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!
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!#
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.
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!
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.
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 😉
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 refreshingtrack.
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.
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.
Outside of electronic music who would you say are your most importantinfluences?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
(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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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… ..
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!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Cleveland. Can we begin by asking what attracted you to creating more ambient sounds rather than the conventional structures of drums and song? Do you feel that you can say more about something without the use of words?
I have always been into sound as an inspiration for the way I viewed my world with the camera. I realised that it influenced how I used the light in my compositions. The KaleidoSound Project was simple, work with two of my greatest passions, Visuals and Audio. My intention was to create simple video installations based around the four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. I felt the addition of drums would turn these short stories into music videos, and that was far from the plan.
Your brilliant debut album – KaleidoSound: An Introduction is out now on See Blue Audio. How did your relationship with the label come about? And why did they feel like the right fit?
Well, my relationship with See Blue Audio goes way back before it was even founded. One of the owners, Matthew Duffield, has been a good friend and colleague of mine for around 20 years. We met back in the days when I was working for K Mag, formally Knowledge Magazine. He was a great journalist and I took photos of the artists. I met up with Matthew in Barcelona, February gone and we were catching up or attempting to, on the last 10 years since we’d seen each other. I mentioned that I’d been working on the KaleidoSound Project and he was interested in seeing one, so I showed him ‘Flow’ and he was kinda impressed. Couple of weeks Iater I sent him a stack of audio I’d produced for the videos I have to create and it was then he suggested I put together an EP.
What does your artist’s name f5point6 signify?
f5point6 was the name I gave to my freelance photography business. In the early days of my exploration with photography I had an Art teacher who happened to be a freelance photographer. He tried in vain to explain the purpose of the aperture and it’s numerical values, but I never quite understood how we got f5.6. Many years later when I started freelancing I couldn’t think of a better name. I think f5point6 is quite relevant to what I do, I feel light as opposed to see it and I prefer to feel sound as opposed to hearing it. I want to create cinematic or visual sounds, hiding meanings amongst the frequencies.
You are also a professional photographer (and mentor with Olympus Digital UK). Do you see the music you create as an extension of photographing images? And how does one feed into the other? Is there a track from the album which best highlights this?
I think they’re are all part of the same philosophy as I feel the sounds I create shape my images but sometimes this can also work in reverse and a strong image will inspire sounds. The philosophy of Light, Shapes and Space is not only synonymous with visual creativity as I’m working on interpreting sound in the same way.
If I consider the 3rd track, Altocumulus, I think if you listen carefully you’ll feel the Light and the Shapes of the clouds and be immersed into that environment. The arrangement is simple with Space so that you hear the subtle changes. The impulses, keys and bass, represented the delicate wisps and bold lines that are attributed to these kind of clouds. There are also the airy synth pads which evolve and expand to interpret their movement.
What is your favourite camera? Do you own one?
I’m not sure I’m a ‘favourite’ kind of person. I have quite a huge collection of cameras but my Olympus PENF is almost always on me, not because it’s my favourite but because it’s practical. In the last couple of years I’ve introduce my son to film cameras and remembered how much missed the process of capturing images. At the end of the day, my cameras are just the tools I use to express myself. I have cameras for when I’m on a commercial commission and cameras for everyday moments.
Can you talk us through the process of how you produced one of the tracks from the album, and about any favourite pieces of software / hardware used? Do you generally start with a single note or idea, or something suggested by reading or watching something?
When I sat down to think about Apotica, I guess it started the same as all my projects. I mind map the concept and draft a simple script. So I was thinking, heavy deep sea equipment, submerging and light so minimal and rare that you were fortunate if you ever got to see it. So when it came to finding the sounds I cast them them as you would for a movie. I had some sounds that, when soloed, were better but in the arrangement risked the harmony of the whole project. Most of the sounds where captured with a sound recorder (Olympus LS-P4) and then altered and reworked using Adobe Audition. For the raw analogue bass my goto is the TAL-Noisemaker vintage synth plugin, you can really go in to make the modulations and LFO movements work for you as I was aiming to take the listener into the unknown. The main sound which hits you in the middle to upper frequencies was a layer of 2 synths in unison. For this I used Native Instrument plugins. I sequenced and arranged the whole thing using Ableton (my crack version of Logic stopped when I inadvertently upgraded my Mac OS 2 years ago… grrrr!).
Which speakers do you find best for experiencing sounds?
