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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Saudade Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Saudade. Your new EP: Xango has just been released on Pont Neuf Records. Tell us about how your relationship with the label happened? And what does the EP’s title mean for you?

Pont Neuf Records has always been a family to me, I was there at the creation of the label 4 years ago where I released my first EP “Nights” with my other alias “Taos”. I know the manager Thomas and the other artists for years now. Great people and great music 😊

When I lived in Rio, I used to go to the carnival rehearsal of « Salgueiro » samba music school. The energy of their percussion ensemble « Bateria Furiosa » blew my mind. It inspired me a lot for incorporating Samba music into electronic music. Each samba school has a theme for the carnival. The theme of Salgueiro for 2019 carnival was “Xango”. That’s why I called the EP “Xango” as a tribute to my experience in Rio. Xango is an Afro-Latin divinity coming from Yoruba Religion. He is actually the spirit of bolt and thunder.

stream / buy Xango https://lnk.to/SaudadeXango

You can clearly hear how important percussion is to you as so much of the detail in the tracks is dedicated to it. Where did your love of drums originate from, and who are your most influential players?

I learned the drums from the age of 12 to 18. I have always been in love with rhythms and especially dance rhythms. I always listened very carefully to the drum breaks in funk songs. What I love is the energy, the dynamic, and the pace that allows rhythms. I was astounded by percussion ensembles I could hear the street sometimes when I was a kid. The sound power that spread from it. What I found interesting in percussion is its cultural roots. Each part of the world has different patterns and a different feel and therefore different ways to dance. I don’t have specific players to name except Tito Puente. Otherwise, I like Darbuka rhythms from North Africa, every rhythm made in Central and South America, Dhol and tabla beats from India, or even Bodhran from Scotland.

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the EP, including any favourite software/ hardware you use?

To make the track “O Samba”, I wanted to produce a sincere tribute to Samba music. First, I tried to recompose electronically the percussions of samba ensemble like surdo, conga, caixa and shakers. To do so, I used a few drum synthesizers vst and my Roland Juno 6. Then I felt it lack an organic touch. That’s why I recorded my percussionist friend Tom Guillouzic in the music studio of my former music school in Nantes. It was a lot of fun! Then I added some vocals I found in an interview from an art exhibition about samba history that took place in the art museum of Rio. I found this vocal very interesting because it talks about the Angolan roots of samba, its link with the slavery history and the form that spread from it in Brazil and especially in Rio with its key places: favelas, samba schools, and the Sambodromo (literally the Samba stadium where the Carnival parade takes place). I added a few synth pads from my Juno to add depth and a bit of lightness. And subs to add the club energy it needed.

For this track I used the Microtonic and Kick 2 which are great drum synth plugin. I use a Shure SM-57 to record the congas. The Roland Juno 6 plays all the synths in the track. For the mix, I mainly use Waves plugins. You know all the secrets know 😉

https://soundcloud.com/mixmag-1/premiere-saudade-o-samba?in=pontneuf/sets/saudade-xango

How has Covid-19 affected the ways in which you work? And how do you see things changing (in terms of artist income, clubs and music venues etc) as a result of the pandemic?

It didn’t change the way I worked. It helped me to focus on my workflow and to learn to develop independence with my music setup. In terms of artist income, this crisis underlined the precarity of being a professional DJ, and let me think about other ways of living out of music without gigs. In terms of music venues, I am very optimistic, and I hope it will be just like it used to be or very close in a few months.

Where did the inspiration for O Funk come from? It’s such a refreshing track.

Thanks 😊 When I lived in Rio I have been to some Baile Funk parties. Baile Funk which is called “Funk” in Rio is a music genre inherited by Miami Bass with a carioca groove of its own. Originally it is a kind of music made by producers from the Favela. It’s often a tight beat and a MC rapping over it. The groove between the kick and the snare is very special. It makes you stumble. The energy of this kind of music is focused on the bass and low frequencies of the kick and also the noisy high pitched slappy snares. On loud club speakers, the Baile Funk vibe is impressive. It’s like a cloud of frequencies, almost like listening to minimal or techno music on a sound system. At least, that’s how I felt it. Therefore, I wanted to translate that feeling into an electronic interpretation of Baile Funk with this track “O Funk”. At the very end of the track, you can hear a regular Miami Bass 808 rhythm, which is the very root of Baile Funk. That reminds me of that dance contest I saw a Wednesday night on Praça Tiradentes back in Rio with old school Miami bass in the background.

https://soundcloud.com/inverted-audio/saudade-o-funk-pont-neuf-records?in=pontneuf/sets/saudade-xango

How did you get into DJ’ing and also Producing music? Do you think one can be done without the other these days?

