Kenny Carpenter Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Kenny. Let’s start with how you first got into music and the influences surrounding you growing up?

My dad used to collect records and design speakers. I was always fascinated by his work and electronics, especially record players. I used to find equipment that people had thrown out and I’d bring those pieces home to see if I could repair them. My mother loved to have parties at home and of course I would always set the sound system and play the music. I have seven brothers and we had a five bedroom apartment so those parties were like a rave.

Can you tell us about the first clubs you went to, how you got to hear about them and the influence they had on your life at the time?

I used to hang out with lots of girls in my teenage years and when I was eighteen we all decided to go out to a club in Manhattan. It was a small place in midtown called the Hollywood and Richie Kaczor was the DJ. That place closed at 4:30am and someone told us about another after-hours club on 23rd Street called The Galaxy 21. We went there and they let us in. I was amazed because the club was big, there were hundreds of people there and the place had three floors. I was so impressed with the main room which was on the ground level, the music was pounding and the Dj booth was massive. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of that booth, I wanted to get inside to see what kinda equipment they were using. The Dj took a liking to me, his eyes seemed to follow me everywhere I turned and I soon found out that his name was Walter Gibbons. He invited me into the Booth and they had an amazing setup, more equipment that I’d ever see at parties in Brooklyn. There was an analogue lighting console next to the decks but no one was working with it. I started to fiddle with the lights, green, blue, red and strobe. I had no idea what I was doing but Walter loved it and he offered me a job working the lights for him at the club.

So, I started working at clubs from that moment at the tender age of eighteen, I worked at the Galaxy 21 for a year until one of the co-owners opened up a new club on nineteenth street called The Inferno. I worked the lights at The Inferno for five years but I used to play music there sometimes too in the late hours. I was playing music there one morning and the promoters of Studio 54 came to visit because they were looking for a new DJ to prolate Nicky Siano. They were impressed with my set and they hired me for a Saturday night residency which lasted a year from 1980-81.

When did you first become aware of ‘mixing’ records and how did you learn your own style? What are your memoires of the turntables/ mixers you used to play on?

My family and I lived in a housing project in Brooklyn and we had a neighbour named Steve Standart. He was a mobile DJ that means that he would do parties and bring all of the sound and the music with him. Someone in our building stole a case of his records and I knew who it was so I told him about it, he was grateful to get his music back and that forged a friendship between us. He soon invited me to his house and I was so excited to be there because he had the mixer and the two decks set up in the house. I asked him if I could try to mix two records together but I was only sixteen at the time and I had no experience but I kept going until I got it right. Steve was impressed so he invited me to work with him on the road, he gave me a nickname, My new Dj name was Moondust. He choose that name because my older brother’s nickname was Moon. BTW, Steve was also a singer and he later became known as Strafe. He had a monster hit record called “Set It Off” which was mixed by Walter Gibbons but I also did a remix of the song a few years after it was released.

How would you now describe the impact of 1970’s Disco both politically and socially? Is nostalgia for those times a good thing or is moving forwards musically more important?

It’s difficult to separate the Disco era for politics, the lyrics were all about freedom and justice and that was partially due to the Stonewall Riots in NYC. I’m sure you know that the dance music industry couldn’t have existed without gay men and women like me. It was once illegal for gays to dance together or hold hands on the streets. We felt liberated when we heard songs from Gloria Gaynor like “I Am What I Am” and “I Will Survive.” But there was another struggle going on from a black prospective that’s still evident today. Racial injustice, housing discrimination and income inequality is something that’s ingrained in American culture, it’s like a poison that may take many more generations to weed out. I thank God for artists like Stevie Wonder. Teddy Pendergrass and the late great Bob Marley. They expressed the struggle of the black man and woman so eloquently in their music. There were so many things that I thought would set me back in my life when I was younger, growing up poor, gay and black was not an easy thing and it still affects me today.

The dance music of today is mostly crap. The themes are gone and there’s endless repetition thanks in part to digital technology. I’m so happy when I listen to pre-digital recordings because there were so many subliminal messages in the songs, it was like a blueprint for what we’re facing nowadays. The computer, sequencer and drum machine made it easier to produce music but that equipment also killed something musically that was so dear to my heart.

You began DJ’ing at Studio 54 in 1980 being hired by Mike Stone. How would you describe the change in clientele that happened after Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager were jailed? Do you think that the club has received a fair portrayal since?

Studio 54 lost their liquor license after Steve and Ian went to jail and that was the only reason why Mike Stone was able to get the club. Let me explain something to you that you may not understand: Black and Latino people from my generation in NYC never wanted or needed alcohol in the clubs, we were very happy when we went to The Paradise Garage or The Loft because alcohol wasn’t served at those clubs. Of course there were other drugs in the clubs during that time, mainly weed and cocaine. Mike’s parties at 54 were private, open only to members and their guests and that made the parties feel special, it made the place feel like a home, every patron was respected and the party started at the front door, no aggressive security dressed in all black, that would have killed everything. Clubbing and festivals nowadays have become all about business, the clubs and the promotors take, take, take and offer the patron nothing in return, fools don’t realize that they’re being used and herded like sheep but there’s a sucker born every second.

I have seen many of the documentaries about 54 and I wasn’t impressed by any of them. They never discuss the Mike Stone history, They insist on keeping the story glamorous and Lilly white.

Studio 54

By the early eighties there were a lot of new and different influences coming in musically too, were there any significant European records making an impression? Can you tell us about how that effected what you were doing and where you were getting your records from?

After Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager were released from prison they wanted their club back, they thought that they could pick up from where they left off but the magic was finished and that story was never to be repeated. Mike Stone moved me and his parties to the cavernous Bonds International Casino in Times Sq. The music was changing in the early 80’s, electronic music was becoming very popular and the Puerto Rican’s were the leaders in this new sound. Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam and Afrika Bambaataa were favorites at the club but John Jellybean Benitez productions were also very popular at the time and anything that I played involving him went over well. I have an eclectic musical style and I refuse to be locked in a genre. I loved taking risks so I would play some English pop bands and New Wave. I played The Pet Shop Boys, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Heaven 17, Talking Heads and Soft Cell.

I was a member of David Mancuso’s Record Poll and then I moved on to For The Record. I also bought many imports from Dancetracks and Vinylmania.

By 1982 you DJ’ed at Bond’s International Casino. Tell about us about your time there and its influence on NYC?

I hated Bonds because they didn’t make the correct investment in the sound system or acoustical treatment in the room but I learned how to love the place after three months of working there. I discovered that people create acoustics and that meant that I had to have 2500 people in the room of optimum sound quality. Bonds was the biggest club ever opened in NYC the dance floor was the size of a 747 airplane hangar. If you lost the friend that you came with you most likely would see them for the rest of the evening. I had a great time working there mainly because the parties were private, We had some amazing performances there too, Chaka Kahn, Eddie Kendricks were two of my favorite shows there.

Bonds

Did you ever play or visit the likes of The Saint? How did you feel about those clubs in comparison and the music played there?

I never went to the Saint but I can bet that I wouldn’t have liked the music. Most white American people and black folks have always been, and still are on different musical planets..

How would you compare the experience of DJ’ing today (pre-covid 19) and the early eighties in terms of technology and the music people like to dance to? Do you feel that something has been lost in the quality of contemporary song writing, or is it just as good?

