Sean La’Brooy (Analogue Attic Recordings) Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Sean. Let’s start with the release of your debut solo album: Out Moving Windows. Tell us about the meaning behind the title?

Thanks for having me!

One of my favorite occasions for listening to music is during a commute. Whether it be by train, plane or car, headphones on, looking out the window, giving the music your full attention and watching the world go by.

There’s a particular contemplative sentiment that goes with that experience, and I guess that’s what I was trying to tap into with this release.

The album plays beautifully and is very rich in depth and emotion. How long did it take to compose and produce its completed release? Are you ever left feeling like you have rushed something for a deadline or do you always give time the space needed?

These tracks were made between late November 2020 and March 2021, I had been making a lot of music within that period of time, and these tracks felt like they worked best together for this release. There was no deadline for these fortunately!

Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the album? Including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?

The first track on the release, entitled Splash, was composed around a collaboration with trumpet player Fernando Ferrarone. I first made the groove by recording percussion and claps in my studio; it has a slightly different feel to it because it’s in a 6/8 time signature. I then started layering on the pads which all come from a synth I’ve been enjoying recently, the Ensoniq TS-10.

At that point, I had Fernando come into the studio and we jammed over it for a couple of hours and recorded a bunch of takes. I then took best of the recordings and continued to layer on more elements and arranged the structure to be tight.

The music has an ambience drifting throughout. Where does inspiration for creating music come from: hearing other music, or something you have read, or an unrelated sound from the world outside?

I draw a lot of inspiration from other music, across many genres and styles, but I think the ambience comes from a desire to make music that is less dance floor oriented. I wouldn’t say unrelated sounds influence my music, but I definitely aim for particular emotions.

Can you tell us about some of the other musicians who have played on the album? And where some of the field recordings where recorded?

Oliver Paterson (plays guitar on Thank you For Everything), is an amazing musician I’ve known and played with for more than 10 years. He has made a few appearances on Analogue Attic with Alex and myself. He’s known for his beautifully melodic guitar lines which are perfectly on show here.

Kalia Vandever is a trombone player who regularly plays in jazz bands across New York. I first heard her playing an ambient solo trombone set in Brooklyn using a microphone a loop pedal. She has a really distinct energy in everything she plays, and everything sounds so deliberate and meaningful. I was very lucky to have her play with me on Triplet Falls.

Fernando Ferrarone is a monster of a trumpet player who regularly plays in jazz bands in New York, particularly salsa bands, where he brings the party. He deserves 97% of the credit for the first track on Out Moving Windows for the beautiful lines he plays.

Most of the field recordings in this are from a huge folder on my computer of the hours and hours of recordings I’ve taken over the years. Most of these were from improperly labelled takes that I haven’t been able to identify, most likely in country towns in Australia as well as some nature clips. There are also pieces from my apartment in Brooklyn and a recent trip to Mexico.

You cofounded the label Analogue Attic. How would you describe the process of running a record label in the digital age in terms of generating income (streaming), the importance of PR, the place of social media etc?

There are more outlets for people to engage with music now than there were when we first started Analogue Attic, and people’s listening habits will continue to change over time. We think it’s really important for people to be able to access our music wherever they want to listen to it, whether that be on Bandcamp, through streaming platforms or on vinyl. We have some great partners that make that possible for us. Some labels create a vibe by only releasing music on vinyl or tape, or boycotting streaming platforms. That can be cool as well, but we’ve always preferred to make it as easy as possible for those who want to listen to our music.

Generating revenue from music sales has never been easy for anyone, but having your music out in the world is the best way to get booked for shows, and that will always be the most straightforward path to income for musicians/DJs.

The spirit of independence runs strongly in what you do. Where did that inspiration come from? And how would you describe the more business end of club culture in terms of creativity at the moment?

I guess I have a very different background to most artists releasing music within similar circles; I went to jazz school and played in bands well before I got into electronic music. I very rarely DJ and so I don’t spend much time thinking about where my music can fit in a mix or what time of the night it will work and that sort of thing. I don’t care too much about being unique from other artists, but I do think it’s important to draw on your own influences.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

I have a beautiful Yamaha Clavinova digital piano in my New York apartment, my friends chipped in to get it for me for my birthday recently, so it has that nice sentimental value to it as well. I also have an upright Carnegie and sons and a different digital Yamaha back in Melbourne.

In terms of influences who has been the most important both within music from outside of it (writers, painters, poets etc)?

There are way too many artists to put my finger on just one, but I’ve been thinking about Keith Jarrett a lot recently (largely because arthritis has taken over and he can’t play the piano anymore, which is sad). He’s one of my biggest inspirations, I think he’s one of the best musicians ever because of his command of melody and harmony as well as his technical ability.

