Hot City Orchestra Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Arno and Simon. The music you create as Hot City Orchestra occupies a refreshingly, unique space in electronic music. In terms of your musical history growing up how did you arrive at this point?

Thanks a lot for your kind words and we’re really happy that you like our music. Our musical journey started in the early 90’s hay days of Drum’n’Bass and Jungle in Frankfurt am Main. We were both quite active in the scene around that time. Organizing Parties, starting a label (Art Of Rollin Records) . We even had a Tv Show called Rinse Out Tv where we would invite DJs to play. Our paths crossed quite early and since then we never really stopped making music together. Our latest release captures a more experimental side of things, while our previous releases have been more dancefloor oriented.
If this is now the more grown-up version of us? We don’t know, to be honest. But it felt to be the right time to do less club music and focus more on experimental stuff, interesting rhythms, and unique sounds. But the next Album might be 130 Bpm Techno. We really just do what we like.

Thinking about the inherent power of instrumentation and rhythm which you explore so readily do you feel they can convey more meaning without the use of words and melody, or are those things you would like to develop the use of in the future?

Part of our approach in making music is not to exclude anything. The selection of tracks on the album reflects around 2 years of making music together. Our next album might feature a singer, other musicians or singing dolphins. The selection on the album grew very organically and the concept was formed by the tracks that we felt needed to make at this certain time.

We always had and have a passion for minimal stuff and reduced melodies. Cheesy hooks, huge build ups and stuff like this was never our thing. An interesting or groovy Rhythm is always the foundation of our music.

Outside of music which writers, cinema, or Art inspires your day to day?

“Inspiration exists but it has to find you working” (Quote by Pablo Picasso)
Especially for this album, the dialogue with our machines, synthesizers and all the hardware in our new studio was a major inspiration. But daily life is a great and most needed inspiration as well for us. Arno’s wife and daughter, Simon’s love, are highly responsible for the outcome. Also, the interaction and the vibe that we both have in the studio is key. All that makes the difference for us. It’s not that we go to the museum, watch a film, or read a book and then get into something. It’s more a vibe, mood, and interactive kind of thing. The love of creating something (hopefully) special and unique. For Simon, there are especially four tracks inspired by a very special person to him. As you might have noticed, there are no lyrics or cheesy melodies. But For him these are nevertheless love songs that wouldn’t have been created without a special person in his life. Arnos’ daughter is the newest member to the family, and she inspires us every day. You can also hear her on one of the tracks.

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the album from the where the initial idea came from, to how that was arranged as a piece of music and then produced? Any favourite software / hardware you always like to use to create or treat sounds with?

6 Tracks one Bottle: The track was recorded during a period of rearranging the studio. As it was Simon’s birthday, we still wanted to Jam a bit, so we grabbed a bunch of machines and got going. We each had three channels on the Boss-Km 60 Mixer. Simon had three channels of Modular. Arno took the other three channels for the Roland Tr-808 as well as the Emu- Proteus going through the microcosm fx pedal. On the send channel of the mixer, we routed the Sony V-77 Effect unit and started messing around. We recorded one take and decided to put it on the Album. Other tracks were much more constructed or thought about which again shows that we don´t have one approach when it comes to make music. We are just servants to the music and do what we feel is needed and also not needed.

What are your feelings on how club culture has been shaped by social media and how festivals have become the dominant force in dance music, rather than establishing residencies? Are these positive or not so positive things for the future?

Let’s cut this question. IIO is not about Club Culture and an answer here could fill a whole book.

What are your views on streaming and how artists are currently able to generate money from music?

Generating money from music sales has been difficult for independent artists for quite a while. Basically, the internet came a long and all of a sudden people think it´s normal that music is for free. Which has had a profound impact on the value of art for its consumers. Sure, you have a few nerds that go to the record shop and now it´s en vogue again to buy Bon Jovi on vinyl but if you ask any teenager how much they spend for music the answer will probably be zero. Of course, we miss those times where vinyl sales were stronger than they are now. Of course, it’s disappointing when we generate just a few Euros from thousands of Spotify plays. But hey: Music is now accessible to everyone in the world, who is interested in it. We have to deal with new habits in consuming music and try to make the best out of it. We really love the idea that everyone can consume as much good music as they want to. You’re not dependent on record stores or your budget. The accessibility of culture and music is at the same time inspiring but overwhelming. So, when people tell us to boycott Spotify it doesn´t really make sense. For us Spotify is promotion and a way that many people (including us) consume music. And we want to make sure that everybody who wants to listen to this weird music can do so as easy as possible.

Is it important for music to constantly strive to move forwards? What are your feelings on nostalgia and the re-edit culture?

To be honest: We personally don’t really feel a lot of the stuff that is hyped (in the clubs) right now. No patience just bangers and funny haircuts with Hawaiian Shirts. That being said many clubbers don’t understand what we’re doing at the moment or with this current release. We just want to make music that feels important to us and hope that more or at least some people will like it.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one? Who do you most admire with their ability to play it?

Simon: For me it’s not really an instrument that I could point out. It’s more what you do with it and how to become creative and unique with it and finding your own “voice”. Some examples for me are Steve Reich in writing Scores, Moodyman in redefining the Detroit Sound while still heavily relating to the history, Devin the Dude for still creating that old-school vibe over and over again and not getting boring with it and some more.

Arno: My favourite instrument in a classical meaning would be the voice as we all have it and there is not much that touches me more than a person singing from the heart. Piano would be second as it sounds nice to begin with compared to let´s say a violin. When it comes to synths and drum machines, I don´t care so much. I collected a lot during the years, but I could start from scratch again tomorrow and I don’t think it would make too much of a difference. Your ears are the most important instrument for any producer.

buy https://hotcityorchestra.bandcamp.com/album/i-almost-danced-the-ultimate-collection
https://www.instagram.com/hot_city_orchestra/
https://www.instagram.com/internet_is_over/

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Samuel Rohrer Q&A

photograph by Camille Blake

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Samuel. Let’s begin with the art of drumming. Who inspired you to start playing the drums, how would you describe the process of learning to play them and what is your favourite drum kit to play on? 

My father took me to Jazz concerts and festivals from a very early age. I heard lots of great drummers which were my first influences, like Max Roach, Paul Motian, Elvin Jones or the African master drummer Adame Drame. Later on I was influenced by Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette or Jon Christensen, Jaki Liebezeit or Tony Allen.

I got in touch with improvisation from the very beginning and I had a great teacher as a teenager, who challenged me from the beginning and shaped my taste and flexibility. He was also the one introducing me to Billie Brooks, who was teaching at the Hochschule für Musik in Bern at that time. I was lucky to have people around me who were able to challenge and inspire me from the very beginning.

Regarding the instrument: there is no such thing as a favourite instrument to me. The great thing with drums is, even though the few main elements often remain the same, you can create your very personal instrument. I created some kind of hybrid electro-acoustic drums over the past couple years.

Tell us about the meaning behind the title of your tantalising new album: Hungry Ghosts? And tell us about the cover art?