Wow, now that’s a big question for a non-tech like me! I kind of switch between headphones (AKG K550 MKII) and speakers (Dynaudio Acoustics BM5) at different stages of production. The real people in the know would probably admit these aren’t the greatest but… hey they work for me.
Has the space and time around the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in you discovering any new influences, either within or outside of music – books, films, painters, music etc?
Yeah, I’d say so. All the crazy insignificant things we obsess about have disappeared leaving us to ponder and celebrate the things that are important. I lecture at a six-form college that used to take 16 hours a week off my life, 4 hours travelling a day. Now I’m not squeezing onto 4 trains (one way) trying to get home before our two kids go to bed. I’m now lecturing via Google Hangouts online and having more time to re-engage with the people and things I love. Only this morning I was listening to one of Miles Davis’ masterpieces, ‘In a Silent Way’ on the Panthalassa album. It was probably the first time I’ve listened to this in like, 10 years or more. I’m a huge fan of Miles, even played a trumpet between the ages of 5 and 12, but I couldn’t believe the influenced it obviously had on me. There are parts of ‘Nova’ that are reminiscent of the vibe that Miles creates (mines more of the Primark version)! At the time they labelled it ‘Ambient Jazz’ .Up until 6m 42s you’re weightlessly suspended by the deep dark undertones, occasionally being pulled to one side or the other by the sounds of John McLaughlin’s guitar. My mission is to dust off some of my Jazz albums from the artists who first pushed that early electronic sound and add some real hardware to my production methods.
Do you think life will alter in any way after Covid-19?
The real question is how can it not alter. Not sure how much of the change will be down to the need to survive or to create a more resilient and global economy, but I’m hoping something positive will come out of this experience and we learn from our mistakes.
And finally. Can you tell us about your plans for moving forward?
Moving forward I’m 2 tracks short of my 2nd Project, and hopefully release, and then I’m going to shift my focus back to the video installations and think of ways I could make them interactive. I’m going to involve my son in this process because he’s the kind of creative I wished I had a whole classroom of!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Josh. Let’s start with the launch of your label: Love Child (along with Jacob Husley). How would you describe the process of setting up and then running a record label in 2020? Have the results been what you hoped for?
Setting up Love Child was challenging and still is in some ways. Finding the right space, working with the right security etc. We initially wanted to do a a queer Sunday tea dance but this changed slightly for various reasons. People don’t go out the way they used to in London and also there’s so much more queer parties during the weekend. By the time you get to Sunday you’re probably broke or in recovery mode. We wanted to collaborate with other queer nights as well so this was an organic thing that followed. It’s important that we support each other in the LGBTQ+ community especially in night life as scenes can tend to separate quite easily. Setting up the label was a natural progression for us this year. With Love Child we always want to keep supporting and showcasing all the amazing talent we have. Whether it be musicians, artists whatever through our parties or panel discussions. The feedback and support from press and dj’s has been amazing so far. As soon as we put out our first release, a lot of great demos gravitated towards us and it seemed shocking they hadn’t been signed yet. I’m happy we can give them a home. The label is also about giving back to our community and we donate a percentage of the sales to a different LGBTQ+ charity with each release.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tacks from Box Of Talk, including any go to software/ hardware you always like to use?
I worked on the EP with Quinn Whalley and used Ableton. When we made Box of Talk (track) we started off with an 808 bass, high hat and kick. Quinn played around on the keys and came up with a slightly off beat pattern which worked well against the track. It was sounding pretty good as a striped back track but I felt it needed a little lift.. We added a breakbeat underneath and another key pattern and it really transformed together with the lyrics.
Where do you take your inspiration from: A single sound or a series of ideas?
It’s usually a series of ideas. Could be film, a piece of art, my personal experiences. Recently I watched Mandy which is a totally messed up, twisted film but I bloody loved it. The cinematography, music and plot is disturbingly good. It gave me something to think about musically.
How do you feel about the overall strength of song writing in 2020? Are songs as important today as they were, say in the Disco era of 1970’s?
For me it really depends on the genre. I would love to see more vocalists in dance albums, there’s so many amazing people out there. With the 70’s & 80’s there was a lot to say through lyrics/music especially in house and disco. Race, sexuality, political environment, AIDS crisis all played a huge part. Fast forward to now and we’re still dealing with these issues, in some cases even more so. It’s great to see artists still channelling this through their music, especially in dance music and making songs still as important today.
I think with neo soul/RnB, songwriting is going from strength to strength. Artists like Celeste, Steve Lacy, Syd, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar have really upped the ante with lyrics and productions and I’m so happy to see them get the recognition they deserve for it.
