Yulia Niko Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Yulia. Let’s start by asking how living in and then moving between Russia, America, and Berlin has informed what you do in terms of sound and also your approach to life?

Hello Sixty, and thank you so much for having me. Always cool when a DJ can talk to people instead of just sharing music.

My favorite approach is thinking, “If you want be creative, you need to forget about all fears.” Meaning, fears about moving from place to place, or not being supported by people, or that your art is just not good enough. Just forget about all of it and try to do something. Sometimes it actually might not be good, but there is always time to improve, study, and learn from mistakes.

I’m girl from a very small town in the South of Russia, and somehow I was born with the brain of an international traveler. When I was seven years old and went to school, we had French class, and I loved it when the teacher would call me Juli, because I knew I’d become an adult and go travel around the world someday.

Anyway, music became a lever for my traveling and I made the decision to leave Russia after five years of DJ experience there. With very bad English and almost no savings in my account, I traveled across the ocean to New York, where I started to make serious changes in my life. I went to music production school and met the best artists and people from the industry.  Now I’m in Berlin and all of it is hitting me more and more. I always keep my funky housey sound, but I’m improving it with every move I make from country to country, because each has its own music history, which I study and learn a lot from.

Your excellent new single: Casa en el Agua for Rebellion (Crosstown Rebels) feels like an amalgamation of creative processes. Can you talk us through where the initial ideas came from and about how you then produced them as music, including any favourite pieces of software / hardware you like to refer to?

“Casa en el Agua” is actually a real place that exists in the middle of the Caribbean off of Colombia. It’s an incredibly unique place. I had the chance to be part of an evening with Archie Hamilton, Niklas Stadler, Serdal and many more DJs. We had to travel for three days to get there. I just recorded some sounds of birds during the night on my phone. I record a lot of stuff on my phone that I can sample afterwards and use as inspiration in my music. After almost a year I found this recording and was just playing around with it and some other samples I recorded from machines. It was all super quick. Maybe two hours and the track was finished. I’ve learned that if you sit down and make something quickly, it’s always the best idea. If you spend a lot of time and go back to process again and again, the track will never sound good or be released.

I’m very happy now about the new Ableton 10, still using a lot of Minilogue by Korg, Electron MKII, along with the perfect work of the Apollo interface — it all makes it sound very nice.

Yulia Niko – Casa En El Agua: Buy link https://lnk.to/RBL057

Who are your main influences both within and outside of the world of electronic music? Any particular writers, musicians, painters you admire?

I can’t mention artists like Michael Jackson or Madonna, actually inspiration for all the last tracks I’ve made for Crosstown and Hottrax. I really like to read Paulo Coelho, I do like modern, trippy art, but I can’t point to anyone in particular.

Listening to you DJ, you touch upon many different styles. Can you choose three tracks which highlight that variation for us?

Absolutely. These are three tracks I play all the time. You can see the transaction between disco, techno, and acid minimal. How about that?

  • Nick Minieri – Heat Index (Original Mix) [Soul Clap Records]
  • Moby – Porcelain (Alan Fitzpatrick Remix) [Drumcode]
  • Drose – Acid City [Cosenza]

How important do you think it is for a DJ to keep moving forward with new sounds? And how would you describe the way in which instrumentation is so prevalent now (and how people react to rhythms), as opposed to the song-based sets of the past?

Creating something new has always been important. Our ears react right away to new sounds. I think right now this is the main purpose of the DJ/producer. Before, we were only focused on new records, and making a perfect transition during the set. Now, we’re spending days at the studio trying to create something unique that will make us different from all the others and give us our own sound. Just now a Ukrainian producer, iO (Mulen), comes to mind. I’m so proud of Eastern European artists, and how many quality projects have been released in the last few years. This guy created his own sound and I’m sure everyone can recognize him right away.

You also have a track: Cheap Story forthcoming on Jamie Jones’ Hottrax. How important has it been for you to have music released on such prestigious labels? And can you tell us about how the track came to be signed, and about the Acid influence in there?

It was made together with “Casa en el Agua.” I had a break in January from everything and was just making a little album. Honestly, I sat down and asked myself who I wanted to send tracks to first, after I was done with it all. I was focused on Jamie and his sound, so in the end it was easy. I sent tracks to him and he picked two of them right away. I guess the key is to always focus on something and believe you can get it, no matter what.

I think now’s a time of a new wave of Acid basslines on tracks. I’m really enjoying it and just trying to use it as much as I can.

And finally, besides your busy touring schedule, what are you looking forward to for the remainder of this year and into next?

