It’s easy to get caught up in the waft of dispensable that passes for danceable at times. Then you listen to something like Bedouin and Santiago Garcia’s remix of the emotive vocals from The Magnetic North’s, Bay of Skaill. And swoon. Music is meant to about reaching depths or heights of what it is to be human and this tastefully crafted, probing production does both seemingly at once. Driven by the punch of deep drums and bass a loose configuration of sounds gather around a unique blend of cinematic guitar, alongside the wired and definitely wonderful. Then the voice…
Proposing melody which doesn’t always chime this collection of four numbers from L.A based Foam and Sand dance around like there’s no tomorrow – who knows, perhaps there isn’t. Overlapping rhythms, hints of voice and weighty synthesizers create a unique series of process’s that are all at one heart-warming yet in resounding, slightly nervous ways. The joyous resolution found in the warm, heavenly expanse of circle 14 is also more than special. Artworks by Loredana Lupu complete the EP.
Four imaginations of sound occupy the space of Black Forest. A sometimes lonely existence that eloquently unfolds revealing a more open, rustic landscape. Drawing you in like a flame as embers disassociate and re-join lost memory in serene, almost spiritual ways. You get that strange sensation that in amongst all the intense waves of motion that something beautiful is escaping into your arms. All of which are simple thoughts received when listening to this joint venture of CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA & DIRK SERRIES, following on from their equally telling debut, The Storm Of Silence. There is of course an ambience to this but then again perhaps the longevity it strives for suggests Classical might be more of an appropriate word.
I guess the singular thread spun throughout each of these productions is that of life assuring, soulful intensity. That, plus the heavy-duty amount of funk ingrained into each of the four numbers. Excitement drips from every pour of Daniel Maunick’s, Hurt Feelings as the rush of energised percussion plus deep bass start this new EP with a definite bang. The drums provide an array of intricate patterns while the instrumentation plays like it means it. A Chance To See Again sequences the distinct flair of Detroit next, with the succinctly irresistible Africana playing like a drummers paradise in Latin. The self-explanatory Black Magic (vinyl only) completes care of punchy piano alongside more hot, rolling grooves compacted by that signature intensity.
Jazz is still here. Mercifully. Denoting and defining culture.
The wonderful, explosive strains of emotion that caress Nimbus Sextet’s fiery fusion of soulful tones, brushed with spikey funk, are now here for all to relish. I love the celebratory experience which unfolds out of the opening suggestion of Joe Nichols piano on Trap Door, accompanied by an explosive array of horns and rhythms turning introspection into joy. Contrast and the exploration of possibility are both something you can witness throughout their debut album for the seemingly timeless Acid Jazz and its important that we have such craft to sing about. Consequently, Lilly White proposes a looser configuration oozing sass in the form of Anthony Thomaz’s smooth vocal delivery. The power of Jazz also lies in the aspect of melancholy translated throughout the keys and provocative instrumentation on the atmospherically generous Klara. Leaving a hazy sense of occasion to round things off via the title track’s rich, treated breath, while exercising a promise of tomorrow in ways unique to Dreams Fulfilled.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty. Let’s start with the name: Silent Revolt and what it signifies for you?
I came up with Silent Revolt as a graffiti tag back in the 80’s. Back then it signified youth rebellion. Which was really what graffiti was all about then. As I have grown older, it has taken a new meaning for me personally. Nowadays many have become victims of political correctness which has led to self censorship and a lack of true expression because of fear of being ridiculed, blacklisted, and or shamed. Art is a great release where we can express ourselves without even saying a word while delivering a message to the masses.
Your excellent new single: Dogmatik features snippets of what sounds like a deep conversation. What were the circumstances that led to the interaction and what do you hope people will take from it?
Thanks for the kind words! My good friend Ari Carlini and I were having a conversation one morning on video chat. We were discussing current events, politics, and the covid pandemic at which point Ari started getting really deep. Ive known Ari for over 25 years and have always had a high level of respect for his views and intellect. The message is pretty clear. We all have an ego that we battle on a daily basis and it’s important to keep an open mind. We are living in an ever-changing world where things are constantly changing. It’s important to keep educating ourselves, learn new things, and to be open to different points of view. Humble yourselves ❤
Your original mix is particularly hypnotic. Talk us through how you created the music, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
I began with the vocal snippets that I had recorded with Ari. That was the driving force behind the track and it was important to build it to complement the message. The production itself took on emotions that I felt at the moment. I was on a nostalgic old school kick. Listening to old house, hip house records, so most of the inspiration came from the music I was actually listening to at the time.
