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 🙂

http://www.matuss.com

https://www.facebook.com/missmatuss

https://twitter.com/absenceseizure

http://absenceseizuremusic.com

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Bel Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Charlie. Can we start by asking what singing and playing guitar means for you personally?

Hi, Thanks for having me. Singing and playing guitar is everything to me, from an early age my outlet has always been music.

Your excellent new single: Ready To Die is due out on Claremont 56 with mixes by Paul Murphy. How did the relationship with the label happen? And what do you feel that the mixes have added to the song?

I sent the demo to a friend and she passed it on to Paul Murphy at Claremont 56, Paul loved the track and asked for the parts so he could remix it, I loved the results and Paul decided to release it.

Can you describe the process of writing the song and how it was actually recorded?

I wrote it pretty quick, sometimes songs can take an age to finish but this song was instant, an honest document of my loved up state at the time! hahaha
I recorded it in a few hours at my studio in Wallasey, I just put a simple beat in then tracked an acoustic guitar and then i played a bass track live, it was a really simple demo to make.

Do you find it better to create a melody and then add music, or the other way round?

I always start with music, just a few chords, create a vibe and then bounce off that for the melody, lyrically i will follow the mood of the music and what i am exposed to at the time.

Tell us about your background and where/ how you learnt to play guitar?

My grandad and my dad and my older brother are musicians so there was always someone who could show me bits and bobs, after that i just went on Youtube to learn riffs and stuff.

What is your favourite guitar? Do you own one?

There is a Martin D-28 ‘John Martyn’ limited edition that I would love, no i don’t own one unfortunately.

Influences. Who are the most important ones both within music and outside of it?

`In terms of music there are many but to name a few, David Byrne, Matt Johnston, John Martyn, Chris Martin, Nina Simone, Patti Smith… Outside of music my family is a huge source of inspiration.

How have you found the process of getting your voice heard in the digital world? Is it more important for you to play ‘live’ to people, or to get your music heard on-line?

Playing live is amazing and can never be replaced by anything and the digital arena is a real bonus providing an extra platform to present your music, I have found it really easy to find an ear so im going to keep on making noise until enough people tell me to shut up!

And finally. What plans to have for the immediate future?

I’ve been working in a cafe on Bold Street in Liverpool for the last six months to save some cash to travel about a bit, take my guitar and write the album…

 

buy: Bel – Ready To Die https://claremont56.bandcamp.com/merch/bel-ready-to-die-mudd-mixes

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Suddi Raval Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Suddi. How excited are you about the launch of your new book: A Brief History Of Acid House? And what is it about the Acid sound that is so special to you?

Excitement levels are pretty high. I really wanted to get this out this year due to the 30 year thing. The main reason why Acid is so special to me, is because of the impact it had on me when I was just a kid. I discovered it when I was 15 years old and fell in love with it immediately. I was just the right ages to get totally consumed by it. I had hundreds of smiley t-shirts and embraced it like it was the most important thing in the world. I never could have imagined all the controversy surrounding it would have happened after it spread across the UK and then for there to be huge parties revolving around the music just as I was turning 18. It was a wake-up call for me as it was for many others and nothing was ever the same again.

(photo by Paul Husband)

Can you tell us about who are the founding figures in Acid House for you and who would you say were the key electronic music producers before then?

One of the most important figures has to be DJ Ron Hardy. As the legend goes, he played Acid Trax 4 times in one night causing the early House scene to shift in direction. Ron was always more abstract than Frankie Knuckles and after Acid Trax things blew up in Chicago things moved more in Ron’s musical direction. After the first night he played Acid Trax he continued to hammer it without anyone knowing what it was so his followers called it Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax accidentally giving the track and the genre a name. Another great for me is Armando Gallup. He was renowned for his parties in Chicago before he made one of the first Acid House records 151, very shortly after the very first one was made by Phuture.

Obviously Phuture for they created the genre and went to create more absolute gems. Mike Dunn isn’t talked about as much as some of the acid originators but if you listen to tracks such as Face The Nation and Personal Problem, I find his unique take on Acid so beautifully melodic I am amazed he isn’t praised more. Adonis is one of the great unsung heroes of not just Acid but House. Some of his House records were essentially Acid before the genre was even born. I firmly believe that Phuture were listening to Adonis before they created Acid House. Larry Heard, although he has made some of the best Acid House music with tracks such as Sun Don’t Compare, it is his House music that is the most inventive because again, like with Adonis he was making Acid House before it even existed with tracks such as Washing Machine and Ecstasy. I am a firm believer that Acid is both a genre of music and an electronic instrument sound too that can be made on machines other than a TB-303. Larry Heard proves that with some of his Mr. Fingers productions. I never expected Acid House to become as popular as it is again today but the great thing about that is, new music by new producers. Paranoid London are making some blinding new music as is Marquis Hawkes.

