Noah Souder-Russo Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Noah. Your excellent new album: Therapy is Expensive sounds like a trip through the life and times of sound and experience. How much of it is an observation of growing up in New York and do you think it would have been possible to create the same piece of music without the city?

Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and for your kind words. Conceptually, the album is very much a conversation between me and New York City; filled with love, hate and everything in between. A lot of the songs were conceived from a place of conflicted emotions about a city that has so strongly shaped my identity. Looking around and being like…”wait, this isn’t the same place I fell in love with as a kid and I’m not even sure I identify with it anymore.” I’m not sure I would have created the same piece of music elsewhere.

A few years ago I broke up with my therapist because it was really expensive and my health insurance at the time wouldn’t cover it. I channeled a lot of my frustration with NY, existential crises and a myriad of other issues into making music. The demos I made got put into a playlist called “beats I made cuz therapy is expensive.” And here are are.

The album contains many hints of different styles of music, including a nod to classical. What for you are the most important elements in making music transcendent?

I think I’ve always been drawn to the emotion behind music: the way it makes me feel, the feelings evoked, etc. Regardless of what “genre” it is. I hate to deduce it to something so general – a “vibe” or a “feeling” – but to me, that’s what it is. That’s how I grew up playing, making and listening to music. In NY, we listened to everything. We had to.

If it’s authentic and it makes me feel something I don’t care what year it was made, who made it, what instruments (or lack thereof) and so on. If you make shit that’s authentic, no one can take that away from you. To me, that’s what keeps me inspired.

Can you tell us about your connection to Flocabulary and what it means for you to be part of it?

For sure! So, I also work as a recording artist for a company called Flocabuary – a learning program for all grades that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. I write and record songs on all subjects which are later animated to videos and shown in classrooms all across North America as supplementary learning tool. I got involved with Flocab four or five years ago through my friend Lynas and have been working with them ever since.

I’ve been rapping since a teenager so it’s something that comes natural to me. I grew up freestyling in cyphers, battling in the park and making rap records with my friends. My mother, father and sister are all social workers – I’m the deviant artist child. So doing this works allows me to bridge that gap and use my talent as an emcee/writer for something greater than myself. Making and performing music can feel really self-serving at times so I’m always looking for work that I find fulfilling and meaningful in other ways. I also teach skateboarding to elementary and middle school kids through a weekly after-school program.

Can you talk us through how you created one of the tracks from the album, giving us a flavor of your studio set-up including any favorite pieces of software/ hardware you always like to use?

Sure. I have a pretty minimal set up because I get super overwhelmed with too much gear + I’m a shitty musician. I use an MPC-60 & TR-8 for most of my drum sounds. I spend a lot of time digging for samples, field recording with my Zoom recorder and tweaking sounds with plug-ins my engineer friends tell me to get. I record vocals on everything even if I end up scrapping them in the final stages or just using them as a layer in the track. My voice has always been my instrument of choice, so I try and use it as much as possible.

I don’t really have a specific formula for creating. I used to share a proper studio with friends and would come in during my time block feeling like I HAD to make shit even if I wasn’t feeling inspired. Now, I’ve moved my studio to my apt and can chase the creativity whenever it strikes.

One of my favorite songs on the album is 4eversforever. Probably because it came together really organically at a time when I wasn’t making much music or feeling creative. I was deep in a YouTube hole and stumbled on this short documentary about NYC in the 80’s and I was like, “oh this would be cool to layer into a track.” I ripped it, opened up a new session and just went from there. I had this folder of breaks my homie Devon gave me plus a ton of drum sounds I made but never used. Somewhere in the doc these dudes were letting off fireworks in the streets which I thought would be cool to add in. I chopped the drum break, arranged it with these other hits I made then laid down the bass and lead. I liked the vibe and pace of it so I tried not to overthink it and add too much more instrumentation.

I plugged my mic in and did the vocals I did in one take. I just freestyled it then played around with the pitch. The vox were initially supposed to serve as a reference which is why there’s a lot of mumbling and they aren’t that pronounced in the mix. But after I played it for a few friends, they were like, “nah, that’s it, just leave it, fuck it, it’s cool.” It’s significant because it was one of the first tracks I made where I was didn’t overthink everything. I just allowed the ideas to form naturally and then moved on to the next.

Love the cover shot for the album. Can you tell us about it, and why the choice of a black and white image?

Thanks! The original idea was to shoot an old Victorian therapist couch in the jungle but then I discovered the difficulty behind that so I decided to use a photo I took. My girlfriend and I each shoot disposables on trips we take together. This is her at the Bahai Gardens in Israel this past winter. I decided on black and white because it fit the mood of the album.

