Comments Off on Reviews: 157

Returning after a summer break Magazine Sixty reappears refreshed to bring you the hottest, slightly wired, music to devour all at your own leisure…

Single of the Week

Thunda 1500x1500Honey Dijon and Tim K featuring John Mendlesohn
Classic Music Company

Again taking its cue from the past and reigniting your love for those timely House sounds around the turn of the nineties, Thunda never the less keeps the spotlight firmly focused on the future too.  Fuelled by a hypnotic combination of deep beats and bass this charmingly also features improvised Flute and an array of commanding keys and chords that all weave their certain magic across John Mendlesohn’s rather tasty vocal delivery. Two great remixes compliment the original firstly from HNNY who drop the tempo for a different feel, and from Terrence Parker who conversely injects a rise in energy via Detroit stabs inevitably intensifying it all.

Release: October 12

Patrick Kunkel & 212fahrenheit
Never Down EP
Blend It Records

Fancy that. The first record in my mailbox today and it’s a gem. The third release from the label sees Patrick Kunkel & 212fahrenheit deliver succinct yet exciting sounds that all at once feel funky, emotive and come with a pronounced sting in the tail. Slashes of snare punctuate the rhythm while haunting voices colour the arrangement alongside cool basslines and cutting synth lines on the captivating title track remixed superbly by Danny Serrano. The Original version itself features the expanded vocal amidst meandering sounds that again command your focus. Next, Frivolo has rougher bass and a sense of fresh musical flair that makes this also well worth your attention. An excellent remix appears from whose pulverising low end makes for impressive noise with the electronics getting progressively fizzier.

Man With No Shadow
Urge EP
ALiVE Recordings

ALiVE_075Three kicking tracks go to make up this latest from the mysterious Man With No Shadow. It’s good you get the nod to the past’s influence without trying to simply replay it by adding your own expression into the equation. And that’s just what the opening Urge does and does so in some style. Pounding beats, soaring vocal delays shooting around the stereo and shimmering tension building arpeggio’s do all the rest on this commanding, fiery arrangement of contemporary House Music. The likewise Money Talks follows on with the tough rhythms aided this time by signature stabs accompanied by taught held-string lines that cumulate into a chime led frenzy. The first rate tribal infused Tom Ross ends with a scorching flurry of heavy Toms and darker pulses that again capture their essence perfectly.

Release: November 2

Kalyde ft. Youth
Good Life
Skint Records

RS1311.inddDaring to be different and featuring the cutting melodies of Youth proclaiming the record’s title loud and proud the original mix of Good Life deceptively greets you with gritty kick drums and a dark wash of atmospheric synthesizer. And then dances intriguingly in-between Soulful and Techno with a deliberate ease that retains a sense of musicality coupled with a blaze of sheer dancefloor attitude on this stunning production. South London Ordnance Remix then dispense with any melodic niceties to deliver a more driving take, leaving final track Last Seven to twist touches of vocal over further unrelenting electronics.

Release: October 23


Comments Off on Reviews: 156

Beesmunt Soundsystem
Pets Recordings

David van der Leeuw and Luigi Vittorio Jansen aka Beesmunt Soundsystem deliver what can only be called kick-ass House Music with this latest outing from Pets Recordings. Matters ignite in fine style with the irrepressible Searchin’ feeling frisky with its blaze of fiery drum machines sounding classically tuned yet remotely fresh all at the same time. The stripped back arrangement allows the vocal space to breath along with a nagging, agitated synth line plus occasional effects. Borrowed Identity supply a tough remix via pounding drums contrasted nicely by more subtle, soulful chords. The equally demanding Raindance is next with another round of timeless drums hitting the repeat button alongside irresistible bass and atmospheric electronics filling in the spaces. Finally, the excellent Ominous ends on slightly sleazy syncopation which is soon joined by gritty (to put it mildly) accompanying synthesizer lines sizzling with possibilities.

Release: July 31

Piers Crozier
Resonance Records

The man behind the North West’s infamous Cheshire Garden Party gets deep, down and dirty with this excellent production for Resonance. I’ve been playing this for a while now on my DeepHouse-Radio show and still sounds just as addictive with its funky combination of rolling bass, shuffling drums and most notably the spoken words with a message adding spice to the mix. Try the original version for all this and more. Remixes come from a frisky sounding Max Chapman who adds a distinct sting with rattling percussion and low-end bass pulverising the grooves, plus from an edgier and on-point Leftwing & Kody. Second original, Someone again hits you with a neat bassline and vocals adding the human touch, while third track ‘One, Two’ joins Chicago styled vocal stabs together with more rough, tough drums and bass to only further the experience.

