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JAW_PressShot_2When did you first discover that you could sing, and which vocalists are your biggest influence?

Long time ago, I was 13. Maybe less..singing was the only thing I could do in my friends band.
My biggest influences are Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison.

You released an EP of tracks (July 7) as an album teaser for: Midtown (due late Sept) which features a host of collaborations. How long did it take to complete such a mammoth project, and can you tell us about some the locations it was recorded in?

It took me 3 or 4 years to complete this project with my friends. MIDTOWN is the middle of the world, where everyone from everywhere is passing by; you have Art Department, then my dear Italian friend Piers Faccini, then Rose Ryot from London… then my sister…then Cassius .. then Brodinski.. then a DJ Pone remix … Claude VonStroke, a new dOP track …. it’s un predictable .. it’s my all seasons dream compilation, recorded in SF , LA , Paris , Berlin , Beirut , London , Tel Aviv..

Where do you find inspiration for your words and subject matter?

In what I’m living, and other people’s lives ..
or sometimes it just starts with a good title.

JAW_PressShot_3Can you describe the process of how you wrote one of the tracks from the EP/Album?

The one with Steve Smyth is funny, it’s kind of an interlude, we wrote it while eating a big piece of meat, and recorded it direct around the table.
We are both into poetry so I leave you the pleasure of trying to understand the meaning of this track: Talking Lonely

You have also sung on big crossover hits such as Claptone – No Eyes. How do you see the importance of songs in electronic music, especially after the lack of melody in Tech House etc?

I think it’s good… there are more and more good singers into House Music… for a long time it was hard for me to be a singer, people were not happy to listen to me in the club. It was not normal. They made me get better and better… now with dOP we do 100 shows every year.

Who do you listen outside of Dance music?

A lot of hip hop..
But these days I’m into WILLIAM ONYEABOR

Where can people catch you (and dOP) live over the summer

Next dOP gig: vilanoura on july 24
IBIZA : august 4
saalburg : 9
gotha : 15

https://www.facebook.com/JAWOFFICIAL
https://www.facebook.com/dopliveofficial
http://www.circuscompany.fr

itunes : https://itunes.apple.com/album/midtown-ep/id893622163?uo=4
beatport : http://www.beatport.com/release/midtown-ep/1336407

dOP – “Close Up” (Official Video)

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Congratulations on the release of the remixes of: Spend The Night on Ruff Trx. Can you tell us about the ethos behind the label, and the choice of remixers for the record?

dannyBasically with Rufftrx I wanted to push out the kind of dubs that I used to make in the 90s. I was feeling that Enzyme Black Recordings had got a bit ‘polished’ and tired so it was time for a change. I put out a series of EPs i’m really proud of and when I got the rights back to the original mixes of spend the night Rufftrx felt like the right label to release them on.

The choice of remixers was very organic to be honest, in fact the whole process happened incredibly naturally. Samson had remixed Spend the Night a couple of years back for his own DJ sets and sent it to me. The early version was great but I felt he could do better so I encouraged him to go for something a bit more contemporary and he turned out some real magic. I was originally going to release just his mix but then Golf Clap asked me if I was up for a remix swap. It was good timing and I spotted an opportunity to beef up the remix package. I said yes, did my mix and asked if they could reciprocate with Spend The Night. I’m really pleased with what I did for them and extremely happy with what they did for me – it’s a solid, bass heavy and chunky slab of good old fashioned Deep House. Soulfunktion was a similar story; they wondered if i’d do a swap mix on the Mike City “Hold The Key” track and I spotted another chance to add to the package. I love what Brian and Wally have done with the track, it’s ended up a lush sunshine infused Ibiza Pool Party anthem. The other mixes are me; an update to my original mix and a slamming new London-centric ‘Carnival’ dub.

http://www.beatport.com/release/spend-the-night/1346435

How did you first get into Dance music, who was you early influences both as a DJ and Producer?

