Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Philippa. Let’s start with the brand new label you have launched: At Peace Music. Tell us about the meaning behind the title and the decision to start your own imprint?
Thank you 🙂 There is a personal story behind the label name At Peace, of course, but I like the idea of it meaning whatever it needs to mean for people. The decision to start the label came from a few factors.. Really it was about timing – it’s time for all this music I’ve been sitting on to get out into the world.
The debut release is from yourself: Pronoia EP featuring three emotionally charged productions. There is a real sense of musicality weaving throughout the music and I was wondering about the artists who have influenced you most over the years?
Yeah that’s an easy one – I’m heavily influenced by 70s disco and soul (am currently a little obsessed with Leon Ware and anything produced by Chic in the late 70s / early 80s), and Detroit deep house, the likes of Theo Parrish, Rick Wade, Moodymann. I’ve also had a huge long term love affair with Chicago House, and I’m loving the resurgence of quality French deep house right now. I value song writing as a skill – by that I mean an expressed love of melody and harmony, and an understanding of the sweet magic that can come from a properly executed harmonic hook… weirdly I think it’s pretty rare to come across it done well in house music, but with Detroit house there’s often a soul based bluntness – a simplicity – that is super compelling. I also listen to a lot of classical music, and am a big fan of Sakamoto, as well as 20th century French composers such as Ravel and Debussy.
You relocated from your native New Zealand to Berlin a number of years ago. Tell us about that decision and how would you compare life living in the two locations?
I used to describe the feeling of living in New Zealand in winter (European summer) as the rest of the world being at a party you hadn’t been invited to. NZ is an amazing country – at the bottom of the world. It’s geographically isolated. I knew I had to come to Europe to be part of the huge international electronic music scene, and in the end it was an easy decision but a difficult journey. The culture shock was immense, it’s taken years to find my feet. I coped by throwing myself into music production – it saved me. Berlin couldn’t be more different from Auckland – politically, socially, culturally, historically, musically. It’s given me the space to grow and focus – I’m really grateful to have been able to live here.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the EP’s tracks? From how you created the music, to any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you always like to refer to? And how you like to approach life in the studio?
I’m an early morning music writer – ideally I spend the first three or four hours of the day in music production. I tend to start off with samples, used mostly for harmonic inspiration, and from which chords are built. I draw from jazz, blues and disco mostly.. Sometimes the sample becomes a non-removable part of the tune – but often I pull the sample out completely. Once the actual tune writing has come together I move into vintage studio spaces at the Funkhaus – happily I have access to these amazing studios via the school I teach at.
Been enjoying listening to your recent Mix For Kate amongst others on Soundcloud. Can you talk us through how you put that mix together and about your choice of music for it?
Glad you like it 🙂 The mix was made for a very dear (and inspirational) friend who recently celebrated a significant birthday back home, which for obvious reasons I couldn’t attend. Kate used to throw a party in Auckland many moons ago and I was one of the resident DJs – as such there are classic records thrown into the mix which I knew she’d love, such as Mood II Swing “Do It Your Way”, DJ Sneak’s “Feel Your Body Talkin” and Moodymann’s “Shades Of Jae” – which was a massive record in Auckland back in the day.
How did you first get into producing? And can you tell us about your time teaching music, and what that has in turn taught you?
I’ve DJ’d for over twenty years – having begun in the late 90s – and DJ’ing is a serious passion. But when I got to Europe I didn’t have the 2-4 gigs a week I’d had for fifteen years in NZ, and that space freed me up to focus on music production. I was also teaching at dBs Music, and one of the amazing things about teaching is what you learn – the constant upskilling. There’s no doubt that teaching electronic music production has given me a firm skill base to create from, and I’m really grateful for that. DJ’ing is fun in the moment stuff – the right dancefloor with the right DJ at the right time can be pure unbridled magic.. But music production is a deeper more rewarding long term gift. I’m happiest when I’m productive in the studio, it’s by far and away my favourite thing to do.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I own a Prophet REV2. But my fav instrument (whilst not technically an instrument) is probably the voice – which is the focus of the MA in Creative Music Production I’m currently undertaking.. Which I guess is slightly odd – as I don’t use the human voice much with House. Watch this space I guess.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Gabri. Let’s talk about the launch of your new imprint: Morbidyne. Tell us about the meaning behind the name and the decision to start a label?
Hallo, nice to meet you all and thank you. The decision to start my label comes from the need to create my very own spot, where I can convey my idea of underground music and where I can release tracks by me and by artists with something new to say. Morbidyne will mainly feature Deep-Techno, Electronica, Deep-Tech but it is open to all kind of high quality electronic music. I think it is important to risk and invest on what we love, and Morbidyne is meant to be my contribution to electronic music. The name of the label comes from the Italian word morbido that means smooth, soft. The cotton flower logo mainly define this feeling.
The first release is from yourself: You Saved Me. Talk us through how you produced one of tracks from the EP, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
Yes I think it was important to start the label with a release of mine. You Saved Me is the second track of the EP and contains a vocal got from an interview of Dave Grohl, explaining his conflicting feelings after the death of his friend and frontman Kurt Cobain, and the chance to get back up with the music. I sometimes create my music starting from such a kind of input that inspires me. Then I create the drums (at the moment I use Elektron drum machine but I use to insert further samples on the timeline) and when I find the perfect bassline on which I build the melodies, I start with the arrangement of the track. For the basslines and the melodies I use hardware by Elektron, Moog (Sub Phatty), and software by Native Instruments and Spectrasonics to name a few. For the mix I use Waves, Plugin Alliance, FabFilter and more.
Tell us about your involvement with r12 and what it means for you?
My involvement in r12 school is very important to me. As the Director of studies I create the programs of all the courses and I help the students to define their own study plan. To do that I work side by side with the teachers, who all are professional dj’s, producers, label mangers, journalists etc. We created a community of artists and people who works in the electronic music, and it is a great opportunity to share the knowledge, studying and working in an open laboratory where you can grow in the music day by day. I am learning a lot at r12, I everyday breath music and I have to deal not only with the technical skills but with all the aspects you need to be aware of if you want to start a dj producer career.
What is club culture like in Milan at the moment? Any favourite bars/ clubs you would recommend?
The club culture in Milan at the moment is growing. There are a lot of good clubs and huge parties all the weeks, at every corner of the city. Most famous organizations apart, that make tens of thousands of entrances all the weeks, there are a lot of smaller realities that I personally appreciate more. I am speaking about underground parties like O.D.D., Aquario and Closer at the Masada, Electronic Barbecue, Killer Kiccen and The Garden, where you can listen to good music from afternoon to night, always presenting fresh artists from all over the world.
You also co-produce with Ricky Leo as Flatless. Can you tell us about the history of that project and any future plans?
Flatless is the first project of electronic music I was involved in. Ricky and I started producing music together and we have been sharing the dj booth for years. As usually happens in a duo, we got to the point where we decided to take our own way. We are still in good relations and sometimes we play together, but at the moment we are both concentrate on our personal career. Actually I am working on another project with my girlfriend, the duo Babi&Gabri, so at the moment I am very busy on different levels.