And finally. Do you think music culture will reshape in any way after Covid-19? Have you formed any plans for 2022?

Last year I noticed a lot of producers releasing music that was abnormally ambient for them. I think there were loads of artists who knew their music wouldn’t be played to dance floors and thought differently about what they wanted to put into the world as a result. I don’t know if that’s still happening in a noticeable way, but I think it’s exciting when electronic artists who usually DJ think beyond the dance floors.

I have no formal musical plans for 2022!

buy Sean La’Brooy – Out Moving Windows – Analogue Attic Recordings
https://analogueattic.bandcamp.com/album/out-moving-windows

www.analogueattic.com

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Forest Robots Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Fran. Let’s start with your awe-inspiring new album: Horst & Graben. Can you tell me why you chose that title and what it means for you in 2021?

In Geology, Horst and Graben refer to regions that lie between normal faults and are either higher or lower than the area beyond the faults. These are the areas across a landscape that are rifts or river valleys (Graben) and ridges (Horst) and that you often traverse when hiking and mountaineering, especially on long distance excursions. Recent hikes during the last year had me thinking about these topographical features and their analogous qualities to our everyday lives-our ups and downs, highs and lows.

These recent hikes in concurrence with the political and natural climates of the last few years (and made more volatile by the current pandemic), started me on a sort of philosophical journey about the highs and lows of spiritual, social and economic cycles we go through as a society and how the speed of these cycles seem to be on overdrive at the moment. The album’s title refers to the current state of these cycles.

The album was partly inspired by David George Haskell’s book ‘The Songs of Trees’. How did you first encounter it and can you tell us about how his words could create a sonic landscape in your imagination?

I’m often on the lookout for books that help me widen my knowledge about the natural world and The Song of Trees was one of those online algorithm based recommendations that happened one late night in the early Fall of 2020 while browsing through my computer instead of being in bed sleeping. I remember making a mental note but it wasn’t until a month later that I remembered the book had piqued my interest. Soon after, I bought it and right away Haskell’s narrative took over my attention.

In general, books about nature are easy to visualize in my head, to the point that I can associate places I’ve travelled to the visual aesthetics the author describes. This in turn, helps me relate to the narrative with a greater sense of accuracy. Haskell’s book was no exception. In fact, his prose made it all that much easier to visualize his narrative. Maybe being a hiker and mountaineer might have something to do with this visualization ability but it does help tremendously if the author’s narrative is especially captivating. In the case of Haskell’s book, each element fed off each other.

Having said that, and going back to the first question and what sparked my philosophical journey, Haskell’s stories helped me propel my own narrative and my own observations I was drawing. His themes helped me fill in the blanks of what I was going through in my head by giving me a deeper understanding of the connections between ourselves and the natural world around us. It gave me the confidence to draw conclusions about why we’re doing a disservice to ourselves, and understand how our species is constantly doing a disservice to our own spirituality and the spirituality of the natural world.

The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree (12k). How did your relationship with the artist come about and what do you think he has lent the final sound?

I have been following Taylor’s musical journey since 1994 when he released an album in collaboration with Savvas Ysatis as SETI on the now defunct Instinct Records (the label was bought out by Knitting Factory Records back in 2003) for which he also worked for as Art Director (many releases featured his art direction) and mastering engineer.

At the time, Instinct Records was a portal to discovering other great labels such as Fax +49-69/450464, em:t, and Ninja Tune. It was also a portal to discovering more of Taylor’s work under different aliases, such as Human Mesh Dance, Prototype 909, Futique and Drum Komputer. For a while, it seemed there were one or two releases a year that involved him in some capacity or another. Needless to say, it was a rewarding experience following his work during the 90’s.

But after the 90’s I lost track of his musical output for a while and it wasn’t until the last few years that I rediscovered him and much to the delight of my ears, he continues to be as prolific and rewarding to listen to. Not just that, but he also runs a wonderful label (12K) with lots of great releases including a few of his own.

Since the time I began composing (2004) to the time I began Forest Robots (2017), I have learned about the process of creating an album-from demo recording to mastering. However, one thing I’ve learned in particular is to sometimes let certain aspects of putting an album together be done by other people. In that way, by seeing others work their craft, you can also learn to improve yours. So with that in mind, I reached out to Taylor.

The man is a busy creator and curator though and it took sheer synchronicity for him to be available to spend time on the album and finish putting all the pieces together. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to have had his assistance. He has a tremendously deep intuition and understanding of the hierarchy of each instrument within a composition and how to best manage that hierarchy to achieve the clearest sound. His stately experience benefited the sound of the album a great deal.