Prior to Acid House, I was obsessed with Electro with producers such as Arthur Baker and Juan Atkins with his Model 500 outfit who later went on to give the world Techno.

A Brief History of Acid House Teaser #1

Teaser for the book A Brief History Of Acid House.

Posted by A Brief History Of Acid House on Thursday, September 13, 2018

 

How long has it taken to research the book? And what inspired you to write it?

Research for the book began many years ago, possibly up to around 10 years ago but as I got busy with musical projects and having a day job things got put on hold. The final product has evolved somewhat as I scaled down the original plan of making an “Acid encyclopedia” called Encyclopedia Acidica. Depending on how things go with this, I will look at finishing that rather ambition project again but much of the work I did researching it has resulted in this smaller project.

Tell us about three of your favourite electronic instruments (drum machines, synthesisers etc) and why their sound resonates with you?

The TB-303 is the single greatest machine ever made. Although there are now a million clones and imitation and some of them replicate it very well, nothing else out there has the same depth of bass and more importantly despite boasting being computer controlled, in a way, it sounds so organic and alive. I absolutely love some of the newer machines that have been built to cash in on the demand. I have bought as many as I can afford. I have 6 now I think. I also think the Korg Monologue is one of the most amazing machines I have ever heard. They got Aphex Twin to create some of the patches and he has even included some of his riffs on there. I have played live sets and incorporated them into the sets they are that good! And finally, the Jupiter 8. I used to have one but had to sell it when I got laid off from work to pay the bills. As depressing as that was, it was possibly the first and most mature thing I’d ever done. People say I am mad to have sold it but it really was a question of house or synth.

You have self published the book. Tell us about that process and what’s happening with the books distribution?

I am going to do a limited edition larger version in A4 to offer something to collect as people who love Acid House and 303’s are so fond of their scene I figured a limited edition version would be a good idea then the book will be available in standard A5 on Amazon.

What is your favourite memory from Together?

People assume being in the charts must have been best times. It was great, I am not denying that but for me, the best times of my life were long before Hardcore Uproar got into the charts: it was the period where Hardcore Uproar became the biggest tune at the Hacienda in the summer of 1990. To have shared it with my best friends Jon and Emma means everything to me as I have those memories to hold onto and cherish forever. There was one night when they played the record twice in one night on the 8th Birthday and as it hit midnight Mike Pickering released balloons from the ceiling. It was so un-Hacienda of them but it was possibly the greatest single moment of my life.

How did you first get introduced to House Music? And how would you compare those days with today’s Dance Music culture?

It was really my school friends who introduced me to House Music. I was still into Electro in 1986 and all my friends who were always really ahead of the game were listening to compilation on FFRR/London records. When I heard what they were listening to, my old Electro comps barely got a look in. I always wrote silly raps inspired by my love of Electro so when I got in House I started writing basslines and melodies. I didn’t think any of it would amount to anything until I met Jonathan Donaghy who I formed Together with.

To compare today’s scene to what happened just after 1988 is difficult as the music and the scene was so new back then, it was bound to feel more exciting but having experienced both of them separately I can honestly say some of the best nights today are as good as what was going on back then. There are 2 clubs in London called I Love Acid and Downfall and I feel due to the sincerity of the crowds they pull, the atmosphere is magical. They have such a playful vibe. No idiots. No aggression. Very few camera phones and no pretence, just pure music and dancing. It is just like it used to be and for a while in the 2000’s when things changed quite a bit I never thought it would come back and certainly didn’t think it would get this good again.

And finally. Tell us about The House Sound Of Together series? And any future musical or writing plans you have?

The House Sound of Together EP’s began with the “FFRREE at Last” EP. A celebratory record after getting out of a nightmare record deal I was trapped in. We wanted to sign to Deconstruction but somehow were forced to sign to a label we didn’t want to be on so when I got out of that deal I rushed to release a record after not having had a record out for sometime but the 2nd EP Volume 2, I really took my time with. It featured a few names that have gone on to do big things such as DJ Sasha who produced one track, Phil Kelsey (PKA) produced another and Rohan Heath (who went on to form The Urban Cookie Collective, The Key The Secret) co-wrote 2 tracks on the EP.

