Saudade Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally. What are your plans for moving forwards?

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

https://www.instagram.com/saudade_musik

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

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Afterlife – Into The Heat – Subatomic

Talk about perfect timing. Just as the summer heat ignites thoughts of sunnier climbs Afterlife arrives with this latest instalment of refreshments. Into The Heat begins via sun soaked rays suggesting a cosmic refrain, with echoed voices pulsating alongside the rhythm of generous percussion and soaring, celebratory keys. The expansive sounds which fuel Wanderlust then perpetuate the notion that something good is about to happen with suggestive swirls of emotive synths, sprinkles of piano and a deliberately intense expectation. Jolly Up, completes the series of originals with a four on the floor chug of driving beats accompanied by chimes of joyful resolution destined to feel hot on the sound system.

Last but not least are DJ Rocca’s remixes of Si Si Si from last year’s Naif EP. Not surprisingly the tantalising Erodisco mix replays the influence of the 1980’s into fresh movement with vocal stabs alongside a neat line in bass. The tempting colours of his most impressive Dark Arts mix finishes as introspective layers synthesized sound create dangerous corners to lose yourself in.

buy https://www.junodownload.com/products/afterlife-into-the-heat/4529278-02/

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Undo – Dark Woods EP – Factor City

This sounds like all sorts of excellence. The exciting temptation of Dark Woods starts the motion with a flurry of richly intense basslines, tough repeating beats plus the kind of commanding vocals which are too energizing to ignore. A great piece of music which references industrial EBM of the 1980’s in fresh, invigorating ways too. As does Footprintz On Mars and the more sinister rhythms of Life Is Not A Race which both confirm that initial suggestion.

Great cover Art by David Imbernon.

Release: June 23

https://www.facebook.com/djundo

https://twitter.com/djundohttps://factorcity.bandcamp.com

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junk-E-cat – Music Talks To Me – Mutterkomplex

junk-E-cat’s smoky combination of delicious Jazzy intonation alongside uncomplicated drums and Treaturette’s captivating vocals score a big plus with this release. Also the fact that just one version is all that’s required to speak volumes is likewise highly desirable. The message is in the music….

Release: June 19

https://www.instagram.com/junk_e_cat

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Gabriel Vitel – Hey Presto – Broque

I like music which can’t easily be described. It means there is more depth and curiosity hidden within, more aspects to uncover. It’s hard to pin down Gabriel Vitel’s heady whirl of cosmic psychedelia amid the tough, shuffling drums until the warm, bluesy vocal hits full on around mid-way, then things fall readily into place. That basslines rather killer too, alongside the mind-expanding guitar and celebratory sense of occasion. Ole Biege’s excellent remix reworks the elements transforming them into something altogether deeper, while again highlighting the smouldering impact of the voice.

Release: June 24

https://www.instagram.com/gabriel_vitel

https://www.broque.de/label

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Flug 8 – Electric Field – Ransom Note Records

Introspection has not been in short supply this year. Neither have feelings of loss, melancholy or even hints of joyous release. Perhaps I’m not quite ‘selling’ this to you, however this a great album fully worth your undivided attention. Beginning with the shimmering Night Effect which stuns via a causal whir of excitement as layers of sound build, lift and drop into sequence – breath-taking, emotional, eloquent. Aka Daniel Herrmann then proceeds to dazzle with each number supplying a rollercoaster of pulsating notes to inspire waves of thought. At mid-point Bubble Cell leans on a heavier intention as does the temptation of the final Cosmic Noise, though in-between Effective Height implements beauty, while Side Bands twists a tripped out Pink Floyd through the imagination of electrical interference. Perfect.

Release: June 19

http://www.theransomnote.com

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Jesse Saunders – In Their Own WORDS

Some books you just race through I guess fired up by the excitement of reading about what you love. In this case House Music and if you find yourself here you’ll know the feeling. Jesse Suanders who history records as producing the first House release: On & On in 1984 (co-credited to Vince Lawrence) charts the history of the music beginning with the diverse set of influences which informed its formation.