Is there too much emphasis on nostalgia in Dance Music? Does it stifle creativity, and how do you see music moving forwards in terms of what says and how it functions in culture?
Nostalgia is needed. Even when someone is doing something new and groundbreaking, let’s be honest there will still be elements from the past that would have inspired them even if they didn’t realise it. It encourages creativity, and to do it in your own way. Personally I like to look back at things because that’s inspired my sound, vocals and that’s the kind of music I want to make. Early house, techno and acid is timeless. Don’t get me wrong though, there will always be artists who want to push boundaries of music and do something that’s never been done, music will continue to evolve.
Your series of discussions: Love Child Talks form an invaluable conversation. What are the most significant things you have learned from them so far? And tell us about the forthcoming event: Queer Women In Music?
People in the queer community really want to talk to the sources and do want they can to initiate change. All in a very positive and constructive way. Whether it’s how we support and nurture our own or how we are seen in the world in general. They want to take action.
The talk we did on celebrating queer women in music was so moving, inspiring and profound. But honestly I get this from all the previous talks. Women in music have faced so many challenges being in a traditionally male dominated field but also factor in a queer woman in music, who is also a POC or Trans, the experiences are heightened. We also wanted to celebrate our queer women too as their work and positive experiences really do inspire people and should be spoken about more publicly in the mainstream.
Outside of the world of electronic music which writers, artists, thinkers etc are your most important influences?
God too many to mention. Toni Morrison, Wong Ping, Faith Ringgold, Malcolm x, Marsha P. Johnson. Also my dad. He was vice president and minister of Defence of Uganda at a difficult time in the country’s history, from 1985 to 1986. Before that he was general manager of Uganda Airlines, director general of East African Airways and commander of the Uganda Air Force. He was exiled to the UK in 1983. He served Uganda and East Africa honestly and selflessly and was someone who wanted to bring peace to a country that was fighting internally. After he passed away in 2002 he was often overlooked for the hard work that he did and honestly I felt the same way with being in music especially being a black queer artist. He inspires me daily.
And finally. Can you tell us about your forthcoming plans for working with Paranoid London, Love Child, life in general?
With Paranoid London, we’re back on the road doing live shows so come and catch us somewhere along the way. Maybe a new free track download at some point this year…
With Love Child, we want to keep growing the club night and we have a couple of special collaborations coming up. The talks will continue and hopefully the label will grow and people will keep supporting our releases. I have new music coming out with Honey Dijon, Baldo and Lupe so I’m pretty psyched about that.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Shane and Greg. Let’s start by asking about your recent collaboration with Andrew Phillpott, under the alias Squares. How did you first meet up and decide upon working together? And what can you tell us about the forthcoming album?
Shane: We met Andrew through a mutual friend about ten years ago, when he was living in Berlin. We did a remix for his Broad Bean Band project [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAi8LhS68SA] and kept in touch over the next few years. When he relocated to West Cork we hooked up at his studio for a couple of jam sessions. They went well so we decided to commit a few months to the project, set up a studio space in Cork city and record material for an album. So far we’ve released two of the tracks from those sessions but there’s plenty more good music in there.
Talk us through the process of how you produced the single, Speed Syphon? It has a very distinctive sound and texture. Which pieces of software/ hardware did you use in its creation?
Greg: We did a bunch of jams with Andrew in the morning and went for lunch. When we came back into the studio and Andrew hit play and there was this beautiful sequence coming from the Jupiter-8! It kinda blew our minds so we recorded it into Ableton Live through the Apollo sound card. Andrew noticed later there were some tuning issues so he had to do the sequence again, this time using an ARP 2600. For these sessions we tended to use Ableton like a big tape recorder – we would record all the parts live and then arrange later using outboard effects in real time. I think it’s great to commit to tape like in the old days. It gives it a unique sound. Using such great synths is a big plus too – they record so well, with such presence.
The release came out on your own label Go Deep Recordings. What are your feelings on the state of the ‘record industry’ currently? And how do you see things moving forwards in terms of artist revenue via streaming, merchandise, live work etc?
Shane: Where do you start? The industry is a mess! Streaming revenue is improving but still isn’t anywhere close to replacing the old sales model. Live DJ work subsidises studio work for most producers I know but even that can be tenuous if you’re not playing a certain sound.