I’m excited for the little tour with Damian Lazarus for the Spirits 2 album on Crosstown Rebels in November. It will be my debut at Watergate and couple of places around Europe. Very nice EP “Acid Meow” on Get Physical by the end of the year. And I’m just going to spend most of my time at the studio in Berlin after a very intense summer season at Ibiza. Let’s see what happens for me and where my destiny brings me in the end.

https://www.facebook.com/yulianikomusic

https://twitter.com/julianikomusic

https://www.instagram.com/yulianiko

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Tibi Dabo Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Max. Let’s start with your new single: La Dorada for Rebellion. Tell us about where the inspiration came from for the production and about what the title means for you?

Thank you. La Dorada means “the golden one” in Spanish, it’s the name of a fish, the sea bream, and it’s also the name of the home where I spent most of my childhood, near Barcelona. The track was made in London, while I was living and studying there. It was quite a hectic period for me, the city made it feel even more frenetic. I was meeting a lot of new people, doing lots of new things, so once this track started to exist, I felt it would be nice to join both worlds, where I come from, and what was going on at the time. I had a similar approach with the name Tibi Dabo. There’s a hill in Barcelona, my hometown, called Tibidabo (notice the slight difference), keeping this name for wherever the journey took me felt like a nice idea.

photo by @merlegrain

Buy: Tibi Dabo – La Dorada – Rebellion https://lnk.to/RBL056

La Dorada has a particularly distinctive flavour. Can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use?

I’m a big fan of happy accidents when working on musical compositions or productions. La Dorada is a good example, it was one of those tracks that came very naturally, I almost feel like it was given to me in a way because the workflow was so natural and spontaneous. I think one of its key points is that it’s quite simple when it comes to layers, as I think it relies on all of its elements. I wanted it to feel quite clean at the start, so I could progressively make it feel more dirty and gritty. A key element of the track is the gliding bass line, which is a heavily processed sound from the Prophet 08 (actually I hadn’t used it for bass yet). One piece of software i really enjoy using is Echoboy, it helps a lot when it comes to adding analog touch to something that might lack warmth, it’s also great with saturation and general space distribution in the mix. It can even make you coffee if you ask nicely.

I love hardware because it’s hands on, it helps me so much creatively when I’m jamming out to a new idea. It also makes you not think about burning out your CPU as much, which was a great feeling for me as I used to fill my projects with very heavy soft synths and that hurt the processor too much, to the point where the creative flow slowed down or even stopped as I had to focus on the technical side.

I’m still figuring out my ideal setup, which I doubt will ever get to a “final form”, some of my favorite toys are of course the Prophet for its versatility and the Elektron Analog Rytm (although its workflow is quite a thing, one’s got to get used to it)

Buy link – https://lnk.to/RBL056

Do you think that it has become harder to hear originality in Dance Music? Or do you think the opposite is the case?

I think we’re definitely at a point in time where it’s harder to filter out the good stuff as it’s easier than ever to put music out there. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is less interesting music.

I think it can get a bit overwhelming though.

Big tracks can’t develop the way they did in the past. The same thing happens with any kind of news, it’s just not “news” for long anymore.

There’s such an enormous variety nowadays. One can go in any direction, therefore you can become very specialized.

I remember having a chat with a friend, we were saying something like the scene feels like a huge and very refined tapestry, where its patterns are hard to distinguish, one has to examine it for a long time to recognize its structure and see the individual colours it has to offer.

Who are your main influences from inside and outside of electronic music: any favourite artists, writers, vocalists etc?

I try to avoid comparing myself to other musicians/producers as it almost always makes me feel bad about what I’m doing. But I’d be lying if I said there’s no inspiration in what I do (obviously). A big influence in my music I think is listening to records that might not have much to do with the styles I work in.

I still feel like I’m in a “baby mode” for plenty of aspects in my life. By that I mean that I’m still absorbing things like a sponge. I’m constantly listening to music and wondering how the artist behind that particular song might have achieved a sound, an arrangement or a particular chord progression. This makes me aware of a constant evolution going on in my “creative process”, I doubt I’ll get stuck in a particular style, there’s just too much to try out.

What does DJ’ing mean for you? What ideas and emotions do you like to translate to the people you play for?

There’s so many ways of approaching a DJ set. Something that i really enjoy when listening to someone DJ is spontaneity and a factor of surprise. I really like it when there’re risky moments that can switch the mood in sometimes a very positive way. But overall I’m very into playing long and slowly evolving sets, with an ideal outcome of making the listener forget where he/she is at that given moment. As cliché as it might sound I don’t think that happens too often. I think carefully selecting each track so there’s a continuous energy is a crucial part of this style, merging tracks so there isn’t a clear notion of where the previous track ends and the next one begins is a big part of what i try to achieve on a DJ set. That’s why extended sets are my favourites, the ones where one can really get lost in.

