Exploring cinematic possibilities on In The Distance the artist touches upon greatness with music that transcends mere electricity. Taking all sorts of influences and producing your own is no easy task but Henry Saiz’s informed future probing sounds do just that with musicality never far from reach, transforming the production to a place set apart from cliques. Meanwhile, Theo Kottis injects a taught House bassline, accompanied by crisp drums, into the equation while retaining those timely Rhodes hits on his first-rate remix. Second track, Pyramidal then employs chiming vibes and ethereal sequences to achieve nirvana, plus a killer bassline. A Brilliant release from Culprit.
a radiation wave hit and i got shot through a wormhole. now i’m lost in some distant part of the universe on a ship, a living ship, full of strange alien life forms. i’m being hunted by an insane military commander. doing everything i can. i’m just looking for a way home.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the release?
sometimes i remember the feeling of resistance and in spite, persist the glimpse through absurdity and when my mind opens up that moment becomes the reason.
And how you approach time spent in the studio?
as the indefinite evolving occurrence of existence and events that may very well also contract in reversible succession from the future to the present to the past.
What is your favourite synthesizer? Do you own one? If so, where/ when and how did it come into your possession?
Korg Mono/Poly. yes, lucky to say i have the privilege.
How would you describe the difference between analogue and digital? What qualities does one provide and not the other?
quality is relative and reality is an illusion.
henrietta swan leavitt and arthur c. clarke
How do you feel about the prominence of festivals compared with Club residencies in terms of connecting with an audience and introducing them to new sounds/ tracks?
indifferent. people make up a club and people make up a festival. humans upon humans and dominos. it’s an idea, someday in my tears, my dreams. the day goes by…
What’s your experience of A&R at Seth Troxler’s imprint Soft Touch? And what do you look for when signing a track?
not looking for things helps me be a better listener.
Do you feel that a lot of music today lacks the musicians touch when it comes to originality?
“there’s nothing new under the sun” is overrated. besides, if it wasn’t for the sun, there likely wouldn’t be anything new to begin with.
symbiotic. we share music and science fiction stories of interest and work together to try and make it happen. also, sometimes, we have coffee and Canadian beers in Berlin and it’s a good time.
What are your plans for 2017?
keep it real.
Sergio’s back is doing better, slowly recovering. We hope to be back on the road and fully operational in December.
Your new release ‘Old Streets’ on Soul Clap once again highlights your musical skills as well as your song writing abilities. How do you compare the importance of your timely melodies and sassy grooves with the more minimal, functional sounds that have been dominating many dancefloors?
I think essentially it comes down to a slightly lesser focus on sound “for the sound”. We love to explore sounds and try to find innovative textures but ultimately we search for a sound that inspires us to play. We likely have a more “old school” approach when it comes to melodies than modern days tracks. Some tracks today literally have the same note repeated but the sound itself varies in such ways that it creates a convincing and catchy hook, almost sounding melodically complex sometimes. I think this is as commendable as a more melodic approach. We’re just more on one side than the other.
Can you talk us through the process of how you produced/wrote the track?
‘Old Streets’ was produced in Washington DC. The “recipe” there has been the same pretty much every time: jamming on synths sync’d up with drum machines and recording as much as we can… occasionally going to the computer to start picking up the right loops and elements. Finally, we recorded the vocals that Sergio had written. The final sequencing is usually what takes us the most time. Sometimes it is obscenely long. It’s almost as if the infinity of combinations of sequencing freezes us. You can completely change the vibe and almost the style of a track with sequencing… Letting the tracks develop slowly and repeating some elements for a while can make a track real deep, whereas changing things fast will make it more pop. These decisions are also part of the process.
Your current release for Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom Limited ‘House With 500 Rooms’ showcases a tougher more robust side to your productions. What’s the story behind the title, and how did you first hook up with Leftroom?
“House With 500 Rooms” is a play on an amazing old song from the 80s by a band from New Zealand called The Chills. Their song is really pretty and gentle classic 80s, lofi indie pop. And it was called “House With A Hundred Rooms.” Since our track is all about a macho braggadocio, it just seemed sort of funny to try and be that way even in the title of our track by topping another title that uses “House” even though that song has nothing to do with the genre. It is indeed a tougher, darker and more dancefloor side of us that’s showcased in this case. This diversity is probably because we enjoy a lot of different genres and never really limited ourselves to any subgenre.
Leftroom makes sense for this EP as it represents a label with a classic sense of House music. We are really happy Matt wanted to release it. We met him through friends at parties and always had connected with him. He’s a great person.
