Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Marco and Norman. Let’s begin with your fiery new single: Neon Frame EP for Upon You Records. Tell us about how you got the track signed to the label?
Marco: Norman and I are in the studio at least once a week to exchange music as well as new ideas for Luna City Express. Norman showed me a couple of his new sketches and “Gimme Some More” stood out the most to me. I immediately wanted to sign it for my own label Upon You Records.
Talk us through how you produced Gimme Some More, which features particularly addictive keys? Are there any favourite software/ hardware you like to use when producing?
Norman: I started this tune with a beat which I sampled from an old house record. I edited the drums to give them my own touch. Additionally to that I recorded some percussions from the Roland HPD-20 Handsonic Pad. Both the bass and the little acid sound are from the Sylenth 1 PlugIn. The Arp sound is from the Korg Mono Poly PlugIn. Marco added that striking vocal hook, took care of the mixdown and finished the track.
buy Neon Frame https://www.beatport.com/release/neon-frame/3121959
Outside of electronic music – who are your most important influences (in terms of writers, artists, poets etc)?
Norman: I’m mainly influenced by Funk and Disco from the 70’s as well as from Jazz, Classic Music, Rap and the entire 80’s era. Prince is my biggest inspiration, his ability to produce every kind of style in such high quality still blows me away.
Marco: Musically the 80’s and the 90’s influenced me the most. Before I discovered electronic music my taste was pretty broad. Michael Jackson, Prince, De La Soul and Gang Starr just to name a few were on heavy rotation during that time and I still love listening to them. In terms of writers, Ken Follet and Noah Gordon are my favourites since I love reading historical novels.
How have your lives altered as artists as a result of Covid-19? How do you see things moving forwards for people who work in music?
Norman: My life has changed a lot. After 12 years I started to work again as an educator for kids in after-school-care. It was not an easy task to make this move but the current situation caused me to do it. Additionally to that I was able to play a couple of shows during the summer, but the earnings were way less than normal. The most positive thing that came up with Corona is that I have spent much more quality time with my family than all the years prior to that. Furthermore I’d say that the world especially Mother Nature needed that break. I mean we’re discussing about climate change since quite a while but nothing ever really changed. But also for us human beings it was about time to slow down the pace.
Marco: My life looks pretty much the same except that I haven’t started a new job (til now). The German government has supported us financially as a business person but not really as an artist. The money that came in March is pretty much gone now. As freelancers we were pushed to apply for social welfare. It is a weird feeling after being self-employed for almost 20 years. But I’m grateful anyway to be able to use this contribution for my family. Fingers crossed that we will be able to work independently again as soon as possible.
Norman: Regarding the second part of the question…I don’t see things moving forward at all for people who work in the music industry, especially in the event sector. Most of the clubs in Germany are closed. It looks obviously worldwide like this. Agencies, booking agents, technicians, engineers, bartenders, etc. are not able to work since March. As a DJ it doesn’t really make sense anymore to buy new music regularly as we have lost the platform to perform. Well, commercial streaming became the new thing – but this trend is in my opinion more a step back than forward for an artist.
Marco: Behind the scenes we are in the same boat. The clubs are suffering. The scene is suffering. The end of our summer looked kind of promising as we had a couple of proper dance events with appropriate hygiene rules. But summers over now, infection numbers are going up again and we are facing pretty much the same situation as before summer. That’s horrible! They are even talking again about closing hours and prohibition. That would be the final blow for a lot of locations respectively people who work there. Unfortunately we missed to build a proper lobby for our industry in the past 30 years. The event sector is the 6th strongest industry in Germany. The government needs to support us now. Otherwise more than 1 million jobs will disappear!
Likewise how do you see club culture changing (or not)?
Norman: The club culture is on hold at the moment. Since the clubs are closed there’s a new movement of illegal parties and raves here in Berlin. I mean how crazy is it that we are not allowed to dance?! That’s really hard to believe. I mean I get the whole thing but you can’t tell the kids to stay at home and wait until the pandemic is over. On the other hand it is really counterproductive for the regular clubs which try to find agreements with the government by offering them new hygiene concepts to find a way to get back to business.
What music have you been listening to at home, have you found more opportunity to listen to a broader range of music recently? What speakers do you like to listen to music on?
Norman: As I said before I mostly listen to Prince, Funk, Downbeats and Acid Jazz. Currently my kids are into Hip-Hop and I’m happy to hear them listening all of my old school favourites. I don’t really like commercial radio I prefer to take care of my own playlists at home. Sound is not that important to me, my focus is more on the choice of music.
Marco: I do not listen to that much electronic music at home. I’m the opposite to Norman, I like to listen to the radio and discover new music regardless the genre. It also helps me to keep an eye on new trends and it also trains my ears musically. My favourite playlist at the moment is Jazz Rap on Spotify. Furthermore I love to listen to the entire catalogue of Jazzmatazz, A Tribe Called Quest and Jazz Liberatorz.
And finally. What are you looking forward to in 2021?
We are looking forward to finally dance together again with all our friends and fans worldwide. This is something we really miss a lot. We also can’t wait to release our 3rd album and celebrate 20 years of Luna City Express.
Luna City Express Neon Frame EP is out now on Upon You Records