In turn the pure style of Disco is said by Jesse to begin with MFSB: Love Is The Message. While also saying that House Music was very much a phenomenon attributed to his native Chicago, which included the post-punk and European records also feeding into the mix, along with new drum machines, synthesizers and of course American Disco to create what became recognised as the House sound.

In Their Own WORDS soundtrack https://www.beatport.com/chart/in-their-own-words-soundtrack/626269

The intimate testimony of those who populated the clubs are what defines this book lending the pages an excitable, I was actually there, dimension which befits the energy of the story rather than a dry retelling. The chapter and verse on the Windy City documents plenty of detail you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere, creating much more depth and nuance than is usually described, expanding what happened in people’s lives and how that fed back into the clubs. To say that lives were lived as part of an underground culture would be the truth. The vital importance of radio is also highlighted as a medium of communication beyond the clubs, and in particular the significance of certain shows.

In ways with what has happened because of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 it all feels / seems like a world away. Then again those who danced, DJ’ed and ran clubs in the late 70’s through to the 1980’s couldn’t observe all this on a screen, they had to experience it in person.

Ron Hardy’s history beginning at Den One in the city is a fascinating read, and it’s most welcome that other Dj’s and clubs are also rightly namechecked for posterity. So often with stories like this people and places get left out when in fact they were key parts of the picture. Robert Williams’s story is also invaluable and the detail of The Warehouse with Frankie Knuckles and then subsequently Music Box with Hardy are, once again, wonderfully involving. Likewise Jesse’s own story.

By chapter 5, House is then being talked about in terms of its global impact as further testimonies from the UK to Europe and beyond relive how the music effected those invloved, leaving the final section to expand into the broader terms of Rave Culture.

However, for me it’s the time and space occupied by the early days in Chicago which are the most fascinating, partly because I wasn’t there but also because it sounds like they were having the time of their lives. This is an invaluable book.

buy https://www.amazon.com/Their-Own-Words-Jesse-Saunders/dp/B088Y42FQ3

http://www.jessesaunders.com

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Saudade – Xango EP – Pont Neuf Records

Let’s start with Sohna and its exploration of depth, tone and emotional resonance as Saudade’s probing, rhythms reveal way more about the artists mind-set than any simple genre description ever could. Funk is key to the production of carefully crafted percussion adding fire to the arrangement, but not before the warm swirl of emotional pads subsume you by the breakdown. The punchier drums and keys of O Samba follows with the tempting addition of vocal amid more synthesized intensity as layers build and fall. Keys again feature prominently on As Ondas with stabs cutting deeply, leaving the addictively bizarre twist of O Funk to complete this stunning release with words I can’t quite describe.

Release: June 12

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

https://www.instagram.com/saudade_musik

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Hannes Bieger – Burn Your Love EP – Bedrock Records

It’s those records which standout most which often do the most to satisfy the scrutiny of time. Hannes Bieger’s electrifying circuitry sets the tone for Juan Hansen’s breathy, spine-tingling vocals of which we could always do a lot more of. Musically the bubbling Acid infused basslines sitting in amongst the crisp array of pulsating drums and buzzy stabs only serves to cap this very fine piece of music off perfectly. Next, the freaky stereo of Ashes follows with brighter keys sounding excitable but have to say you do miss the human touch of voice after experiencing what went before.

Release: June 12

Beatport pre-order: https://www.beatport.com/release/burn-your-love-ep/2988634

http://www.hannesbieger.com

https://www.facebook.com/bedrockrecords

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Matthew Hayes – Two Steps Forward – Black Wattle

It just occurred to me that Absolutely Everybody which opens this superlative release almost sounds like DJ Pierre exploring a parallel universe in Jazz. Listen to the bassline alongside the chords and the way they twist and turn capturing the excitement of musical repetition, yet all feels organic, naturally evolving as the blasts of horn add texture to the gently pulsating rhythm section. Sublime. Clear, then proposes a delving into memory with keys plus further sumptuous bass defining warmth and a mindfull of remembrance. While, Head Pressure again sees the extraction of beauty in notes as haunting basslines accompany richly emotive piano and more, leaving the free flowing eloquence of Landcare to finish this wonderful musical testimony.

Release: June 12

https://www.facebook.com/blackwattlerecs

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

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