I was looking for a poetic way to name the forces who nourish the behaviour of our sick capitalist society, drowning ourselves in greed and materialistic foolishness. Now we have to deal with a globalist elite on top, who wants to control everything. 

Making us believe it is for the good. How can it be good if only a few make all the profits? It is all getting extremely out of balance.  I like the idea of ghosts sitting on our shoulders and make us repeat our unreflected behaving. The majority of people doesn’t choose, they follow. People are obsessed by ideologies of a sick system they’ve learned from, from an early age, to then judge and silence those who want to help us to think independently and critically. My best teachers in school were always the rebels, those who didn’t give a fuck about the system, and probably lost their job at some point. Those who told us stories about real life out there, those who helped us to become self-thinking beings. There were not many of those storytellers, those people who expressed themselves through experience and not only from books. I could go on forever… everything becomes more and more distant from our nature and from real experiences. It all leads towards becoming a fully scannable consumer, easy to control and manipulate. If standing up and being critical is treated as a crime by the majority of people, this alone should be the final call to understand that we are completely on the wrong path.Being a critical thinker is only tolerated in a certain frame, whoever steps out of this norm is pushed into corners. This is very dangerous. Give people the feeling they have the right to speak up, but only to a certain degree and only when it fits the narrative. I´m very much into simplifying life. Less of everything, slowing down, wondering, exploring, going deep, cutting down our needs. I don’t mean to take away peoples rights to do what they feel is right for them, it’s the opposite. To go into awareness and away from running after an outdated idea of living means to give people the possibly back to choose again what really matters.

Since about seven years I work with Ian Anderson/The Designers Republic for the artwork of my label. After a while I understood to fully trust him, he always creates a small piece of art for each release. I love how he creates a high quality overall picture of the label and still gives each album a very unique character, which tells a little story of its own.

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from album? Where did the initial idea come from, how those ideas are translated into musical form and arranged as a finished piece? Do you have a set routine for making music, day or night?

Most of the tracks on the album were recorded in a “live” setting, so they were finished the moment they were played. The sounds were chosen carefully beforehand, the rest is improvised. The outcome and character of each track then really depends one the moment.Even though I wanted to make an album of mostly live performed tracks, a piece like Oxygen Beat was reworked, after I had only a skeleton of a song. How a piece normally becomes what it is in the end, is a process of cutting and editing. I have 100s of hours of music, from there I choose the parts I like and decide if it needs more work or if it´s finished the way it is. Something feels finished or not, asks for more work or it goes to the trash bin. There is a moment where I get obsessed with ideas, from that point on I work day and night. 

Do you feel music has (or has lost) the power to change society in broader political ways or does it just effect the individuals who encounter it? Should music seek to do that in the first place? Does musical atmosphere have as much to say as music with words?

People can only change themselves, music can inspire and empower individuals to create space for that change. It can support a movement. But since everything becomes a big business for a few, music can easily become empty. I think everything which becomes an industry over time is losing its original power and meaning. Music as an art form does shape a society of course, if this is cultivated, but I am not sure if this is happening right now. Rather not.Music without words is a nonverbal language. I know we don’t need words to speak through music, to be understood and even heard. Of course words can easily lead a direction. I guess good lyrics are naming something without making it small, to leave space for imagination. Same goes for sound.

Electronic music you can also dance too can often feel over programmed and clichéd. What does the physical act of drumming drum bring to the creative process of music for you?

In terms of production, I guess since I always have this idea in mind, that I will play drums or percussion on top of a baseline or a melody, I need to feel it physically, besides hearing something interesting in terms of sound or intellect. I have to feel it really, it has to inspire me to play with it and it has to generate ideas.

If we talk about the recent album, I am looking for combinations of sounds which inspire me to play with. Something that could stand alone but also works in combination with acoustic drums and cymbals.

Should music always aim to move forwards? How does nostalgia fit into your thinking about music culture and the idea of continuously re-editing old records?

Life is about change. So is music. Now is always the sum of everything. If we are able to create something that is truly coming out of all we are and all that surrounds us, we create something which is timeless. I guess the mysterious is what makes music unique and interesting, no matter the tools or where it comes from. 

You can´t create something now without including all what happened until here. No matter your awareness. Everything is part of the sum. So yes, I’m kind of nostalgic, but not to recreate but to be aware of what surrounds us here and now, which would not exist without the past…  

Arjunamusic Records has been here for some ten years now. How have you seen the music industry change since that time both in positive and negative ways? How do you see the future for recording artists?

I think it’s extremely important to keep on going and do what you need to do, whatever that is. But I am absolutely aware that it will get more and more difficult. I think many don’t want to realise where we are heading and they pretend that everything is ok. We stand in front of extreme challenges as humans and this will affect everything, worldwide. We are in the middle of that process. The digitalisation started to do extreme damage to the music market a long time ago. Now we can see the same happening more and more in many other sectors as well… it is important to stand strong and insist, but it will be a challenge for sure. 

As long as you make music for the sake of it, nothing can get into your way.

photograph by Julius Gnoth

And finally. Is music a never ending journey?

In my opinion yes, if you transform and reinvent yourself. It’s absolutely crucial to me to do that, otherwise I just start to repeat myself at some point. The pool of music and ideas is endless, but you have to move around and look at it from different standpoints. To move away from the established helps me to reach out to different ideas and get inspired again. The difficult thing is to create that space where you can allow the unknown to take more space than you usually would. It is often uncomfortable. But I think being an artist means actually exactly this to me, to remain open and create space.

Buy – Hungry Ghosts https://arjunamusic-records.bandcamp.com/album/hungry-ghosts
http://www.arjunamusic.com

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Apnoea Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Apnoea. Your new single was in part inspired by Frankie Valli’s ‘I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. What is the story behind how you first encountered the words – and which version of the song did you hear?

The lyrics of ‘I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ were, and still are a big inspiration for many international musicians. Due to the romantic meaning, it’s a great fit to our style and the type of beats we produce. On the other hand we wanted to try something new with vocoder effects on computer voices, which gives these words a mystic and unusual vibe. On top of that we tried to match the feeling of the original song with our live recorded percussion, instruments and effects, which you can listen to in our ‘Deep Dive Edit’ – the original and first mix we made. Of course we know several songs using the words, but we think that nothing beats the original version.

Talk us through how you produced the track which has a particularly wonderful sound. Are there any favourite pieces of hardware/ software you always like to use?

In our two studios we use 90% analog gear, like drum machines, synthesizer, external effects, outboard gear, sequencers, and of course our collection of microphones for live recordings. We both use Ableton Live 11 as our DAW, which controls all studio equipment. Our favourite hardware is a Moog Voyager, otomachines bim, bam & boom, Roland TR-909, Roland Jupiter-4 and many more. Software-wise we like to work most of the time with Fabfilter, Softube and Arturia plugins.

Do you have certain speakers you value most when producing? Do you have a regular pattern to working, day or night?

Oh yes! We both use Adam S3H monitors in our studios, which are amazing. The positive thing is, that if we meet each other, we do not need to reconfigure our ears. As a second pair of monitors we use the small Avantone Cubes. They help a lot in finding harsh frequencies and bad resonances. And we use some headphones and our hifi system in our cars as a reference too. We do not have a pattern, because of our jobs and family. So we use all free time to do music in our studios.