I spoke about this in my earlier comments but I will elaborate further. I think that there are too many confusing genres now but the record companies and digital distributors are responsible for this. Technology has been a blessing and a curse because there’s a avalanche of quantity but little quality. The productions are so repetitive and the song writing, productions and mastering are lacklustre to put it mildly. I’ve been totally bored for years, dance music has become as worthless as disposable razor blades.

Outside of Dance Music who are your favourite artists in terms of painters, poets, writers etc. And have you discovered any music recently that you wouldn’t normally have listened to (because of the pandemic) which has surprised you?

I guess I’m old school but some of my favorite artists have passed on. I adored Maya Angelou and Keith Haring probably never dreamed that his art would be so popular. I’ve been listening to lots of music from the 60’s and the 70’s during these lockdowns. The message songs are really getting my attention because now I can fully understand the meaning in them. The time that we live now was predicted and prophesied long ago.

What advice would you give to someone starting out to DJ? And on the other side of Covid-19 what will it mean to you to return to DJ’ing?

I would advise any up and coming DJ to make sure that you have a second or third career because success in the music business is not promised. Don’t store all of the eggs in one basket. I believe that Covid-19 is a reset. The strong will survive and the weak will fall. I don’t know what my DJ future will be but I will always come back to that musical message of love.

Kenny Carpenter on facebook https://www.facebook.com/kcarpe177

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Silent Revolt Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty. Let’s start with the name: Silent Revolt and what it signifies for you?

I came up with Silent Revolt as a graffiti tag back in the 80’s. Back then it signified youth rebellion. Which was really what graffiti was all about then. As I have grown older, it has taken a new meaning for me personally. Nowadays many have become victims of political correctness which has led to self censorship and a lack of true expression because of fear of being ridiculed, blacklisted, and or shamed. Art is a great release where we can express ourselves without even saying a word while delivering a message to the masses.

Your excellent new single: Dogmatik features snippets of what sounds like a deep conversation. What were the circumstances that led to the interaction and what do you hope people will take from it?

Thanks for the kind words! My good friend Ari Carlini and I were having a conversation one morning on video chat. We were discussing current events, politics, and the covid pandemic at which point Ari started getting really deep. Ive known Ari for over 25 years and have always had a high level of respect for his views and intellect. The message is pretty clear. We all have an ego that we battle on a daily basis and it’s important to keep an open mind. We are living in an ever-changing world where things are constantly changing. It’s important to keep educating ourselves, learn new things, and to be open to different points of view. Humble yourselves ❤

buy / listen Silent Revolt – Dogmatik released October 23 on Eyedyllic Music https://snd.click/EYE013

Your original mix is particularly hypnotic. Talk us through how you created the music, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?

I began with the vocal snippets that I had recorded with Ari. That was the driving force behind the track and it was important to build it to complement the message. The production itself took on emotions that I felt at the moment. I was on a nostalgic old school kick. Listening to old house, hip house records, so most of the inspiration came from the music I was actually listening to at the time.

Here is a list of the hardware and software used for ‘Dogmatik’ :

Hardware: Apogee Ensemble Fender Squire Stratocaster Moog Slim Phatty Waldorf Blofeld Novation Ultranova

Software: Ableton Live Suite 10 Slate Digital All-access Native Instruments Komplete Collectors Edition 12 Fabfilter

Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences ?

Noam Chomsky is a literary favorite. His views have helped me see things for what they are, in my opinion. My favorite artist by far is “Freek” DAM CREW from Miami. For over 30 years he has painted walls and cavansses spreading a positive message with all his works. Poetry, I have to say it, Tupac 🙂 Ive have also been heavily influenced by latin jazz. Artists like Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, and Johnny Pacheco are huge inspirations and in my opinion, musical geniuses.

What attributes would you say being based in Detroit brings to your music?

Before the pandemic I was frequently attending local events and fell in love with the musical diversity in the city. Everything from Deep House, Minimal, Tech House, and Techno are all pretty well represented here. Listening to Detroit legends like Norm Talley and Delano Smith at many local events has introduced me to a sound that I wasn’t very accustomed to in Miami. It has definitely broadened my horizons which has definitely helped grow my taste in music and helped develop the more deep hypnotic sound currently in my productions.

The label you co-founded, Moteur Ville Musique began last year. How do you see the life of the imprint adapting to the world in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Quite frankly, we are going to have to roll with the punches. And like many other labels, I think we will move forward cautiously and with the highest of hopes. This is uncharted territory for the industry as a whole. And honestly don’t think anyone was ready for this. We can only hope for a better 2021 🙂

Likewise how do you see club culture changing (or not) to new ways of doing things?

I believe, for the foreseeable future, parties will mostly likely be very strict as far as social distancing rules, venue capacity restrictions, and so on. I also feel like the scene will be focused locally. We might even see a rise in illegal raves. I love illegal raves, but during a pandemic?

What are the most important attributes for you when signing a new piece of music to Moteur Ville Musique? Is social media presence or the artist having a high profile ever a factor, or is it solely down to the music?

The most important attribute would be the music. When we launched MVM late 2019 we made a commitment to ourselves to release quality tracks and intend to keep that commitment. Music will always come first. Thus far we have been blessed to have worked with some high profile artists as well as some up and coming talent. But, social media presence and the artist’s profile is definitely a plus for us when considering signing new material and not the deal maker.

And finally. What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Looking forward to a life without lockdowns, masks, restrictions. Traveling and having social interactions again. Even though I truly believe that this virus is going to continue inconveniencing us for quite some time, I remain optimistic that we will soon be together again!

https://moteurvillemusique.com

https://twitter.com/silent_revolt

https://www.instagram.com/silent_revolt

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Philipp Priebe Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Philipp. Let’s start with Dial 7 For Ghosts your new single. Where did the title come from?

Guten Tag – the title of this release is an homage to one of my favorite bands from my younger days. They are called “Phantom/Ghost”, one of their songs is called “Relax, it’s only a Ghost” in which they have several lines, I just like so much. So the titles of the two originals are a direct hint to them. Also I once made music with a friend under the name “Ghosts On Gangway Seven” – a really silly name, but it popped up when listening to Phantom/Ghost again and so I played a bit with it and ended up with “Dial 7…”

As with all of Stólar releases it features striking artwork. Who is the artist behind the images, and how would you describe the importance of Art to you and for the label?

Every release has a photography by Jules Villbrandt, a very good friend of mine, that is an extraordinary photographer, is running her own interior-blog-magazin, PR-Studio and does pictures for publications all over. She is fantastic, everything she does and offers is just beautiful, she is doing the art direction for the label and offers me pictures we can use as a cover and from that point we discuss every thing else, like the color scheme for the record inlay, the color of the vinyl and so on. When I thought about founding Stólar, the first thing I did, even before the name and so on, I asked Jules if she would help me with the visual work. She said yes and I couldn’t be happier, that she is doing it.

From the beginning I wanted a stringent look of the releases, so that you see from the distance which label you are looking at. A bit like Smallville with its Stefan Marx covers. Also we want every record to stand alone, as a piece of art and even as a piece of interior decoration. The cover picture from STÓ001 – The Clouds All Form A Geometric Shape was also released as print on Jules main hub in cooperation with Whitewall (http://www.herzundblut.com/blog-1/sweet-memories-limitierte-foto-edition-von-herzampblut-mit-whitewall) We want to make beautiful and aesthetically pleasing records from every angle. The fact that more and more people liking the Artwork and the music itself, is telling us, we are on the right path.