I wrote most of this new EP while I was off with a broken leg. Literally itching to get out, I felt inspired and basslines was filling my head whilst I had one leg propped up. The result was this
EP. The House Sound of Together Volume 3. I originally intended to call it the Alkaline EP as I wasn’t planning to have any Acid on it but Matt Sargeant who I co-produced it with in the end, contributed some essential elements to the EP and lots of them ended up being very Acidy so I had to drop the Alkaline tag.

After Together I went on to release some ambient techno under the name The Ultimate Escape Project. I have written new material which will be released under that name soon. I toyed with releasing those tunes under the name Together but I realised they’re just not Together tracks.

Writing-wise, I have been writing a column called One Foot In The Rave for a magazine for sometime and I have been thinking about expanding on those. They are memoirs related to my experiences during the Acid House era. I want to make it clear, this definitely won’t be an autobiography! Nobody would be interested in my personal life but whilst going to the raves I saw and experienced some truly amazing and at times, shocking things so I hope to write a book called something like “Real life stories from the Acid House frontline”. I like the idea of using a war-term like “frontline” as there were tensions at times and it did get quite risky, especially the night there was a riot and someone had the bright idea to blow up a Police van in Blackburn.

http://suddiraval.com

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Jovonn Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Jovonn. Your brand new album: Timeless features a total of twelve tracks each capturing soul and inspiration, and is featured on your label Body ‘N Deep. Its been a while since you last artist album, so why does 2018 feel right for the release of this music?

I thought it was time to come back with a series of tracks introducing Body n Deep sound to todays deep house by mixing them up old and new style formula but still keep the true jovonn chords and bassline signature, i feel its the right time this year to cultivate my style by giving what the cool kids want to hear from a pioneer who has been doin this from the begining and still relevant to this day.

buy: Jovonn – Timeless https://www.phonicarecords.com/product/jovonn-timeless-lp-pre-order-body-n-deep/154828

It feels like a long time has passed since you began making records back in the early 1990’s yet you have retained certain essential qualities in your productions. Can you talk us through what’s most important in music for you, and what is about music that has the power to transcend time?

I think structuring making music is important to me ,you have to make scene when you start a track and where you’re going with it from the begining to the end and never be afraid to go beyond creating something different no one has ever done witch makes you different from everyone else. i truly believe being creative experimenting different sounds makes a big difference we have the power to change and continue to be a part of this spiritual feeling we call house, deep house , tech house ,techno and staying on top of your game by introducing yourself to the world .

Who are your most significant influences right now both within and outside of electronic music? Any particular artists, painters, writers etc who like to refer to for inspiration?

I’d say one myself I’m my own inspiration because its like a life journey i like to listen to my own music I’ve created in the 90s to what i achieved to this day .i get my other inspiration from guys like Apollonia ,Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Robin Hood, Ricardo Villalobos, Joseph Capriatti, Marco Carola, as for famous painter Leonardo de Vinci for his writing as well as an artist and Vincent Van Gogh because this painting he did called ‘Cafe Terrace at Night’ brilliant painting when i look at it reminds me of the night life going out to eat and to a club afterwards helps me create the music i feel deep within me and as for writer i like James Patterson who is a serious suspense writer if your into that sort of thing 😂.

The vocal that creeps into Affection has a particular emotional charge to it. I was wondering how you felt about the progression of song writing in Dance Music (or the lack of it) since you began producing? And how do you feel about today‘s greater concentration of rhythm rather than song?

Realistically i don’t write any of my songs on paper i first create the track i close my eyes and listen to it i then put my headphones on and listen to it some more i feel the emotion of the track turn on the mic and press record and just sing what im feeling straight of the top of my head , I’ve done that to everything I’ve ever done for almost 30 years and if there’s something i didn’t like after recording i go back and edit as in record over so that it make scene. i think sometime in dance music dose lack vocals maybe because a lot of producers don’t write songs or theres a lack of writers who can write to deep house, techno but you will find loads of writers in soulful house because it has structure what i mean by that is they do full production like an R&B song in the late 90s i use to do that for example the Mary j Blidge Remix i did ( ‘Just Fine’ ) was full production and soulful but i decided to go back with what i am comfortable with and thats Deep House.

Tell us about your studio: BaseRoom. What do you love most about it? And do you have a favourite instrument or piece of software you always use?

