Hoj Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Hoj. Let’s start with your friendship with Lee Burridge who co-founded Tale + Tone. Can you describe the process of how you work together in terms of running the label, choosing tracks for release, deciding upon artwork etc?

When Lee and I were getting All Day I Dream up and running, we talked a lot about the music and the concept. We would walk around New York for hours talking about what it would sound like, what it would look like, and what it would feel like. We did the same with Tale and Tone. The time spent up-front is such integral part of our collaborations. As the years progress, it’s easy to find ourselves on the same page because we took the time to write the page together in the beginning.

I have a background in the visual arts – so I conceptualized and created the artwork for Tale and Tone as well as All Day I Dream.

As far as the process of music selection – we receive a significant amount of demos from all over the world. As we listen, we just ask ourselves – “Is this something we would play in a B2B set with each other”. If I hear something that feels good, I send it to Lee and vice versa. If we both like it, we reach out to the artist and start the process. This process works for us because as we evolve as DJs and artists, so does the music released by Tale and Tone.

Our amazing label manager, Philip Soeffker, is the magic maker when it comes to getting the music out into the world.

Listening to your label Showcase mix its rich, emotional depth is very apparent. What for you makes a great piece of music?

A great piece of music has to make me feel something. I rely on my instincts. If I’m listening to a song and find myself getting lost in it, that’s a great piece of music. If a track makes me feel emotional, or I find the hairs standing up on my arms – that’s a great piece of music.

For it to be a great house music track, it needs to make me feel something AND have a kick-ass groove. The groove is the foundation of the track upon which everything else is built – a collection of drums and bass and other sounds that come together in a way that makes people want to dance. Creating a good groove is one of the hardest things to do in the studio. But you know how they say the Earth is 70% water? Well in house music, I’d say 70% of the song is the groove. And like water, the groove makes life possible for everything else in the song.

https://soundcloud.com/hoj/hoj-tale-and-tone-showcase

What are your feelings on the strength of song writing today, and what can be said more powerfully through music without the use of words?

I feel that song writing is a truly personal pursuit. I want to hear the music written when the artist wasn’t thinking about the audience – what they wrote when they weren’t thinking at all. I used to think that I wasted a lot of time in the studio, but now I think what I’m actually doing is trying to get my brain out of the way so that I can write a piece of music that makes me feel something.

I think that’s the beauty of music without words as well – without the words to think about, you’re more open to feeling something.

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4sDu1hxGX8lQfONoiyZWyW

What are your thoughts on what will happen to club culture as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic? Do you think the ways in which DJ’s/ Producers make a living will alter?

I think this question is top of mind for everybody in the nightlife industry today. Brick and Mortar clubs are having trouble surviving, as are many bars, restaurants, and the like.

Once we’re through it, I think outdoor events will continue to flourish, which is great because I love playing to crowds in open-air environments.

I’m also hopeful that as we start to make our way out of this pandemic together, we will see a resurgence of local dance music scenes. The local San Francisco scene was such a huge part of my life. We bounced around to 2 or 3 events in a single night, supporting all the local promoters, artists and venues. We had our own sound and our own style, and it felt like we knew everyone. We were part of a real local community. Of course we would catch the occasional international headliner, but mostly we were dancing to the locals. As a local DJ – you would play multiple events in the same night in the same city … every weekend. This doesn’t happen much anymore with rigorous exclusivity contracts for all artists. Also, if you did play out-of-town, the city you were from was always included along with your affiliations. There was pride in that – I was an “SF DJ” – which meant that I was a part of that local scene.

The most brilliant thing was that there was a different scene with a different sound happening in every city. I feel like this is how dance music was born. I’m hopeful we will get back to that world of local club culture … back to our roots where we all support our local clubs, our local promoters, our local artists and each other.

https://soundcloud.com/balance-series/balance-selections-111-hoj

Your next single for Take + Tone: You Are A Wonder is due out in August. Does the title refer to someone in particular, or is it a universal statement?

You Are A Wonder is a collection of songs I wrote and produced during the COVID pandemic. My summer tour and all the DJ gigs went away, and as everybody went into lock-down, I dove into the home studio. I started posting little “studio sessions” on my Instagram account @hyojmusic to invite people into my space and share what I was working on. The positivity and support people were sending my way kept me going to finish the music while trying to navigate existence in lockdown.

The outpouring from the dance music community made it more apparent than ever how much I miss and am inspired by these people. Each one of these humans is a wonder. So the EP is dedicated to them.

buy You Are A Wonder https://www.beatport.com/release/you-are-a-wonder-ep/3055371

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks for the EP? Are there certain software/ hardware you always like to use?