Running a new record label in 2020 must have presented challenges as a result of Covid-19. How do you see the ‘industry’ moving forward in terms of generating revenue (streaming) etc?

Well first of all I have to say that I have the huge privilege, that my day job was and is always there for me, so that the negative results of the pandemic isn’t hitting me as hard as others in the industry. Besides that 2020 was somehow not the best timing, especially with the first number, that was released one week before everything shut down in Germany. So right now the biggest challenge is to gain a wider audience for the records without playing in clubs, festivals or any other shows. To gain money, I think the best way is and was merchandise in the last years and some labels have been very creative in doing so, like Loser Records, also from Berlin. Also everyone is trying to get into the big playlists, but let’s face it, the outcome out of Spotify isn’t that helpful to smaller labels, it can help for sure, but it is just a small amount. I know that there are people pushing forward to change the way musicians are being paid in the streaming world, without shows this will be the biggest hope of generating revenue, for sure.

What do you think will happen to club culture?

Honestly I don’t know, I have an idea but I quit clubs a few years ago. I read a lot about clubs getting local again, about stopping the bookings of artists from all over the world, I don’t think this is the future. The people are still thirsty for the club happening and for the edgy artists from other cities and countries, at least this is what I see here in Berlin. Clubs, same as labels and musicians, need to be creative again, Berghain is doing his gallery thing now, besides opening a “Biergarten” like open air on the weekends. Other clubs doing open airs more or less successfully since a few weeks now. Maybe it’s time to open even more to other people, besides the regular club visitor. I think there will be more pop-ups, more collaborations with restaurants, galleries, shops to bring more people into the places on a daily basis and maybe make some money with drinks, food etc. because right now, on the beginning of October 2020, I do not see a regular club night happening again in near future. I think for this to happen, the discipline in following the rules the authorities are giving to the clubs, is not there. Especially when narcotics and alcohol are involved, at the end this is still Berlin.

Outside of music who are your most important influences?

Mainly there are philosophical ideas, that are the influences to my work, besides music. Like the meaning of beauty, as it was handled in Plato’s work or the Japanese concept of aesthetics, Mujō, in which every conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux.

The music you release on Stólar is distinctive and high on atmosphere. What for you are the most important elements when signing a piece of music? And what are your feelings on the relevance of contemporary song-writing in electronic music?

Well thank you, Stólar was found as a hub for my own music, so it’s nice to hear, that there is something to recognize in my music. When signing other music that’s easy, I have to like it. But seriously, I mainly work with people, whose music and work I already adore. Because of the atmosphere, the melodics, the melancholy they transport in their songs. Like Metome, who did a remix of “Beau Rivage”. I first listened to his music in 2013 and I was instantly hooked by the way he produced music and performed it live. So it was just natural to ask him for a remix. Or Kim Brown and Tilman, both acts are and were excellent in what they do and did, I already listened to plenty of their songs before even starting a label. All I wanna do is work with people, I look up to, and when they agree I don’t want to put them into a frame, in which they have to work. They can do what ever they want and I am sure, that I will like it every time. Until now I was correct with my feeling.

About the relevance of contemporary song-writing in electronic music, well since the pop up of idm and the fact that house music, especially the melancholic one, is getting more and more in the focus, the need to write songs, like classic pop songs is there, if you want to get into the radio and/or the playlists, that aren’t the underground and niche ones. Gladly there are musicians that don’t follow those rules that much, as I am thinking of Christian Löffler e.g., who manages to write songs, that can be pop songs, but are still not following the classic song-writing and this is a fantastic evolution, in my opinion.

Tell us about your studio set-up. Do you have particular software / hardware you always use when creating music? And what choice of speakers for listening?

I mainly work inside the box, while having a Korg M1 and a Elektron Digitakt next to me, I use some UA effects and mainly Arturia Products, as I like the emulations of classical synths. When listening to music I use my studio speakers, Adam AX7 or my headphones from AIAIAI TMA-2.

And finally. Tell us about your plans for yourself as an artist and for the label moving into 2021?

The label will see the first release by an other artist than myself. Lifestyles, who already remixed “D7FG”, will release a single and an EP, that will get a vinyl release. I think I will release some music again as well, I just don’t know yet what exactly, since there are a lot of unfinished demos sitting around. With the label we will continue to produce some beautiful work with the help of Jules and other amazing artists, like Julian Braun, who is creating a short video for “Dial 7 For Ghosts”. We will try to expand that side of creativity as well. And if I could wish something for the label, it would be releases by all the great artists I adore, like Lawrence, Black Jazz Consortium, Francis Harris, Julius Steinhoff, Cinthie or John Roberts. Overall I want to continue working with people I admire, creating aesthetically pleasing things – that’s all I want and to me it’s heavenly.

https://stolar.bandcamp.com

https://www.instagram.com/stolarrecords

https://www.instagram.com/philipppriebe

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Strapontin Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Patrick. As well as your new EP: The End of Logic for HARD FIST you have co-created a video game to accompany the release featuring the track: Nervous Days. What was it about making a video game that you found so appealing, as opposed to other visual forms?

I created Nervous Days – The Game with Yvan Megal because we were both very intrigued by this medium, we like to play video games and always dreamed of making one. Yvan directed 3 of my previous music videos and I worked on his early short-movies, we have a strong artistic connection and this project just crossed all the things we liked so we started working on it in 2019. Video Game is a very underestimated art. When you play a video game you are active, you do more things than watching a video: you can go where you want, make your own decision, if you achieve a goal it will be thanks to you, you are an actor. It is a movie you can interact with or a theatre stage where you can actually go. Some games (especially indie games like Stanley Parable or Kentucky Route Zero) can blow your mind and be truly fantastic experiences, far from what we usually define as ‘video game’. I think it is a powerful medium to share emotions because the player is actually living the story you created not just watching it. This can offer a very intimate artistic experience between the artist and the viewer. As an artist you need to think of what the player might do or not do and frequently be in his eyes, look where he looks, go where he goes. You need to take him where you want without restricting him and always let him feel free. I find that idea very interesting. This game is our first one but we clearly will experiment on new ones.

Nervous Days is about obsession with social media. Do you think society could exist without it and what do you see the end results of the medium being? Are there any plus points?

Nervous Days is a funny satire of our behaviour towards social media. I use social media, enjoy it and also hate it. I don’t see how a number of followers or views make a good song or an interesting person but this topic is already out of date: social media isn’t social media anymore, it’s just regular life. I’m not good at sociology enough to know if society could live without it. I’m not old enough to regret the time there wasn’t any and not young enough to see it as a regular thing to live with. As a producer I need social media for my work but I also feel I must act against it. I think the answer should not have to be necessarily Manichean. This is the rule of this reality and I have to consider it to know how I can break them. Social media work on us on a very primitive level: it creates dopamine and makes us want more of it then create addiction: for example I’m very interested in that uncontrollable feeling of joy/ excitement that comes from having new likes, views or followers: what is this thing inside of us that makes us proud or happy ? Acknowledgement? Lust for love or celebrity? Reassurance? It shows that we are all looking for something. Desperately. Philosophically. It fills a void and that void interests me. That might be the positive point.

Can you talk us through how you produced Nervous Days including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?

