Freaky Dancing Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Ste. Along with Paul Gill you started Freaky Dancing back in 1989 and it has now been republished by TQLC (an imprint of the Quietus). Tell us about the story behind how that happened?

Paul arranged the publication of the book with The Quietus, so I’m not quite sure how that actually happened. My role was more technical, preparing the book itself. Paul had been keen to get the fanzine restored and republished in some form or other for a while, and to be honest I was always a bit reluctant. To me it felt like a great memory, a lovely moment in the past, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to bring it into the present. Paul persisted and eventually convinced me it was worth doing. We were originally going to get the book out for the 25th anniversary, in 2015, but that date came and went. We were both busy with work and it was hard to find time to give the book the attention it deserved. I think hooking up with The Quietus gave us a bit of a kick up the arse to actually get it finished.

On the technical side, I had most of the original artwork, so my job was to scan and clean up every page, and design and build the book itself. There were a few missing pages that had been stolen or returned to the original artists over the years, so a few of them had to be put together from scans of the fanzine itself, but most pages were scanned from the A4 sized originals. We also wanted to do some new material, so I drew a three page comic strip, as an intro, which ended up taking me about six months to complete! Paul drew a page at the end of ever issue of me and him chatting about the contents, and reminiscing about the time.

One major issue was that we weren’t actually in touch with all the contributors. In fact, some pages were anonymously submitted, so we never knew who drew them. Also, a lot of the work was done under pseudonyms, so we had to consider how or if we needed permission from all the original contributors, IP rights, and how we would split any money the book might make. Taking everything into account, particularly the fact it wasn’t possible to contact everyone involved, and that the spirit of the magazine was to give it away where possible, we decided to stick with the pseudonyms for all the contributors, and once we’d covered the costs involved in making the book, we’d donate any money we made the the Manchester Digital Music Archive https://www.mdmarchive.co.uk

What influenced the comic-book/ graphic style in which it was constructed? Who did the artwork and who wrote the text? What was the philosophy behind it all and how important was it for you that it was free?

Both Paul and I both wrote and drew our own comics, and had made our own fanzines and small press comics before Freaky Dancing. That’s how we met, in fact – I picked up a copy of one of his fanzines from a small press fair in Piccadilly in 1986 or so, and he picked up one of mine from the same place. We noticed each other’s’ addresses, both in Stockport, and we started writing to each other about comics and video games and music, both in our early teens, and before either of us had ever had a pint of beer, let alone been to a pub or a nightclub!

But, once we had the idea for Freaky Dancing, everything happened so fast. We didn’t really plan very much, we just spurted out whatever was going in our heads into comic strips and printed them. We both worked separately, writing and drawing our own comics, and bringing them together every week or two, to see if we had enough stuff to make a new issue with. What was really surprising, and exciting, was that our friends joined in. Friends who weren’t especially into comics, or who weren’t writers or artists. They just caught the same wave of excitement and enthusiasm that gripped us, and threw their own pages into the pot. Some of the early issues were literally put together between 5pm and 7pm on the Friday night they came out, with people turning up to my office after work, handing in pages they’d drawn, while Paul and I would arrange them into some kind of order. Then we’d start the photocopier running at about 7pm, to get 100 or so copies ready to hand out next door by 9pm.

Giving the magazine out for free felt massively important at the beginning. It was almost the main idea behind Freaky Dancing – giving something back to the people around us. Over time that idea receded and covering costs and becoming self-sustaining became our goal. If we’d carried on, we’d probably have wanted to turn it into a money making business. I guess this is a natural trajectory, and perhaps it was for the best that it never went that far.

Why was the Hacienda and Friday’s Nude night in particular, as opposed to the other nights, such an important place for you at that time?

I feel a bit reluctant to mention the drugs, but you can’t get away from the drugs. We all started taking ecstasy together – and by ‘we’, I don’t just mean our friends, but I mean everyone in The Hacienda on a Friday night – and it was incredible. I’d been going out for years in Manchester already. Generally indie nights at The Venue, Boardwalk, The Ritz and places like that, and The Hacienda sometimes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Clubbing was ‘alright’, and I enjoyed it, but suddenly in 1989 (for me – I know it was earlier for some), it was like I’d been woken from my sleep, and going out on a Friday became a mystical experience. It felt IMPORTANT. Once I’d been grabbed by the place, then I started to appreciate just how bloody good the music was as well, and I think the music has stayed with me more than anything else.


Graeme Park & Mike Pickering live at The Hacienda ~ August 1989 (3 hour set)

You poked fun at Boys Own and London culture. Did it feel like there was a North/ South divide – what made the North better?

Haha, yeah, I think everyone in Manchester feels that north / south divide thing, don’t they? We used to read NME, and once the acid house thing started up, you’d read these articles where they’d send a journalist up to Manchester and they’d just be talking about a couple of indie bands and a few gigs, and not mention the house music that was in the air in Manchester, that was everywhere, they’d not mention acid house at all, and it seemed bizarre. They might be covering The Stone Roses in the article, but The Stone Roses would be dancing to acid house in The Hacienda that week, and that influence wasn’t being mentioned in the music press at all, or only in the most condescending ways, it seemed bizarre.

We did have a bit of a sneering attitude to London and the south, but on reflection I think that was a bit silly, and I can’t really defend it now. I think partly it might have been that we just didn’t get much coverage or recognition, as the main magazines were based in London, but I dunno.

Obviously the city gained a reputation (as did the club) for violence and gang activity around doors and the supply of drugs. What are feelings about that, both at the time and now, in relation to the Hacienda?

I guess it was inevitable. There’s a neat parallel with the effect of the drugs themselves. You start off with a euphoric burst of energy, and everything is amazing, then eventually you feel strung out and stretched too far, followed by twitchiness, paranoia and a feeling of doom. That trip played out over the life of the magazine, and over the course of a few years in Manchester’s club scene as well.

I don’t think nightclubs work as long-standing institutions, and the Hacienda not being around now is probably for the best. Let younger generations build their own legends, without any baggage from the past.

What for you were the original ideals (socially and/or politically) of Acid House? And how do you feel about the way in which DJ culture and Clubs themselves have evolved and changed into more of a business model?

It felt like we were at the dawn of something special in 1989. A whole generation (or so it seemed) full of optimism and effortlessly removing the barriers and the differences between us all. It felt like more than just hedonism, but only in the vaguest, non-specific ways. I guess that’s kind of evaporated since. Maybe that’s a feeling everyone has at that time of their life, no matter where you are or who you’re with? I don’t have any strong feelings about DJ culture or clubbing. I still like house music, still listen to people like Sasha, but very rarely go to nightclubs any more.

In terms of ethnicity and class. How well do you think each was represented at The Hacienda?

A few years ago I saw an acquaintance on twitter complaining about a clip he’d seen of The Hacienda, from the acid house days, saying it just looked like a bunch of straight white blokes getting off their head, and that rave culture was a load of bollocks. I can’t speak for rave culture, but The Hacienda wasn’t that at all. It felt to me like the best possible mix of people you could get in Manchester, in terms of ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, etc. A wonderful combination of everything the city had to offer. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it felt to me at the time.