I started producing first with a looper pedal and a Casio keyboard at 14 years old. Then, at 15, I bought my first DAW software in a multimedia store at the time… I discover DJ’ing in high school with a friend Adrien from Cosmonection (also in the Pont Neuf Records). We had a duo, he introduced me to DJ’ing. At the age of 17, we mixed for parties with friends from high schools. I loved the positive impact dance music had on a crowd.

I think you can produce music without DJ’ing if you have a nice music live to show to your public. And you can mix without being a producer if you have great knowledge and a particular feel.

https://soundcloud.com/pontneuf/kx9000-pouvoir-magique-1

Outside of electronic music who would you say are your most important influences?

I would say Thom Yorke for the importance of sincerity in music. J Dilla for the complexity of simplicity. Errol Garner for the power of creating a jazz swing of his own. And Tom Jobim for the joy, the sunshine, and the freshness of his music, like a living painting of Rio.

The artwork for the release is particularly striking. Tell us about the people who created it and what it signifies to you?

Shout out to Louis Stecken! We studied in the same school. I discovered very lately he became an artist and such a talented one. I found the painting of the artwork in his portfolio. I loved it. I thought it could be a good incarnation of the spirit “Xango”.

And finally. What are your plans for moving forwards?

After this tribute EP to Brazilian rhythms, I might want to go deeper in this way or to bring new rhythm influences in my music. It might be North-African rhythms or Jazzy stuff. I still don’t know. I like the idea of interbreeding in electronic music between the acoustic and the electronic world. Otherwise, I want to develop the live aspect of my music and to take a step forward in production skills. I bought a new synth recently, the Syncussion. I hope I will be able to make great bass lines and drum synths with it.

https://www.instagram.com/saudade_musik

https://pontneuf.bandcamp.com/album/xango

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Matthew Hayes Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Matthew. Let’s start with your excellent new single for Black Wattle – Two Steps Forward EP. What does the title signify and how did your relationship with the label come about?

Thanks so much for having me and for the kind words on the EP. I first heard of Black Wattle through one of their previous releases from Liam Ebbs. A beautiful EP titled A Child’s Guide To Groove that came out a few years ago. I am a big fan of Liam and label co-owner – Thomas Gray’s music and I had Black Wattle in mind when I finished this EP, as I felt the aesthetics matched, and I wanted to release the music on an Aus-centric label. The name sort of comes from a dance that people have told me I often do when I’m playing bass – the ‘two step’. I like the idea of two stepping my way through life!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-R40RKGdcM&feature=youtu.be

The music is an extraordinary fusion of jazz and electronic sounds. Can you tell us about your main influences from within those spheres of music?

A lot of local music influenced the sound of the EP. Some of those include: Andras, Thomas Gray & Liam Ebbs, Albrecht La’Brooy, Stephen Magnusson, Christopher Hale. Also from abroad, all of the music coming out of the Melody As Truth label.

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the EP.? Including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use when creating music?

I wrote the music primarily as solo electric bass compositions, I think I had about six of them. I then got together with long time collaborators and friends Joshua Kelly and Joel Trigg to record them in a trio context. I like to use Logic when I’m working at home on the stems and I only slightly produced the two tunes on the B-side, working with some field recordings and my small Korg synth. The A-side tunes are built from samples from the recording session. I was enjoying playing with piano loops and pairing those with some beats I had made on a 90’s Korg drum machine – the ES Mk2. Another catalyst for the sound on the A-side was finding the rhythmic elements that naturally occur in small loops from people talking in field recordings.

https://soundcloud.com/the-ransom-note/premiere-matthew-hayes-head-pressure-black-wattle

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I’d have to say the bass guitar! I am forever in debt to my beautiful 1973 Fender P bass for connecting me with people, paying my rent and helping me to express my inner most feelings through my hands – into this low frequency, magical plank of wood with strings.

