’re digging?

Soul. Not necessarily genre specific, just the track has to have soul. I wanna hear the artist’s soul in what they do, not making a track because they think it’s what people want to hear or following the latest trend.

As a DJ, what’s in your rider and what do you absolutely insist on having as far as kit when you play?

Some fruit and bottles of water is good for me. Set up wise, x2 Technics and x2 CDJs with USB link up and an Allen & Heath mixer is the ideal set up. But I am not fussed, I’ll play on whatever is thrown in front of me.

What do you think is the thing that people in the scene spend too much time obsessing over? What are we wasting our time on?

Our personalities rather than our skillsets. It’s seems more import these to have social presence instead of actually being good at the actually thing your trying to sell off to people. We could go on about it this for days so let’s leave it at that haha.

What does the future hold for you? What’s next?

I’ve finished a track for Norm Talley’s label Upstairs Asylum which should be out very soon. Hydro-Trip Vol. 2 will be out around February with a Patrice Scott remix on my own label and also the new water compilation is released on 1st December via our Bandcamp. It’s got loads of tracks from producers all over the world.


5 Mag Issue 211
Out January 2024

RESOLUTION: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #211 featuring Anané, Toribio, Black Eyes, Danny J Lewis, Beppe Loda and more. Help keep the vibe alive by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!

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