Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Alton. Let’s start with some of your early musical memories which inspired your path to DJ’ing and producing? Are there a particular songs heard on the radio, or elsewhere, that struck a childhood chord with you?
Hello and how’s it going Magazine Sixty. Yes indeed there were lots of songs that pulled me right in. As a very young kid I listened to the radio every day when I was preparing for school in the morning. In the 70’s every there was fusion of different genres of music being played on the stations that played R&B. I was listening to lots of James Brown, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Stevie Wonder. Bands and artists at this time were very prolific and it seems like the tunes just kept coming. Too many songs to list but I do remember that the things that peaked my interest were fusion. Steely Dan and Parliament Funkadelic. They were and still to this day are masters of fusing different styles of music that created their own sound.
Your new single is: From The Future EP on Roots Underground Records. Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks? Do you have any favourite software/ hardware you always use in the creative process?
I have been using Logic for a very long time. It’s the simplicity in using the software and the sound that I get that keeps me loyal. I use the Retro Synth that come with Logic religiously. I most always start with programming drums first and create melodies from the way the drums flow. Everything starts from the drums.
You have mentioned Ken Collier and Luomo being an important influence. Can you tell us about the music he was playing and what is was about the club that left such an impression?
Ken was a pioneer. He was our Larry Levan. That 1st impression is the one you remember and last the longest. Going to Luomo was my 1st experience inside a true dance club. The sound, decoration, people and the energy that I experienced that night and at that age was life changing. Ken was playing post-disco dance music along with New Wave and imports from Europe and it was incredible. The music reflected the times as it always does.
How would describe the legacy of the Music Institute in Detroit’s history? Are there any lessons you feel could be applied to today’s club culture?
The Music Institute was ground breaking as we bridged the gap between the iconic dance club and the future of things to come, that being Techno and how it became a worldwide phenomenon. Keep it simple. It has always been about the music and the sound. They are the only elements that matter. If those 2 key elements are done well people will commune in the spirit of dance which is the highest form of expression. Without that there is no party. It does not matter how many people. I have played to 40-50 and we got down!!!!!
Seth Troxler said recently that he felt a lot of European dance music was more cerebral, less about Soul. How do you see it?
I have heard and played some incredibly soulful music coming from Europe. There is still incredibly soulful music coming from Europe. I think it’s more about the individual artist and what they are saying artistically. You find what you seek. Do black people make soulful music? Yes we do. Do Europeans make soulful music? Yes they do but not in large numbers. Soul is about what resonates within.
Outside of Dance Music what other Art inspires what you do – in terms of any writers, poets, film-makers, painters etc?
Everything!!!! You said it. Writers, films, painters, dancers. Everything. I can’t make music if I can’t feel the expression that from one’s art or things that I see or experience every day.
(Pre-Covid-19) Where do you get your music from, are there any record stores you would recommend, or is all on-line these days. What are your thoughts on music streaming and the ways artists are able to make a living from music?
All over the World. I really love Moods Music in Atlanta. When I am there I always just go and sit, listen and take in the vibe. It’s a beautiful store!!! Cosmic Arts in Brooklyn is a super dope store!!!!! Again the vibe is spectacular. I buy music that resonates to me and speaks to me as an artist and a DJ. Everything does not speak to me and hence I have never owned a huge record collection. I buy things on-line as well. I think it’s a good thing if an artist can make money.
And finally. What things are you most looking forward to in 2021?
A continued and fruitful musical journey!!!! I finished my album for Sound Signature last year so looking to get things moving in regards to making it fly. Hopefully Covid will cease to keep me from plane hopping and playing some tunes in a city, country, village, town, island near you!!!!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Spaniol. Let’s start with the story behind Sonido Trópico and your involvement in its creation, its goals and philosophy?
I helped create Sonido Trópico in a time that São Paulo was in a great cultural and peoples freedom in the city. I was very inspired by the forms how artists back then like Thomash and Urubu Marinka were uniting classical Brazilian sounds with this contemporary clothes around the sounds and wanted to explore it. Back then, we were kids in college who wanted to discover and rediscover Latin American and Brazilian sounds and the freedom that we had back then. We started throwing illegal parties in abandoned spaces in São Paulo Center, and this connected us to the world. Once we brought Rampue and made in an old shoes factory complex in the center that was completely taken by trees and made a special night to 10k people. Today Sonido grew. Our goal is to be a force that helps and develops cultural and music projects that symbolizes what we believe musically and culturally. That the contemporary sound of the Brazilian and worldwide generation is a melting pot of cultures that blend every stimuli that surrounds the artists culturally. This is what we want to show. How everyone is beautiful.
Your new single: Suites do Amar features six tracks on The Gardens of Babylon Records. Tell us about your relationship with the label and why you felt it to be the right home for the music?
Gardens has always been my second home. It all started when I did back in 2017 a b2b with Kurup, an amazing dj and music producer from Brasília. Since I’ve put my feet in there, that first day in De Markantine, the whole team, the friendship and love with everyone involved made me fall for them, and I was embraced with nothing else but love and care. I knew this was the place for me. Working alongside Shishi and Yvette has been a blast since day one.
The EP’s title in English is Ocean Songs About Love. Can you talk us through the meaning and inspiration behind each number?