On a personal level, it was a rewarding experience working with him after following his work for three different decades. There is a feeling of reaching a full circle of sorts with this album and Taylor’s involvement in mastering it.

Can you describe the process of how you created one of the tracks from Horst & Graben? Are there any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use in making music?

Oftentimes, a composition begins outside of the studio and it doesn’t begin as a musical idea either. Instead, it begins as a line of thinking. It could be philosophical, spiritual, or emotional. It can be a certain feeling of introspection, gratitude or awe, usually sparked by a view or a place I’m exploring in the outdoors. The idea then gets complimented later on by other things, like a book, a film, documentary, a television program, or current events taking place either where I live in or in other parts of the world. Once I’ve had some time to process what I’m thinking about (usually takes weeks or even months), I then ask myself, ‘Is there anything that I can contribute to the subject?’. If the answer is yes, I then ask myself, ‘How can I best say this?’. That’s when the studio finally comes into play and I begin to think about what instruments I want to use, what musical direction I want to take.

Before I began recording Horst & Graben, I had purchased an Elektron Digitone and an Analog Heat. However, during the first two months these two were in the studio, I mostly played around with them in a learning capacity and didn’t record anything with them.

When I finally decided what musical direction I wanted to go with Horst & Graben, I knew I wanted to have a warm, nostalgic-like, electronic sound throughout the album. Something reminiscent of electronic and ambient works from the 1970’s. It was then that it became obvious I would use both Elektron machines. A lot of the electronic tones from the album come from the Digitone processed through the Analog Heat. The rest of the sounds came from processed piano.

The track, This World Is Held Together By The Beauty Of Humble Places struck a particular chord with me. What can you tell us about the video which accompanies it?

The title of the track is a phrase that has stuck with me from the first time I read it. It is one of those quiet but monumental kinds of statements. We have a tendency to focus our attention on visually stunning views-especially in nature. Waterfalls, mountain tops, river gorges, grand valleys, but it’s the quiet and often out-of-view places that make the outdoors thrive. It is these places where wildlife usually dwells and where it is created, nourished and renewed every day. The places we don’t run into, we don’t walk by, we don’t get to on purpose. This is what I wanted to convey in the video-quiet moments in those quiet places.

Do you think music has more depth, resonates more with the human condition if it isn’t obviously happy or uplifting? What are your thoughts on the place of nostalgia in the creative process?

That’s a tough question to answer. However, I will say, on a personal level, the kind of music that has endured for me strikes a balance between a nebulous and direct approach in its message. At times it can spark intense emotions of positive exhilaration, other times it can make you feel a sense of nostalgia or bitter sweetness. A great test for me when it comes to music, is when a composition can do the aforementioned but also manages to grow along with you throughout different stages in your life.

Who are your most important influences both within and from outside of music (writers, painters, poets etc)?

From within music, David Bowie and Brian Eno stand out the most. Bowie because of his fearless approach at exploring genres, his drive to evolve and his valiant efforts to try to never do the same thing twice. Eno because of his willingness to operate outside of the norms and always be open to allow a multitude of influences from different disciplines to the creative process. Films have been a great source of inspiration as well. Directors like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Alfonso Cuarón, Hayao Miyazaki, David Lynch, Taikia Waititi, and Stephen Chow among others have always been great conversation starters in my head. There are many writers I enjoy too, however, because my attention is very genre indifferent (If I like the subject or premise, I purchase it regardless of genre), I don’t have any particular favorites. My influences in writing are more book oriented rather than author oriented.

In what ways do you think that electronic music can translate into political thought? Is it more important for Art to be political or should it just reflect personal emotions?

Another excellent question and one that I’m also not sure I have a definite answer to but, I do feel, like any other musical genre out there, political music often starts with a title, then maybe a dialogue sample (for which electronic music is very adept at lending itself for the use of samples) and ultimately the artist guiding the listener through the music’s intention via lyrics, liner notes, interviews, ect. As to the importance of art being political versus personal, I think if you were to draw a Venn diagram, we’d find that oftentimes, both can be one and the same. Personal emotions can drive personal politics after all.

Horst & Graben started out from a spiritual stance and that spiritual conversation drove the emotional and social justice aspects of the conversations it is covering. So again, there is an overlap in these and it’s never one or the other.