How does the collaborative process work between you as you create music?

As we both have our own studios, which are about 500 km from each other, we usually work alone in our caves. But we regularly speak by phone or Facetime, and exchange projects, sounds, recordings and ideas via our Dropbox. So in the end we remix each other, send song feedback back and forth – we love that way to create new music! Sometimes we meet at a studio for a week or two to dive more into sound design and starting bigger projects together.

As DJ producers your collective careers have spanned decades. What has remained inspiring about club culture? Has the rise and predominance of festival culture been an entirely good thing?

Good question… Of course is clubbing for us is a big part of our lives and is important for our creative process. But the electronic music business isn’t that cool, exclusive, innovative and outstanding anymore, as it was decades before. That’s a pity. Nowadays it’s so easy to create, finalise and release new tracks, build up new labels and start a DJ career. This means, that there are so many new faces and songs every day, so that it is much harder to find and collect good music. Second thing is that this culture is becoming more and more commercial. We have to deal with it – and that’s why we try to create and produce cool, outstanding and timeless music.

How do see the future for recording artists in terms of generating music from streaming etc?

We already had several changes in the music industry and music business: vinyl – cd – mp3 – now: streaming. We do not want to criticise this modern way of spreading and presenting new music. It’s part of our life as a musician. Of course it leads to less income from royalties, but on the other hand it is a nice marketing tool for us. Sometimes people from several countries write messages to us, that they’ve found our music in a Spotify playlist or Apple Music recommendation. That was absolutely not possible in the vinyl and CD era.

Outside of Dance Music who inspires you most in terms of artists, writers, thinkers, cinema etc?

We like to listen to Massive Attack, Depeche Mode, Yello, David Bowie. And we love to listen to the words of our friend and poetry slam mastermind Ursula Rucker.

And finally. What are your hopes for 2023?

No war, no political incorrectness anymore, no unusual viruses floating around – and more acceptance to underground music culture.

Buy Apnoea – I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You/ Empty Streets – Stripped Down                   https://www.beatport.com/release/i-cant-take-my-eyes-off-you/3845029
https://www.instagram.com/apnoea_ofc/
https://www.strippeddown.net

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Local Suicide Q&A

photograph by By Tibor Bozi

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Local Suicide. Your debut album, Eros Anikate, has just been released. Can you tell us about the influence the play written by Sophocles, ‘Antigone’ had on the title, where and how you first discovered it?

Vamparela: I am Greek, so I’ve been very well acquainted with Sophocles’ works since I was a child. ‘Eros Anikate’ is a phrase I’ve always felt deeply connected to because it entails the meaning of life; that love wins. When we decided to finally produce our debut album, Brax said, “We need a title, maybe something Greek?” and somehow, the first thing that came to mind was Eros Anikate. Nothing is more important than love, and the album is a product of our love for each other, the music and our audience, the scene and the artists we collaborated with.

The album features a wealth of collaborative artists. How does that process work in practice – are you all in the same studio, or are ideas exchanged online? How long did it take to make the album?

Local Suicide: Every case was different!

High Buildings began with Lee Stevens in his home studio in Vienna. We were visiting Vienna for a gig and ended up jamming at his home.

We started Whispering at our studio in Berlin with Curses. We originally wanted to do a Nine Inch Nails edit but made the basis for Whispering instead. We then worked on it from a distance during the lockdowns, with Curses adding guitars and vocals on top and us adding some production elements.

Moustache was created at our studio with Skelesys during the first lockdown. He was the only person we saw for quite a while, and we ended up making many tunes together that will hopefully be seeing the light of day soon.

Jam Bounce Release was produced with Theus Mago at our studio during his last visit to Berlin. He works super fast, so the main part of the track was done in two days.

Like Follow Subscribe was produced by us during a lockdown call with our friend Begum Karahan. We asked her to say “Like, Follow, Subscribe” in Turkish and English and just recorded it over the phone. In September, we met Hard Ton while visiting Italy and spontaneously asked them if they’d like to do some disco vocals on one of the tracks. We sent them a few, and they chose Like Follow Subscribe, writing some fantastic lyrics about digital love.

We collaborated with our friend Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras for Homme Fatal. We have been big fans of his music since forever but only properly started hanging out together after meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding in Spain. We wrote the lyrics together and recorded Joel’s vocals at our studio.

Cobra Wave with Kalipo originated when testing a new VST plugin that allows you to collaborate and create music in real time in different locations.

Agapi was produced by us, and our friend Sissi, whose voice is like a siren (humanlike beings with alluring voices), wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals in her studio in Athens.

Finally, for the title track Eros Anikate, we contacted Lena Platonos, an artist who has heavily influenced our sound and whom we admire a lot, asking her to contribute to our album with a vocal feature. We were stoked when she said she liked the album and agreed to do vocals on one of the tracks. She recorded the vocals reciting a section of Sophocles’ tragedy, Antigone, from her studio in Athens.

Local Suicide have a very distinctive sound. Who has inspired you most as artists both within music and from outside of it (any painters, writers, movies etc.)?

Vamparela: We both listened to many different genres while growing up. We loved new wave, italo, synth-pop, alternative rock, indie rock, dark wave, and EBM, the amalgamation of which somehow gave birth to our sound.

If I had to pick a writer, it would be Jack Kerouac and his novel ‘On the Road’, although when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Greek mythology, Jules Vernes, sci-fi fiction, books about vampires, paranormal phenomena and Agatha Christie. These themes keep coming up in the lyrics I write.

In terms of movies, my favourite directors are Tim Burton, David Lynch and Tarantino. I’m trying to add their surrealism to our music and our music videos. Also, one of my favourite painters is Dali, and Moustache started off as an ode to him and his moustache. Others are Hieronymus Bosch, Van Gogh, Monet and Malevich.

Brax Moody: While recording the album, I read a lot about 20th-century architecture by Le Corbusier & Bauhaus and USSR architecture after studying Frédéric Chaubin’s photo books. I have also been a huge fan of Andy Goldsworthy since childhood.

Talk us through how you made one of the tracks from the album – do you work from a vocal idea, or a bassline etc.? Do you have any favourite hardware/ software you like to use to achieve your sound?

Local Suicide: We usually drafted the tracks on this album with a simple kick-snare-hat combination before recording a bassline with either the Sub 37, 303, Arp Odyssey or Jomox MBass. We then added melodies with a D50, Minilogue, Prophet, Juno or VSTs, followed by vocals and then going back to more drum elements, pads and other fillers. Once we had about 30 elements, we usually started cutting them out one by one and then went into the final arrangement, fine-tuning and mixing etc.

Have you seen any lasting effects of the Covid epidemic, either positive or negative, on club culture when you have been DJ’ing recently?

Local Suicide: We feel that people are more hungry for clubbing than before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the prices for club entry fees and drinks have also increased a lot. Still, the overall atmosphere has been very positive in all the places we have played.