Release: August 3

Santosh Khan
Mind In The Clouds EP
Etia Creations

You start off thinking this is cool, then the drum break drops and then the dark gorgeous bassline goes and introduces itself amid the ethereal hypnotic voices. If you like things moody and very late night then this is most probably/ most definitely for you. The great Steve Mac then remixes with big splashing hi-hats driving it all into distraction alongside a suitably striking arrangement set primed for the dancefloor to explode.

Release: July 24

Werner Niedermeier
Ayeko Records

This is a great EP from Werner Niedermeier and incidentally his second for the label. There is a first-rate combination of ideas going on in the title track, Escaping with a flourish of Disco percussion fueling a hot rhythm section, that is offset by warmer chords and contrasted further by dark low-end theory and suitably smoky vocals. Easy Peeler, follows with distinctively pulsating beats plus a P-funked bassline and an irresistible sense of rhythm. The excellent, ‘Tansan’ is up next with addictive Acid lines demanding being turned up to eleven and then repeated, while Puzzled gets twisted amid a sea of inviting deepness to end.

Release: July 24

Comments Off on Afterlife (Subatomic UK) Q&A

steveYour latest compilation of music (alongside Chris Coco) has just been released: MARINI’S on 57 – Sunset Hours Volume Two Compiled by Chris Coco & Afterlife (Secret Life). Can you tell us how the project originally came about, and how you decide which music is included on a particular mix?

Secret Life called me and Chris and said Modesto Marini had asked if we like to make a compilation for him, we took a look at the restaurant and saw that he was doing something exciting and different. Modesto is a great chef and we wanted to make something to compliment his talent. We decided upon a plan. 1. Interesting new (where possible) edgy downtempo, the sort of thing we would either play or want to hear if we were having dinner there. 2. We both had to absolutely love every single track. 3. Maybe we would make a track that we felt epitomised watching a sunset and eating serious Italian cuisine from 57 floors up in a steel and glass tower in Kuala Lumpur. This last bit was a piece of synchronicity as the next day Modesto asked us if we fancied making a track called Sunset Hours. We said “all right”.

One of the standouts on the new ‘Balearic’ album is your edit of Micko Roche ‘Baltimore’.  Can you tell us about the process of producing the version for the album?

Micko is signed to my label Subatomic UK and I had produced the original version which, halfway through, kicks in with some stunning electric guitar work which works well but takes the track to a different level to what Jim at Balearic was feeling, he really loved it but asked for a more acoustic edit and when I saw the track list I understood what he was looking for so it was easy as I still had more of the original acoustic guitar files which worked very well and kept the track organic.

You recently posted the question, ‘what really concerns me is the question: is there an underground anymore?’ What do you think the answer is?

Here is a reasonable definition to start the ball rolling. “A genre in music and other forms of media intended for an elite audience, that is often characterised by its high levels of originality and experimentation, and does not conform to typical standards, trends, or hypes as set by the popular mainstream media. The mainstream media has a tendency to steal new ideas from the underground.”
But surely the underground used to be that which was not in the media. These days media is everywhere, difficult to escape. That was why I posed the question. I think that “popular mainstream media” cannot be so easily defined anymore, we can all create our own media if we want to. So at this point, I think Yes and No, and not Yes and also not No. That might sound pretentious but it’s a quantum answer in  a quantum world.

Talking a step back. Who originally informed your taste in music, and what for you are the most important attributes in its composition?

The originator was a friend called Erskine Thompson who signed this record check out the personnel and all will be revealed.
For me music must have the following:- groove, story, feeling, in no particular order.

What are your views on House Music currently with the trend for early the 90’s and even a return to the Acid sounds of the late 80’s – is it at risk of becoming the musical equivalent of Northern Soul?

I think it’s cool, it can only lead on to new mutations of something good to start with. EDM was just someone getting House music totally wrong and exploiting it. When people hear real House music made with the heart and soul some of them realise what they have been missing. This then leads them on to real Downtempo – it has to be called something these days to even figure – there’s no difference really, where does House tempo begin and Downtempo end? People are opening up. No, it’s definitely not going down a Northern Soul route. That was a dead end.

BALEARIC CLASSICS JUNE 2015 by Afterlife on Mixcloud

Can you talk us through how you re-imagined the House rhythms of The Shapeshifters ‘It’s You’ and transformed them into your and Pete Gooding’s No Logo Sunset Mix for Defected?