Yvan and I started from scratch in October 2019, we had the idea of a man running with his smartphone surrounded by stressful obligations. We had the aesthetic in mind but had no idea what were our capacities. It’s an entire free and DIY project so we had to learn everything. Will we be able to make the character run? How do we model a 3D facebook like? How do we even set a timer?! We explored our possibilities and learned a lot, we also spent hours on tutorials and nerds forums, by the way it feels always very warm at heart to see how you can get help from online specialised communities. The game was produced on Unreal Engine 4 (by Epic Games) – an extremely well done real-time 3D creation tool, it is free and I really encourage people to try it. Few objects were designed on Blender and pictures were produced on Photoshop. The track itself was produced on Ableton with samples, Minilogue, recorder zoom hk, midi keyboard, plugins, etc.

How did your relationship with the label HARD FIST happen?

Very naturally. In 2018 I heard some great tracks from their labels and simply contacted them, I sent a demo and they instantly replied that they were interested They have a very specific sound, located somewhere between Arabian electronic and dark disco -if this means anything. They add something very personal and different in the actual electronic music landscape and it’s precious. Also it is a bit special to me as they are from my hometown Lyon (France). I wish I had met them 10 years ago when I lived there!

Les Yeux Orange invitent Strapontin – 23 Septembre 2020Rinse France

Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences?

I’m also working for dance shows and visual art so influences comes from very different areas. Music, of course yes, but most of the time directors and choreographers are my most inspiring artists. French Choreographer Gisele Vienne for example produces stunning and haunted works, her early pieces with Stephen O’ Malley are so deep and disturbing it has left an imprint in my mind for years. ‘This is How you will disappear’ is an absolute dark gem and ‘Crowd’, her latest show about 90’s raves (in slow-motion) also was an overwhelming experience. Most of my favorite artists are visual artists who switched to another medium: the performer-director Matthew Barney, the choreographer Romeo Castellucci, or David Lynch -who is one of my hero (Twin Peaks season 3 is his masterpiece to me). Christian Rizzo also has a very positive influence on me and how I considered my multiple activities. Seeing his very eclectic career (he studied fine art then had a fashion brand then toured with a rock band then made dance shows) helped me reconsider that making sculptures + composing soundtrack + performing + DJ’ing was not incoherent. Professionally I felt the pressure to choose one of this medium and focus on it, but seeing him succeed like that gave me confidence and I feel now that I actually don’t need to be coherent because… fuck it ! I want to do what I like!

How has Covid-19 impacted upon where you live and work? How do you see club culture in general changing as a result?

I live in Brussels, Belgium, and Covid had a big impact here like many other places. Clubs won’t reopen and culture in general is frozen from now (September 20). I have no idea or pronostics on how things will be. Quarantine made me realise I love dance music but my passion isn’t only about clubs, it’s about good music and we can dance on anything if it’s good. Dancing with people on loud music is a thing a lot of people need and they already found ways to do it: illegally. Club culture will definitely go through this because that’s the essence of it. With no surprise big clubs and big names will continue and small clubs will close… Capitalist world will just continue its race and eat the poor and the ‘unknown’. But different parties will emerge, yes it is smaller with less people but it’s something. Things are already starting to move. We need to be positive. It is obviously a terrible time for dance music and clubs but there is way more important things happening around us. Clubs are not out of the ‘real world’. We have to question the problems of the world inside of it (ecology, gender equality, racism, capitalism…) Most of the club music is historically born on opposition to a restricted society and our actual society is very problematic. It may be the right time to think more globally and redefine what a club is, who we are, what we want to create and what a club can offer than the outside world has not (or what the club is the opposite of).

What are your thoughts on how artists make money via streaming?

It’s simple: artist’s share on streams are shitty. I earn 100€ if my song has 1 000 000 listens. I read somewhere that the only person who can get the minimum salary on Spotify was Rihanna -not sure about the info though. The only way for me to get decent money from my music is to play in clubs. Also Bandcamp is actually the best way I’ve seen to support artist: if someone buy 1€ one of my track I get 0,74€, which is the best I can get.

What are your preferred speakers to listen and make music on?

Sorry I’m not that much into speakers and gears so I can’t really answer that question. I made some EPs on Ableton with Behringer speakers and people and labels loved it. Quality is important of course and I’m a huge nerd on mixing but music is the first thing, details comes very very very late in the process. Plus most of the time this topic ends up in a toxic masculinity’s ‘who’s got the biggest’ comparison…

And finally. Can you tell us about some of your other artistic projects you have happening this year?

I recently started a very exciting collaboration with french producer David Shaw called ‘It’s Complicated’, we met in Brussels and discovered we loved each other’s music so we decided to make something together, it is still pretty new right now but what we did is already super sexy and dark as fuck ! I’m also working on a score for a contemporary dance show with my Poetic Punkers collective -in which I perform too, so we will work on this in art residency in Gênes, Paris and Brussels. I also prepare a solo exhibition in Brussels in March. Then I have 2 LP’s planned under my name Strapontin for 2021: first one on Invisible Inc with a fantastic remix of Sascha Funke and the other one on Abstrack Record. I’m very happy about both because I managed to work with amazing artist on it (artwork included) and they will be very beautiful items.

Strapontin – The End of Logic – Hard Fist is released October 15, 2020

https://strapontin.bandcamp.com

https://hardfist.bandcamp.com/album/strapontin-the-end-of-logic-hrd010

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Luna City Express Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Marco and Norman. Let’s begin with your fiery new single: Neon Frame EP for Upon You Records. Tell us about how you got the track signed to the label?

Marco: Norman and I are in the studio at least once a week to exchange music as well as new ideas for Luna City Express. Norman showed me a couple of his new sketches and “Gimme Some More” stood out the most to me. I immediately wanted to sign it for my own label Upon You Records.

Talk us through how you produced Gimme Some More, which features particularly addictive keys? Are there any favourite software/ hardware you like to use when producing?

Norman: I started this tune with a beat which I sampled from an old house record. I edited the drums to give them my own touch. Additionally to that I recorded some percussions from the Roland HPD-20 Handsonic Pad. Both the bass and the little acid sound are from the Sylenth 1 PlugIn. The Arp sound is from the Korg Mono Poly PlugIn. Marco added that striking vocal hook, took care of the mixdown and finished the track.

buy Neon Frame https://www.beatport.com/release/neon-frame/3121959

Outside of electronic music – who are your most important influences (in terms of writers, artists, poets etc)?

Norman: I’m mainly influenced by Funk and Disco from the 70’s as well as from Jazz, Classic Music, Rap and the entire 80’s era. Prince is my biggest inspiration, his ability to produce every kind of style in such high quality still blows me away.

Marco: Musically the 80’s and the 90’s influenced me the most. Before I discovered electronic music my taste was pretty broad. Michael Jackson, Prince, De La Soul and Gang Starr just to name a few were on heavy rotation during that time and I still love listening to them. In terms of writers, Ken Follet and Noah Gordon are my favourites since I love reading historical novels.

How have your lives altered as artists as a result of Covid-19? How do you see things moving forwards for people who work in music?

Norman: My life has changed a lot. After 12 years I started to work again as an educator for kids in after-school-care. It was not an easy task to make this move but the current situation caused me to do it. Additionally to that I was able to play a couple of shows during the summer, but the earnings were way less than normal. The most positive thing that came up with Corona is that I have spent much more quality time with my family than all the years prior to that. Furthermore I’d say that the world especially Mother Nature needed that break. I mean we’re discussing about climate change since quite a while but nothing ever really changed. But also for us human beings it was about time to slow down the pace.