When the pandemic started I was touring in Istanbul and living in Barcelona. I got stuck for a month in Turkey for a month without knowing what will happen in my life. I lost my apartment in Barcelona with all my belongings and had to take a repatriation flight to Brazil. I was forced to go back home…I’ve been living my life since forever and now (for me and everyone else in our tiny but amazing planet)…I did not know what to do. How to handle with the total powerlessness in this new confront of the world. Simultaneously my grandmother died, one the women of my life, lost love…friends…I felt I had lost myself. In a desperate attempt to save myself from myself I went to my families house in an Island in Brasil called Ilhabela and stayed alone there for 7 months in the middle of the jungle trying to refind me. This EP is me trying to hold on to myself. My true self and the meaning of love for me. Suites do Amar (Amar is the verb to love in Portuguese). It was my confrontation with destiny and my only companion in this journey, who was the ocean. I became very inspired by artists that honored the ocean and love in Brazilian culture like Dorival Caymmi, João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Amor:Perdão – is my ode to how I felt in 2020. Who I wanted to become. Learn to love, you’ll learn to forgive. That was my quest, to be more kind to myself and my loved ones.
Lundy de Santa Maria da Tempestade – this one I was in Ilhabela, which is very famous for its very windy vibes, had a massive storm, that I thought was gonna blow my house. I was studying at the same time in the piano Chiquinha Gonzaga, one of the pioneers in brazilian classical music. Lundu, is a piano style that derives from samba and afro-brazilian culture. I tried to incorporate the elements and the harmonic way that makes the track a Lundu.
Algernoia Brasiliensis – while alone in the middle of the jungle with my dog Nina, my only companion in this journey. I started to notice this tiny beautiful flower everywhere in the island. I went to research it, and its a native flower from ilhabela and the Mata Atlantica Bioma. I wanted to make something that remembered the sweetness of this flower.
Nina – my love, my dog. She stayed with me this whole journey. I made this track while she was annoying me to throw her little tennis ball for the 12873618273618762 time…and it just remembers me of her. This amazing love and happiness energy that she emanates. She deserves more than just one track to symbolize how she was important to make to try to be my best.
Papaya Azul – I was a little (a lot) depressed in my journey. It’s not easy to face your demons, yet alone. My friends came to visit me. We have this shared love in common me and Salvador Araguaya; which is a deep love for Jazz, Samba and Bossa Nova. You could even say that those styles of music are cousins from the same grandma, Africa. Sometimes you need your friends to show you how life is not that hard.
São Pedro – It’s my homage to my neighborhood in Ilhabela. This is my way of showing, sound wise, how my environment was. Flowers, jungle, storms…completely overwhelmed by nature. This is my thank you. For giving me home, for taking care of me.
The music creates a distinct, unique atmosphere with the flair of musicality running throughout. What/ who first inspired your love of music? What lessons did you learn at the São Paulo Conservatory which have then translated into your production of electronic sound?
My first love with music was with the Guitar. My mom is a big psychedelic rock and mob fan. I remember when I was too young to know my age I was watching on TV this guy schredding this amazing solo…was love at first sight. My love of music comes from the necessity I have with music for my own life. For me music is like breathing. I think music in my head all the time. Like its accompanying me throw life. Makes me feel more. It’s more than love, it’s life for me. I started music at 5 years old; it’s like I don’t know how life is without it – The Conservatorium I studied classical and Brazilian guitar alongside composition. It made me who I am musically. The Brazilian music system is based in its own history, harmonies and melodies. It made me learn how to dig deep in my own culture. How to find the gems in such a vast country with so much history and peoples. Also we put the guitar in the centre of study. One professor that I studied a lot was Almir Chediak. He used the popular Brazilian songs to write a book with two volumes called: Harmonia e Impovisação. He takes a totally Brazilian way of teaching how to understand the bedsheets of how our mix of cultures musically and our own way of composing.
Outside of electronic music who are your most important influences in term of writers, painters, poets etc?
I love Carlos Drummond the Andrade (1902-1987). He’s a poet from Minas Gerais, that really understands the daily pain; and with such finesse and gentleness he always shows how the despair can be turned into hope. I’ve been also inspired by artists that value our ancestors and change completely with our surroundings and how we grew. This artist called Catarina Gushiken – she studied her Japanese ancestry (Brasil has the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan) and dug deep in the Jidai periods of art in Japan; mixed this with her own experience as Brazilian, creating something unique, beautiful and deeply hers. I also love the movies from Alejandro Jodorovsky. The way how he shows the beauty of human feelings, making total simesrty between directing a movie, but seeing the movie as a poem, and himself as a poet. It’s marvelous.
Tell us about the guitar which is most precious to you?
It’s my safe place. When I am happy I play guitar. When I feel sad I play guitar. I think I love it so much, and feel so safe when I feel my fingers around it…it’s this almost child feeling. Like a kid having just fun playing with something that it really loves. That’s how I feel every time I touch my strings.
Do you think that club culture will change in any way after Covid-19?
I actually don’t know…here in Brazil, our government is so incompetent that I have no idea what’s going to happen here. We have a president that is actually trying to destroy any type of culture or any kind of activity that embraces the different and the diverse. It is a shame really. He and what he represents disgusts me profoundly…around the world I think when we have the vaccination we’ll see a big increase in our industry for sure. In countries that take their citizens seriously.
Listening to your excellent mix: “Oh! Sweet Nothing” for RAMBALKOSHE it’s such a refreshing combination of styles and sounds. How important is being yourself and having your own voice, while not sounding like everyone else?
I think that as an artist I have to find something that show who I am…not anyone else. I grew with a blend of genres of all types of music thanks to my mom. It’s my way of telling histories. Giving a big tour on the globe, but in the end, still good old Felipe ;p
(illustration by: Khoren Matevosyan)
And finally. What plans to do have for 2021?
Well…music wise I have an EP for Sonido Tropico coming on March this year, and remixes for Camel Riders and a remix to my brothers from Istanbul Headwaters for trndmusik. Show wise…we’ll see how the world flows…
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Brueder Selke (Sebastian and Daniel) and Eric. Zero Crossing is formed by a production from each of you. How did that idea for a joint collaboration come about?