I was a soul boy in the early 80s who also got into Hip Hop and DC Gogo in a big way. In the latter portion of the decade I was part of the 89 summer of love movement. My influences were mainly the American DJs; Frankie Knuckles, Todd Terry, Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope, Louie Vega, Lil Louis, Mood II Swing etc. Those guys forged the true sound of the underground for me and I hope I can in some ways carry on that sound with my music.

Can you tell us about your time at Point Blank and how you came to set up the Black Book Audio Lessons via http://musicprotutorials.com

I spent 10 years at Point Blank, initially in the classroom as a lecturer and taught thousands of students in all. I built up the online side of the school and turned it into a significant income stream for the company. When I left I still had the urge to spread knowledge so continued to teach via my youtube channel. I’m shortly to hit 30 thousand subscribers which is amazing.

You also have a very vibrant facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/undergroundmusicproduction what inspired you to set that up and how have you found the response?

I was inspired to setup the group because I felt there was a need for a focused area where underground producers could discuss the tech and business angles. I felt the only way to make it work would be to run it properly and clamp down on spammers and general misbehaviour. So far it seems to be working well.

How would you say House music has evolved since the original release of Spend the Night in the 90’s?

ruffIf I look to other genres like Complextro and Dubstep i’d say it’s evolved a lot. For many other not at all! I could listen to something now and easily it could have come from any period in the last 20 years.

What advice would you give to new DJ’s/ Producers who want to get noticed – does the power of the internet make that easier or more difficult?

There is more opportunity around than ever before. There are fantastic tools that allow any producer at home to get their music out there and that’s an amazing privilege many didn’t have in the past. Couple this with the fact it’s easier than ever to make the music now and you’ve got a ton of junk out there. If you want to stand out try and define a sound of your own.. it’s hard I know but learning sound design and production techniques can help in this area. Networking is key, especially in person.. if you can just get out and about and meet people. It’s way better than just socialising online.

Where can people get to hear you play over the summer?

Nowhere! At the moment i’m not Dj’ing but who knows, I might come out of retirement one day – I do miss some aspects of it for sure.

Classic Deep and Soulful House Mix by Dannyjlewis on Mixcloud

facebook https://www.facebook.com/dannyjlewispage
twitter https://twitter.com/dannyjlewis
Music Pro Tutorials http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5i1oUMFiBV6W4fu4CjXXAA
Ruff Trx http://www.youtube.com/user/rufftrx

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Dance Spirit
Insight EP
Supernature

In anticipation of their forthcoming album Dance Spirit deliver this second instalment to tempt you with their typical panache. Suitably atmospheric the title track develops tastefully over some eight minutes with haunting pads setting the scene for occasional voices and hand claps. It may not sound like much is going on but what they do they do so most effectively. Remixes come from Fred P who expands the chords to heighten the atmosphere further across both of his impressive versions. Next up are, Late Night Ritual and Late Night Morning which again secure cinematic atmosphere’s that cross the horizon via the perfect soundtrack for sunset/ sunrise, while an excellent Bedouin Remix completes with a striking take on the later. You just know that the long player is going to be epic after hearing this.

release: July 21

http://wearedancespirit.com
http://www.wearesupernature.com

Darin Epsilon & DeeProgressV
The Conclusion (Remixes)
Perspectives

Talking of richly atmospheric music is this breathtaking remix from Hernan Cattaneo & Soundexile which combines tense swirling synthesisers alongside pulsating beats and bass. Hypnotic yet punchy this version of The Conclusion reveals itself in layers of emotive sound that may well surprise you care of its powerful rhythm section. Marcelo Vasami then delivers a darker mix with bouncier beats aimed squarely at the dancefloor, while Mike Griego’s great remix goes straight for techno jugular despite being offset by warmer pads and stunning, ethereal voices.