How has Covid-19 affected the area where you live? Has the situation caused you to work in different ways?

Covid 19 struck just as I was leaving for France at the beginning of March which is where I have been for the last two months. I had tours planned in the US and UK which were cancelled which is a bummer! I just recently returned to Melbourne and one of the biggest differences is I have no gigs which means no income, and not as much connection with other artists and musicians. It has definitely taken some adjusting, but I’ve been able to settle into working on some new music from home – getting deep into some new concepts. The miracle of the web has enabled some great cross-continental collaborations that are in the works at the moment.

https://soundcloud.com/ken-oath-records/elegant-universe?in=ken-oath-records/sets/matthew-hayes-joel-trigg

Tell us about the Zeitgeist Freedom Exchange and your role within it. How would you describe the nature of forthcoming album: ZFEX Vol.II (due May 2020)? And how important is musicianship to you in today’s digital/ programmed world?

ZFEX is a project spearheaded by drummer Ziggy Zeitgeist which begun a few years back when Zig started exploring the concepts and textures he was hearing at clubs and festivals within his own drumming. ZFEX Vol.II came out on April 3 and is due for a repress soon! We had a great time making it in the summer of 18/19 and it continues to explore the same ideas presented in Vol.I – hopefully deeper and further down the well of jazz/dance cross pollination.

Musicianship is important today as it was in any other climate throughout history. For me, musicianship isn’t just about getting your hands onto a physical instrument, but approaching whatever your chosen form of expression is in a deep and considered manner. I hear incredible displays of musicianship from producers riding a 303 from their studio, DJ’s curating a journey in the club or bands thrashing the Tote system on a Saturday night.

https://soundcloud.com/boltingbits/zeitgeist-freedom-energy-exchange-logans-run

Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you start with a single note or does it come from something you have heard or seen?

Always from music that I have heard. Before beginning a new record I will usually take a period of a few months to listen to large amounts of music which really inspires me and helps me to conceptualise the vibe of something new. The new music I’m making may have its origins in artists or records that i’m inspired by but during the course of producing it it usually forms a character of its own (I hope!).

Outside of music which writers, artists etc do you most admire?

I’ve been checking out some incredible visual artists. They include: Delta Venus, Edan_s and Agueb Art. Check them out on Instagram! Delta Venus created the amazing artwork used for the cover of this EP and Edan is one of the busiest designers on the scene at the moment with his vintage sci-fi aesthetic.

https://soundcloud.com/theory-therapy/theory-therapy-03-matthew-hayes

And finally. Can you tell us about forthcoming projects you are/ will be working on?

Later this year I will be releasing a record in collaboration with Charlie Perry. The music is ambient, bass-guitar centric and includes some incredible poetry from Charlie and other Melbourne-based wordsmiths.

https://matthayes.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Matthew-Hayes-211483305922274

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Steve Hadfield Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Steve. Can you talk us through your musical journey beginning with the sounds which first inspired you, until now and the music you currently produce?

Like many people, I got into ‘alternative’ electronic music via Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ when I was 16, which opened my ears to Warp Records and beyond. Some of those early forays really baffled my ears – I remember finding Autechre’s ‘Amber’ incomprehensible at first, but it’s now one of my comfort albums when I need headspace. At that time I was making really naff dance music using eJay and it was only after university that I started properly exploring more abstract electronica and ambient. It took 10 years of dipping in and out of composing to find a sound I was actually happy with – I pretty much gave up for a few years until we bought our first house which has a lovely attic space, and then suddenly everything seemed to click into place.

In terms of influences my sound is all over the place! I’m really interested in artists who blur the line between rhythm and melody – on the ambient side, the Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto collaborations are my biggest inspiration, alongside folks like Biosphere and Susumu Yokota where they’re notionally ambient records are often full of percussive elements.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdI1stk6oQI

Displacement Activity Vol. 2 has just been released on See Blue Audio. How did your relationship with the label come about?