If you would like to find yourself anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’m a fan of Google Earth and the application is a great place to find and access information for an area of the world you would otherwise have no clue about. When I’m on it I am usually drawn to far-away-from-civilization places. I find the application rather addicting but also highly educational as well. One area I would love to spend a great deal of time (if money and numerous responsibilities were no object at the moment) would be the Nunavut Territories in Canada. I find the Geological and topographical aspects of the area absolutely breath-taking. I may yet find a way to visit someday, but visiting such places requires a great deal of logistical preparation.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

First and foremost for the pandemic to subside but for that to happen, common sense needs to persevere over misinformation. I look forward to that happening. Meanwhile, I also look forward to continuing to hone and grow my skills as a composer. Every instrument currently in my studio comprises a musical journey and I feel I’m just under half way of that journey with most of my instruments, so there is a lot of room for growth and learning and that’s something I can always enjoy and look forward to.

buy Forest Robots – Horst & Graben – Elm Records https://forestrobots.bandcamp.com/
https://www.forestrobots.com

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IOKOI Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Mara. Tell us about the meaning behind the name IOKOI?

Thank you! The meaning behind the name IOKOI and how it came to life is due to a mix of my fascination for different aspects of asian culture, as well as for the term “reflection” in a broader sense. I remember reading a Chinese legend of the Koi carp, that swam up a waterfall and transformed into a dragon through its endurance and perseverance.

To shape the name I took the aspect of endurance and perseverance symbolised by the word “koi” and mirrored it to the other side. For me, this is a playful way to combine the meaning of “koi” with my belief of life as a moving wheel fuelled by a constant and precious exchange between the self and the other, in order to grow.

Which artists have inspired the course of artistic direction you have taken in life? Who left the most indelible impression growing up?

I’ve been inspired by many artists, for various reasons. But if I have to name some key moments in my life and artists connected to it, important names for sure are Björk, Erykah Badu, John Cage, Anna Homler and David Bowie. The last indelible impression was left quite recently – while still growing up – by Peter Greenaway and his movie “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover”. 

Tales of Another Felt Sense of Self is your latest release for your label –OUS. What is it that makes you feel most comfortable releasing there?

As co-founder of the label -OUS it feels like releasing as part of a family, this goes for the artists but also for the people in the background involved. The feeling of having a home-base, where different forms of projects can have a home is something really beautiful.

Which of the five senses is most important in your work? What do you seek to translate to people in your music?

Since music is my primary output, I’d say hearing is the most important. But besides that, while composing every other sense somehow shapes the final outcome of a piece. When I am in that process, different patterns can be revived through a particular way of impulses given by other senses within that very moment, that trigger something that I later translate into music. As mentioned before, the aspect of exchange between the self and the other and the involvement of different senses within a specific environment can alter the shape of a work. I seek to translate a very personal experience or sensation within my music. 

Talk us through how you created one of the tracks from the EP and some of the software / hardware you use? Do you start with a single idea or do you get inspired by something you may have seen or heard outside of the studio environment?

The composing process of this EP was beautiful and took place in a constant exchange with Michele Foti, who shot the video triptych to “Tales of Another Felt Sense of Self”. For me, it was a new method of composing, tested out previously in other (commissioned) works Michele and I did together. After having sent him the first tracks that later were to become part of this EP, I realised that I felt the need to reshape the songs structure to match the narrative of the videos.

To answer the more technical aspect of your question, I mostly worked with the piano, voice, field recordings and samples on TOAFSOS. The recording software I use is Logic – but that said, I’m not such a tech-nerd and am working on getting better in the technical aspects of production. I’m very intuitive in the way I work and record, and so especially what happens outside of the studio environment mostly triggers what later becomes a piece of music.

Accompanying the release is work from Michele Foti, olfactory artist Klara Ravat and graphic designer Sarah Parsons. Can you tell us about your involvement with those artists and how you see their reflection of your music?       

Especially during times of social distancing, I felt the need to create a product that could somewhat stimulate different senses on different levels. The people I chose to collaborate with are persons I value as human beings and artists.

With Michele I developed a whole new way of de-/recomposing my works, as mentioned above. I knew immediately that his documentarist and raw approach to video and recording, as well as the use of tape could underline the music with the unfiltered touch I was looking for.

Klara and I have known each other for a long time and have collaborated before on a commissioned installation. The way she translated my emotional mood boards into a scent, which evolves throughout the whole duration of the EP, is still unbelievable to me.

Sarah Parsons brought a whole other level to the release through a book of 208 pages, in which she makes the very essence of the work visible by merging patterns of stills from Michele’s videos with text fragments.

I feel that the long processing time was needed and worth it, so that the various personal reflections of the music could match one another and turn into what in the end became one multi-sensory release.

How would you describe the importance of the human voice in music? Are songs as relevant as they once were?

Every form of sound has an important existence, whether in a song-form or with the involvement of the human voice, according to the very personal perception of the listener.

What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?

Right now, my favourite instrument is the Korg Microsampler. It is the most recent piece of equipment that I’ve bought. The possibility of creating an instrument out of whatever sample, including voice, really enables me to compose new material in a way I didn’t know before and had been looking for.