Beatport release: July 21, 2014

https://www.facebook.com/perspectivesdigital

Tommy Vercetti
Good Feelings EP
Love Not Money

Tommy Vercetti aka Tom Cox producers one of the labels hottest to date by combining a savvy sense of musicality alongside a big-time arrangement of sounds that engage your mind, body and soul into the bargain. Opening with the aptly titled and excellent Big Love which plays punchy stabs against fiery snare rolls, plus emotive vocals, while sounding in a class all of its own. Good Feelings is next and re-tweaks the formula into another addictive House jam that does little wrong with its effortless 90’s reference points.  We All Do, finishes off the originals with a brighter more accessible track that’s big on bounce and energy. Leaving the Scott Forshaw remix of Big Love which doesn’t try to compete but instead breaks up the beats and adds warmer keys and piano supplying a fresh alternative.

release: July 28

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tommy-Vercetti/156203804447548?sk=timeline
http://www.lovenotmoneyrecords.co.uk

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Holly Johnson
Follow Your Heart
Pleasuredome

Be interesting to see how many people will be playing the Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper Remix of Holly Johnson ‘Follow Your Heart’ (in light of all the recent name checking R.I.P from people who find his style an irrelevance). It’s not ‘Deep’ or ‘Techno’ just full of their timeless trademark sounds which have echoed across the decades by this duo. From Kupper’s elegant keys to Knuckles soaring soulfulness this may well be the final remix to appear under his name. As you can hear below not a lot has changed but, if it ain’t broke! And needless to say the Instrumental version is also flawless. But back to the actual artist, Holly Johnson who sounds as distinct as ever and it’s always a pleasure to hear him especially with this lush backing.

release: 12” July 21 & download July 27

http://www.hollyjohnson.com
https://www.facebook.com/FrankieKnucklesOfficialFanPage
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Kupper/201834046508390?sk=timeline

Troupe
Whatever
Troupe

You’ve got to love the nihilism of the title. Indeed, named after the Bristol/ London club night this is the promoter’s debut release which I have to say is seriously excellent. Another, thankfully, hard to classify track which blends darker, drum fuelled elements together with commanding stabs and blissfully twisted camp spoken vocals. Although, if you can’t take the heat then there is always the Dub version.

release: July 14

http://www.troupelondon.com

Skylab
For The Ones Gone EP
Bikini Tracks

Gorgeous summer sounds from Skylab that fit neatly in-between Disco and Balearic grooves. Set to a mid-tempo shuffle this meandering keyboard driven rhythm has sunshine written all over it complete with vocal touches and just the right amount of funk to dance to. Club Malibu, is more club orientated with faster beats competing against another 80’s styled sample. Pedro Mercado and Derek D then provide the remix which alters the mood making it all the more intriguing with a moodier arrangement of sounds and low-slung bassline.

release: July

https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSkylab
https://www.facebook.com/Bikinitracks

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Jose Padilla
Solito
International Feel

A gentleman who needs little introduction is the infamous Jose Padilla and if you’ve either witnessed one of his sunset sets, or indeed lisented to one of his numerous CD compilations then you can guess what you’re about to receive. Which is, of course, tranquil blissed-out music espousing atmosphere rather dancefloor clique. The title track undulates in a deeply satisfying way as gentle layers of voice, flute and percussion underpin it all close to your heart, with Mark Barrott’s production shinning. The Bubble Clubs In Loving Memory Mix provides a more hypnotic experience with haunting pads and delays comfortably pacing themselves, while the excellent Wolf Müller Water versions add a funkier sensibility to the equation, and one which works supremely well.

release: July 7

https://www.facebook.com/JOSEPADILLAIBZ
https://twitter.com/padillaibiza
http://internationalfeel.com

Inxec & Julia Govor
Ai Need You
Superfreq

Delivering yet another devilishly charged release Superfreq maintain the tension with this latest from Inxec & Julia Govor. The Original version is all sassy, funky electronics set against a dazzling array of twisted effects and gorgeous, breathy voices all of which simply stuns. Great remixes come from Derek Marin whose dark, trippy rendition contains a classic House B-line and all sorted accompanying percussion. Plus, Meandisco who supply even weirder synths and pulverising beats. Leaving, Noel Jackson’s more sensuous remix to complete with warmer meanderings.

release: July 7

http://juliagovor.com
https://www.facebook.com/inxec

David K
Middle Aged Romance EP
Apollonia

Two tracks go to make up this tasty EP from David K who you will be know with via his releases on the likes of Freak n’Chic and Coccon etc. The charmingly titled, Middle Aged Romance kicks things off with a selection of deeper, sensuous tones alongside fiery drum machines all vying for your attention amidst occasional strident House chords feeling compelling. However, its second track and the very excellent, Drop The Beat that relentlessly grabs your attention with killer Chicago styled beats booming, coupled with commanding vocals and insistent percussion lines – Party Monster!

release: August 20

https://www.facebook.com/ApolloniaMusic

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KIM.BROWN.2.FZ.009Your great new single: Batteries Not Included features three tracks. Can you talk us through how you produced one of them?