Marco: My life looks pretty much the same except that I haven’t started a new job (til now). The German government has supported us financially as a business person but not really as an artist. The money that came in March is pretty much gone now. As freelancers we were pushed to apply for social welfare. It is a weird feeling after being self-employed for almost 20 years. But I’m grateful anyway to be able to use this contribution for my family. Fingers crossed that we will be able to work independently again as soon as possible.

Norman: Regarding the second part of the question…I don’t see things moving forward at all for people who work in the music industry, especially in the event sector. Most of the clubs in Germany are closed. It looks obviously worldwide like this. Agencies, booking agents, technicians, engineers, bartenders, etc. are not able to work since March. As a DJ it doesn’t really make sense anymore to buy new music regularly as we have lost the platform to perform. Well, commercial streaming became the new thing – but this trend is in my opinion more a step back than forward for an artist.

Marco: Behind the scenes we are in the same boat. The clubs are suffering. The scene is suffering. The end of our summer looked kind of promising as we had a couple of proper dance events with appropriate hygiene rules. But summers over now, infection numbers are going up again and we are facing pretty much the same situation as before summer. That’s horrible! They are even talking again about closing hours and prohibition. That would be the final blow for a lot of locations respectively people who work there. Unfortunately we missed to build a proper lobby for our industry in the past 30 years. The event sector is the 6th strongest industry in Germany. The government needs to support us now. Otherwise more than 1 million jobs will disappear!

Likewise how do you see club culture changing (or not)?

Norman: The club culture is on hold at the moment. Since the clubs are closed there’s a new movement of illegal parties and raves here in Berlin. I mean how crazy is it that we are not allowed to dance?! That’s really hard to believe. I mean I get the whole thing but you can’t tell the kids to stay at home and wait until the pandemic is over. On the other hand it is really counterproductive for the regular clubs which try to find agreements with the government by offering them new hygiene concepts to find a way to get back to business.

What music have you been listening to at home, have you found more opportunity to listen to a broader range of music recently? What speakers do you like to listen to music on?

Norman: As I said before I mostly listen to Prince, Funk, Downbeats and Acid Jazz. Currently my kids are into Hip-Hop and I’m happy to hear them listening all of my old school favourites. I don’t really like commercial radio I prefer to take care of my own playlists at home. Sound is not that important to me, my focus is more on the choice of music.

Marco: I do not listen to that much electronic music at home. I’m the opposite to Norman, I like to listen to the radio and discover new music regardless the genre. It also helps me to keep an eye on new trends and it also trains my ears musically. My favourite playlist at the moment is Jazz Rap on Spotify. Furthermore I love to listen to the entire catalogue of Jazzmatazz, A Tribe Called Quest and Jazz Liberatorz.

And finally. What are you looking forward to in 2021?

We are looking forward to finally dance together again with all our friends and fans worldwide. This is something we really miss a lot. We also can’t wait to release our 3rd album and celebrate 20 years of Luna City Express.

Luna City Express Neon Frame EP is out now on Upon You Records

https://www.facebook.com/lunacityexpress

www.uponyou-records.com

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Nimbus Sextet Q&A with Joe Nichols

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Joe. Let’s begin by how would define Jazz for the modern era? What can it uniquely say about the world around us?

Jazz to me hasn’t changed that much in its fundamental definition. Jazz has always borrowed from different forms of popular music. Whichever form it decides to take is a reflection of that ethos. It always welcomes other music, responsive to what is popular and trending. It will improvise and adapt it to create something exciting and new. A lot of new jazz draws on hip-hop, neo-soul, electronic music, house, and on Afrobeat and world music genres as well. That to me is what jazz is in the modern era. I think that the world can learn a lot from its message of inclusivity.

How did you first learn to play piano? And who initially inspired you?

I first learned piano when I was around 11 years old. We had a piano at home, which I now have in my flat. I have never taken a lesson in my life. I decided to teach myself music theory, and I am lucky enough to be blessed with perfect pitch, so I can use my ear to compose and learn music. So, when I was a kid my dad had been playing Horace Silver’s ‘Song For My Father’ and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Head Hunters’. Those albums really gave me an appetite for jazz, especially jazz-funk, fusion and world jazz. McCoy Tyner’s playing on ‘John Coltrane Plays The Blues’ was another big early influence, as was Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Poinciana’ from his 1958 ‘Live At Pershing’ album, with his exquisite use of space and dynamics on the piano.

Nimbus Sextet debut album, Dreams Fulfilled is released on Acid Jazz this October which sounds like a very apt title. Is there a particular piece which you are most proud of? And how would you describe the importance of an album’s worth of music in today’s world of streaming individual tracks?

Sure, you can have an individual track that you stream, that you really know, you get obsessed with. You then go and add to a playlist, but you don’t listen to the album the song is from. The musician or artist will often have a narrative to express, a message, an emotion or something they need to convey through the album and its tunes. I think this is a really important part of listening to an album all the way through. Trap Door and Dreams Fulfilled, both of them are really important within the narrative of the album.

Trap Door opens the album, it opens with piano and then goes into funk. That’s making a statement that we won’t be pigeonholed musically, that there are no constraints, that jazz welcomes everything. This is the ethos I want to get across with Nimbus Sextet.

Dreams Fulfilled, the title track and album closer, is an arrival of sorts. The album takes you through a lot of different sounds; it’s jazz, it’s funk, it’s world music, it’s neo-soul. By this point in the journey though, I’ve realised on a personal level that all our influences can be welcomed into the music, and by that token, that that is what the Nimbus Sextet sound is. Dreams Fulfilled is piano led, and it ends with piano, so it tells my story. The album starts and finishes with piano. It tells the formation of my musical voice, and the paths taken to get there, through collaboration with my bandmates and fellow composers, and through personal ups and downs.

How did you get introduced to Wayne A. Dickson (Groove Line Records) who manages the band, and what for you has been the importance of good management in the bands trajectory?

Martin Fell, our saxophone player, introduced me to Wayne. We played at the Sub Club, supporting Gilles Peterson, and Wayne came along. According to him, he saw the potential in us immediately, and during that performance was already convinced that Acid Jazz Records would be interested in signing us! It was from there that discussions began and we started a working relationship.

Wayne is very experienced in the music industry, and is connected with professionals across the globe. Equally, he knows what our audience is, and how to expand that audience. Wayne has spent his whole life listening to soul and jazz oriented music, by his own admission, to an obsessive level! This ultimately led to him forging a career for himself in catalogue with his Groove Line Records and BBR labels. As the album’s producer, he used that experience to craft the sound you hear on the album along with Luigi Pasquini (Anchor Lane Studios), who expertly engineered the recordings. Wayne has a very intuitive understanding of how people respond to music, and how to deliver that music in a way they will enjoy hearing it.

From a creative perspective, having a manager who understands my vision and believes in it really liberated me because it means I now focus more on my music, and have a clearer vision of the direction I want to take us in as a band. We all have a shared dedication and belief that Nimbus Sextet should go in whichever direction the music demands, rather than to be put in one box. Wayne and I know how to put what the music dictates to us ahead of our own egos, which is something that will hopefully set the Nimbus project apart from others.

Buy and stream Trap Door here: https://smarturl.it/Trap_Door

Can you talk us through how you create music – is it inspired from a single idea, or from something you have watched, read or listened to? How the initial idea is then translated into a fully formed piece of music?

My own compositions are an amalgamation of different things, often of subconscious ideas at first. Pieces of music that come to my head, or sounds that have inspired me when I’m out in the world, like bird calls or machine rhythms. Once I have a concept, I’ll play it on piano alone and write the music episodically. I often have the beginnings of a piece, which will then suddenly be fully completed when another idea comes out of leftfield and basically demands to be in there.