Love the Artwork for Morbidyne. Who creates it and how important is the visual aspect of what you do?
Happy to hear that cause I create it. I have usually created the artworks for my parties in Milan for years, and I still like to deal with it. The visual aspect is very important for sure. You always have to be cool, original and very recognizable. It is one of yours calling cards.
And finally. What plans do you have for expanding the label and for yourself as a DJ?
I want to enter in the industry releasing high quality underground music, made to be played in the dj booths all over the world. Next release for example is an EP by Chicago duo Mia Wallace, including remixes by Hiroko Yamamura and me. To expand the label I think I will plan good releases once a month, I will organize label showcases starting from my hometown and will use the right channels for the promotion. The feedbacks of the first release are great, in about a month I got in contact with a lot of artists, labels, radio and magazines, so I am sure this will open the doors to something big.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Nadja. Let’s start by asking about the beginning of Lucidflow Records back in 2009. What was the original idea behind the label and how would you say it has evolved since then – what sorts of things have changed in terms of the business of running a label?
Thank you for having me. I started Lucidflow together with my best friend Helmut in 2009 in order to have a platform for our own music in the first place and from there it’s developed to being a presentation for other artists from high renown like Silicone Soul, Brendon Moeller, Steve Rachmad aka STERAC, Funk D’Void to very talented new and upcoming artists.
You are celebrating the labels tenth year anniversary with the release of the: 10 Years Lucidflow Vinyl. What words best describe the sound of Lucidflow and which are the most important elements you look for when signing a track to the label?
The EP a number of your own and co-produced tracks. Can you talk us through the process of how you produced the beautifully deep: Weltenwandler? And what pieces of software/ hardware do you always like to refer to when producing?
The process is the following: First we do a short energy clearing session e.g. Ho’oponopono & EFT. We synchronise our DAWs via LAN cable, routed through the Scope XciTE Soundcard Mastering unit to the Soundcraft Si Impact mixer. Including all our gear we chose for a particular session. In case of ‘Weltenwandler’ I used the Korg Minilogue & Omnisphere 2.6 (with its wonderful HW control. Thank you Eric Persing and all involved at Spectrasonics!), StylusRMX, Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5, some filter & effect chains, Push Controller, and Helmut used Moog Subsequent 37, Omnisphere 2.6, Keyscape, and what not…
First we agreed on the title ‘Weltenwandler’ which is a new approach. In the past we usually thought about the title after the music was final. Then we jammed around looking for sounds and atmospheres that would fit the title in Ableton session view and clean the frequencies with e.g. FabFilter ProQ. When we had all sounds ready we start recording the track in Ableton arrangement view as we want it to be in it’s final version.
This usually only takes one take since we’ve been producing together for over 12 years. I guess that’s the main reason why Klartraum tracks sound so organic and unique. The mastering is always being carried out on the fly by Helmut.
The artwork for Lucidflow always looks stunning. Can you tell us who is behind it?
Thank you! I’ve been creating them. I like taking heaps of pictures everywhere I go and use them to create the artwork. In addition the Lucidflow spheric ball are objects we create in Cheetah3D.
Besides producing the more Club orientated sounds you also create Ambient music. What influenced your passion for this particular style? And what do you feel can be said through this medium that perhaps cannot by beats and basslines?
Yes, I’ve been creating Ambient with underlying binaural frequencies since 2011 naming it ‘Turning in’ series.
Initially I started creating them for myself to help me cope with stress such as flights, odd time zones, in between hotels, clubs and airports. Since I’ve always been interested in neuroscience, brain plasticity and neuro hacks I came across the power of brain entrainment and wanted to check it out. In order to be 100% sure what’s inside the binaural track I started creating the binaural frequencies myself without using any readymade tools. They do by the way! In the ambient drone music I also use a lot of my ambience recordings I’ve been taking on all my trips e.g. Masai Mara in Kenya to give them an additional flavour and vastness. What this music conveys? It leads me into completely different dimensions. It calms me down, slows down the sympathetic nervous system and therefore activates the parasympathetic ventral vagus nervous which immediately relieves stress and anxiety, helps dealing with sleeping disorders, sleep deprivation, PTSD, chronic pain. It’s a true gem and I am very grateful for this music. So many people are writing me how grateful they are and what the Turing In drones do for them. I would not have believed the impact of this music when I started producing these kind of sounds.
They will even be available on vinyl on a superb ambient label Astral Industries (London) where such brilliant artists like Echochord, Wolfgang Voigt…are I recently started creating epic ambient as Klartraum as well. Look out for Ambient Attitude(s) from June on. Pretty mind-blowing stuff! I want to take this opportunity to say to my fans and ambient friends how grateful I am for your support and feedback. This means a lot to me and keeps on motivating me creating new material. Thank you!
What is your favourite musical instrument? Do you own one?
My musical instrument is my whole studio-verse where I am lucky to have all the instruments and more I possibly want.
Where do you see Dance Music culture ending up in ten years’ time – any positive/ negative predictions?
I imagine a 3D wireless surround engine/controller where a bunch of friends can sit together and create their music of the day/evening via a VR studio on the fly inviting their favourite holographic idols to the jam session. Imagine you could sit in the middle of your living room jamming around with your friends and Jimi Hendrix! It is going to be FUN!
Outside of the world of electronic music where do you find inspiration? Are there any favourite writers, artists etc?
What’s been inspiring me a lot is the topic of neuroscience, energy medicine, quantum reality, quantum psychology, yoga, meditation, holistic medicine and so on. I’ve been working out on a daily basis. I love my little beautiful roof terrace/garden where I plant as many flowers and herbs as can possibly fit in and I care a lot for animals e.g. I don’t eat meat or dairy. I feed/water the little birds and insects every day (esp. in winter when everything is frozen I put fresh water out every day in order for the birds to drink). Meeting other empathic souls who care for our environment and see the bigger picture inspires me and touches me big time.
In addition I started a project ‘Holistic Kit – smart tools to renew yourself’ together with my best friend Julia where we individually guide people who are interested in quickly releasing stress, chronic pain, enhancing their productivity and finding their personal way of meditation, yoga, workout and transformation.
Heroes who inspire me are Sadhguru, Dr. Stephen Wolinsky, Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. David Brownstein, Hal & Sidra Stone, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, Thomas Hübl, Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. Alice Miller, Alan Watts, Nisagadatta Maharaj, Rüdiger & Anette Nehberg, Nile Rogers, Moby (because he’s an advocate for animals), Alida Gundlach, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jean Houston, Tim Ferris to name just a few.
And finally. How would you describe the experience of DJ’ing in 2019 and where can people hear you play next?
I’d describe it as a Lucidflow experience of resonance and connection. At Burning Man.
Thanks to all our fantastic and incredible fans and artists for have been supporting Lucidflow for all these years! I am very moved by your support, comments and feedbacks. You making a difference! Thank you Magazine Sixty for the inspiring interview!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Steve. You are about to unleash the labels 99th release: Selador Showcase – 8th Wonder, which features new music from several different artists. Can you talk us through how you choose the tracks for the compilation – what specifically makes a production right for Selador?
