Luca Lozano (Klasse Recordings) Q&A

lucash_og 11Can you tell about how you came to form Klasse Recordings and what the philosophy behind the label is?

Klasse was born out of the need to do something different, I have been involved in music for a while and it seemed like the right time to start my own label. I enjoyed working with other labels but felt the need to create something that I was in total control of, from the artwork to the music I wanted to ‘be’ the identity of the label. There was no grand plan of world domination, just a simple platform for myself and my good friends that surrounded me….Klasse started in 2010, amongst an explosion of new digital labels, I began to see a lot of content being created and a lot of it seemed really half-hearted shitty album artwork, bad design and carbon-copy music seemed to be everywhere and Klasse was my way of counteracting all that, a place where we could consolidate all of our interests…music and beyond.

Your new single: Sail On is built around a classic sample. Can you talk us through the process of producing it, and about your relationship with Amirali who is featured on the release?

Sail On is similar to most of the other tracks on my album, heavily sample based and with a heavy leaning towards hip hop, classic breaks and live instrumentation. I had had the track for a while and it seemed to be begging for the right vocal, I tried various things but nothing seemed to fit right. I was lucky enough to be put in touch with Amirali, we had a brief back and forth and he laid down the vocals, they fit perfectly from the get-go and the track just fell into place. Amirali is a talented dude with a great voice, I recently saw him play at Panorama Bar and really enjoyed his set….

https://soundcloud.com/lucalozano/luca-lozano-sail-on

Where you get your inspiration from/ which artists have most inspired you over the years?

I’m constantly returning to the music I enjoyed as a teenager, Mo Wax, DJ Shadow, early East Coast hip hop like Mobb Deep and Wu. My album was directly inspired by these early connections with music and I think these sounds are deeply embedded in my consciousness. I spent a lot of time digging for weird and wonderful music, listening to a lot of Jazz on labels such as Three Blind Mice, taking inspiration from Jamaican steel drum bands and abstract Cosmic music from Italy. I looked everywhere outside of dance music for inspiration and influence and I think that comes across in the music.

lucaYour forthcoming album is called ‘Life In Black And White’. Can you tell us about what the title means and about some of music on it?

The title refers to a few things, the main one being my slightly left of centre placement in this world. It’s kind of tricky to describe but there are parts of my personality that are dominated by OCD tendencies and sometimes I am unable to see the ‘middle ground’, I’m obsessed with extremes…everything is either ‘ON’ or ‘OFF, ‘YES’ or ‘NO’. Hence ‘BLACK’ and ‘WHITE’, there’s no grey area of mediation and negotiation…no room for movement. Essentially it’s all about me being a really awkward dude….I guess that sums it up!

The music on the album is primarily for listening, I didn’t want to make an album that was focused on the dancefloor…most of the tracks range between 90-110bpm and feature some sort of Hip Hop influence. I used a lot of classic breakbeats and classical instruments on there, attempting to marry them with electronics and a more standard ‘dance music’ template. Every track was a pleasure to make, whilst making the album I tried to ignore fashions and trends and this made it flow very naturally….good music always comes easy!!

The artwork for the label is also particularly distinctive. How would you describe that?

Art and design is a huge part of my life and I want Klasse to look as good as it can, commercial identity is always really important…especially in today’s world of facebook, emails and never-ending social feeds. The idea behind most of the artwork is simplicity and effectiveness, all the artwork needs to work on a wide range of scales…most artwork is viewed as 300 X 300px thumbnail these days and it needs to stand out amongst the rest of the shit out there. I take inspiration from my interests, graffiti, punk zines, outsider art and ‘the good old days’…it’s important for me that the visual side of Klasse has a definite grain and roughness to it…something different than the usual shiny, rounded and polished graphics of most labels around these days.

Earlier this year I took Klasse Recordings over to Barcelona for the ‘Blanco Y Negro’ graffiti event…in conjunction with Montana Spray Paint and betahaus barcelona we put together a handful of likeminded writers and got busy.