Was Tony Wilson a spokesman for the generation? If so, how did you identify with him?

Tony Wilson was an odd character for anyone my age from the North West. We grew up with him as this super smarmy TV host on various news and current affairs programmes. The natural reaction for any young, cynical teenager was to hate him. Then you learn from someone at school that he’s got a record label or something, and you get an inkling that he’s not quite what he seems. You listen to what he says on those music programmes he presented a bit more closely – maybe he’s more than just a smarmy presenter? Then as you grow older you learn a bit more about Factory and The Hacienda, and the bands, and he changes in your mind into something else. Something inspiring.

I’ve been in business in creative fields a couple of times, and I can honestly say that Tony Wilson was a big inspiration in terms of how I went about things. I don’t mean writing terrible contracts on napkins, necessarily, but more in terms of wanting to make something great, something special, something that will be remembered, and getting the best out of creative people you’re working with.

From the time of Freaky Dancing could you name a couple of tracks which signified everything the magazine was about?

Ralphi Rosario – You Used To Hold Me. I think that was my first, stand out memory on the dancefloor, seeing the crowd reacting, the way everyone in the place knew the tunes, it was wonderful.
Kid n Play – 2 Hype (that UK mix, not sure the proper name of it). My second dancefloor memory. The way the whole place would just freeze when that intro started.
Stakker – Humanoid. Just incredible. Still sounds awesome today.

Why did you stop producing Freaky Dancing? And would you be tempted to do it again?

Mainly we were just knackered. We’d put out 11 issues in not much more than a year, while also holding down fairly high pressure full time jobs, and being in a band. The magazine was actually starting to get really good by the end, so I can’t actually remember exactly why we stopped. I think the energy from the scene itself, that had been propelling us, had dissipated, and we didn’t have enough energy ourselves to keep it going without that wave behind us.

I’d publish comics again, and give them away, but I don’t think I could do anything at the speed we managed back then.

Tell us about what you and Paul are up to these days. And what would you say you taken from those experiences which has informed your life now?

I still design and make video games, now as an indie, working with my brother as The Pickford Bros. Our last game was nominated for a BAFTA, but made no money. We also do a comic together, Plok, featuring the star of one of our SNES games from the 1990s.

I think I’ve still got, and always had, the do-it-yourself ethic that led to us making a fanzine, and that’s reflected in the games and comics I’ve made since then. And I honestly thing the acid and the ecstasy have made me a better person.

The Quietus Presents The Freaky Dancing Book Launch at The Soup Kitchen, Manchester on Saturday March 2.

https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/the-freaky-dancing-book-launch-the-soup-kitchen-tickets/9142605?

https://thequietus.com

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Intro_p Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Intro_p. Let’s start with your label: Introp Music. Tell us the types of music you seek to champion through it. And what are the most important musical elements that determine which tracks you sign?

Thank you for your invitation. My motivation with Introp Music is to offer people a balanced concept of dance music and other genres besides the club scene. I am especially interested in unconventional dance music, inspiring imagination, evoking emotions and suitable for different situations or even audiences. For this purpose, I combine in my productions dance music patterns with different melodic and harmonic elements in an intuitive way, sometimes leaving rules or formulas behind.

Your next release sees you return to Introp Music with the stunning: Trieb. Can you talk us through how you produced the track and which favourite pieces of hardware/ software you used?

One of my challenges is trying not to repeat myself and to imprint my current state of mind in my productions. “Trieb” EP shows clubbier sounds than my debut “Exposure”. In ‘Trieb’ I’ve moved from my basic workflow. I split the work in 2 parallel projects, one for drum & FX elements and the other one for more musical instruments. I don´t know if this is good or a bad idea in general terms, but the experiment worked here. My target was to get a closer perspective of both kinds of elements for decision making. A part from Minimoog and Walldorf Streichfett, most elements have been processed in the box. I love using Ableton, Max for Live, Maschine, Komplete, Kontakt, U-he and other 3rd party plugins for sound design experimentation.

The release also contains an Ambient Mix. What is it in particular about ambience that appeals to you?

I would not say that the Ambient mix really fits with the Ambient genre. But surely there are common elements in it, like those diving atmospheres. I like Ambient music because it invites me to reflect and pay more attention to my inner voice. I think this kind of music can help people to be less materialistic.

Your music has a distinctly original flavour to it. Which artists have most influenced your sound?

I thank my parents for having a great music collection. As an only child I grew up with a turntable and thousands of records. At the age of 18 I had my own collection constantly growing. Therefore it´s not easy to name my early influences. There are plenty of bands and genres from the 60s until nowadays that I really love. For sure I started into dj’ing in 1995 because of my fascination for Jeff Mills, Laurent Garnier and Richie Hawtin. They brought me to go to clubs and pay attention to the music as it was a concert. Some of my friends started to be annoyed of me (lough). Other artists that might have influenced my sound are Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Jon Fox, Ultravox, Simple Minds, The Church, Stranglers, King Crimson, Can, Gong, Sly & Robbie, Soft Machine, Devo, Depeche Mode, Autechre, Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Bonobo, Trentemoeller, David August, Max Cooper, etc. etc.

Which artists, painters, writers etc outside of music have also inspired you?

I am not an expert in any kind of art, but as a fan of cinema I would highlight artists like Darren Aronofsky, Lars von Trier, Xavier Dolan etc. In my personal opinion, the most important elements of art are emotions and message. Therefore authenticity is the key.

How would you say the move from Malága to Cologne has influenced what you do, both in terms of work and play?

I came to Germany in 2005 to work as an engineer, learn the German language and gather experience abroad. During these years I realized that I don´t want to belong to any industrial corporation. I am not interested in power or career. My priority is to do something with passion, having the possibility to learn my whole life and inspire other people to do the right thing for themselves.

How do you feel club culture has changed since you first started? And how would you like to see it evolve from here

In my opinion the club scene has grown a lot. There are much more artists than before and the new technologies allow us to search and play music more easily, and to get in contact with other artists or with the audience. This democratization of the music can be something good. On the other side, I think it is more difficult to make and promote alternative music today because everyone is exposed to a large amount of distractions and information. For the future, I would like to see more projects dedicated to the search and support of upcoming and underground artists.

And finally. Tell us about any forthcoming plans for 2019?

2019 is the year of my birth as a full time music producer. My plan is to enjoy my first steps out of my comfort zones by doing what inspired me the most during my life: music. Definitely there will be more releases in 2019.

https://www.introp-music.com

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Nate Young Q&A


Photo by Alivia Zivich ©2018

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Nate. Let’s start with your new album: Volume One: Dilemmas of Identity. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the title and the story about how the music found its way onto this album?

Dilemmas of Identity consists of a lot of compulsively made jams. These jams helped me chill and forget about my personal problems for a moment…so I could laugh. After the loss of my brother in 2015, I found myself suffering from severe grief and depression. I was struggling to see the point of being an artist, struggling to see the point of my career, ironically, I found myself retreating into my music more than ever. The distraction helped me cope with my grief and I found myself furiously making music. Many of the songs are ridiculous and out of character for me, but these songs help me remember the growth that can come from loss.