I put the vocals up in solo. I really liked the sound of the stems, I think probably the only stems I have never attempted to improve sonically. Then I started hitting different pads to get a groove that worked with the vocals. Pete and I thought it would be nice to make a mix that could work at sunset at Mambo; starts super chilled and builds forever like an old Frankie Knuckles mix and then, if you wanted to, mix it into the original version and take it higher…

Can you tell us about your studio setup and any favourite software/ hardware?

I mix “in the box”. It’s a 64 bit PC 6 x 3.2ghz i7 running UAD quadcore cards with all UAD & Slate Digital Plug ins and some anonymous extras. Cubase Pro 8 & Wavelab 8.5. I worked in big analogue studios a lot so fot me, this software is as close, or closer, as it gets. Rhodes piano and Prophet 600 and Korg Trinity /TLA 5051 valve input stage, vintage strat and precision bass, some exotic percussion, lap steel guitar.
I love my Korg Global Wave drum, no midi. But most of all I love my Mackie HR824 monitors. You can work all day and night with them and they never hurt but they never lie.
Oh and my Neve 1073 EQ, of course.

Where can people get to hear you DJ over the summer? And what are your forthcoming production plans?

On Mixcloud Unfortunately, or otherwise depending on your point of view, I am one of the 5% of the population who has a very serious reaction to strong pulsed microwaves such as wifi and smartphone frequencies so well and truly grounded. Very fucking tedious actually, so I make a token mix every month whilst in mourning until things change for the better again. It happened for tobacco so I live in hope. People seem to be taking the issue more seriously lately…
Forthcoming productions will include working on the debut album of Fondue, their first single is getting great reactions
I AM really excited about my latest production. A debut album by DF Tram from San Francisco called “Illegal Lingo” due for release on 10th July


Your new EP along with Pete Gooding as No Logo is called ‘A Cubic Centimetre of Chance’. What’s the idea behind the title? And can you tell us about how the EP was conceived and brought together?

no logoThe new EP charts their creative meetings during the last three years when they have a chance to relax from their busy solo careers hence the EP title taken from the Carlos Castenada book Journey to Ixtlan: “All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimetre of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. The difference between an average man and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this, and one of his tasks is to be alert, deliberately waiting, so that when his cubic centimetre pops out he has the necessary speed, the prowess, to pick it up.”
Which perfectly describes their approach to collaboration. Pete and I rarely have time to work together as much as we would like to because of other commitments so when we do we regard the time as special and make the most of it. This EP is a perfect example of something being made over a four year period – 6 tracks + 6 times we spent together in the studio that reflect how we felt at each time and sometimes provoked by the vocals of Steve Smith (Dirty Vegas) , Ashibah  and NYC rapper River Nelson

And finally. What is your philosophy for life?

Do no harm but take no shit. It’s trickier than it sounds.


Comments Off on James Barnsley (Vessel Records)

10658986_1065127926850255_1556834514836240603_oYou recently played at the Made In Leeds festival. Tell us about how you became involved with that and how your set went?

Yes, Made in Leeds is a fairly new festival in Leeds which has arenas hosted by some of leads longest running club nights. Being a Back to Basics resident I have played the last two and played there for the last and both times its had a great crowd in our tent and its always gone right off.

vesselYou have just set up your own label Vessel Records. What’s the idea behind the name and how have you found the process of setting up a label in 2015?

The label name is a story in itself so to summarise it came about back at my house after the Back to Basics 23rd birthday, the name refers to a kayak me and my label partner Owen bought so I’ll leave it there for now if thats OK ha. The process has been frustrating in the main though thats due to the level of detail we’re putting into it to get it right from the off. We’ve got some great original work in production current and in the pipeline so its really starting to gather momentum.

Your new release for the label: In The Woods EP features two new tracks. Can you talk us through how you produced one of them?

Both tracks are made using analogue machines. Both have really hooky bass lines. ‘Dinadon’ using a 303 the track ‘Colorado’ which i made with Scan Mode was a really enjoyable collaboration and the Bass line was actually recorded by Scans girlfriend on an Old Korg Prophesy which sounds amazing in the club.


Where did you learn about production? And can you tell us about your favourite pieces of software/ hardware?

I learnt about music production thru trial and error I guess. I think it comes down to my experience as a DJ knowing what I want or need for my sets in the clubs and playing with different ideas and sounds. I have worked with some really good producers in the past and always pick up something new when I’m in the studio with them. My favourite piece of hard ware is my Roland TR-909 which I bought from techno legend Dave Angel. Its beats!

jamesWhat are your plans for expanding the label?