The downside is that many concerts and festivals were less busy this summer due to the price increases and because everyone is currently touring. Also, the fact that you can get covid at any time means people aren’t planning as much as before and take last-minute decisions.

Many people looked for jobs in other sectors, so clubs have also been understaffed. The same happened to the aviation industry, which has caused huge flight chaos with delays and cancellations in the past months.

How would you describe the importance of DJs in today’s world, given the amount of technology available where anyone can become a DJ?

Local Suicide: For us, being DJs in the electronic music scene was never about the technical aspect. Of course, a DJ should be able to mix, but it is much more than that. DJs should have broad musical knowledge, not only of the current trends and charts but also of music history; the quest for new and old gems should never stop. Apart from that, a Dj should be able to read the crowd and find the line between pleasing and educating them. They need to keep people on the dancefloor with music they enjoy while sneaking in more difficult tunes to get acquainted with or that the Dj personally likes. It’s also great when a Dj is interacting with the crowd. We love DJs who dance and look at people instead of just staring at the decks. If it was just about the perfect mix, we wouldn’t need DJs; a computer could do it for us.

How do you see the future for artists in the ways they will be able to make a living with streaming and so on?

Brax Moody: Especially in the last 30 years, the music industry has undergone enormous changes each decade, but I think streaming will stay for a long time. It’s already helping loads of labels by finally generating a decent income from their back catalogues, which they can use to help grow new artists. It’ll also be much easier for artists with many releases to make a living and hopefully guarantee a nice pension. Still, streaming services (and collecting royalties) need to switch to a pro-rata payment system as soon as possible to make it fair. Streaming services must also ensure they help all music be heard by setting up and pushing more niche editorial playlists so that the music productions don’t get more streamlined.

And finally. Do you think music has the power to change the world (or society) or just people as individuals?

Local Suicide: Totally! Music has a huge influence on everything. It can affect our actions, moods and emotions and even help build our personality. Especially young people, they are very easily influenced by their favourite artists. Music has the power to change our mood, make us happier or sad, more pensive or active at any time of our lives. A song can remind you of specific times and make you feel nostalgic, the lyrics can help you escape a difficult situation, like depression, and the music itself can make you dance, move and let those endorphins take over. For sure, music is our life, a part of our everyday life and the soundtrack of our life.

Magazine Sixty proudly present the premier of the video of Cobra Wave by Local Suicide & Kalipo. Directed and produced by French artist Jade Prevost.

buy Local Suicide – Eros Anikate – Iptamenos Discos https://bfan.link/eros-anikate
https://localsuicide.com

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Cook Strummer Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Cook Strummer. What struck me about the music you have released to date is just how varied it has been starting with Memories back in 2014 and more recently this year’s club fuelled, Atmosphere. How important is being musically diverse for you as an artist?

Thanks for having me, Sixty ! About the variety of styles I released so far, my music journey has been quite a ride. I started more than 20 years ago, playing rock’n roll with bands and touring. I moved to Berlin 10 years ago, that’s when my music changed, and slowly switched from live recorded productions/sets (with a band), to analog live sets, and finally to a hybrid setup. 

Musical diversity in my case is a synonym of adaptation. Adapting to a momentum, a time frame, in order to reinvent myself. I have respect for everyone out there who has the guts to express its individuality, no matter what type of music. That’s my current mindset. Respect, assimilate, adapt.

Do you feel that modern electronic music can lack the power of voice and words to convey meaning, given that they are so often not used in favour of instrumentals? Tell us about the process of how you write words for music – do you have a particular microphone you use to record vocals? 

Modern electronic music is so vast ! Business techno tracks often include just a couple of words, while house music is sometimes built around meaningful vocals. I personally come from Rock music, singing and writing songs represent the core of my musical journey. When I start a new track, very early in the process, I spontaneously drop words / sentences and most of the time these are final, defining the main story line. Each song I write is inter-connected with the others, like a big puzzle. But I have been writing songs since I’m 14 years old, and the topics I approach (spirituality, self-development, clubbing, etc.) are part of an ongoing lifetime’s work. I record most of my vocals at home with a Rode NT2-A.

Your forthcoming selection for Get Physical’s, Berlin Gets Physical series begins with For Berlin. Can you talk us through how this track was created (or another one from the album) including any favourite hardware / software you like to use?

‘For Berlin’ is a track I’ve made to pay my respect to the city I’ve been living in for 10 years. It’s about partying, being in a club with friends and not being able to leave. ‘Last round’ refers to the ‘last drink’ before leaving, leading automatically to another dance, then another drink. And in Berlin, the clubs usually stay open for days, so it can be an endless circle if the party is good 🙂

I produce mainly with VSTs and Ableton these days, except for the basslines (I record my Fender Rascal bass), guitars (Fender Stratocaster) and vocals (Rode NT2-A) 

What is the story behind the stunning cover artwork?

Glad you like the cover ! This collection will come digitally but also as two different vinyl versions – one will be available publicly, the other is a special edition. The artwork has been produced in collaboration with the Belgian gallery, Mazel Galerie. The cover art for it was designed by Lyon-based street artist Brusk and the original will be auctioned by the same gallery in Brussels. 

Do you think Dance/ electronic music is in a healthy place creatively? What effect do you think nostalgia has on the creative process? 

I think there’s never been SO MUCH music out there. I find it amazing. The way we can find music instantly, look back, trace the evolution of micro genres… So many references, it became like a huge melting pot. My recent releases are representative of this momentum, digging in many references, creating something new, with a hint of nostalgia for cold wave / post punk. Nostalgia to my point of view is analogic reasoning, being self conscious about references that shaped personal musical backgrounds, and embracing these. 

What are the origins of OBSOLET? How was it set-up and what is the philosophy behind it?

OBSOLET is a crew and record label from Berlin, composed of Max Joni, SoKool, Mukkimiau, Dan Buri, Marvin Jam, Modshape and myself. Nothing is OSBOLET, everything is. 

When did you first start playing guitar and who influenced you? Which guitar is your favourite to play?

I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old. Before that, I played piano from 6 years old till 12, classical and Jazz. My parents told me that if I keep up till I become 12 years old, I can choose my instrument. I used to be obsessed with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, the songwriting and the atmosphere they managed to create. I also was influenced quite early by The Clash, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Joy Division, Black Sabbath, Motor Head… 

The Telecaster was my first fancy guitar, I played it for 10 years, then I switched to the Stratocaster due to its sound versatility. 

Cook Strummer – Berlin Gets Physical – Get Physical Music is released September 23
buy https://cookstrummer.bandcamp.com/album/cook-strummer-berlin-gets-physical
www.cookstrummer.com
https://getphysicalmusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/getphysicalpage

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Vinny Villbass Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Vinny. Your new single, Trust is released on Oslo label: badabing diskos. Tell us about what the tracks title means for you?

Thanks. «Trust» is an interesting thing. One thing is the importance of trust between people, both geopolitically and socially. But one question that has become equally important after the isolation during the pandemic is: Do you trust yourself? Who are you as a person without the collective safety net? And do you need to trust yourself in order to trust others? Trust is quite a rabbit hole if you have too much time thinking about it.