And finally what are your thoughts post Covid-19 and how the world will function in terms of music. Are you hoping for any changes?

A very difficult question… In music, I like what the band Senyawa did: for their last album, they decided to welcome multiple independent labels around the world to co-release it jointly. I think this was a beautiful sign of creative thinking on topics like borders, openness, and trust.

Generally speaking, I really don’t know how the world will function post Covid-19, but I hope that this moment of stillness can somehow lead to new forms of exchange and creativity and a stronger sense of community.

buy https://iokoi.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-another-felt-sense-of-self

https://iokoi.net
https://ous.ooo

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Alex Over & Andrew Shobeiri (Perpetual Collective) Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Alex and Andrew. Let’s start with the launch of your new label: Perpetual Collective. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the name, its philosophy and why this particular moment feels like a good time to be launching a record label?

Yeah sure, the name came from the back of an idea where a collective had been created individually or from other artist’s that want to be part of this and was building up in many forms and Perpetual meaning always a continual progress.

Your initial release: 001 features two tracks. Can you talk us through how you produced one of them, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?

The process with making these tracks are quite straight forward in fact, which is quite nice about our collaborative projects. In terms of how they were made we collected and recorded found sounds, to mostly working in the box. There was a couple of recordings we used for synths and running this through a very old TASCAM mixer but we are quite fortunate to have access to some great software like UAD Plugin’s in particular.

Both tracks feel very contemporary (not nostalgic) and both are rich in emotion. What for you is most important in Dance Music besides being something to dance too? Can dance music/ club culture change society in any meaningful way?

Yeah that’s a fair observation, feel the reason they are rich in emotion is due to both of us having a very mixed variety when it comes to our own experiences within Music. Dance Music / Club Culture for sure can work in a meaningful way than just something to dance too but maybe of late due to so much access with the internet people may find it more difficult to pin point what music they like as it has become so broad. Which in some cases can potentially make it less meaningful?

Alex, you’re a member of the BPS (British Psychological Society). Can you tell us how you feel psychology can benefit people in the modern age – is it how people function in themselves or the way they react to society that causes distress? Can you also tell us about your fascinating series of podcasts, The U-Turn?

Big question, yeah absolutely as time moves and in my opinion understanding human behaviour more so and why we work the way we do, and at least gaining more understanding and knowledge around this is key that’s psychology really in a nutshell, a science of human behaviour. Society plays a fundamental part, but more so it’s about the individual and their choices that causes potentially the most distress.

Thanks, regarding the podcast, it’s something way back when podcasts started I was always keen to do one and through a difficult time in 2018 I jumped straight into it and just pressed record (quite liberally) and talked about these certain subjects. Now into Season 3 I’ve been interviewing people, mainly in relation to Music and experiences around this. I have a lot more ideas on where I’d like to to go now further into my Psychology studies, so let’s see where it takes us!

Andrew, you also produce as Rene Wise. Tell us about what you are currently working on, and what it’s like to collaborate with someone else, how does that work in practical terms? Can you also tell us about your involvement with the 100 years of Colombia project?

That’s correct. My Rene Wise project has been something I’ve worked on for quite a few years now and has been my primary solo alias for a while. I don’t find the aspect of collaborating whilst maintaining a solo project to be that difficult to be honest. Although, sometimes a lot of my time is taken up by Rene Wise activities. The 100 years of Colombia project was actually founded by Icelandic techno legend Exo’s and my agent. Exo’s is a part of my agency, so we are a big team and I was honoured to be a part of the compilation!

Outside of Dance Music who are your most important influences?

My father played a big role in my musical growth. He got me into playing the drums from a very young age, as he was a professional drummer throughout his life. That early experience of learning about rhythm definitely helped form the type of music I make today.

What changes would you like to see in club culture/ music as a result of the effects of Covid-19

The pandemic exposed how fragile club culture and artists lives really are… Everything can be taken away in an instant. I think clubs and organisers have a great opportunity to put more focus on booking local / upcoming talent. Its less risk and less stress to book local at the moment, due to the recurring travel restrictions and I think it’s what the industry needs. However, since clubs and festivals have come back, most of the line ups and booking strategies seem to be nothing new. So, I guess it’s hard to change the way the wheel turns in this machine, even after a global pandemic… But hopefully the future will be brighter!

And finally. What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?

Gigs are slowly starting to come back, which is reassuring and exciting and I’m also enjoying just being in the studio and making music again. I hope everything continues to get better and we can gradually enjoy our lives like before!

Buy https://alexovermusic.bandcamp.com/track/compass
Buy https://alexovermusic.bandcamp.com/track/tides

https://www.perpetualcollective.com

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This Ship Argo Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Aileen. Let’s begin with the meaning behind your alias: This Ship Argo and what it signifies?

