Modular In Motion with Rex The Dog

Like many of us, Jake Williams has always has a curiosity for modular. Decades in the game, Williams has a past that’s anything but forgettable. He first hit the charts back in 94 under the JX moniker where Jake dished out rave hits that still give us euphoric chills today. Long before moving away from widely accepted sounds in dance, this artist spent some time in the top ten.

Debuting the Rex The Dog project on Komapkt in 2004, a necessary transformation kept Williams ahead of the curve as a creator. Fifteen years later, his timeless modular-fueled techno is leading a new age of live electronica. Carefully woven circuitry meet consistent drumlines for a uniquely original sound that feels just right.

After catching a recent show, we had to hear more about the process behind this standout electronic act. As he’s balances between clear studio results and a gritty, evolving performance, Rex The Dog is offering the total package.

The Rex The Dog project has been at the forefront of the live modular movement. What’s been the catalyst behind bringing machines into the DJ set?

Well, I’ve been using the modular synth in the studio for a while now, and I find the whole thing really exciting, how it sounds, how it looks, how interactive it is and I wanted to bring that into my live performance. So it’s not a DJ set these days, it’s all my own material.

Were you making your own instruments before producing?

No, I’ve only been doing DIY stuff for a few years. I went to some workshops in London about 5 years ago to learn the basics. I also have a friend who I meet up with for regular ‘build’ sessions. These are the nerdiest meet-ups anyone could ever think of but I love them.

As an artist who’s pushing the boundaries of how analogue electronics are used, what gear/brands excite you these days?

I’m currently lusting over a few things. I am almost ready to buy the Winter Modular Eloquencer, which is a powerful multitrack sequencer. I love the idea of running the drums live from the modular as well as the sequencer lines, and the Eloquencer looks like a great way to do it. I am also coveting the Mutable Instruments ‘Plaits’ module for my live rig because it seems so versatile.

Being on the Kompakt roster also means playing many of their events, how do you think the label’s attention to curating great experiences sets them apart from the rest of the industry?

I love their events, all the other artists are really interesting and fun so these events are like a reunion each time. The label roster is like a family and no one is in competition – it’s very supportive. That comes through in the events I think.

As an artist who’s focused so much on the performance aspect, how have you balanced creating Rex The Dog live vs. making records for release?

It’s great to have an opportunity to test tracks out while I’m still writing them. The more I play out, the more inspired I feel in the studio. The only thing I don’t like is disconnecting and reconnecting the modular each time I take it from the studio to play a show, I keep losing my sounds!

You’ve been busy on the road, all around North America so far this year, what can we expect next from Rex The Dog?

I’ll be touring in Europe and then back to North America in July I think. A new EP ‘Vortex’ is coming on Kompakt in July too which I’ve just finished 🙂