I can talk you through Sweet Verse. This song started with a record that I found touting “Pre-revolution Iranian psychedelic rock” (I should mention I’m Iranian but came to America when I was 3). I put the record on and one of the songs (called Gold Yakh) just completely struck me. I called my mom to tell her about it – turns out it was her favorite song growing up, and when I was a kid she would dance around the house singing a verse it.

She started singing the verse into the phone – I recorded it, and took it into the studio. From there I was off to the races. Then I picked up my Telecaster and laid down a simple chord progression. From there I started to build my groove in Ableton LIVE. For the groove I recorded a shaker loop and a bongo loop live to give it an organic feel. Then I went to my trusty Minimoog for the baseline.

Once I had the groove grooving, I got going on the leads and hooks using my Juno 106, VST synths (Omnisphere is a favorite currently), and processing things through my outboard effects. Then into arrangement … and there ya go.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

My Fender Telecaster guitar is the go-to.

Outside of electronic music who would you say inspires you most (in terms of writers, poets, painters etc)?

Stanley Kubrick for being a master of his craft, a true visionary, and a cross-genre auteur.

Which speakers are your preferred choice for listening to music on?

KV2 Audio

And finally. What are your plans for moving into 2021 and beyond?

It’s so tough to plan these days! I’m just hopeful we will be able to start dancing together again soon.

https://www.instagram.com/taleandtone

https://www.facebook.com/hoj

https://www.instagram.com/hojmusic

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Salomé Le Chat – One + One – Rebellion

Salomé Le Chat’s debut record is just about everything rolled into one. Cool, classy yet containing that certain bite with deft drums alongside deep bass setting the scene for deliciously sultry vocals to add fire to the equation. Let’s put it another way, it’s extremely irresistible. The remix comes from S.A.M who injects punchy hi-hats and a more energetic dancefloor feel to the arrangement, though for me the original steals it.

Release: August 14

https://www.facebook.com/salomelechat

http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Portrait – Mass – Selected Music from Body In Water – Our Circular Sound

The fact that you can’t readily describe the music created by Portrait is a blessing in itself. The obvious can be boring. But it exists somewhere in-between the world’s of Techno, Cinemscope and breakbeats. Executed alongside the creative impulse of movement designer and choreographer Magnus Westwell the four pieces explore a sense of wonder and realisation that all may not be quite as it first appears. Perhaps best described as thought provocations each of the four tracks wrestles with atmospheric sound amid the pulse of electronic drums, which are not always that apparent. Either way this is highly immerse stuff.

Release: August 7 (on cassette and digital)

https://ourcircularsound.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/ourcirculasound

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Karolinski – for akasha – clipp.art

Karoline Hegrenes’ under the guise of Karolinski has produced a remarkable body of work here that touches upon various disciplines. Employing a generous assortment of moods and atmospheres the artist sequences fast beats at times such as on the quick-fire: it hurts, while probing deeper moments on the more melodically charged, i’m a supergirl 02. This is techno with a twist of imagination applied to the layers of sound that almost suggests something else entirely. The excellent, we have come to an end (Gimme Your Mother%$#) finishes via warped, looped voices exciting the equation still further as the collective buzz of electricity ponders, then attacks the senses.

Release: July 31

https://www.clipp.art

https://youtu.be/7adCQVEa_WA
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M O N I T O R S – Plastic Jesus (Better Prophecy Rework) – Victims Music Company

Revisiting their 2017 version of this MONITORS now revitalise Plastic Jesus as a masterclass in atmospheric intention. Antoine Becks smouldering vocal remains centerstage as shimmering, synthesizes sounds wash over the stereo producing something that is both bold, dark, and deeply invigorating. Accompanied by a loose shuffle of percussion occasional hints of melody tease your expectaion while contrasting all that rich intensity perfectly.

https://pro.beatport.com/label/victims-music-company/31269

www.facebook.com/monitorproject

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Beckford – Revolution of Your Mind – Celestial Recordings

Call me obvious but any track called: Revolution of Your Mind instantly gets my vote. On a more serious note however this delicious, bass driven, rather exquisite production is very moreish. Warm yet tough its rolling sequence of deft drumming plus numerous attack of rhythm feels particularity right as the vocals drift in and out of hazy perspective. The Voices follows with more of the same, though this time the bassline is more energetic, the beats more in your face.

Release: August 10

https://celestial.recordlabelstore.com/store

www.beatport.com/release/revoluti…our-mind/3068767

https://soundcloud.com/celestial-recordings/sets/beckford-revolution-of-your
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Matthieu Faubourg – Infinity – STRCTR

Infinity fuses classic house inspiration together with a nod to today and comes up smiling. Funky, breathy stabs alongside a rush of fiery snare drums plus an orchestra of keys all combine forces to produce this rather wonderful number. The captivating Frits Wentink remix reimagines the timeframe via a cosmic injection of shimmering synthesizers and freaky drums. Next up is the looser consequence of Far which jams the keys in irresistible ways, while the Leo Pol take then picks up the pace with fast and furious notation.

