Time ladies and gentlemen is of the essence. So at almost twelve minutes duration Sleep Is Commercial’s Andrea Ferlin rushes head first into the bliss. Th starts the clock running sequencing a crisp, tight drum loop plus an array of unnerving, funky and fidgety sounds that cumulate in this compelling, excellent production. Next, and possibly even more intense, is Flux which channels future psychedelia into dark, brooding atmospheres alongside weird, contorted voice-like expanses. Operating on a deeper level than most you can also sense the avant-garde operating in amongst the smoky drums and shuffling urgency. Or, you could of course just say of both numbers that they provide strange, wonderful life-affirming music.
Hello and welcome along to Magazine Sixty, Andrea. Let’s begin with your brilliant new release for SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL – Flux E.P. which comprises of two productions. Can you talk us through how you produced the epic 11:49 minutes of Th. From where the initial idea came from to how that was then realised in musical terms?
Nice to meet you as well. Thanks for the nice words on the release.
The initial idea started building the groove using elements from a real drum kit and reprogramming the sounds of the drum kit with a sequencer. On top, using other two drum machines, and a bunch of synthethizers. When I make music, most of the time I start with an idea and then this idea develops itself naturally in a track. It something very natural that I cannot really explain.
You recently played at the labels night at Warehouse in Palma de Mallorca as you do at many others across the world? Tell us about how you feel your music connects with people? And do you think music translates borders, or do different locations require different approaches?
I have the chance to travel the world and play the music I love, I really feel lucky to be able to do this. Music connects people with one another and me with them as well. Music is a universal language and even tough I still think that different locations requires different approaches. The music we play does not fit any type of dance floor. There is music that works perfectly in a dance floor like Berlin’s Club Der Visionaere but doesn’t work in the same way in another place. The audience is different and I try to adapt myself to this.
What makes SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL such special label for you? And how would you say the philosophy behind it is unique in today’s digital age?
We founded SLEEP IS COMMERCIAL in 2009 with Francesco Assenza and it became a special project for us since then. We managed to create a label that embodies exactly what our taste in music is. We have a great group of friends and artists that are part of the label and we support each other. We exchange music, ideas, build new projects together. We are very lucky to have this.
We are found of vinyl only releases. We had a digital series that we stopped as we wanted to focus our production on vinyl releases. I do not know if our philosophy is unique but we are for sure a bunch of crazy music freaks and we try to make the most out of it.
Outside of the world of electronic music which artists, writers or musicians have most influenced what you do?
I am a big jazz fan as I grew up listening Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk among many others. This kind of music deeply inspired me by its groove. I particularly like free jazz because of its very complex and sometimes abstract rhythmics. I also listened to many psychedelic Rock from the Sixties. The writer that most influenced me is Robert A. Heinlein. He is a science-fiction writer, a genre that I particularly enjoy to read. Many sounds that I then use in my tracks remind me the science fiction movies I use to watch when I was a kid.
What makes certain music timeless?
In my point of view, one of the elements that make a track timeless is its vocal part. This vocal part could also be a synthesizer riff for example.
When I think about it, there are so many iconic tracks to me. Tracks maybe 60 years old that are still modern in a way. Tracks that pass from generations to generations. This I think happen when the tracks have this magical thing that no one really can explain. When the music touches you in a special way for any particular reason. I do not think that there can be a proper explanation to what makes certain music timeless, it is very subjective like in all art forms.
Do you have a favourite instrument (or software/ hardware)? Do you own one?
Yes I have some favorites pieces of gear. One is the Eventide H3000. It is for me an irreplaceable effect processor. I use it in all of my productions. I use all the Elektron machines. Starting from the Machine Drum to the Analog Four and the Octatrak. I love to use them because they are very powerful machines, very easy to use and I have a lot of fun using them.
How would you place the importance of song and words in the context of today’s electronic landscape?
Most of the music I do is without any vocal parts in a classical way. I use vocal parts that I transform into instruments. I use the voice for their sounds but not for the words they say. Sometimes only I use vocals to send a message but it is very rare. I think that in today’s electronic music scene the use of words is still the same, each producer use it in its way, some more than others and some not at all.
And finally. Can you share your plans for the remainder of 2018 and beyond?
2018 has been a great year for me so far. I have a lot of records and remixes coming: my new Atoll record and my new Proboscide record will both come out in June. Some months ago I started a project with some friends in Beirut, No Longer Humans and we have a two tracks EP coming out this summer with a remix of Aleandro (another project I have with Alessio Mereu). There is a track of mine in a new triple vinyl Sleep Is Commercial Various Artists that will be released in Autumn. I also did a remix together with Francesco Assenza as Dunkle Dummies for a Wareika track called ‘Shamania’ that will be released in a double vinyl for our Sleep Is Commercial Ltd series. Another remix will come from Ricardo Villalobos together with Thomas Melchior.
Regarding gigs, I will be taking on my residency at Club der Visionaere in Berlin and I look forward to play this summer in old and new locations such as Waha Festival in Romania or in Egypt.
Andrea Ferlin’s Flux EP is out July on Sleep is Commercial