With “Other People’s Space” it was an odd process. We had the tracks for the B-Side of the EP, but were lacking a proper A-Side. We never really liked sitting down, saying „Let’s make an A-Side hit“. It either happens or doesn’t. But as deadlines kept coming closer, we needed a solution. We had a track lying around for a while which had some elements we really liked, but couldn’t really make the whole thing work. So we kicked 90% out, put the focus on the bassline, added some nice chords and strings and pretty much finished the whole thing in a few hours. Maybe it wasn’t quite as easy as described, but we like to think it was.

Are there any plans to follow up on your debut album: Somewhere Else It’s Going To Be Good. If so, what can we expect to hear on it?

We would love to release a new album next year. But there are no specific plans. At the moment we’d like to collect ideas, improve our live set, see how the current releases work and so on. So we don’t really know what’s going to happen.

You have already released music on number of labels including Just Another Beat, Permanent Vacation and Freerange. How do you find the process of getting your music heard and then signed by labels in the digital age?

We have been in the fortunate position of not having to send out any demos so far. Just Another Beat is run by a co-worker and friend of Ji-Hun and so one thing led to another. All the other labels asked us for remixes or collaborations.
There are definitely a few labels we would like to be approached by, but we are probably somewhere in between shy, spoiled and a bit lazy to send them something.
And as you mention “the digital age”, of course it’s a lot easier to send someone a track these days and get a quick response.

How would you describe the Dance scene in Berlin at the moment? Any positive & negatives you would like to mention?

During the last five years, the club scene in Berlin became a financial and also a political factor in Berlin. The famous clubs became as important as typical touristic landmarks and as Berlin is lacking other economical sectors like banks or industries, clubs are nowadays accepted by the government. Tourists from all over the world are coming to enjoy the club scene, so a couple of things changed. When you play in a club you meet people from Italy, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan at the same evening, which is definitely a cool thing. But there are also many people arguing about the loss of credibility and the lack of a proper native scene. For us, Berlin made many things possible. Most of the labels we worked with are run by friends of ours, so there still is a scene and wonderful network with great musicians and inspiring people.

KIM.BROWN.2.FZCan you tell us about who your main influences are, either in dance music or outside of it?

At an early stage we discovered our shared admiration for Metro Area and John Tejada for their sense of harmonies and arrangements. Outside of dance music both of us have a bit different musical backgrounds. Ji-Hun has more of an Indie/Folk background, whereas Julian has been more into Hip Hop back in the 90s. Both of us always listen to all kinds of music. Except for a few genres, where we share a disfavour.

Where are you looking forward to playing Live/ Dj’ing this summer?

Playing during summer means not to play necessarily in a dark, smoky club at night. We are looking forward to playing on a Sunday afternoon at the About Blank garden or on a boat but also open airs and smaller festivals. So it’s the summer in general we are looking forward to. And for that kind of thing, Berlin still is one of the most vibrant places.

https://www.facebook.com/kimbrownhousemusic
http://www.needwant.co.uk

 

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Afeke Iku
Order of Direction
Yoruba Records

afefeI’d hate to simply call this interesting as it kind of demeans the experience. However, this very intriguing, enticing listen from Afeke Iku reveals more of itself with each play to be a bit of a masterpiece. Part of the charm lies within its not so easy to categorize electronics which I guess shift somewhere between jazziness and ethereal spaceiness, and at times hints at classic American minimalist structures such as on the sublime Azimuth and Watch Face – I can even hear Robert Fripp’s influence in there somewhere too. Elsewhere the music is more attuned to Detroit as on the splendid repetition of Beyond Geography, with perhaps the only nod to the dancefloor really being the Osunlade collaboration: Apollo 11. I suspect that this will become a firm favourite, summer soundtrack as the more you lose yourself in the Order of Direction the more entwined you become. So much so that it becomes almost impossible to turn off.