Release: July 31

http://www.strctr.fr

https://www.facebook.com/matthieufaubourgconcept

https://soundcloud.com/musicis4lovers/matthieu-faubourg-far-strctr
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Lou Gorbea & Jose Burgos – Madre feat. Nina Hernandez – Nervous Records

The Latin flair of the originals uniquely sassy grooves are perfectly complimented by Luciano’s brilliant reworking of the elements. Lending the percussion a handclap punctuated definition heavy-duty bass soon explodes over the arrangement in a wealth of excitable funk. It’s a truly stunning remix that doesn’t pull any punches either. The remaining FNX Omar and Sano remixes both rework the energy of the original version in other directions. All in all this is an indispensable release.

Release: July 24 (vinyl) / August 4 (digital)

buy https://www.phonicarecords.com/product/view/168191
https://www.nervousnyc.com

https://soundcloud.com/data-transmission/lou-gorbea-jose-burgos-madre-feat-nina-hernandez-luciano-remix
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Shellshock Rock: Alternative Blasts From Northern Ireland 1977-1984

The Punks I hung about with from 1978 cared about three things: music, clothes and attitude. Despite popular belief we even had a great time doing so, just like anywhere else. What we didn’t like too much was being told what to do, how to think. Which is why Punk appealed to those of us in the first place. We didn’t like the Police, we didn’t want the IRA who tried to blow the place to pieces killing everyone in the process, and we couldn’t abide the confirmatory of Paisley’s DUP or for that matter the mindless sectarian slaughter imposed by either side’s self-appointed masters. You found yourself somewhere in-between. Outside of what was considered normal. But what you did have was music. Punk pulled people and resources together, more often than not.

Following compilations of the sounds emanating out of Manchester, Scotland, Sheffield and Liverpool, Northern Ireland‘s output from 1978 to 1982 has now been catalogued across 3 CD’s of 74 tacks. Plus of course the film, lending the title, Shellshock Rock is included on DVD.

Shellshock Rock

Shellshock Rock is a 46 minute documentary on what was happening in and around Belfast Punk by 1979. John T Davis made what was the first of three features on the music scene capturing the spirit of the time, rough and ready, filled with life. What you see on the screen is the feel of grainy film, spliced and exposed reflecting memory right back at you. It has achieved legendary status since providing a snapshot of some of the bands, clubs along with everyday scenes from Belfast city centre. Today it feels like Derek Jarman channelled through the inspiration of Davis mentor D. A. Pennebaker, who filmed Dylan’s 1960’s UK tour and the Monterey Pop Festival while later collaborating on Depeche Mode ‘s American concert film, 101 among many others. The deliberate resolution projects like an abstraction pulling apart light from darkness, exposing ghosts of the past. Yet there is something almost poetic about the way it all seems suspended in time, so close to the heart. When it was first released the film even found its way to various screenings in NYC at clubs Tier 3, Hurrahs, The Mud Club, The Peppermint Lounge, Club 57, and CBGBs. There is also a great interview with the filmmaker containing this heavy-duty prose: Shellshock Rock is not about Punk. It is Punk.

The film inevitably arrives at the Great Victoria Street, home of Good Vibrations Records, greeted by the enthusiasm of Terri Hooley celebrating the labels first release from Rudi, Big Time: You drive your daddy’s car, But you drove it far too far. You’ve got so many things, But they’ll see you in the end…

https://youtu.be/71jikITAEso

Incidentally you can also see Gavin Martin/ Dave ‘Angry’ McCullough’s infamous, essentail fanzine Alternative Ulster (many others fuelled things too) pinned to the wall, intercut with the band live at one of the early venues where Punks played the Glenmachan Stables. The quality of the documentary lies in the fact that various venues like The Pound and Chester’s in Portrush expands the story beyond the capital as does the music highlighting the diverse record labels on offer. Also featured are Rhesus Negative who disappointingly only have this short recording of Love In Vein from 1978 to document an intriguing potential, plus The Outcasts playing You’re A Disease from their excellent debut release at Wizard Studios from that same year.

1979 might feel a little after the fact compared with other cities in the UK and how music was evolving, shooting off into different directions with the incorporation of electroinic sounds. It’s even been said that Belfast and its surrounding counties where the last bastion of Punk itself.

The Music Compilation.