Here is a list of the hardware and software used for ‘Dogmatik’ :
Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences ?
Noam Chomsky is a literary favorite. His views have helped me see things for what they are, in my opinion. My favorite artist by far is “Freek” DAM CREW from Miami. For over 30 years he has painted walls and cavansses spreading a positive message with all his works. Poetry, I have to say it, Tupac 🙂 Ive have also been heavily influenced by latin jazz. Artists like Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, and Johnny Pacheco are huge inspirations and in my opinion, musical geniuses.
What attributes would you say being based in Detroit brings to your music?
Before the pandemic I was frequently attending local events and fell in love with the musical diversity in the city. Everything from Deep House, Minimal, Tech House, and Techno are all pretty well represented here. Listening to Detroit legends like Norm Talley and Delano Smith at many local events has introduced me to a sound that I wasn’t very accustomed to in Miami. It has definitely broadened my horizons which has definitely helped grow my taste in music and helped develop the more deep hypnotic sound currently in my productions.
The label you co-founded, Moteur Ville Musique began last year. How do you see the life of the imprint adapting to the world in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Quite frankly, we are going to have to roll with the punches. And like many other labels, I think we will move forward cautiously and with the highest of hopes. This is uncharted territory for the industry as a whole. And honestly don’t think anyone was ready for this. We can only hope for a better 2021 🙂
Likewise how do you see club culture changing (or not) to new ways of doing things?
I believe, for the foreseeable future, parties will mostly likely be very strict as far as social distancing rules, venue capacity restrictions, and so on. I also feel like the scene will be focused locally. We might even see a rise in illegal raves. I love illegal raves, but during a pandemic?
What are the most important attributes for you when signing a new piece of music to Moteur Ville Musique? Is social media presence or the artist having a high profile ever a factor, or is it solely down to the music?
The most important attribute would be the music. When we launched MVM late 2019 we made a commitment to ourselves to release quality tracks and intend to keep that commitment. Music will always come first. Thus far we have been blessed to have worked with some high profile artists as well as some up and coming talent. But, social media presence and the artist’s profile is definitely a plus for us when considering signing new material and not the deal maker.
And finally. What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Looking forward to a life without lockdowns, masks, restrictions. Traveling and having social interactions again. Even though I truly believe that this virus is going to continue inconveniencing us for quite some time, I remain optimistic that we will soon be together again!
This a notable piece of music. Not only does it suggest that history is present and correct, coursing throughout the timeline of sound, but as Brandon Markell Holmes’ smouldering voice ignites such emotional turmoil it also connects pain to loss and redemption. I guess the clue is discovered within the title, which is also acts as the name of his recent album. This version exists as an edit by members of toucan sounds assembling all the important sources of inspiration from the previous century touching upon Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, House and beyond. A life assuring production which you can’t help but fall for.
I was beginning to suspect that reliance on music without drums was leading down a rather solitary path. One which seemed to only highlight certain limited emotions at the expense of all others. So much so that I was questioning if I had in fact ended up at a dead-end. But then you listen to this collection of richly dark imaginations as they unfold from the mind of Veins Full of Static and you can’t help but get lost in all of its equalling eloquence. I guess like all forms of music it either speaks to you or it doesn’t. With a lot of albums of this nature, that aren’t about traditional melody or unpersuasive I Love You’s, there is a genuine heart at play here as signature swirls and pathways are discovered in a seemingly endless loop. Reflecting the existence of the time we are in.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Philipp. Let’s start with Dial 7 For Ghosts your new single. Where did the title come from?
Guten Tag – the title of this release is an homage to one of my favorite bands from my younger days. They are called “Phantom/Ghost”, one of their songs is called “Relax, it’s only a Ghost” in which they have several lines, I just like so much. So the titles of the two originals are a direct hint to them. Also I once made music with a friend under the name “Ghosts On Gangway Seven” – a really silly name, but it popped up when listening to Phantom/Ghost again and so I played a bit with it and ended up with “Dial 7…”
As with all of Stólar releases it features striking artwork. Who is the artist behind the images, and how would you describe the importance of Art to you and for the label?
