Teddy Pendergrass remains for me one of the world’s most vital male vocalists. You couldn’t say the equivalent of Loleatta Holloway (although of the same stature) because his voice testified as to something very particular to him. A cross of pain, sorrow and also of joy from a uniquely soulful perspective which lent his vocals a depth that remains resonate today like all truly great singers. Emerging originally as the group’s drummer in 1970 but by the time Philadelphia International Records had secured the assistance of the might of CBS he had become lead singer, as featured on the albums contained here. The Love I Lost from 1973 (originally released as 7″ side-A & side-B edits) and Bad Luck from 1975 remain powerhouses of heavenly charged music that sound as good as anything today, incredible given just how long ago they were recorded and produced. Following the distinct line from Gospel inspiration through to R&B and then throughout Disco these songs helped define an era, released by a label that did likewise. And it would be fair to add that they were also a key component to House Music in the future. As far as the word classic goes, Don’t Leave Me This Way ranks up there pretty high and is included here on the third disc as Tom Moulton’s mind-expanding arrangement transformed it into eleven blissful minutes. That third disc also has Moulton’s version of Bad Luck and the sheer force of the music alone transcends just about everything in its wake. While Pendergrass went on to launch a solo career in 1977 becoming a Soul icon in the process, it remains important to also celebrate the musicians in the band as well as the producers, alongside the various songwriters who all left a vital legacy. Listen to the music: Wake Up Everybody.
The kind of delirious intensity served up by these productions created by the trio of Jean Pierre, Jesse Calosso and Trangaz almost defied suitable description. But all the same this robust take on House is not to be messed with, firing forcefully on all cylinders. Take Jean Pierre’s title track, 420 which boasts a brutal kick and bass combination that feels just as dirty as it does life-affirming contrasted by the more subtle, funky percussive elements alongside smoky vocals leaving their own indelible impression. Remixed by MASON Collective who bring the Acid intention to the fore as insistent hi-hats plus punchy vocal edits spin off into the distance. Remaining originals: High Roller and the excellent heady, energised potency of Henny White complete this addictive array of sounds, beats and forward motion.
One of the most sublime things about music as an art-form is the way it morphs and transforms itself of its own volition. The mind of the artist is the driving force in all this proceeding to challenge in creative ways, while transporting sound into the future. Squire AKA ex-Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari translates those sorts of ideas into Common Sense, which not only feels resonantly tantalising but also tastefully sublime, coming soulfully charged via Graham Baxter’s breathy vocal adding the human touch. Peacock Ritual, then dances around a series of electrical pulses, sensing danger, over and across an array of punctuating beats to complete this excellent release.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty. You have just performed at Melt Festival. What was that experience like? And can you tell us about the team of people that assisted you and their roles in the performance?
The experience was quite overwhelming. Getting the opportunity to perform three sets at such a special festival and getting such an amazing response was something the creature will never forget.
I feel so privileged to have a team built out of people who are friends and partners in crime rather than hired hands. They have joined one by one over the last three years and have seen the operation grow from just a crazy idea to what it is today.
We played two of the days at 5am with the creature performing on top of the moving vehicle luring people from the festival area to the so called sleepless floor – a bit like a new age pied piper.
For this operation you need a driver you can 100% rely on while performing, a sound engineer to check levels and some helping hands to set everything up and to escort the truck during the performance – to make sure that everything goes down safely.
The last set was played with the truck stationary and an 82“ screen to the side of it with a live camera feed and visuals. The show itself is run by three people. The creature on the roof, one camera operator and live VJ putting all the images together.
And finally you need a manager who makes sure that everything runs smoothly with the festival and I must say that the MELT team treated us really well.
We set up a camp with the fire truck behind the main stage and I think we added a nice vibe to the backstage area 🙂
Can you tell us about the set-up of keyboards and instruments you like to use playing live? What can ‘real’ instruments give you that electronic ones can’t, and vice versa?
My setup is a hybrid of electronic and acoustic instruments. In the center of the electronic side is a Maschine MK3 which allows me to perform and produce beats and patterns in real time. A Maschine Jam controls the arrangement and manages different patterns and effects. The horns – bass clarinet, soprano and alto sax – add a natural and special texture to the music and allow me to also play freely on top of my tunes whenever I feel like it. The main challenge is to merge both worlds in the most natural way possible. It creates a beautiful symbiosis where the result becomes bigger than the sum of the electronic and the acoustic elements.
From the technical side, everything comes together in an Ableton session with the Maschine software running as VST with two looper plugins for the horns. Additionally there are some knobs and foot controllers to trigger and control effects, filters and transitions on the fly.
From the musical side, I feel like the journey has just begun and I will keep exploring the boundaries of both worlds.
What does wearing a mask signify? And what does that feeling of anonymity give you?