OUT NOW https://lowerfloor.lnk.to/NY-DOI

You have recently done a series of live shows as both Wolf Eyes and as a solo artist. How did you transfer the music from studio recordings to playing it live? Can you tell us about the instruments you use and what performing music in a live setting means for you as opposed to recorded sound?

I have always been interested in making use of whatever is around me. When I started making music and instruments it was out of necessity. I am an uneducated, unemployed, bohemian-esque stoner, raised by free thinking LSD crazed hippies in the Ozarks via Michigan. When I approach sound, I try to take all of this into account. I do not have a master’s degree in music or any formal education. I am not a record collector either, my music influences and ideas come from my weird experiences. And like a lot of artists I just feel around in the dark until I find the light switch.

What words best describe the emotions and atmospheres you seek to achieve with your music?

I’ve been drugged and lost in this week/I took a day to break for each blink

What was your first introduction to electronic sound? And who are your biggest influences?

I got my start with electronics in my late teens. The first thing I made/modified was a payphone speed dialler. This was sold in the 80’s-90’s as a speed dialler for land lines. If you replaced a component inside it (I think it was a crystal diode) you could hold it up to the telephone receiver and make free phone calls. It would make the same tone as a quarter being inserted into the coin slot. I booked my first tour with this. Since the late 90’s the phone companies caught on and it stopped working. I remember the operator would come on and yell at me saying the cops were on the way. HA! Funny stuff. Around this time I started making music with friends and bought a guitar. It got stepped on in the first week. Instead of getting it fixed I removed the pick-ups and attached them to some bed springs and an ironing board. Under the ironing board I attached a metal detector. This was my first electronic instrument. Sort of sounded like an oscillator with an envelope follower. It’s funny to think about this now because ever since then percussive whines have been a fixture in my work. Booommmmm weeeeeeee Booommmmm weeeeee

Tell us about the concept behind Trip Metal Fest and your plans for it?

Trip Metal aims to capitalize on confusion as a means of connection rather than a threat to authenticity. The fest was a way for us to continue supporting people we admire. We plan to give away all our money to artists and tickets cost nothing. Trip Metal is free.

The Wolf Eyes website also displays a collection of sound and artworks. Can you tell us about those and what the paintings represent for you?

Painting is the same thing as playing music to me. We have always made images to go with our sound. We have close to 300 different record and tape covers. This new “painting with unique audio composition” is really just a release that’s limited to 1 of 1. The image influences the sound and the sound influences the image.

https://wolfeyes2018.bigcartel.com/category/paintings-unique-audio

Talk us through how you conceived of and then produced the albums opening track: ‘In The Shadow Of’?

This song was originally made to accompany a film called Naves Ena (from 1971) The film is about a group of fishermen who are set adrift on an iceberg facing death from hunger and exposure. This was a commission for a music festival in Riga, Latvia Skanu Mezs. I composed the track but never recorded it until years later.

Outside of the world of electronic music who do you like to read/ watch/ listen to?

I read a lot of comics, anything by Grant Morrison, Saga, Doom Patrol. I am just finishing City by Clifford D. Simak. I also read a lot of gear manuals. Watching…hmmm well the last thing that was cracking me up was People Just Do Nothing.

How do you feel about nostalgia and its place in contemporary music?

Its fine, that’s how we process what is relatable.

You setup your own label Lower Floor Music with John Olson and Warp Records. How have you found running your own label and what are the benefits in doing so?

We’ve been running our own tape labels for years. Lower Floor is a slightly bigger idea, but basically the same thing as American tapes or AA Records. We want to release more music by our friends. This year we are trying to release an Art Ensemble of Chicago live at Trip Metal Fest. So…bigger ideas are coming.

http://www.wolfeyes.net
https://www.facebook.com/tripmetalfest
https://wolf-eyes.bleepstores.com/artist/56368-nate-young

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Italoboyz Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Marco and Federico. Let’s start with your new single: Midnight Summer Dream for Crosstown Rebels. How did your relationship with the Crosstown come about? And how important for you is it to have your music released on such a significant label?

Hi guys, it’s a pleasure to be here! We have known Damian for many, many years, and doing something together was just a matter of time, really… We have endless respect for him and his music, and for what Crosstown Rebels represents. It’s great to be able to finally have found something special that fits with the label.

Talk us through how the track was created, where the original ideas came from and the use of the spoken words?

The spoken words are a little bit of a mystery… the rest of the track was made by arpeggiating a very nice yet simple melody with a Korg Polysix. All the drums are made with the Roland 909 and with a Roland Handsonic, and then there are several other little random sounds that came from…somewhere. It came out spontaneously in a day, there’s no big deal behind this track, it was just one of those moments when things come up naturally and everything flows

pre-order: https://www.beatport.com/release/midnight-summer-dream/2483963

Tell us about the choice of the brilliant Yulia Niko to remix Midnight Summer Dream? And how do you feel she has contributed to the track?

She is part of the Crosstown Rebels family and she did a very good job, her remix takes a completely different direction, and is a great addition to the release.

The second track: 5.05 AM was created along with Blind Minded. And reaches an amazing seventeen plus minutes. You also mentioned experimenting with guitars and pedals in that process, which ones appealed to you most? And how did it feel using an organic instrument such as a guitar as opposed to a synthesizer?

We have a quite long history of making music with organic elements and different instruments…. We’ve collaborated with many musicians in the past, including drummers, bass guitarist, guitars, violin players, trumpet players, etc), I could name dozen of songs we did by recordings musical elements and then adding our own twist, our FXs, our “touch”. We always did and we will always continue doing it. Watch out also for March, we are going to release on This and That Label a collaboration we did with a guy who plays Hang.

Listening to your recent mix for bloop. radio you impressively cross a diverse selection of genres and moods. Tell us a little about your personal philosophy when it comes to DJ’ing and your thoughts on breaking rules and boundaries?

Bloop radio is run by an amazing team, they give me total freedom on music selection. I l constantly listen to many music genres, and Bloop is the right place to melt them together. When it comes to being a DJ, the main approach is making sure you know exactly where you are. The idea behind the Bloop show is to deliver on the first part of the show a blend of less clubby oriented music, more suitable for an afternoon and the second part more dancy. Same for Dj gigs in clubs or festivals: a dj-set varies, depending on many factors (type of crowd, time, size of the club, how long we are going to play and few others). Breaking rules, being different and taking risks is something that every DJ j should do, in our opinion. But you must be in control of what you are doing and be able to understand when you and the crowd are on the same page. It’s actually one of the best feelings ever, when you know you own it, you feel you are in control of the situation. The same record/tune can either empty the dance- floor or can make people travel to the moon, it just depends on….you.

Who are your most important influences both within and outside of the world of electronic music? And are there any particular writers or creative artists which most appeal to you?