Every release has a photography by Jules Villbrandt, a very good friend of mine, that is an extraordinary photographer, is running her own interior-blog-magazin, PR-Studio and does pictures for publications all over. She is fantastic, everything she does and offers is just beautiful, she is doing the art direction for the label and offers me pictures we can use as a cover and from that point we discuss every thing else, like the color scheme for the record inlay, the color of the vinyl and so on. When I thought about founding Stólar, the first thing I did, even before the name and so on, I asked Jules if she would help me with the visual work. She said yes and I couldn’t be happier, that she is doing it.
From the beginning I wanted a stringent look of the releases, so that you see from the distance which label you are looking at. A bit like Smallville with its Stefan Marx covers. Also we want every record to stand alone, as a piece of art and even as a piece of interior decoration. The cover picture from STÓ001 – The Clouds All Form A Geometric Shape was also released as print on Jules main hub in cooperation with Whitewall (http://www.herzundblut.com/blog-1/sweet-memories-limitierte-foto-edition-von-herzampblut-mit-whitewall) We want to make beautiful and aesthetically pleasing records from every angle. The fact that more and more people liking the Artwork and the music itself, is telling us, we are on the right path.
Running a new record label in 2020 must have presented challenges as a result of Covid-19. How do you see the ‘industry’ moving forward in terms of generating revenue (streaming) etc?
Well first of all I have to say that I have the huge privilege, that my day job was and is always there for me, so that the negative results of the pandemic isn’t hitting me as hard as others in the industry. Besides that 2020 was somehow not the best timing, especially with the first number, that was released one week before everything shut down in Germany. So right now the biggest challenge is to gain a wider audience for the records without playing in clubs, festivals or any other shows. To gain money, I think the best way is and was merchandise in the last years and some labels have been very creative in doing so, like Loser Records, also from Berlin. Also everyone is trying to get into the big playlists, but let’s face it, the outcome out of Spotify isn’t that helpful to smaller labels, it can help for sure, but it is just a small amount. I know that there are people pushing forward to change the way musicians are being paid in the streaming world, without shows this will be the biggest hope of generating revenue, for sure.
Honestly I don’t know, I have an idea but I quit clubs a few years ago. I read a lot about clubs getting local again, about stopping the bookings of artists from all over the world, I don’t think this is the future. The people are still thirsty for the club happening and for the edgy artists from other cities and countries, at least this is what I see here in Berlin. Clubs, same as labels and musicians, need to be creative again, Berghain is doing his gallery thing now, besides opening a “Biergarten” like open air on the weekends. Other clubs doing open airs more or less successfully since a few weeks now. Maybe it’s time to open even more to other people, besides the regular club visitor. I think there will be more pop-ups, more collaborations with restaurants, galleries, shops to bring more people into the places on a daily basis and maybe make some money with drinks, food etc. because right now, on the beginning of October 2020, I do not see a regular club night happening again in near future. I think for this to happen, the discipline in following the rules the authorities are giving to the clubs, is not there. Especially when narcotics and alcohol are involved, at the end this is still Berlin.
Outside of music who are your most important influences?
Mainly there are philosophical ideas, that are the influences to my work, besides music. Like the meaning of beauty, as it was handled in Plato’s work or the Japanese concept of aesthetics, Mujō, in which every conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux.
The music you release on Stólar is distinctive and high on atmosphere. What for you are the most important elements when signing a piece of music? And what are your feelings on the relevance of contemporary song-writing in electronic music?
Well thank you, Stólar was found as a hub for my own music, so it’s nice to hear, that there is something to recognize in my music. When signing other music that’s easy, I have to like it. But seriously, I mainly work with people, whose music and work I already adore. Because of the atmosphere, the melodics, the melancholy they transport in their songs. Like Metome, who did a remix of “Beau Rivage”. I first listened to his music in 2013 and I was instantly hooked by the way he produced music and performed it live. So it was just natural to ask him for a remix. Or Kim Brown and Tilman, both acts are and were excellent in what they do and did, I already listened to plenty of their songs before even starting a label. All I wanna do is work with people, I look up to, and when they agree I don’t want to put them into a frame, in which they have to work. They can do what ever they want and I am sure, that I will like it every time. Until now I was correct with my feeling.
About the relevance of contemporary song-writing in electronic music, well since the pop up of idm and the fact that house music, especially the melancholic one, is getting more and more in the focus, the need to write songs, like classic pop songs is there, if you want to get into the radio and/or the playlists, that aren’t the underground and niche ones. Gladly there are musicians that don’t follow those rules that much, as I am thinking of Christian Löffler e.g., who manages to write songs, that can be pop songs, but are still not following the classic song-writing and this is a fantastic evolution, in my opinion.