The flip-side to the release is: No Mantra which feels more musical via its rich, piano chords and captivating vocals. Do you think that music is missing out not having as many great songs around, or is rhythm more important and potent in itself?

Rhythm and dance music have an unquestionable link. Some tracks can immediately be recognized because of its incredible groove. But the musical part is what can really make a track memorable. I like melodies that touch you emotionally, and this is quite a delicate subject, because it can be relatively easy to create something that has an obvious emotional impact if you follow certain rules, but I feel it’s really hard to touch an audience in a subtle and elegant way, where the melodic side of the track is suggested instead of imposed. That’s when a record can have a very powerful message and at the same time be very emotional but not in a cheesy way.

I’m definitely still learning how to achieve this.

And finally. Can you share with us your forthcoming plans for moving into the future?

Right now I just got back from working on a new live music project with some close friends. I’m really looking forward to locking myself in my new studio in Berlin, will try to finish some new ideas I have been collecting during the summer, some of them aren’t much more than voice notes and others are almost done. I want to experiment more and dig deeper, there’s so much one can do it can be overwhelming, so I’m trying as hard as I can to limit myself. There’ll be new music ready soon that’s for sure.

Tibi Dabo – La Dorado. Is out now on Rebellion.

Buy https://lnk.to/RBL056

https://www.facebook.com/tibidabosound

https://www.instagram.com/tibi_dabo_

https://twitter.com/tibidabosound

 

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Made By Pete Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, James. There’s a great picture of you holding a copy of your latest release: So Long (Crosstown Rebels) outside of Phonica Records. How did it feel to have in your hands your first release on vinyl and why for you has the format remained such a potent force?

Hi. Thanks for having me. That was a very special moment for me. Not necessarily because it’s a ‘vinyl’, I’m not a purist in any way and I embrace all formats. It was more the fact that when I started DJing as teenager, I went to record stores to buy music. The guys making those records were heroes to me and inspired me to start making music. To walk into a shop like Phonica and buy my own record bought all those memories back and that was a really nice feeling.

Pete Tong recently premiered the Solomun remix of ‘So Long’. Can you tell us about how the choices for the remixers where made: Solomun and Audiojack?

That was all down to Damian Lazarus. He’s an A&R guru! From FFRR to City Rockers, and now celebrating a landmark 15 years of Crosstown Rebels, he has created such an iconic brand through his musical vision. When I first sent him the original for ‘So Long’, he was very excited by it. That prompted him to invite the likes of Solomun and Audiojack to add their take and the EP took it’s form.

 

And what is it about Pete Tong which has made him such an influential voice on radio for the past three decades?

Well if there was a definitive answer to that then there would be hundred’s of ‘Pete Tong’s’. Who knows? It probably has something to do with the fact that he’s been able to pioneer underground music on a commercial stage, giving a platform to young up and coming artists as well as showcasing the industries most accomplished acts. I think that’s where the longevity comes from.

Can you talk us through how you created So Long. Where the initial ideas came from and how you then produced them as music, your decision on creating a song rather than an instrumental, plus working with Jem Cooke again who delivers such a smouldering vocal.

The initial idea was a to create a track that would work in a club but also translate to something you could add to a playlist and listen to in the car or at work. The track went through many versions. When I sent it to Jem it sounded completely different. Some of the elements were there but it was a different track. When she sent it back to me I loved what she had done but realized the track needed to change to really combine with the vocals. I had another few days on it and the lead pad that comes in from the start pushed forward into the mix, setting the tone for the arrangement. It’s always a pleasure to work with Jem. She’s a pro, and she’s from Twickenham where I grew up.

Who are your main influences both within and outside of electronic music? Any particular artists, painters, writers etc that you like to refer to for inspiration?

I don’t have one in particular. I’m influenced by all sorts of sounds and music. Sometimes it’s house, sometimes it’s rock, hip-hop or electronica. I try to keep my ears open all the time for inspiration. It really can come from anywhere. Then I take those inspirations and try to interpret them in my own way.

How have sounds evolved for you in Dance Music since you started producing. Do you think it is important for the music to keep moving forward rather than revisit the past too much for inspiration?

Music is always changing. It has to otherwise it gets boring. I’m not a huge fan of remixes of classics from years gone by. I think a classic is a classic because it emerged at the right time in the right place. It’s very rare to find a remix that delivers the same emotions as the original, probably because that original conjures up memories of good times. On the other hand, having a good knowledge of what has shaped the scene before you is vital. I like to hear sounds being recycled and reinvented in a new way. If you can combine that with your own unique sound then that, for me, is very exciting.