Martin Margiela is a great artist, not just a designer but a full on an artist (in fact in this days he is a painter). He took everything that was already there, he deconstructed and reconstructed, he never showed his face and at a certain point decided that he said what he has to say and he disappeared completely.
Same for Bill Drummond & Jimmy Cauty better know as THE KLF. They Became number one on UK charts with a record made out of already existing records, they wrote a manual about how to do a number one chart song. On 23 August 1994, The KLF – one of Britain’s most incendiary bands, in more ways than one – burned £1m on a remote Scottish island. They then vowed to put their careers on hold for 23 years. So at 23 seconds past midnight on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 they made their comeback with a book, launch in Liverpool, called 2023: a trilogy.In all this year they were doing lots of fine art pieces, all secretly. The duo were greeted by 500 fans as they arrived at the News From Nowhere book shop in an ice cream van that played their hit What Time Is Love? and O Sole Mio.
HOW CRAZY/COOL IS THAT!?! ☺
ALSO, A special mention also must be given to Futurism in general… We’ve been milking from those early 1900 poets and artists so much across the years, and also… the vocal of Midnight Summer Dream – that you were asking me about is also, somehow, related to Futurism

How would you describe Superfiction Recordings and what are your forthcoming plans for the label?

Superfiction always wanted to be something that encapsulates our different taste for electronic music, our own space where we don’t need to await any external filter, but we do exactly what we want. It’s born like that and will always be like that. The plan is to keep releasing our music, but with an eye on other people and eventually, more and more collaborations with other dj/producers who we respect and we are inspired by.

https://www.facebook.com/italoboyzofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SuperfictionRecordings

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TVA Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Marco Mollo. Let’s start by asking aboutyour tack: Marechiaro which has been included on Alex Niggemann’s AEON 5 Years Compilation (released Dec. 7). Tell us about how your relationship with the label was first established and how you got this particular track signed to the compilation?

In 2016 we sent some demos to Alex and after few months they were released on Soulfooled, since then our collaboration became more frequent and we noticed that our projects were matching quite wellwith Alex musical ideas and his label Aeon. I met Alex for the first time 2 years ago in London, we really have a good friendship now which goes beyond music. It’s always fun whenever I’m with him and the rest of the Aeon team. I was really happy when Alex and Simone (Speaking Minds) asked me to participate with a track to this celebrative compilation and this is when I decided to start working on an intro track.

AEON 5 Years Compilation is out now on AEON

buy: https://www.beatport.com/release/aeon-5-years-compilation/2442532

Can you talk us through how the initial idea for the track was conceived, and then how those ideas were produced as music? Do you have a favourite piece of software/ hardware that you always like to use?

In general I’ve been always passionate about intro tracks, electronic and chillout music. It’s not the first time that Alex uses a TVA track as intro (Balance CD and Lost Tapes Vol.2). “Marechiaro” was created to be a smooth and soft intro track, with few notes and many layers. The instrument I use more often is the Prophet 12 and I try to change drum machines quite frequently, at the moment I’m also enjoying the Analog Rhythm.

What I love about your music is the sense of freedom when it comes tousing different moods and settings to realise your sound. Which artists have most influenced you in achieving this, both within and outside of Dance Music?

I love any kind of moody music, this can be happy or sad but it must have a character. I find very hard to create music or play a dj set without setting a mood. Periodically I discover new techno/electronic artists who can inspire my production style and also bands like The National, the Interpol and of course the Depeche Mode influence me a lot and I always like listening to their music.

I have been listening a lot to your recent podcast 01 and was struckby the blend of House, Techno and Ambience. What are the common elements which attract you most to these genres? And what is the mostimportant thing that music has to contain to resonate with you?

All these genres have an energetic groove and I usually have fun while mixing them creating a sort of journey. Music must be always original and not a copy of a copy of what can be trendy in the musical market, many people play some tracks for a season and then immediately after they change completely their taste…this is not my style! 

Tell us about the photographs which accompany the podcast and how youchoose them to reflect the music playing? Why do you prefer black and white?

I’m an art director and I always worked in advertising. Photography is a big passion, I personally took those pictures around London and I thought it was a good idea to use some of them for my podcast on YouTube. Black and White Stills are my favourite but maybe next time I will also add some colour.

How would you describe the difference between creating music in the studio and DJ’ing live in front of people?

In studio I’m usually more free, when I’m DJ’ing live I try to be myself but I also consider the contest trying to adapt my style.

Do you have a favourite Synth? Do you own one?

I love my Prophet 12 but I also use some ableton max for live instruments and various drum machines, at the moment I’m working with samples as well.

And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans for 2019?

Nextyear I will be quite busy because my first daughter is on the way, but I’m working with my brother (le visionnaire) on an album which will hopefully be signed on Aeon, Alex is helping us a lot with this big production. A more techno EP could be another interesting project to release in the next few months.

https://www.facebook.com/tvamusic
https://www.instagram.com/tva_music
https://twitter.com/TVA_music
aeon-audio.com

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Eraldo Bernocchi Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Your latest album: Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It (RareNoise) provides the soundtrack for a new documentary on the American Artist Cy Twombly, called Cy Dear. Can you tell us about how you got involved in the project and about its origins?

I was contacted last year to compose the soundtrack of this documentary film, the first ever made about the contemporary art giant Cy Twombly. The production company and the director contacted RareNoise Records to ask if I would be interested in working on it. I loved the idea and also because the film is shot and written from a very intimate perspective. It’s biographical but at the same time really intimate – a trip back in time meeting the people he loved most or that were the most important for him and his art.

What does the artist’s work mean to you personally? Do you favourite piece of his work?

Twombly is a giant, one of those figures who is so emotionally charged that anything you look at of his is fantastic. I’ve got my favourites; one of these is the cover of the album. What I like about him is how he transmits strong emotions through his paintings and at the very same time keeps them simple and direct. Twombly is one of those artists whose work you stare at in awe and are mesmerised by. I find him hypnotically entangling.

The album was mainly created through the use of guitar and various effects. Can you give us an idea of how constructed one of the tracks from the album? And about the types of affects you used in that process?

It’s true. I mainly used guitars, treating them in order to achieve what I had in mind. I used a lot of pedals: mostly Strymon or Eventide reverbs and delays. Various types; tape, analog, modulated digital. I created drones and loops with guitar and on top of them I improvised with guitar or piano, often for hours, until I found the theme or the emotion I wanted. At this point I’d start from the beginning and construct the whole track, arranging it at a later stage. It’s a time consuming process but it’s the only one that works 100% with my brain. I need to improvise in order to find the right colours. Improvising is giving me the right emotion I need to carry on composing.

I worked entirely on Ableton Live as DAW. Live has a very handy function that records all midi actions even if you’re not recording, it does it in background.
To me this has been a key point, as I could improvise for ages knowing I could edit all my sessions of piano to edit at a later stage.

For example in “The space between us” I had this piano theme turning in my head. I created the backing drone with guitars, as well as most of the little melodies that you can hear here and there, I then played the theme and started to build a groovy part…so back to the drone, I muted the piano, finished constructing the groove and added the bass. Once I was happy with that I played again the piano improvising on the theme.

I then leave the “finished” track for days – not listening, not working on it. And after a good mental space I go back to it with fresh ears for the final touches.

Would you say that good music is more about Art or Emotion? Or both? What elements make a piece of music particularly special for you?