When I bring compositions to the band, I’ll often workshop them with Alex (drums) and Mischa (bass). We’ll take the original ideas and put them in a more Nimbus sounding setting. The three of us honed our sound with our previous jazz-funk group Jambouree. We have a musical telepathy, which is our own unique language but is transferable to compositions from the other members of Nimbus. The band’s creative process is ultimately spontaneous, and the music dictates to us where it needs to go. We always approach the music from the ground up. The compositions are constantly evolving too. We’re always re-writing our tunes and playing them differently live with each performance.

What are your views on so-called cultural appropriation, specifically in Jazz as there are increasing calls to recognise the music as the voice of protest?

There’s no doubt that jazz is a voice of protest against capitalism, neo-liberalism and its tokenistic championing of ideas and ideologies, and society’s lack of inclusivity. As a broad ideological point, jazz is always going to be a form of protest because it welcomes ideas and audiences from all over the place by definition, and it should be recognised as such. It’s actually quite cosmopolitan and multicultural.

With regards to the music itself, there’s no doubt that it’s protest music going back to the pre Civil War period in the United States, with slavery and slave songs – Wade In The Water and suchlike. The blues is fundamental to jazz. Even free jazz musicians like Archie Shepp, those accused of making the music inaccessible and elite, identified with the blues as a form of protest against racial inequality. They used its raw emotion in their free music, during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Bebop artists and trad jazzers before that also saw the importance of the blues as a form of freedom of expression. It has rallied against white supremacy from the beginning. The lack of equal opportunities for BAME musicians nowadays demonstrates a deeply institutionalized form of racial prejudice which is of course deeply upsetting and unfair, and we, all of us should do everything we can to change that. This inequality still very much exists at jazz school, where there is regimented focus on bebop theory and racially biased entry requirements that in many cases prohibit freedom of musical choice and opportunity among the people who created the music.

There is also a prevailing notion nowadays that bebop made jazz too academic, and somehow inaccessible to the modern generation. I think that’s the wrong interpretation. it was just one expression of jazz and one expression of a constantly evolving artform. To say that white musicians now are culturally appropriating the music would be to miss the point that jazz has aimed to be inclusive from the start, to retaliate against exclusion and ideas of fixed musical, cultural and racial prejudice. Jazz is a by-word for freedom of expression and improvisation. We look to explore all of that on our album.

How do you see live performance changing as a result of Covid-19? Is it always essential to have a physical audience in front of you?

Yes, it is essential to have a physical audience if you play the kind of music we play. It’s narrative, it’s expressive. Jazz is a live music, it’s improvised at its heart. You need people to be able to see that, to see the spontaneity and emotionality of it. The pandemic has already changed everything. It’s shown the power of video content, of radio and audio releases to keep audiences engaged while you cannot gig. Yet that can only last so long. Jazz needs to be live. All music needs to be live. Particularly for improvised styles of music, it’s necessary that you play them live because they can’t really exist otherwise, they can’t express themselves in the moment, without that platform.

And finally. Please share with us any forthcoming plans for Nimbus Sextet?

We have a second single coming out at the beginning of October: ‘Lily White’ qritten predominently by our saxophonist, Martin Fell. Our debut album follows later in the month, with three live videos during the autumn and winter to help to promote it. The first of these videos, Trap Door, has just been premiered exclusively by Jazzed. It means a lot to us that people who can’t see us live right now can enjoy these.

Thankfully, we were lucky enough to enjoy our first national tour in February and March before lockdown, which was a great success. However, it’s been difficult for each of us having not been able to perform live since then, especially right now during the album campaign and release period. But we’re hoping to be able to play international jazz festivals and venues across the world when they reopen. We’ll soon start working on a second album, and see where the music takes us for that. It’s all very exciting! But for now, we are thrilled that people are already responding so positively to our ‘Dreams Fulfilled’ album, out October 23rd on Acid Jazz Records.

pre-order Dreams Fulfilled https://www.acidjazz.co.uk/new-release-nimbus-sextet-dreams-fulfilled-pre-order/

https://www.facebook.com/nimbussextet

https://nimbussextet.bandcamp.com/releases

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Tencion Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Dimitri. Let’s start with your label Lowendcommunity. Can you tell us about its ethos? And how would you describe the highs and lows of running your own label?

Hi Greg, thanks for having me! The initial idea for the label started in 2003 when I was running my own club in the Netherlands, in my hometown Eindhoven. I became really close with a guy named Ivo Rotteveel who was one of the resident DJs in that place and with whom I started the label. Due to personal circumstances it was not until the year 2010 that the label really saw the light of day. First of all we weren’t sure if anybody would ever consider releasing our music and with the basic know how in the pocket we decided to do everything ourselves. We really wanted to have a proper release with beautiful artwork which was done by Christoph Voorn (Joris Voorn’s brother) and approached already respected producers like Dimi Angélis and Jeroen Search for a remix of our first ever release called “Waking Up Benirras” (as The Low End Theory). On top of that we did very heavy social network promo to build our base. There were not too many labels and DJs doing so we kind of stood out, I guess. This first release instantly got picked up by the legendary Laurent Garnier who put the track on his PBB online radio playlist for many months….This really encouraged me to explore the boundaries of my producer skills and from that point on we just kept on doing the things we love and are facing our 10th birthday next month!

The Low End Theory – Waking Up Benirras (Original Mix)

Since running a label is not our core business and we still have daytime jobs there hasn’t been a constant stream of new releases and at some point I could not find the time and inspiration to produce new stuff myself until 2017. That year my wife Melanie encouraged me to pick up producing again under a different alias and with a new sound, so I started my Tencion project with which I aim to focus on the emotional aspects of music. The first track I did as Tencion called “Dancer in the Dark” got picked up by Terry Francis and got signed to the Fabric label to be part of the last instalment in their Fabric mix series. Eventually the track did not appear on the Fabric 100 mix album – so as you can imagine, I was a bit disappointed…

But….The fun I had with producing, making music and being a DJ every now and then was back. After ten years of searching and shaping you can say that I found my identity in this crazy and so often beautiful electronic dance community.

You are about to release your stunning new album: Culture Club on Lowendcommunity. It’s an atmospheric selection of titles which covers all aspects of music. Can you talk us through some of the influences which helped inspire such a diverse collection of sounds?

When producing: Emotion and Life itself are most influential to me, I guess. I’m also heavily influenced by 80’s bands such as Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. I really like certain aspects of the ambient/chill out genre. This has also been a big influence on my musical upbringing. I have been going to Ibiza every year since the year 2000 and it was at places like the old Café Mambo where I really started to appreciate the sound they played at sunset. One night, Pete Gooding, a resident DJ who used to play there often, dropped the track “We Have All The Time In The World” by Louis Armstrong right before sundown…and the track: A Brass Band In African Chimes by Simple Minds right after it. I still remember It brought tears to my eyes and I really felt the power of emotional music and what it could do to a person’s heart and mind. I guess I try to create the same mood and atmospheres in my own music nowadays.

Can you talk us through the process of how you created one of the tracks on the album from the initial idea through to its final production? Do you have any favourite software/ hardware that you like to use?

