White Cliffs Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty. Let’s begin with that black and white image of you sat alone at your keyboards on a rooftop, which feels strangely poignant given today’s unnatural climate. Can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding the photograph?

Why thank you! So that is my loft building in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where I record most of my music. Its a really unique space where artists can bang on drum kits or build art installations or whatever they fancy. I moved all the gear up onto the roof for some album artwork to go with an upcoming release.

Are you experiencing lockdown in your part of the world? Does the current situation offer you space in terms of creative possibilities? And how do you think life will change at the other end of this crisis?

Living in NYC, we have felt this thing both early and heavily. At the start, some friends and I fortunately got up to the Catskills to record for about ten days, but for all of April I’ve been shacked up at my girlfriend’s apartment, mini studio and all. On one hand, it can get a little maddening sitting down and hammering away at music every day, but on the other, it’s definitely a unique privilege and opportunity to have zero interruption like this. I’ve even finished a new EP since the lockdown started. I think when this is over, hopefully, everyone will know themselves a little better. I know I’ve spent lots of time asking myself what I really want to do with my life, and I’m excited to get out there and do it once this crisis passes.

Tell us something about how you create music – does it start with a single sound, or melody, or being inspired by something you have read or seen?

I try to switch up my approach to stay invigorated and excited. Sometimes a song can start with a drum recording I have, and other times it can be a weird sound that accidentally happens while toying with a certain guitar pedal. I think the approach heavily influences the end result however, so as I have progressed, I have started to learn how to go in with a certain “goal” in mind, and start a song that way. For example, recently a lot of my music has felt very slow. So recorded a super fast drum beat at 165BPM, and wrote around that. Now at least I have one fast song!

Where did you learn to play guitar and piano? Who taught you?

Piano was my first instrument. I had this amazing teacher when I was like 6 years old who recognized that while I was a little too young and immature to learn sheet music, I had a knack for memorizing pitches and whatnot. So she would teach me songs by memory kind of like Simon Says, and while it was a little less traditional, she understood that keeping me engaged and excited was the most important thing. Once she moved away, my new teacher was so mean and I couldn’t do it. So my parents suggested that I took my dad’s old guitar and started taking lessons on that instead.

The proceeds from your excellent single for Repopulate Mars: Brace Yourself is going to Earth Justice and Rainforest Alliance. Can you tell about what those particular charities mean to you?

Honestly, our planet is in really rough shape. I could go into so many issues like coral bleaching or ocean acidification or melting permafrost or clearcutting forests for mono-cropping and factory farming; the list of pressing crises can really be devastating to think about. A few years ago I realized that instead of getting crushed by the weight of our situation, I should do what I know how to do (make music), in hopes of one day gaining a platform to do something about it. Specifically, I hope to one day help re-work how the music industry affects the environment, both with touring and sustainability in general. Having the opportunity to contribute to both Earth Justice and Rainforest Alliance represents a small first step in this direction. Both groups do such outstanding work and have been for decades, so naturally it made sense to give all proceeds to these great foundations.

buy Brace Yourself https://lnk.to/RPM076

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

This is a TOUGH one. My favorite instrument is probably a Wurlitzer electromechanical piano. I was lucky enough to finally get one off of craigslist this past September. What makes this instrument so special is that there are physical wooden hammers that strike metal bars to create a warm, electronic pitch. So it’s the perfect marriage of a real piano feel with a gooey buzzing sound. This is the sound of many Ray Charles classics, as well as the iconic intro to “You’re my Best Friend” by Queen.

(randon question) California Dreamin’ or America’s Ventura Highway? Which and why do you prefer?

Love this question. I would have to say that California Dreamin’ was a more directly influential song to me as a producer because of what I learned while recording the cover of it. Specifically, I was studying the interplay of a male and female vocalist trading lines like that. But that said, the very Buffalo Springfield-esque vocal harmonies on Ventura Highway are one of my all time favorite flavors of classic rock music. Keep an ear out for lots of vocal stacks on my forthcoming music 🙂

Tell us about the other musician’s you perform with? And the experience of playing live to an audience?

I have been on the road with several “live” electronic acts such as Elderbrook, Big Wild, and STS9. These people are all heroes to me, because I was able to see how each act applied their own method to bringing their productions to an audience in the most captivating, good-sounding way possible. For example, STS9’s live rig is honestly so mind-bending complicated, and the band was kind enough to explain how it has evolved over the years. Big Wild and Elderbrook both showed me the importance of a setup that sounds juicy and amazing, but also involves taking risks and doing things without too much computer assistance to give the audience a real, vulnerable experience. My newest tour setup involves just a MIDI keyboard and a guitar with everything else (keyboard patch changes, timed effects etc) being controlled by Ableton, allowing me to put on the most direct and interactive live performance yet. In the past there was too much button pushing and now I feel like I can just play.

And finally. What are forthcoming plans for producing music?

I’m currently sitting on a backlog of about 12 songs, spread out across a double single and two EPs. As soon as everything is done and set for release, I plan on spending the summer working on a full length LP for White Cliffs, as well as starting to produce music for a more dance music oriented side project.