For me it is mostly about emotion, I crave to feel something when I listen to music. You can be the most skilled player in the world, you could play thousands of notes per second, know every single micro detail of theory, orchestration and whatnot, but in the end if what you play doesn’t transmits feelings I’m not into it. There are loads of people who aren’t interested in this side of thing and more in the technical one. The perfect piece of music for me is a combination of the two, 70% Emotion 30% Art. I want and need to dream, fly, cry, get angry, smash things, destroy speakers when it comes to music. I’m interested in falling, endlessly. As long as the emotions are there that’s for me. It’s not a general rule however, it depends from music genre to music genre.

Do you ever feel that instrumental music misses words? Or does it create more impact to leave that space for the listener’s imagination?

Sometimes it does. I tried my best to replace “possible” singers with piano and guitars. Impact is created by emotions and sound. In the end it doesn’t matter if there’s a voice or not, as long as the sound is wrapping up you and your heart. It’s obvious that having a singer is more direct but there’s been so many great tracks without vocals that it really not does matter on a personal taste level.

What is your favourite guitar? Do you own one?

I have owned many guitars over the years. It’s a fever all guitar players have. You buy and sell guitars searching for that perfect tone that is playing only inside your head. In the end I discovered two that I absolutely love.

A Gibson Les Paul standard from 1981 and a baritone Nude Guitar with aluminium neck.
Baritone guitars became my main tool since 12 years, I love the deepness of sound they have, the suspension of frequencies they create. Nude Guitars are hand made in Italy one by one. They sport an aluminium neck that resonates like a dream and are really versatile and also when I play heavier music. I could never give up to these two guitars, they’re my sound now.

The closing track from the album: Near By Distance is dedicated to Robert Miles. Can you tell us more about that?

Robert and I were friends. We actually got in touch a long time ago, I think it was around 1996.
That track has been the one that I composed for this soundtrack – I mean the piano theme. The rest came when I started to arrange it. The more and more I listened to it, it was distantly reminding me of Robert’s melodies so in the end I thought it would be nice to dedicate it to him. I’d love to play him this song, to know what he thinks, but sadly I can’t. It’s not an homage, just a way of remembering a friend and a great artist.

How long did it take to make the album? Do you ever feel hurried or rushed in creating music, or is it a more naturally evolving thing? And how would you describe your studio’s environment?

The composition stage didn’t take too long, as after about one week I was so emotionally involved that things started to flow.
The arrangement took longer. I’m a a “freak” when it comes to sound and mix. I spend weeks and weeks changing small details, sounds, effects, and inevitably once a mix is done once I listen to it I always find something I’m not happy with. At some point I need to give myself a deadline.
I never felt pressed or pushed on anything. The production and the director left me total freedom to do whatever I was feeling that I wanted to do. My studio is very simple since I left Italy and moved to London. I was forced to shrink my environment. It’s a normal room with a Mac, subwoofer, speakers, loads of pedals and synths here and there. Boxes of effects, small noise machines, guitars etc etc. nothing fancy. It’s more a mad scientist’s laboratory than a studio. When I need to record acoustic instruments I use external studios.

And finally. Can you tell about any forthcoming plans for promoting the soundtrack and what you have in store for 2019?

I’m starting to think how to bring on stage this album. 2019 is going to be quite busy. There’s a new Blackwood EP coming out – the third Equations of Eternity chapter with Bill Laswell, a duo with bass clarinet wizard Gareth Davis, one with Markus Reuter from Stickmen, one with Japanese electronic artist Ken Ikeda and one with electronic wonder Nadia Struiwich, soundtracks, music for adverts and the beginning of some projects that will be disclosed at the right time.

http://www.eraldobernocchi.com

https://www.rarenoiserecords.com

https://eraldobernocchi.bandcamp.com/album/like-a-fire-that-consumes-all-before-it?

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Steve Miller (Afterlife) Q&A

Welcome back to Magazine Sixty, Steve. You are in the process of crowdfunding a vinyl release of your Afterlife album Speck Of Gold from 2003. So the first question is why have you decided to revisit that particular album in 2018?

Earlier this year I created a post on social media asking fans what they would like to see me release to celebrate 25 years of Afterlife in 2019. A sort of “Best of Afterlife” if you like. They all asked for it to be on vinyl and specified their favourite tracks, a lot of which were from the original Speck of Gold double album on CD. Even 15 years since its release it is still one of my top selling albums digitally so it made sense to be the first album in a vinyl format since Simplicity 2000. This release is Vol.1 only as with vinyl the maximum playing time per side for top quality is only 21 minutes max. If it proves popular then vol.2 with the remixes will follow. I thought it would be a nice touch to have gold vinyl rather than black. It was great to dig the premasters out of the archives and have them mastered with full dynamic range for vinyl only. These masters sound better than the originals.

And the second is talk us through the process of crowdfunding itself. Something which wasn’t an available option as such back in 2004?

Diggers Factory provide an elegant solution to producing short limited runs of vinyl. You specify a number of discs to be produced. They recommend a campaign period of 50 days to receive the pre orders. Once that amount is met then production starts and the wax is delivered to Juno Records for delivery to each customer. In this case I specified 200 copies. If pre orders do not reach that figure then everyone who ordered it will be reimbursed automatically.

https://www.diggersfactory.com/vinyl/226552/afterlife-speck-of-gold-vol1?

What does Crowdfunding say to you about the breaking down of barriers between audience and artist and how each can now interact directly?

I think the concept of crowdfunding screams AUSTERITY loud and clear. In this case it helps cash strapped non mainstream artists and labels to still release vinyl which has expensive set up costs that may result in a huge loss if they misjudge their market. That’s OK for big labels to absorb but small labels can go bust. There’s a lot of talk about the resurgence of vinyl sales on the increase but the amount is still pitiful in comparison to digital downloads and streaming which is a shame because the sound quality on vinyl is just so much better. I have bought rare vinyl on this basis and when it arrives I get a warm feeling that I was part of a bunch of people that actually made it happen and treasure that.

Generally crowdfunding seems to be the new way for new ideas to become a reality via a populist vote unless you have a friendly bank manager or an investor that will want a share of the business. It’s a more transparent way of doing business and that can only be good.

What does the album’s title: Speck Of Gold signify? Why did you choose Cathy Battistessa in particular to sing it? And can you tell us about how you married the music to the vocal?

The track started as my reaction to the utter horror of the 911 attack. The world had become a very fearful place and I felt it was only the start of the madness to come. I began the original track the day after and it was incredibly dark hip hop.

Cathy and I had discussed writing a track together so I called her and said “I have this really dark track that needs the sunshine of your voice”. When she sent the vocal back with those pure, melancholic lyrics I realised that the backing track needed to be more hopeful, less despairing, to create the right amount of juxtaposition, so I rewrote the track from scratch working with the vocals as inspiration. Still too dark. Three attempts and two years later it was finally complete after at least 100 hours of studio time. Naturally it had to be the title track for my next album.

The original album featured a number of significant guests. Is there a certain track which you feel resonates more now than it did in 2004? Or did one of the collaborators capture something that has defied the time in-between?

