After some 30 years passing each other on the nonstop gig circuit, it was only when the pandemic hit that Jochem Paap and Steve ‘Sterac’ Rachmad found an opportunity to connect via a live streamed, improvised jam for Paap’s Stay Home Soundsystem project. It was the first time Rachmad had taken his studio craft into a ‘live’ setting, but with a few intuitive tools the distinctive Sterac sound gelled with Paap’s approach and a new musical collaboration was born.

There are no set rules or roles when Paap and Rachmad fire up their machines – they’re drawing on their decades of experience making and playing this music, recognizing the effect different sounds and patterns have on a crowd, and most importantly having fun with the process. Rachmad often brings his signature chords, pads and melodic arps into the mix, while Paap is more than comfortable tweaking rhythms and textures, but their sonic duties are fluid. They just as easily trade their roles within the mix, if the jam steers them that way.

In this fully improvised hardware live setting, the dialogue between performer and crowd becomes incredibly dynamic, with the fluctuations in energy and those nail-biting moments of unpredictability bringing about moments that might never be possible in a traditional club-minded DJ set. That spirit has already manifested beyond the dancefloor in varied releases for labels like Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver and Paap’s own in-house STOOR imprint.

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