BS: Hey there, nice to e-meet you. Well, to be honest we do not exactly remember how this journey started. But we are more than happy about this close encounter with Eric and his music – there is a very special quality to it. A few months ago we did a collaboration with the duo Constant Presence made from songsmith Peter Broderick and Daniel O’Sullivan. It was an intense experience to evolve two 11 minutes drones inspired by the meditative wisdom “Nothing Special“ by Zen master Shunryū Suzuki. We still carried these thoughts with us when we created the first fragments for Eric to let him build his steady floating synths around it. We soon felt in love with his Bladerunner aesthetics. When we met with Eric to talk about the project we were also introduced to his nice family and we noticed their direct and personal access to music and life in general. For us this was an essential element to make all this happen.
EM: I’m also not really clear on how this happened! We admired each other’s music, I went to go see them play as CEEYS, and was really impressed with the show, afterwards we spoke and I think that was when the seed was planted. We took our time with all of this, the whole process had a very natural, human pace, which I really appreciated.
Can each of you talk us through how you produced the music you created for the release? Is there a single piece of equipment (software or hardware) which you couldn’t live without in the recording process?
BS: Readers might know our recent album HAUSMUSIK. It is formally a double LP focussing just on our main instruments; the cello and the piano. But our full setup includes some other, almost forgotten devices from the former Communist-era Eastern hemisphere: tape echos, organic string machines, rhythm boxes, some weird custom stuff…
In contrast to our acoustic full length, our long dream was to contribute our ambient Kocmoc to a pure electronic track. So we recorded some spherical noises straight into 4 restored preamps made by former East German broadcasting company RFZ. And then we let Eric answer with his voices.
EM: I’ve been enjoying this aesthetic idea of a piece of music where nothing happens. How can I make nothing happen for 7 minutes and have it be interesting to listen to? So that was sort of my personal approach, which by pure coincidence, syncs up with this Zen thing Sebastian and Daniel have been dealing with. So in hindsight, it’s the biggest factor as to why Zero Crossing sounds the way it does. None of us knew this about one another going into it, so it’s really quite beautiful. It was effortless, creating this music with the brothers.
Recording process wise, I work really heavily with the laptop. I gather sounds from everywhere, and am writing and recording something new on a daily basis. This is more important than any gear or software, because over time I have developed my own library, my own system of sounds, melodies, ideas, which are ready and waiting for me.
Eric: Flower Myth is a relatively new label. How would you describe its ethos, where does the name originate from and how have you found the experience of running it? How do you see record labels existing in the future in light of streaming etc?
I really just dove into Flower Myth. It’s named after a Paul Klee painting. It means something different to each person, it is like a little poem. Initially I was using the label as a platform to release my own music, but in the process realized that for me, this was quite narrow-minded. Who wants to listen to someone talking to themselves? And if that’s what I’m doing why bother with having a label and all that it implies? So now I am focused on creating a conversation between artists over time. This resulted in the muzine Acoustic Jaguar, whose second issue will be out Spring 2021, and is also leading to collaborations with various artists, recently with Shipibo vocalist Rawa, and now with Brueder Selke.
Running a label like mine is tricky, it’s teaching me to be organized, it needs attention, it’s like a little living being. If I’m not putting energy into it no one else will. Using it to share the work of other artists who I respect and enjoy, it gives the label a sense of purpose for me, a focus, which I truly value.
The streaming question is a tricky one, for example, the Bruder Selke release is streaming on all platforms, but Latigi D. Icaro, my release with Rawa, is only available on Bandcamp. This may seem inconsistent, but it has to do with the respective goals of the releases. In the case of the Rawa collaboration, the goal was to raise money for him and the indigenous Shipibo community in the Peruvian rainforests. So to raise this money, it’s available exclusively on a platform which motivates listeners to invest in the music, in the story, and the people who make it.
In the case of the current Brueder Selke release, we are going for maximum reach, maximum listenership; sales are a secondary consideration. So it’s natural to make it available in all shops and on all platforms, and let the listener approach it how they choose.
I am enjoying the experiment, trying and seeing what works. My heart is telling me to stop using the streaming services, and exclusively use a service like Bandcamp. However before I make such a strong choice, I want to be sure of the decision. So right now we are in the experimental phase.
Brueder Selke: People will also know you as Sebastian and Daniel aka CEEYS. Where did your love of music come from and does being brothers add to the musical bond of how you play together?
We have been making music together for more than two decades now. After Sebastian‘s first trip to sports and ice-skating at an early age, he went to the local music school and decided to learn the cello. Impressed by Sebastian’s first trials and errors, Daniel soon followed with the piano. Since then we trained on our instruments simultaneously, but almost by accident discovered the joy of playing together through the paper thin walls from our Plattenbau, a panel construction building where we grew up. This is how we developed our first tracks and choose CEEYS as an alias to release some reworks from our favourite artists, but kept playing under the radar. After 4 albums that focus on our childhood in the former Communist-era GDR, with HAUSMUSIK we worked to reach the present. The limitations and restrictions in our childhood helped us to learn improvising with the daily lack of material, and since the crisis showed up we felt the need for another mutation. Our performance with Eric is a first walk under a new sigil, our real name: Brueder Selke, and we soon will have even more exciting news for you. For now let us enjoy this liquid trip with Eric…
Eric: Listening to Part 1 of Connecting Home is an involving, immersive experience. Can you explain how you went about recording it? And about the charities you have chosen to donate too from the profits generated? Any plans for Part 2?