I had the idea to build a track just around a simple bassline in Ableton, together with the Sylenth1 plug-in. When I created the bassline I started searching for some simple tools to create emotion into that track. Just some simple string-and synthesizer notes combined with a piano chord in the middle really set the tone for this Hyperdawn track which really is a slow burner in my opinion. You have to listen multiple times to the track before it really grows on you. I really like it when there’s more to a song than you initially think. Of course everybody has its own emotions, feelings or demons you can say and of course not everybody might like it, it is something I connect to. I always try to create a song that will stand the test of time. One that can be played after 20 years or so and still will sound relevant.

listen to Hyperdawn https://www.beatport.com/track/hyperdawn-original-mix/14013719

What are your feelings on song writing in 2020 and do you feel that the power of music can communicate the same things through instrumentation alone?

I guess there hasn’t been much change in song writing the last couple of years for me. I think more and more producers go into the direction of writing more pop songs instead of doing only dance-floor bombs. This is also a result of the pandemic of course. In that light it can be really interesting to see how some producers change their sound and come up with fantastic new projects, apart from their usual four to the floor bangers. I do think that you can communicate the same emotion with instrumental tracks alone, although I have been working on some vocal cuts as well lately. My daughter Doris is a very good singer herself and I would love to do some tracks with her in the near future.

What is your favourite instrument?

I love to play the piano. Although I am not a schooled player, I can fool around all the time with my midi keyboard, trying to create new and interesting melodies for one of my releases.

How do you see club culture changing as a response to Covid-19? Do you think it will provide a chance for positive change in terms of giving more people the opportunity to be heard at a local level?

Of course! A lot of bedroom DJs can be stars at their home-parties nowadays! Nobody knows how long this crazy virus will still be with us and right now a lot of clubs and artists in the industry are having a difficult time. Clubs in the Netherlands aren’t allowed to be open so there are more and more illegal parties at home, I guess. It really is in our nature to party after a week’s work so when everyone is healthy and keeping their distance I don’t see anything wrong with that. In the end the crowd (alongside the technical equipment) is the most important part of the party. You can play at the shittiest place you could ever imagine but if the crowd is connected with you and the music it will always be a good night.

Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences?

I have to say: Life itself and my children are most influential to me. I also get a lot of inspiration from bands like Radiohead and Editors nowadays, apart from my love for 80’s bands of course…

And finally. Can you share your forthcoming plans for 2021?

I am currently working on a new Tencion EP which will be more dancefloor connected than my Culture Club album. I am planning to release this in the early spring of 2021. Hopefully the clubs will be open then!! I also love to do a release with my label partner Ivo Foreal to celebrate 10 years of Lowendcommunity.

facebook @tencionmusic

buy Tencion – Culture Club https://www.beatport.com/release/culture-club/3072246

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Hoj Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Hoj. Let’s start with your friendship with Lee Burridge who co-founded Tale + Tone. Can you describe the process of how you work together in terms of running the label, choosing tracks for release, deciding upon artwork etc?

When Lee and I were getting All Day I Dream up and running, we talked a lot about the music and the concept. We would walk around New York for hours talking about what it would sound like, what it would look like, and what it would feel like. We did the same with Tale and Tone. The time spent up-front is such integral part of our collaborations. As the years progress, it’s easy to find ourselves on the same page because we took the time to write the page together in the beginning.

I have a background in the visual arts – so I conceptualized and created the artwork for Tale and Tone as well as All Day I Dream.

As far as the process of music selection – we receive a significant amount of demos from all over the world. As we listen, we just ask ourselves – “Is this something we would play in a B2B set with each other”. If I hear something that feels good, I send it to Lee and vice versa. If we both like it, we reach out to the artist and start the process. This process works for us because as we evolve as DJs and artists, so does the music released by Tale and Tone.

Our amazing label manager, Philip Soeffker, is the magic maker when it comes to getting the music out into the world.

Listening to your label Showcase mix its rich, emotional depth is very apparent. What for you makes a great piece of music?

A great piece of music has to make me feel something. I rely on my instincts. If I’m listening to a song and find myself getting lost in it, that’s a great piece of music. If a track makes me feel emotional, or I find the hairs standing up on my arms – that’s a great piece of music.

For it to be a great house music track, it needs to make me feel something AND have a kick-ass groove. The groove is the foundation of the track upon which everything else is built – a collection of drums and bass and other sounds that come together in a way that makes people want to dance. Creating a good groove is one of the hardest things to do in the studio. But you know how they say the Earth is 70% water? Well in house music, I’d say 70% of the song is the groove. And like water, the groove makes life possible for everything else in the song.

What are your feelings on the strength of song writing today, and what can be said more powerfully through music without the use of words?

I feel that song writing is a truly personal pursuit. I want to hear the music written when the artist wasn’t thinking about the audience – what they wrote when they weren’t thinking at all. I used to think that I wasted a lot of time in the studio, but now I think what I’m actually doing is trying to get my brain out of the way so that I can write a piece of music that makes me feel something.

I think that’s the beauty of music without words as well – without the words to think about, you’re more open to feeling something.

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4sDu1hxGX8lQfONoiyZWyW

What are your thoughts on what will happen to club culture as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic? Do you think the ways in which DJ’s/ Producers make a living will alter?

I think this question is top of mind for everybody in the nightlife industry today. Brick and Mortar clubs are having trouble surviving, as are many bars, restaurants, and the like.

Once we’re through it, I think outdoor events will continue to flourish, which is great because I love playing to crowds in open-air environments.

I’m also hopeful that as we start to make our way out of this pandemic together, we will see a resurgence of local dance music scenes. The local San Francisco scene was such a huge part of my life. We bounced around to 2 or 3 events in a single night, supporting all the local promoters, artists and venues. We had our own sound and our own style, and it felt like we knew everyone. We were part of a real local community. Of course we would catch the occasional international headliner, but mostly we were dancing to the locals. As a local DJ – you would play multiple events in the same night in the same city … every weekend. This doesn’t happen much anymore with rigorous exclusivity contracts for all artists. Also, if you did play out-of-town, the city you were from was always included along with your affiliations. There was pride in that – I was an “SF DJ” – which meant that I was a part of that local scene.

The most brilliant thing was that there was a different scene with a different sound happening in every city. I feel like this is how dance music was born. I’m hopeful we will get back to that world of local club culture … back to our roots where we all support our local clubs, our local promoters, our local artists and each other.

Your next single for Take + Tone: You Are A Wonder is due out in August. Does the title refer to someone in particular, or is it a universal statement?

You Are A Wonder is a collection of songs I wrote and produced during the COVID pandemic. My summer tour and all the DJ gigs went away, and as everybody went into lock-down, I dove into the home studio. I started posting little “studio sessions” on my Instagram account @hyojmusic to invite people into my space and share what I was working on. The positivity and support people were sending my way kept me going to finish the music while trying to navigate existence in lockdown.

The outpouring from the dance music community made it more apparent than ever how much I miss and am inspired by these people. Each one of these humans is a wonder. So the EP is dedicated to them.

buy You Are A Wonder https://www.beatport.com/release/you-are-a-wonder-ep/3055371

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks for the EP? Are there certain software/ hardware you always like to use?

I can talk you through Sweet Verse. This song started with a record that I found touting “Pre-revolution Iranian psychedelic rock” (I should mention I’m Iranian but came to America when I was 3). I put the record on and one of the songs (called Gold Yakh) just completely struck me. I called my mom to tell her about it – turns out it was her favorite song growing up, and when I was a kid she would dance around the house singing a verse it.