Heres the video for the event, which features an exclusive peek at a new track from my upcoming album. Enjoy!

BLANCO Y NEGRO from mydogispolite on Vimeo.

You also A&R for the label. How do you find the standard of music around in 2013, what do you look for when signing a track to Klasse Recordings?

I look for a uniqueness and individuality, a track needs a personality just as an artist does. I enjoy tracks that have a good balance of functionality and originality, weird is always good..something to surprise the listener out of their comfort zone. These days I get sent a lot of ‘retro-house’ and I’m done with hearing the same old deep house organ stabs and diva vocals, by default I find myself leaning towards colder, more techno-ish styling’s. Our recent release of the FJAAK guys is a perfect example of what I’m enjoying at the moment, synth heavy, hook laden and drenched in analogue goodness….please send more like this!

Where can people get to hear you Dj this summer?

I have a few shows coming up; I’m really looking forward to playing with Kink in Basel, Spring Festival in Austria and the new Aerophilia festival just outside of Berlin. We are also putting together a great show for Off-Sonar, I’ll be playing alongside John Heckle and Arttu…most of all I’m looking forward to playing alongside my homies at the next Klasse label nights….watch this space!!

http://www.klasserecordings.de

https://www.facebook.com/lucalozano/info

https://twitter.com/lucalozano

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reviews:53

fabric 64: Guy Gerber
fabric

Sixteen new productions from Guy Gerber go make up this latest compilation in the fabric series totalling 64. And as you have come to expect from the producer this is another selection of exquisite resonating music that reaches way beyond your imagination. Always spirited, yet incisive and experimental, this effortlessly deep compilation of sounds are as invigorating first thing in the morning as there are very late at night. Weaving between haunting vocals and cinematic instrumentals this once again highlights Guy Gerber as one of the world’s finest in this field of electronic music. Every track stands out in its own right and it would almost be pointless in suggesting particular highlights, but here goes anyway: the completely infectious One Day In May loops heavenly ambience into dancefloor nirvana, while the opening Store-House Consciousness and The Golden Sun And The Silver Moon sound as blissful as the title suggests. The music plays between dancefloor and horizontal listening with consummate ease, with number 64 proving yet another to be a winning formula.

release: June 25

http://www.fabriclondon.com

https://www.facebook.com/guygerber

http://twitter.com/#!/guygerber

http://soundcloud.com/guygerber

 

Jamie Jones
Tracks From The Crypt
Crosstown Rebels

Jamie Jones second album for Crosstown Rebels sees two of the world’s most significant players combine forces again successfully, after the DJ’s string of awards plus the labels succession of killer releases. The collection features unreleased tracks – although heaven knows why – alongside new productions, and if you’ve witnessed Jamie play live then Somewhere, Paradise and Frequencies may already be well known to you. But waiting eagerly to get out there too is the equally fresh future-funk of Mari 2D Underground and the uneasy edge belonging to Tonight In Tokyo feat. Luca C. Also make sure you listen out for the sinister bass experience that is Over Each Other with Livia Giammaria’s vocal sounding tastefully bitter in the process too. All the signature sounds are present, with those defining original House influences playing their part to reinforce what is undoubtedly another essential in the canon.

release: June 25

http://www.crosstownrebels.com

https://www.facebook.com/jamiejonesmusic

http://soundcloud.com/jamie-jones

 

Remi Mazet
Le Kiff
La Vie En Rose

The fifth release from the label sees Remi Mazet deliver breezy summer sounds to quench your thirst for all things funky. Playing with a hint of Gwen Guthrie in the air, the punchy bassline buzzes over introspective Rhodes chords and technological synths on the Original version to great effect. Boris Horel then provides the remix of Le Kiff with bouncy European bass and perky percussion, leaving second track Are you There feat. Mr.Matlar completing the picture with more easily accessible grooves backed up by intriguing voices and frisky snares. Good release.