Having already released music on the likes of Culprit and Visionquest what plans do you have for moving into 2016?
We have few more tracks/EPs we hope to release in the near future. One is more on the House side and the other more rock. A bit like the “Old Streets”/”House With 500 Rooms” combo.
And finally, how would you say that your main influences play into your music?
A lot, essentially. I would say they play 70% of the part. Then there is probably a good 20% of “direct” influence from playing in the club and experiencing a track there. This is a different kind of influence in a way kind of like the difference between studying a textbook vs practice. The last 10% comes from being in our “bubble”. We tend to be also relatively isolated when it comes to production and this 10% accounts for that.
We have been updating him with new productions from time to time. We are really happy to make it onto the label with this EP. The perfect home for the tracks.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks on the release?
As we’re normally talking about the A Side, we will take the B Side this time. It’s really basic stripped down track we produced with Ableton and Arturia Software without any special tricks. It’s the voice of Forrest which gives the track a special vibe. We already worked with him in the past and he never disappoints. It’s always a pleasure to work with him.
Both tracks feature vocalists. What importance do you place on vocals in Dance Music compared with its other elements?
We really like to work with vocalists, it makes the music more special and keeps the track more interesting. You can always create a certain vibe by using vocals in electronic music. But it’s not a must for us to have vocals on a track. You can get the same feeling with a good arrangement and sound design without using vocals.
Who would you count as your biggest influences from Dance music and beyond?
Our interest in electronic music started very late and was only about the music itself .There was so much good music out in the late 90’s that we started to collect vinyl. We got more inspired by the whole thing without knowing the people behind it. I remember tapes from DJs like Sasha, John Digweed and Danny Tenaglia who influenced us to start mixing.
How would you describe the electronic music scene in Dusseldorf where you are based, any favourite Clubs etc?
We don’t really have a big scene here, as Düsseldorf isn’t that big. But one club called 102 is doing a great job in bringing international DJs to Düsseldorf. During Summer Loco Dice is hosting a weekly Sunday Open Air Party with the biggest names on the scene. Really worth to check if you are here in summer
Where can people get to hear you play next?
You can hear us play next in cities like Istanbul, The Hague, Timisoara, Cairo, Copenhagen and of course, in Düsseldorf just to name a few.
Single of the Week
Medicine EP featuring Name One
The ever excellent Culprit are once again on target with the labels 50th release from the equally first-rate Maxxi Soundsystem, and as per usual it’s his uniquely blended electronic funkiness that ignites all five senses on Medicine. The title tracks’ typically expanded bassline sucks you into another warmly produced; creatively enthralling production that sets them apart along with Name One’s commanding vocal lines. The empathetic Lone Raver follows with bubbling tension driven by the vocals, leaving Fading Thought to end it all with yet more lush, deep-ended bass plus smoky voices and rich pulsating electronics….
Soloman’s Forest Records
The second excellent release guaranteed to hit you hard this week is from the impressive Soloman’s Forest Records. Heizer supplies two excellent productions in the shape of The Fog plus Joshua with the former’s tempting rhythms feeling perfect night-time, played LOUD and the latter’s equally irresistible hypnotic arrangements sounding just as compelling. The EP’s title track is remixed by Lee Burton’s version which simmers with hot FX tension over taught grooves, while the second track gets made over via On.ket’s Secular Remix which adds twisted vocals to Techno rhythms and as you will hear leaves an indelible impression.
Release: March 2
Who wouldn’t like to be 19 and producing music of this calibre, which is just what – in the spirit of adventure/ defiance – Nicolas Jaar´s Other People achieves in releasing this startling assault on the senses from John Bence. Something reminds of something within this unsettling combination of orchestral instrumentation and dark layers of harmonious choir-like voices. It feels like the cinema with the picture missing, and perhaps the most telling indication of the music evoked is the image which adores the front cover.
Release: February 23
Rosana Nun & J. Sanchez
Right Now EP
Feeling as abrupt at the title this rewardingly, moody production fuses dark undertones together with an emotive resonance which soon becomes addictive. Malo is based on Mallorca with a sound that touches upon a number a different bases and the moodier nature of the music is neatly revealed via the Dub of standout track Moments. The brisker Port then adds crunchy drums to more upbeat grooves raising the emotional content higher still. Listen below:
Open Minded EP
Great new release from the Hungarian-based Itom Records which sees Moe Turk deliver heavy-duty percussion alongside deep organ and juicy bass for your pleasure. Christian Cardwell’s Piano Remix pushes the theme further with added vocal snippets filling out the rhythm plus cool piano chords warming up the emotions, leaving the Boo From Ill Cows Deep Down version to sequence punchier beats for the dancefloor along with perky hits of organ and piano doing likewise.