I got to know Matthew, who runs the label, via Thomas Ragsdale who I plucked up the courage to go and chat with after he opened for Haiku Salut a couple of years back. One of the lovely things over the last couple of years has been getting to know folks in the indie electronica scene, particularly in the north of England. Everyone is really lovely and like-minded! I really liked the first release on See Blue Audio by Gabriel Slick and it seemed like a great fit for my more ‘contemplative’ work.

buy https://stevehadfield.bandcamp.com/album/displacement-activity-vol-2

Tell us about the cover photograph and what the location means to you?

The cover photograph is a bay near Belfast and it’s by Matthew so I can’t take any credit. I really like the aesthetic and how the images of the sea tie the label’s releases together but I can’t claim a personal connection to that particular location!

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the album, including any favourite software/ hardware you use?

Everything I produce is in FL Studio using virtual software and a midi keyboard – I’m intrigued by hardware but also slightly intimidated by it! The closing track, ‘It’s All I Ever Had’ makes heavy use of probably my two favourite bits of effects software, Crystallizer by Soundtoys and Fabfilter Saturn, and one of my favourite synths, Sakura, which models string instruments. The basis of the track is a fairly mournful, simple piano melody (I can play it, so it has to be simple!), which gets gradually pulled apart and reconfigured through the effects. Crystallizer splices out snippets of the piano and then reverses them before playing them back and then cutting them up further, while Saturn distorts the results more and more as the track progresses before the entire thing is bitcrushed into nothing. A lot of my composing is done in snatched moments or (prior to covid) while travelling for work, so I often find myself without a keyboard and constrained to contorting, dismantling, and reconfiguring whatever melodies I have to hand into slowly evolving soundscapes.

https://soundcloud.com/seditiondjs/displacement-activity-vol-2-preview-steve-hadfield

What inspires you most: sounds, words or images? And who are your most important influences from each of those fields?

Sounds and concepts are what inspire me. I remember reading an interview with Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) once who said he often started his compositions from a real or imagined scene, almost like a movie set. I love that idea, but my mind’s eye is bordeline non-functional! My wife always finds it really strange that I don’t ‘see’ the characters and places in books in my head as I read – I love reading, I just… conceptualise it rather than see it in my head. The two Displacement Activity volumes to date were composed while my wife was pregnant with our first baby (who is about to have her first birthday!) and I was thinking a lot about how our baby was experiencing our world from this totally different perspective as she developed. That’s really the core theme of the music – this idea of looking back in on where we are from a different perspective, hence the title, ‘Displacement Activity’, which is taken (as are quite a few titles from my back-catalogue!) from my main source of word-based inspiration, the science fiction works of Iain M Banks.

You have also recently released a solo album, Unreality for the label you co-founded (Disintegration State) which sees you explore other avenues of music. How do you feel about the way nostalgia works in music and about the current creative state of play in electronic production?

Most of my output on Disintegration State, including ‘Unreality’, is the product of a nostalgia for a past I didn’t experience. My favourite period of electronic music is the mid-to-late 90s when there was such a pervading sense of playfulness in the work of folks like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Wagon Christ, mu-ziq, Plaid, and so on. I only discovered that music a decade after its heyday and now I’m finally making that music another 10 or so years after that! Maybe its time will come for a retrowave-style re-imagining and I’ll be ahead of the curve… The creative state of electronic music is both inspiring and overwhelming – I feel like I could fill my entire listening time with new releases from folks I know in the northern UK scene alone! It’s saturated, but the output is of such high quality that it seems churlish to complain!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyX1rRY5ffc

How do you think music culture, and more broadly the nature of society, will change as result of Covid-19?

I worry for the music industry at most levels. As we all know, touring is hugely important for so many artists given what streaming has done to sales. I hope that it inspires people to support local artists and venues when they have the opportunity again – we’re already seeing the indie scene come together through events like the Bandcamp Days, fundraising compilations, and the like. I suppose I hope that folks outside of the bubble learn more about what music needs in order for to be financially viable outside of the upper echelons. It’s hard to imagine any sizeable events will be happening in the short-term, and I’m missing live music massively!