10 new tracks, all from different artists. We make a ‘showcase’ approx every 9 months, a various artist release of tunes that we like. It’s a good mixture of Selador artists and new faces to the label. We find a lot of people who release on the showcases deliver more tracks for EP’s later on, so it works really well for us. Dave and I often have tracks on these releases too.
Our only criteria for signing a track, is that Dave and I both like it and would play it. We don’t really have musical boundaries. It’s just music we like and would play, which is why some of our output is so varied. Over the years we’ve had music from Jimpster to dubspeeka, Danny Howells to Sasha Carassi, Joeski to Wally Lopez, Cristoph to Pirupa, and so many more. We don’t play one particular style of music when DJ-ing, and so we sign tracks that work for us, that we like. It’s a PR man’s nightmare trying to categorise us… but to us it just seems right.
For this release we had been sent just about all of the tracks as demos, and a few of our label friends we messaged to let them know we had a release and can they make something for us. It’s very useful being able to test the music out in clubs, in its natural environment, as sometimes tracks you like, suddenly become tracks that you love!
The release also features a great track from yourself: Michelada. How was the track produced and can you tell us about the studio set-up you use?
This one was a very unusual affair. It started off as a remix a year or so ago for another label, but then due to label problems, they still hadn’t released a year later. I’d started making it with Paul Nolan, who engineered it for me. It was made with Ableton, push 2 and a shed load of plug in’s and Paul’s technical knowhow. I know how to produce a bit, but I find my workflow so much faster working with an engineer. It’s also great to hear advice from a producer, and somebody to bounce crazy ideas off, that’s sometimes work! Ableton for me is very good, as I’m a ‘fiddler’ when making music. I try something, and then adjust it to see how it sounds. I drive engineers crazy. But sometimes it’s that fiddling and tweaking that can elevate a track.
I say it started as a remix and with Paul engineering, however a year later and as I say the remix hadn’t been released. I’d always wished it was an original track. Paul had started working on his own projects and his album, and I started working with Jay Gilbert at Scrutton Street Studios in Shoreditch, and I asked the label could I take the parts out from the remix, and make the track my own… and a few days later with Jay, this is what came out! Again a similar set up with jay to Paul and Ableton the DAW of choice. And some more fiddling.
So basically a remix that became an original, engineered by two different people.
You are also offering a DJ mix alongside the tracks. How would you describe the art of DJ’ing in 2019? And how would you compare it with the past?
The digital age has changed D J-ing a lot. The equipment has aided the DJ a lot. The ability to loop, use FX, basically re-edit the track on the fly has certainly helped my style of DJ-ing so much. I absolutely love using CDJ 2000’s and Pioneer mixes when playing out. It suits my style of DJ-ing. I DJ in a progressive style. I don’t think that I am a progressive house DJ, as I don’t think I actually play ‘progressive’… but I start at one point and like to build, to increase the energy as the set is flowing. It’s great for adding cheeky fills and FX on the fly.
DJ-ing for me has always followed that pattern. Even since I was a mobile disco DJ at weddings and the likes. I knew to start subtle and the evening should flow. Much in the same way, you wouldn’t go and see your favourite band, and they lay all of the big tunes early in the set and then leave you a bit underwhelmed. Musical programming is an art. I am a geeky nerd with stiff like that. I use to stand and study DJ’s in clubs like Cream for years.
I think other musical genres don’t have this musical flow so much, and its ‘let’s play as many big tunes in a row’. If it works for them cool, but its juts not how I like to do things when I play.
Can you tell us about how you first got into Dance Music, which were the most important clubs for you at the time, and how would you describe the club culture in Liverpool today? (Where can people get to hear you play?)
I wanted to be a radio DJ. I was about 13. I had no idea what it entailed, but it looked great. This was about 84’ish. Around then I was listening to a hand full of radio shows on BBC radio Merseyside. James Klass who played Hip Hop and the likes and Terry Lenanine ‘Keep On Truckin’ (and then later Kenny James who presented that show). I was buying Electro albums, and had discovered listening / watching DMC mixing championship videos!
As time went by, must have been 86/87 my friend Rick Houghton got a Mcgregor double deck system, and we started doing mock radio shows and running mobile disco’s. I spent all of the money I earnt buying records that I loved and building up my classic disco/soul collection and of course this new stuff to me called house music.
I ended up stalking radio DJ’s like Kenny James and Pete Waterman, and used to go and sit in on their radio shows, it was amazing! I was this fresh faced kid (no chance of me getting in to clubs) watching live radio shows and chatting to the presenters and learnt so much.
The label is following all this with release number 100, again featuring a number of impressive artists. Tell us about what it means for you and Dave Seaman to reach that milestone?
It felt like it was a thing to celebrate, it’s quite an achievement I suppose in this day and age to hit 100 releases. Its never been about the money for us running a label, which is a good job really..! It’s certainly a labour of love. Another string to your bow so to speak. And so it seemed right to make a big thing of it.
What is quite odd, is that I still feel like we are a fairly new label – time flies when you’re having fun I suppose. This is my first label, and so I’m constantly learning. I’d done a lot of things in the music industry, but it was the label that was the big one for me, the thing that eluded my musical and I love doing it. And I know Dave does too. We both wish we could spend more time running the day to day things, but we both sandwich the work for the label in between our other jobs and family life, which I suppose thinking about it, makes the achievement of 100 releases quite a milestone.
So we thought we needed to light a bit of a firework with this one – so we used 5 tracks from our 5th birthday release – where we asked lots of artists to collaborate to make us a track – and we hand-picked some of those gems, and got some hot new remixes made, which all in all ends up being a rather big team assembled to help us celebrate.
Andre Hommen and D-Nox & Beckers remixed Mine and Dave’s ‘Repeat Offender’, Doc Martin remixed Gorge & Joeski’s ‘Jogo’ track, Petar Dundov remixed Luke Brancaccio & Tim Healeys ‘I Hear Voices’, and Moonwalk have remixed Cristoph & Quivvers ‘In Name Only’, and Kotellet & Zadak have remixed Guy Mantzur & Lonya’s gem ‘Dynasty’, which aint too shabby a collection of musical friends if we do say so ourselves.
How do you feel about the overall quality of electronic music, given the competition generated by the internet and the easy access people now have to becoming producers etc?
It’s a double edged sword – there is so much terrible music, on half-baked labels with no quality control, made by people who don’t know much about making a tune, who don’t make it sound good, and use pre-sets galore and loops, with shoddy artwork and no promotion – which is all fine – however those said artists get annoyed when their music doesn’t do well.
You have to put the effort in. You don’t have to release every track you make. You don’t have to throw out half-baked ideas. You make a statement when you release a track – as an artist, a label and a remixer. It’s your musical legacy. I have tracks that are finished that are decent but I won’t release as they don’t reach the standard that I want to achieve.
