MoMA Ready

MoMA Ready Is Vouching For Himself

MoMA Ready doesn’t care about keeping up with the perceived glamor of electronic music. He just wants to be able to show up in a white tee and black sweats to work, and that’s exactly what he’s sporting when he shows up to The Lot Radio to meet with NR Magazine on a sunny Thursday afternoon, and that’s what he feels comfortable wearing when he’s DJing all over the world. 

He’s ultra laidback while he tells his story. He takes his time rolling a blunt and gets too distracted to take a puff as he narrates the moments of trauma and heartbreak that led to where he is today. The producer is from Newburgh, New York — a place with one of the highest crime rates in America.

“I’m from a fucking horrible environment,” he said. “I’m not from a nice neighborhood in the suburbs. I got to art school because I’m talented.” He studied filmmaking in New York City’s School of Visual Arts before fully pivoting to music in his final year. Soon thereafter, the artist—born Wyatt Stevens—stepped into becoming MoMA Ready.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Does filmmaking play a part in your production process at all?

MoMA Ready: I have a very visual brain  like in full color. Very visual. I can see everything I think about. But I’ve always been multi-faceted. I got into art school with a four-legged portfolio. I was doing video work, graphic design, photography, and fine art. But I felt like filmmaking was a medium where I can express all those factors. 

Arielle Lana LeJarde:  Do you feel like coming from a working class background and not having the same resources as other students in school informs the choice to stay an independent producer?

MoMA Ready: Yeah, but I think it more so comes from not wanting to be told what to do. I would love resources. But even when things have benefited me, if people are trying to tell me what to do, there’s a part of me that’s instantly like, “Fuck off.” I have a rebellious nature, but not in the traditional sense. I’m not edgy and I don’t have a desire to be provocative. I’m not trying to shock and awe. I just don’t necessarily want to have to present myself a certain way in order to be successful. Why sacrifice my integrity if I don’t have to? I’ve gotten this far. I’ve accomplished a lot.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: How old are you anyway?

MoMA Ready: I just turned 30. What about you?

Arielle Lana LeJarde: I turn 29 next month. I see kids coming up in the scene and they’re like 19, so I feel like we’re old.

MoMA Ready: I feel like our generation is the most important generation. I like to think of us as a bridge between this old version of society and this new version of society. Older millennials are the reason why social media exists. So I have zero shame about being this age. I’m the perfect age because I have this knowledge that this older world exists.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Speaking of the older generation, we just learned the heartbreaking news that DJ Deeon died today. How did he inspire you and your music?

MoMA Ready: It shouldn’t be a thing where people like DJ Deeon and Paul Johnson are passing away from health issues. People who are pioneers should be as taken care of as well as big headliners. It puts a lot of things into question for me and I think a lot of people treat this as symptoms of how they feel about the people that benefit. Because of the narratives that have been spun out of capitalism and white supremacy in these spaces, the wrong people end up suffering.

DJ Deeon, and other people from his graduating class, created the foundation of the movement that my friends and I have created, and are even able to stand on. Deeon was one of the OGs that embraced us. He embraced all of us on an individual level. And he was supportive. There’s a lot of animosity for younger generations and he was never on that type of time. It’s sad. I wish I could have seen him live one last time. 

DJ Deeon is a big influence on myself and my friends in the rhythms and everything that we do. So losing one of my main influences is hard. There’s not going to be someone that comes along and fills it. And I don’t have to say this just to give him respect because he passed away. He was that before he passed. All of this just solidifies his legacy.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Why do you think some people in the older generation of producers and DJs aren’t as accepting?

MoMA Ready: I want to blame them because they’re adults, right? But it’s not their fault. They’re mad at me—or whoever that they’re angry at—because of the structures that I just mentioned. Not because of us.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: When did you start producing anyway?

MoMA Ready: I really started experimenting with producing around 2013, but I had tried way before that. It wasn’t really about making music until 2016, when I experienced things in my personal life that made it hard to focus. Music was the only thing that kept me grounded.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What happened in 2016?

MoMA Ready: I was a victim of violence. I was suckerpunched downtown and the person broke my face. They kicked me in my face and I almost died. That’s why I have a metal plate in my face. It just made me recoil because a bunch of people that were supposed to be cool with me didn’t help me at all.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: A lot of your career surrounds your collaborations and your friends. How did you learn to trust people again?

MoMA Ready: Things in my life tend to resolve themselves pretty aggressively and serendipitously, so I learned to embrace that. I learned to take those steps on those serendipitous stones. There were also certain people that became consistent in my life and I just realized that nobody was out to get me. I have people I work with, I have my friends, and we all luckily can keep pace with each other. So I’ve tried to take advantage of the blessings that I have.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: With being in AceMoMA and having a close group of friends who are all equally as prominent, do you ever struggle with wanting to just be recognised as a standalone artist?

MoMA Ready: Hell yeah! I’m very vocal about it. I’m super honest and a very transparent person. I’ve even spoken to AceMo about it and all my friends. None of us would work if we weren’t singular artists. We all have to have individual careers. It’s important. But my problem was, I was putting my work into everyone else, so everybody started outpacing me in a way that made me wonder what I can do. I started just focusing on myself.