This album came about as a result of weekly live streams I performed on Facebook during the first spring lockdown. I felt, along with many other musicians and creative people, the need to do something, and so I set myself up, and played improvised concerts once a week for twelve weeks. And I mean totally improvised, nothing planned, empty mind before the first note is played. It wound up being a beautiful experience, the pressure of performance and the unknown, connecting with friends and family, all of it was very special. The album itself is the raw recordings from the live streams, nothing was multi tracked or edited, so what you hear is what I played. Part 1 was taken from concerts 1-6, so there is plenty of material for the second part.
During this time there was something like 800 people a day dying in my hometown of NYC. It’s an unimaginable number. My heart was breaking. I wanted to help as best I could, and decided to donate all the proceeds from sales to the Food Bank of NYC, a wonderful charitable organization that provides meals and even more to NYC’s most needy.
The next charity I’ve chosen to donate to is local to Berlin, The International Womans Space. They work with migrant/refugee women, fighting against patriarchy, sexism, racism, and violence. To raise money for them I must put together a Part 2! I’d like to think of music as timeless, but after a month or two people move on to the next release. Even as a label you have to promote new releases and let the old ones go! To really do the IWS justice I will do a proper release of a Part 2 in the New Year, with proper promo, and really get it moving.
Sebastian and Daniel: You curate the Q3Ambientfest. Can you tell us more about the event and your current plans for the festival as a result of Covid-19?
BS: Our carefully curated boutique happening is another result of a radical change in our life. After living in East Berlin for nearly 20 years we had the chance to move to Potsdam. Sebastian already worked as sub-principal cello at Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg when Daniel got a job at the local state music school. But this improvement felt not only the right moment to establish our new Klingenthal Studio but the best time to found a platform for contemporary music. We are always looking to create physical stages here and there to share ideas with like-minded music lovers. It is still our deep hope and wish to keep that flag flying despite all dark surroundings in 2020. There will be light and we will be ready to re invite our friends to the beautiful town of Potsdam and its diverse architecture – one more aspect to link with the music.
To all of you: Outside of music, who are your most important influences in terms of artists, writers, painters etc?
BS: Oh, we revere movies, and we really love when our music gets connected to them. As Brueder Selke we will partner with more video artists. The filmmaking from the 1980s has the strongest influence on our work. From legendary sci-fi movies to epic anthologies, we think in that decade the art of making a durable piece of visual art, all by brain and hand, reached its peak point before the technology in form of computer simulations seemed to overcome this craft. That’s why the foundations of our live set are the instruments and its true sounds. We use the computer only in the final process of editing.
EM: I am a voracious reader. Right now I’m re-reading The Language of Saxophones by Kamau Daáood. Actually I just keep going through it over and over, it’s a book of poetry that has affected me on a very deep level. In addition to this I’m also reading The Soundscape by Murray R. Schafer, The Philosopher and the Monk by Jean-Francois Revel and Matthieu Ricard, Man and His Symbols by Carl G Jung, and Paul Klee’s Diaries (which I feel a little guilty about, they are his diaries after all).
I’m very deeply into the work of artist/healer Emma Kunz, the films of Fellini, Godard and Jodorowsky. I also love James Bond movies, it’s sort of like eating a big bowl of mac and cheese.
(Sebastian and Daniel): Hausmusik is a brilliant, timeless sounding album. Do you feel that playing an instrument live captures something that producing music electronically cannot? How would you describe the process of writing music together, is a piece created from a single idea/ note, or something you may have heard outside, watched or listened to?
BS: Thank you – it feels good to see our music translate well in that way. We think that it should not make a huge difference if you play an acoustic instrument or if you produce a track straight ITB. Everybody is free in the decision what to use and when and how. Today you are able to produce a 3D adventure animation or you can make it a silent movie. The technology is diverse as we are all individuals. There seems to be a natural dynamic that finally will bring us even closer together with this growing electronic universe, and there are a lot of great useful tools we can’t do without – but even with that hybrid philosophy in mind, we will need the stories that make our life.
And finally. What are you all most looking forward to in 2021?
BS: We started planning some shows to share with our friends but you fine readers should also check our new page or sign to our newsletter for exciting upcoming news. Please drop us a line if you want to partner with us. And we promise: there will be even a second waltz with Eric Maltz. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
EM: It’s always difficult to answer a question about the future, I’m very content with where I’m at right now. I have a full length album that I just completed, so if anything I am looking forward to putting that out next year. And as Brueder Selke just said, I’m hopeful we can put another release together in the coming year.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Ben. Let’s start with the music that surrounded you growing up and how you then get into Dance Music?
Hi thanks for having me, hope you’re doing well during this crazy period in our lives. I’ve been surrounded by music as far as I can remember, my grand-mother was piano teacher, my father always played at home jazz, soul and classical music. Naturally I went to study piano and music theory at the conservatory until I was teenager. I’m a natural born raver due to do my deep link with England, I spent many times over there and discovered in late 80’s, London rave scene, Soho and Camden records shops, pirate radios, the golden era. I’ve always been into music, vinyl digging, hanging in every record shop.
How would you describe the ethos behind the label you co-founded BTRAX Records? And how do you see the future of record labels in light of steaming etc?
Founded in Paris 2003, BTRAX records is me, my brother Rob Malone and a friend association, our guideline has always been music & friendship first. We start as vinyl dealer with 3 record shops from 1996 to 2002 in Paris. We worked as distributors with partners like Submerge, Hardwax, Prime… With a strong background rich of experiences as record dealers, djs, party organizers at Rex Club (2001-2019 residency), we produced reputed international artists such as the legendary Scan 7 of Detroit, Dj Mau Mau from Brazil, Mr C, Vince Watson, Scan X, Julian Jewel, Orlando Voorn, Thomas Barnett…
Music industry is currently undergoing waves upon waves of change. Streaming has risen in the past several years as a viable alternative, and more and more relationships are being built between streaming platforms and labels, between musicians and their fans. As wax lover, I feel happy to see vinyl industry rebound since few years. I always felt that the old-school analogue audio provided by vinyl sounded superior to digital audio, especially the lossy compressed digital formats used by streaming services.