The title is my hope for a little bit more «Trust» in this world. It’s a fine thing!

You also provide the vocals, how important do you think words are in Dance Music given the amount of instrumentals around?

This track was made in the darkest time of the pandemic, so this vocal is more a scream for help and anti-social frustration (HELLO… IS ANYBODY OUT THERE), then any (if any) importance of including words in dance music. But I definitely mean that vocal in club music should be more on the poetic side than some kind of concrete meaning. The meditative part of dance music is fragile, so better to leave it up to the clubber to define an actual meaning to the lyrics. Also, the voice is the most intense instrument that we have, so it should only be used with love and care. Not sure this scream for attention is though, so you are more than welcome to skip to the instrumental version.

The label was set up this year and this is the third release. How have you found the experience so far? Have you discovered any particular positives or negatives to running your own label?

I have been involved in a few labels thru the years, and there are 2 important things running your own:

  • You don’t have to wait forever and ever to get the tracks out.
  • You can involve your favorite people and create a collective of likeminded.

We are already a colorful bouquet of house music enthusiasts in Oslo releasing on badabing.diskos in near future, and playing at our monthly badabing nights thats been running for 10 years. Sommerfeldt, Frifot, diskJokke, Boblebad, LAFT, Sounds of the Suburbs, etc..

Talk us through how you produced Trust. Do you start with a single idea or can it be inspired by something outside of music? Do you have any favourite pieces of software / hardware you like to use?

I am very analogue when I produce. I don’t use sequencers and play everything by hand on my synths to get a human groove to it all. I usually start of with creating a loop of synth layers that should sound warm, but also driving. After that I start filling in with drums sounds and percussive synth sounds that enhance the groove. Then I layer out the structure of the track and start with the details. Well, for this track anyway. I try to do it differently every time. Repetition has never been my strongest side. I enjoy detailed changes over time.. It is way too much boring loops in club music these days. But luckily you have people like Four Tet, Bonobo, Bicep etc pushing boundaries of sound collages.

How would you describe the club scene in Oslo? Any recommendations for bars, restaurants to visit also?

Oslo is still a very small city, but a lot has happened the last 5 years. Its turned more international in many ways, with its fantastic restaurants, food courts, bars and cafe’s. But the clubs are still very restricted by governmental laws about closing hours and alcohol restrictions. We might be the only country in the world where we have governmental nightlife spies going undercover to make sure the clubs follow the rules. I definitely think that a government undermines people’s ability to develop their own moral if you introduce too many unnecessary laws. In that sense I do miss Berlin and the community-driven freedom aspect you experience there.

Outside of club music what are your most important influences/ (any painters, writers etc)

Nature expands my senses. I love to be at my 300 year old cabin in the mountains and smell the fresh air, feel the wind in my face, while practicing some meditative outdoor carpenting.

How do you see the future in terms of how artists, musicians will be able to make money regarding streaming etc?

The club and concert scene is going to be more local in the future. More local residencies on clubs, which makes sense also in an economical way, because you reduce the unnecessary costs of flights, hotels etc.. and the impact on nature. So stay true to your local crowds!

When it comes to selling music, bandcamp and new sites alike are going to take over for todays horrible income distribution from sites like spotify. SHAME! And also, the best labels today earn more money on selling merch online than on music. So watch out for badabing coffee mugz and organic tooth picks.

You play guitar in diskJokke. How did you learn to play and what is your favourite guitar?

Diskjokke is my dj partner since 2000, and when he released his first album, we got our heads together to perform his music like a band. At the moment I could only play «nothing else matters» by Metallica, but luckily we toured enough for me to learn how to play properly.
I bought my Fender Telecaster in Hamburg when I visited to DJ for the Minimal Anders guys in 2010. Loads of fun, I wonder if they are still throwing parties in this super harbour warehouse… 🙂

Tell us about your involvement with Osloclubcast and the importance of radio in 2022?

I started OsloClubCast back in 2012, as a promotional channel for the Oslo club scene, first internally in Oslo, but the later years thru international concert videos to promote Norwegian club music. I now run OsloClubCast together with my man Daniel Vaz, and we have a youtube channel with more than 50 000 views. So the importance of radio is still huge, but FM transmitters has been replaced by youtube, soundcloud and spotify playlists.

People need music more than ever. The importance of a hug has never been more relevant. So please go out, dance, hug your friends, and find your inner rhythm. This is why our slogan for the badabing club nights is: «Come alone, come together»

https://www.facebook.com/vinnyvillbass
https://www.instagram.com/vinnyvillbass/
https://badabingdiskos.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/badabingoslo

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Staniz (Abstract Sounds) Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Staniz. What inspired you to set up your own sample pack label Abstract Sounds? What do you think makes it unique given the vast amount of others on the market?

When I decided to open Abstract Sounds, I thought I wanted to become a symbolic label for a musical genre whose world of samples was not well supplied from this point of view. I really love creating sounds, reworking, sampling etc I am very experimental that’s why I decided to open my own sample label. The uniqueness of the label depends above all on who manages it and what the label is about. In addition to being an exclusive label of Loopmasters, this is already an additional plus, and the whole community of our fans knows how much time we dedicate to them to help them in every way possible in facilitating the most difficult processes of production.

Can you also tell us about why you decided to set up your own record label? Which elements make a great piece of music for you?

The labels as mentioned in the previous question, were born mainly for a purpose. Then it also evolved into a music label when I decided not to release my tracks as an independent anymore but through my own label. One of the elements that cannot be missing in my tracks is a long, deep and warm pad.

You have just released ASV002 with tracks from both yourself and Nerve Maze. I thought Abstract 7 was a particularly wonderful piece of music. Can you talk us through how you created and produced it? Do you have any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use when making music?

Let’s start by saying that since the pandemic arrived I have hunted a few but very significant tracks on a personal and sentimental level, Salerno a track that tells the place where Staniz lived and grew up on a musical level. Venice is my favourite city for its culture and tradition. Then we have Stop a track that was created to fight against anything negative in the world, from war to discrimination to everything. And finally, we have February an important month for me. After doing this intro I start by saying after these 4 tracks were released in 2020 and 2021, I started not making music anymore to reflect on what I really wanted to release as something new. And so when I decided to do Abstract 7 I always saw it as a particular track, to listen to, to dance to, to love. It is an emotion, it is not a trace for me. One of the software that I love and use is Ciemno.

Growing up can you tell us about the musical influences (artists) that helped shape what you do now?

My favourite artists since I was little have been Daft Punk, they still are and always will be. But growing up I started listening to everything from classic to rock to Jazz to Techno. I have many artists who have influenced me but let’s say that Daft Punk with all their albums can contain many things.

Where did you learn about music production? What would be the key piece of advice you would give to someone staring out?

My desire to make music comes when I discover the duo of French robots. Since I saw for the first time one of them saw and heard their music I was bewitched. I am self-taught, I studied music than when I started to grow up, but the most solid part comes from my desire to do, let’s say from believing in what I was doing.