Tell us about your studio set-up. Do you have particular software / hardware you always use when creating music? And what choice of speakers for listening?
I mainly work inside the box, while having a Korg M1 and a Elektron Digitakt next to me, I use some UA effects and mainly Arturia Products, as I like the emulations of classical synths. When listening to music I use my studio speakers, Adam AX7 or my headphones from AIAIAI TMA-2.
And finally. Tell us about your plans for yourself as an artist and for the label moving into 2021?
The label will see the first release by an other artist than myself. Lifestyles, who already remixed “D7FG”, will release a single and an EP, that will get a vinyl release. I think I will release some music again as well, I just don’t know yet what exactly, since there are a lot of unfinished demos sitting around. With the label we will continue to produce some beautiful work with the help of Jules and other amazing artists, like Julian Braun, who is creating a short video for “Dial 7 For Ghosts”. We will try to expand that side of creativity as well. And if I could wish something for the label, it would be releases by all the great artists I adore, like Lawrence, Black Jazz Consortium, Francis Harris, Julius Steinhoff, Cinthie or John Roberts. Overall I want to continue working with people I admire, creating aesthetically pleasing things – that’s all I want and to me it’s heavenly.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Patrick. As well as your new EP: The End of Logic for HARD FIST you have co-created a video game to accompany the release featuring the track: Nervous Days. What was it about making a video game that you found so appealing, as opposed to other visual forms?
I created Nervous Days – The Game with Yvan Megal because we were both very intrigued by this medium, we like to play video games and always dreamed of making one. Yvan directed 3 of my previous music videos and I worked on his early short-movies, we have a strong artistic connection and this project just crossed all the things we liked so we started working on it in 2019. Video Game is a very underestimated art. When you play a video game you are active, you do more things than watching a video: you can go where you want, make your own decision, if you achieve a goal it will be thanks to you, you are an actor. It is a movie you can interact with or a theatre stage where you can actually go. Some games (especially indie games like Stanley Parable or Kentucky Route Zero) can blow your mind and be truly fantastic experiences, far from what we usually define as ‘video game’. I think it is a powerful medium to share emotions because the player is actually living the story you created not just watching it. This can offer a very intimate artistic experience between the artist and the viewer. As an artist you need to think of what the player might do or not do and frequently be in his eyes, look where he looks, go where he goes. You need to take him where you want without restricting him and always let him feel free. I find that idea very interesting. This game is our first one but we clearly will experiment on new ones.
Nervous Days is about obsession with social media. Do you think society could exist without it and what do you see the end results of the medium being? Are there any plus points?
Nervous Days is a funny satire of our behaviour towards social media. I use social media, enjoy it and also hate it. I don’t see how a number of followers or views make a good song or an interesting person but this topic is already out of date: social media isn’t social media anymore, it’s just regular life. I’m not good at sociology enough to know if society could live without it. I’m not old enough to regret the time there wasn’t any and not young enough to see it as a regular thing to live with. As a producer I need social media for my work but I also feel I must act against it. I think the answer should not have to be necessarily Manichean. This is the rule of this reality and I have to consider it to know how I can break them. Social media work on us on a very primitive level: it creates dopamine and makes us want more of it then create addiction: for example I’m very interested in that uncontrollable feeling of joy/ excitement that comes from having new likes, views or followers: what is this thing inside of us that makes us proud or happy ? Acknowledgement? Lust for love or celebrity? Reassurance? It shows that we are all looking for something. Desperately. Philosophically. It fills a void and that void interests me. That might be the positive point.
Can you talk us through how you produced Nervous Days including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
Yvan and I started from scratch in October 2019, we had the idea of a man running with his smartphone surrounded by stressful obligations. We had the aesthetic in mind but had no idea what were our capacities. It’s an entire free and DIY project so we had to learn everything. Will we be able to make the character run? How do we model a 3D facebook like? How do we even set a timer?! We explored our possibilities and learned a lot, we also spent hours on tutorials and nerds forums, by the way it feels always very warm at heart to see how you can get help from online specialised communities. The game was produced on Unreal Engine 4 (by Epic Games) – an extremely well done real-time 3D creation tool, it is free and I really encourage people to try it. Few objects were designed on Blender and pictures were produced on Photoshop. The track itself was produced on Ableton with samples, Minilogue, recorder zoom hk, midi keyboard, plugins, etc.
How did your relationship with the label HARD FIST happen?