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White Cliffs – Brace Yourself – Repopulate Mars

Expect the unexpected. Repopulate Mars weren’t supposed to drop chopped-up, slung low music like this oozing more than vibrant, summertime relief. But then again who cares about rules as addictive melodies such as these drift across guitars which sing and sting, and all the while this downtempo treat fizzes with a gentle excitement that positively ripples. Rawthentic co-owner Nathan Barato then delivers upon the promise with a beefed-up remix lifting up the tempo while injecting a robust energy into its driving grooves, this time shimmering via heady, synthesized motifs.

* The label is donating all profits from the release to climate change / conservancy via chosen charities Earth Justice and Rainforest Alliance

Release: March 27

Preview/Pre-Order: http://lnk.to/RPM076

https://www.facebook.com/whitecliffsjams
https://soundcloud.com/whitecliffs
https://www.repopulatemars.com
https://soundcloud.com/repopulatemars

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reviews:72

Nathan Barato
The Sub Of Queen West EP
Blackflag Recordings

Toronto’s Nathan Barato’s debut release on Stacey Pullen’s imprint is so good it hurts. Good that is you like deep, pounding rhythms and dark atmospheres programmed with a serious amount of shade. Energetic snares and pulsating sub-bass power this as various vocal snippets ingratiate themselves firmly into the groove on the very aptly titled Can You Hear Me? The Mitchell Rhythm on the other hand demonstrates even more percussive ability with sassy cowbells and twisted voices all feeling uneasy, yet completely engaging at the same time.

release: December 10

https://www.facebook.com/nathan.barato.fanpage

https://soundcloud.com/nathanbarato

 

 

Mike Dunn meets Victor Simonelli & Luis Radio
Nothing Stays The Same
Systematic Recordings

Number three in Marc Romboy’s Lost Treasures series sees this tasty House cut from 1997 got a timely reworking. And when you listen to the original version it’s all the more impressive that this doesn’t simply copy and paste into 2012 but adds its own distinct flavour to Mike Dunn’s cool spoken vocal. F.E.X remixes with a striking array of toms and beats spelling out funk, while holding back the rewarding soulful keys right until the fifth minute. Next is Melon who adds juicier bass and cowbell to his Chicago inspired reworking which feels more retro than F.E.X but every bit as good.

release: 10/12/12 – 10″ Vinyl

http://www.systematic-recordings.com/2011/index.html

The Original Victor Simonelli version…

 

PITTO
RICHKLAP
Wolfskuil Ltd

Love the way this builds your sense of anticipation as it deftly develops the instrumentation into a peak around the half way mark. And then proceeds to do it all over again. It’s a combination of what sounds like reversed Brass and moody chords that feel spellbound and most addictive on Dusty. RICHKLAP on the other hand features delicious, bluesy vocals over heavier rhythms and stabs, and once again is hard to resist. Both the Jackmate and the Viola remixes replay the elements with the later adding Fiddle and big-time breaks to what is certainly a refreshing angle.

http://www.decks.de/index.php

http://www.wolfskuilrecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/wolfskuilrecords

 

 

 

Vincent Kwok
Aura
Transport Recordings

This is outstanding work from Vincent Kwok who ends the year on an all-time high with this latest release from Transport. In fact, this easily surpasses the feelings generated with joyous, shimmering synths and a feel good rhythm section that all add up to peak-time business. Plus, with generous hints of melody and constantly evolving keyboard flourishes it’s quite possibly his finest to date. The following It Goes Around version then strips it all down to reinvent the parts on what sounds like classic early nineties styled chords progressions.

http://www.traxsource.com/index.php?act=show&fc=tpage&cr=titles&cv=192886&alias=upfront

https://soundcloud.com/8dpromo/vincent-kwok-aura-transport

http://www.transportrecordings.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vincent-Kwok/15264243813

 

 

Nathan Rivers
Not Afraid EP
Resonance Records

Great to see and hear this raft of new producers so obviously inspired by House Music from decades ago, yet firing it up with their own take on the sound. Sometimes imitation is the best form of flattery, although in this case opening number What’s Going On has a very definite 2012/13 twist to it. Driven by head-nodding beats and accompanied by sparse organ chords plus classy vocals this does the job nicely. The title track then ironically sounds much fresher with pulsating basslines and deeper moods, while the remaining Raw Moves and the standout Feel The Vibe rework the formula very effectively indeed.

http://www.beatport.com/release/not-afraid-ep/1006907

https://soundcloud.com/resonancerecords/sets/rr007-nathan-rivers-not-afraid

http://www.resonancerecords.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/nathanriverslondon

 

East End Dubs
She Loves It EP
Act Natural Records

Perhaps not to surprisingly East End Dubs define a time and place with their emphasis pretty much all on the Dub aspect. Four relatively stripped back grooves go to make up this EP with the pounding title track and much darker Charlie Foxtrot being the most notable. It’s pretty much down to the strength, and quality, of the hard-hitting production that makes these minimal grooves sound so good. Play either at the right moment to ensure a fevered reaction.

release: 10.01.13 (Vinyl) 24.01.13 (Digital).

https://soundcloud.com/eastenddubs/sets/east-end-dubs-act-natural

http://www.actnaturalrecords.com/

 

 

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