The mask frees the creature from the performer’s doubts and original background. It eliminates facial expressions and therefore emphasizes gestures and movements.
The creature’s mask is a Venetian Bauta which allows whoever wears it to speak their mind. In junk-E-cat’s case, the mask enables him to create and play the music he always wanted to make.
You recently released the excellent KREATUR EP containing the track Levitation, now backed up by a series of remixes. Can you talk us through how you produced it?
KREATUR is the result of two years of touring and creating beats and performances in special locations. Last autumn it was about time to take some of the live tracks to the studio and to produce them properly. With the help of Antonio de Spirt – a Berlin based producer and sound designer – we took the stems based on the live performances and added textures and transitions to five of the tunes. The EP was finally mixed by Martin „Lucky“ Waschkowitsch – a Berlin based producer and mixing engineer at BeWAKE Studios who not only mixed the latest Parcels album but also has his roots in hip hop beatmaking and a profound knowledge both in the electronic and acoustic world. We clicked instantly when we met. Lucky also helped translating the newly produced sound back into the live performances and the BeWAKE Studios became junk-E-cat’s musical home in the process.
After an all-important and highly skilled mastering session from Zino Mikorey, the recordings were ready to be released into the world.
Therefore KREATUR is not only the EP but also set the path for long term allies and friendships for the project.
Jazz obviously figures highly in the creative process for you. Where did that influence originally come from, and who for you are its most important players?
I love Jazz music and young junk-E-kitten listened a lot to Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Michel Petrucciani. While my project could not really be labelled as Jazz, there are some specific sounds and chords that I use that have their roots there for sure. I always wondered what would happen if you play this music in front of a dancing / clubbing crowd and junk-E-cat is the experiment whether this could work…
Outside of music where do you take inspiration from? Any favourite writers, painters etc?
I take a lot of inspiration from comics – the dark aesthetics mixed with a dry sense of humour. I’m a fan of street art and love the idea of artists showing up really special places and leaving their own unique mark.
How do you see club culture developing over the coming decades? Will clubs as spaces to express yourself still exist, or might it just become about the festival experience in the future?
We’re living in such fast-moving times so it’s pretty impossible to make a long term prediction for such a multi-facetted culture. Both club and festival cultures have historically been places where acceptance, diversity and togetherness can thrive. I feel in these increasingly politically difficult times we need those spaces more than ever and I hope we can find yet more ways in which they can be even more accessible and welcoming. What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
My four favorite instruments are the bass clarinet, the alto saxophone, the soprano saxophone and the Maschine. And hell yes – I own all of them.
Your recent video’s feature industrial landscapes. Are these an inspiration for you? And what is it about them?
The creature feels comfortable in urban industrial environments. These landscapes represent the technological progress of their time but also the decay and transience. For some reason these sites have a magical aura.
And finally. What comes next for junk-E-cat?
playing a couple of new tracks that I’m really excited about at MELT, the
creature can’t wait to get back in the studio and record them.
Escaping the mindless boredom generated induced by the modern dilemma of tech-house is this set of three finely tuned productions from Ossaim. It takes a curious mind to create music that engages on all three levels but mind, body and souls are equally quenched via imagination plus illuminating flair. You can hear the influences seeping throughout the 90’s inspired Trickster, yet it also feels defiantly contemporary too. The excellent, No Way Back perhaps answers that call moving forward with an electrifying array of fiery keys and evocative, haunting sounds expanding the horizon. But back to the beginning with the chugging beauty of the aptly titled, Happi which loops tantalising voices alongside a reassuring rush of warm synthesizers.
In a sense this couldn’t really be on any other label apart from mad-house. As the duo of words entice and demand certain attributes which Dennis Quin certainly delivers in abundance. The title track, Burnout contains that brilliant intensity in which you can lose yourself in all to easily care of its succession of banging, brutal kick drums alongside timely organ hits, while an atmospheric voice adds the human touch to it all. Next, Eastern Market highlights the influences more readily via 90’s punctuated keys plus a series of swinging rhythms seeking out salvation, though not necessarily in church.
Resurfacing via fresh remixes by Berlin based DJ/producer Dilby is this jOHNNYDANGEROUs gem from a couple of years back. And as you can’t keep a good thing down here we go again. This sparkles and sizzles with pumping rhythms adding extra juice to the self-prophesying voice-over that never fails to tease and excite. Party music with added sass, at a guess. An Instrumental version accompanies, as does the harmonious Acapella so there’s no excuse not to.
to Magazine Sixty, Marc and Denise. Tell us about how you first met and decided
to create music together?
It was a very natural happening since the start. Marc and I have
known each other for over 20 years and we met thanks to music. Marc was producing
music and I was a regular party-goer who highly enjoyed his music! The 90s in
London were, to me, a precious time for the underground music scene so when I
arrived in the city, a 20 years old girl who searched for like-minded people.