I met Jamie and Lee when they were doing a show in Montreal. Luckily I knew the opening DJ, wandered backstage and asked them for their email addresses to send them my work. I sent them a few songs and some pictures of my artwork which they were digging and then when Jamie heard Blame Game he signed it right away. Things have definitely been very colourful since signing the record, and I’ve been welcomed into an amazing family of musicians, dancers, artists and people all connected to the label and the Paradise parties in some way, shape or form. I still have a lot of hustling to do to make my career as an artist sustainable but it’s all about the journey anyways. I have to say though that the label has been a huge help in getting my name out there and promoting me as a DJ. I moved to London recently and it’s not easy out here but it is very rewarding and there are always talented people around you.
Can you tell us about your family background and how come you have lived in so many different countries?
I had kind of a weird childhood… My dad’s job moved my family around every 2 or 3 years so I was always going to different international schools. It was sometimes a real pain leaving all of your friends and school but overall it was really cool because I got to meet new people all the time, many of which I still see randomly all around the world. I definitely didn’t realize how cool it was to grow up like that until later in life. When you are 16 and your parents tell you that you’re moving in the middle of your junior year from Peru to India, somewhere you love to somewhere you’ve never even thought about living in, it’s devastating at the time. Looking back on it all now though, making those moves made me a much more open-minded and versatile person.
Probably when I moved to Thailand when I was about 6 or 7 I was already obsessed with soundtracks and albums and when I saw the film Hackers, with Orbital’s Halcyon+On+On in the opening credits and then Underworld, Stereo MCs and Sneaker Pimps later on I was hooked! I guess once I started getting a few mix cds and learning more about it, Danny Tenaglia and Danny Howells became my biggest inspirations as they always seemed to make the most beautiful journeys with their mixes. Music and art were always the constants in my life. No matter what country I was in I could get lost in that stuff.
Outside of Dance music what also inspires you?
This crazy multiverse we live in! I love how different societies express themselves and am a huge fan of different art from around the world, especially Western pop art, South American and Australian patterns and South Asian architecture. I believe every society and every person has their own forms of art. We all have ways of expressing ourselves and that’s what makes us unique. I also love the idea of having a set of influences and borrowing techniques and ideas to create new ones.
Your latest single: Connected People is being released soon on Culprit. Can you talk us through how you produced it?
Connected People came together in a flash… When I came back from BPM festival last January, I got in the studio the day after I landed and within 8 hours later, the song was born. That festival this year had such a good vibe I felt very close to all the people I attended it with. I took the vocal snippets from a conversation I recorded with my dad ages ago about how amazing it is people all around the globe are so well connected. Those vibes combined with some analog goodness from 1981… It just came together. After I was finished it, somehow I just knew it would go to Culprit.
I believe you have an album planned as well. How have you found recording that and what can you tell us about it?
The album has been a huge challenge. That whole concept will take its time and will happen when the time is right. Its been one of the things you think is gonna come together fast but actually takes longer for it to evolve. I do have a bunch of material saved up though and much of it’s just waiting…. While it simmers I have some other music coming out in the fall, the biggest is a record of mine called “Last Night” coming up on Nic Fanciulli’s Saved label. The cuts on that EP have been doing some serious damage for me on the dance floor. The B-Side is a collaboration with my friend, Andre Salmon.
I’m still just coming back down to earth after two back magical gigs down in Ecuador! I’m doing a special Blacklight party at the Delano in Miami which means I always spend a bit more time there in the studio with my Miami music family. I also have some good stuff coming up in Dublin and a party underneath a bridge in London in early September which is apparently incredible every year. Sounds like the kind of stuff I used to dream about!
Midnight Walking EP
What better way to introduce to 2014 than another superlative release via Culprit. Indecently one of my favourite labels but none-the-less this tastefully brooding epic bears all the hallmarks required right down from the teasing, haunting synthesizers to the breathy, psychedelic vocals delivered by Name One. An effective Dub version follows feeling strangely brighter minus the voice, as second track Rolling Stone completes with more twisted electronics and heavily treated vocals sizzling their way across the airwaves.