Can you talk us through how you produced your excellent new single, Pequetita? Do you have any favorite software / hardware you always like use when producing music?
“Pequetita” is dedicated to the street that houses Paulista Lov.E Club & Lounge in São Paulo Brasil. One of the most iconic and famous nightclub of the city, my first gig in Brazil 1998 was there for Lov Express night. A first vinyl tribute was made in 2004 with the LOV.E CLUB EP produced by DJ Mau Mau and remixed by Mr. C himself. 16 years later, we return with brazilian countrymen Dj Mau Mau, Anderson Noise and Mumbaata for hot and tropical remixes. Process to select remixers was easy, we are friends, knowing each other since decades and willing to celebrate once again this club and what it brings to Paulista and Brazilian electronic music scene.
Analog is warmer, I’m hardware lover! Studio core is based on Live Ableton functioning as a recorder, mixer with my Softube Console 1 setup using Universal Audio interfaces with UAD, FabFilter plugins for equalization, tape emulation, effects. Main gear is my old Akai MPC 3000 midi connected to the amazing E-RM Multiclock with a bunch of vintage keyboards, Roland Juno’s, D50, Yamaha DX7/100 and Akai samplers. I also love plugins like Roland cloud which is impressive and Arturia V Collection to name a few.
Tell us about the striking photograph used cover of the release? The artwork / graphics for the label are always stunning, can you tell us about where that love of Art came from?
It’s a shot from the Edifício Copan (Copan Building) designed by Oscar Niemeyer’s office in São Paulo 1952. The original project envisioned two buildings, the other being a hotel, but in the end only the residential building was built. My father was an architect and he gave me this love for art in general. I work as freelance graphic designer, web developer and motion designer since 2008, it was natural for me to shape visually our music, party projects.
How do you see the return to nightclubs and club culture after the absence caused by Covid-19? Do you think there will be any significant changes because of it all?
COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every aspect of people’s lives in an unprecedented manner. I’d like to hope the joy of discovery in music, of actually feeling it, returns. It is likely to be some time before enjoyment of pre-coronavirus nightlife returns. If club culture is not possible until there is a vaccine, situation will be “devastating” for nightclubs which have been silenced by pandemic.
Can you tell us about your involvement with Delighted?
Delighted is friend’s project, we met at Rex Club where he manage communication & media relations. It’s a house and techno culture web zine, offering daily review of the latest musical releases, the agendas of upcoming events in the Paris region. I helped him to rebrand the magazine, booking agency visual. I’m taking care of web magazine as webmaster and art director.
Outside of Dance Music are there any artists, writers, painters etc who inspire what you do?
I would say Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, John Fante, Claude Monnet, Vasarely but there’s so many more! Experiencing the art evokes our emotions and touches different parts of our souls and minds, it’s essential.
Difficult question, I would say humbly the essence of great music is a rather philosophical concept with no real right or wrong. This said, music is an important part of our life as it is a way of expressing our feelings as well as emotions. It plays a very important role in bringing people together, there’s only one language we can all understand: the language of music. It lets your imagination flow and that’s obviously a good thing for creativity and health. Like Stevie Wonder said “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it”.
Why in your opinion is Rex Club so important to Paris? How would you describe the experience of DJ’ing there?
Rex Club has shape part of Parisian club culture, after having offered disco music in the 1970s, then rock and new wave in the 1980s, its programming has been oriented towards electronic music since the early 1990s. It is considered today as one of the high places of electronic music in Paris and France. I played there from 2001 to 2019, Christian Paulet and Fabrice Gadeau always paid attention to high quality sound systems, cutting edge programmation with no compromise. I love the not so big club capacity (800 people), no vip area, Dj’ing there is really special due to clubber’s requirement and musical culture. Rex Club is one of the Parisian clubs which has kept a soul and an authenticity through the ages.
And finally. What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
I hope to be able to travel again, looking to go back to Brazil, Bali see our friends and help my brother’s surf foundation project.
Producing and working on our labels, BTRAX records will release in February my brother’s EP “Exit D” btx018 with stunning remixes from Orlando Voorn & Thomas Barnett and April my first LP “Paradigm shift” btx019 focusing on IDM, electronica and techno. Our house label 45RDB Records will release in February our second BROZ Inc EP “Bass Yo Face” with remix from windy city legend Mr. K Alexi Shelby.
We are working on MONDO DINGO records, new label focusing on deep house with live musicians. First release “AfroJazz” mdr01 will be ready January 2021 with Brazilian musician & producer from Rio de Janeiro Pinaud, with remixes from french house producer Peter Raw and Raw Analog Funk (Project run by myself and my brother with additional live musicians). Later we intend to develop a Bandcamp sub-label to produce jazz, soul, funk, reggae, urban musical projects, stay tuned!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Tania. Can you tell us about your early musical influences growing up and how you then got introduced to dance music?
Well, I started to listen to electronic music from a very young age, around the age of 9, I listened to the radio stations in Valencia at that time but the first group I fell in love with was The Prodigy.
You moved to Ibiza almost ten years ago. How would you describe the island in terms of lifestyle and musical diversity?
Yes, I have lived on the island for almost ten years, precisely I moved to Ibiza because here I could express myself as I wanted musically speaking. There is room for any type of electronic music on the island, but it saddens me that in recent years EDM and reaggeton are gaining strength and the true essence of Ibiza is being lost. Although, we will continue to fight so that it is never completely lost.
I loved the excellent selection of evocative music on your recent Ibiza Global Radio show. How did you become involved with the station?