release: June 22

http://yorubarecords.net

Tempelhof & Gigi Masin
Hoshi L.P
Hell Yeah Recordings

The second and equally stunning long player this week for me is this from Tempelhof & Gigi Masin. And again it combines weird and wonderful sounds that sometimes defy description but which certainly have a high emotional impact. There are some eleven tracks of dazzling magnitude on Hoshi which play with your mind along the lines of horizontal listening. Sometimes leaning heavily of a Jazz tip, see the wonderfully titled Interstellar Bop, at others dripping with heavenly ambience like the opening Jolla or on Silver Wave. This is introspective, and at times purely gorgeous. Listen to the classical piano of Session One (Reprise Bonus) and hear what I mean.

release: June 18

http://www.tempelhof.it
http://www.hellyeahrec.it

Jules & Moss
Nans et Moots EP
Kittball Records

There’s something about the original mix of Nans et Moots EP that really gets under your skin. Its darkly tuned Organ creates an unsettling atmosphere as does the developing spoken vocal, although this is offset by some great fiery snares and improvised keys adding colour to the captivating arrangement. Remixes come from Oliver Schories and Animal Trainer. The two remaining original tracks showcase another side the production duo with the easier, more playful funk of Auto Like and the addictive,  undulating high-energy of Golden Cheebre to complete the attractive package.

release: July 1
http://julesandmoss.com
http://www.kittball.com

Lay-Far
New Day, New Light
Lazy Days

All of a sudden there is a rush of great summer music around and this is certainly exceptional. Three brand new tracks from Alexander Lay-far with the title track proving a sure fire winner. Pounding drums and filtered good-times grooves give this a breezy seal of approval coupled with classy piano and soaring strings too. Next, the Jazz/Funk referencing Tru shuffles along nicely, as If Only The Time picks it up again with sassy percussion and more hot filter action making this a recommended listening/ dancing affair.

https://www.facebook.com/layfar
http://lzdrecordings.com

Tomson, Eddie Leader & Chez Damier
I Am With You
Hudd Traxx

With the vinyl release due out sometime soon it’s well worth refreshing your memory in case you missed out on the digital addition last month. Hudd Traxx have been doing a neat line in House Music for a while now and this tough production is one of their finest to date for me. The bass hits hard and the hi-hats positively sizzle as the undulating chords build and drop across the course of the arrangement, with Chez Damier’s soulful vocal working its way deftly into the rhythm. A great Dub version compliments featuring hints of the voice alongside lots of the keys for extra good measure.

http://www.juno.co.uk/products/chez-damier-eddie-i-am-with-you/528010-01/
http://www.huddtraxx.com

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Dave Aju Q&A

Posted: 12th June 2014 by gregfenton in Questions & Answers
Tags: , , , ,
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dave ajuYour third album is called Black Frames. Can you tell us about the idea behind the title?

There are a few different ideas and meanings behind the title, but on the literal tip I used some black photo frames that were on the walls of my former home studio for the core sounds, and as a whole it’s a somewhat darker more bold statement of where I’m at, musically and personally.

The album touches upon a number of styles. I was wondering who your main influences were in creating it?

The frames were surrounding some classic 60/70s album artwork so those were the immediate inspiration, but beyond that I’m influenced by a variety of music- around that time I was digging into stuff like William Onyeabor, The Dirtbombs, Taylor Mcferrin, Jack White, Shock G, Madlib, Mo Kolours, Paranoid London, Chateau Flight, and Moodymann.

Lyrically you touch upon a number of subjects. Can you tell about what you feel most passionately about – Law strikes me as a powerful message.