I said it was a double edged sword – as on the other hand, there is so much great new music coming, that it is overwhelming. Week by week there is enough great new music lands to almost completely change your set. Masses of the stuff. And across genres too. Especially for somebody like me who like Hot Toddy’s nu-disco grooves, Patrice Baumels dancefloor energy and drive, Jon Hopkins chilled flavours, Matadors epicness, and Renato Cohens dirtiness. There’s so much, it’s difficult to keep up, but what a lovely problem to have!
On a personal level producing wise, it makes me really push myself to put the additional work in. If you don’t think your music can compete alongside this great music we have in abundance, then there’s no point releasing it.
You also run SMP3 Music Promo and SMP3 Music Management. Can you tell us about those and the other things you are involved with? How would you describe a typical working day (or night)?
Its music all day and every day for me. I run SMP3 Music promo – i work with 40+ labels, and new ones starting weekly, getting the music they release to handpicked DJ’s that are suited t the music for that specific release. It’s a skill I learnt working in record shops. The personal touch, it makes a lot of difference to the DJ, who is more likely to react to a promo if they know I only send them suitable music… and so better for the label, as this gets them better DJ feedback. I work with Sudbeat, Selador, Hope/Soundgarden, Replug, babiczstyle for the melodic vibes… Oscillate, Frau Blau, New Violence and Yousefs Carioca for the deeper stuff and a whole stack more.
I also use my same trainspotter / record shop skills in another part of my job – I am a music sourcer for Sasha, Dave Seaman, Behrouz and Sander Kleinenberg, where I basically find them music to play each week. I sold them all music when I worked in 3 Beat – so it’s basically the digital version of that. I listen to promos, chase labels for exclusives and buy at Beatport plus vinyl at 3B records to find the freshest new music for these guys. I’m not picking what they are playing – I am just filtering down the best new music weekly, much ion the same way I gave them a stack of vinyl to check each week when I was in 3 Beat.
Then I have my weekly radio show on Bliss Radio called ‘The Factory’, so i spend time putting that together, and it’s something that I Love doing. I love live radio. I love chatting about music and mixing live, I have always found it very exciting. Maybe when I finally grow up, it’s what I’d like to do all day every day, a full time radio DJ… but obviously I’d want 100% free range of the music I played!
And then I do all of the Selador stuff – Dave and I don’t have rolls as such, we each do a bit of everything. We are both busy doing other things alongside the label, so we seem to know when the other one is manic, and run with it. We love it. We really do. Again, something I’d love to do as a full time job…
And finally. How do you see the future of Dj’ing, record promotion and the results of music streaming?
I think everybody needs to embrace technology. The vinyl only purists or people who look down on people that use CDJ’s for example are just going to fade away, times change, and if you don’t, you’re going to be left behind. If you look back through history, the invention of vinyl upset people, as radio stations thought that nobody would listen to radio if they had vinyl… people said cassettes would kill the music scene… people said mp3’s would kill the scene… and streaming again would be one step further to putting a nail in the music industries coffin, and yet here we all are, still loving what we are loving and still listening to music.
I now send promo’s in my day job, from my mac, that people can react to on their phone while offline sitting on an aeroplane, and have the tune waiting for them in their dropbox when they get to the hotel for a gig… technology is great, and yes it can be scary, but you have to embrace it.
Surely one day in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to mix on your phone in a club, streaming tracks from Beatport streaming (or wherever) over Wi-Fi/5G to your crowd, whilst also doing the visuals for the venue on the same phone, that is live streaming to other venues, while other people watch it streamed in their home, while the artist is interacting on social media with them all at the same time, whilst also sending the metadata so the artist and label get instantly paid for their music being played. It’s probably not that far away when you think about it.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty Mat. Let’s begin with your new single for Awesome Soundwave: Kic 8462852. Tell us about the story behind the title and what inspired this particular fascination?
Hello, thanks for having me… well the track title came from an object in deep space that baffled scientist’s around the world , they thought they had found an Alien megastructure that was collecting solar energy, because of the light fluctuations. I found it fascinating, most of my track titles come from Celestial inspiration.
How did your relationship with Carl Cox and Christopher Coe aka Awesome Soundwave first came about?
I have only met Carl a couple of times, but he has been incredibly supportive of my music since around 2006. He’s played most of the records I’ve made on his radio show. I would love to tell you how I got the music to Carl , cos there is a story to it … but I can’t tell you as it’s a secret … and I’d get into trouble! I haven’t met Chris yet as he lives in Australia, but we’ve become friends over the last six months and he’s quite the gentleman and also a real talent in the studio. It’s been great working with them and there is more to come..
Talk us through how you produced the track, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
I use protools to make music and old and new synths. I don’t use midi, I just play everything in live and chop it up. I worked with my friend Burty and have used him as a session musician, some tracks take months other a couple of days, this one seemed to be a quick process, I also have to give a close friend props on this one, I can’t say his name as you all know him but he gave me a little brief before I made the track. All the tracks come from different places in my head …. so I don’t feel like I repeat myself much.
Love the cover art. Please tell us about it?
It’s by a guy called Gustave and he lives in Holland.. it’s part of a larger picture that reveals itself in the final instalment of this project.
The space theme continues with, Solar your third album (also due on Awesome Soundwave). Tell us about some of the things which have inspired the making of the album – are there any particular influences outside of the world of electronic music too?
Well I named most of the album after a book that was written in the second century called The Almagest… it was written by a greco roman called Ptolmey. It’s the first real publication about the stars and planetary models, deeply interesting stuff. Also there’s a link between the album title and my studio too, as it runs on Solar Energy, I have a huge amount of solar panels and I sell the Electricity back to the national grid. I’ve had this system for nine years now and I sold half my studio to afford it in 2010, I managed to buy my equipment back in three and half years, from the profits. Some people seem to think the most important element In electronic music is the kick drum, I believe it to be Electricity.
Which synthesiser could you not live without and why?
I love synths and I have an obsession with them, but I’ll have to say they are just material objects, I’d like to say I can live without materials objects..
There is an amazing picture of a beautiful table you have created for your studio. It must take pride of place. Can you tell us about the process of making it? And how does the physical act of creating something compare with making music on a computer?
The idea for that table was to build something that was at standing up high so that I was in the same position I would be when I performed… I’ve always thought it to be a bit weird how we make electronic music sitting down yet we listen to it and perform it standing up… I’m sure there is something in there… with energy flows. The tree came down in a storm in 2015 my friend mentioned it to me and I was like I’ll take it. We chopped it up and I was left with a huge lump of wood with the bark still on it, I had to let the tree dry before I treated it, that actually took me two years as I wanted to do it naturally instead of in a kiln. Then it took three months worth of sanding and varnishing… in some ways the table is quite ugly as it is rather odd, I think all creativity is kinda the same, you just have to make every element to the best of your vision.
What are your feelings on nostalgia in music? And what are the most important elements that signify music when becomes timeless – Can you name a piece of music (of any genre) that for you is?