More generally, this situation highlights inequalities in society which should have been apparent to many more people for a long time now. It’s interesting and saddening that the real spark for outrage in the UK has not been the tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, but the notion that one political figure in particular has flouted lockdown rules and is not being punished. People who have only ever known relative privilege are suddenly being confronted by the truth that their lives and liberties are, and always have been, less important than those who have the most privilege and power. I really hope that this breeds a degree of empathy to the plights of the less fortunate – the front-line workers, immigrants, and those who face institutional discrimination. The only good that can come from this is that it shifts us closer to real positive change. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

More generally, how do you feel about the way electronic music is supported/ nurtured in the music press? What are your thoughts on Streaming from an artist’s perspective, and about the way people now connect through ‘social media’?

I think the more ‘niche’ coverage is excellent and heartwarming – sites like your own inject so much passion into covering music that they love, ranging from the stars of our scene down to, well, folks like me! Similarly, podcasters and local radio shows like Monday Graveyard or Kites & Pylons are helping to pull together this lovely community. Folks like that are putting huge effort into curation and description and it’s wonderful to see. On the flipside, there feels like there is something more gatekeeper-like about some of the bigger players, perhaps tying in with an emphasis on club culture and the need to be a DJ, not just a producer. I occasionally think the surest sign I’ve ‘made it’ would be if someone felt it was worth their time to write a negative review of my work!

Streaming is a tricky topic to unpack… I genuinely don’t think that Disintegration State would have made headway as a label without the low barrier to entry that something like Spotify provides for a listener. Of course, I write from a position of privilege here where music is a ‘hobby’ rather than something I am trying to make a career of. The distribution of revenue is all wrong, and it feels like there’s a need for collective action to redress that imbalance

Social media is probably my single most important ‘tool’ as an artist. It helps connect the electronica scenes, both locally and globally. I particularly like Twitter and interacting with similar artists and listeners – it helps that everyone seems pretty like-minded given the capacity for toxicity on that medium!

https://soundcloud.com/seditiondjs/displacement-activity-vol-1-preview-steve-hadfield

And finally. Can you tell us about any forthcoming plans you have?

I have so many plans! The huge change in my life has been working out how to balance parenthood with work, other relationships, music, and climbing (my other main passion). I’ve been ‘field recording’ our daughter since she was born and have a nearly-finished album based around samples of her… I think it’s enjoyable alongside the novelty value but I’ve lost all sense of perspective really! I’m working on volume 3 for Displacement Activity alongside some more classic electronica for Disintegration State, then I’d like to explore some more glacial ambience where I resist the urge to add percussion… My musical plans tend to evolve against my will though, so who knows what any of it will sound like in the end!

https://disintegrationstate.bandcamp.com

https://twitter.com/Steve_Had_Music

https://www.instagram.com/climbingandmusicandmisc

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White Cliffs Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty. Let’s begin with that black and white image of you sat alone at your keyboards on a rooftop, which feels strangely poignant given today’s unnatural climate. Can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding the photograph?

Why thank you! So that is my loft building in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where I record most of my music. Its a really unique space where artists can bang on drum kits or build art installations or whatever they fancy. I moved all the gear up onto the roof for some album artwork to go with an upcoming release.

Are you experiencing lockdown in your part of the world? Does the current situation offer you space in terms of creative possibilities? And how do you think life will change at the other end of this crisis?

Living in NYC, we have felt this thing both early and heavily. At the start, some friends and I fortunately got up to the Catskills to record for about ten days, but for all of April I’ve been shacked up at my girlfriend’s apartment, mini studio and all. On one hand, it can get a little maddening sitting down and hammering away at music every day, but on the other, it’s definitely a unique privilege and opportunity to have zero interruption like this. I’ve even finished a new EP since the lockdown started. I think when this is over, hopefully, everyone will know themselves a little better. I know I’ve spent lots of time asking myself what I really want to do with my life, and I’m excited to get out there and do it once this crisis passes.

Tell us something about how you create music – does it start with a single sound, or melody, or being inspired by something you have read or seen?

I try to switch up my approach to stay invigorated and excited. Sometimes a song can start with a drum recording I have, and other times it can be a weird sound that accidentally happens while toying with a certain guitar pedal. I think the approach heavily influences the end result however, so as I have progressed, I have started to learn how to go in with a certain “goal” in mind, and start a song that way. For example, recently a lot of my music has felt very slow. So recorded a super fast drum beat at 165BPM, and wrote around that. Now at least I have one fast song!

https://soundcloud.com/repopulatemars/white-cliffs-brace-yourself-original-mix

Where did you learn to play guitar and piano? Who taught you?