I recently went through a breakup that made me ask myself, “Who am I outside of other people?” I put myself into a lot of people. Then, I started vouching for myself because I realized nobody else is going to do it. What I contributed to the local space in New York, based on the proximity of being near me—because of my label, my compilations, and my efforts. I don’t give a fuck if it sounds cringe, but I’m owed. And I’m taking it now.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What do you want people to know about MoMA Ready and what do you want people to know about Wyatt Stevens?

MoMA Ready: MoMA Ready is a persona. Don’t think that because you listen to my music that you know me at all. And it’s not because I’m trying to not know you. It’s more so that you need to approach me as someone that you don’t know. I understand that, especially with the way that I am on social media, I’ve built a lot of parasocial connections with my fan base. I answer their questions. A lot of artists are very like yeah, I’ll let you know what’s weird. Like forever. I feel like because I’m so honest with people in these questionnaires like people feel like they have a literal relationship with me.

About Wyatt Stevens? I’m a complete human being.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: How would you describe the New York City dance music scene and what is your part in it?

MoMA Ready: Shit. It’s a special place right now. New York City dance culture is now what people used to think it was. Nightlife has always been happening here, but I think as far as dance music is concerned, I want to say it’s never been like this anywhere in the country. I’m probably definitely wrong, and some old head is going to think I don’t know what I’m talking about. But for my generation, we’re doing a really good job of maintaining the culture and being expressive and making sure that the real is still here. I’m thankful to be a catalyst in that. I know I’m not the only one, but goddammit, I’m a big one.


 Photography · Sam McKenna

Galcher Lustwerk

Abstract Universe

Galcher Lustwerk wants you to know he can do it all. The DJ and producer came from attending DIY punk shows in Cleveland  and noise festivals in Providence before settling in Brooklyn’s dance music zeitgeist. His 100% GALCHER mix, made of all originals, propelled him to prominence in 2013, and his multi-layered approach to house music has solidified him as one of the city’s mainstays, becoming a regular at the likes of Bossa Nova Civic Club, Paragon, Nowadays, and Good Room.

But the artist, born Chris Sherron, is more than Galcher Lustwerk. With a plethora of side projects that ranges from post-rock to techno body horror to ambient driving music, he proves he can do it all.

Weeks after the release of his latest Ghostly International project, LUSTWERK II, Galcher Lustwerk speaks to Arielle Lana LeJarde for a wide-ranging conversation about comic books, social media, and why the U.S. hosts the best dance music scene in the world.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: I know you started making music in middle school with Fruity Loops and then got Ableton in 2003, but I’m curious—aside from wanting to find Black music that didn’t have the parental advisory sticker on it—what drew you to electronic music?

Galcher Lustwerk: Looking back on it, I think I was sort of just into the, the, the sort of, I mean, like, the futuristic like science fiction-ness of it. Especially around that time that drum and bass and these sort of more heady genres were just getting a little heavier and more instrumental. It felt like I could absorb music in a more ambient way. It kind of felt emotional and I related to the way that there was no words or anything. I just connected to that on this abstract, futuristic, and emotional viewpoint. Also with regards to the artworks, the CDsm and the packaging, I was just super into that it. 

Around the same time, I was into going to comic book stores. That kind of tie kind of ties into that stuff being anime and robots. That was the zeitgeist [of electronic music], at least in the late 90s or early 2000s. Everyone was hooked on if they’re into like, electronic music, comics, and even skateboarding.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What comics or manga did you read?

Galcher Lustwerk: I was into Batman at first. There was this corner store that I would  go to that had a comic stand and I started the darker stuff like Batman, Spawn, and all the weird ones. The weirdest drawings, I would be attracted to. Later on, I would drive to the comic store with my parents and that’s how I found out about Akira. That kind started making me like shift my focus towards manga. I think manga was on another level. 

I was I was also drawing a lot and had aspirations of doing comics at one point. Seeing the magnitude and the amount of craft that went into stuff like that was was really cool. It just interested me from a media standpoint.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: If you could create your own comic what would it be about?

Galcher Lustwerk: The narratives that I’m into are surveillance heists, mystery-type spy stories and secret agents. So I’m sure I’d have some to do with that. It would have an international feel—a globe-trotting jet set vibe. Kind of the same vibe I’m trying to do with music. I would try and make it feel substantial like Akira. Akira was huge! It had volumes. There’s something that’s cool about having that much of a world packed into into like a solid object.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Iif you were to say that you’re like creating a world with your music, what does that world look like?

Galcher Lustwerk: It just looks like the world like the world as it is, but maybe with an omniscient, detached, vouyeristic point of view. It would have a focus on perception, space and light. I have a lot of visual reference images and a lot of them have to do with being in golden hour, when the sun is setting and everything’s kind of hazy. I’m always sort of thinking about in the back of my mind, in a synesthetic way, it’s what I see by default.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: It’s interesting that you mention being a voyeur and futuristic stuff, but you’ve said in the past you’ve been shy about social media.