You have a busy touring schedule as a DJ too. How have you found time on the road? Have you read The Secret DJ?

No I haven’t read that yet but I have been meaning to. I have traveled and toured as a DJ to places like Ibiza, Australia and Asia as well as around the UK, but not to the extent that I would like. Hopefully with continued dedication and a bit of luck that will come, but managing to fit everything else in is hard. You have to be dedicated and also have a good balance between work life and downtime with family and friends.

Can you talk us through your studio set-up? And tell us about any particular favourite piece of software/ hardware you like best?

My studio set up is quite simple. I’m not a huge tech-head. I like to mix organic natural sounds with analogue synthetic elements and I have found Omnisphere to be perfect for that. I like to use U-he Diva as my main synth. I think it’s better to master one or 2 instruments at a time than to fill your hard drive with hundreds of plug-ins that you don’t know how to use. I’m a big fan of the Fabfilter pro bundle. I’m getting great results using their EQ and compressor on my group busses to add an extra punch during the mixing process. Last year I upgrade my monitors to EVE SC207’s and they are really fun to work on whilst staying transparent. I haven’t ventured into the world of hardware much but I have just bought the Moog Sub 37 and can’t wait to get stuck into it.

And finally. What are your plans for the remainder of the year?

To keep making music as much as I can. I have signed an EP to Audiojack’s label Gruuv Records which I have been a fan of for years. The lead track featureds my good friend Penny Foster who I have worked with many times before. I’m working on a collaboration with Habischman, who’s music I really respect. I also have another EP for Crosstown Rebels on the go which is a work in progress but we’re getting there. ☺

Buy: So Long http://classic.beatport.com/release/so-long/2335420

https://twitter.com/_madebypete

https://www.facebook.com/madebypeteofficial

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Tibi Dabo – La Dorada EP – Rebellion

Seeking instant gratification? You’ve come to the right place. Tibi Dabo’s brilliant new release for Rebellion gets under your skin right from the very moment it begins. There’s something in the way those twisted, synthesized notes weave their way around the electronic pulses, which glue themselves together to the words kick and drum, that instantly reward the senses. And furthermore the way the arrangement dips and dives into different corners as disco hi-hats fight for recognition against the illuminating array of ideas plus diverse sounds on offer. Next, is the rather sublime No Mantra featuring amongst its many attributes a finely tuned piano sitting alongside a taught bass and words that feel like they’re telling you something good. Excellent.

Release: August 3

https://www.facebook.com/tibidabosound

http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Solarc Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Carlos. Let’s start with the alias, Solarc. Can you tell us the meaning behind the name?

Hello, thanks for the invite and for the interview!
About my alias Solarc it comes from a crazy idea I think, actually its an anagram of my name (which is Carlos) besides a secret meaning that I can’t tell you haha.

Your new single for Crosstown Rebels sub-label Rebellion: Dark Wings sounds smoky and hot. Can you talk us through how you produced the track, from where the initial idea came from to any particular pieces of favourite software/ hardware you like to use?

Well actually I never know what will come out from my studio. I try to set up all my ideas but sometimes I get lost in the middle and finish in another way, but this time I can say that I have been focused to produce something deep, dark and modern. I used to work on Studio One but nowadays I am more on Ableton and use hardware like Moog Voyager or Supernova also the access Virus, which for me is an amazing synthesizer.

Buy Dark Wings https://lnk.to/RBL054

Tell us about your relationship with the label and how getting the track signed happened?

I think we have developed a great relationship, I have worked with many labels and I can say that Crosstown Rebels works in a different way and they support the artist in a very special way. I feel really honoured to be part of this family and to get my music signed with them.

How has your Central America / North America tour been going? Any standout moments you would care to share?

Well the tour was great, I went to Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico besides Panama where I am staying part time nowadays. I can say the parties were amazing in every single country, specially in Guatemala, the energy and the crowd there was so special. Unfortunately we’ve experienced a very sad moment in Guatemala Antigua City as I was there when the “Volcan de Fuego” erupted some days ago. It was crazy, I was DJing in the city at an after hour right in front the Volcano that morning and it was magical and beautiful, then a couple of hours later we had to evacuate the city. Unbelievable.

Outside of the world of electronic music who are your biggest influences? Have any artists, authors, poets etc inspired you in relation to creating music?

Of course, I like every single expression of art, I’m a big fan of DaVinci, Salvador Dali, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Michael Murphy to name a few.