release: January 27
Sweet life EP
Veteran Detroit and Harmonie Park main-man Rick Wade gets set to release his soulfully charged grooves on Northern imprint FINA. The title track as the name suggests positively drips with emotion as strings accompanied by poignant, minor chords all feel timelessly free in amongst the easy drums. Remixes come from a techier, Mr Beatnick and a perky Tom Taylor & Simon Morell version that ups the tempo and intensity for those late night moments. The Chateau, proceeds with further inescapable funkiness alongside celebratory rhythms galore to satisfy both the historian and dancer care of the well placed sample. Jazz Militia, then takes a tougher stance as deeper beats and bass offset the filtered string infused grooves all over again.
release: vinyl January 31/ digital February 14
Bad Day EP
David Herrero’s instant party-time slammer neatly fuses a classic Chicago bassline together with insistent hi-hats and hook-line vocal edits plus 80’s styled chords to great effect. The arrangement doesn’t pull any punches either, aimed squarely at dancefloor action with its sassy breakdowns all producing a rush of feeling. Indeed, I Like That Feel continues the concept albeit on a deeper tip with more old-school punctuating vocals and synths. O’Clock, then finally calls time amidst a blaze of fiery Todd Terry-esque snares and a cool, rolling bass all of which tellingly links the past to the future.
release: January 20
Following on from where the excellent Get Yourself left off this EP moves forward with three new tracks again via Rebellion. The title tracks itself is big and bouncy packed full of uplifting vibes for hands in the air moments complete with vocoder-esque vocals and soaring synths all sounding just right. Crush, then opens with beautifully jazzy tones offset by twisted voices and then proceeds to launch into an uber funky groove that sets exciting electronics off in all directions. However for me its Issues that scores 10/10 here with yet another devastatingly killer bassline from Mr Lavelle, feeling more akin to Get Yourself building with moody intention and irresistible rhythms that do indeed reach fever pitch.
Benoit & Sergio
This stunning EP from Benoit & Sergio positively simmers with delight with opening number Shake Shake displaying a playful, almost pop sensibility that you may, or may not, find completely enticing. I love the the way the vocals dance around the bassline and piano melodies, and the fact that this sounds in a space and time of its own making. But the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Adjustments, a perfectly crated piece of music that blends gorgeous synths together with an addictive, melancholy vocal delivery which says this: Sometimes I think that DJs don’t understand that we’ve been waiting around all week for this and sometimes I think that djs don’t understand that we don’t care about their cut-off frequencies or resonance we just want to dance and then walk home with a girl that we met and take her by the hand and never wake up.
release: October 1
Out of the Basement
TO RACK & RUIN VOL. 4
Out of the Basement aka Steve Leggat and James Ellis have re-edited two equally seductive slices of funkiness for long standing Manchester institution El Diablo’s Social Club. First up is their reworking of the slinky soul vocals of Take Me With You which are backed up by chunky beats, punchy guitar and spirited piano. Next the excellent low-slung, cut-up of the Brothers Johnson version of the Shuggie Otis anthem ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ is certainly a gem well worth adding to your record collection.
release: September 14
Jamie Fatneck / Lucci Capri
The Spanish label founded by Lucci Capri (aka DJ Callum) and fellow WE Love Space resident Jamie Fatneck continues its theme with this latest EP. Four new twists beginning with the nine minute re-imagining of Billie Jean which runs feverish Acid lines across Michael Jackson to grace the song with fresh impetus. It’s certainly creatively executed and as it remains, for some, a dancefloor classic is possibly an essential addition to your canon. Next up is the seductive and ultimately far more credible Dame Un Beso which plays sassy Latino rhythms over daring, smoky vocals. The tempo then gathers pace with the equally captivating Because Today I Saw U and Esther Phillips gorgeous vocals dripping all over the hot filtered grooves. Leaving another smooth Fatneck edit to finish on Aretha Franklin’s version of ‘What A Fool Believes’.
release: mid September
Paradise 45 ft Kathy Diamond
Two names that will be more than familiar: Guy Williams & Thomas Gandey team up as Paradise 45 once again to release their debut on Madhatter White. As you’d expect this packs more than a hint of fired-up Disco, while coming over like a heavy-duty cosmic production with sparkling electronics and Kathy Diamond’s self-assured vocals. An excellent Dub follows on from the Original version concentrating on all that sizzling instrumentation with two remixes adding a different angle. Firstly from Deepmode who’s bump n grind rhythms add a real swing to the affair, and then from Rudy’s Midnight Machine who give it a deeper flavour with melodic bass and synths lines.