With Vessel I plan to do a solid bunch of releases over the next twelve months and currently in talks with a few promoters about our Vessel label parties which I am very excited about.

Who are your main influences both inside and outside of Dance Music?

Inside Dance music I have quite a few influences, its not always particularly about the music they play but about their attitude towards doing what they do and how they do it and doing what is true to them and going with it. Outside dance music I am also a very keen snowboarder and have big respect for the likes of Jeramy Jones and Travic Rice who really push the limits of human kind and take things to the next level. My Grandad Barnsley who we sadly lost to cancer last year is also still a massive influence to me.

How would you describe your time as a resident at Back To Basic’s and the influence that the club still holds?

My time as a Basics resident has been fantastic. Playing to the crowed is always a pleasure and really gives me a great platform to experiment with new tracks.

Where can people hear you play next?

We are hoping to announce our first Vessel parties very soon so stay tuned.

Comments Off on iO (Mulen Records/ One Records) Q&A

io picYour excellent new single ‘Mir’ for One Records is due out at the end of June. How did you get involved with the label?

Everything is simple, all the DJs are sharing music, and sometimes it gets into the right hands. My friend John Dimas listened to my tracks and shared them with Adam Shelton, one of the owners of One Records, who liked my tracks and said he wanted to release some of them. At the time the track  “Mir” was called “number 5”, and was signed to another label already, but after sending many tracks to Adam Shelton he insisted on the release of “number 5”, which I then agreed to.

Can you talk us through where the inspiration for the title track came from, and how you produced it (including any favourite pieces of studio equipment you like to use)?

My inspiration is an old school sound ‘garage’ style, which is music from my childhood and it always makes a fresh sounds fresh. You can always hear lovely style in my tracks, sampling the classic approach of “House makers”. I love to work with samples for arrangements by adding  “Roland Juno-60” synthesizer and “Roland TR-909”


 Cab Drivers have done the remix. Can you tell us about why you choose them?

I am very glad that those professionals have done a wonderful remix on my track. I have been a big fan of the label “Cabinet” for a long time, but the remix- was an arranged by Adam. Thanks to them for perfect work. They are unique in their sound.

Can you tell us about your Kiev based label: Mulen Records and any forthcoming plans?

Mulen rapidly continues to develop in music, design, online- projects. The Profilabel platform is running already, a lot of producers on all of the world like it and use it cause Profilabel has very convenient functionality and restrained design. We were joined to many new artists like beginners talents and approved itself in the music field. We continue to develop and work.

As we are entering the summer season I was wondering what your thoughts are on the big festivals in relation to Underground Dance music?

io festIn our time the festivals have risen to such a level that all people can enjoy the music and feel most liberated and create tremendous positive energy anywhere in the world. The strongest vibration of positive energy.

 Where can people get to hear you DJ next?

Ostrov festival, Fabric on the “One Records” label show-case, show-case Mulen in America. See you there!



Comments Off on DAVI Q&A

daviYour excellent new EP: Metanoia is for Tenampa Recordings. It has taken quite a long time for the title track to be released. Can you tell us about the history of the track?

I wrote it during the same time as Two Suns In The sky. But because it was not part of the EP I never tried signing it as a single. That’s why it took so long to get it released.

It has a very cosmopolitan feel. Can you talk us through how you produced it, and where the inspiration came from?

I was experimenting with middle eastern sounds a lot two years ago. I made a ton of records but not all of them were that interesting. I think Metanoia is special because I mixed Armenian and Middle Eastern instruments and harmonies together;

Are Festivals still ‘underground’ – what does the word mean to you in 2015?

Yes I believe they are. I personally have had very fun and inspiring experiences at festivals. But of course depends which festival. For example BPM is as underground as it can get. I believe the word Underground still remains the same as it always did for me. For me it always meant the opposite of pop music. And I think it still does.

dvi sitYou recently played at Do Not Sit On The Furniture on Miami beach. Sounds like a special night. Please tell us some more about it?

I played there last month and it is my 3rd time there. It is Behrouz’s club that he has built with a specific vision. It is a small and intimate spot that has a very nice vibe. He has established a special sound there by inviting djs that like to play more mellow and take their time building their sets within 4-5 hours. Not your usual banging club which I respect.

What are your thoughts on music being ‘free’? You made some interesting comments on a recent article by Roger Waters and I wondered what you thought the solution could be (if any?)

I had an idea two years ago to start my own label and release everything for free download. It was a good idea at the time but I am glad that I didn’t go forward with it because now it really makes no sense. Music producers spend 10 hours a day in the studio to reach their goals. If we are to give away our creation for free, not only we will not be able to survive in this world by being a musician but also we will not have motivation nor the music will have any value.

davi 3Can you tell us about some of your influences both from Dance music and outside of it?