Ahhhhh Yessss….my dear wattson my studio is my playground my getaway comfort zone and my private club , i turn out the lights ,click on my mobile laser light unit ,play on my pioneer decks and turntable from USB to Vinyl blast my sound system shaking the house or be creative making music , my now favorite instrument is my Native Instrument is my Komplete USB Keyboard controller connected to Maschine Studio i have Unlimited Sounds and Drum Sounds where i can be as creative as i want , i also use Digital Performer as to where everyone else use Logic i don’t use that software simply because everyone else in House Music uses that i rather be different and stay in my own lane , i also incorporates my hardware KORG, Triton ,Motif ,Mophat,Yamaha CS6x keyboards to make more of my olskool sounds im known for .

Is there a difference between playing in Europe, or elsewhere in the world, and in America? Do people prefer any different styles or is music a universal language?

Its a universal language to me because if you like hiphop and r&b , jazz to neo soul you certainly can get into house because you feel it its undeniable.

How would you describe the Dance Music scene in New York? Is it in a healthy state, are there any Clubs you like to check out?

Yes i think the dance music scene is doing well here in NewYork over in brooklyn williamburg is crazy, Output witch is my second home I’ve played there at lease 8 times ,Schimanski played there, Anolog , Now a days , Black Flamingo played there , Brooklyn Mirage are all awesome clubs ,theres a few i was told thats in development coming soon id like to check out for sure.

And finally. Please share with us your future plans for the remainder of 2018 and beyond?

Looking forward to tour play live keyboards and drum session along side playing the rest of the year and still make new music Looking to bring out new Talent to Body n Deep and do another album mid next year.

http://BodynDeeprecords.com

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An On Bast Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Anna. Let’s start at the beginning and can you tell us how your alias came about: An On Bast and what it means for you?

Hi and thank you for the invitation. An On Bast is a connection between my name and Bast (or Bastet) – Egyptian goddess half-woman, half-cat, she ruled cats in the ancient Egypt by playing the Sistrum instrument. Well, the story behind my artist name is that I grew up with lots of cats around, I spent most of my time with them. So I feel I’ve learnt a lot from them, they kind of shaped my character. From the other side I wanted it to start with an “A” as my name, so I wrote Anon (because I do snowboarding) but it sounded “too cold” for me so I divided it into An On and added Bast as a “cat element”. All in all I wanted something very mine, something that is significant to me, also 3 parts sounded cool to me as (I am a fan of both!) Boards of Canada and Mouse on Mars.

How would you describe the creative rewards of performing live? Do you feel that if there was more live electronic artists the music would be more experimental, more about future than the past?

It is an individual approach, I can only speak for myself and for me it is essential to play live act, to make music live from very small elements, have such a deep control over every tiny step so I can create this live energy I want in the very moment on stage. I think I perceive myself as a musician to whom electronic music technology nowadays gives the opportunity to create many sounds at the same time, to trigger and control many voices happening.
So for me it is very rewarding as it gives me every time a unique experience of improvising and experimenting, having the ideas that might not appear in a quiet alone studio work. It also contacts me with the audience, as I play completely with interaction not only with myself but energy of the people.

Tell us about your excellent new single: The Ballet Began At Eight and where the title came from for the title track? Plus your relationship with Catz and Dogz, Pets Recordings?

Thank you, the title hit me as I was reading a book about Igor Stravinsky, about his premiere of “Rite of Spring”, how nervous he was and how bad it was received soon after the orchestra started to play. And it hit me because this performance began at eight and it was like a new world opened up, the new chapter of history of music was started – even though the first performance was took by the audience and critics very bad. But there was something significant in the air that has changed the music forever with this ballet.
I like a lot releasing albums and Eps. because they mark some point for me. Every record after release cut off the line from the past and I think I felt that with this title. But I feel it with my every release, however they don’t change the world 🙂 They just make me move on. It is beautiful that every album, EP lives its own life influencing people here and there, giving them good emotions or not at all but the beauty of it is that for me it is done and I’m just an observer of my work and of course I’m very happy that I can spread good feelings and that there are people who are catching them in my music.
We know each other with guys from Catz and Dogz for many years, I remember them as 3 Channels already so the beginnings of their remarkable career. Our paths were cut many times not only by playing the same parties, we also have common friends. I always respected a lot their talent and work but I always thought we have different taste in electronic music. But about two years ago they proposed me an EP making for Pets so that’s was I guess a process of finding the common music language. I’m very glad that we did, as the label heads they are very good in what they like and what they don’t, there are no grey fields, and I stand for the same values so that’s why we are all super happy with the result.