She started singing the verse into the phone – I recorded it, and took it into the studio. From there I was off to the races. Then I picked up my Telecaster and laid down a simple chord progression. From there I started to build my groove in Ableton LIVE. For the groove I recorded a shaker loop and a bongo loop live to give it an organic feel. Then I went to my trusty Minimoog for the baseline.

Once I had the groove grooving, I got going on the leads and hooks using my Juno 106, VST synths (Omnisphere is a favorite currently), and processing things through my outboard effects. Then into arrangement … and there ya go.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

My Fender Telecaster guitar is the go-to.

Outside of electronic music who would you say inspires you most (in terms of writers, poets, painters etc)?

Stanley Kubrick for being a master of his craft, a true visionary, and a cross-genre auteur.

Which speakers are your preferred choice for listening to music on?

KV2 Audio

And finally. What are your plans for moving into 2021 and beyond?

It’s so tough to plan these days! I’m just hopeful we will be able to start dancing together again soon.

https://www.instagram.com/taleandtone

https://www.facebook.com/hoj

https://www.instagram.com/hojmusic

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Francesco Carone Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Francesco. You play the piano beautifully. Who taught you to play and how long have you been playing?

My pleasure. I’ve been playing the piano for about twenty years, starting when I was six by studying classical music and then contemporary and composition. I have had many teachers from which I learnt a lot about the universe of music.

Your new EP: Retrace is the first release on the new Impress Music label. Tell us about how your relationship with Impress Berlin happened, and about playing at their events?

I’m greatly enthusiastic in being the first artist chosen by “Impress Music” studio for their first release. My starting contact with “Impress Berlin” happened when I was living in Berlin back in 2014, through the acquaintance of Marco Effe and Weg, “Impress” co-founders. I asked them to listen to some of my original compositions, and they asked me back to collaborate and play with them in Impress events.

https://soundcloud.com/impressberlin/sets/francesco-carone-retrace

What is the story behind the title: Retrace? Where does inspiration come from when creating music, a single idea or form something you have observed?

I wanted to walk back through the strongest feelings I felt in my latest years. This EP is dedicated to my father and his memory. Inspiration flows naturally when we recall our nicest memories and beloved moments, and when you just do it for somebody really important, everything comes easier.

Can you tell us about how the process of how you record your music for release?

All my music and tracks are recorded in my professional studio, with the precious help of some colleagues.

What is your favourite piano? How would you describe the difference between the sound created by an actual piano and an electronic one?

My favourite piano is the Fazioli, I think it has a very elegant sound mark. The difference between a real piano and an electric one is the unicity of every single real piano, any of them owns a distinctive sound. By the way, with our contemporary technology, we can still reach to great sound results even with an electric piano.

https://soundcloud.com/impressberlin/francesco-carone-piano-live-at-impress-5y-watergate-berlin-241019

You also play drums and are involved with the Hanguitar Project. Tell us more about that?

I also play the Handpan, a melodic percussion instrument. I got a side project named “Hanguitar” with the guitarist Francesco Luongo and the drummer Alessio Carnemolla. This project was born in Berlin, in which I could find new inspirations at every corner thanks to every single musician I could stumble upon. That town gave me a lot.

https://youtu.be/Onuj8NNo-DE

How do you see the effects of Covid-19 changing the way Clubs and Live performance works in the future?

The Covid effect has already changed the way music events are organized, but I am honestly positive because music always finds different paths to reach people, in any kind of situation.

Outside of music who/ what are your most important influences?

Outside of the music world, I love to travel into the wilderness. I believe that nature gave birth to everything our world has to offer, and we can learn a lot from it.

And finally, what plans do you have for moving into 2021?

I’m actually working with many new musicians. The 2021 will be a brand new professional year for me and a very positive one I hope 🙂

Francesco’s “Veiled” is out now on Impress Music
buy – https://www.beatport.com/release/retrace/3044597
https://impressmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/francescocaronemusic

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ISSA Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, ISSA. Your record label: ISSA Music is also part of a publishing company of the same name. Who inspired you to get into publishing and how would you describe how it currently functions given Covid-19?

Thank you for your interest in our new release. I started my career signing a publishing deal with EMI Publishing (now SONY ATV) as an artist / songwriter. I am first & foremost a songwriter / lyricist and understand the value and importance of the actual song itself. Owning the publishing and copyright of a song is like owning real estate, an intellectual property that is timeless.

What is the story behind the title of your new single for the label: 4:18 AM? Which features renowned vocalist Thea Austin, can you tell us about how that relationship came about?

4:18AM is about the push & pull of seduction. 4:18AM is all about timing. Thea and I met in the early 2000’s through a mutual friend. He instinctively knew Thea and I would be a great collaborative match. She and I instantly had a connection upon meeting. There was a very creative chemistry between us. We carried on to write + produce some powerful music together!

pre-order / buy https://www.traxsource.com/title/1359707/4-18-am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNJ_KsHBWFc

The track feels like a lot of your influences have been ingrained into its grooves. Who are you most important influences both within and outside of electronic music – any painters, writers etc that inspire you too?

The groove takes precedence in my work because I am a drummer / percussionist at the core. My father, who is a drummer, exposed me to rhythm + beats since I was a child. So yes, the groove is very deeply ingrained in my DNA.

Can you talk us how you produced the track, including any software / hardware you always refer to? Did 4:18 AM originate from a single idea, or something you heard, read or watched?

I use an Apple MacBook Pro computer & Logic Pro as my main software. Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin Duo Thunderbolt is my audio interface. For vocals my set up is a Neumann U87 & TLM103 Microphones + a Manley Vox Box Tube Pre-Amp. I utilize software analog synths such as Arturia, have a library of sounds which I am always mixing + matching to create new tones. I typically start tracks with the groove and build my way up. 4:18AM was written about a personal experience based on seduction, destiny and timing.

What speakers do you like to listen to music on?

I have an array of different speakers with which I like to listen to my mixes. A few pairs of JBL’s, one of which are vintage JBL 4315s, some classic Yamaha NS10s, an old pair of Alesis Monitor Ones + some QSC K12 DJ PA Speakers. Lastly, I always like to take a quick listen on some Apple ear buds + the little speakers on my MacBook Pro Laptop to make sure all translates & sounds good & balanced across the board!#

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD_yeJrt_tE

You also create music for films. How would you describe the difference between making soundtracks and sounds for the dancefloor? Are you freer to be more inventive with one or the other?

I definitely feel more freedom of expression and more inventive writing & producing sounds for the dancefloor. When composing music for films you are a bit locked into the perimeter of the scenes with regards to the timing, mood and atmosphere. Although it can be a very creative process there are more boundaries. I prefer creating dance tracks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4hqSNWUTzk

Has Covid-19 affected the way you work in Los Angeles? And in what ways do you see it affecting how the (Dance) music industry works in the future?

I have been quite productive in my home studio during this Covid-19 crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has had the strongest and most direct impact on the live music industry, of course. However, it has popularized and placed focus on the “Virtual” platforms for live entertainment. My plan is to continue releasing my own works as well as collaborative efforts with others on my own label. I also like to license my tracks to other record labels from time to time. I feel this helps to reach a wider audience. Continuing to build my music catalogue in the interest of pursuing licensing opportunities is high on my list of priorities moving forward. Thanks once again!

https://www.issamusic.net

Facebook.com/IssaMusicLabel

Facebook.com/IssaMusicOfficial

Facebook.com/TheaAustinOfficia

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