It has to be the title track Speck of Gold. Right now the world is in so much trouble due to human greed and stupidity it resonates more than ever with the opening line “Hope is all we have, with each birth, every tear, we have hope”.

It’s time we put our differences aside once and for all and started living with compassion and intelligence. This world could be a beautiful place and we, at the moment, as custodians need to take responsibility for it.

And finally. What else have you been working on, are there any forthcoming plans you would like to share moving into 2019?

I am just working on the finishing touches of my next album called Everything Is Now which is scheduled for release on 7th June next year.

http://www.subatomicuk.com

 

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Posthuman Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Josh. Let’s begin with your new album: Mutant City Acid. Your first in eight years. Why does 2018 feel right for this release and tell us about the idea behind the title? Plus the colour scheme for the vinyl?

Mutant City Acid. It’s actually a series of 12″s on our label that is currently at number 4, with more set for the future. It’s been a various artist collection digging out the weirder side of acid – techno, electro, house, whatever – but slightly off the beaten track from the usual. The artwork ethos of them all has been derived from pixelart inspired by classic cyberpunk / dystopian sci fi city computer games. With the album, we wanted to take that a step further and kind of write a soundtrack to this imagined place.

It’s been 8 years since our last album, in that time we’ve refined our sound and embraced acid in a BIG way, haha – we wanted to do something that really represents where we are right now, but at the same time referencing our past output, and classic electronic albums of the 90’s where you would listen through as one coherent, complete piece. While this is still very much a techno album, it also has plenty of non-dancefloor, weirder moments. Since the digital era, attention spans have declined in a big way – this is opposed to that. The artwork is filled with plenty of details that connect with the music, we’re hoping that people will sit and take the time to go on a journey with this album.

The randomised style vinyl came from speaking with our pressing plant, we initially looked into coloured wax – but I started asking questions about whether different colours could be thrown in, and how the would react with each other. Normally, you can choose a colour, or perhaps a marbled / speckled run – but these will then be set throughout the entire press. The plant agreed to randomise each record: sticking with certain selections of inks with the same melting temperature & PVC base so to not compromise with sound quality, but mixing them in different methods throughout. This means some are single colours, some are marbled, some have streaks and spots, and some simply fade slowly from one colour to another. One batch are solid colours, the other translucent – unexpectedly some have even come out mother-of-pearl. There was no way of knowing how each would react, how throwing new pellets into the hopper would disperse through into the press.
It was an experiment for both us and the plant – as far as I am aware the first time anyone has ever done this, and mainly enabled by the fact they are using a brand new Warmtone digital press, rather than athe old 1960/70s presses like most plants. They also live-streamed the entire pressing, warts and all, on video – with a live chat and their engineers answering questions and explaining each bit of the process. Over the course of a few hours there was over a hundred different people tuning in for a bit, I guess out of curiosity to how exactly things work behind the scenes!

Release: November 26 2018.
Pre-order direct from label: https://balkanvinyl.bandcamp.com/album/mutant-city-acid-album

You have created an impressive depth and array of moods throughout the album. Could you talk us through where the inspiration came from for one of the non-dancefloor tracks, ‘Raid On Kyoto Quarter’. How it was first imagined and then produced, and talk us thorough the origin of some of the sounds used?

The spoken word piece is written and performed by The Strangest Pet on Earth, aka Bruce McClure / Jane XI – he’s been a friend and collaborator since our very first days: he was our tour DJ and co-owner of our first record label Seed. The original track actually had beats and a fairly heavy bassline, a real chugger – but it was stripped back and dissembled, almost worked backwards from a complete track into something less obvious. The beat version is on the cassette oddly – it’s kind of inverted against everything else.

The album is accompanied by a cassette version featuring two thirty minute ‘ambient’ mixes of Mutant City Acid. What do you feel could be reached by these more atmospheric versions of the album? And why the choice of cassette?

Some of the tracks started as ambient versions, other were worked out from the techno versions and into different directions. The running order is changed as are some tempos and it was built very much into two separate pieces. We still wanted there to be some kind of physical component to this – across the label’s back catalogue I’ve always been more interested with physical than digital; our previous album came as vinyl with a CD, we have done USB releases as well. I feel there is more engagement with physical – you are using more than just one of your senses to experience the album: you have to pick it up, put it on the turntable or in the player, it’s tangible and tactile. You have artwork in your hands. There’s even a smell to it! I think we consume music so quickly and absent-mindedly these days, just streaming on a laptop or phone while doing something else, we don’t give things the focus they deserve.

A very obvious question. What is it about Acid that still holds such a special appeal to you? Is it the particular sound, or is there a cultural significance too?

I think ‘acid’ is a term that can be applied to a lot of things.

Firstly, it’s a sound – the twisting bassline of a 303, or something similar – Moog, 101 etc. It’s as important and iconic in dance music as the amen break, the equivalent of distorted guitar in rock and metal.

But also, as a genre and a scene, it was the last great social movement in music. It was our Punk, our Hip-Hop.
While there have been so many genres since, none of them had the all-encompassing impact on society that acid did, it was a revolution – if you think of it and rave as part & parcel of each other – and it is still going on now.

I recently interviewed Suddi Raval (Together) about his new book on Acid House. And also wanted to ask you who are the most important figures with regards to its pioneers? And in terms of music more generally are there any artists outside of dance music which have influenced you?

I think it’s well established who the pillars of acid house are – from the producers like Phuture and Gerald, to the DJs like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, the label owners (even the ones who ripped everyone off) and the shops and importers. Even though some recent (poorly-researched) TV programs have had a few people grumbling about being missed out, it’s not a story that isn’t known and I think it’s becoming well-trodden ground.

I like to focus on the people who carried on keeping acid alive after the first wave, it’s heyday, when it fell out of fashion.
Unsung heroes like Woody McBride and EgeBamYasi, and then those who gave it life again in the late 90’s and beyond, Luke Vibert, Cassegrain, Tin Man etc.

And of course, influences come from all different places! I still have days where I find myself listening to Slayer, Ministry and Sepultura and thinking “wow that’s a great little melody there I wonder how that would sound on a 101” haha

In terms of Dance Music how do you feel about what is happening around you. Are we in good, or not so good, place with digital culture and the prominence of festivals etc?

It’s a mixed bag.

There’s some great stuff right now: Sites like Bandcamp means anyone who is writing music has access to get it out into the world: there’s never been so much choice and access to unheard, new and obscure things. I try to dig digitally for my radio show every month and find new artists who are off the radar, just starting out, or maybe don’t have the connections to get exposure. There’s some incredible music coming from the most unlikely places – last month I had new acid trax by kids from Mexico and Russia, playing on the show just days after they had finished them.