How do you see the future for musicians and how they will be able to sustain a living from making music (also in terms of streaming and so on)?

Well, in my opinion, music needs to revise its values a bit. I am against some platforms that violate the morality that music was born for. So that making music today is simple, the difference lies in the feeling that is instilled within it.

Most of your releases do not include vocals. What are your thoughts on the use of songs in Dance Music?

I am a lover of songs with the voice, but my philosophy thinks that a track without the voice if done well is like a painting, not everyone can decipher it correctly, with the addition of the voice, this passage fails.

And finally. What plans do you have moving into 2022 both for yourself as an artist and for the label?

Bianchi. Check this 🙂

Nerve Maze, Staniz – ASV002 – Abstract Sounds is released May 5

https://linktr.ee/abstractsoundsmusic
https://www.facebook.com/stanizproducer

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Harry Harrison (DiY) Q&A

Photo by Emma Goldsmith.

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Harry. Let’s start with your debut book charting the history of the DiY Sound System. Can you tell us about the actual process of how you wrote the book? (I was thinking in terms of remembering things, if you prefer to write at night or morning – did you write all day or in short bursts). Was there a piece of advice from anywhere which particularly helped you during wirting?

Thanks Greg. The heyday of DiY and the wider free party movement was in the nineties, obviously. By the end of that decade I began to form a book in my head, thinking that apart from the slightly crazy story of DiY itself, the book would be of some historical importance concerning both the origins of free parties and just general life in the nineties on the outskirts of conventional society. I wrote some sample chapters around 1998 but then shelved them for many years. After seven years in San Francisco and then busy years in Wales with children I got serious again in 2018, wrote some sample chapters which I sent to Velocity Press. Colin was very supportive and offered to publish, so I took two months off work, sat down in May 2021 and got serious, finishing the book late last year. I did a lot of interviews and note taking in preparation and decided to try to write 1000 words per day. I started first thing in the morning and if I got to that that target, I would just close the laptop and head out all afternoon, something greatly assisted by being in North Wales in the summer.

Can you tell us about the music that shaped you growing up?

Big question. My first love was probably post-punk and indie in the early eighties. I was fortunate to grow up in Bolton, which although being a shit-hole is only twelve miles from Manchester so I had an unbelievable music scene on my doorstep. As outlined in the book, I met Pete, later DJ Woosh, when we were in our mid-teens and he introduced me to a wildly eclectic mix of music such as Fela Kuti, Kraftwerk, Carmen McRae, John Coltrane, Hawkwind and Planet Gong, Crass and Flux, Led Zeppelin, Nina Simone, Pharaoh Sanders, Gil Scott-Heron, On U Sound and on and on. We were both devotees of Factory and I retain an abiding passion for Joy Division and New Order. We got into the Smiths then noisier bands like Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers and punk bands such as Fugazi and MDC. Before the Year Zero of acid house we both got heavily into hip-hop and electro and when I met Rick (DJ Digs, now Grace Sands) in 1986 we were ready for acid house to unite all these influences.

As most people follow a typically mainstream approach to life I was wondering who or what events influenced you to go down the route you did politically? Likewise with the desire to run free parties?

The core members of DiY all arrived at acid house from different paths. Growing up in Bolton in the early eighties, our gang of mates were heavily influenced by Crass and the other anarcho-punk bands. At the same time, we were going to the Hacienda from when it opened (long before it was successful) and free festivals such as Pick-Up Bank near Darwin and later Avon Free Festival and Glastonbury. Basically anywhere that music was being played and drugs consumed we were there and again we were lucky to grow up living between Manchester and Liverpool. People took anarchism and alternative culture seriously in those days and that it was drove us politically. In my book I outline how we managed to merge electronic beats with the spirit of the Hacienda and the politics of free festivals. We were at the Blackburn raves in the late eighties and travelled to Orbital parties such as Biology around London only to be ripped off. It seemed an obvious step to us in 1989/90 to combine all the elements that we loved into free parties. We began doing big, unruly house parties around the NG7 area of inner-city Nottingham, started doing all-night raves in 1990 then met a group of progressive travellers at Glastonbury in 1990 after which we began to jointly throw free parties anywhere and everywhere.

What are your feelings on social media and its effects on culture? Do you think if it existed back in the early 90’s that DiY would have been able to effectively operate as they did without the authority’s interference?

I’ve been asked this question a few times and it’s very tricky to answer without sounding like a boring middle-aged fart but I genuinely don’t think that the whole free party scene would have lasted ten minutes under the glare of social media. I think that what happened was that a radical new form of music (house) collided with a radical new drug (Ecstasy) and they just fitted so fantastically well that the explosion that followed was inevitable. What wouldn’t have happened though was the fact that it was all so underground and hidden, meaning it lasted for a couple of golden years before being discovered by the media. I look back and can’t believe that events such as Castlemorton or even small free parties in the middle of nowhere were organised with no mobile phones and no flyers. Overall with social media, as with the internet in general, it’s a bit like when Chairman Mao was asked about the effects of the French Revolution nearly two hundred years later and he replied ‘it’s too soon to tell’. Technology will clearly be the making of humanity or its death knell, the jury is still out.

We have been talking a lot of the past but what do you think of contemporary Dance Music and how it has evolved from when you started to DJ? Is vinyl still important to you, or have you transferred to digital?

I’ve never been a DJ myself, just an organiser of many of them. I did play out a few times in 1989 but it was a disaster, I could never stay straight enough to mix. Pete, my oldest friend from Bolton, who DJ’d for many years as Woosh and sadly died in 2020 was a vinyl fascist. He hated digital DJ’ing. I’m the other way, records are heavy bastards and I enjoy having 22,000 tracks on an iPod.

Why did you decide upon Velocity Press as the right place for the book and how did that contact come about?

The DiY crew were, and remain, big believers in the Principles of Discordia such as the cosmic significance of the number 23 (we did our first DiY event on my 23rd birthday on the 23rd November 1989. The book will be published on March 23rd) and also synchronicity, the theory that coincidence is much more than just a random occurrence. So, having written a third of a book, I began asking writer friends such as Matthew Collin if they could recommend a publisher who would fit with the values of myself and DiY. Both he and two others mentioned Velocity in the same week so I took it a sign and so I sent what I had written to Colin Steven at Velocity and received an email back within a few hours offering to publish. He’s been very supportive and the relationship has gone well so far.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

I own a couple of guitars but am in no way a guitarist and a drum kit but am a very average drummer. What really blew our minds was the sampler. It just changed everything when they became affordable in the early nineties. We had two Akai samplers in the DiY studio and even though they would now be obsolete they just turn every possible sound into a potential instrument. I personally remixed several tracks back then and had one on the album we did for Warp in 1993 but I decided I just wasn’t a musician and have stuck to organising, being a gobshite and words since then.

DiY also ran night in clubs such as Venus which was a great venue in Nottingham. How did the experience compare with the free parties?