I think nostalgia is personal to you and you alone, time and places spring to mind – even people that are not into music still have association when they hear a certain track. I think it’s what was happening in their life at the time that is evoked through music. I’ve got too many influences like that to mention and they start at around five years old and still coming… before I was old enough to go to school my mum owned an Aerobics Centre . My mum made me go record shopping to Woolworths to collect music to play to the ladies and men whilst they worked out. I remember hearing Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body on a compilation….propa wtf moment…..
And finally. Where can people get to hear you DJ next? Can you also tell us about the experience of putting the live show together?
I’ll be performing the album live this summer and a tour soon to be confirmed.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Spencer. Let’s start with the forthcoming Record Store Day on April 13. You have an incredible 35 releases due out. Can you give us an idea of the amount of work which has gone into making that actually possible?
Overall, we started work on this straight after RSD last year with some of the titles spanning years of negotiations to land. A lot depends on trust and building relationships with labels and license holders. The start point is drawing up a target list of records we would like to release for RSD, and then it can be a long process to get agreements in place. Once finalised, they are submitted to RSD and at that point, they are sent off to manufacture. From December I myself worked solely on RSD releases for 2 months making sure all titles were pressed in time and I’d like to think it ran smoothly this year…we’re getting quite good at this!
I have to add while some people are supercilious toward RSD I can’t see the problem with getting people together at record stores across the land under the banner of music…and I remember the bad old days of stores closing by the tens (and twelves), so remember fully how and why this day came about and why it should be so cherished.
The releases span everything from Jazz-Funk to Disco to Acid House featuring both new and re-issued music. Can you tell us about some of your favourites and about the process of how you go about re-releasing older music?
Yes, I think it’s our widest year with regard to genres covered, good music is good music so we wanted to show as much as we could. From 50-year-old crooner, easy listening jazz via The Peddlers, “on a clear day”, to a brand-new EP from Detroit’s own Norm Talley on Landed Records, we covered many bases. Most releases are via deals with ongoing partners where we aim to dig a little deeper on some re-issues while others are linked to formats…the surprise fact that Teddy Pendergrass’s “You can hide from yourself” has never officially been released on 12” before being a standout example for why something NEEDS to come out! The Garfield Fleming 12” is a personal fave and something that I’ve worked on for a long long time…I’m very pleased to be the one to get that back out there for a new generation to love all over again.
There’s an obvious question of nostalgia here. What would you say is the difference between musical history and nostalgia. And do you think either are ever more important than the here and now?
This question follows on from the last really; regarding re-issues, its primarily about bringing classic and not so classic sounds from yesteryear and bringing them back for generations that missed it last time and don’t have the funds to dip into the “antique roadshow” realms of £50 to £200 for a piece of vinyl. It should be “music for all” shouldn’t it? The extra bonus is that this way the artist gets paid for their work from yesteryear.
At Prime you distribute both Vinyl and CD. What would your advice be to someone planning on setting up a record label releasing vinyl, and what do you see the advantages being?
The obvious advantages on Vinyl is the kudos this brings a label, and not just with the deep collectors. To get the music out on a physical format, especially for a new label is not a light under taking. It requires investment of both time and money, and often it takes a while for the label to gain sufficient traction to get the attention of the key buyers to support the release. For labels who are able to reach that point, they then leave their calling cards in shops and web stores across the world. They can also directly service their fans with physical product, so labels who can sustain a physical presence get an advantage over digital only releases on a few different levels.
I’d like to think we’re the good guys so absolutely approachable, we listen to everything we’re sent, and even if we don’t believe we can help a label, we’ll always aim to give them advice. I think that’s our success so far and always will be…plus we’re just about to turn 16 so no need to have that sneaky fag behind the bike-sheds, we can puff out our chests, being proud of what we do.
How is the CD marketplace and how do you see the future of CD, along with other formats?
CD within our scene has shrunk enormously and now only selected labels have success with this format. For us the main labels that have a brand presence with a club, event or tour, only really see CD as a viable proposition. There are still ways that it can be worthwhile, but a lot depends on the units that are being pressed but generally it is now becoming a fairly niche format within the music we cover as a whole.
What are your views on music streaming and how the artists get paid as a result?
Streaming is a contentious one, but for me its absolutely down to who you are as a label or an artist. We have labels that do very well financially and many many labels that use Spotify and alike correctly to widen their reach and exposure. We also have labels that earn very very little from it and others that chose to ignore it altogether.
We’ve seen huge, playlisted tracks explode and streaming is a vital cog in that happening.
Can you tell us about your own background, how you got into music and who the most important artists for you?
I started record collecting at 9 (The Specials/The Specials LP, bought on the Record stall at Deptford Market 1979!), by my teens I was into Reggae, Hip Hop then that thing called House and became a DJ (when it was for nerds only), which turned to be a fair to middling success. Then, in my 20’s began working in the music industry so I can’t really remember when I wasn’t into music. The “career” happened once DJ’ing took off in the early 90’s so a needed a job that suited my passion hence an entry level position in a rather big distribution company and it kind of grew…now I’m proud to work with the greatest team at Prime that I’d call friends. We’ve a combined 250+ years industry experience which must put us at some kind of Yoda level. 10’000 hours you say? Pffft!…can you imagine the opinions flying around the room when we’re having a label management/sales talk?
With 500+ labels at Prime I’d never be able to pick an artist, its just impossible, but I am as enthused with Prime signing a new label from young talents starting out as I am licensing an absolute classic from back in the day.
And finally. Tell us about your plans for the future of Prime Direct Distribution?
New accounts are continuing to open up in weird and wonderful locations in what has been for a while, a thriving scene. We are always looking to widen our coverage, and to keep our offerings interesting for those stores. The re-issue and edits scene are both strong, and we are drawing the two together, with official re-edits of classic tracks. We are also very focused on new material, and breaking new artists and labels, as this will always be what drives the industry forward, that constant pushing of new boundaries, discovering new sounds. We mix the old and the new, be that in terms of the music we put out, or the formats they are available on. People all have different preferences on what they like as well as how they consume music, our aim is to offer labels and stores as much choice as possible. And to keep finding the treasure for tomorrow’s diggers and headsy club-folk alike.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Per Hammar. Let’s begin with your new single due out on INFUSE: Conscious EP which you have co-produced alongside Rossko. Tell us about how you got introduced to each other and how have you found the experience of co-producing, as opposed working as a solo artist?
Hey! It actually all started with a high five in the booth at Watergate here in Berlin. I was supposed to play the closing set, and was ready to take over from Ross when he drops a track from me and Edvin Wikner,”Lindström”.
We hadn’t met before, and I thought he played the track since I was there, but he hadn’t seen me. So I was like “Nice one! high five” And he responded High five!”Who are you by the way?!” The day after we had coffee and then we produced for one year.
Since I’ve started to make music by myself over a decade ago, I’ve only done a few collaborations. I need the space to be able to try stuff and do weird things without explaining why. Also I need to feel relaxed. Not many producers can give me this, but Ross is definitely one of them.
The first track on the EP: Unconscious is a brilliant combination of sights, sound and voices. Can you talk us through how the piece was created, including the more unconventional pieces of software/ hardware you used in the production?