I have been very busy with dance music that I am afraid I do not have any influences outside of it at the moment. But one of my dreams is to have an Apparat type of a band. Just need to find the right musicians that have the same taste as I do.

What are your forthcoming plans for Production and Dj’ing?

The plan is always the same, Keep making as much music as possible and experiment with new sounds and of course be able to play lot of gigs which is not that easy. Last year i managed to release only 2 EPs because of being away from the studio while traveling. This year i am trying to balance it out and so far so good.

Comments Off on Kevin Knapp (Hot Creations) Q&A

kevinHello and how is life in Berlin in 2015?

Fantastic at the moment actually, now that we’re into June and it’s so gorgeous all the time. In the winter things can get a bit rough and ironically not due to the cold, but rather, due to the fact that it’s overcast like 90% of the time. It leads to mad folks walkin’ around nursing seasonal affective disorders, ewww haha. But it’s summer now so outta sight mind. You can tell winter I said it too, ain’t nobody scurrrred!

Your excellent new single The Heft EP is coming out on Hot Creations. How did you hook up with the label, and what does it mean to you to have another release on the infamous imprint?

I was at a boat party in Detroit a few years back where Richy Ahmed was headlining. He played one of my tracks and I went up to acknowledge it and thank him while it was playing. He then told me he’d been wanting to talk to me about a collaboration, I suspect because he’d heard a bunch of stuff I’d been doing with Matt Tolfrey & Audiojack. Funny thing is that it took a long time for us to pull that collaboration together because it took quite some time for us to get in contact again, flush the idea out, and once we did the recording was delayed because I was busy prepping to move to Europe. So something like 1.5 years later The Drums came out and the rest is, as they say, history. I’ve also known Lee (Foss) for several years from his pre- Hot Creation days as we’re both California boys and peeps who love these tunes are kind of a close knit community as you well know.

I’m ridiculously excited to have a couple solo cuts out on the imprint as it’s always been one of my favorite labels. To go from being a fan to contributing to the label’s music library is a feeling that’s just hard to put into words. I’m stoked.

heftCan you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks on the EP (including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use)?

Most of the work on ‘Not Your House’ really came together almost entirely in one sitting. Sometimes when you sit down the stars align and things just come quickly. It’s almost like you’re creating a puzzle you intuition just tells you what pieces are missing and you’re able to quickly grab and insert them. I remember even the vocal that day came out of me kinda instantly. I remember getting the rhythm and feeling of what I wanted to say down first and then letting the tune tell me what the message/vocal cut should be. I’ve really been diggin’ on Arturia Analog & Diva in terms of software and they’re both used in this track.

buy/ listen too

Can you tell us a bit about your background, who you grow up listening too, and who inspired you to get into DJ’ing/ Producing and being a vocalist?

Music has always been around me. My mom was kind of a soul fan (shocking, I know!! Kev’s African American mother loved soul! haha) so lots of Roberta Flack and Luther Vandross etc… was playing at the crib when I was a little dude. In sharp contrast to that though, my dad is a bit of an audiophile, like we used to get Gramophone magazine delivered to our house kinda thing and he was massively into classical and jazz. So many nights to this day he and I will open a bottle of whiskey (scotch for him) and just listen or watch a music documentary about an artist/composer/band we’d like to know more about. I sang classically, competitively when I was in high school actually having three different choir classes a day at one point. I also spent a ton of time being the music got to guy for my group of homies coming up so I suppose even back then writing was on the wall. In those days it was all east coast hip hop for me. In college I developed an appetite for indie rock living in Austin Texas (America’s indie rock capital IMO), which I feel still appears in my music faintly to this day. It definitely solidified my love for minor keys.

Kevin_Knapp_2_300dpi_CMYKWhen I moved to San Francisco in 2000 I happened upon an art gallery where they were doing happy hour parties with a line of 150 people out the door at 7pm on every Wednesday. It made no sense, but people would come down after work and just go for it. At 9 pm it felt like 3 am at any other club in the world. It was there that I decided that this was something I just had to do. 6 months later I had my first set of 1200’s. So, while attending my law school classes during weekdays on Wednesdays nights and weekends I was slowly getting deeper and deeper into the music thing. At the time one of the city’s best DJ’s and the best opening DJ I’ve ever known personally, Scott Carrelli, sort of took me under his wing and invited me to be a resident for his wildly successful SatelliteSF parties. They started later, and were still on Wednesday nights (Thursdays were hell for like 7 years there or so, especially with a full time job), but the acts we got for that little 150 person venue where out of control. Lee Burridge, James Holden, Phil K and tons of others acts of that caliber. We actually helped create/extend the Wednesday night Market in that city, a torch still being carried by my homie Mikey Tello’s (from Pillow Talk) party Housepitality to this day.

So I Dj’ed a lot during that period of time from like 2005 through 2013 in SF and that’s when I learned how to read crowds and kind of earned my chops so to speak. Along the way I sat in tons of studios with folks collaborating both as a co-producer and then eventually as a vocalist too (once some folks found out about my background). I think I’ve had a pretty unique opportunity compared to other producers because being a vocalist has lead me to be able to see how lots of different producers work and I can then take that experience and put it into my own work. It got to the point that I had to make a decision between continuing to do the lawyer thing and moonlighting as an artist or to take the plunge. So in May of 2013 I moved to Berlin and here we are, artisiting hahaha.

How do you feel about the importance/ relevance of vocals in today’s Dance Music?

I love vox when used appropriately. I’m not one of these people who looks at a set and says it contains too many or too few of them. I feel like a song tells you when they are needed. Anything that is value added to a track should be placed in it and anything that’s not shouldn’t. I’ve really been working under the personal mantra in the studio lately that less is more. So if there’s fat to be trimmed, get to cutting, and vox are part of that consideration (Now If I could just figure out how to do this in my personal life haha). Generally speaking, I feel like a couple choice words in a few select spots can often really enhance the audience’s experience. It’s another tool at our disposal when trying to get our personal message or idea out, so if it helps to do that how could you not use them, ya know? It’s hard for me to make any kind of large sweeping statement about today’s dance music. I will say though that it seems like there are plenty vocal cuts out there for peeps to bask in, if that’s what doin’ it for them. J

How would you compare the importance/ difference between Berlin (where you live) and Ibiza (where you also play)?

Both these places are great for different reasons. Personally, I landed in Berlin because I felt like the immigration hurdles would be easier to navigate. There are of course tons of clubs here in the B and thus tons of places to enjoy this music we all love so dearly on a weekly basis. And an obvious major difference is here you can do it year round. I mean, the argument can be made that some of the Berlin clubs are even better in the winter. The energy in Berlin is very gritty. Ibiza is just straight up magical. I was on the island gigging last weekend and I’d forgotten just how special the place makes you feel right when you step off the plane. I don’t know if it’s the fact that like 95% of the people are there on Holiday or what but it just has a certain indescribable AMAZING feeling. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet and I can’t wait to return in a couple months. The vibe in Spain, at leastKevin_Knapp_3_300dpi_CMYK on that island, is pretty much the antithesis of grit. So I suppose it depends on what you dig.

Can you tell us about any forthcoming plans for 2015 and beyond?

I’m planning to get a few more solo EP’s out before the year ends. We’re looking at a few exciting labels for their release so stay tuned! I’m really enjoying having the full autonomy for getting my ideas out at the moment. The gig calendar is increasingly steady so that’s a good thing and I imagine it will keep me busy through the end of the year. I’ve also got collab releases forthcoming with Pan-Pot, Guti & Matt Tolfrey, Audiojack, & Daniel Dexter that will be dropping through late summer and into the fall. Other than that, we’ve got a dope grill set up at the crib and we’ve been stuffing chicken, searing asian flank steaks, and smoking pork rib racks so when not on the road or in the studio I’m planning to break fools off on the BBQ as frequently as possible. Live, Love, Grow, Listen, and Give that’s the plan.

* Photos by Vitali Gelwich Photography

Comments Off on Navid Izadi (Wolf + Lamb/ Crew Love) Q&A

navid 2How’s life as part of the Wolf + Lamb/ Crew Love collective in 2015. How important is it to you to be part of that?

Life with the crew is like life with any family. There’s a deep love and connection that goes beyond just being label mates. That being said, every family has it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. All siblings fight from time to time. In the end, though, like a family, they helped to shape who I am and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.

Your great new single for Wolf + Lamb: Messin features two new tracks. Could you talk us through how you produced one them?

With “Messin”, I started it on a flight from LA to Montreal, (it was called “Flight to Montreal” for a while), and I was going for the sound of a lot of the stuff I was hearing on the radio growing up in the Bay Area, California. There was a lot of tracks that I was into then with that Latin freestyle, with these deep chords and poppy vocals, etc. I had a situation with a girl and thought it would lend itself well to the kind of simple, universal lyrics that a lot of those songs had. Then when Angelica (from Body Language) got on it, it all came together to really make this kind of 90s Latin house radio jam that I was looking for. The “Shades Up” dub was a stoned tangent I went on while mixing the original forever that ended up being something really cool with a old-school sunrise house feel.