Over the years we did literally hundreds, if not thousands, of clubs all over the UK and the world including some real greats. As well as Venus, we had DiY nights at the Hacienda, Space and Pacha in Ibiza, The End Up in San Francisco, the Paradiso in Amsterdam, the Ministry of Sound etc and we loved clubs. I always said that we wanted to take the music of the clubs to the fields and the attitude of the fields into the clubs and I think we achieved just that. However, as I make clear in the book, there was nothing to compare with the sheer illicit thrill of being out in the countryside at dawn, three sheets to the wind with hundreds of kindred spirits dancing to some quality music. Magical.

More broadly speaking, in retrospect what difference do you think the free party scene made to the UK given how long the Conservatives have been in power, or do you feel it has more to do with personal change?

Tricky question and one I try to answer over 272 pages in ‘Dreaming in Yellow’. I always tell my kids that DiY changed history and they just roll their eyes and wander off. I do believe that though. I think we opened many people’s eyes to just how controlled the countryside really is, how the state will crush anything that they can’t control, how alcohol and violence are not the only weekend leisure option and how the British licensing laws are just Victorian. We fervently believed in an alternative way of life including and all that entails and we established a huge collective of people who were influenced by our actions. At our parties we had crusties, fashionistas, students, travellers, estate crackheads, clubbers, black, white, old, young, straight, gay and just downright weird and never had a single fight. People from previously hostile geographical areas travelled crazy distance’s to attend our parties where they hugged each other and shook hands. Our actions lead directly to the Criminal Justice Act 1994 (the one that made ‘raves’ a specific criminal offence) but the Tories were reacting to the fairly outrageous ‘fuck-you’ of Castlemorton and an inevitable clampdown on people organising outside the law. As DiY spread our wings around the world, settling in San Francisco/ Amsterdam/ Thailand/ Australia that egalitarian vibe became global and lives on to this day.

Drugs. Without them what would have happened? How would you evaluate their impotence and also any negative consequences to club culture as different substances appeared over time?

Hah. Well, to be honest, none of it would have happened without the extremely well-timed appearance of Ecstasy. It just combined so magically with synthetically created dance music but I don’t think that devalues the experiences and achievements of a generation of believers. You can’t take away LSD from the epic and revolutionary changes of the 1960’s and in the same way, with advocating reckless drug use, you can’t remove the drugs from the nineties. There have been lots of negative experiences. Many of our generation have died, some from overdoses, many submitted to addiction and some have permanent impairment but I don’t think that anyone who was involved in the rave/party scene in the late eighties and nineties would go back and change a thing. I don’t think that ketamine and cocaine did may people favours but by Jesus, we had a wild time.

Is music still the answer?

One of them, plus of course love, justice, equality, freedom and fun.

Dreaming in Yellow is available from March 23
buy https://velocitypress.uk/product/dreaming-in-yellow-book/
https://linktr.ee/velocitypress

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vaghy Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Tamás. Let’s begin with the piano and why you feel the instrument has stood the test of time and its seemingly never ending capability of convening human emotion?

Thank you for your interest. For me, the answers are in how  the piano is built. It seems very simple, there are strings, hammers and keys. Despite all this, it is the instrument played by Theolonius Monk, Lang Lang and the list goes on. The human factor is the key. The most wonderful thing is how people can play the same apparatus in many different ways. This leads to a certain cohesion between artist and instrument that is unmatched, and unique In my opinion the sound and  physical range of it makes us able to express million of emotions and all their variations.

Your debut artist album: Minimalism is a beautifully played, evocative piece of work. Can you tell us how long it took to complete and how you actually record the piano in the studio – do you have a favourite microphone you like to use?

The project vaghy is one that has been long in the making. In the beginning it was more of an electronic type of production. For some reason the songs didn’t come together like I wanted so I decided to go with a minimalist approach using only a piano, and it worked. The songs started to take shape, the piano moved everything forward. The instrument that I recorded the album Minimalism on, is an old Swedish pienette which I stumbled upon by accident at a store and liked the sound so much that I bought it then and there. It has a lot of mechanical noise and because it only has 64 keys the sonority range is limited. When recording, I had to work with these attributes in a way that they would benefit the songs. Recordings were preceded by lots and lots of experimenting, luckily because I have my own studio there was no time limit. It wasn’t easy to find the correct placement of each microphone, took a lot of tries. I usually used ambient mics in the surrounding space and a large membrane mic to record the keystrokes from above. Because of this, every recording session was preceded by a complex setup process.

But the end products were well worth the amount of effort put in, it was great to work with the recordings.

I tried plenty of microphones because of how special the application was, the industry standards didn’t prove to be a solution. I used Neumann and Audio-Technica devices to create these complex solutions that resulted in the final sound.

How do you compose a piece of work? Does it began with single note or do you get inspired from something else you have heard, or watched, or seen, or from something completely unrelated like reading a book?

It’s very rare that I make a song that I have composed in my head previously. Improvisation is an element of mine and I often have these sort of sessions. Just press record and start playing. These usually lead to a theme or idea that I start working from. But there are also examples of just one playing becoming a song,  the one called ‘Rush’ being one of these. I usually find minor mistakes in these recordings but if the flow of it is good than these don’t bother me, the song comes first. The album ‘Minimalism’ is entirely made up of personal stories and I can only hope that whoever listens to it can find and create their own. This might seem a bit old-fashioned as music consumption has sped up so much that not many albums come out with a concept like this.  This needs time and cannot be rushed. I have the incredible luck with my label, Theque Records, who are partners in this.

Where did your passion for analogue synthesizers originate from? And what do you think they can convey / add to music that a more traditional instrument cannot?

I have been interested in synthesisers since I was a kid.  I was drawn to their sound, their versatility. I have tried lots of different ones from software to hardware options. For some reason I prefer the physical versions, I need to be able to to hold it, turn the knobs, and not just with a mouse or controller. The feeling is very different when you are holding a real instrument. I am not an analogue maniac but in many cases they add a certain something to songs that gives them colour, makes them very unique. I loved the Mood Taurus, but I didn’t have the money for it, so I decided to build one with extra functions, and it has been a staple at every concert ever since. I am open to digital instruments as well but they have to have the adequate character. One other aspect that I have to be able to bring it with me everywhere.  The setup for my live performances is designed in a way that if needed I can easily tweak the tunes or themes. The reason of this being really challenging is that I don’t use a laptop. I am currently working on something new, I transformed an 1978 Vermona organ and added a unique feature that I haven’t seen anyone else do. There will be recordings made with this at my live performances, and hopefully the instrument will be there at my record launch concert in Budapest.

Outside of music which artists, writers etc have continued to inspire you most?

I’ve used to do a lot of applied music writing in the past, so I’m mostly inspired by film scores and soundtracks. But of course I am excited about fine arts, photography, mainly in the form of exhibitions. I visit a lot of these if I have the time.  Aside from music, I am a movie maniac, the different stories are always a good source of inspiration.

The word Minimalism has been used to describe many things from music to architecture. What does it mean for you in relation to the album?

When it comes to the album it has several meanings. How these songs were initially made on a keyboard, slightly overscored, that didn’t quite work so I reworked them to a sole piano and they immediately came to life. This is one of the reasons behind the albums name. On the other hand I played the keyboard in different bands since I was 18 years old. Stepping out of this meant that all the authority and decisions became mine. To me, this itself was minimalism as it was very different to what I was used to. In a band the focus and  responsibilities are shared, which has both its benefits and drawbacks.