We’ve spent the last
two or three years putting out EPs on other labels, the idea being that this
would get the music to a wider audience than if we were just releasing on Go
Deep. It’s worked to an extent but, in certain cases, labels haven’t done their
job properly. We spend a lot of time working on our music and we expect a
similar commitment from labels when we release with them.
So, we’ve decided to return to mainly releasing on Go Deep and make sure each release is distinctive and worth putting out. There’s enough mediocre music in the world already so we’re carefully considering each EP. It may or may not work out but at least we’ll be in control.
Can you tell us about how Dance Music evolved in your home city, Cork? And where would you recommend these days for music and dancing?
Greg: The dance scene in Cork began in the late 80s. We started playing at a venue called Sir Henry’s on Thursday nights and it took off right away. Mike Pickering came over from Manchester to play a guest DJ slot and, as they say, the rest is history. I went over to check out the Hacienda on a Friday night and I went: “what the fuck is going on here!?” It was crazy! Mike brought me to Spin Inn and sorted me out with some amazing records. After that I bought all my records from Spin Inn, which had a huge effect on the scene here. We were so lucky to have a big club with a really good sound system. We played there every Saturday night for thirteen years and it was an incredible experience being able to break records with a real underground vibe every week. It’s so different now! As regards Cork, there’s plenty of stuff going on, still mainly resident’s nights. Cyprus Avenue and Dali put on the bigger events, Plugd does some cool underground things, as does the Kino. And the Sunday Times boys run a great monthly.
Tell us about your involvement with Ian Urbina’s The Outlaw Ocean Music Project?
Shane: Ian approached us last summer wondering if we’d be interested in contributing to the project. Over several years research for his book he had amassed a huge archive of field recordings from all over the world – from interviews with stowaways to chanting fishermen to audio from melting glaciers and much more. His idea was that we would read his book, The Outlaw Ocean, and use parts of this audio to come up with a musical response to the huge environmental and human rights issues raised. We were sold right away and are delighted to be part of such a unique project.
You are due to appear at It Takes A Village Music Festival in May. Tell us about that?
Greg: Yes, looking forward to that – we’re playing with our old mate, Joe Claussell, for a long, six hour set. We used to bring Joe over to Sir Henry’s in the 90s, where he played some epic sets. He’s a real inspirational DJ and we love him. It Takes a Village is a lovely, small festival just outside Cork City in a holiday village. No muddy fields, lots of really cool acts. It’s run by Joe and Ed – total music fanatics who really support the local music scene.
The linage of House Music has much of its heritage based in songs, what do you think about today’s capacity for song-writing? Are words just as important as the music in 2020?
Shane: For me, one of the saddest trends in modern house has been the demise of the song. A lot of the craft of songwriting seems to have been lost and we’ve ended up with either dull, one-note chants or cliched soulful stuff that has been done a thousand times already. Of course there are magnificent exceptions but I struggle to find many strong songs these days.
Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences: writers, artists etc?
Greg: I grew up in the 70s, so music was David Bowie, Neil Young, Irish folk, Planxty, Bothy Band, lots of prog rock, Yes and early Genesis, The Clash, The Cure, Elvis Costello, jazz. My mum and dad were really into all sorts of music so my mind was always open. The house was full of books. My father was an avid reader, so as he finished a book he put it on my shelf to check out. Sometimes they were way over my head but he got me into sci-fi and fantasy stuff – Lord of the Rings, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which blew my mind at the time. Dune by Frank Herbert was another big one for me.
Shane: I was into Ska and Two Tone as a young teenager in the early 80s but hip hop was the first scene I really connected with. Groups like Eric B & Rakim and Public Enemy were huge for me and it was while record shopping for hip hop that I started picking up some of those early house tracks towards the late 80s. Jazz has been a constant throughout my life as well. My father annoyed me by playing it really loudly at home when I was a kid and I do the same to my own son now.
I read a lot of sci-fi as a teenager, writers like Philip K Dick and Isaac Asimov. It probably makes sense that a lot of electronic music producers were into sci-fi as kids. My tastes have broadened over the years but I still like a good space opera.
And finally. Please share your forthcoming plans for yourselves as both DJ’s and Producers?
Shane: We have releases lined up on Go Deep for the rest of 2020, including a hip-house number with Bon Voyage and a lovely song with Emilie Chick. We’re also putting together a second volume of So Far So Deep, a compilation of Fish Go Deep tracks and remixes. On the live front, we have parties coming up in Cork, Leap and Dublin over the next few weeks and then it’s on to festival season in May.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, John. Your new single Your Love (Skint Records) captures a sense of anticipation yet also hints at melancholy. What for you are the most important attributes in music? What makes a great piece of music?