Thank you so much!! Well, I was lucky to start playing on the radio as a guest since 2011, David Moreno was the first person who invited me, for which I will always be very grateful. Over the years I was also an eventual guest of Miguel Garji and finally Anna Tur. She offered us to have our own program, Ecoama Djs which I present every Thursday with my friend and partner Cristina Molina. So eternally grateful to these people who in one way or another have made it possible for me to live this dream.
Do you approach what you can play on radio differently from what you would play in a club, does it give you more freedom?
On the radio I have to adapt to the schedule, since the time of the program is from 4 to 5 pm, so the music I choose must be according to that time of day. Then in the clubs I also always adapt to each situation, I do not classify myself in any style as I like all kinds of electronic music. So I can play from Deep to Techno depending on the place, the time, etc …
Can you tell us about your involvement with Ecoama DJS?
Well, Ecoama Djs is an original idea by Cristina Molina – it is something much more than a radio program – it is a concept where music and the environment go hand in hand. We started this project together at Loca FM Ibiza in 2017, Cristina Molina continued on Playasol Radio and then we got together again more than a year ago to start this adventure on Ibiza Global Radio. In our program, music and environmental messages have the same prominence. We are in a situation in which we believe that it is very important to use our radio program to raise awareness from respect and love.
What do you seek to convey/ express to people through the music you play?
I like to transmit happiness and good energy. I like music that tells you something, whatever style it is.
You are also a passionate advocate for Extinction Rebellion. Where did that commitment first come from and how would you describe where the movement is at the moment?
That’s right. Almost 2 years ago I discovered this movement, practically when it was born in the United Kingdom. I thought that everyone would join, I saw it so clearly!
A group of scientists tired of warning about the consequences of climate change for 30 years asked governments to tell the truth, act accordingly, and reduce emissions to zero by 2025. Nodes emerged all over the world, even here in Ibiza, of which I am a part but although it is already a worldwide movement people and governments still do not act and do not see the situation which we are in, the most serious in the history of mankind. If we don’t change course now, in a very few years our planet will be uninhabitable, so I feel obliged to at least keep trying to fight with much love to ensure that our future is not as disastrous as it can be.
Outside of electronic music are there any artists, writers poets etc which inspire you?
Flavia Broffoni: Political scientist and activist for the environment, is part of XR Argentina and has just written a book (Extinción), which should be required reading.
Fernando Valladares: He is a doctor in Biological Sciences, a research professor at the CSIC and at the Rey Juan Carlos University. His knowledge, especially his way of exposing them, have made him one of the benchmarks in the COVID and Climate Crisis due to his courage and clarity.
Grian Cutanda: Writer, educator, psychologist, researcher, translator, communicator and Spanish social and environmental activist.
Roger Hallam: co-founder of XR, which has already been arrested several times for fighting for our future.
And of course all the activists fighting on the front line who are being threatened, persecuted and even killed for fighting and defending everyone’s Planet.
What is your favourite instrument? Can you play one?
Well, I’m not lucky enough to play any instrument, but the one I like the most is the piano.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021? And what changes do you think will happen post Covid-19?
Well, I hope that people react to the climate emergency and do not return to normal since normality, that is, the way of life in which we have lived until now, based on economic growth and consumption, has brought us to this situation. We have to reconnect with nature and think that each act has a consequence, if we do not change drastically we will be immersed in more pandemics, the global temperature will rise and we will not have a Planet to live on. It is in our hands and I hope we get it!!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Kenny. Let’s start with how you first got into music and the influences surrounding you growing up?
My dad used to collect records and design speakers. I was always fascinated by his work and electronics, especially record players. I used to find equipment that people had thrown out and I’d bring those pieces home to see if I could repair them. My mother loved to have parties at home and of course I would always set the sound system and play the music. I have seven brothers and we had a five bedroom apartment so those parties were like a rave.
Can you tell us about the first clubs you went to, how you got to hear about them and the influence they had on your life at the time?
I used to hang out with lots of girls in my teenage years and when I was eighteen we all decided to go out to a club in Manhattan. It was a small place in midtown called the Hollywood and Richie Kaczor was the DJ. That place closed at 4:30am and someone told us about another after-hours club on 23rd Street called The Galaxy 21. We went there and they let us in. I was amazed because the club was big, there were hundreds of people there and the place had three floors. I was so impressed with the main room which was on the ground level, the music was pounding and the Dj booth was massive. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of that booth, I wanted to get inside to see what kinda equipment they were using. The Dj took a liking to me, his eyes seemed to follow me everywhere I turned and I soon found out that his name was Walter Gibbons. He invited me into the Booth and they had an amazing setup, more equipment that I’d ever see at parties in Brooklyn. There was an analogue lighting console next to the decks but no one was working with it. I started to fiddle with the lights, green, blue, red and strobe. I had no idea what I was doing but Walter loved it and he offered me a job working the lights for him at the club.
So, I started working at clubs from that moment at the tender age of eighteen, I worked at the Galaxy 21 for a year until one of the co-owners opened up a new club on nineteenth street called The Inferno. I worked the lights at The Inferno for five years but I used to play music there sometimes too in the late hours. I was playing music there one morning and the promoters of Studio 54 came to visit because they were looking for a new DJ to prolate Nicky Siano. They were impressed with my set and they hired me for a Saturday night residency which lasted a year from 1980-81.
When did you first become aware of ‘mixing’ records and how did you learn your own style? What are your memoires of the turntables/ mixers you used to play on?