release: June 25

http://soundcloud.com/lvrose/sets/remi-mazet-le-kiff/

http://lvrose.fr/

https://www.facebook.com/LAVIEENROSELEKIFF

 

NTFO, Karmon, Betoko
Wowshit EP
Diynamic music

This three track EP marks the labels 58th and presents their trademark style perfectly. Opening with NTFO & Karmon ‘Nobody Else’ and its punchy melodic bassline, which plays against snare rushes and atmospheric touches, this neatly infuses together a thoughtful production with dancefloor sensibilities. The title track is then provided by Karmon who works moody bass over sharp percussion and classic early-eighties keys, and this again proves to be easy to fall for. Betoko’s, Raining Again provides a potential anthem for the North of England with shuffling synthetic rhythms and detuned vocals intoning the wet stuff.

release: June 25

http://soundcloud.com/karmonmusik/karmon-wowshit

http://soundcloud.com/ntfo

http://soundcloud.com/betoko

http://www.diynamic.com

 
Amirali
Just An Illusion
Crosstown Rebels

If you haven’t already checked Amirali’s beautifully crafted album for Crosstown Rebels then you’re missing out on an experience. In the meantime here is the chance to love the hauntingly atmospheric new single which also come s with some great remixes. Such as, Franck Roger who expertly builds the tension by adding fresh chords and drums to re imagine the vocal, while the MK version surpasses the remit with typically classy bass and beats feeling totally big-time. Appleblim’s aptly titled Black Mirrorball Mix then twists the elements over throbbing kicks into something altogether more space aged, making his statement loud and clear.

release: July 2

http://soundcloud.com/amiraliofficial/sets/amirali-just-an-illusion-ep/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/AmiraliOfficial

http://soundcloud.com/djfranckroger

http://soundcloud.com/marckinchen

http://soundcloud.com/appleblim

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Ahmet Sisman
Dance With The White Rabbit EP
Culprit

Love this production from Ahmet Sisman whose Dance With The White Rabbit feels all at once like a party in your head. Impressive sound fx and dubbed vocal treatments give the track a very big feel indeed, but it’s also the combination of differing styles that give it all such a unique edge. Nico Lahs provides the remix with funkier bass and a deeper mood, while Audiofly cleverly break up the beats on their abstracted version. Meanwhile, Hello To Alice continues the Wonderland theme with more expressive voices and dark electronics to finish.

release: July 4

http://soundcloud.com/ahmet-sisman

https://www.facebook.com/ahmetsisman1

http://soundcloud.com/audiofly

http://soundcloud.com/nico-lahs

https://www.facebook.com/CulpritLA

 

Wasabi
Money On U
Arthouse

This is the second release on Artform’s sister imprint, Arthouse and comes from Erase Records’ Dimos Stamatelos. The Original version sets a punchy tempo against cool Rhodes chords, a taught tech bassline and with hard hitting vocal snippets this is set to induce frantic head nodding. The effective Frogs and Socks remix then teases extra tension from its undulating synth and smart dancefloor arrangement, while label head Jamie Anderson’s Latin Hustle version introduces the chords to warmer possibilities with the intensely funky percussion giving it all a precise edge.

release: June 18 as a Beatport exclusive for 4 weeks. July 16 general release.

https://www.facebook.com/artformrecords

http://twitter.com/#!/djjamieanderson

http://soundcloud.com/jamieanderson

 

Chateau Flight
Kounka
Versatile Records

If you like to think outside the box then this will most definitely tempt you. It’s distinctly impossible to categorise but then that is precisely its charm. Sometimes House-ish, sometimes Techno-esque, other times sounding like Pink Floyd through a Dance blender, this isn’t always a comfortable ride but is a rewarding one. One half of Zombi, Steve Moore supplies the remix in two parts with his ‘remix’ making some sense of the madness by building layers of arpeggios over a steady kick drum, as the ‘Off-World’ version provides more of an ethereal landscape by gently playing with voices and pulsating rhythms over an epic feeling eight minutes.