Thanks and happy to speak with you, I’ve just been away so glad to be back in the studio. Yes as you say I always love a bit of melancholy in the music even if it’s a dance or pop song. For me music is all about a feeling and it’s really hard to think about music as ”music business”. It’s probably been bad for me as I probably could twist out lot of money from it, but for me, music is more than that. I’m not saying I don’t do any commercial crossover music, I have but it needs to vibrate with me or I won’t do it but around after 26+ years or so, I guess I’ve been doing something right after all.
Hard question as I would say again, for me it’s all about that soul and feeling, so if you don’t feel it you don’t feel it, nothing wrong with you or the music it’s just that you don’t connect for some reason.
Can you talk us through how you produced the track? What pieces of software/ hardware did you use in its creation?
I have always been into analog gear and have over the years built up a nice studio I’m happy with. I usually never talk about my studio as I think it loses that magic feeling of how things are done, but the studio is based upon Pro Tool HD. I wish I had been working with it since the year 2000, shifting from an Atari with Creator/Notator program and an Alesis MMT8 Sequencer. Around that I have lots of synths for different purposes, like the Memorymoog, Moog One, Roland Jupiter 8, PPG Wave + Waveterm B, MiniMoog and many more .. I use them all and they have a different colour of sound. The main studio speakers are the ATC SCM45A PRO, I just love them. Far from that a few outboards and some rare gadgets, like the Quatec QRS reverb unit, crazy enough pre owned by Kate Bush and used on her ”Hounds Of Love” album, which for me is still as mind-blowing as when I was a kid, nonstop watching the ”Cloudbusting” music video on MTV with tears in my eyes. So it feels strange that I got hold of that unit they used. But nothing in the studio is for gimmick or for collection, if i don’t use it I sell it.
What in general is the starting point for making a piece of music – a drum or a random sound? Do you think it is more important to concentrate on simplicity or more complex use of instrumentation?
It could be a random sound I tweak out of the synths or just a melody on the piano or a drum beat I start to build around, I never have a template or preset sounds. I think that is so boring, so I always try to start from a blank paper, music making should be fun, and going to the studio and not having that free open feeling is not fun for me.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I think I’ve more or less owned all the synths I thought were my dream synths, like the Yamaha CS80. I actually sold it as it was not for me and I believed it was my dream synth before but never really did anything on it, and have never been a huge Vangelis fan anyway so it was just not for me. I would say the Minimood Model D, PPG Wave and any of the Roland Jupiter’s like 4, 6, 8 or MKS80 are my favourite synths. They always stand on their own and don’t go with any fashion, I can do anything with them really.
What advice would you give to new producers on looking after their hearing?
Get some good studio monitors, follow your own feelings and don’t jump on trends. Now days there are plenty of labels out there that will dig your stuff for sure, don’t give up. Don’t stop on one track from 2 years, make new songs all the time, you will learn from each new song you make. Don’t let A&R people make you feel sad, from experience they are not always right, so do your thing.
How do you see the Dance Music industry at the moment? Is it in a healthy place in terms of artists revenue (Streaming etc) and how do you see it moving forward?
Streaming is a joke, it’s more or less the same amount of money as coal mine workers had in the early 1800 in payment. I love the technology but it has to change, music rights and value of work need to be granted. These companies profit on your work and believe it’s payback time just as it was for the coal miners back in the days, but first artists, writers and producers need to understand their own value and join forces. A magical thing would be a streaming service platform owned by the artist themselves, instead of greedy investment companies that invest in anything they can get money from.
What was the last piece of Club Music to really impress you, and which artists do you value from outside of the genre?
There is so much good club music out there, but nothing really new. It goes in circles and it’s not that I’m looking for something new, but club music is as it has always been really, to make people move and have a good time. Everything comes back in fashion after like 20 years, just to put a different name on it does not change it. But im glad a new generation is discovering it and there is so much good new music out there. I love music from 1977-1985, it was such an interesting period of new technology in the music studios and people had never heard of digital delays, affordable synths and spaced out effect units. Right now I’m listening to anything from cheesy pop stuff from early 80ísh to Speed metal, it comes back to the previous question, it’s all about that feeling in the music.
And finally. Where can people get to hear you DJ over the coming months?
Right now nowhere really, I’ve been changing booking agent and in the process of that. But requests have been floating in from Asia, Australia and the EU in the last few weeks so looking forward to a busy summer ahead DJ’ing.