AxOxH Interview by Rocco Tyndale Music / Art / Label / Interview


Subtempo Guest Mix 047


AxOxH is a collaboration between Jesse Perlstein (Abandoned Battlefields / Sontag Shogun), Daniel Sparks (Omniscuro) and Erick Eiser (Hornsbee). The project began as an improvisational outlet in a garage in East LA, after a pandemic’s worth of musical abstinence. The project crossed and challenged genres by taking A’s lush ambient soundscapes, paired with O’s modular beat focused builds with H’s layers of harmony, bass, and melody transforming the disparate parts into a melodic, rhythmic whole, something difficult to define and never the same twice. Lost On The Dance Floor, their first full-length album, is taken from one 2-hour improvisational session that was segmented and minimally edited to turn fluid ideas into unique song-like structures. While the trio continues to explore their confluent sound, LOTD, is a collection that represents a musical alchemy, reached through connection and experimentation.

Hi guys, first of all, thanks so much for doing this mix for us. I’d like to start by asking what tools did you use to create this mix.

J: I'm an Ableton Live guy. Just basic crossfading and layering.

Is there a theme to this mix?

J: I used the title of our album as the ethos behind this mix. Imagine entering a club and as you move through the crowd of sweaty euphoric bodies it gets dark and labyrinthian. You get turned around. The people start to change shape… something wicked, something primal. There is no bar, no exits, only pulsing lights, crooked bodies flail like a flesh bramble. You close your eyes, you breathe and you focus on the pulsing bass, the harsh industrial tones softened by harmonic treble, you begin to move and you give yourself over…

That's visceral. AxOxH is a relatively new project. Tell me a bit about how it all began.

J: It started out as a one-off performance between Daniel and I, after I had been invited back to LA’s experimental monthly series Late Breakfast and I didn’t want to play solo. Daniel and i had only played once before, an improvisational performance at a gallery in upstate NY, so we picked up where we left off, rehearsed once and showed up to play a surprisingly killer set (we put it on bandcamp shortly afterwards). Erick was in the audience and invited us to perform at his EP release a month later and we invited him to join us for a part of the performance. 1 rehearsal later and another great set, we decided that this could become a modular project: since Erick was wary of commiting to another band. We decided to play it low stakes and just hung out over 2 days, drinking beer and jamming in my studio. We recorded the whole thing for posterity but after listening back, Daniel and I knew we had accidentally made a record. And after a little editing and mixing we sent it off to Erick to get his feedback/permission he responded with “This is really good! Can I be in the band?”

AxOxH live performances are as richly analog as their compositions. Credit: Priscilla Chavez Scott

Your work is largely rooted in experimentation and improvisation, correct?

J: Yeah the whole project is entirely improvisational and based on the freedom to try new things and just enjoy ourselves. We are really good at listening to each other, responding and seeing what develops, building grooves and seeing how they change and evolve. There's hardly ever a plan. I usually throw a tape on (of a rainstorm, of a nyc bus ride, of a lecture on plants, of a conversation around a campfire) and we’re off.

And it’s largely outboard and analog gear if I’m not mistaken?

D: Correct. No laptops/computers. Jesse uses cassette tapes and loops, Erick has a couple of analog synths, I use modular/eurorack components for my share.

Was this something you decided on as a concept for the band?

D: It was never a hard rule that it had to be this way or that way, just the way we each go about our individual musical paths of creation. The real concepts are: enjoy each other’s company, have fun and low pressure to do so.

Are you guys hardcore analog heads or do you integrate some digital in there?

J: For my part I will take digital field recordings and dub them onto tape. I used to work off ableton in my live sets but I got bored of staring into the screen and sliding my finger on a touchpad. I love the tactility of the analog machines, and the rough grainy sound of tape… reminds me of my childhood.

AxOxH's got together during the pandemic out of necessity, and are happily surprised with where the results are taking them. Credit: Regina Doland

What are your go-to instruments?

E: For this project I’ve been using my Prophet Rev 2, Moog Grandmother, and occasionally a Wurly. We’ve been talking about opening it up and improvising with different instruments and potentially collaborating with other instrumentalists or vocalists.

J: A boss RC-50 loop station and a mic and a marantz tape player. Also an assortment of guitar pedals (e.g. delay, distortion). Oh and I absolutely love the OM-1 Cassette Synth by Onde Magnetique… It’s lended a lot to our sound/aesthetic.

D: A sequencer and Steady State Fate Entity Ultra-Kick.

How do you typically work through the recording process? Do you have any kind of structure or do you hit record and select the best bits afterwards?

J: We just let the tape roll and jam. There's rarely an intention to reach anything in particular. There's often large and long grooves that somehow feel like complete pieces.

Do you do any editing in post?

J: Yeah we often have to cut them down because the grooves go on for so long. Since these sessions are like 45 minute continuous playing, we just look for moments in the recording where a “song” could reasonably begin or end, and do a little bit of stem editing to create more dynamics, build and structure.

AxOxH take inspiration from small industrial spaces like this one outside of their friend's studio in Portugal. Credit: Jesse Perlstein

You all have solo projects. What’s some of the most fun parts about this project compared to your individual output?

D: No structure. It could be anything to start, and be anything/something different by the end.

J: I’m always so ambient so getting to play with these savage beats and juicy grooves is so much fun… worth it to see the crowds’ heads bobbing wildly.

E: It’s fun to play without any intention and feel confident everything is going to sound good. Most projects I’ve been a part of require a lot of rehearsal or thought behind it. In this project we improvise and listen back to our sessions with the feeling that we’ve improvised complete written pieces of music. Show up, drink a beer, and let it rip…

Are there any challenging bits that come up through collaboration? Or is it pretty fluid and easy between you all?

J: It’s shocking how easy and fluid it is. Sometimes I wonder: what techno demon did we make a pact with? but maybe it’s better not to know…

d: It’s wild how simple it is.

E: Too easy… we must be doing something wrong.

AxOxH use the full force of analog, including their own voice when the situation calls for it. AxOxH live at Late Breakfast. Photo courtesy of Late Breakfast.

When you play your music live, what’s the most ideal setting to listen to your music?

J: A dark hot club, packed tight with friendly writhing bodies.

d: Add the drugs.

What’s next for AxOxH?

J: Well we are just releasing a live EP Séance On The Dance Floor and we are back in the studio as I write this, working on the next full-length. And we’ll be playing up and down the west coast in 2024 so look out for dates, which you can find on our bandcamp.

Well, it’s been a pleasure, thanks again for doing this.

J: Happy to contribute; keep up the good work! Need stuff like Subtempo ;)


  1. A.S. O. - LITD
  2. 박혜진 Park Hye Jin - Like This
  3. Paradot - Gross Net Cube
  4. Drexciya - Species of the Pod
  5. AxOxH - LA Sidewalks
  6. Blawan - Toast
  7. Jlin - Connect the Dots
  8. Arca - Luna Llena
  9. Marina Herlop - Shaolin Mantis
  10. Alessandro Cortini - La Sveglia
  11. Pharmakon - Transmission
  12. Lorn - Sextant
  13. Leron Carson - Runaway Train Trax
  14. Aphex Twin - 4 Bit 9d api+e+6
  15. PÖ - The Harvest
  16. Laliboi & Spoek Mathambo - Abantu Abadala
  17. Ruth Mascelli - Macrocosm
  18. Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind The Mask
  19. Hornsbee - Every Single Day
  20. Sontag Shogun - Leikkikalu (FilFla remix)

Follow AxOxH

AxOxH Bandcamp

Subscribe to Subtempo Radio

Available on Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud