Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Nico Stojan & Timujin. Let’s begin with your new release for Rebellion: Oktoberfest. Can you tell us about where the title originates from and how your relationship with the Crosstown Rebels’ sister label happened?
Hello hello, thanks for having us!
The main track of the EP is named after the big folk festival in Bavaria. We both have never been to this festival and always wanted to go…the voice in the track is manifesting it for us.
The release moves across moods and atmospheres impressively with sublime use of guitar and both Satsang and Higher Altitude. Can you tell us about the influences which have informed those more musical aspects of what you do, and in particular about your favourite guitarists?
It is a beautiful instrument with a lot of charm if you know how to play it. Our friend completed the idea that we had in exactly the way we were writing the notes for him. We wanted him to play it in the mood of joy. We also blindfolded him and told him that he couldn’t leave the studio until he delivered the final piece!
Can you talk us through the process of how you produce music together: how initial ideas are realized and then turned into tracks? Are there any pieces of software/ hardware that you always like to use when creating music?
It’s pretty simple. Just searching for the right dead body in the cellar and try to reanimate it with combining the skillz of our musician friends while putting a lot of pressure into the session so they will deliver what you want and rounding up the track and make it alive.
How did the two of you first decide to work together? And can you tell us about the studio you like use?
We were both playing one night on two different art cars at Burning Man and the drivers were totally lost in the sandstorms. They crashed into each other and all over sudden we ended up playing b2b until the sun came up. So we decided to keep on collaborating
How do you feel about the place of nostalgia in music as your sounds feel very new and contemporary?
Aren‘t we all a bit happy and sad at the moment. That is how we would describe nostalgic. If we can put that feeling into frequencies and make people feel the same way when they listen to it you can call it a big failure at the end.
Can you tell us about the favourite places you have DJ’ed? And what feelings/ thoughts you like to convey to the people who dance?
When my great grandmother was turning 90 we took her to Fusion Festival and played house music for her. She loved it and got her groove on!
Outside of electronic music which artists, writers, painters etc have most influenced what you do?
Definitely Odem, Phos4 & Banksy and of course not to forget Damian Hurst. We just bought him in a glass container sitting on the toilet reading the news. We think Everyone should have his own Hirst!
And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans to work together?
We will see what happens but right now we are busy learning more about reincarnation and life after death.
Nico Stojan & Timujin – Oktoberfest. Released 24th May 2019 on Rebellion.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty Rich. Let’s start with your new EP: The Four Slip co-produced alongside East End Dubs. Tell us about how you first met, the decision to work together, and what the title refers to?
Cheers and thanks for this chat! I am very happy and excited that East End Dubs and I finally got together to make and finish an EP. We first met when FUSE was still at 93 Feet East every week. It was the summer of 2012. I had been on Beatport that week buying new tunes when I came across his stuff. When I heard them and saw the look of the artwork, I was thinking ‘hold on a sec this must be someone out of our East London scene’ and sure enough he came and said hi that very Sunday. I was playing his tune Jazz Me, we got on and have stayed in touch ever since. It took a while before we got into the studio together and that good because when we did it was nice an easy and natural, good timing. The title refers to when we work in his studio, we would wear slippers, so two pairs of slippers became the Four Slip EP.
Your production style is very intense and feels like a rush of ideas all at once. Who and what have most influenced what you do in terms of Dance Music? And are there any artists or writers etc from outside of the electronic world that have impacted on you creatively?
I have been influenced by many different types of music, from rock to hardcore, jungle to pop and loads in-between. In the early 2000’s it was more about club music, different shades of progressive, then new wave electro, then minimal house. I always want my music to have an impact, both physically and emotionally. People get the same amount of listening pleasure from so many different styles of music so it’s important when writing to stretch the boundaries a bit and do things a little differently. That said it would be wrong of me to try and pretend that our music doesn’t have a framework. Some things just don’t work on our dancefloors, but nevertheless the parts of our brains that might interpret the grunge angst of a Pearl Jam song are the same as those which respond to the intricacies of a subtle bassline harmony in a minimal house record. The maths and science are the same and music and its effect on feelings can be really subtle in its execution.
Can you talk us through the process of co-creating one of the tracks from the EP, including any software/ hardware that you like to use?
We just went into the studio and dived in. He had a basic loop that he was working on. I find it’s always better to start a collaboration with a loop, just to break the ice. We’d go through software, plug-ins and techniques that we enjoy using and as we talked and showed each other stuff, the track layers naturally started to build up. We left quite a long time before getting together again for another couple of sessions where we reviewed everything and started to realise the path of the tracks and way take forward to completion I really like using Native Instruments Battery 4, particularly for adding touches of percussion and FX to an almost finished track as glue to help the flow and feel. Whenever I am in the studio with a friend, I like to go through this piece of my arsenal.
In terms of the Art of production. Do you feel Dance Music is in a good place? And what are your thoughts on the function of nostalgia in it all?
I am really excited about where my dance music scene is. All of my label mates from FUSE and INFUSE are producing incredibly diverse, well produced beats with dancefloor impact. I am being sent loads of interesting music and taking it to DJ with real excitement. On the next What NxT Various Artists, I’ll be featuring as always tracks from established artists (Cuartero, Kepler and Nico Maxen) alongside newcomers (Antss, Aaran D and Marvin Morgan).
Regarding nostalgia, like any music, our music’s relationship with nostalgia can be criticised. Nostalgia for me works on lots of different levels though. My party experience travels with me everywhere I go and I want to recreate the vibes I have experienced for other people. Music always goes around in cycles, sampling has been around since the inception of the technology getting caught up in too much discourse around this or the merits of bootlegs, or whether it’s right to take from a sound that’s gone before, kind of takes away from the fun of it all.
You have been resident and involved with the development of FUSE since its inception over ten years ago. What for you are the most vital ingredients for running a party? And what is the most special thing for you being a resident DJ, rather than playing as a guest somewhere?
The most vital ingredients for a party as simple for me. Sound, music, people, venue and security. These need to be right or the rest doesn’t work. The most special thing for me about being a resident is the long term knowing of your sound and development, that feeling ‘coming home to play’ to our home party crowd, now that we all tour regularly, is a good one too. The party started here so just as important that as we take the sound on the road to all the great parties around the world, we still supply it here, where it all started, otherwise what are we?
Tell us about your history with 93 Feet East and what makes the club so notable for you as part of the FUSE story? How was the recent Bank Holiday event?
93 was really important as part of the evolution of my musical style. Being able to take my early tracks down week by week and test for the brilliant crowd and atmosphere along with the other tracks I would be playing helped me to learn what my DJ’ing style really was. When we returned for the 10th birthday after party last year, with all the people who were there from the start, reminded us of where this all came from and also showed how its grown. The recent bank holiday INFUSE event when I played b2b with Rossko was another perfect reminder of how we can still take it back to the roots and it still feels just as right as if we take it to Amnesia or Tobacco Docks.
And finally. Tell us about any forthcoming plans? Have you been thinking about developing what you do via an album?
My forthcoming EP with East End Dubs is dropping on Fuse London on 14th June, a month later I have an EP on Sante’s AVOTRE. After the summer I will release my 7th solo EP on Fuse London and the 6th release on NxT records which for first time has remixes on the label. What NxT is going to be producing two digital releases this year with some absolute dancefloor gems. Alongside all of this, I have completed remixes for Steve Bug on Snatch and Darius Syrossian on Moxy. About a possible album I don’t currently have active plans to seek to make it anytime soon. That said if it happens, it happens. Gig wise I have lots of look forward to like Cocoon In the Park, FUSE at DC-10, Deeperfect at BPM, Mint Festival and loads more… Nice speaking! 🙂
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Noah. Your excellent new album: Therapy is Expensive sounds like a trip through the life and times of sound and experience. How much of it is an observation of growing up in New York and do you think it would have been possible to create the same piece of music without the city?
Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and for your kind words. Conceptually, the album is very much a conversation between me and New York City; filled with love, hate and everything in between. A lot of the songs were conceived from a place of conflicted emotions about a city that has so strongly shaped my identity. Looking around and being like…”wait, this isn’t the same place I fell in love with as a kid and I’m not even sure I identify with it anymore.” I’m not sure I would have created the same piece of music elsewhere.
A few years ago I broke up with my therapist because it was really expensive and my health insurance at the time wouldn’t cover it. I channeled a lot of my frustration with NY, existential crises and a myriad of other issues into making music. The demos I made got put into a playlist called “beats I made cuz therapy is expensive.” And here are are.
The album contains many hints of different styles of music, including a nod to classical. What for you are the most important elements in making music transcendent?
I think I’ve always been drawn to the emotion behind music: the way it makes me feel, the feelings evoked, etc. Regardless of what “genre” it is. I hate to deduce it to something so general – a “vibe” or a “feeling” – but to me, that’s what it is. That’s how I grew up playing, making and listening to music. In NY, we listened to everything. We had to.
If it’s authentic and it makes me feel something I don’t care what year it was made, who made it, what instruments (or lack thereof) and so on. If you make shit that’s authentic, no one can take that away from you. To me, that’s what keeps me inspired.
Can you tell us about your connection to Flocabulary and what it means for you to be part of it?
For sure! So, I also work as a recording artist for a company called Flocabuary – a learning program for all grades that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. I write and record songs on all subjects which are later animated to videos and shown in classrooms all across North America as supplementary learning tool. I got involved with Flocab four or five years ago through my friend Lynas and have been working with them ever since.
I’ve been rapping since a teenager so it’s something that comes natural to me. I grew up freestyling in cyphers, battling in the park and making rap records with my friends. My mother, father and sister are all social workers – I’m the deviant artist child. So doing this works allows me to bridge that gap and use my talent as an emcee/writer for something greater than myself. Making and performing music can feel really self-serving at times so I’m always looking for work that I find fulfilling and meaningful in other ways. I also teach skateboarding to elementary and middle school kids through a weekly after-school program.
Can you talk us through how you created one of the tracks from the album, giving us a flavor of your studio set-up including any favorite pieces of software/ hardware you always like to use?
Sure. I have a pretty minimal set up because I get super overwhelmed with too much gear + I’m a shitty musician. I use an MPC-60 & TR-8 for most of my drum sounds. I spend a lot of time digging for samples, field recording with my Zoom recorder and tweaking sounds with plug-ins my engineer friends tell me to get. I record vocals on everything even if I end up scrapping them in the final stages or just using them as a layer in the track. My voice has always been my instrument of choice, so I try and use it as much as possible.
I don’t really have a specific formula for creating. I used to share a proper studio with friends and would come in during my time block feeling like I HAD to make shit even if I wasn’t feeling inspired. Now, I’ve moved my studio to my apt and can chase the creativity whenever it strikes.
One of my favorite songs on the album is 4eversforever. Probably because it came together really organically at a time when I wasn’t making much music or feeling creative. I was deep in a YouTube hole and stumbled on this short documentary about NYC in the 80’s and I was like, “oh this would be cool to layer into a track.” I ripped it, opened up a new session and just went from there. I had this folder of breaks my homie Devon gave me plus a ton of drum sounds I made but never used. Somewhere in the doc these dudes were letting off fireworks in the streets which I thought would be cool to add in. I chopped the drum break, arranged it with these other hits I made then laid down the bass and lead. I liked the vibe and pace of it so I tried not to overthink it and add too much more instrumentation.
I plugged my mic in and did the vocals I did in one take. I just freestyled it then played around with the pitch. The vox were initially supposed to serve as a reference which is why there’s a lot of mumbling and they aren’t that pronounced in the mix. But after I played it for a few friends, they were like, “nah, that’s it, just leave it, fuck it, it’s cool.” It’s significant because it was one of the first tracks I made where I was didn’t overthink everything. I just allowed the ideas to form naturally and then moved on to the next.
Love the cover shot for the album. Can you tell us about it, and why the choice of a black and white image?
Thanks! The original idea was to shoot an old Victorian therapist couch in the jungle but then I discovered the difficulty behind that so I decided to use a photo I took. My girlfriend and I each shoot disposables on trips we take together. This is her at the Bahai Gardens in Israel this past winter. I decided on black and white because it fit the mood of the album.
I’m also intrigued by the influences which have gone into inspiring the album. Who for you are the most important both within the musical sphere and from outside of it?
Musically, I draw inspiration from so many artists across the spectrum. I grew up on Seattle grunge, hip-hop & punk rock primarily. My parents played a lot of classical and folk around the house. My mom sang in a choir. When I first started making music I idealized producers like J Dilla, 9th Wonder, Large Professor and DJ Premier. I definitely carry that influence with me today and anytime I get stuck creatively I dig for a sample, try to be Dilla for a second, realize it’s not possible and move on. I think Dilla probably led me to Moodymann & Theo Parrish / Sound Signature who had a profound impact on me, especially when I started DJing.
Outside of the musical sphere, I’ve been really inspired by contemporary dance and movement. People’s ability to move their bodies in certain ways and the choices they make in performing is beautiful and fascinating to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Alvin Ailey here in NY and I always come away inspired. Also, my friend Lir and I worked on a video for “Mish Mish” where she directed a group of incredible dancers. Excited for that to drop.
What for you can the human voice add to music that sounds and rhythm cannot? What is the most important thing (or things) that music can say?
The human voice is the oldest musical instrument so its importance is obviously profound. The human voice can be used as a tool or instrument similar to any other you would play. I often use it as a statement or to add movement & texture to a track. The human voice devoid of the lyric is a versatile instrument.
What informed your choice to self-release the album? Would you recommend it for other artists?
The choice to self-release was tough. It truthfully came down to this: a few labels wanted to sign some of the songs but no one was interested in the whole project and it was all or nothing. For me, this album is extremely personal and even though the vibes differ throughout, there is a sonic and emotional consistency that I didn’t want to break up. I was also kind of on some “you don’t get it and I don’t need you” shit – haha. I didn’t feel like I needed to compromise. Which in today’s climate is true to some degree. You can do it on your own and control almost every aspect of the release, rollout, marketing, etc. The problem is, you don’t have a machine behind you.
My advice for those that thinking about self-releasing is save up enough money where you can invest in other aspects outside of the music itself; PR, merch, visuals, are all really important. Get creative with the rollout of your project. In my experience, if you can reach people in an interesting way on a personal level, they are more inclined to listen.
And finally. Where can people hear you play live? And what plans do you have for the remainder of the year?
I’m taking a few weeks off from playing here in NY and trying to put together a few special shows for July & August. We did a Therapy is Expensive takeover at House of Yes in Brooklyn a few months back so I’m looking forward to taking that concept to some other venues. Also working on putting together a live show that includes DJ’ing, vocals and a drum machine that I’ll hopefully get to premier soon enough. Until then, I’ll be in the streets lurking at my friend’s gigs.
If you’re in Miami I’m playing at Floyd on June 29th. Really looking forward to that one.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Philippa. Let’s start with the brand new label you have launched: At Peace Music. Tell us about the meaning behind the title and the decision to start your own imprint?
Thank you 🙂 There is a personal story behind the label name At Peace, of course, but I like the idea of it meaning whatever it needs to mean for people. The decision to start the label came from a few factors.. Really it was about timing – it’s time for all this music I’ve been sitting on to get out into the world.
The debut release is from yourself: Pronoia EP featuring three emotionally charged productions. There is a real sense of musicality weaving throughout the music and I was wondering about the artists who have influenced you most over the years?
Yeah that’s an easy one – I’m heavily influenced by 70s disco and soul (am currently a little obsessed with Leon Ware and anything produced by Chic in the late 70s / early 80s), and Detroit deep house, the likes of Theo Parrish, Rick Wade, Moodymann. I’ve also had a huge long term love affair with Chicago House, and I’m loving the resurgence of quality French deep house right now. I value song writing as a skill – by that I mean an expressed love of melody and harmony, and an understanding of the sweet magic that can come from a properly executed harmonic hook… weirdly I think it’s pretty rare to come across it done well in house music, but with Detroit house there’s often a soul based bluntness – a simplicity – that is super compelling. I also listen to a lot of classical music, and am a big fan of Sakamoto, as well as 20th century French composers such as Ravel and Debussy.
You relocated from your native New Zealand to Berlin a number of years ago. Tell us about that decision and how would you compare life living in the two locations?
I used to describe the feeling of living in New Zealand in winter (European summer) as the rest of the world being at a party you hadn’t been invited to. NZ is an amazing country – at the bottom of the world. It’s geographically isolated. I knew I had to come to Europe to be part of the huge international electronic music scene, and in the end it was an easy decision but a difficult journey. The culture shock was immense, it’s taken years to find my feet. I coped by throwing myself into music production – it saved me. Berlin couldn’t be more different from Auckland – politically, socially, culturally, historically, musically. It’s given me the space to grow and focus – I’m really grateful to have been able to live here.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the EP’s tracks? From how you created the music, to any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you always like to refer to? And how you like to approach life in the studio?
I’m an early morning music writer – ideally I spend the first three or four hours of the day in music production. I tend to start off with samples, used mostly for harmonic inspiration, and from which chords are built. I draw from jazz, blues and disco mostly.. Sometimes the sample becomes a non-removable part of the tune – but often I pull the sample out completely. Once the actual tune writing has come together I move into vintage studio spaces at the Funkhaus – happily I have access to these amazing studios via the school I teach at.
Been enjoying listening to your recent Mix For Kate amongst others on Soundcloud. Can you talk us through how you put that mix together and about your choice of music for it?
Glad you like it 🙂 The mix was made for a very dear (and inspirational) friend who recently celebrated a significant birthday back home, which for obvious reasons I couldn’t attend. Kate used to throw a party in Auckland many moons ago and I was one of the resident DJs – as such there are classic records thrown into the mix which I knew she’d love, such as Mood II Swing “Do It Your Way”, DJ Sneak’s “Feel Your Body Talkin” and Moodymann’s “Shades Of Jae” – which was a massive record in Auckland back in the day.
How did you first get into producing? And can you tell us about your time teaching music, and what that has in turn taught you?
I’ve DJ’d for over twenty years – having begun in the late 90s – and DJ’ing is a serious passion. But when I got to Europe I didn’t have the 2-4 gigs a week I’d had for fifteen years in NZ, and that space freed me up to focus on music production. I was also teaching at dBs Music, and one of the amazing things about teaching is what you learn – the constant upskilling. There’s no doubt that teaching electronic music production has given me a firm skill base to create from, and I’m really grateful for that. DJ’ing is fun in the moment stuff – the right dancefloor with the right DJ at the right time can be pure unbridled magic.. But music production is a deeper more rewarding long term gift. I’m happiest when I’m productive in the studio, it’s by far and away my favourite thing to do.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I own a Prophet REV2. But my fav instrument (whilst not technically an instrument) is probably the voice – which is the focus of the MA in Creative Music Production I’m currently undertaking.. Which I guess is slightly odd – as I don’t use the human voice much with House. Watch this space I guess.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Gabri. Let’s talk about the launch of your new imprint: Morbidyne. Tell us about the meaning behind the name and the decision to start a label?
Hallo, nice to meet you all and thank you. The decision to start my label comes from the need to create my very own spot, where I can convey my idea of underground music and where I can release tracks by me and by artists with something new to say. Morbidyne will mainly feature Deep-Techno, Electronica, Deep-Tech but it is open to all kind of high quality electronic music. I think it is important to risk and invest on what we love, and Morbidyne is meant to be my contribution to electronic music. The name of the label comes from the Italian word morbido that means smooth, soft. The cotton flower logo mainly define this feeling.
The first release is from yourself: You Saved Me. Talk us through how you produced one of tracks from the EP, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
Yes I think it was important to start the label with a release of mine. You Saved Me is the second track of the EP and contains a vocal got from an interview of Dave Grohl, explaining his conflicting feelings after the death of his friend and frontman Kurt Cobain, and the chance to get back up with the music. I sometimes create my music starting from such a kind of input that inspires me. Then I create the drums (at the moment I use Elektron drum machine but I use to insert further samples on the timeline) and when I find the perfect bassline on which I build the melodies, I start with the arrangement of the track. For the basslines and the melodies I use hardware by Elektron, Moog (Sub Phatty), and software by Native Instruments and Spectrasonics to name a few. For the mix I use Waves, Plugin Alliance, FabFilter and more.
Tell us about your involvement with r12 and what it means for you?
My involvement in r12 school is very important to me. As the Director of studies I create the programs of all the courses and I help the students to define their own study plan. To do that I work side by side with the teachers, who all are professional dj’s, producers, label mangers, journalists etc. We created a community of artists and people who works in the electronic music, and it is a great opportunity to share the knowledge, studying and working in an open laboratory where you can grow in the music day by day. I am learning a lot at r12, I everyday breath music and I have to deal not only with the technical skills but with all the aspects you need to be aware of if you want to start a dj producer career.
What is club culture like in Milan at the moment? Any favourite bars/ clubs you would recommend?
The club culture in Milan at the moment is growing. There are a lot of good clubs and huge parties all the weeks, at every corner of the city. Most famous organizations apart, that make tens of thousands of entrances all the weeks, there are a lot of smaller realities that I personally appreciate more. I am speaking about underground parties like O.D.D., Aquario and Closer at the Masada, Electronic Barbecue, Killer Kiccen and The Garden, where you can listen to good music from afternoon to night, always presenting fresh artists from all over the world.
You also co-produce with Ricky Leo as Flatless. Can you tell us about the history of that project and any future plans?
Flatless is the first project of electronic music I was involved in. Ricky and I started producing music together and we have been sharing the dj booth for years. As usually happens in a duo, we got to the point where we decided to take our own way. We are still in good relations and sometimes we play together, but at the moment we are both concentrate on our personal career. Actually I am working on another project with my girlfriend, the duo Babi&Gabri, so at the moment I am very busy on different levels.
Love the Artwork for Morbidyne. Who creates it and how important is the visual aspect of what you do?
Happy to hear that cause I create it. I have usually created the artworks for my parties in Milan for years, and I still like to deal with it. The visual aspect is very important for sure. You always have to be cool, original and very recognizable. It is one of yours calling cards.
And finally. What plans do you have for expanding the label and for yourself as a DJ?
I want to enter in the industry releasing high quality underground music, made to be played in the dj booths all over the world. Next release for example is an EP by Chicago duo Mia Wallace, including remixes by Hiroko Yamamura and me. To expand the label I think I will plan good releases once a month, I will organize label showcases starting from my hometown and will use the right channels for the promotion. The feedbacks of the first release are great, in about a month I got in contact with a lot of artists, labels, radio and magazines, so I am sure this will open the doors to something big.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Nadja. Let’s start by asking about the beginning of Lucidflow Records back in 2009. What was the original idea behind the label and how would you say it has evolved since then – what sorts of things have changed in terms of the business of running a label?
Thank you for having me. I started Lucidflow together with my best friend Helmut in 2009 in order to have a platform for our own music in the first place and from there it’s developed to being a presentation for other artists from high renown like Silicone Soul, Brendon Moeller, Steve Rachmad aka STERAC, Funk D’Void to very talented new and upcoming artists.
You are celebrating the labels tenth year anniversary with the release of the: 10 Years Lucidflow Vinyl. What words best describe the sound of Lucidflow and which are the most important elements you look for when signing a track to the label?
The EP a number of your own and co-produced tracks. Can you talk us through the process of how you produced the beautifully deep: Weltenwandler? And what pieces of software/ hardware do you always like to refer to when producing?
The process is the following: First we do a short energy clearing session e.g. Ho’oponopono & EFT. We synchronise our DAWs via LAN cable, routed through the Scope XciTE Soundcard Mastering unit to the Soundcraft Si Impact mixer. Including all our gear we chose for a particular session. In case of ‘Weltenwandler’ I used the Korg Minilogue & Omnisphere 2.6 (with its wonderful HW control. Thank you Eric Persing and all involved at Spectrasonics!), StylusRMX, Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5, some filter & effect chains, Push Controller, and Helmut used Moog Subsequent 37, Omnisphere 2.6, Keyscape, and what not…
First we agreed on the title ‘Weltenwandler’ which is a new approach. In the past we usually thought about the title after the music was final. Then we jammed around looking for sounds and atmospheres that would fit the title in Ableton session view and clean the frequencies with e.g. FabFilter ProQ. When we had all sounds ready we start recording the track in Ableton arrangement view as we want it to be in it’s final version.
This usually only takes one take since we’ve been producing together for over 12 years. I guess that’s the main reason why Klartraum tracks sound so organic and unique. The mastering is always being carried out on the fly by Helmut.
The artwork for Lucidflow always looks stunning. Can you tell us who is behind it?
Thank you! I’ve been creating them. I like taking heaps of pictures everywhere I go and use them to create the artwork. In addition the Lucidflow spheric ball are objects we create in Cheetah3D.
Besides producing the more Club orientated sounds you also create Ambient music. What influenced your passion for this particular style? And what do you feel can be said through this medium that perhaps cannot by beats and basslines?
Yes, I’ve been creating Ambient with underlying binaural frequencies since 2011 naming it ‘Turning in’ series.
Initially I started creating them for myself to help me cope with stress such as flights, odd time zones, in between hotels, clubs and airports. Since I’ve always been interested in neuroscience, brain plasticity and neuro hacks I came across the power of brain entrainment and wanted to check it out. In order to be 100% sure what’s inside the binaural track I started creating the binaural frequencies myself without using any readymade tools. They do by the way! In the ambient drone music I also use a lot of my ambience recordings I’ve been taking on all my trips e.g. Masai Mara in Kenya to give them an additional flavour and vastness. What this music conveys? It leads me into completely different dimensions. It calms me down, slows down the sympathetic nervous system and therefore activates the parasympathetic ventral vagus nervous which immediately relieves stress and anxiety, helps dealing with sleeping disorders, sleep deprivation, PTSD, chronic pain. It’s a true gem and I am very grateful for this music. So many people are writing me how grateful they are and what the Turing In drones do for them. I would not have believed the impact of this music when I started producing these kind of sounds.
They will even be available on vinyl on a superb ambient label Astral Industries (London) where such brilliant artists like Echochord, Wolfgang Voigt…are I recently started creating epic ambient as Klartraum as well. Look out for Ambient Attitude(s) from June on. Pretty mind-blowing stuff! I want to take this opportunity to say to my fans and ambient friends how grateful I am for your support and feedback. This means a lot to me and keeps on motivating me creating new material. Thank you!
What is your favourite musical instrument? Do you own one?
My musical instrument is my whole studio-verse where I am lucky to have all the instruments and more I possibly want.
Where do you see Dance Music culture ending up in ten years’ time – any positive/ negative predictions?
I imagine a 3D wireless surround engine/controller where a bunch of friends can sit together and create their music of the day/evening via a VR studio on the fly inviting their favourite holographic idols to the jam session. Imagine you could sit in the middle of your living room jamming around with your friends and Jimi Hendrix! It is going to be FUN!
Outside of the world of electronic music where do you find inspiration? Are there any favourite writers, artists etc?
What’s been inspiring me a lot is the topic of neuroscience, energy medicine, quantum reality, quantum psychology, yoga, meditation, holistic medicine and so on. I’ve been working out on a daily basis. I love my little beautiful roof terrace/garden where I plant as many flowers and herbs as can possibly fit in and I care a lot for animals e.g. I don’t eat meat or dairy. I feed/water the little birds and insects every day (esp. in winter when everything is frozen I put fresh water out every day in order for the birds to drink). Meeting other empathic souls who care for our environment and see the bigger picture inspires me and touches me big time.
In addition I started a project ‘Holistic Kit – smart tools to renew yourself’ together with my best friend Julia where we individually guide people who are interested in quickly releasing stress, chronic pain, enhancing their productivity and finding their personal way of meditation, yoga, workout and transformation.
Heroes who inspire me are Sadhguru, Dr. Stephen Wolinsky, Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. David Brownstein, Hal & Sidra Stone, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, Thomas Hübl, Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. Alice Miller, Alan Watts, Nisagadatta Maharaj, Rüdiger & Anette Nehberg, Nile Rogers, Moby (because he’s an advocate for animals), Alida Gundlach, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jean Houston, Tim Ferris to name just a few.
And finally. How would you describe the experience of DJ’ing in 2019 and where can people hear you play next?
I’d describe it as a Lucidflow experience of resonance and connection. At Burning Man.
Thanks to all our fantastic and incredible fans and artists for have been supporting Lucidflow for all these years! I am very moved by your support, comments and feedbacks. You making a difference! Thank you Magazine Sixty for the inspiring interview!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Steve. You are about to unleash the labels 99th release: Selador Showcase – 8th Wonder, which features new music from several different artists. Can you talk us through how you choose the tracks for the compilation – what specifically makes a production right for Selador?
10 new tracks, all from different artists. We make a ‘showcase’ approx every 9 months, a various artist release of tunes that we like. It’s a good mixture of Selador artists and new faces to the label. We find a lot of people who release on the showcases deliver more tracks for EP’s later on, so it works really well for us. Dave and I often have tracks on these releases too.
Our only criteria for signing a track, is that Dave and I both like it and would play it. We don’t really have musical boundaries. It’s just music we like and would play, which is why some of our output is so varied. Over the years we’ve had music from Jimpster to dubspeeka, Danny Howells to Sasha Carassi, Joeski to Wally Lopez, Cristoph to Pirupa, and so many more. We don’t play one particular style of music when DJ-ing, and so we sign tracks that work for us, that we like. It’s a PR man’s nightmare trying to categorise us… but to us it just seems right.
For this release we had been sent just about all of the tracks as demos, and a few of our label friends we messaged to let them know we had a release and can they make something for us. It’s very useful being able to test the music out in clubs, in its natural environment, as sometimes tracks you like, suddenly become tracks that you love!
The release also features a great track from yourself: Michelada. How was the track produced and can you tell us about the studio set-up you use?
This one was a very unusual affair. It started off as a remix a year or so ago for another label, but then due to label problems, they still hadn’t released a year later. I’d started making it with Paul Nolan, who engineered it for me. It was made with Ableton, push 2 and a shed load of plug in’s and Paul’s technical knowhow. I know how to produce a bit, but I find my workflow so much faster working with an engineer. It’s also great to hear advice from a producer, and somebody to bounce crazy ideas off, that’s sometimes work! Ableton for me is very good, as I’m a ‘fiddler’ when making music. I try something, and then adjust it to see how it sounds. I drive engineers crazy. But sometimes it’s that fiddling and tweaking that can elevate a track.
I say it started as a remix and with Paul engineering, however a year later and as I say the remix hadn’t been released. I’d always wished it was an original track. Paul had started working on his own projects and his album, and I started working with Jay Gilbert at Scrutton Street Studios in Shoreditch, and I asked the label could I take the parts out from the remix, and make the track my own… and a few days later with Jay, this is what came out! Again a similar set up with jay to Paul and Ableton the DAW of choice. And some more fiddling.
So basically a remix that became an original, engineered by two different people.
You are also offering a DJ mix alongside the tracks. How would you describe the art of DJ’ing in 2019? And how would you compare it with the past?
The digital age has changed D J-ing a lot. The equipment has aided the DJ a lot. The ability to loop, use FX, basically re-edit the track on the fly has certainly helped my style of DJ-ing so much. I absolutely love using CDJ 2000’s and Pioneer mixes when playing out. It suits my style of DJ-ing. I DJ in a progressive style. I don’t think that I am a progressive house DJ, as I don’t think I actually play ‘progressive’… but I start at one point and like to build, to increase the energy as the set is flowing. It’s great for adding cheeky fills and FX on the fly.
DJ-ing for me has always followed that pattern. Even since I was a mobile disco DJ at weddings and the likes. I knew to start subtle and the evening should flow. Much in the same way, you wouldn’t go and see your favourite band, and they lay all of the big tunes early in the set and then leave you a bit underwhelmed. Musical programming is an art. I am a geeky nerd with stiff like that. I use to stand and study DJ’s in clubs like Cream for years.
I think other musical genres don’t have this musical flow so much, and its ‘let’s play as many big tunes in a row’. If it works for them cool, but its juts not how I like to do things when I play.
Can you tell us about how you first got into Dance Music, which were the most important clubs for you at the time, and how would you describe the club culture in Liverpool today? (Where can people get to hear you play?)
I wanted to be a radio DJ. I was about 13. I had no idea what it entailed, but it looked great. This was about 84’ish. Around then I was listening to a hand full of radio shows on BBC radio Merseyside. James Klass who played Hip Hop and the likes and Terry Lenanine ‘Keep On Truckin’ (and then later Kenny James who presented that show). I was buying Electro albums, and had discovered listening / watching DMC mixing championship videos!
As time went by, must have been 86/87 my friend Rick Houghton got a Mcgregor double deck system, and we started doing mock radio shows and running mobile disco’s. I spent all of the money I earnt buying records that I loved and building up my classic disco/soul collection and of course this new stuff to me called house music.
I ended up stalking radio DJ’s like Kenny James and Pete Waterman, and used to go and sit in on their radio shows, it was amazing! I was this fresh faced kid (no chance of me getting in to clubs) watching live radio shows and chatting to the presenters and learnt so much.
The label is following all this with release number 100, again featuring a number of impressive artists. Tell us about what it means for you and Dave Seaman to reach that milestone?
It felt like it was a thing to celebrate, it’s quite an achievement I suppose in this day and age to hit 100 releases. Its never been about the money for us running a label, which is a good job really..! It’s certainly a labour of love. Another string to your bow so to speak. And so it seemed right to make a big thing of it.
What is quite odd, is that I still feel like we are a fairly new label – time flies when you’re having fun I suppose. This is my first label, and so I’m constantly learning. I’d done a lot of things in the music industry, but it was the label that was the big one for me, the thing that eluded my musical and I love doing it. And I know Dave does too. We both wish we could spend more time running the day to day things, but we both sandwich the work for the label in between our other jobs and family life, which I suppose thinking about it, makes the achievement of 100 releases quite a milestone.
So we thought we needed to light a bit of a firework with this one – so we used 5 tracks from our 5th birthday release – where we asked lots of artists to collaborate to make us a track – and we hand-picked some of those gems, and got some hot new remixes made, which all in all ends up being a rather big team assembled to help us celebrate.
Andre Hommen and D-Nox & Beckers remixed Mine and Dave’s ‘Repeat Offender’, Doc Martin remixed Gorge & Joeski’s ‘Jogo’ track, Petar Dundov remixed Luke Brancaccio & Tim Healeys ‘I Hear Voices’, and Moonwalk have remixed Cristoph & Quivvers ‘In Name Only’, and Kotellet & Zadak have remixed Guy Mantzur & Lonya’s gem ‘Dynasty’, which aint too shabby a collection of musical friends if we do say so ourselves.
How do you feel about the overall quality of electronic music, given the competition generated by the internet and the easy access people now have to becoming producers etc?
It’s a double edged sword – there is so much terrible music, on half-baked labels with no quality control, made by people who don’t know much about making a tune, who don’t make it sound good, and use pre-sets galore and loops, with shoddy artwork and no promotion – which is all fine – however those said artists get annoyed when their music doesn’t do well.
You have to put the effort in. You don’t have to release every track you make. You don’t have to throw out half-baked ideas. You make a statement when you release a track – as an artist, a label and a remixer. It’s your musical legacy. I have tracks that are finished that are decent but I won’t release as they don’t reach the standard that I want to achieve.
I said it was a double edged sword – as on the other hand, there is so much great new music coming, that it is overwhelming. Week by week there is enough great new music lands to almost completely change your set. Masses of the stuff. And across genres too. Especially for somebody like me who like Hot Toddy’s nu-disco grooves, Patrice Baumels dancefloor energy and drive, Jon Hopkins chilled flavours, Matadors epicness, and Renato Cohens dirtiness. There’s so much, it’s difficult to keep up, but what a lovely problem to have!
On a personal level producing wise, it makes me really push myself to put the additional work in. If you don’t think your music can compete alongside this great music we have in abundance, then there’s no point releasing it.
You also run SMP3 Music Promo and SMP3 Music Management. Can you tell us about those and the other things you are involved with? How would you describe a typical working day (or night)?
Its music all day and every day for me. I run SMP3 Music promo – i work with 40+ labels, and new ones starting weekly, getting the music they release to handpicked DJ’s that are suited t the music for that specific release. It’s a skill I learnt working in record shops. The personal touch, it makes a lot of difference to the DJ, who is more likely to react to a promo if they know I only send them suitable music… and so better for the label, as this gets them better DJ feedback. I work with Sudbeat, Selador, Hope/Soundgarden, Replug, babiczstyle for the melodic vibes… Oscillate, Frau Blau, New Violence and Yousefs Carioca for the deeper stuff and a whole stack more.
I also use my same trainspotter / record shop skills in another part of my job – I am a music sourcer for Sasha, Dave Seaman, Behrouz and Sander Kleinenberg, where I basically find them music to play each week. I sold them all music when I worked in 3 Beat – so it’s basically the digital version of that. I listen to promos, chase labels for exclusives and buy at Beatport plus vinyl at 3B records to find the freshest new music for these guys. I’m not picking what they are playing – I am just filtering down the best new music weekly, much ion the same way I gave them a stack of vinyl to check each week when I was in 3 Beat.
Then I have my weekly radio show on Bliss Radio called ‘The Factory’, so i spend time putting that together, and it’s something that I Love doing. I love live radio. I love chatting about music and mixing live, I have always found it very exciting. Maybe when I finally grow up, it’s what I’d like to do all day every day, a full time radio DJ… but obviously I’d want 100% free range of the music I played!
And then I do all of the Selador stuff – Dave and I don’t have rolls as such, we each do a bit of everything. We are both busy doing other things alongside the label, so we seem to know when the other one is manic, and run with it. We love it. We really do. Again, something I’d love to do as a full time job…
And finally. How do you see the future of Dj’ing, record promotion and the results of music streaming?
I think everybody needs to embrace technology. The vinyl only purists or people who look down on people that use CDJ’s for example are just going to fade away, times change, and if you don’t, you’re going to be left behind. If you look back through history, the invention of vinyl upset people, as radio stations thought that nobody would listen to radio if they had vinyl… people said cassettes would kill the music scene… people said mp3’s would kill the scene… and streaming again would be one step further to putting a nail in the music industries coffin, and yet here we all are, still loving what we are loving and still listening to music.
I now send promo’s in my day job, from my mac, that people can react to on their phone while offline sitting on an aeroplane, and have the tune waiting for them in their dropbox when they get to the hotel for a gig… technology is great, and yes it can be scary, but you have to embrace it.
Surely one day in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to mix on your phone in a club, streaming tracks from Beatport streaming (or wherever) over Wi-Fi/5G to your crowd, whilst also doing the visuals for the venue on the same phone, that is live streaming to other venues, while other people watch it streamed in their home, while the artist is interacting on social media with them all at the same time, whilst also sending the metadata so the artist and label get instantly paid for their music being played. It’s probably not that far away when you think about it.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty Mat. Let’s begin with your new single for Awesome Soundwave: Kic 8462852. Tell us about the story behind the title and what inspired this particular fascination?
Hello, thanks for having me… well the track title came from an object in deep space that baffled scientist’s around the world , they thought they had found an Alien megastructure that was collecting solar energy, because of the light fluctuations. I found it fascinating, most of my track titles come from Celestial inspiration.
How did your relationship with Carl Cox and Christopher Coe aka Awesome Soundwave first came about?
I have only met Carl a couple of times, but he has been incredibly supportive of my music since around 2006. He’s played most of the records I’ve made on his radio show. I would love to tell you how I got the music to Carl , cos there is a story to it … but I can’t tell you as it’s a secret … and I’d get into trouble! I haven’t met Chris yet as he lives in Australia, but we’ve become friends over the last six months and he’s quite the gentleman and also a real talent in the studio. It’s been great working with them and there is more to come..
Talk us through how you produced the track, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
I use protools to make music and old and new synths. I don’t use midi, I just play everything in live and chop it up. I worked with my friend Burty and have used him as a session musician, some tracks take months other a couple of days, this one seemed to be a quick process, I also have to give a close friend props on this one, I can’t say his name as you all know him but he gave me a little brief before I made the track. All the tracks come from different places in my head …. so I don’t feel like I repeat myself much.
Love the cover art. Please tell us about it?
It’s by a guy called Gustave and he lives in Holland.. it’s part of a larger picture that reveals itself in the final instalment of this project.
The space theme continues with, Solar your third album (also due on Awesome Soundwave). Tell us about some of the things which have inspired the making of the album – are there any particular influences outside of the world of electronic music too?
Well I named most of the album after a book that was written in the second century called The Almagest… it was written by a greco roman called Ptolmey. It’s the first real publication about the stars and planetary models, deeply interesting stuff. Also there’s a link between the album title and my studio too, as it runs on Solar Energy, I have a huge amount of solar panels and I sell the Electricity back to the national grid. I’ve had this system for nine years now and I sold half my studio to afford it in 2010, I managed to buy my equipment back in three and half years, from the profits. Some people seem to think the most important element In electronic music is the kick drum, I believe it to be Electricity.
Which synthesiser could you not live without and why?
I love synths and I have an obsession with them, but I’ll have to say they are just material objects, I’d like to say I can live without materials objects..
There is an amazing picture of a beautiful table you have created for your studio. It must take pride of place. Can you tell us about the process of making it? And how does the physical act of creating something compare with making music on a computer?
The idea for that table was to build something that was at standing up high so that I was in the same position I would be when I performed… I’ve always thought it to be a bit weird how we make electronic music sitting down yet we listen to it and perform it standing up… I’m sure there is something in there… with energy flows. The tree came down in a storm in 2015 my friend mentioned it to me and I was like I’ll take it. We chopped it up and I was left with a huge lump of wood with the bark still on it, I had to let the tree dry before I treated it, that actually took me two years as I wanted to do it naturally instead of in a kiln. Then it took three months worth of sanding and varnishing… in some ways the table is quite ugly as it is rather odd, I think all creativity is kinda the same, you just have to make every element to the best of your vision.
What are your feelings on nostalgia in music? And what are the most important elements that signify music when becomes timeless – Can you name a piece of music (of any genre) that for you is?
I think nostalgia is personal to you and you alone, time and places spring to mind – even people that are not into music still have association when they hear a certain track. I think it’s what was happening in their life at the time that is evoked through music. I’ve got too many influences like that to mention and they start at around five years old and still coming… before I was old enough to go to school my mum owned an Aerobics Centre . My mum made me go record shopping to Woolworths to collect music to play to the ladies and men whilst they worked out. I remember hearing Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body on a compilation….propa wtf moment…..
And finally. Where can people get to hear you DJ next? Can you also tell us about the experience of putting the live show together?
I’ll be performing the album live this summer and a tour soon to be confirmed.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Spencer. Let’s start with the forthcoming Record Store Day on April 13. You have an incredible 35 releases due out. Can you give us an idea of the amount of work which has gone into making that actually possible?
Overall, we started work on this straight after RSD last year with some of the titles spanning years of negotiations to land. A lot depends on trust and building relationships with labels and license holders. The start point is drawing up a target list of records we would like to release for RSD, and then it can be a long process to get agreements in place. Once finalised, they are submitted to RSD and at that point, they are sent off to manufacture. From December I myself worked solely on RSD releases for 2 months making sure all titles were pressed in time and I’d like to think it ran smoothly this year…we’re getting quite good at this!
I have to add while some people are supercilious toward RSD I can’t see the problem with getting people together at record stores across the land under the banner of music…and I remember the bad old days of stores closing by the tens (and twelves), so remember fully how and why this day came about and why it should be so cherished.
The releases span everything from Jazz-Funk to Disco to Acid House featuring both new and re-issued music. Can you tell us about some of your favourites and about the process of how you go about re-releasing older music?
Yes, I think it’s our widest year with regard to genres covered, good music is good music so we wanted to show as much as we could. From 50-year-old crooner, easy listening jazz via The Peddlers, “on a clear day”, to a brand-new EP from Detroit’s own Norm Talley on Landed Records, we covered many bases. Most releases are via deals with ongoing partners where we aim to dig a little deeper on some re-issues while others are linked to formats…the surprise fact that Teddy Pendergrass’s “You can hide from yourself” has never officially been released on 12” before being a standout example for why something NEEDS to come out! The Garfield Fleming 12” is a personal fave and something that I’ve worked on for a long long time…I’m very pleased to be the one to get that back out there for a new generation to love all over again.
There’s an obvious question of nostalgia here. What would you say is the difference between musical history and nostalgia. And do you think either are ever more important than the here and now?
This question follows on from the last really; regarding re-issues, its primarily about bringing classic and not so classic sounds from yesteryear and bringing them back for generations that missed it last time and don’t have the funds to dip into the “antique roadshow” realms of £50 to £200 for a piece of vinyl. It should be “music for all” shouldn’t it? The extra bonus is that this way the artist gets paid for their work from yesteryear.
At Prime you distribute both Vinyl and CD. What would your advice be to someone planning on setting up a record label releasing vinyl, and what do you see the advantages being?
The obvious advantages on Vinyl is the kudos this brings a label, and not just with the deep collectors. To get the music out on a physical format, especially for a new label is not a light under taking. It requires investment of both time and money, and often it takes a while for the label to gain sufficient traction to get the attention of the key buyers to support the release. For labels who are able to reach that point, they then leave their calling cards in shops and web stores across the world. They can also directly service their fans with physical product, so labels who can sustain a physical presence get an advantage over digital only releases on a few different levels.
I’d like to think we’re the good guys so absolutely approachable, we listen to everything we’re sent, and even if we don’t believe we can help a label, we’ll always aim to give them advice. I think that’s our success so far and always will be…plus we’re just about to turn 16 so no need to have that sneaky fag behind the bike-sheds, we can puff out our chests, being proud of what we do.
How is the CD marketplace and how do you see the future of CD, along with other formats?
CD within our scene has shrunk enormously and now only selected labels have success with this format. For us the main labels that have a brand presence with a club, event or tour, only really see CD as a viable proposition. There are still ways that it can be worthwhile, but a lot depends on the units that are being pressed but generally it is now becoming a fairly niche format within the music we cover as a whole.
What are your views on music streaming and how the artists get paid as a result?
Streaming is a contentious one, but for me its absolutely down to who you are as a label or an artist. We have labels that do very well financially and many many labels that use Spotify and alike correctly to widen their reach and exposure. We also have labels that earn very very little from it and others that chose to ignore it altogether.
We’ve seen huge, playlisted tracks explode and streaming is a vital cog in that happening.
Can you tell us about your own background, how you got into music and who the most important artists for you?
I started record collecting at 9 (The Specials/The Specials LP, bought on the Record stall at Deptford Market 1979!), by my teens I was into Reggae, Hip Hop then that thing called House and became a DJ (when it was for nerds only), which turned to be a fair to middling success. Then, in my 20’s began working in the music industry so I can’t really remember when I wasn’t into music. The “career” happened once DJ’ing took off in the early 90’s so a needed a job that suited my passion hence an entry level position in a rather big distribution company and it kind of grew…now I’m proud to work with the greatest team at Prime that I’d call friends. We’ve a combined 250+ years industry experience which must put us at some kind of Yoda level. 10’000 hours you say? Pffft!…can you imagine the opinions flying around the room when we’re having a label management/sales talk?
With 500+ labels at Prime I’d never be able to pick an artist, its just impossible, but I am as enthused with Prime signing a new label from young talents starting out as I am licensing an absolute classic from back in the day.
And finally. Tell us about your plans for the future of Prime Direct Distribution?
New accounts are continuing to open up in weird and wonderful locations in what has been for a while, a thriving scene. We are always looking to widen our coverage, and to keep our offerings interesting for those stores. The re-issue and edits scene are both strong, and we are drawing the two together, with official re-edits of classic tracks. We are also very focused on new material, and breaking new artists and labels, as this will always be what drives the industry forward, that constant pushing of new boundaries, discovering new sounds. We mix the old and the new, be that in terms of the music we put out, or the formats they are available on. People all have different preferences on what they like as well as how they consume music, our aim is to offer labels and stores as much choice as possible. And to keep finding the treasure for tomorrow’s diggers and headsy club-folk alike.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Per Hammar. Let’s begin with your new single due out on INFUSE: Conscious EP which you have co-produced alongside Rossko. Tell us about how you got introduced to each other and how have you found the experience of co-producing, as opposed working as a solo artist?
Hey! It actually all started with a high five in the booth at Watergate here in Berlin. I was supposed to play the closing set, and was ready to take over from Ross when he drops a track from me and Edvin Wikner,”Lindström”.
We hadn’t met before, and I thought he played the track since I was there, but he hadn’t seen me. So I was like “Nice one! high five” And he responded High five!”Who are you by the way?!” The day after we had coffee and then we produced for one year.
Since I’ve started to make music by myself over a decade ago, I’ve only done a few collaborations. I need the space to be able to try stuff and do weird things without explaining why. Also I need to feel relaxed. Not many producers can give me this, but Ross is definitely one of them.
The first track on the EP: Unconscious is a brilliant combination of sights, sound and voices. Can you talk us through how the piece was created, including the more unconventional pieces of software/ hardware you used in the production?
A funny thing with this track is that it was actually the first track we ever started together. Even if it kinda came together smoothly, it did take at least 15 sessions. We had 3-4 different drafts that we played during the weekends for research. We just started jamming in my studio with my usual suspects: The eurorack, x0xb0x, Yamaha DX-27 and tons of Roland RE-301. For all the little blips and glitches we used a Форманта УДС, a Ukrainian drum machine from the 80’s USSR. During one of our lunch breaks we found a cassette with hypnosis exercises in a box of trash on the sidewalk, Neukölln style. Back in the studio we recorded it and used it as a vocal in the track.
You recently celebrated your eight year anniversary of Kiloton in Malmö, Sweden (the club who co-run with Kajsa Lindström). Eight years is a long time these days. What do you put the success of the night down to, and what do you feel can be offered by regular nights that one-off festivals cannot?
At the night during our first birthday party I remember one of the owners of the venue telling me”Thanks for a great year! Let’s aim for one more, yeah?” Indicating that it would be cool, but let’s see how it goes. Suddenly we’re here 8 years later. I think the most important ingredient is to work with real people that you can communicate with. Someone needs to be the party pooper that sometimes say no to things due to financial reasons, and you need someone that says yes to things so you don’t ending up in a loop of planning.
Malmö is a small city with a very tight scene. If you’re true to the crowd, they will be true back.
You are originally from Sweden and now live in Berlin. How would you describe the two cities and what has living in each taught you?
That’s a really interesting question. I questioned it myself a lot while living in Malmö. Compared to other cities around the world with around 300.000 citizens, Malmö has an outstanding scene. We have a few artists heading from here. Minilogue/Sebastian Mullaert, DJ Seinfeld, Kontra Musik and Patrick Siech to name a few. When I moved there in 2007 until a few years ago the electronic scene was thriving. There was underground parties driven by enthusiastic people pretty much in the city center. You could go out and see big international DJ’s Fridays and Saturdays on a wide selection of clubs. On top of that we had a quite big punk scene, squatting houses where they threw techno parties. The whole scene was, and still is, intimate and very friendly. Something really special actually. The pulse of the community gave me the energy to keep on doing what I wanted. And for many years I didn’t wanna be anywhere else.
Which is not a completely common thought, when most people working with something cultural in Sweden move to Stockholm. Things changes and so did Malmö, and I felt I wanted more of the belonging to the scene. Then Berlin was the obvious choice. It’s the completely opposite of the friendly scene in Malmö, but on the other hand I met so many new friends and created so much more music than I ever did before.
Your music has a very free-flowing, almost improvisational quality to it. You are your main influences both within and outside of electronic music – any particular writers, poets, painters or musicians?
It’s nice to hear that you notice that. I used to be inspired by music within the electronic dance music genre. But more and more I’m enjoying to start with a completely clean slate. Wake up in the morning and hit the coffee maker. Do a quick beat and jam on the euro rack and dub things through my tape delays and spring reverbs. I often ending up doing takes that are 2, 3, 4 minutes long. Maybe it only loops once or twice during the whole track. It’s actually a bit contradictory since loopy, distinct stuff is what matters on the floor. But this is just how I do, I guess.
But I can’t hide that I’m very influenced by the scrappy stripped sound of older dub cuts. The simplicity and rawness of stripping everything down to just the beat, and let the musical parts just come in once in a while drowned in space echoes, phasers and reverbs. Just on and on and on. No hooks no nothing. It’s like meditation, you know.
You run two record labels: Dirty Hands and 10YEARS. Tell us about what for you the positive and minus factors of doing so are in 2019?
My labels gives me the security of being able to do exactly what I want. The minus is that if I do exactly what I want, there’s no filter between my brain and the rest of the world.
To make sure to stand out of the ocean of new labels during past years, one trick was to give your music out on vinyl to show that at least someone believe in the music on the record. When everyone adapt to that concept, the vinyl sales drops of course. Despite that, 10YEARS will remain as an outpost for mine and Maya’s (Parallax Deep) more minimal sounding productions, which fits good for the vinyl format in my opinion. Dirty Hands works more like an umbrella for all my creative ideas. Besides the vinyl’s I’ll keep on doing label parties, mix tape cassettes, clothes and stuff. There is no limitation really.
Talk us through a typical working day (or night) in your studio. How has the space evolved, and do you have one keyboard or instrument which you couldn’t live without?
I like to hit the studio as early as possible. My productivity window is between 10:00 and 14:00. I often work in bursts of a few hours. Long sessions and tired ears is not for me. I have a few things that I literally can’t be without. The Roland RE-301, Fender spring reverbs and my tape recorders for example. My two cases of euro rack modules would also be hard to live without these days.
What does DJ’ing mean for you? What do you seek to convey to people when you play?
I’m not trying to say something with the music I play in my DJ sets. It’s instrumental rhythms with a bass on it. It’s made for dancing. And if it trigger a feeling in someone on the floor, it’s something personal I think. Everyone has their own angle to the music, and I think it’s nice to leave it like that. It’s not complex art or something.
To me it’s a pleasure to work around people that just want to let go of everyday life for a minute and just enjoy. And it’s a huge honor to be able to play my own productions and get feedback in return from the crowd that I can use in the studio.
And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans for the future?
2019 is busy! First up is mine and Rossko’s”Conscious EP”, which drops on Infuse March 29th. Three tracker 12”.
In April, me and Malin Génie will drop the first EP in our new collaboration series,”Scania EP” on Malin Génie Music. Our next record will drop later this summer.
Later in the spring there will be a new 10YEARS record, 10YEARS12. It’s a 12” split with me and Parallax Deep called “Trim/External”.
After that I’ll drop a track called Short Waves on the London label Planetary Notions, a 12” V/A in May.
The a V/A track with Malin Génie on Berg Audio in June.
And finally there will be new Dirty Hands record. This time from Edvin Wikner and his track,”Skritt”. Comes with a remix from me and Rowlanz. More info about that soon!