Very naturally. In 2018 I heard some great tracks from their labels and simply contacted them, I sent a demo and they instantly replied that they were interested They have a very specific sound, located somewhere between Arabian electronic and dark disco -if this means anything. They add something very personal and different in the actual electronic music landscape and it’s precious. Also it is a bit special to me as they are from my hometown Lyon (France). I wish I had met them 10 years ago when I lived there!
Les Yeux Orange invitent Strapontin – 23 Septembre 2020 – Rinse France
Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences?
I’m also working for dance shows and visual art so influences comes from very different areas. Music, of course yes, but most of the time directors and choreographers are my most inspiring artists. French Choreographer Gisele Vienne for example produces stunning and haunted works, her early pieces with Stephen O’ Malley are so deep and disturbing it has left an imprint in my mind for years. ‘This is How you will disappear’ is an absolute dark gem and ‘Crowd’, her latest show about 90’s raves (in slow-motion) also was an overwhelming experience. Most of my favorite artists are visual artists who switched to another medium: the performer-director Matthew Barney, the choreographer Romeo Castellucci, or David Lynch -who is one of my hero (Twin Peaks season 3 is his masterpiece to me). Christian Rizzo also has a very positive influence on me and how I considered my multiple activities. Seeing his very eclectic career (he studied fine art then had a fashion brand then toured with a rock band then made dance shows) helped me reconsider that making sculptures + composing soundtrack + performing + DJ’ing was not incoherent. Professionally I felt the pressure to choose one of this medium and focus on it, but seeing him succeed like that gave me confidence and I feel now that I actually don’t need to be coherent because… fuck it ! I want to do what I like!
How has Covid-19 impacted upon where you live and work? How do you see club culture in general changing as a result?
I live in Brussels, Belgium, and Covid had a big impact here like many other places. Clubs won’t reopen and culture in general is frozen from now (September 20). I have no idea or pronostics on how things will be. Quarantine made me realise I love dance music but my passion isn’t only about clubs, it’s about good music and we can dance on anything if it’s good. Dancing with people on loud music is a thing a lot of people need and they already found ways to do it: illegally. Club culture will definitely go through this because that’s the essence of it. With no surprise big clubs and big names will continue and small clubs will close… Capitalist world will just continue its race and eat the poor and the ‘unknown’. But different parties will emerge, yes it is smaller with less people but it’s something. Things are already starting to move. We need to be positive. It is obviously a terrible time for dance music and clubs but there is way more important things happening around us. Clubs are not out of the ‘real world’. We have to question the problems of the world inside of it (ecology, gender equality, racism, capitalism…) Most of the club music is historically born on opposition to a restricted society and our actual society is very problematic. It may be the right time to think more globally and redefine what a club is, who we are, what we want to create and what a club can offer than the outside world has not (or what the club is the opposite of).
What are your thoughts on how artists make money via streaming?
It’s simple: artist’s share on streams are shitty. I earn 100€ if my song has 1 000 000 listens. I read somewhere that the only person who can get the minimum salary on Spotify was Rihanna -not sure about the info though. The only way for me to get decent money from my music is to play in clubs. Also Bandcamp is actually the best way I’ve seen to support artist: if someone buy 1€ one of my track I get 0,74€, which is the best I can get.
What are your preferred speakers to listen and make music on?
Sorry I’m not that much into speakers and gears so I can’t really answer that question. I made some EPs on Ableton with Behringer speakers and people and labels loved it. Quality is important of course and I’m a huge nerd on mixing but music is the first thing, details comes very very very late in the process. Plus most of the time this topic ends up in a toxic masculinity’s ‘who’s got the biggest’ comparison…
And finally. Can you tell us about some of your other artistic projects you have happening this year?
I recently started a very exciting collaboration with french producer David Shaw called ‘It’s Complicated’, we met in Brussels and discovered we loved each other’s music so we decided to make something together, it is still pretty new right now but what we did is already super sexy and dark as fuck ! I’m also working on a score for a contemporary dance show with my Poetic Punkers collective -in which I perform too, so we will work on this in art residency in Gênes, Paris and Brussels. I also prepare a solo exhibition in Brussels in March. Then I have 2 LP’s planned under my name Strapontin for 2021: first one on Invisible Inc with a fantastic remix of Sascha Funke and the other one on Abstrack Record. I’m very happy about both because I managed to work with amazing artist on it (artwork included) and they will be very beautiful items.
Strapontin – The End of Logic – Hard Fist is released October 15, 2020