John Koch-Northrup

John is the founder of Relaxed Machinery.

As a label owner

John had been helping  artists and labels “behind the scenes” for many years before becoming  label co-owner with AtmoWorks 2008-2009 and launching Relaxed Machinery as sole owner in 2010.

As an artist

From 1985 to 1998 John gigged with several rock / pop / alt bands playing keyboards and bass.  A solo career as Interstitial started in 2000 with several releases.  In 2010, the Interstitial was dropped to go with John’s real name.

A Dream of Awakening:

Relaxed Machinery Releases

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Other Releases

  • Interstitial – Temporal Arc (2001 Red Antenna / rereleased 2012, Relaxed Machinery under John Koch-Northrup)
  • Vir Unis / Interstitial – Live at the Miramar (2002, AtmoWorks)
  • Interstitial / Vidna Obmana / Vir Unis / Saul Stokes / M Bentley – sub.terra (2003, The Foundry)

Tracks Appear on

  • Various Artists – The New Electric Policy (2001, Red Antenna)
  • Vir Unis / Saul Stokes – Thermal Transfer (2002, Hypnos/Binary)
  • Various Artists – Portraits (2002, AtmoWorks)
  • Various Artists – Red Antenna Assembled (2002, Red Antenna)
  • Various Artists – Lappland (2004, Saasfee*)
  • Jonathan Hughes & Guests – Fluidities (2004, The Foundry)
  • Various Artists – AtmoWorks Presents Compiled (2009, AtmoWorks)
  • Various Artists – sleepMODE (2011, Relaxed Machinery)
  • Various Artists – Brave New World (2011, Feedback Loop)

More about me…

Here’s a bio I wrote for a project back in 2001 – enjoy!

John Koch-Northrup has been playing and writing music since the age of five when his grandma began teaching him to play piano. He quickly found he enjoyed making noises with the piano that weren’t necessarily written on the page. While these early sessions were highly annoying to anyone within earshot – the rhythms and textures eventually began to evolve into music pleasing to young John’s ears – and many years later pleasing to other people’s ears. He learned to play classical and also began to explore jazz.

Thoughout school he was a certified band geek: playing trumpet in jazz band, student band director, playing trumpet and piano in state band contests (even writing piano solos for the contests). He also found a love of synths and electronics and joined his first band, playing regularly in area bars and clubs at the age of 15. Playing in a band elevated his geeky status slightly, but not tremendously much. After high school he switched to playing bass in live bands. Throughout it all, John began to record songs on borrowed 4-track cassette recorders and drum machines. The music quickly began to evolve from synth-pop to longer form instrumental pieces that hinted towards ambient and industrial sounds.

By 22, he was burnt out on music and put all the instruments away except his piano. His mom passed away, he got a “real” full time job, and he married the love of his life that same year. Nearly four years later, he pulled out the gear and played in a band again. It was a musically rewarding experience, but frustrating at many levels and the band imploded within 18 months.

At that point – his long time friend Vir Unis’ ambient music career began to take off. This was a great inspiration and it got John to take the leap and start recording his solo material again. Focusing on ambient and minimal techno material, he put together his first demo, which was eventually released on the Red Antenna label in 2001. Also in 2001, Vir Unis asked John to play live with him at the 2001 Space For Music festival in Milwaukee, WI. This was later released as Live at the Miramar on AtmoWorks.

Since then John has released several other projects as Interstitial, including a group remix project on The Foundry label with Vidna Obmana, Vir Unis, Saul Stokes, and M. Bentley remixing John’s sub.terra track which was recorded solely using trumpet and processing. John has recently been taking a few years off from recording.

A few favorite artists

herbie hancock, basic channel / chain reaction, vidna obmana, cabaret voltaire, beatles, depeche mode, 80’s synthpop and industrial, 90’s britpop, cecil taylor, steve roach, underworld, japan, david sylvian, autechre, speedy j, and friends.