You have had music released on a number of major labels including: Toolroom and VIVA Music. How would you describe your journey to that status? And do you think that music is in a good place at the moment regarding how artists can support themselves in today’s climate?

Well it’s difficult, I think the industry goes so fast nowadays and it’s not easy to be on top of the wave full time. It’s not only about music I’m afraid, now you need to take care on your social media and profile, and need to get exposure in different ways. There are lots of tools but for me at the end is your music that matters, you know, that’s why is good to earn attention from big labels that’s the most important thing for me.

You have said that Club Vertigo is one of your favourite clubs in the world. Why?

Well I’ve got a nice connection with the club, starting with the sound system design which is Gary Stewart Audio, and where it’s located. I always enjoy when I play there.

And finally. Can you tell us about any forthcoming plans?

Well I’ve got some important releases coming out after this one on Rebellion, as you said VIVA Music, Toolroom and I am working on some new stuff for Crosstown Rebels and Hot Creations too. Also I am working on my Sample Tools Album and VA mixed Album that will be released before 2019, and hopefully ill keep touring taking my music worldwide.

https://www.facebook.com/SolarcMusic

https://twitter.com/solarcmusic

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Davide Squillace – Once Upon A Time in Napoli – Crosstown Rebels

Proving that both music and its attendant culture are firmly where they should be Davide Squillace steps up and delivers this selection of musical flair for your highlighted pleasure. Some ten tracks probe and explore at the edges of electronic sound, while not afraid to enhance the experience either through use of the human voice or by not resorting to clique, this is music for people who live in 2018 and celebrate the fact. In terms of standout moments you could say that they all are. Take the rugged, feverish bassline driven Napoli Texas, or the grainy stereo teased out via the startling ambiances on The Sin Introducing Telemaco. The fast paced intensity of Vostok, or the deeper climes reached by In The Mood For Love. All moments to be savoured saluting the rich tapestry music has very much still to offer.

Release: March 30

Pre-order https://lnk.to/CRMCD036
https://www.facebook.com/davidesquillace

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Joeski – I Want You – Crosstown Rebels

Magazine Sixty favourite Joeski delivers what he does best once again. I Want You teases you into submission care off tense, dark electronics plus a breathy rush of effected vocals from Liberty all compacted by unnerving snares. Retaining a strange sense of melody in there somewhere the production is never less than compelling, defining its own space and sound on the label. Whether you try the original or the Disco Mix – don’t worry it doesn’t re-edit the past yet again – and its Balearic, Santana like guitar motifs sequenced alongside supremely funky drum loops, this was always going to be a pleasure.

Release: February 2

https://www.facebook.com/djjoeskimusic
http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Rowee – Dharmony – Rebellion

The artist continues his exploration into all things resolutely emotive plugging into the mainframe of electrical authenticity. The beautiful musicality of Dharmony unfolds over eight plus minutes of carefully curated ecstasy combing chiming keys along with brooding drums and low-end notation. Next, Momento provides a neat contrast with more insistent, caustic synths realizing unnerving atmospheres as KnowKontrol’s heavily effected voice adds a sublime, yearning quality to it all, augmenting the pulsations of the timely machine drums perfectly.

Release: December 8

http://www.roweemood.com
http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Denney & D.Ramirez – Stranger Things – Crosstown Rebels

This sizzling cross-section of pulverising electronics pitches itself perfectly between human expression and machine induced funkiness. Stranger Things, feels every bit like the anthemic number it so obviously is combining words that matter alongside music that points in the right direction. The remix comes care of dubspeeka who tints it with a darker sheen of brooding sound and atmosphere’s while letting the vocal breathe. Afraid, is anything but subtle stamping its bold tempo with Tribal drums and stereo ripping, bass-heavy keys plus a tastefully contrasting sensuous voice.

Release: November 3

https://www.decks.de/t/denney_d_ramirez-stranger_things/cb2-hd

http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Audiofly and Patrice Bäumel – Atacama – Crosstown Rebels

Fuelled by a bewildering sense of stereo Atacama does nothing short of stun the listener i.e. you and me into a challenged state of being. It’s no day at the beach either as emotions are engaged, lifted and bounced around the room with forceful release as abrasive bass notes hit you, yet the stream of emotive arpeggios soothingly reassures. The subsequent Damian Lazarus Re-Shape does precisely that introducing the human touch of vocals amid a swirl of atmospherically rewarding pads, punctuated by insistent percussion alongside a timely arrangement of lifts and drops realising each second.

Buy https://www.beatport.com/release/atacama/2098112

https://www.facebook.com/AudioflyOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/patrice.baumel
http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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