A funny thing with this track is that it was actually the first track we ever started together. Even if it kinda came together smoothly, it did take at least 15 sessions. We had 3-4 different drafts that we played during the weekends for research. We just started jamming in my studio with my usual suspects: The eurorack, x0xb0x, Yamaha DX-27 and tons of Roland RE-301. For all the little blips and glitches we used a Форманта УДС, a Ukrainian drum machine from the 80’s USSR. During one of our lunch breaks we found a cassette with hypnosis exercises in a box of trash on the sidewalk, Neukölln style. Back in the studio we recorded it and used it as a vocal in the track.
You recently celebrated your eight year anniversary of Kiloton in Malmö, Sweden (the club who co-run with Kajsa Lindström). Eight years is a long time these days. What do you put the success of the night down to, and what do you feel can be offered by regular nights that one-off festivals cannot?
At the night during our first birthday party I remember one of the owners of the venue telling me”Thanks for a great year! Let’s aim for one more, yeah?” Indicating that it would be cool, but let’s see how it goes. Suddenly we’re here 8 years later. I think the most important ingredient is to work with real people that you can communicate with. Someone needs to be the party pooper that sometimes say no to things due to financial reasons, and you need someone that says yes to things so you don’t ending up in a loop of planning.
Malmö is a small city with a very tight scene. If you’re true to the crowd, they will be true back.
You are originally from Sweden and now live in Berlin. How would you describe the two cities and what has living in each taught you?
That’s a really interesting question. I questioned it myself a lot while living in Malmö. Compared to other cities around the world with around 300.000 citizens, Malmö has an outstanding scene. We have a few artists heading from here. Minilogue/Sebastian Mullaert, DJ Seinfeld, Kontra Musik and Patrick Siech to name a few. When I moved there in 2007 until a few years ago the electronic scene was thriving. There was underground parties driven by enthusiastic people pretty much in the city center. You could go out and see big international DJ’s Fridays and Saturdays on a wide selection of clubs. On top of that we had a quite big punk scene, squatting houses where they threw techno parties. The whole scene was, and still is, intimate and very friendly. Something really special actually. The pulse of the community gave me the energy to keep on doing what I wanted. And for many years I didn’t wanna be anywhere else.
Which is not a completely common thought, when most people working with something cultural in Sweden move to Stockholm. Things changes and so did Malmö, and I felt I wanted more of the belonging to the scene. Then Berlin was the obvious choice. It’s the completely opposite of the friendly scene in Malmö, but on the other hand I met so many new friends and created so much more music than I ever did before.
Your music has a very free-flowing, almost improvisational quality to it. You are your main influences both within and outside of electronic music – any particular writers, poets, painters or musicians?
It’s nice to hear that you notice that. I used to be inspired by music within the electronic dance music genre. But more and more I’m enjoying to start with a completely clean slate. Wake up in the morning and hit the coffee maker. Do a quick beat and jam on the euro rack and dub things through my tape delays and spring reverbs. I often ending up doing takes that are 2, 3, 4 minutes long. Maybe it only loops once or twice during the whole track. It’s actually a bit contradictory since loopy, distinct stuff is what matters on the floor. But this is just how I do, I guess.
But I can’t hide that I’m very influenced by the scrappy stripped sound of older dub cuts. The simplicity and rawness of stripping everything down to just the beat, and let the musical parts just come in once in a while drowned in space echoes, phasers and reverbs. Just on and on and on. No hooks no nothing. It’s like meditation, you know.
You run two record labels: Dirty Hands and 10YEARS. Tell us about what for you the positive and minus factors of doing so are in 2019?
My labels gives me the security of being able to do exactly what I want. The minus is that if I do exactly what I want, there’s no filter between my brain and the rest of the world.
To make sure to stand out of the ocean of new labels during past years, one trick was to give your music out on vinyl to show that at least someone believe in the music on the record. When everyone adapt to that concept, the vinyl sales drops of course. Despite that, 10YEARS will remain as an outpost for mine and Maya’s (Parallax Deep) more minimal sounding productions, which fits good for the vinyl format in my opinion. Dirty Hands works more like an umbrella for all my creative ideas. Besides the vinyl’s I’ll keep on doing label parties, mix tape cassettes, clothes and stuff. There is no limitation really.
Talk us through a typical working day (or night) in your studio. How has the space evolved, and do you have one keyboard or instrument which you couldn’t live without?
I like to hit the studio as early as possible. My productivity window is between 10:00 and 14:00. I often work in bursts of a few hours. Long sessions and tired ears is not for me. I have a few things that I literally can’t be without. The Roland RE-301, Fender spring reverbs and my tape recorders for example. My two cases of euro rack modules would also be hard to live without these days.
What does DJ’ing mean for you? What do you seek to convey to people when you play?
I’m not trying to say something with the music I play in my DJ sets. It’s instrumental rhythms with a bass on it. It’s made for dancing. And if it trigger a feeling in someone on the floor, it’s something personal I think. Everyone has their own angle to the music, and I think it’s nice to leave it like that. It’s not complex art or something.
To me it’s a pleasure to work around people that just want to let go of everyday life for a minute and just enjoy. And it’s a huge honor to be able to play my own productions and get feedback in return from the crowd that I can use in the studio.
And finally. Tell us about your forthcoming plans for the future?
2019 is busy! First up is mine and Rossko’s”Conscious EP”, which drops on Infuse March 29th. Three tracker 12”.
In April, me and Malin Génie will drop the first EP in our new collaboration series,”Scania EP” on Malin Génie Music. Our next record will drop later this summer.
Later in the spring there will be a new 10YEARS record, 10YEARS12. It’s a 12” split with me and Parallax Deep called “Trim/External”.
After that I’ll drop a track called Short Waves on the London label Planetary Notions, a 12” V/A in May.
The a V/A track with Malin Génie on Berg Audio in June.
And finally there will be new Dirty Hands record. This time from Edvin Wikner and his track,”Skritt”. Comes with a remix from me and Rowlanz. More info about that soon!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Pedro. It felt like a breath of fresh air today listening to your excellent new single: She Is EP (Wolf Music Recordings). Tell us about how your relationship with the record label first came about and how they have supported you with this second release?
I first met the WOLF guys when trying to find a record label to release my last record – Pedro & Jenna Camille, This is What I am Going Through EP. I met Sharon at Shine PR, she liked my record and passed it down to WOLF. I guess this second record just came as a natural progression from there.
I was wondering who the ‘She’ referred to in the title was?
“She is” is the centerpiece of the record. I made it in the summer of 2016, before the Jenna Camille record, at a time when I was just playing with things that came naturally to me. I guess the concept of ‘She’ varies with time and place, so I can’t really give you a precise answer. I remember that particular summer was quite harsh, because as I was making music everyday and continually trying to push my boundaries. The sample popped off “she is true” and I just went with it.
You are originally from Porto, Portugal and have recently moved to Barcelona. What do the two cities mean to you and how does each reflect on you musically?