“Law” was inspired by the increasingly intense police state situations taking place around the world in cities like Istanbul, Sao Paolo, and Kiev, and the mindless ignorance that allows them to continue. In the States there’s the Oscar Grant story that’s especially close to home – there’s a great Forrest Whittaker film out about it; so the song is about abused power of so-called order, somewhere between ‘Fuck The Police’ and who watches the Watchmen? In general I prefer to go a bit deeper and more meaningful with lyrics on albums.. I mean, surface and fun party-oriented vocals can be great too, but something a bit more personal and expressive takes more balls and resonates longer.

Can you talk us through producing one of the tracks on the album and how you create such a distinctive sound?

Well the frames literally provided the framework for each track, so the basic rhythm structures and arrangements are laid out using handmade kits and sound banks per piece as I like each one to have a unique palette and not reuse the same sounds, even within an album, then either some vocals or melodic textures to bring it to the next level, whichever comes more naturally.

Black Frames is due to be released on Circus Company. How did your relationship with the label come about?

They’re basically good friends turned adopted family for me.. We met years ago back in SF while Sety was visiting and studying there, and we had so much in common musically and otherwise, it would have been damn silly not to start working together, despite being from ‘different cultures’.

Where can people get to hear you play Live/DJ over the summer?

dave sonarI’ll be debuting an all-new live set based on the Black Frames material coming up at Sonar on Sunday June 15 for the Circus Company Piknic Electronik with the whole label family, and then another dope fam jam at Watergate in Berlin on June 21 for the official album release party and at Fuse in Brussels on June 28; In July I’ll be hitting the States for a rooftop party at Output NYC then back home to SF for the Sunset Campout; looking forward!

http://www.circuscompany.fr/dave-aju
http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/daveaju
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dave-Aju-official/121620111246957
Twitter @theedaveaju
http://www.lovecity-central.com/portfoli…
http://www.liaison

dave 3

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& ME
After Dark
Keinemusik

Excellent double header from & ME who surpasses any notions of decency while heading straight for the jugular with this uncompromising, mesmerising release. The title tracks’ sublime, tribal infused drums pitch themselves at you trance-like with weird synths and captivating voices letting your mind run riot. More off the wall behaviour follows with the equally tantalising, ‘Locust’ and its staccato guitar backed up by pulsating Toms and further twisted treatments combining to make this hard to surpass. If you are looking for music that exists outside of the box….

release: June 20

http://keinemusik.com

PrintFull Intention
Do You Feel / London EP
Full Intention

What’s not to like about Do You Feel with its tense bassline and cutting, shuffling drums capped off with the title as its vocal. Simple formula but one which they do expertly well, especially with the nagging synth setting it all off against the sharp rhythms. Next, London has a more tech flavour combining stripped down electronics with bubbling Acid lines, which are then offset by rich pads. Whatever takes your fancy?

release: June 16

http://www.fullintention.com

NUDES
NUDES
Zappruder Records

Launching their debut EP the London based duo create music that has you reaching for label’s yet thankfully leaves you tastefully confused. 90′s Depp opens the sequence of events with a sheer fusion of fuzzy electronics, soulful yet mournful vocals and edgy synthesizers. Its emotion stripped bare and I like it. Avec then follows with more emotive vocals draped across expansive keys and drum machine pulses. Remixes come the uneasy rhythms of Plage 84 and the pure electro sassiness of Robert James. With remaining tracks, The Heat and thirteen2thirteen exploring more of those very possibilities. You get the impressive this machine based music would sound all the more impressive live.

release: June 18

https://www.facebook.com/skindeepmusic

Razz
Kill Yourself Dancing
Still Music

If you haven’t already tuned into “Kill Yourself Dancing! The Story Of Sunset Records Inc. 1985-89″, then Still Music is set to release three of the most requested tracks from the compilation. First off, and my favourite, is this killer gem from Razz aka Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario. Originally released all the way back in 1985 this still packs an energetic punch with its raw-edged production still feeling every bit as vibrant via all those classic electronic sounds from the era. The title track is soon followed by an array of fiery Chicago House workouts with the emphasis firmly placed upon the drums and bass. Essential stuff.

release: June 15

http://www.itstillmusic.com

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Your latest EP: The “Trouble Comes” has just been released? Can you talk us through how the song was conceived and the process of producing it?