The music begins via the strum of Mickey Bradley’s bass guitar on The Undertones frankly perfect True Confessions from their EP for Good Vibrations, the one with Teenage Kicks. Then unexpectedly takes a turn towards power-pop/ Springsteen-esque styled American rock n roll, guitar solos and all. However, The Idiots arrive to rescue the Punk flag with Parents. But to be fair a sizable portion of this isn’t really a Punk compilation expanding its scope to catalogue the styles found on various other labels, chiefly via George Doherty’s Rip Off Records which started in 1978 and released a large part of the music around. He also, not so incidentally, produced Rudi’s classic Big Time for Good Vibes as well as The Outcasts first EP from ’78 the equally brilliant Frustration on IT Records. They were also the first to release N. Irish compilation album, Belfast Rock likewise in 1978. Not so into the more R&B based stuff, but none the less captures moments in time. Although, it has been said that an early visit by Eddie and the Hot Rods was as much a catalyst to ignite minds.

https://youtu.be/ktmkGuvZXTY

By the time you hit the second CD opening with Stiff Little Fingers, Suspect Device which still remains one of the most powerful pieces of political realisation (alongside Alternative Ulster) to date. Have to say that Ruefrex’s lyrical One By One is just as powerful in other ways. The Outcasts, Magnum Force spikey skank is magnificent, while Rod Vey’s curious, electronically charged Metal Love stands out too. As does the twisted effects of Stage B’s mesmerising, Light On The Hillside.

https://youtu.be/ZedI0NPU6U4

The third disc has Rudi, the always excellent Defects, Shock Treatment along with a refreshingly different Dogmatic Element to end.

https://youtu.be/3pv52KzlQFg

Dig With It (buy it) editor Stuart Bailie’s introduces it all with an in-depth analysis of lived-in events. While Spit Records Sean O’Neill provides further lowdown on the bands, alongside personal testimony from various members themselves. By the way the definitive book on NI Punk is his co-authored It Makes You Want To Spit.

Not having heard a lot of this music for a long time it’s great to hear just how great most of the Punk output remains, feeling vibrant, even timeless.

Release: July 31, 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EEkHKJyj7w
https://www.cherryred.co.uk
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Francesco Carone Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Francesco. You play the piano beautifully. Who taught you to play and how long have you been playing?

My pleasure. I’ve been playing the piano for about twenty years, starting when I was six by studying classical music and then contemporary and composition. I have had many teachers from which I learnt a lot about the universe of music.

Your new EP: Retrace is the first release on the new Impress Music label. Tell us about how your relationship with Impress Berlin happened, and about playing at their events?

I’m greatly enthusiastic in being the first artist chosen by “Impress Music” studio for their first release. My starting contact with “Impress Berlin” happened when I was living in Berlin back in 2014, through the acquaintance of Marco Effe and Weg, “Impress” co-founders. I asked them to listen to some of my original compositions, and they asked me back to collaborate and play with them in Impress events.

https://soundcloud.com/impressberlin/sets/francesco-carone-retrace

What is the story behind the title: Retrace? Where does inspiration come from when creating music, a single idea or form something you have observed?

I wanted to walk back through the strongest feelings I felt in my latest years. This EP is dedicated to my father and his memory. Inspiration flows naturally when we recall our nicest memories and beloved moments, and when you just do it for somebody really important, everything comes easier.

Can you tell us about how the process of how you record your music for release?

All my music and tracks are recorded in my professional studio, with the precious help of some colleagues.

What is your favourite piano? How would you describe the difference between the sound created by an actual piano and an electronic one?

My favourite piano is the Fazioli, I think it has a very elegant sound mark. The difference between a real piano and an electric one is the unicity of every single real piano, any of them owns a distinctive sound. By the way, with our contemporary technology, we can still reach to great sound results even with an electric piano.

https://soundcloud.com/impressberlin/francesco-carone-piano-live-at-impress-5y-watergate-berlin-241019

You also play drums and are involved with the Hanguitar Project. Tell us more about that?

I also play the Handpan, a melodic percussion instrument. I got a side project named “Hanguitar” with the guitarist Francesco Luongo and the drummer Alessio Carnemolla. This project was born in Berlin, in which I could find new inspirations at every corner thanks to every single musician I could stumble upon. That town gave me a lot.

https://youtu.be/Onuj8NNo-DE

How do you see the effects of Covid-19 changing the way Clubs and Live performance works in the future?

The Covid effect has already changed the way music events are organized, but I am honestly positive because music always finds different paths to reach people, in any kind of situation.

Outside of music who/ what are your most important influences?

Outside of the music world, I love to travel into the wilderness. I believe that nature gave birth to everything our world has to offer, and we can learn a lot from it.

And finally, what plans do you have for moving into 2021?

I’m actually working with many new musicians. The 2021 will be a brand new professional year for me and a very positive one I hope 🙂

Francesco’s “Veiled” is out now on Impress Music
buy – https://www.beatport.com/release/retrace/3044597
https://impressmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/francescocaronemusic

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