I moved to Barcelona to pursue my Masters in Sound and Music Computing, but while doing it I found something that I was missing in Porto. I found a community of people that look at music the same way as I do. People like Damián Botigué aka Karmasound (@damienbotigue), Abu Sou (@canelaensurco), Ivy (@ivybarkakati), Hector Rubbio (@surco__) and the people at Discos Paradiso (@discosparadiso) really welcomed me into the city.
How would you best describe the word, Jazz? And what is about it that makes it so special for you?
I wouldn’t dare try to describe it but guitarist Bill Frisell said something that resonates with me: “Jazz is not so much a style as a way of thinking, a process of transforming what’s around you”
Tell us about how your label Hear, Sense and Feel was set-up and your plans for it?
Hear, Sense and Feel was set up to release my most personal records: for and with the people around me. I haven’t pressed more than 50 copies and the artwork is always done by my friend Sara Polja. The first 7″ – B – was a compilation of tracks that I made for someone very special and the next release is a single-sided 10″ that I made with Damián Boutigué.
Please talk us through how, She Is was produced? Can you tell us about your studio set-up and how you like to approach creating music?
That summer was pretty special as I was exploring the boundaries between playing and sampling. Part of the song is played (piano and guitar) and the rest is sampled (drums and horns). I sequenced everything with my mpc2000xl and ran every track into the mixing desk. I improvised an arrangement and that was it.
The set up is constantly changing as I adapt it according to the music I want to create, but right now I am writing a lot with my guitar and piano.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I am really into acoustic guitar.
You also DJ. Tell us about how you first got into that and where can people hear you play?
I started djing after releasing my first record back in 2015.I really enjoy sharing the records that make me excited about creating. Since arriving in Barcelona I played a couple of parties and did some radio shows.
And finally. What does the rest of 2019 hold in store?
I am looking forward to release the 10’ on HSF and I am also finishing some tracks for a future EP.Besides that I have tracks in 2 different compilations from Portugal: Discos Paraiso and Toolicreme.
Let’s start with your journey through being born in Warsaw, having then lived in Berlin, and you are now based in based in Shenzhen, China. That’s quite a distance covered. What’s the story behind your travels and how does life compare now to having lived in Europe?
I moved to Berlin when I was only 2 years old and it feels like one of the most important events in my life that influenced my taste and aroused the need for traveling. So I feel really thankful to my parents for this. We returned to Warsaw at the beginning of my primary school times, but I would travel back and forth between the two cities until about 20 years later when I decided to move back to Berlin on my own. All my life I was thinking of relocating somewhere south, to live by the ocean, you know, someplace warm, but I felt like moving back to Berlin was something I had to do first to complete this past experience.
Meanwhile, in the 20 years since, Berlin has become one of the most important and vibrant cities for electronic music. This was a very convenient excuse to relocate and further develop my musical career.
At the same time I was still dreaming of living in a much warmer place, away from winter and maybe that’s why I liked Shenzhen and Hong Kong on the spot. Those two cities were the first places I have visited in Asia when I attended ChoP experimental music festival in 2013. I met great, friendly and like-minded people and felt at home immediately. I moved to Shenzhen in 2014. I wasn’t sure how long I would stay here. It was supposed to be temporary, 2 years maybe. Almost 5 years have passed now and I’m still here…
Your first release of 2019 is with Nirosta Steel – Go Back on Compost Disco. Talk us through how the track was created and produced, including any favourite items of software/ hardware you like to use?
I first met Steven (Nirosta Steel) in Hong Kong at the empty Premium Sofa Club one afternoon when I came there for a meeting with Johnny Hiller, who then introduced us. I was always a huge fan of Arthur Russell so meeting someone who was so close to him felt really special. Steven was touring Asia with his project “Arthur’s Landing” where he performs cover versions of Russell’s songs with local musicians. I helped him to quickly form a band in Shenzhen and invited him to perform at my Lavo jazz bar. The concert was fantastic and we have stayed in touch since then. A year later we have organized a little Arthur Russell lecture and music workshop in the first location of Vinylhouse recordstore. Vinylhouse was really tiny at that time, just a section inside a small indie fashion boutique. People who came to listen to Steven, were just sitting on the floor on pillows, close to each other and around him as he was telling stories of Arthur and the old bohemian New York scene, singing and playing his acoustic guitar, all unplugged. After that I invited him to my studio to jam. I loaded one of my unfinished grooves in Ableton, Steven grabbed my Dongguan-made Telecaster 1963 replica and recorded some rhythm guitar takes. He asked me to show him where to press the “record” button and asked me to leave him alone in the room for a few minutes. He said “I will surprise you”. I’ve set the microphones and everything and left him there for about 20mins until he came out saying “OK, it’s ready, you’re the cook now”.
I checked to the recording after he left my apartment.
Sometime later after the arrangement and basic mix was ready I invited Huiming Li to record the bamboo flute. I met Huiming back in 2013 at the ChoP festival. I remember I was really impressed with his solo performance at Mist House Art Gallery on top of the Wutong Mountain. Huiming was just about to leave China, so we had to rush with the recording. It was really the last chance to have him in the studio before he left to Canada.
The last ingredient that added that jazzy feel to the song was Arnold Boesack’s improvised, very random takes, played on my Juno-DS61. Arnold played with Steven at Lavo before so he was very happy to join this project.
The making of this song was spread in time but done very quickly basically, with a very limited set up that I had here at home: Microkorg XL, Yamaha Reface CP (with it’s incredible build in tape delay effect!), Juno-DS61, Telecaster 1963 replica, Fender Pawn Shop Offset Special, Jazz Bass 1975 and a Shure sm7b microphone. All mixed “in the box” with Ableton Live and a few Waves plug-ins: CLA Bass, CLA Vocals, Kramer Tape. Oh, and the Boss RE-20 Space Echo pedal used for some feedback noises. Maybe a few more things like a broken Kaossilator and percussion samples of course… Steven also shared with me a few Arthur Russell production tricks on, for example, how he would mix the vocals with the flute together. A lot of the song’s character comes from leaving some little parts raw and imperfect, not quantized, too loud or too quiet.
Tell us about one of your first musical loves Flamenco and Jazz. Who have been the most inspirational artists for you? And what are the unique qualities found in those particular styles?
I grew up listening mostly to rock, flamenco and jazz. I started playing classical guitar when I was 8. Paco de Lucia was my hero. For some reason the gypsy scales felt always somehow more natural to me and easier to learn and play. You don’t really hear it in my electronic music productions, because I’m very careful not to put it in the wrong context.
I stopped performing publicly as a guitarist long time ago, still in high school. I never really performed excessively, but appeared on local TV, performed some charity events, in theatre’s, won a couple of “young talent” awards, you know. Now I don’t practice anymore, I just fool around with my Amalio Burguet flamenco guitar alone at home. It’s like meditation.