The very moment the Acid House bassline hits you you’re hooked. Plain and simple. But then The Trigger is so much more than merely retrospective as Möggli’s playful, sassy vocals ignite something altogether more tantalising into the bargin. The bass is backed up by seductive hi-hats and abrasive, undulating stabs giving this an inviting yet nasty punch that begs to be played out extremely loud. Although, with the introduction of warmer pads adding subtlety to the production this is simply referred to as First Rate. The Tool version strips back the vocal and lets the music breathe with the addition of bubbling synths and yet more more cutting edge.
release: September 4
Excellent release from Culprit but then aren’t they almost all. Newcomer Justin Jay tears it up with The Jaguar’s infectious bass and crunchy drums combining in such an effortlessly funky way alongside the emotive guitar which lends it an uplifting Balearic twist. Coldwater, adds vocals to a similar formula to again sound and feel captivating, yet heavy-duty with enough scope to be played poolside or club. Final track, You & Me aims squarely for the latter with yet another big bassline over inventive drum programming, this time offset by unsettling vocals and hints of ambience floating around the arrangement. Class.
release: September 4
You’ve got to hand it to Gomma as they set themselves apart by releasing records such as this from Swedish duo Tiedye. It’s so instantly distinctive that you could be forgiven for thinking it was made decades back, ending up as some dusty Balearic classic pre Ecstasy. Road Less Travelled is the kind of excitable Rock n Soul music that you can’t fail to love – full of passion, electric piano and fired-up vocals. DJ Kaos & Sonns provide the first remix that instantly transforms it all into something completely different with punchy drum machines and electronic melodies supplying excellent feelings. The Still Going version opt for a more rave based option with fuzzy synths and pounding beats sounding just the ticket behind the vocal.
release: September 6
Created in Chicago in 1985 Sunset Records was another component in the birth of what became labelled, House Music. Indeed in the opening title track from co founders Razz Feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario ‘Kill Yourself Dancing’ you can hear it all really: from those classic drum sounds to the basement heavy grooves that reference American Disco just as much as they do European New Wave/ Italian Disco. Released as a double LP and CD this again puts the history into perspective but not only that it contains so many energetic pieces of music that stand the test of time. Perhaps overshadowed by the cities Trax and DJ International Records as far as Europe was concerned, although perhaps now the balance will be readdressed. Listen below.
release: September 17
I started DJing back in 2005, and got very involved in the night life in Stockholm. I was hosting quite a few different nights at the time, and this was always a pleasurable and needed escape from my master degree studies at university. I was listening to quite a bit of electronic music when I grew up, although I wasn’t quite aware that it was particularly electronic at the time… Some that remain with me still to this day is early The Knife.
About two years after I started to DJ I went into making music. It was something I started out of total curiosity. And along those lines it was, it was never clear to me that this hobby would grow into a passion and I’d end up making it a career, but it’s been a very organically evolving path.
The What You Got EP is your new release for Culprit. How did you get introduced to the label?
I met Droog the first time last year at Sonar when we were all playing at the Rebelrave. That party was definitely one of the best memories I have from last summer!
The EP’s title track features your own vocals. Who inspired you to start singing, and do you have any plans for ‘live’ performance of your music?
I started singing when I was about 12 years old, I was soprano in my local church choir. I would love to do a live show, that’s one of my dreams. I’m just waiting for the moment to come.
Which were your favourite pieces of software/ hardware involved in producing the EP? And can you tell us about how you like to create a piece of music?
I have two software synths that I use a lot for my signature sounds, a Rob Papen and a KORG VST. But I’ve recently been getting really into hardware, and it’s helped me understand music in a new way. I’m very fond of my Slim Phatty for example!
It seems like the best lyrics evolve over time for me, sometimes this means years (!). As I’m coming from a background of writing songs, there is always the challenge of scaling down to the core of what I want to say, to make it fit into a more dancey context. The best tracks for me come from a state of calm and effortlessness. That’s why I’ve been very into meditating lately, it helps me feel more creative and reach for the unexpected.
The scene here, if we in that include creative people and the night life as it happens, has inspired me a lot. It’s very vibrant and compared to living in Sweden it’s like being in an all year around festival, considering how much amazing music you can experience every week. When I first came to London I used to go to a lot of warehouse parties, but I don’t so much anymore. Some of my favourites include Krankbrothers and Half Baked, I played with them both and they always keep the spirit high!
What are your plans for 2013?
I’m feeling very motivated to explore all sorts of stuff in the studio right now, so spending lots of time doing that is definitely one of my main aims. Then I’m considering a move from London, my inner urge to get back to the nature is calling! More on that to come… Apart from that I’m looking forward to a busy summer with lots of gigs!
What You Got EP reviewed at DMC magazine: http://www.dmcworld.net/reviews/entry/house/adeline-what-you-got-ep-culprit.html