release: June 25

http://versatilerecords.com/release/chateau-flight-kounka-ep-incl-steve-moore-remixes/

https://www.facebook.com/versatilerec

http://twitter.com/#!/versatile_rec

 

Jerome Derradji Presents: 122 BPM
The Birth Of House Music – Mitchbal Records & Chicago Connection Records
Still Music

This three CD set from the early to late Eighties catalogues of Mitchbal Records and its subsidiary Chicago Connection Records is pretty much indispensible listening if you’re in any way interested in the history of Chicago House Music. Mitchbal Records was founded by Nemiah Mitchell Jr and released their first influential 12” single by Z Factor aka Vince Lawrence (before starting the infamous Trax Records) I Like to Do It in Fast Cars in 1983 (hear below). The selection also includes music from Mr Lee and Libra Libra, and joins together the diverse set of influences that went to make up what became known as House Music: from UK New Wave/ Synthpop and European/Italian dance all the way through to the soulful end of American Disco. The CD comes with invaluable extras such as a 28 page booklet on the labels’ history plus mix from Still Music’s Jerome Derradji, and also features one of Frankie Knuckles rarest remixes: Unfinished Business.

release: June 2012

http://soundcloud.com/stillmusic

http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/products/UnfinishedBusinessOmni-OutOfMyHands(LovesTakenOver)-StillMusic-84047.html

interview at http://timeoutchicago.com/music-nightlife/clubs/15409691/the-untold-story-of-the-family-that-helped-found-house-music

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reviews:48

Amirali
In Time
Crosstown Rebels

Even if Amirali played the opening: The Harmonious Song and then left the building you would still be stunned by the collective beauty of the notes spread across the Rhodes. Thankfully the long player continues to revolve developing its journeys through hypnosis that somehow fits the month of May perfectly – at least from where I’m sitting. The playing is never less than outstanding, as is the production, while this collision of ideas appeals to heartwarming melancholy as much as it invigorates the spirit on tracks like the imaginary, Just An Illusion. Love the way expectations are then thrown to the wind as Painting On A Canvas follows on proudly down- tempo while tastefully placing art back where it belongs in music. In fact each track provides its own unique surprise spiraling in directions from the dancefloor to the horizontal with Amirali’s mesmerizing vocals adapting perfectly throughout. And it all sounds so easy… 9

release: May 14

https://www.facebook.com/AmiraliOfficial

www.crosstownrebels.com

 

Hurt Russell
Queensbridge Jams EP Vol 1
ILFONX Records

This excellent EP from Belfast based Ilfonx  Records opens with the ridiculously good, Soul Kestrel which sounds like choice Jazz and Deep House rolled into an excitable experiment that pays off big time. Love the way all the disparate elements work for position, and that they almost don’t quite sit at ease with each other – that’s Jazz for you – but I highly rate this production for that very reason. And just to prove the diversity, I Can t Go On slows right down to cope with its unfeasibly funky bassline and infectious chopped-up vocals. The equally impressive, Piano Saved My Life finishes off by deepening the mood with sassy percussion and booming beats. Next please. 9

release: May 11

http://soundcloud.com/ilfonx_records

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ILFONX/320674211284715

 

Climbers
Laws Of Attraction EP
Culprit

Guess you could say that the opening track, Go With The Flow has it all: crisp, pulsating beats; haunting, energising synths: lots of cool fx and vocal; plus last but never least, a killer bassline. So, yes I love this, and strongly suspect you will too. Climbers aka Jay Blakk and Kiko Deal then proceed to explore more in the way deeply invigorating music with the next three productions, which all develop similar bass infused rhythms over the course of the release – the choice is then yours.  8

release: May 14

http://soundcloud.com/climbers/cp23-climbers-go-with-the-flow

 