After I started playing bass, naturally my first idol was Carles Benavent (from Paco de Lucia’s band). Listening to a lot of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Tomasz Stanko, Toshinori Kondo (who I was lucky to meet in 2009 in Warsaw), made me want to learn the trumpet. Some other jazz musicians and composers that really inspired me and from who’s records I was learning better than from any teacher, were Dizzy Gillespie – especially his album with Machito: “Afro Cuban Jazz Moods” (still one of my strict top 10 albums of all time), Lalo Schifrin, Herbie Hancock, Archie Shepp, Philip Cohran, John Zorn (particularly Masada), Bill Laswell,.. the list is long. And besides, I was listening to all different genres at the same time, to everything I could find in local stores, from classical music to techno and from punk rock to disco, a lot of reggae, trip hop, future jazz and house obviously. Sometimes it would be just a single song that would have a strong influence, like Karing Krog – The Meaning of Love, or Shirley Hamilton – Take Me Back. Or X-101 – Sonic Destroyer (laugh).
More recently, around the time I recorded “Gin ‘n’ Tears” (2013), Uku Kuut’s music (RIP <3) had a big impact on my own way of production – he’s Vision of Estonia LP felt like an enlightening to me.
You have presented a long-standing radio programme: The Input Output Putput Show. Can you tell us about the concept behind the show, and about the types of music you play?
I can’t believe I’m still doing it (laugh). I started this weekly show back in 2005. The radio station has changed the owner and name 3 times since then. Right now it’s only online. I am pre-recording my 1 hour mixes and sending it to the HQ in Warsaw to broadcast it because I can’t rely on the internet quality to stream it live anymore. Also the 7h time different could make it difficult sometimes.
Of course I skipped or replayed a few shows during these 14 years but most of the time I was still preparing it on time every week. I had a lot of amazing guests too: Tadashi Yabe (U.F.O.), Tyree Cooper, Georg Levin, Daz-I-Kue (Bugz In The Attic), nd_baumecker, Uku Kuut, Gonno, Opolopo, Snuff Crew, And.Id, Ben Mono..
The shows are in the form of a DJ mix. I always try to play tracks that would build a story, make sense being played after another and I would still try to do some mini transitions even if the songs won’t really mix. I hardly prepare the playlists though, I improvise, I play records I just bought or rediscovered and I’m trying to quickly figure out, sometimes in panic, what I should play next while the previous song is on. There are no limits stylistically. The radio station trusts me and allows me to play anything I like and it’s a blessing. Of course, I am aware that now my radio shows are broadcasted on Wednesdays 6-7PM so I wouldn’t play like it’s a Saturday night. And in the end it’s a jazz radio station, so I want to share recordings that have a similar quality, are musically rich even if I play dance tracks.
How important is variation in music for you, can you tell us about your personal philosophy when it comes to DJ’ing and Producing?
There are so many great tracks in any genre, how could I limit myself to follow just a narrow path, it would feel like a mistake. Sure, you can perfect your skills and be an expert in just one musical style but without listening to other styles, that are so accessible right now, you are simply missing a lot. As a producer I am trying to grasp all the different musical approaches and techniques to develop my musical personality. It’s exciting and rewarding. Of course I might not have the same deep knowledge as someone who specializes in and grows up with one specific genre and its environment, but this might be just how I can add something different, new and unpredictable to it, still trying to be respectful of course. I like to collaborate with different artists from around the world for the same reasons and those unusual combinations and unexpected results are most interesting for me.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Sally. Let’s begin with the exciting news of a new album from yourselves after over a decade: Farmarama. The obvious question is why has 2019 felt right to return?
We did a few live shows a couple of summers ago – we had a new way to perform the music, new machines, we started sampling our own records – it was fun but didn’t satisfy because there was no new material there. We’ve done so much musically since we last released an A Man Called Adam record, we wanted to make something that brought all these new techniques and ideas together with the good things from the past. It just took a while for us to get a whole album together.
One of the things I love most about the album is the way it plays with senses and sensibilities grooving between styles and moods. Who were the most important influences for you when creating the music?
Well I hadn’t thought of it but I guess we’ve made a lot of experimental music in the last few years – creating atmospheres for radio plays or museums or whatever. Steve attended some fairly serious improv workshops in Paris and brought that to our work. I DJ’d a lot and brought the dancefloor to the tracks. John Cage meets Eddie C?
The production sounds wonderfully rich. What would you attribute those qualities to?
We build things up then break them down, refine them then shake them up again. Right at the end you have to get the chaos back into them, they have to have energy. We’ve overproduced things in the past so all that improv and experimental ‘see what happens’ type music we’d made helped us with that. We also worked on some of the tracks with our friend Paul Smith – he’s jazzy and riffy – so for us it was a perfect trinity. Steve = bonkers art music, Sally = beats n’ rhymes, Paul = catchy riffs and jazzy licks. We’re good friends and working together is a lot of fun.
In broader terms how do you feel about Dance Music and culture in general? What would you say has most noticeably changed (for better or worse) since you began A Man Called Adam?
Well I feel the responsibility of being a woman in dance music more than I ever have. I’ve had little girls come to my DJ gigs with books to sign (Girls who rocked the world) or older women saying they’ve never seen a woman headline – and I feel that. My friend Lucy Williams, a brilliant young DJ, came up to me after my NYE DJ set at Outlaws and said ‘I’ve never seem a woman DJ the midnight slot on NYE before’. I mean think about it, it shouldn’t be that way – so I’m conscious of that influence and want to do right by my girls. I’m a producer, a DJ and an educator – and I want all women to feel those possibilities are there for them. And musically there is so much ace new stuff around, plus all that obscure catalogue to dig around in. It’s the best of times.
One of the standout tracks for me is: Spots of Time / Ladies Of Electronica/ Sally’s Ladies Rerub which blends hints of Kraftwerk, intense breakbeats and vocals, alongside a memory of Daphne Oram. Can you talk us through where the original ideas came from, how the track was created and some of the synthesizers used?
Steve was really busy doing his PhD and I was itchy to do something so I made a little EP under the experimental alias we’ve used ‘Discrete Machines’. Ladies of Electronica was on it as a little Afro-breakbeat thing but I always felt it could be better with Steve’s input. And the tiny amount of people who heard it liked that track. It’s like it wouldn’t go away. There are iPad apps, Ableton packs, live instruments, Steve’s MAX MSP patches on there – my own voice is the bass on the Rerub. Spots of Time is a live improvisation, a sonic experiment. They all segued nicely together. And it pays respect to the women who did so much for the development of electronic music. It’s a hymn.
You recently road tested music from the album live at Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds. How did you recreate the music in a ‘live’ setting and how did the night go?
Yeah it’s cool. We set up all the kit and play the songs. They were composed and produced to sound as they would live so hopefully it sounds like the record – but with a lot more jeopardy! Outlaws is our home crew, they’re always there for us, and they give us a place to try things out.
2019 looks like an exciting year for music. What plans do you have for the year?
To re-boot the label (Other Records) and keep writing and recording and collaborating with great people. We have Prins Thomas and Carrot Green on the first remix ep and both are amazing, generous, gifted artists. Nothing but love and respect for them both – more of that please. And gigs, loads of gigs!