The inception for the song came after watching a program on Wolves. There was a section about how a wolf howls at
a precise frequency which doesn’t echo across canyons, so that other wolves can detect direction of the howl and locate the wolf. That concept fascinated me, and the first line came out of that: 

”A Wolf howls in the canyon / Obeys some ancient rule / No echo to follow / The sound is beautiful and cruel.”

van 2What struck me, also, is humanity’s primal, visceral connection with Wolves, how that ‘cry’ or that ‘call’ is something we fundamentally understand. So the lyrics delve into that vestigial – yet powerful – connection between our primeval selves and our present selves. At the same time that we are abstracted from Nature, we are aligned with it, and that forms the tension of the song. 

The connection is both a Universal one and a personal, intimate one. The call of the Wolf mysteriously goes to the core of understanding of ‘self’ somehow, and while it’s a ephemeral emotion, it’s an overwhelming one. It’s a lot like being in Love and the longing one feels when missing someone. The next lines in the chorus expresses that:

”Half-way around the world / I can hear your call / Like there’s no distance at all.”
Wolves also howl before a hunt to bring the pack together. I tried to imagine my primal self, existing in the wilderness, hearing the call of Wolves and the beating of distant drums, knowing that each was a call, in some way, to War. The last line of the chorus makes that moment – where fear and awe collide, when that ‘loss of self’ is palpable and immediate, expressing that urgency. And so, the final line in the chorus:

”Trouble comes when you hear the drums.” 

The music, produced by Lem Springsteen, is first and foremost rooted in ‘Groove’, but is also complex & sonically nuanced. The sounds he uses are subliminal; they’re not just supporting the song and my voice, they inhabit your mind & get under your skin.

The song is very much about how our primal nature hasn’t changed all that much. We are still awed by vastness, by sunsets and full moons. We still sense the sublime and liminal aspects of existence, and still respond with abandon when we hear drums played in an incessant or rhythmic way. There’s no one more attuned to that than a DJ who invites everyone to partake in that primal, ecstatic act of surrender.

The release is accompanied by another stunning video. Can you tell us about the ideas behind it and how it was made?

Thanks Greg….. With my new material, I’m particularly interested in the concept of duality, in juxtapositions and dichotomies. I’ve also been drawn toward Film Noir, French New Wave, and Black & White footage from experimental film makers like Maya Deren. I love the grainy, raw quality, the blurred edges and subtle oscillations that occur when light shifts and things move, and the jarring effect that occurs when this is contrasted with footage that has clean & crisp edges. Again, that dichotomy: old vs new world, clarity vs obscurity, creating a space you both can and cannot enter.

My new material also explores the idea of identity, and the challenge of how one defines the ‘hybrid’ self in a world that expects that definition. I thought the ‘mirror image’ metaphor worked well with the message I was trying to convey: that the self is a shifting, moving, malleable thing. I decided to incorporate Dance into that message because it can express the inchoate ‘self’ without words. And the further reference to the Rorschach ink blots brings Psychology into play, where you see what you want to see on one hand, but are also surprised by shapes that suggest unformed imaginings.

My movements connect directly to the music. In many ways, I think Dance is the art that can best convey the subliminal & subversive because it’s the one art that – because of its stringent physical & coordination requirements – so few partake in. We are awed by dancers, in part, because of this. It’s also the art that connects us most directly to our primal selves.

Your current album: Light Sweet Crude touches upon many styles, including the heart-stopping, ‘Bar D’O’. How would you describe the album to people?



Thanks again…. that ‘heart-stopping’ moment of Love’s first-recognition is the precise feeling I was going for, and DJ Bander – the producer – captured so powerfully with the music.

light sweet crudeIn terms of describing the album, I’d say I chose the word ‘Hybrid’ to put the listener in a stirred-up, strange-brew mindset. In hybrid species, for instance, it’s hard to discern where the influence of one begins and the other ends. And so, with this album, I wanted to mix things up, to blur the lines between Electronic, Acoustic, Soul, House, Jazz, Blues…..