My family and I lived in a housing project in Brooklyn and we had a neighbour named Steve Standart. He was a mobile DJ that means that he would do parties and bring all of the sound and the music with him. Someone in our building stole a case of his records and I knew who it was so I told him about it, he was grateful to get his music back and that forged a friendship between us. He soon invited me to his house and I was so excited to be there because he had the mixer and the two decks set up in the house. I asked him if I could try to mix two records together but I was only sixteen at the time and I had no experience but I kept going until I got it right. Steve was impressed so he invited me to work with him on the road, he gave me a nickname, My new Dj name was Moondust. He choose that name because my older brother’s nickname was Moon. BTW, Steve was also a singer and he later became known as Strafe. He had a monster hit record called “Set It Off” which was mixed by Walter Gibbons but I also did a remix of the song a few years after it was released.
How would you now describe the impact of 1970’s Disco both politically and socially? Is nostalgia for those times a good thing or is moving forwards musically more important?
It’s difficult to separate the Disco era for politics, the lyrics were all about freedom and justice and that was partially due to the Stonewall Riots in NYC. I’m sure you know that the dance music industry couldn’t have existed without gay men and women like me. It was once illegal for gays to dance together or hold hands on the streets. We felt liberated when we heard songs from Gloria Gaynor like “I Am What I Am” and “I Will Survive.” But there was another struggle going on from a black prospective that’s still evident today. Racial injustice, housing discrimination and income inequality is something that’s ingrained in American culture, it’s like a poison that may take many more generations to weed out. I thank God for artists like Stevie Wonder. Teddy Pendergrass and the late great Bob Marley. They expressed the struggle of the black man and woman so eloquently in their music. There were so many things that I thought would set me back in my life when I was younger, growing up poor, gay and black was not an easy thing and it still affects me today.
The dance music of today is mostly crap. The themes are gone and there’s endless repetition thanks in part to digital technology. I’m so happy when I listen to pre-digital recordings because there were so many subliminal messages in the songs, it was like a blueprint for what we’re facing nowadays. The computer, sequencer and drum machine made it easier to produce music but that equipment also killed something musically that was so dear to my heart.
You began DJ’ing at Studio 54 in 1980 being hired by Mike Stone. How would you describe the change in clientele that happened after Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager were jailed? Do you think that the club has received a fair portrayal since?
Studio 54 lost their liquor license after Steve and Ian went to jail and that was the only reason why Mike Stone was able to get the club. Let me explain something to you that you may not understand: Black and Latino people from my generation in NYC never wanted or needed alcohol in the clubs, we were very happy when we went to The Paradise Garage or The Loft because alcohol wasn’t served at those clubs. Of course there were other drugs in the clubs during that time, mainly weed and cocaine. Mike’s parties at 54 were private, open only to members and their guests and that made the parties feel special, it made the place feel like a home, every patron was respected and the party started at the front door, no aggressive security dressed in all black, that would have killed everything. Clubbing and festivals nowadays have become all about business, the clubs and the promotors take, take, take and offer the patron nothing in return, fools don’t realize that they’re being used and herded like sheep but there’s a sucker born every second.
I have seen many of the documentaries about 54 and I wasn’t impressed by any of them. They never discuss the Mike Stone history, They insist on keeping the story glamorous and Lilly white.
By the early eighties there were a lot of new and different influences coming in musically too, were there any significant European records making an impression? Can you tell us about how that effected what you were doing and where you were getting your records from?
After Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager were released from prison they wanted their club back, they thought that they could pick up from where they left off but the magic was finished and that story was never to be repeated. Mike Stone moved me and his parties to the cavernous Bonds International Casino in Times Sq. The music was changing in the early 80’s, electronic music was becoming very popular and the Puerto Rican’s were the leaders in this new sound. Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam and Afrika Bambaataa were favorites at the club but John Jellybean Benitez productions were also very popular at the time and anything that I played involving him went over well. I have an eclectic musical style and I refuse to be locked in a genre. I loved taking risks so I would play some English pop bands and New Wave. I played The Pet Shop Boys, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Heaven 17, Talking Heads and Soft Cell.
I was a member of David Mancuso’s Record Poll and then I moved on to For The Record. I also bought many imports from Dancetracks and Vinylmania.
By 1982 you DJ’ed at Bond’s International Casino. Tell about us about your time there and its influence on NYC?
I hated Bonds because they didn’t make the correct investment in the sound system or acoustical treatment in the room but I learned how to love the place after three months of working there. I discovered that people create acoustics and that meant that I had to have 2500 people in the room of optimum sound quality. Bonds was the biggest club ever opened in NYC the dance floor was the size of a 747 airplane hangar. If you lost the friend that you came with you most likely would see them for the rest of the evening. I had a great time working there mainly because the parties were private, We had some amazing performances there too, Chaka Kahn, Eddie Kendricks were two of my favorite shows there.
Did you ever play or visit the likes of The Saint? How did you feel about those clubs in comparison and the music played there?
I never went to the Saint but I can bet that I wouldn’t have liked the music. Most white American people and black folks have always been, and still are on different musical planets..
How would you compare the experience of DJ’ing today (pre-covid 19) and the early eighties in terms of technology and the music people like to dance to? Do you feel that something has been lost in the quality of contemporary song writing, or is it just as good?
I spoke about this in my earlier comments but I will elaborate further. I think that there are too many confusing genres now but the record companies and digital distributors are responsible for this. Technology has been a blessing and a curse because there’s a avalanche of quantity but little quality. The productions are so repetitive and the song writing, productions and mastering are lacklustre to put it mildly. I’ve been totally bored for years, dance music has become as worthless as disposable razor blades.
Outside of Dance Music who are your favourite artists in terms of painters, poets, writers etc. And have you discovered any music recently that you wouldn’t normally have listened to (because of the pandemic) which has surprised you?