We both were part of a community of people that were involved, more or less
professionally, in producing electronic music. I also did engage in the process
of experimenting with music but my life took a different direction. That didn’t
stop us from being friends and growing around the same music and parties. Only
a few years ago I found my voice while picking up a string instrument and as
Marc heard my voice during that time and he felt that we could create something
together. In no time we were at his studio in Hackney. It was actually a rather
rough time for both of us right then and before we decide to collaborate
musically, Marc had written lyrics to express in words what he was going
through. As Marc started producing the music base for our very first track ‘I
Forgot My Family’ to be released on Echolette Records later this year, I
naturally came up with a melody for his lyric on the music that totally made
sense. The whole process of producing that first track helped us both on so
many levels and as our artistic compatibility felt genuine we knew it was the
beginning of something exciting.
What is the idea behind the title, Life can
change in just one minute. And why is that philosophical thought important to
The title and lyrics were inspired after Denise had a dream the
night before coming into the studio to work on this track. I wrote down the
synopsis as she was telling me about the dream and the lyrics were formed out
Saying that, it does have a deeper meaning as sometimes things can happen in life that really plays with your emotions and being so it is important to stand tall and hold your head up, chase your dreams and don’t waste any time to achieve your goals as life can change in just one minute…
Talk us through how you
produced the single, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to
use? And what are your thoughts on using vocals in Dance Music today?
In all our tracks we like to use live recordings, not just everything coming out of the box, I feel this gives a certain characteristic to the end result. I used a bass guitar to record the bass in this track and the vocals use a vintage Neumann microphone and vintage mic preamplifiers which I find work so well. I also like to bounce things through my desk to give an analogue feel. Vocals are important in all music, not just dance music all depends if you have something to say.
Obviously, Life can change in just one minute
comes steeped in past influences. Can you tell us about what in particular
attracted you to the post-punk and funk sounds which inform it. Which artists
from that era mean the most to you?
It was the whole vibe and transition of the post-punk area that inspired this track, it was a time of musical experimentation and change and at that time there was a lot of new technology being introduced that eventually formed the sound of the 80s and beyond and the crossover into the whole disco scene, so it’s the whole concept of the feeling of experimenting with a new sound which so many of those artists had the opportunity to do. Bands like Joy Division, Talking Heads, ESG, PiL and The Cure were inspirational as they were influential during this experimental period of music.
In contrast, Marc. Can you tell us how you are able to express
yourself differently as an artist via your Darc Marc guise?
Quite easily really, I’m into all sorts of music electronic,
metal, punk, ambient, jazz whatever takes my fancy. And I find it really
rewarding to work on different sounds rather than getting stuck into the same
thing all the time. It’s more important to me that I am doing music all the
Given the direction that politics and the world
is moving towards. What role and influence do you think Dance Music can play in
shaping people and the future?
Dance music and all music and people in general really in all
walks of life. Music is a great platform for spreading a message to help reduce
the hatred in this world and the more that can be done to reduce any form of
racism and hatred, then all the better.
And finally. Can you tell us about any
forthcoming plans for 2019 and beyond?
We are working on new material and already have the next release
on Echolette coming out later this year. Also, we are planning some DJ shows to
incorporate elements of live performance in our Delos style. We like to
experiment with our sound so expect some new sonic gems coming your way.
Does twenty years feel like a long time to you? Perhaps not if you’ve reached a certain vintage, but in the end it’s all about the music and how it survives exposure to the ticking clock. Celebrating that timespan then is a series of remixes with this from Tim Engelhardt beginning the sequence in two parts. Saluting, Keep On and featuring the unmistakable time honoured voice of one Robert Owens, Remix A highlights all of the vocal goodness on offer, alongside its timely message, over a bed of electronically charged rhythms feeling that bit loser with an addictive, shuffling funkiness very much in evidence. Remix B injects a little extra energy rearranging the song over brisker drums and freshly squeezed sounds. Although, either way this is a classic moment to add the labels already robust canon.
Another outstanding piece of music for you to absorb during the remainder of 2019. Love Stories not only inspires a sense of wonder at your surroundings but also poses more introspective questions about what lies beyond. Maybe the most telling hint at this is, Taal Lake which begins the album with a sense of trepidation fuelling its undulating impulses. Beautiful, exciting yet also something else too. It’s not all beat-less as tough rhythms inform the proceeding, Havnegade and likewise, Ocean Beach. However, it is the moments reflecting an ambient nature which prove to be the most captivating. Although not afraid of shying away from the sometimes controlled, violent intensity defining the outstanding Cambodian Sirens either. Phnom Bakheng, returns to the location leaving the short and sweet message of Cut The Hate to inspire you in definite directions as Love Stories finally escapes you.