I’m also intrigued by the influences which have gone into inspiring the album. Who for you are the most important both within the musical sphere and from outside of it?

Musically, I draw inspiration from so many artists across the spectrum. I grew up on Seattle grunge, hip-hop & punk rock primarily. My parents played a lot of classical and folk around the house. My mom sang in a choir. When I first started making music I idealized producers like J Dilla, 9th Wonder, Large Professor and DJ Premier. I definitely carry that influence with me today and anytime I get stuck creatively I dig for a sample, try to be Dilla for a second, realize it’s not possible and move on. I think Dilla probably led me to Moodymann & Theo Parrish / Sound Signature who had a profound impact on me, especially when I started DJing.

Outside of the musical sphere, I’ve been really inspired by contemporary dance and movement. People’s ability to move their bodies in certain ways and the choices they make in performing is beautiful and fascinating to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Alvin Ailey here in NY and I always come away inspired. Also, my friend Lir and I worked on a video for “Mish Mish” where she directed a group of incredible dancers. Excited for that to drop.

What for you can the human voice add to music that sounds and rhythm cannot? What is the most important thing (or things) that music can say?

The human voice is the oldest musical instrument so its importance is obviously profound. The human voice can be used as a tool or instrument similar to any other you would play. I often use it as a statement or to add movement & texture to a track. The human voice devoid of the lyric is a versatile instrument.

Photo by Nick Johnson

What informed your choice to self-release the album? Would you recommend it for other artists?

The choice to self-release was tough. It truthfully came down to this: a few labels wanted to sign some of the songs but no one was interested in the whole project and it was all or nothing. For me, this album is extremely personal and even though the vibes differ throughout, there is a sonic and emotional consistency that I didn’t want to break up. I was also kind of on some “you don’t get it and I don’t need you” shit – haha. I didn’t feel like I needed to compromise. Which in today’s climate is true to some degree. You can do it on your own and control almost every aspect of the release, rollout, marketing, etc. The problem is, you don’t have a machine behind you.

My advice for those that thinking about self-releasing is save up enough money where you can invest in other aspects outside of the music itself; PR, merch, visuals, are all really important. Get creative with the rollout of your project. In my experience, if you can reach people in an interesting way on a personal level, they are more inclined to listen.

And finally. Where can people hear you play live? And what plans do you have for the remainder of the year?

I’m taking a few weeks off from playing here in NY and trying to put together a few special shows for July & August. We did a Therapy is Expensive takeover at House of Yes in Brooklyn a few months back so I’m looking forward to taking that concept to some other venues. Also working on putting together a live show that includes DJ’ing, vocals and a drum machine that I’ll hopefully get to premier soon enough. Until then, I’ll be in the streets lurking at my friend’s gigs.

If you’re in Miami I’m playing at Floyd on June 29th. Really looking forward to that one.

Thanks for the chat!


Philippa Q&A

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.


Rich NxT & East End Dubs – The Four Slip EP – FUSE

The brilliant new EP from the hands and minds of long-term FUSE resident Rich NxT along with East End Dubs does all sorts of things. Firstly, E3 delivers hot, liquid funk that stretches the bounds of tension as its wild concoction of drums, twisted sounds and dark notes all hit the spot. Feeling full of energy, brimming with creative flourishes. Next the aptly titled Bubbles continues the theme, this time via hints of Acid teasing the edges producing with another starkly invigorating slice of music.

Release: June 14


Sebastian Reynolds feat. Anne Müller & Alex Stolze – Solo Collective Part Two – Nonostar Records

When you listen to One year On, the beginning of the new album from Solo Collective you feel lost and found. Something in your subconscious gets directly plugged into the piano as the keys unfold, drifting along only to be enhanced via an assortment of strings. What happens next is, For Hazel. And what I love about Solo Collective is the rich, diverse music that they draw from when creating their own sounds. In this case a heady rush of ambience informs the piece. So it continues. The heart-stopping piano of For Mathew. The brutal industrial landscapes of Ripness Is All taunt and tease. Ending beautifully on the Solo Collective version of Holy Island.

Release: June 7


Philippa – Pronoia EP – At Peace

I love this combination of joyous, celebratory music that isn’t afraid of either melody or indeed music itself. Released on her own imprint Philippa delivers four tracks of equal merit which sit comfortably with the initial assertion. Opening with the beautifully resolute piano which drives Let Me Know you get the very definite feeling that something wonderful is happening right here and now. The feverish intent follows on the excellent I Deserve A Break Today again featuring life-affirming keys while a slinky selection of funky grooves ignite the airwaves, all positive and shiny. The generous pulses of electric piano which compel you to love the final number and title track, Pronoia complete this selection that has sunshine written hot and loud all over it.