Social Media is a double edged sword. While it means we can connect with likeminded people regardless of demographic, and has thrown off the shackles of being stuck in a small town and having no access to non-mainstream music scenes – it’s also changed the way people promote. We’re all slaves to the algorithm, and those with the money to buy fake followers and likes are getting to the top. There was always an element of fakeness in mainstream music (record labels used to send people round shops to buy back all their singles and push chart places…those with the funds for adverts and big PR campaigns would get the exposure) but this has now leaked all the way into dance music, right down to the core. You look at all those identikit festival lineups, the artists booked so often have the same management teams, big inheritances being spent to get them where they are, ghost produced music, and social media profiles inflated by fake numbers. With the advent of video-streaming, DJs are cool now and dance music has become a rich kids playground as a result. It’s not a level playing field.

That said, there does seem to be a bit of a kickback against this now, people are starting to realise just how many of the “big names” are essentially fakes. It’s an open secret in the industry, but no secret gets kept forever.
If it looks like someone spends more time posing for perfect instagram moments than gurning in a sweaty rave, it’s usually a warning sign!

I Love Acid Radio

Posthuman with 2 hours of all the best new / upcoming / unreleased 303 related action. Like + Share + Comment!

Posted by I Love Acid on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

 

How do you approach life in the studio? Do you have a set routine or is it a series of random acts of creation?

Step one: get drunk and jam.
Step two: in another session, go through the jammed parts – refine, sequence, mix down.

Really as simple as that! To be honest, quite often more time gets spent surfing youtube and pissing about than actually writing.

Do you have a favourite instrument (or piece of hardware/ software)? Do you own one?

Well, obviously the Roland TB303. Except I don’t actually own one. I’ve borrowed a few over the years though.
I have two v1 TT303’s currently, the first Cyclone Analogic clone – which in my mind is the best clone on the market. I used to have a x0xb0x as well but it wasn’t quite right sounding.
But oddly enough, my favourite bit of kit of the TR707. I just think it embodies the rawness of jack perfectly, and you can whack it about with those lovely big soft buttons.

A question about nostalgia. Do you think it enhances or hinders the process of musical evolution?

It only hinders you, if you try to mimic it rather than be inspired by it.
Nostalgia is ALWAYS rose-tinted, because all the crap from the fringes of any era never stands the test of time, so you get left with a core of the very best. And you only remember the good times, not the bad ones.
There’s a lot of acid house events here in London that are backwards looking – they’re all about re-creating that ’86-’89 thing, with the same old DJs playing the same old tunes to the same old people. Sooo boring.
In comparison, there’s a party called Downfall – who take the ethos of those times: vinyl only, acid house, DIY decor, no big names just residents & choice guests – but they play NEW acid music.
It’s inspired by and the same vibe as the past without simply being a soulless retrospective, and as a result is actually MORE like what it was actually about – this music was the future.

And finally. What plans do you have for I Love Acid and Balkan Vinyl?

I’m already booking parties across the UK and Europe for 2019. It’s crazy how quick the diary is filling up – 5 different cities already on the books.
The label will kick back into gear with a Luke Vibert double for ILA020, and I have over 15 finished vinyl releases ready and waiting from a whole different selection of artists over both labels, easily enough to take me through the whole year.

I guess I just have to hope the pressing plant gods continue to smile on me…and that Brexit doesn’t make manufacturing records abroad too expensive. It’s already nearly impossible to make a profit on any run less than 300 copies, if we add any extra tariffs or taxes, I suspect many indie labels will go to the wall – myself possibly included. Just got to hope common sense prevails, somehow…

http://www.posthumanmusic.com

Posted by I Love Acid on Thursday, October 25, 2018

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DJ Amir Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Amir. Let’s start at the beginning and ask you why Jazz is such a special music for you? And who are its most important artists past and present?

Jazz music is really special to me because of my upbringing. My father was heavy into jazz and always had jazz playing in our household. He also grew up with and was friends with Jaki Byard, who coincidentally played in the Mingus band for a few years before going solo. Every weekend my father would sit and listen to jazz on his hi fi stereo system. And sometimes he would invite me to join him. Basically, father instilled in me my love for jazz.

Some of the most important artists from the past for me would be Clark Terry, Eric Dolphy, Horace Silver, Mile Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and, of course, Charles Mingus. For new future jazz artists, I would say Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kammal, Shabaka Hutchings, Nuyba Garcia, and Robert Glasper are some of my favorites.

Tell the story behind the Strata Concert Gallery recordings by Mingus and how you came to have them released on bbe?

The story behind the Strata Concert Gallery recordings by Mingus is a relatively simple one. The Strata Concert Gallery was an artists collective space where the owner, Kenny Cox had many shows with local and national artists. I believe it was a non-alcoholic space so that all ages could come. This particular Mingus recording was probably the second or third performance from a well-known artist. Mingus was right behind Keith Jarrett with Herbie Hancock to follow Mingus.

How I came to release this recording with BBE is through my collaborative label deal with them. I have the exclusive license rights to the Strata Records catalog and the Mingus recordings were a part of the catalog. Actually, I received an email from Barbara Cox, the owner of Strata stating that her friend Hermine Brooks (widow of Roy Brooks) had the masters to the Charles Mingus recordings and she wanted me to connect with Hermine. Hermine and I talked and I decided to take a chance on transferring the tapes. I then spoke with BBE about the possibility of releasing a never heard before Mingus live recording and needless to say, we were all excited to do so.

What words spring to mind when you think of Mingus as a Bass player and as a composer? If you met him what question would you have liked to ask of him?

The words that come to mind when I think of Mingus as a Bass player and as a composer are genius and complex. I say genius because playing the double Bass is not easy at all to play. Especially, playing some of the most complex arrangements that Mingus composed. And I say complex because when I think of the fact that Mingus was not only a great composer and Bass player but he was also an outstanding bandleader. These unique qualities make him one of the greatest American musicians/composer ever.

If were ever to meet Mingus, I would ask him how did growing up with the extensive amount of racism and the lack of proper musical education contribute to his music? And what makes your compositions different from those with similar experiences?

Where can people hear you DJ? How did the launch of Tomorrow People go and what plans do you have for the night?

Where people can hear me DJ in Berlin, are a few places like Sisyphos, Bar Tausend, and sometimes the Michel Berger Hotel in Berlin. By the way, I moved from Brooklyn to Berlin earlier this year. Right now, I started a party Tomorrow People with a few friends and it’s at a venue Arkaoda in Berlin. I approached the owner of Arkaoda during the summer and explained my idea for the party. He definitely agreed that Berlin needs some new music life!

This party is dedicated more towards more soulful music like disco, boogie, jazz, funk, Latin and African music. Berlin is well-known for its techno and tech house scene but I wanted to offer something more soulful. My plans for the night are to build a ‘brand’ here for Tomorrow People as a place for good ‘organic’ music that takes people on a journey.

Been enjoying your Just a little bit of disco jazz. How would you describe the process of putting live music together in a mix? And how would you compare playing the original versions to what other people try to achieve via re-edits?

For me the process of putting together a mix of live music really depends on my mood which is different than dj’ing live in a club. The difference for me is that when I dj in a club I am very aware of the energy and mood of the crowd and I try to also educate the crowd with music too. Whereas with a recorded mix, I try to imagine the mood I want to project this mood without there being a ‘live’ crowd.