I guess I’m old school but some of my favorite artists have passed on. I adored Maya Angelou and Keith Haring probably never dreamed that his art would be so popular. I’ve been listening to lots of music from the 60’s and the 70’s during these lockdowns. The message songs are really getting my attention because now I can fully understand the meaning in them. The time that we live now was predicted and prophesied long ago.
What advice would you give to someone starting out to DJ? And on the other side of Covid-19 what will it mean to you to return to DJ’ing?
I would advise any up and coming DJ to make sure that you have a second or third career because success in the music business is not promised. Don’t store all of the eggs in one basket. I believe that Covid-19 is a reset. The strong will survive and the weak will fall. I don’t know what my DJ future will be but I will always come back to that musical message of love.
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!
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
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Marco and Norman. Let’s begin with your fiery new single: Neon Frame EP for Upon You Records. Tell us about how you got the track signed to the label?
Marco: Norman and I are in the studio at least once a week to exchange music as well as new ideas for Luna City Express. Norman showed me a couple of his new sketches and “Gimme Some More” stood out the most to me. I immediately wanted to sign it for my own label Upon You Records.
Talk us through how you produced Gimme Some More, which features particularly addictive keys? Are there any favourite software/ hardware you like to use when producing?
Norman: I started this tune with a beat which I sampled from an old house record. I edited the drums to give them my own touch. Additionally to that I recorded some percussions from the Roland HPD-20 Handsonic Pad. Both the bass and the little acid sound are from the Sylenth 1 PlugIn. The Arp sound is from the Korg Mono Poly PlugIn. Marco added that striking vocal hook, took care of the mixdown and finished the track.
Outside of electronic music – who are your most important influences (in terms of writers, artists, poets etc)?
Norman: I’m mainly influenced by Funk and Disco from the 70’s as well as from Jazz, Classic Music, Rap and the entire 80’s era. Prince is my biggest inspiration, his ability to produce every kind of style in such high quality still blows me away.
Marco: Musically the 80’s and the 90’s influenced me the most. Before I discovered electronic music my taste was pretty broad. Michael Jackson, Prince, De La Soul and Gang Starr just to name a few were on heavy rotation during that time and I still love listening to them. In terms of writers, Ken Follet and Noah Gordon are my favourites since I love reading historical novels.
How have your lives altered as artists as a result of Covid-19? How do you see things moving forwards for people who work in music?
Norman: My life has changed a lot. After 12 years I started to work again as an educator for kids in after-school-care. It was not an easy task to make this move but the current situation caused me to do it. Additionally to that I was able to play a couple of shows during the summer, but the earnings were way less than normal. The most positive thing that came up with Corona is that I have spent much more quality time with my family than all the years prior to that. Furthermore I’d say that the world especially Mother Nature needed that break. I mean we’re discussing about climate change since quite a while but nothing ever really changed. But also for us human beings it was about time to slow down the pace.
Marco: My life looks pretty much the same except that I haven’t started a new job (til now). The German government has supported us financially as a business person but not really as an artist. The money that came in March is pretty much gone now. As freelancers we were pushed to apply for social welfare. It is a weird feeling after being self-employed for almost 20 years. But I’m grateful anyway to be able to use this contribution for my family. Fingers crossed that we will be able to work independently again as soon as possible.
Norman: Regarding the second part of the question…I don’t see things moving forward at all for people who work in the music industry, especially in the event sector. Most of the clubs in Germany are closed. It looks obviously worldwide like this. Agencies, booking agents, technicians, engineers, bartenders, etc. are not able to work since March. As a DJ it doesn’t really make sense anymore to buy new music regularly as we have lost the platform to perform. Well, commercial streaming became the new thing – but this trend is in my opinion more a step back than forward for an artist.
Marco: Behind the scenes we are in the same boat. The clubs are suffering. The scene is suffering. The end of our summer looked kind of promising as we had a couple of proper dance events with appropriate hygiene rules. But summers over now, infection numbers are going up again and we are facing pretty much the same situation as before summer. That’s horrible! They are even talking again about closing hours and prohibition. That would be the final blow for a lot of locations respectively people who work there. Unfortunately we missed to build a proper lobby for our industry in the past 30 years. The event sector is the 6th strongest industry in Germany. The government needs to support us now. Otherwise more than 1 million jobs will disappear!
Likewise how do you see club culture changing (or not)?
Norman: The club culture is on hold at the moment. Since the clubs are closed there’s a new movement of illegal parties and raves here in Berlin. I mean how crazy is it that we are not allowed to dance?! That’s really hard to believe. I mean I get the whole thing but you can’t tell the kids to stay at home and wait until the pandemic is over. On the other hand it is really counterproductive for the regular clubs which try to find agreements with the government by offering them new hygiene concepts to find a way to get back to business.
What music have you been listening to at home, have you found more opportunity to listen to a broader range of music recently? What speakers do you like to listen to music on?
Norman: As I said before I mostly listen to Prince, Funk, Downbeats and Acid Jazz. Currently my kids are into Hip-Hop and I’m happy to hear them listening all of my old school favourites. I don’t really like commercial radio I prefer to take care of my own playlists at home. Sound is not that important to me, my focus is more on the choice of music.
Marco: I do not listen to that much electronic music at home. I’m the opposite to Norman, I like to listen to the radio and discover new music regardless the genre. It also helps me to keep an eye on new trends and it also trains my ears musically. My favourite playlist at the moment is Jazz Rap on Spotify. Furthermore I love to listen to the entire catalogue of Jazzmatazz, A Tribe Called Quest and Jazz Liberatorz.
And finally. What are you looking forward to in 2021?
We are looking forward to finally dance together again with all our friends and fans worldwide. This is something we really miss a lot. We also can’t wait to release our 3rd album and celebrate 20 years of Luna City Express.
Luna City Express Neon Frame EP is out now on Upon You Records