Can you describe the production process involved in creating it, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to refer to?

I wanted this EP to contain the tracks in different moods. I used modular synthesiser a lot in all of them. Generally my music production attitude is that I like to play and record rather than draw in a software. So as usually I played my instruments in various connections.
The more house tracks are made by playing Korg Minilogue. I used also the samples I recorded with Dave Smith Pro2. Drum parts are made by total fusion of eurorack modules, Elektron’s Analog Rytm drum machine and digital Yamaha gear. I work with Ableton Live and Midas Venice mixer console as a centre of my studio for recording, arranging and mixing. I use Avalon 747 sp a lot and some of my all-time favourite Vsts too with D16 among.

If electricity didn’t exist which acoustic instrument (e.g. guitar, piano etc.) would most appeal to you?

In fact I thought about it a lot. Because it is true that now I’m totally dependant on electricity. So I thought many times what would be my instrument let’s say two centuries ago. And definitely that would be the violin. I can’t play it in this life though but I feel connected somehow to it. I just touched it a few times but usually I have a great respect to the classical instruments and it’s individuality so I stop myself from asking my friends to give it to my hands 🙂 Although I wish to spend some time trying it.
Here and now without electricity? I play the piano and the guitar so yes, definitely both.

Who are you main influences both within and outside of electronic music? Any particular writers, painters, poets, musicians you particularly admire?

Influence for me happens as a trigger, motivation to be, to say, to express. That’s why probably I make music from the start. I guess I’m inspired mostly by non-music world, by people who are talented, hardworking and challenge themselves to be the best. Not to rival but to cross their own borders. That’s why I can surely say that I admire Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kamil Stoch (polish ski jumper) among many other professional sportsmen, their force inspires me to go to the studio every day and do my search within sounds creation, by philosophers like Henri Bergson, Aristotle, Jiddu Krishnamurti, writers Hermann Hesse and Philip K. Dick. I’m for sure under influence by cognitive science, quantum physics, sci-fi movies, joga, rock climbing and most importantly my everyday life with my family, cats and friends.
From the music world it is still Mozart, Bach, Arvo Pärt and Stravinsky that amaze me.
Lastly the instruments themselves, all about them, are super influential for me.

You have released several albums already. Where does all your creative energy come from to do so and describe a typical working day in the studio?

Yes, well as far as I remember I played instruments, sang in the choir, etc. When I realised I can express through electronic music that I loved in that time the whole world opened for me and I feel this energy to create ever since. I’m grateful for that as I have too many creative ideas than time, so I spend plenty of hours a day in the studio. I start usually after breakfast and work until the evening. I usually have a few projects I work during one day, that’s kind of multitask thinking in me probably. But I also have learnt consciously to keep a good balance between music work and doing other activities that I love like sports which give me distance and support my discipline.
In the studio I work on my own tracks for albums and Eps or I’m a producer for some other artists, musicians, vocalists. Sometimes I sound design films, animations, art installations or I work with dancers and choreographers making music specially for modern dance performance. I compose my special concerts for special occasions (historical, connected with an idea or re-adaptations of classical music). So it depends on my mood but also on deadlines 🙂
I feel a unique connection with my equipment and I experiment with it often. I use a lot of my own technics I developed over the years to use the gear creatively to achieve something new or to figure out some new ways of doing something. That’s what interests me the most – my new methods, new sounds, new possibilities. Probably my energy comes very much from my curiosity, fascination and personal development.

And finally. Besides you busy touring schedule what would be your ideal goal to achieve as an artist for 2019?

Ideal goal would be to write a piece for An On Bast and symphonic orchestra and tour with it around the world. Also I dream about scoring sci-fi movie.
Generally I am on the path that I am grateful for. I think I just would like to continue my way, play a lot of concerts in many places sharing good vibes with different audiences. I just wish to continue this beautiful journey.

Buy: An On Bast – The Ballet Began at Eight – Pets Recordings https://petsrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/an-on-bast-the-ballet-began-at-eight-pets095

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http://www.anonbast.com

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Yulia Niko Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Yulia. Let’s start by asking how living in and then moving between Russia, America, and Berlin has informed what you do in terms of sound and also your approach to life?

Hello Sixty, and thank you so much for having me. Always cool when a DJ can talk to people instead of just sharing music.

My favorite approach is thinking, “If you want be creative, you need to forget about all fears.” Meaning, fears about moving from place to place, or not being supported by people, or that your art is just not good enough. Just forget about all of it and try to do something. Sometimes it actually might not be good, but there is always time to improve, study, and learn from mistakes.