With “Hard 2 Say”, the song started off sounding really dark. I made most of the drums with synths so it was really sharp and industrial sounding. Then I added the vocoder and the bass at the same time and it totally changed the dynamic of the song. I’m a big fan of that, when something starts off really dark or really tough, then a new element is added to the equation and your emotional perception of the whole is transformed, and the parts that came off as tough ends up working to heighten that new emotion. I love that alchemy.

navid artwork

Midnight Magic and FSQ both provide diverse remixes. What’s your relationship with those artists?

I saw Midnight Magic for the first time in Berlin when I was living there a few years ago, when I first starting playing out. They totally blew my mind. I had already been rinsing “Drop Me A Line”, “Beam Me Up” and all those tracks to death, but seeing them live was just something else. Tiffany Roth in particular carries such a commanding presence but at the same time has such levity and charisma. Also a really great and funny dialogue with the crowd, unsure if they could even understand her or not. That really had an impact on the way I wanted to perform my music when I started playing live. On top of that, all their remixes are fire, so I was honored to have them involved.
FSQ are close friends that are really so talented. They carry the Funkadelic torch and have a deep funk lineage that comes out in everything they do. It was really amazing to get an interpretation of the track that had live instruments and real soul in it, and I think it really shows a different perspective of the track. They’re really great at flipping tracks like that, as they’ve been consistently proving. Everybody should keep a keen ear to these guys.

Your music a very emotionally charged. What is the importance of Soul in music for you, and how do you feel about the art of song writing in 2015?

I’ve always been really connected to music that elicits strong emotion, from a lot of different genres, and that’s had a big effect on the way I produce. Sometimes that’s a conscious choice, sometimes it happens by accident. It would be a challenge for me not to write in that way. I think music can be a powerful healer, especially when it strikes those deep-rooted chords we all share as humans, and I’d love to be able to produce that kind of effect with anything I do.

Can you tell us about any of your favourite instruments/ software that you like to use when producing?

I guess it’s become pretty cliché, but I’m a sucker for old analog gear. The Roland drum machines, Juno, and Prophet are probably the big three in my studio. That being said, I’m really into FM synthesis too and the amazing “90s” sounds they make. This EP, and “Messin” in particular is mostly digital FM stuff. I have a DW-6000 and R3 from Korg and a Yamaha DX-100, they can do some really sweet, nostalgic things that I love. Software wise, I use Ableton to track the stuff with some of the better soft synths involved sometimes.

Can you tell us about the Crew Love event at Studio 338 in London?

crew loveMost of the crew was involved and it was really special. That space is great, we played here last tour at the end of our week long bus tour, which was a special day. It’s outside and there was a lot of light coming in, which is the right kind of setting for our kind of party. London’s full of friends, as well, so it’s always a nice mini-reunion when we play here.

What are your forthcoming plans for live performance and recording?

Barcelona is coming up on Friday then Bucharest on Saturday, and Paris on Sunday. Then I’ll be in Colombia (Cali, Medellin and Bogota) next weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to snag a recording of something soon!

Comments Off on MANIK Q&A

Your recent release on Nice Age features the killer track: Buffalo Trace. What for you is the enduring appeal of Acid House?

manikAcid house to me is just a simpler time. Less is more. The music was super basic but the vibes were next level. As far as the producer nerd in me, I love the raw energy of the 303. The 303 was basically intended to replace the bass player inside of a rock band- give him/her a break- it sounded way to unnatural and robotic though. This fact, in a nutshell, is why electronic music is what it is today.

Can you talk us through how you produced the track?

I can’t disclose all the nuts and bolts, but I will say that it was basically all analog :) A bit of my Moog Voyager was involved too and some Roland TR8. Rest was really building on top of the tight groove of the opening 30 sec.

What’s the story behind your JJ01 edit of Janet Jackson’s ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ from 1986. Why did you choose that track in particular?

I am a huge Janet fan and wanted to play out the tracks in my sets. I’ve actually done 5. This is the 001. Only about 3 are intended to play out in a set- the other 2 are more for home listening. All released this summer for free.

How do you feel about the importance of new music in context of today’s re-edit culture?

