Written by Maithai de Rijk

DJ and Producer Ali Wells, better known as Perc, is a name that resonates deeply within the community. With a career spanning several influential labels and a distinct style that defies the usual patterns of techno, Perc is set to play at BASIS on December 9th. His journey in music, marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation and a keen understanding of the techno landscape, makes him a perfect fit for an all night long at BASIS.

Exploring the Musical Journey of Perc

Source: 15 Questions

Perc’s early love for hip-hop and heavy metal, albeit commercial, laid the foundation for his musical journey. Listening to UK radio, Perc found himself drawn to the hardcore and rave scenes, which led him to discover  early Warp and Rephlex releases. Moving from band member at age 12/13 to solo producer at 16, he embraced the freedom to create, learn, and grow at his own pace, shaping his unique sound. 

As he began his techno journey in the pre-digital era, it shaped his approach to production and sound. “I started with basic gear, a Roland TR-626 drum machine and some pedals, because I couldn’t afford a sampler,” Perc recalls. This limitation became his strength, pushing him to find his unique voice in a world saturated with emulations of popular artists. His philosophy is clear: “Strive to be the best version of yourself rather than an inferior copy of an established artist.

Over the years, Perc’s studio evolved from simple setups to a sophisticated blend of hardware and digital tools. Key equipment like the Elektron Analog Rytm and Korg Monologue have become integral to his sound. But for Perc, it’s not about the gear. “Machines are tools which can occasionally inspire, but they can’t replace humans,” he asserts, emphasising his hands-on approach to music creation.

The Art of the All-Nighter:

Perc’s upcoming all-night set at BASIS is a format he relishes. “I’ve done maybe 4 or 5 all-nighters before,” he shares. These extended sets allow him to delve into his extensive music collection, exploring various facets of techno. His approach to these marathon sessions is organic, letting the set evolve naturally. “With an all-night set, I may have the first few tracks in my head, but after that, the set can go anywhere. It’s an adventure for me and the crowd” He emphasises  “…and I really like that.”

Expectations for the Perc all night long on 9th December 

Perc’s performance at BASIS is not just another gig; it’s a showcase of his evolution as an artist. He hints at playing tracks from his new dance floor album ‘The Cut Off’, offering a glimpse into his latest creative phase. This is the first album in seven years he has released. Perc teases that many of his 10 tracks off the new album will likely be played. In addition, “Expect a mix of everything I play, from older jackin’ Midwest techno to industrial and London acid,’ he says. This set promises to be a journey through the depths of techno, led by one of its most proficient navigators.

For Perc, the goal of his all-nighter at BASIS goes beyond just playing music. “I want the crowd to learn more about me and the range of music I love,” he explains. He aims to maintain high energy and keep people moving, creating an experience that’s both memorable and authentic.

Perc’s Recommended Track to Set the Mood for 9th December

When asked about a track to set the mood for the all-nighter, Perc recommends ‘Dirt’ or ‘Resistor’ from his own productions. “They represent what I’m trying to achieve in the studio – hard-edged techno with a few surprises,” he explains. He also suggests tracks like Chane’s ‘Nobody Is Watching’ or something from the new Alpharisc ‘Ram Face’ EP on Mutual Rytm to set you in the right mindset for the night “Both really represent the sounds I love right now.”

Perc’s all nighter at BASIS will be unequivocally one of his most exciting set’s at BASIS; it’s about an experience that encapsulates the essence of techno, covering a wide range of his library. His deep understanding of the genre, combined with a desire to connect and communicate through his sets, makes this all nighter a must-attend.