I’m girl from a very small town in the South of Russia, and somehow I was born with the brain of an international traveler. When I was seven years old and went to school, we had French class, and I loved it when the teacher would call me Juli, because I knew I’d become an adult and go travel around the world someday.

Anyway, music became a lever for my traveling and I made the decision to leave Russia after five years of DJ experience there. With very bad English and almost no savings in my account, I traveled across the ocean to New York, where I started to make serious changes in my life. I went to music production school and met the best artists and people from the industry.  Now I’m in Berlin and all of it is hitting me more and more. I always keep my funky housey sound, but I’m improving it with every move I make from country to country, because each has its own music history, which I study and learn a lot from.

Your excellent new single: Casa en el Agua for Rebellion (Crosstown Rebels) feels like an amalgamation of creative processes. Can you talk us through where the initial ideas came from and about how you then produced them as music, including any favourite pieces of software / hardware you like to refer to?

“Casa en el Agua” is actually a real place that exists in the middle of the Caribbean off of Colombia. It’s an incredibly unique place. I had the chance to be part of an evening with Archie Hamilton, Niklas Stadler, Serdal and many more DJs. We had to travel for three days to get there. I just recorded some sounds of birds during the night on my phone. I record a lot of stuff on my phone that I can sample afterwards and use as inspiration in my music. After almost a year I found this recording and was just playing around with it and some other samples I recorded from machines. It was all super quick. Maybe two hours and the track was finished. I’ve learned that if you sit down and make something quickly, it’s always the best idea. If you spend a lot of time and go back to process again and again, the track will never sound good or be released.

I’m very happy now about the new Ableton 10, still using a lot of Minilogue by Korg, Electron MKII, along with the perfect work of the Apollo interface — it all makes it sound very nice.

Yulia Niko – Casa En El Agua: Buy link https://lnk.to/RBL057

Who are your main influences both within and outside of the world of electronic music? Any particular writers, musicians, painters you admire?

I can’t mention artists like Michael Jackson or Madonna, actually inspiration for all the last tracks I’ve made for Crosstown and Hottrax. I really like to read Paulo Coelho, I do like modern, trippy art, but I can’t point to anyone in particular.

Listening to you DJ, you touch upon many different styles. Can you choose three tracks which highlight that variation for us?

Absolutely. These are three tracks I play all the time. You can see the transaction between disco, techno, and acid minimal. How about that?

  • Nick Minieri – Heat Index (Original Mix) [Soul Clap Records]
  • Moby – Porcelain (Alan Fitzpatrick Remix) [Drumcode]
  • Drose – Acid City [Cosenza]

How important do you think it is for a DJ to keep moving forward with new sounds? And how would you describe the way in which instrumentation is so prevalent now (and how people react to rhythms), as opposed to the song-based sets of the past?

Creating something new has always been important. Our ears react right away to new sounds. I think right now this is the main purpose of the DJ/producer. Before, we were only focused on new records, and making a perfect transition during the set. Now, we’re spending days at the studio trying to create something unique that will make us different from all the others and give us our own sound. Just now a Ukrainian producer, iO (Mulen), comes to mind. I’m so proud of Eastern European artists, and how many quality projects have been released in the last few years. This guy created his own sound and I’m sure everyone can recognize him right away.

You also have a track: Cheap Story forthcoming on Jamie Jones’ Hottrax. How important has it been for you to have music released on such prestigious labels? And can you tell us about how the track came to be signed, and about the Acid influence in there?

It was made together with “Casa en el Agua.” I had a break in January from everything and was just making a little album. Honestly, I sat down and asked myself who I wanted to send tracks to first, after I was done with it all. I was focused on Jamie and his sound, so in the end it was easy. I sent tracks to him and he picked two of them right away. I guess the key is to always focus on something and believe you can get it, no matter what.

I think now’s a time of a new wave of Acid basslines on tracks. I’m really enjoying it and just trying to use it as much as I can.

And finally, besides your busy touring schedule, what are you looking forward to for the remainder of this year and into next?

I’m excited for the little tour with Damian Lazarus for the Spirits 2 album on Crosstown Rebels in November. It will be my debut at Watergate and couple of places around Europe. Very nice EP “Acid Meow” on Get Physical by the end of the year. And I’m just going to spend most of my time at the studio in Berlin after a very intense summer season at Ibiza. Let’s see what happens for me and where my destiny brings me in the end.

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