Cromby
That Girl EP
Extended Play

Second excellent release out of Belfast this week and city stalwarts Extended Play once again do themselves proud. That Girl, opens with fierce, pulsating electro-beats and then gets nasty with classic heavy-duty stabs that are destined to be played out LOUD, but if that doesn’t seem like enough by the time the full vocal hits this is so obviously peak-time business. Feed Those Hoes, turns up the heat further with explosive Detroit bass lines played against crisp hats and percussion, but while I can’t say the Rap works for me the instrumental is original House heaven. Bubba and T-Bone’s tasty FTH remix thinks along similar lines by stripping back the vocal and adding shimmering electronics to the equation, proving to be yet another notable version from the duo. 8

http://www.beatport.com/#release/cromby-that-girl-ep/910060

http://soundcloud.com/cromby/that-girl

 

Issac Christopher
Shake That EP
Madhouse Records 

Three new tracks from Issac Christopher which get back to Madhouse basics and aim straight for the dancefloor. The aptly titled Shake That kicks off with booming beats, shake that body vocals, and brutal basslines all playing like they were made for each other. Been Thru The House, keeps the relentless tempo but adds funkier percussion and imaginative electronics, while I Need You is the deeper of the three with warmer vibes and retro piano all feeling like summertime. 7

 http://bit.ly/Kg4SqS 

http://www.facebook.com/madhouse.records 

 

DJ W!ld
Dirty
Cabin Fever

More thought provoking music as DJ W!ild sets upon us with his second album opening with sound effects warning: please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Dirty then proceeds to play between ambient sequences that lull you into security such as Apres La Plage, and then pulverize you with heavy-duty Kicks on the likes of Voyage (complete with sampled spiritual guidance). If dirty refers to anything in particular then the one thing that’s consistently so throughout are those trademark and edgy beats – although perhaps the answer also lies within the title tracks’ explicit voice over too, with imaginative samples appearing consistently throughout giving the album warmth and colour. Eventually it all reaches an acid drenched climax on Remember and the album contains more than its fair share of dancefloor gems e.g. the hypnotic bassline driven, In Love. 8

http://www.beatport.com/#release/d!rty/904664

http://www.facebook.com/wildthedj

http://www.youtube.com/wildonvidz

 

Session Victim
The Haunted House Of House
Delusions Of Grandeur

Don’t be fooled by the Vincent Price styled title or indeed by the name of the first track, Dark Sienna – which just so happens to be one of the better Disco sampling records I’ve heard in a while – into thinking this is something sinister. What rapidly strikes you here is the liberal use of cut-up which gives it all a reassuringly familiar feel, that of course and the inherent joyous qualities of those time-scales that are best executed on Zoinks and said title track. Despite the possible limitations that very reliance may suggest the album wisely plays with intriguing moods and tempo working particularly on Bison. However, the up-tempo numbers suit best with the funk fuelled, Good Intentions proving to be a particular favourite with many. While this isn’t challenging or pushing at boundaries in the way the above albums could be said to do, its none the less always welcome at parties.  7

release Date: May 14 (Vinyl/CD) / June 11 (Digital)

http://soundcloud.com/sessionvictim

http://soundcloud.com/delusionsofgrandeur

 

Jazzanova
Funkhaus Sessions
Sonar Kollektiv

And so to the ever reliable soulful-funkiness of Jazzanova who are now captured ‘live’ with this selection of old and new music recorded as played in their studio. Great organic feel to the album which grooves and leans in the right direction all along. The musicianship is exactly of the standard we’ve learnt to love but then how could you really go wrong with titles such as Jazz-Funk epic, Theme From Belle Et Fou and I Human. Slow burners such as No Use and the beautiful lyrics and piano of Little Bird vie for attention along with the more dance floor orientated material but quality is, as always, rest assured. 9

release: May 15

http://www.sonarkollektiv.com/

http://www.facebook.com/jazzanova

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