Objekt is TJ Hertz, a producer and DJ living in Berlin. Born in Tokyo to British-American and Filipino parents, Hertz grew up in Belgium and the UK before settling in Berlin in 2009. He first became known for head-turning club records, beginning with the self-released stamped whitelabel 12”s Objekt #1 and #2 in 2011, and following these up with a remix for Radiohead and releases on influential dance music labels such as Hessle Audio. Shocking out to the disassembled dubstep contortions of "Cactus" and “Unglued”, the juddering mindmelt of "Agnes Demise", or IDM headturner “Ganzfeld” became a familiar experience for a generation of clubgoers.
Hertz’s club output quickly garnered support from the likes of Aphex Twin and Autechre, and his early successes led to a split EP on Leisure System with Drexciyan electro pioneers Dopplereffekt. (The track in question, “Ganzfeld”, was picked as RA’s #1 track of 2014). The whitelabel Objekt #4, released in 2017, delivered a huge crossover hit in the form of breakbeat house anthem “Theme From Q”. Objekt #5, released in 2022, is his slowest – and perhaps fiercest – 12” to date, exploring dancehall rhythms and sonics with his trademark originality.
Meanwhile, Hertz’s albums Flatland (2014) and Cocoon Crush (2018), both released on PAN, delve deep into complex sonic worlds. Hertz approaches the LP format as a canvas on which to paint unique, hyper-detailed works of electronic music which are rich with imagination and surprises. Both albums featured widely on year-end lists, with Pitchfork describing Cocoon Crush as containing “some of the most meticulously arranged compositions that dance music has ever produced”. In 2019, Objekt followed Cocoon Crush with a full-spectrum live A/V show in collaboration with visual artist Ezra Miller, touring a string of key festivals including Unsound, Atonal and Primavera.
In parallel, Objekt has built a reputation as one of the must-see DJs of his generation. Selected as Mixmag’s DJ of the Year in 2018, he thrives in festival tents and sweatbox basements alike. His DJing style is equal parts wild and laser-focused, making full use of technique and technology to surprise and entertain, while paying little heed to genre or BPM and feeding off spontaneity and crowd connection. Hertz’s DJing is also unpredictable: one night he might duck and dive through half a dozen genres in pursuit of an unhinged party atmosphere (especially if he’s playing b2b with his dear friend and partner in crime, Call Super). Another night he might guide you by the hand through a terrifying psychedelic wormhole of self-discovery. It’s these qualities that make his recorded sets so beloved – from his 2020 Essential Mix, to the widely-shared recording of his 8-hour set at New York clubbing institution Nowadays in 2021, to his 2016 mix CD for Berlin techno institution Tresor, Kern Vol. 3, which was described by Resident Advisor as “a window into the very essence of DJing”.
Hertz's creative activities are unified by his quality control (his output is sporadic, but painstakingly detailed and never less than outstanding) and his agnostic approach to genre (he cuts across traditional divides in both his productions and his DJ sets). His work is informed by a highly technical background: alongside his practice as a producer and DJ he continues to work part-time as an engineer for music software company Native Instruments, where he develops audio and machine learning algorithms as well as instruments and FX. He gave a lecture to the Red Bull Music Academy in 2018.