Hilariously, I had a conversation about this with my nephew last week because I couldn’t remember so this was well timed! He was the one that picked the name back when we were playing together. He sort of bowed out around 4 years ago and I kept making stuff myself. It came originally from “A Lover’s Discourse” by Roland Barthes (or so he tells me!) and the passage that he specifically chose describes how the Argo itself was maintained by its crew and replaced gradually so that its form is maintained though the pieces are not original. it remains the Argo however none of the pieces of the ship are original. I think the phrase he was most drawn to in it was “Argo is an object with no other cause than its name, with no other identity than its form”. We have talked about him coming back and playing again every once in a while so I guess it has some extra significance now (and can you tell he’s a philosopher!?)

The music you created for the video to accompany your reworking of The Ornament of the Lovestruck Heart is both stunning and eloquent. What was it about Lotte Reiniger that interested you, how did you first encounter her and this work from 1919?

Thank you so much, that’s really lovely of you to say! I actually discovered Lotte through my friend Rich Davis who mentioned her animations to me a few years ago. Rich performs under the name Heliopause and we were performing a score that we’d written for the Passion of Joan of Arc and got to talking about other ones that might be of interest (and that were, crucially, shorter and less traumatic). I really love animation in all its forms so I sort of fell down a hole of watching all of the available Reiniger films I could lay my hands on last year and reading up on her life and her work, and about how she really was one of the pioneers of animation. I also ended up chopping up one of her animations to accompany a song from the first record called Caught Out then serendipitously discovered that we shared a birthday so thought it would be a nice tribute to her to create something else and specifically for a piece.

This piece I specifically chose because I found the sadness amongst it more than the happiness, and I am definitely one for the melancholy though I am also a bit of a romantic at heart. I loved the imagery as well of the curling branches and was really drawn to all the movement.

The music was created using Spitfire Labs instruments. Can you talk us through that process and where you find the inspiration to create sounds: from words or images, or other noises you hear from the world around you?

A lot of the sounds come directly from just sitting down and playing to be honest, and generally tend to reflect my mood. Sometimes a little sound within a sound will catch my attention and I’ll focus on trying to draw it out and make it more prominent in the piece. I don’t know if anyone really hears it but me, but I love trying to make tiny details more of a focus. These days I’m quite a playful creator who experiments a bit more rather than the sort of rigid composer I might have been in the past, and I know when something is coming together so tend to get pieces finished pretty quickly. I am a classically trained pianist and so – in my own head at least – I always thought there had to be specific rules about how things were done but I’m definitely working on throwing that out the window!

I do, however, have to set myself some boundaries otherwise I’ll never finish anything which is why I decided to make it entirely with Spitfire Labs. I also wanted to make sure I explored the sounds as fully as I could and it was partially an experiment with some new things I’d learned about Ableton that I wanted to try out. On top of that, I wanted to create it, mix and master it away from my own studio and so I ended up doing it all with a little midi keyboard on my work computer over lunchtimes here and there, or when I needed a break during the day.

Tell us about your history and how you initially came to make music and about the people who inspired you to realise the types of sounds you record?

I think I have always been quite musical. I started learning to play the piano when I was seven and have played ever since. My brother got a guitar when he was about 14 (and I was about 12) and so I started picking that up and playing until I demanded one too. Honestly, I will give pretty much any instrument a stab if I get the chance! For a lot of reasons it did take me a long time to develop confidence in writing and playing for other people. I’m 38 now and really only started playing my own stuff publicly in the last three or four years. A lot of the confidence building for this actually came from a few of the people I mentioned earlier: my nephew Ricki and my friend Rich. They were wonderful in getting me to do things and were incredibly patient with me too!

Sound-inspirations are really from all over the place. I discovered music as grunge was coming though in the mid-nineties, then pursued a lot of slower or more indie music like Low and Elliott Smith. Like everyone else I guess I go through phases of things and discover new stuff all the time. I find it hard to pinpoint specific influences and I’ve never found myself trying to emulate anyone specifically but just tried to create something that I found fun or interesting to play or sing or that just grabs me enough to see it through the whole production process. You have to be prepared to listen to what you’ve written over and over through writing, recoding, mixing and mastering so that plays a big part in what I end up coming out with! I also discovered fairly recently that I have auditory synaesthesia so the songs that end up getting finished and released all have an array of interesting visual shapes in my mind!

How does living in Belfast feed into what you do as an artist? I also wanted to ask about the charities you donate to via your releases and the importance of doing so?

