Welcome to Magazine Sixty, John. Your new single Your Love (Skint Records) captures a sense of anticipation yet also hints at melancholy. What for you are the most important attributes in music? What makes a great piece of music?
Thanks and happy to speak with you, I’ve just been away so glad to be back in the studio. Yes as you say I always love a bit of melancholy in the music even if it’s a dance or pop song. For me music is all about a feeling and it’s really hard to think about music as ”music business”. It’s probably been bad for me as I probably could twist out lot of money from it, but for me, music is more than that. I’m not saying I don’t do any commercial crossover music, I have but it needs to vibrate with me or I won’t do it but around after 26+ years or so, I guess I’ve been doing something right after all.
Hard question as I would say again, for me it’s all about that soul and feeling, so if you don’t feel it you don’t feel it, nothing wrong with you or the music it’s just that you don’t connect for some reason.
Can you talk us through how you produced the track? What pieces of software/ hardware did you use in its creation?
I have always been into analog gear and have over the years built up a nice studio I’m happy with. I usually never talk about my studio as I think it loses that magic feeling of how things are done, but the studio is based upon Pro Tool HD. I wish I had been working with it since the year 2000, shifting from an Atari with Creator/Notator program and an Alesis MMT8 Sequencer. Around that I have lots of synths for different purposes, like the Memorymoog, Moog One, Roland Jupiter 8, PPG Wave + Waveterm B, MiniMoog and many more .. I use them all and they have a different colour of sound. The main studio speakers are the ATC SCM45A PRO, I just love them. Far from that a few outboards and some rare gadgets, like the Quatec QRS reverb unit, crazy enough pre owned by Kate Bush and used on her ”Hounds Of Love” album, which for me is still as mind-blowing as when I was a kid, nonstop watching the ”Cloudbusting” music video on MTV with tears in my eyes. So it feels strange that I got hold of that unit they used. But nothing in the studio is for gimmick or for collection, if i don’t use it I sell it.
Buy: Zoo Brazil – Your Love https://Skint.lnk.to/YourLove
What in general is the starting point for making a piece of music – a drum or a random sound? Do you think it is more important to concentrate on simplicity or more complex use of instrumentation?
It could be a random sound I tweak out of the synths or just a melody on the piano or a drum beat I start to build around, I never have a template or preset sounds. I think that is so boring, so I always try to start from a blank paper, music making should be fun, and going to the studio and not having that free open feeling is not fun for me.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I think I’ve more or less owned all the synths I thought were my dream synths, like the Yamaha CS80. I actually sold it as it was not for me and I believed it was my dream synth before but never really did anything on it, and have never been a huge Vangelis fan anyway so it was just not for me. I would say the Minimood Model D, PPG Wave and any of the Roland Jupiter’s like 4, 6, 8 or MKS80 are my favourite synths. They always stand on their own and don’t go with any fashion, I can do anything with them really.
What advice would you give to new producers on looking after their hearing?
Get some good studio monitors, follow your own feelings and don’t jump on trends. Now days there are plenty of labels out there that will dig your stuff for sure, don’t give up. Don’t stop on one track from 2 years, make new songs all the time, you will learn from each new song you make. Don’t let A&R people make you feel sad, from experience they are not always right, so do your thing.
How do you see the Dance Music industry at the moment? Is it in a healthy place in terms of artists revenue (Streaming etc) and how do you see it moving forward?
Streaming is a joke, it’s more or less the same amount of money as coal mine workers had in the early 1800 in payment. I love the technology but it has to change, music rights and value of work need to be granted. These companies profit on your work and believe it’s payback time just as it was for the coal miners back in the days, but first artists, writers and producers need to understand their own value and join forces. A magical thing would be a streaming service platform owned by the artist themselves, instead of greedy investment companies that invest in anything they can get money from.
What was the last piece of Club Music to really impress you, and which artists do you value from outside of the genre?
There is so much good club music out there, but nothing really new. It goes in circles and it’s not that I’m looking for something new, but club music is as it has always been really, to make people move and have a good time. Everything comes back in fashion after like 20 years, just to put a different name on it does not change it. But im glad a new generation is discovering it and there is so much good new music out there. I love music from 1977-1985, it was such an interesting period of new technology in the music studios and people had never heard of digital delays, affordable synths and spaced out effect units. Right now I’m listening to anything from cheesy pop stuff from early 80ísh to Speed metal, it comes back to the previous question, it’s all about that feeling in the music.
And finally. Where can people get to hear you DJ over the coming months?
Right now nowhere really, I’ve been changing booking agent and in the process of that. But requests have been floating in from Asia, Australia and the EU in the last few weeks so looking forward to a busy summer ahead DJ’ing.