I did a disco jazz music mix because I love both styles of music and there are so many disco jazz records that I enjoy. There are many disco mixes but I wanted to showcase my love for both disco and jazz. Playing the original versions of some live music is great because you get to let the music breathe the way the original artist intended.

How did you get introduced to House Music? And what common threads do you see with the other types of music you love?

I got introduced to House music while in college in the late 80s and early 90s. Pretty much every dj back then had to have not only a Hip Hop, R&B, and Dancehall set but also a House music set. So I would hear it all the time.

The common threads that House music has with other music genres are its history. Meaning that without disco, jazz, funk, soul, Gospel etc there would be NO House music. The lineage of House stems from heavy disco and jazz roots. And like those genres of music, the infectious nature of it is contagious.

How do you feel about club culture currently, how do you see music and dancing moving forward? And how would you describe nostalgia and its place in Dance Music today?

Currently, in the states I think club culture today has become a parody of itself. Meaning that too many club venues are quick to sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s all about how many people drink at the bar and what the bar does in terms of numbers. It used to be you had to prove how many people you could fill the club with that follow you. Furthermore, it has become increasingly so that social media has made many djs stars without really earning their ‘stripes.’ You can have 20,000 Instagram followers and a million selfies of yourself and call yourself a successful dj. Promoters tend to ask how many Spotify or Instagram followers you have over hearing a mix or past/present work.
In Europe, it tends to be about the Spotify followers as well but a lot of it depends on what you’re releasing. Many producers have become djs and many djs have become producers in order to stay ‘relative’ to continue to work. If you release an edit or remix that has other djs or promoters excited then you tend to work more than other djs. The other djs tend to get what they call ‘legacy’ gigs. Meaning they get work off their past accomplishments and not much else.

I see dancing and music moving in the direction of hopefully more of a soulful vibe. It’s disheartening to see some people at clubs all dancing like drones to melodic noise. We need to bring the funk and soul back to music. Producers need to create music with more swing and soul. Furthermore, we need to have more music with engaging lyrics. Not poorly written lyrics that add nothing to the music.

I think with the younger generation they are exploring the earlier forms of House music, especially from the early 90s. Also there are many djs exploring disco and boogie as well. Basically, they are going back to the roots. This nostalgia is growing and I’m happy to see more and more djs and crowds embrace it.

And finally. Can you tell us about any other forthcoming projects or plans?

My upcoming releases on my label (180-proof.com) that are slated for next year are Sphere ‘Inside Ourselves’, CJQ ‘Black Hole” and hopefully another Strata Concert Gallery live recording.

https://180-proof.com

https://www.facebook.com/DJ-Amir-161195730583168

https://twitter.com/djamir70

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Matuss Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Julia. Let’s start with the label you have co-founded with Abe Duque: Absence Seizure. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the name and about the artwork for the labels latest release?

Meaning behind the name is a direct connection between absence seizure symptoms and all the music related process, such as writing for me and in some cases, listening. Point is that you blank out and there is this super excitement from intense brain cells work…
Latest artwork looks to me like an alien from my favorite cartoon Lilo and Stitch, so this one is for me 🙂

Seizure No 10 features two tracks from yourself, along with one by Abe Duque. Can you talk us through how you created Crashing Hard, including any particular pieces of software/ hardware you like to refer to?

Entire track was made from discoveries with Rytm Analog by Elektron, which was the latest addition in a family. I was on a floor pretty much the entire time, while rolling with my back on Lacrosse ball, ahahaha… because hardware piece gives you the ability not to sit in chair (which I get tired from) and not to look on a screen much. Then I threw it in Bitwig, had some cherries and sprinkles on top here and there and voila! Getting creative with names tho is a work in progress for me, so Crashing Hard was an obvious choice in my head, due to the nature of the track.

How many records would you say you owned, and why is vinyl so important to you?

I have my clothes and records pretty much in every part of the world, for various reasons. Even now being in Berlin, I really tried not to buy many records. I was telling myself everyday don’t do it, be reasonable, how you gonna take all this to the airport…didn’t work. Because I went to stores and fairs and the minute I see a good record I almost start shaking. So I have to buy it! It’s already too many and I am gonna have to possibly leave some here���� but the good news is next time I am back to the same place, it’s already there for me! Why vinyl? It’s simple, the feeling. Completely different from anything else and it works in my case. Yesterday I went to record sale and somehow (absolutely have no idea why) Phonique – For the time being (Ripperton remix) starts playing in my head.. and I think – oh, would be great to find it. I go thru couple shelves and here it is. I bought it for 1 euro. I can’t explain, what those moments do to you, it’s beyond me…You don’t need anything else on your life, really. Just 1 euro to buy it, ahahaha.

If you could choose three records to highlight your most significant influences what would they be? (any type of music, old or new)

If we are talking about actual vinyl that I own, 3 records that I will remember for the rest of my life, will always dance to it and will always play it – than it would be the following

Bucketheadz – the Bomb
187 lockdown – Gunman
John Julius Knight – Find a friend

Those are pure magic.

Tell us about your life in New York compared with living in Europe? Do you have a favourite place to buy or hear music?

New York is a very intense city, so I have a much higher pace, I suppose. 2 weeks feel like 2 months 🙂 It is the only place, where I get very emotional when I touch the grounds. Plane lands, I cry. Have no idea why. In Europe, I love that Berlin is very bike friendly…makes me so happy just to bike around.
I like Halcyon store. My friends work there, always great atmosphere and coffee. Especially in summer, you can go right up to the Output’s rooftop right after 🙂

What is your favourite instrument?

Saxophone. I love jazz. Piano would be second choice. I play both and it’s a very different feeling you have, while playing. Maybe breathing have to do something with it for me. I feel like sound comes from my insides and it does in a way… with piano it’s a mental connection. When I went to see “LaLaLand” movie, I came out red with swallen face, because I cried my eyes out and it had nothing to do with the story. Music did that to me. I was kinda mad at the same time, that I couldn’t stop crying 🙂

How would you describe the feeling you get from DJ’ing? And do you think there is a difference communicating though words and song, or just rhythm and instrumentation in Dance Music?

Feeling from dj’ing is the best high for me. You go though all this process of butterflies in your stomach and hands shaking, to connection though the music and all the feelings that come with it. I am very lucky to have that in my life.
Words presence in a track def makes difference. It’s a very complex topic in general. Shitty lyrics can absolutely ruin track for me. Good ones can make it much better. Thing is, what’s good for you, not necessary good for others.. I never was a fan of tits’n’ass lyrics, ahahaha.. Last time I listened to lyrics was Tarantulaz – They forgot it (Marques and Todd’s remix) beautiful vocal by Monique Bingham and very meaningful lyrics, about how people forgot what music is for…makes sense big time…I wish I could write something like that, but it’s def not my strong side – God knows I tried 🙂 I think it’s all another talent to do that. I guess it’s very case by case situation, when we talk about words presence. I do enjoy party with no words whatsoever and I def can get down with soulful house one as well, depends 🙂 Also, if I listen at home – I pay much more attention to words vs. when I am out in a club.

And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans?

Making video for Alien is my Boyfriend. Very talented person behind it, so I am super curious about the finished product 🙂

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