Belfast is such a creative place and – equally as importantly – is a supportive place. I actually only moved back to Belfast in the very last week of 2015 having lived in the West Midlands for nearly a decade and the difference in attitude to creativity was remarkable. In fact, the attitude towards looking out for one another here in general (not just music) is so different to England that it was almost a shock coming back! It’s such a wonderful place to go and catch bands too, and pretty much everyone I know I know because we met at a gig, or at a party after a gig. Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions artists from Northern Ireland tend to get overlooked a lot although I can see signs that that is changing to be fair. A lot of that sense of supportiveness and (I hate to use the word) community actually links in to the charity donations too. There is so much work that needs doing in Northern Ireland to rid ourselves of (what we call) traditions and religion that are actually just methods of exerting control and perpetuating divisions.

The charities I have been involved with all hold some sort of personal significance for me too in their various forms from the Integrated Education Fund to She Sells Sanctuary and beyond. I also like to be of use to everyone and anyone in whatever way I can and this felt like something I could do when I wasn’t able to help the people I loved when we were all separated from each other last year. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it definitely helped!

You are due to perform at Eastside Electronics at CS Lewis Square. How did your involvement with that happen and tell us about your approach to live performance?

So it was actually Jordan and Timmy from The Night Institute who approached me to play at that! They had both discovered my music after the release of my second album (I think! It might have been just before) and they asked if I’d like to perform. I made a sort of vow to myself at the start of this year that I would say yes to anything that came my way as a bit of a method of overcoming my fear of doing things so even though I’m still a bit terrified to be playing at it there’s no turning back! It’s going to be a lot of fun though, and I obviously couldn’t turn down a chance to perform for the Night Institute! Timmy and Jordan are wonderful and have been incredibly supportive too so it’s great that they’re my first gig in over three years!

https://www.eastsidearts.net/event/eastside-electronics-0

Live wise: things keep evolving, I have to say. When there were two of us performances were a little bit easier because at least you could share the responsibility! The last (and only) solo show I played was in a church (at 3:30 in the morning) and I had a few synths, samplers, a drum machine and a mixer that I was trying to control which meant that I couldn’t sing. This time, I’m trying to keep it a bit easier on myself so there are various synth parts that I will play on top of amended and simplified versions of the songs. I don’t really like doing that, but it’s just me up there so it means that I can sing as well. Trying to move around a stage controlling a bunch of equipment doesn’t work too well – and isn’t a lot of fun – when the microphone is in a fixed spot! Who knows, I might have a terrible time and head back to the drawing board for the next show, or actually make good on that thought I keep having that I should just get a live band…

Can you talk us through your studio set-up? Do you have a particular favourite piece of software or an instrument?

My studio is currently also my spare bedroom so feel free to feel sorry for my neighbours listening to me do triple-tracked five-part harmonies over and over!

My set up is actually ridiculously basic: even my monitors are terrible and I tend to mix everything through headphones in case my neighbours murder me! I use Ableton Live for everything: live and in the studio. I currently have the Korg Minilogue and MS2000 set up as well as the Odyssey and the Critter & Guitari Organelle. Those are my go-tos usually, although the MS2000 is on loan! More recently I’ve started writing a lot of tracks on the Arturia Buchla Easel as I really just absolutely love it. I think it’s an incredible piece of kit, especially for what you pay for it. It’s now my dream to be able to afford an actual one (I’m a very tactile player so I’m not a fan of soft-synths usually) although that will be a long way down the line! I have a few other synths and drum machines that don’t get as much use as I’d like. I have a TR-8 gathering dust and a Volca FM that I love but seem to always forget about. I recently got hold of the Arturia Keystep 37 too so I’ve been using that a lot. It’s a wonderful piece of kit that packs a lot of features in.

I still play guitar and bass, and the ukulele and piano. I made a stupid rule for myself that I didn’t want any guitar in the This Ship Argo stuff a few years back which I’m gradually letting go so maybe there’ll be a bit more of those in there as time goes on!

How do you see the future of music in terms of artist income re streaming and live performance etc?

This is a tough one to answer, especially with the shifting tides of things at the minute. I’m not sure how things will pan out though I know I’m looking forward to the return of live shows. However, I also think that the shift to online gigs has been really powerful over the last 18 months or so. It makes things so much more inclusive and accessible but it has also been amazing to see people direct creative energies into designing and recording shows specifically broadcast rather than shows that just happen to have been recorded. Something like Daniel Avery’s Together in Static show, for example, is a whole different kettle of fish to watching the BBC coverage of Glastonbury, for example. I’m sure you can tell that I actually wasn’t a fan of watching shows that had been recorded (like the Glasto coverage) prior to Covid but that was mostly because it was just a camera stuck somewhere on stage at a gig recording a band or an act performing to the crowd in front of them so it always felt a little like something was missing. Because there were no crowds at a lot of the recorded gigs there was a lot more focus on making it a live show for broadcast rather than a live show that also happened to be broadcast. The shift in emphasis improved the sound quality, the performance aspect and the whole overall experience so I really hope that stays.