It is an incredibly exciting journey.

Tell us about your relationship with Théque records and why you felt it to be the right home for the album?

The encounter between me and Theque Records was incredibly lucky. I didn’t want to release this album with a big label nor did I want it to fall into private hands. I felt like I needed a team who I could think together with, and whom we had the same goal with.  When I approached them the chemistry was almost instant, and I could feel that this was the right way. Of course this takes a lot of work but it is well worth the effort. They are very open to my ideas and so am I to their professionalism. It is a working symbiosis.

What can you tell us about the forthcoming plans for Piano Day Budapest?

I have been organising Piano Day in Budapest since the beginning. Unfortunately the events had to be cancelled  in the last two years, but in 2022 we are back on track. It will be held on the 30th of March, in one of the hottest venues in Budapest, on A38 . The lineup will include two Hungarian performers, Konkoi and the Wave Of Sound, both solo productions and talented young individuals. We have Badfocuss coming in from the Czech Republic, and after them I will perform too. For me it’s always strange to play at my own event but it seems like I’m the only one who has an objection to that. 🙂

And finally. How do you see the future for the creative arts in terms of how musicians etc will be able to generate income for themselves? And do you think the role social media plays in all this is a positive one?

I think it’s very difficult for creative artists to assert themselves in todays world. Music consumption has accelerated and transformed unbelievably. It is no longer fashionable to make albums because the market expects fast production and because people’s music listening habits have changed. They don’t really have time to sit down and listen to a vinyl. People use streaming options like Spotify or Apple Music on their phone to listen to playlists the same way they’d scroll on TIK-TOK. If the first few second aren’t catchy enough, they just skip right onto the next one.

This is why I believe in “forcing” the attention of people with live concerts, you can’t skip songs there. But the responsibility is also bigger this way, the end product has to be able to convey the message and be entertaining at the same time. These are the tools you can win over an audience with. One of the most important things for me is meeting the audience. I always leave time after the concerts to be able to talk to the people present. You need to listen to them, pay attention to them. There is so much to learn from and feed off of. Doing this over social media results in a much more superficial encounter. There are no thoughts, only likes and pretence achievements. But of course I’m not fighting against it, you have to keep up with the times and speak the language of the younger generations. Their habits control the way these companies develop their platforms. This pandemic was good chance to test out new online income opportunities, I am not one to decide whether if it worked or not. What I am sure of is that holding concerts in the online space does not work. You need physical contact because the whole concept of playing live relies on chemistry and you can’t get that across digitally to either of the parties.

Tamas Vaghy will release his debut album Minimalism on Theque Records on February 18 2022

https://vaghy-tq.bandcamp.com/album/minimalism

https://www.vaghy.net
https://www.facebook.com/vaghymusic
https://www.instagram.com/vaghymusic/
www.facebook.com/thequerecords
https://theque-records.com

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Rob Burger Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Rob. Let’s start with your new album: Marching with Feathers. How long did it take to conceive and finish?

I began recording Marching with Feathers in the spring of 2020 and I worked on it slowly over the course of several months in my home studio. I hear people refer to “pandemic babies” and “pandemic records” — which is how one should classify MwF, but with the pandemic becoming so darn lengthy, it looks like I could have created a second pandemic record!

You have talked about how both the pandemic and BLM fed into its creation. Do you think music has the power to change the world or merely highlight what happens in it?

I believe music has a profound effect on people. Music is a language that transcends differences between people. I feel incredibly fortunate to play music, and I have experiences often where I may be playing with someone really different than me — politically, racially, culturally, whatever — and we can connect, and have an absolute blast together speaking our shared language. I think music, of course, creates a foreground to what’s happening in the world but it’s also such a powerful force for shared experience.

I imagine you must have a wealth of diverse musical influences. Which three (or as many as you like) would you say are the most important to you and why?

I love music of all kinds. I love the history of it, and the way it evolves. My influences reach far and wide…. everything from early to modern classical music, improvisational jazz, pop, folk music from around the globe. Some of my favorite artists include Miles Davis, John Lennon, Brian Eno, Alice Coltrane, and Nina Simone… music from South America, Africa, India, Middle East… film composers such as Nino Rota, Henry Mancini, Bernard Herrmann.

Outside of music which artists, writers, painters etc inspire you?

I’m inspired by the works of artists like Joseph Cornell, Agnes Martin, sculptor Alberto Giacometti, poetry by Elizabeth Bishop and Mary Oliver.

Can you tell us about some of the synths you use: hardware or software, how you learnt to play them, and how would you describe what they give to the music compared with a more traditional instrument?

I’m fascinated these days by what’s become available in the modular synthesis world, but I’m still learning about it. My primary instrument is piano and I grew up when imitative “preset” polyphonic synths, were becoming en vogue, but I quickly became primarily attracted to the limitations of instruments that are of one sound world. I love acoustic instruments, but I also use a lot of electronic organs, Hawaiian guitars, and treat them with effects like tape delay, ring modulators, and various filters. I do have a collection of rare instruments such as a Chamberlin, which is the U.S. precursor to the Mellotron — but I also use a lot of plug-ins, and now have an extensive library of sampled sounds I’ve created in Native Instruments.

The piano feels like one of the few eternally new instruments there are. Is there an infinite number of ways it can be played or effects added, or is there a more spiritual aspect to its staying power?

When playing an acoustic instrument like the piano, there are limitless variations one can create. It is because when sitting down at an instrument with such limitation, the musician is forced to do nothing but draw the most creative parts of themselves out.

How important in your musical development was your time spent in New York at venues like The Knitting Factory and The Kitchen?

I’ve lived in NYC twice. The first time was a very pivotal time for me. I was fresh out of music school and looking for ways to have a musical voice. The music happening at those places really introduced me to a freedom of expression that I had never encountered before. This was also a time I was listening to a lot more avant garde jazz and classical music. I started experimenting with the accordion, and was given the opportunity to tour with an early version of the Bill Frisell Band, and be introduced to some ground breaking performers like John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, and Laurie Anderson. Being a 23 year old with access to what was happening on the downtown NY scene at that time (late 80s / early 90s) was something of a dream, really — it was then and it is now, looking back on it, in equal measure. I lived in NYC again from 2001-2011 and it was different and super inspiring to return and be playing with some of the same characters, but I was in a different place professionally and musically by then.

Can music say more without the use of words in music?

I listen to a great deal of music sung in other languages, so it’s a strange question for me to answer because I very often have no idea what a song is about. I also speak music, really, better than I speak English so I’m always going to be tuned in way more to music than lyrics. I think the luxury of writing music without words is that the work can be even more open for interpretation. Words can lead people to places whereas with instrumental music, you can really go anywhere. That said, I love songs. I grew up listening to them, and I love playing in a support role with singers who write words.

buy Rob Burger – Marching with Feathers https://smarturl.it/ghrr9u
https://robburgermusic.com

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