One writer described the album very concisely as “Noirish House Music”.Another very eloquent description is from the writer Imran Khan in his feature interview in Pop Matters,
‘Dark Days, Luminous Nights: An Interview with Vanessa Daou‘. He describes the album as “existential dramas you can dance to.”

Where do you find the inspiration for words? Who are your main influences?

I keep a list of words that interest me, one of them is the word ‘Trouble’. The word ‘Trouble’ has roots in “to trouble, disturb; make cloudy, stir up, mix”.
The word has interesting other facets, referring to a woman who, in one way or another, spells danger & destruction through her actions, motivations, even her physical presence. Women in history – Art, Cinema, Literature, Poetry – have been both admired and vilified for their beauty, at some point, the Vixen, the Bombshell, and the Femme Fetale were born. A beautiful woman, throughout history, spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e. 

Equally fascinating to me is the fact that there is no word or archetype for male equivalent.

I find inspiration absolutely everywhere and anywhere. Riding the subway on advertisements or overhearing conversations, news reports, Poetry, the Online Etymology Dictionary, The Urban Dictionary, text-based artists, writings on Physics, Biology & Botany.
My main influences are:
Music – Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen, Francoise Hardy, Nico & the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Tricky.
Poets – John Ashbery, Pablo Neruda, Paul Celan, Baudelaire, Erica Jong, Anne Carson, Collin Kelley.
Artists: Gary Simmons, Fiona Banner, Glenn Ligon.
Film – Maya Deren, Jean-Luc Godard
Dance – Erick Hawkins, Yvonne Rainer

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The Daou, ‘Surrender Yourself’ is a personal favourite for many from that mid-nineties period of NYC inspired Dance music. What are your memories of that recording and time in New York?

We recorded ‘Surrender Yourself’ in a grungy downtown studio. We were up all night recording, and when it came time for me to record it was early morning, and I remember that we were all in somewhat of an altered state.

At the time I was singing & doing spoken word on NuGroove Records, and Danny suggested that I add some spoken word to the track he & Peter had just created for ‘Surrender Yourself’. The lyrics were spontaneous, inspired by and infused with the hazy spirit of that night and the edginess of that time here in NYC. While recording, I had in mind TS Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’ (hence the reference to ‘sawdust streets’) and EE Cummings (the ref. to ‘love crumbs’ and ‘countries’). It was a distinctly dangerous yet creatively charged time here in New York City.

After that session, we were working all through the next morning, and while Danny & I were eating breakfast in the lounge area of the studio, we noticed a tiny gray mouse standing at our feet, watching us eat. We both began very casually feeding the mouse some crumbs from our muffins, as though it was a perfectly normal thing to do. We began laughing uncontrollably realizing I had used the term ‘Love crumbs’ on the track! We still laugh hysterically about that!!!!

How do you find running a record label: DAOU Records in the digital age?

It’s incredibly rewarding as well as challenging. It’s important to stay on top of all of the new & shifting developments, & changes. It’s also important to imagine new possibilities that technology can bring. The most important thing, though, is to never losing sight of the fact that it comes down to the music, and what’s most important is the message, not the medium.

Any forthcoming plans to play out ‘live’ that you can tell us about?

van4I’m working on 2 shows. One is a ‘Hybrid’ set which reflects the sonically layered sound on ‘Light Sweet Crude: Act 1′. The show is geared for Clubs & includes dancers & video.

The other is a ‘Stripped’ set which reflects the sound of my next album, ‘Light Sweet Crude: Act 2′, a new set songs which are sonically pared-down. The Stripped show includes 4 amazing musicians & performers: Drums: Anthony Johnson (of 24/7 Spyz & the lead in STOMP, NY for many years)
 Guitar: Viking (https://www.facebook.com/vikingmusic) will be opening on occasion, 
Sax & Clarinet: Fernando Arruda aka FJazz (http://www.fernandoarruda.info ) Electronic Bass & Keys: André Baum aka Beyondré (http://www.andrebaum.com) (produced ‘One Thing I’m Missing’ on the album) will also be opening on occasion.

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