Piano was my first instrument. I had this amazing teacher when I was like 6 years old who recognized that while I was a little too young and immature to learn sheet music, I had a knack for memorizing pitches and whatnot. So she would teach me songs by memory kind of like Simon Says, and while it was a little less traditional, she understood that keeping me engaged and excited was the most important thing. Once she moved away, my new teacher was so mean and I couldn’t do it. So my parents suggested that I took my dad’s old guitar and started taking lessons on that instead.

The proceeds from your excellent single for Repopulate Mars: Brace Yourself is going to Earth Justice and Rainforest Alliance. Can you tell about what those particular charities mean to you?

Honestly, our planet is in really rough shape. I could go into so many issues like coral bleaching or ocean acidification or melting permafrost or clearcutting forests for mono-cropping and factory farming; the list of pressing crises can really be devastating to think about. A few years ago I realized that instead of getting crushed by the weight of our situation, I should do what I know how to do (make music), in hopes of one day gaining a platform to do something about it. Specifically, I hope to one day help re-work how the music industry affects the environment, both with touring and sustainability in general. Having the opportunity to contribute to both Earth Justice and Rainforest Alliance represents a small first step in this direction. Both groups do such outstanding work and have been for decades, so naturally it made sense to give all proceeds to these great foundations.

buy Brace Yourself https://lnk.to/RPM076

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

This is a TOUGH one. My favorite instrument is probably a Wurlitzer electromechanical piano. I was lucky enough to finally get one off of craigslist this past September. What makes this instrument so special is that there are physical wooden hammers that strike metal bars to create a warm, electronic pitch. So it’s the perfect marriage of a real piano feel with a gooey buzzing sound. This is the sound of many Ray Charles classics, as well as the iconic intro to “You’re my Best Friend” by Queen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFF15UfGdQA

(randon question) California Dreamin’ or America’s Ventura Highway? Which and why do you prefer?

Love this question. I would have to say that California Dreamin’ was a more directly influential song to me as a producer because of what I learned while recording the cover of it. Specifically, I was studying the interplay of a male and female vocalist trading lines like that. But that said, the very Buffalo Springfield-esque vocal harmonies on Ventura Highway are one of my all time favorite flavors of classic rock music. Keep an ear out for lots of vocal stacks on my forthcoming music 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1g3phL4RS4

Tell us about the other musician’s you perform with? And the experience of playing live to an audience?

I have been on the road with several “live” electronic acts such as Elderbrook, Big Wild, and STS9. These people are all heroes to me, because I was able to see how each act applied their own method to bringing their productions to an audience in the most captivating, good-sounding way possible. For example, STS9’s live rig is honestly so mind-bending complicated, and the band was kind enough to explain how it has evolved over the years. Big Wild and Elderbrook both showed me the importance of a setup that sounds juicy and amazing, but also involves taking risks and doing things without too much computer assistance to give the audience a real, vulnerable experience. My newest tour setup involves just a MIDI keyboard and a guitar with everything else (keyboard patch changes, timed effects etc) being controlled by Ableton, allowing me to put on the most direct and interactive live performance yet. In the past there was too much button pushing and now I feel like I can just play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPe_NIPs-uY

And finally. What are forthcoming plans for producing music?

I’m currently sitting on a backlog of about 12 songs, spread out across a double single and two EPs. As soon as everything is done and set for release, I plan on spending the summer working on a full length LP for White Cliffs, as well as starting to produce music for a more dance music oriented side project.

twitter.com/whitecliffsjams
https://www.facebook.com/whitecliffsjams

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Ae:ther (Q&A)

Welcome to Sixty Magazine, Ae: ther. Where in the world are you right now and can you tell us what is happening in that part of the world regarding Covid-19?

Thanks for having me here. At the moment I am in Berlin and the situation after a bit of initial panic I must say that it is under control and I feel very lucky to be here at, unfortunately not all countries have the same strength as Germany.

Does the situation lend itself to being creative / productive, or not? Are you night-time or daytime person when it comes to making music?