Galcher Lustwerk: I think I’m frustrated with how much time and like energy it expends. It’s hard to put a marketing hat on all of a sudden, and then focus on this whole other goal. With music, I’m just trying to finish tracks and put out the tracks. With DJing, I’m trying to get people to dance. And with social media, I’m just getting people actually pay attention to what I’m trying to say, period. So it’s like a frustration more than anything. I’m trying. At least now, I’m trying. I stopped using Twitter so with TikTok and Instagram, I can focus more. I do enjoy using TikTok and viewing TikToks. It’s a workflow thing and habit thing. 

I’m really like dragging my feet getting accustomed to everything, I guess. But when I think about making music and the artists that I do appreciate, they don’t really use social media either. But at the end of the day, I just want people as many people to hear what I’m putting out. So it’s not worth nothing.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What’s on your “for you” page?

Galcher Lustwerk: It’s been like real messed up lately. I think it was cool in Berlin, but as soon as I got back to the States, it’s been really political and chatty. Which I like sometimes, but I prefer cute animal videos that I can send to my wife that we can watch and laugh together.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Did you see that viral TikTok of those girls getting rejected from Basement?

Galcher Lustwerk: No, I haven’t yet.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: It’s deleted now, but I saw it posted on Twitter and now I think about it all the time.

Galcher Lustwerk: That’s funny. I can’t tell you how that benefits basement. Or if it does or not.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Everyone was just shitting on it. Shitting on the girls. Shitting on Basement calling it a budget Berghain.

Galcher Lustwerk: I prefer Basement over Berghain any day, honestly. Once they got the studio in there, it’s been awesome.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think people would be mad at you for saying that?

Galcher Lustwerk: I don’t know. I don’t care. I feel like they’re losing the power they used to hold. There’s a lot of other Berlin-based clubs that have popped up that are just as good and easier to get into. That vibe can be found elsewhere now. Berlin specifically has got the whole city behind it. It’s part of their tourism, so I think it’ll always be hyped up which is cool. I mean, it’s cool to have a place like that.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think New York City is that place in the U.S.? A lot of artists have been saying they think NYC is actually the best city for dance music in the world, actually.

Galcher Lustwerk: I would agree with that. I think there are way more exciting things happening here than in Europe, at least for what’s on my radar. The youth culture in New York is just so huge. After pandemic, I’ve definitely felt like there’s a younger crowd that’s so psyched—they see what they like and they just do it. 

[In New York], there’s no trending thing necessarily. Yes, right now we’re into really fast techno, but our scene also has this South African influence. There’s club, there’s drill, there’s garage—and it’s all being played at the same time, which is sick. Berlin is just fast techno or trance. You’re gonna you’re gonna get the same genre for the whole night. But in New York, it’s always a surprise.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Back to your music, how does your recent release, LUSTWERK II, fit into your catalog?

Galcher Lustwerk: I wanted to call it LUSTWERK II because it’s a cheeky—in a way different—reality that would have been my second release after the mix. It was basically what I was working on right after the mix, the original 100% GALCHER mix. I had put some of them on the Resident Advisor Podcast and then a few of them were on vinyl. At the time, I was like really taken aback by the amount of attention that was going on and  just like not not knowing what to do. So to me, I’m kind of cleaning out the closet a little bit and bringing attention back to these tracks because they were never on Spotify or Bandcamp or anything. I do have like a bunch of stuff I’m trying to get out by the end of the year. 

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you read reviews of your own music?

Galcher Lustwerk: Yeah, I have to read them all. Just to make sure there’s no like errors or anything.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think it affects you in any way or do you actually care what people think?

Galcher Lustwerk: I like reading the reviews, but I also feel like reviews have lost their significance a lot in the past few years. To me reviews are almost a comfort because you’re being validated and it’s not like the consequence of whether enough people like caught it or not.  There are so many so many releases that aren’t being reviewed and more people listen to them than the releases that get reviewed. It’s weird. The review doesn’t matter anymore, I think. I mean, it matters a little bit, but in terms of helping people make decisions on buying music, it’s it doesn’t really make a difference anymore.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Is there anything else you want people to know about you, or is anything you think people get wrong about you that you want to correct?

Galcher Lustwerk: I’m comfortable in saying I’m just really multifaceted. Some people may see one side and not the other. There’s a lot of detail that I put into my work that if you pay attention to it, it’s rewarding. And that’s what I what and what makes me happy as an artist, is being able to put all of these abstract ideas into into a media object. 

Also, I got like a lot of side projects that are all separate concepts as well. Just to run them down. There’s like Macchiatto, which is kind of my post-rock thing. There’s Power User, which is a video game music-themed project. Then there’s this project called The Fock, which is my techno body horror project. I got another project called Road Hog, which is like music for driving. I have all those separate projects that I think people would people would fuck with.

Oh, also I feel like the United States has the best DJs and the best producers. I’m not patriotic, but I favor us in terms of just like how this music is an American thing and a Black American innovation. I feel. So I’m definitely pro- that.


 Photography · Collin Hughes

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