After more than 15 years producing and running the respected Atomnation label, Applescal is taking time for his own music once more. As a more mature artist, he has undergone a creative reset, resulting in more freedom than ever in the studio. This reinvention will see him indulging his ever-growing love of techno while maintaining the melodic edge that has always defined him.
Terstappen has been one of the most consistent and dedicated contributors to the scene over the last 15 years. As a producer, he first emerged with a richly layered and synth-heavy progressive sound that came on labels like Traum and Manual and got plenty of high-profile support. Then, a decade ago, he started Atomnation. Now over 100 releases deep, it has become an influential label with a unique sonic signature. It has given a platform to a range of artists who have all flourished while also becoming a full-time labour of love for Pascal. “No regrets,” he says, “but now it’s time to reorganize a little and make room for my own music once more.”
Over the years Terstappen has taken inspiration from the dreaminess of early releases on James Holden’s Border Community and the productions and DJ sets of the likes of Apparat, Four Tet, Sasha, and Deep Dish. A huge passion for techno grew later in his career, but because he was established as a melodic artist, he never showed these influences aside from in occasional DJ sets at European clubs and festivals. But after a summer of soaking up plenty of big sounds, the need to open up his work to new influxes and inspirations became overwhelming. “In the past, I sometimes felt like I was holding back,” he says. “That time is over.”
A new Applescal chapter now begins with the release of ‘Wave 15 / Dreamerboy’. It is a smart evolution that combines all of Terstappen’s different sides – melodic, electronic, techno, ambient, and kraut, as well as influences from the artists on Atomnation. All this puts him in the unique position of offering a stylish twist to peak-time music where vast main room drums are offset by somewhat introverted, retro, and dreamy pads. It’s powerful yet thoughtful music that catches the mind as much as the body, and there is plenty of it to come. “I always follow my intuition,” he says, “No fake shit or trends.”