I mean its all expanding the creative mind by lending your take on to the original. Bootleg and re edit culture has been around forever in dance music. I just bought a dope new Sade edit (yes like the 547th time that has happened) but it’s always fun. It is an important part of dance culture- turning jams into party jams- while you reel in the crowd on the fence.

You DJ all over the world. Do you find that Dance Music is a universal language?

Yes 100%. Music in general. It unites us all.

You grew up in Queens NYC. What was it like there and how would you contrast it to living in LA now?

LA is a different kind of beast in itself. I will say that I think LA has turned into a real creative hub in the last 2 years. It’s affordable/artist friendly, and there are loads of cool spaces to rent to make music in without bothering a stuck up neighbor. Now is the time.

Can you tell us about your influences both within and outside of Dance Music?

I grew up on Hip Hop out in NYC, but I am a huge fan of the indie rock and chillwave scenes. Neon Indian, Toro Y Moi etc are some of my favorites. Actually also just saw Ratatat at Coachella that was awesome too. Anything that truly appreciates musicianship, yet still fun, and different, is a big plus. Basically any music that is non “Milk” music- doesn’t have an expiration date.

What are your plans for the remainder of 2015 and beyond?

I have some MANIK music coming later this year on Berlin’s own Bpitch- more techy stuff.. really dope. Also, another solo EP on Black Butter at some point. I got a track on a compilation by Waze & Odyssey too. Other than that, releasing more of the Janet Edits, and starting a new mix series via my Soundcloud. Working on a new Culture Fires EP too- that’s my Disco/Cosmic alias- while also wrapping a 4 track EP for a new project called 909 Til Infinity.


Comments Off on Ronnie Spiteri (Kenja Records) Q&A

ronnieHow did you find the process of setting up your own label Kenja Records, and where does the name come from?

I had a dozen of tunes that were waiting to be released elsewhere and I was getting frustrated with release schedules that were given to me by the labels. As I work in the studio full time, I quickly came to danger of overflowing myself with lots of tunes that will potentially never be heard by anyone with a little or no outlet for what I was doing at the time. Setting up Kenja was extremely easy. Once I made up my mind it took me three days to get online distribution and set up the first release date. I always wanted to call my label ‘ Kenja’. I think it’s a great name as it has an Exotic ring to it. Makes me think of Three S’s , Sun, Sand and Sea!

Your latest, and the fifth, release from the label is: Bem Bem. Can you talk us through how you produced the track?

I produced ‘Bem Bem’ at the end of last year and it was waiting for the right vocal to come along . I had an old acapella sent to me by my Spanish friends who had recorded a singer called Diana in Ibiza 10 years ago! The guitar sample came from the same recording. When I heard those parts I got really inspired. All I had to do is to find the right place in the track and make those parts fit.

You are based in Southampton. What’s the club scene like there and can you tell us about your residency at Junk?

Giving birth to UK garage in late 90s, Southampton has always had great love for four to the floor groove ! This is a perfect city for House music and I’m really lucky to be born here. Junk club was pioneering the scene from the very start and has featured the biggest names from the genre from all over the world. They are a truly great platform for someone like myself. I’ve got a great opportunity to showcase my musical vision and play the records I believe in.


What plans do you have to expand the label?

I have big plans to expand the label. I have few artists that I will be introducing in brand-new releases in the very near future. I’m very exited for Kenja.

How important do you think it is to Produce as well DJ to help establish yourself?

Producing and Dj’ing is absolutely vital if you want to break the scene. There’s so much of great music out there and it’s really hard to get noticed. Going out and performing your own music in front of people is the only way in. The more you do it the better you get at it. I work in the studio pretty much every day and when I’m not there I’m planning my Dj sets. I take it very seriously because I love it.

Can you tell us about your influences, how did you learn to Mix and Produce?

My first musical memories came from my dad who was an organiser of illegal raves back in the early 90’s. He use to take me everywhere he went. So by the age of 10 I had seen every field and warehouse in Hampshire. I remember really liking House when I heard it for the first time.  Waking up to the pair of Technics decks in the morning and lots of FX racks stacked right next to my bed was my childhood!

I had my first spin at around 10 years old and at 14 I had my first gig. Production came later. I had some work at a local recording studio as an apprentice. That was really helpful as I picked up few tricks from the guys and gradually learned how to put the record together in my own home environment. My musical preferences are still being influenced daily. There’s so much great music out there that inevitably imprints my taste so when I’m producing my next record it naturally snicks in.

sonarWhere can people hear you play next?

I’m playing at Junk club every fortnight. Junk is the place where I can try out my new records and experiment with my sets. Otherwise I’m on Sonar Festival in Barcelona the weekend of 21st of June.