Release: June 14


King Britt presents Sraddha – Believe EP – Stranger In The Night

It’s records like this that get you refreshed and excited all over again as Dance Music’s electronic soul gets revitalised, injecting fresh sound and ideas into the equation. Believe, twists grainy synthesized sounds through a subtle Acid mangle while pulsating drums leaving you in little doubt. The keys then take centre stage via an excellent No Drums version, leaving remaining numbers: Memories and You’re All I Need to explore deeper themes with indelible impressions always and forever present.

Release: June 7


Purveyors of Fine Funk – Ux2 – Vessel Records

Proving there is still life Disco serves up suggestion for the Metamorphic Recordings label boss Dan Curtin to creatively twist into something else. The original version blends jazzy inflections together with a whirlwind of breathy voices and blissfully aware, finely-tuned rhythms which feel spaced out, cosmically charged. Remixes come from the excellent Ron Bacardi who delivers hot basslines and furious funk like no other, alongside his explorations in breakbeats which form the Barrow Boy version. Remaining tracks: Phased Embrace sees fizzy Acid ignite, while the brutal drums of Warehouse Indiscretion sizzle and sting with intensity. Bliss.

Release: June 7


Tangerine Dream – In Search of Hades: The Virgin Recordings 1973 – 1979 – UMC/ Virgin

Tangerine Dream produced some of the craziest, most concise music ever created touching upon sublimity just as it does exhilaration. As far as musical experiences go immerse worlds of sound overlap with a weird sense of dishevelled time. In other words, the intensity delivered can be electrifying in the extreme, reaching beyond what others were achieving in similar fields as electronic music continued apace. Suitably then comes this huge undertaking as the albums they recorded for Virgin Records between 1973 and 1979 are neatly packaged into this remarkable box set. ‘Phaedra’, ‘Rubycon’, ‘Ricochet’, ‘Stratosfear’, ‘Encore’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Force Majeure’ are all present, with some tracks being newly remastered in stereo by Steven Wilson breathing a spark of fresh life. Opening via the 1974 release of the blistering, sequencer-driven sounds of Phaedra filling seventeen plus minutes of sheer brutal reality like no other – it was incidentally recorded during November 1973 at The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, England featuring the line-up of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christopher Franke. Resolving on the same album into the haunting beauty of Sequent ‘C’ is quite spectacular achieving an otherworldliness unique to synthesized sound. Again you can hear the echoes of influence transcend time. Perhaps one of the most arresting things about all this is the contrast with what else was occurring in the world of music throughout the timeframe as the albums were released. All sorts of tempting extras are also added to the experience with concert, documentary and more only compounding the bliss. But purely in terms of what transmits from the speaker to your soul a good proportion of the music contained is simply to be located somewhere else and out there.

As the decade gathered pace emphasis was placed upon more melodic reflections as motifs figured in amongst the sweeping landscapes of atmospherically rich notation. You may, like me, prefer the earlier years escaping the more rigid structures of rhythm as they explored the atmospheric expanse, predating and subsequently influencing what came after. Some of the new from their live performances from that era still sound as tantalisingly bizarre and exciting now as then.

Release: June 14


Vesy Q&A

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.


Afterlife – Everything Is Now – Subatomic

Music is about feeling. Right? The bottom line is where the depths of emotion reach out to. It may cause you to feel a, b, or c (maybe all three at once). Some music you listen to, you nod your head, and it passes by. Neither really here nor there. Functional cause and effect. Then there exists music like this. So, on that very note: Afterlife.

Steve Miller’s production guise will doubtless suggest certain things to certain people but what he has achieved with this new album is quite breath-taking. In certain part that is down to the sheer wealth of ideas which have been incorporated into this freshly imagined musical equation, defying, then defining expectation. There’s a sense of play here which doesn’t get tied down to any particular notion, or indeed feel tired after the longevity of creating music of quality for decades. There is also a sense of joy as the sounds play on. Take the second track, Back To Mine for example which contains the sort of beautifully executed chord sequence that sends shivers rushing all over the spine – the true indication of bliss. Or even the tougher dancefloor pulses sparking Berimbau to life, follow that by the deep string intensity that sees Celluloid resonate across the horizon. All of this is music exploring everything. Which then brings us right back to the title of the album – a statement in itself. But not before tasting the fragrant African flourishes of Kora, Kora, Kora and the broken rhythms of Shelter, via the Mashti remix of keynote Afterlife number: Speck of Gold, which again retells a story from the artists rich history of reference (another avenue to explore). Back to the beginning. Music is indeed all about reflecting what you feel about life, love and everything.

Release: June 7