Yes, I think so, it all started obviously when I was very young, my family has always been very rigid in the arts and especially in encouraging children to do something constructive. Fortunately, the music came by itself and the productive and creative moment today is something that comes naturally after years spent in the studio looking for something fresh to create. The inspiration varies, it is not always there but when it comes, it has to be grasped. When the songs arrive it must be written immediately or “hindsight they fade and never return” …a lyric part of Vasco Rossi’s old song.

Your excellent new single (lifted from last year’s album: Me) for Crosstown Rebels is called We’ll Be Together. What does the title signify for you in 2020?

It is certainly very important for people especially in these days to convey in something positive that gives hope for a good omen and a return to hug each other soon. The title was given for another personal reason that I was living a year ago but now, that has taken a key meaning, alone we are worth nothing, alone it is also difficult to work or anything, and therefore the hope is to return soon all together.

pre-order / listen to the full release with remixes by Francesco Mami and Moscoman https://www.beatport.com/release/well-be-together/2931718

https://soundcloud.com/crosstownrebels/aether-well-be-together?in=crosstownrebels/sets/ae-ther-me

Can you talk us through how you produced the title track? Are there any favorite pieces of software / hardware you always like to use?

So all my colleagues and friends laughed at least once reading the absolutely crazy titles that I give to my projects even if I have to say that I have improved now. One day a label manager of a very large label wrote me saying “We really like this piece and we would like to release it. It’s called” Fresh6stes1.2ripresaaudio2.3.4 can you send it etc etc? “
Often the titles are just notes, to write something fast because many times the right title doesn’t come out instantly. For some songs, however, the title comes out on its own because it is as if I already feel that the song is speaking to me and suggesting the title. I don’t have any favorite hardware or software, I always like to experiment. Mostly I have hardware like the Elektron or the sh 101 or the Eurorack that I use often but it depends on the song and on the moment.

What type of speakers do you use to listen to music on?

I am using the Adam 4×4 which is the type of small cone listening, while the 20/20 events which are a more bigger I use for the mix part or to listen records… ..

You have lived in Rome, Berlin and London. I was wondering how you compare those cities as places to call home and to work in (before the virus)?

Each city is different, in each of those I have reached a different workflow with different people and different experiences, even the periods are to be considered because there has been an evolution on myself. at the moment I can consider Berlin home, because it was what I needed, tranquility, relaxation but with the right dose of art and inspiration that is felt in the air and that helps me a lot in the musical and non-musical work flow. In the other cities where I have been I have found very interersting moments and places but mostly more stress and loss of time than anything else, so for now I feel good, I am happy.

https://soundcloud.com/circolocoibizaofficial/circoloco-radio-112-aether

How do you think life, culture and the electronic music scene will alter? Will making a living as an artist change in any way?

Unfortunately yes, something is already changing, and things that seemed normal to us like a hug or a handshake are prohibited, we are in a state of emergency that I think is going too far and the gov is forcing people to stay at home against their will by controlling it, we could consider it a little dictatorial … In music or art in general we would see many more conversations, DJ sets or anything else recurring in streaming and many more videos of amateur DJs sets, maybe even radio shows that you can why not buy online and have your personal party at home and dance alone or with family. It will afflict many artists and musicians and all those who work in the background and in my account till the frontieres will be close. I have already started doing external works and collaborations to be able to earn something more outside of the partyies, probably one day we will get out of this horrible lockdown, and I really don’t like to be negative and i’ve must to be objective and so there will be worst things that await us, the earth is becoming very fragile and will turn against us… ..

https://soundcloud.com/afterlifeofc/aether-he-does-it

Outside of your usual set of influences have you discovered any new artists, writers, musicians etc which have recently caught your attention? Has not being in nightclubs or at festivals resulted in looking for different things to explore?

Yes of course the search is greater because time increases in the studio, I try to listen to vintage stuff, or something completely different that is difficult to find, but I discovered a new artist in particular, it is called ADWER purely this piece “OVERTURE”, let’s see what will happen next….

And finally. Can you tell us about your forthcoming plans for moving forward?

I am working for several ep and some few collaboration, but nothing I can say atm, just stay tuned!

https://www.instagram.com/aether.music

https://www.facebook.com/aethernalmusic

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