For live performance in the UK post-Brexit I think we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m not sure whether or not we’re lucky to be in Northern Ireland for this (although I suspect we are) and for bands making the trip across from other European countries just to play in the Republic of Ireland. I hope that this wee island isn’t seen as a hassle and that bands do continue to make the trip over here.

Streaming income is just a total joke, to be fair and I hope that all the noise that’s been made around it recently will actually come to fruition and we’ll start to see better pay coming through and better methods of dividing payment. It’s crazy that so few people can have control over what so many people hear and that has a direct impact on what we all earn through streaming. I hope those people either realise that or come to realise it soon!

Love the Artwork which accompanies your releases? Can you tell us more about it and the inspiration of black and white photography?

Thank you! I do all the artwork myself and I used to be a keen photographer back in the day (until all my equipment was stolen) so it’s nice to be able to play visually too. Often I will have a piece in mind that I actually can’t make work when it comes to it, and the end artwork comes together really quickly in the end (mostly out of necessity!).

I am very drawn to black and white generally but I think it is particularly good for showing up details that maybe could be missed where lots of colours are fighting for attention. I guess – now that I’m thinking about it – it sort of reflects what I try to do when I make music. The heart of each song is pretty basic in reality but there are a lot of different layers that add little nuances to each track dotted throughout. Most of the lyrics I write are also off-the-cuff and only appear when I decide on a vocal line but they’re usually pretty stark and laid bare. I guess the simplicity of the black and white reflects the starkness with which I try and write although maybe that is all in my head! What I’ve thought is very obvious in the lyrics actually has turned out to be less so when I’ve released tracks and so it’s always interesting to…

And finally. What forthcoming plans do you have for moving towards 2022?

There are a few things in the pipeline that I don’t think I can talk about yet but they’re very exciting! I am aiming to get a new album out at the start of next year too though I’m working full time and also doing a part-time PhD so my time is more than a bit tight on a daily basis! I wrote a string quartet actually a few months back that I’d love to hear played properly so if that pans out then that would be great! Maybe even more scores or soundtracks if I get the chance? Lots of these things depend on my having time though, so maybe one day I’ll earn enough to be able to give up the current day job: who knows‽

https://thisshipargo.carrd.co
https://thisshipargo.bandcamp.com

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APOTEK Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Elisa. Let’s start with the music you grow up with and how it informed your attitudes to life? Which bands/musicians remain the most important to you?

I grew up listening to a lot of 60s and 70s rock and folk music. When I was a child, I used to listen to my mums records. She owned a small vinyl collection with lots of classics from the likes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Dire Straits etc.

The band I discovered later in my twenties that still definitely remain very important to me is Radiohead. For me, it’s the best band of all time. Thom Yorke is a genius.

Can you talk us through how you produced your new single: Black Dolls? Any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you always use?

I remember producing Black Dolls in my home studio in Brussels back in October 2019. The main synth I used is a Prophet V3 from Arturia which made me fall in love with that sound and pushed me to buy a real analogue Prophet VI later that year. I used Massive for the bass and recorded the vocals in a studio.

The Microkorg is not my favourite piece of hardware but, for some reason I end up using it quite a lot. For software, I tend to quite often use Arturia’s V Collection, Native Instruments Massive and Wave Alchemy’s Revolution.

Do you feel the human voice has as much to say in Dance/ Electronic music anymore? What inspires you to write the words you do? (I was particularly struck by your intonation on the jazzy/ blues of Dying Stars from the new album.)

I think it depends on the song and the artist.

Dying Stars is a song I wrote many years ago on the piano. It belongs to a phase where I was mostly listening to jazz and blues. I still don’t know how the lyrics of that song came through. When I compose, I tend to let myself be inspired by the energy of the moment. The lyrics I write are very similar to those kind of dreams where you can hardly find a logic in the narrative, but if you go deeper and you try to analyse them, you may find lots of hidden meanings.

What do you hope will change after Covid-19 for club culture and live performance?

First of all, what I hope the most is that all venues and clubs forced to close their doors will be able to reopen. But I doubt this will be the case if we think about the very poor financial support they have received from governments. I think it will take a long time for the industry to recover from this crisis.

How do you see music’s future in terms of how artists generate money? Tell us about the decision to self-release your own music?

With the constant changes in the ways people listen to music, the future of the industry, and what artists stand to gain, is unclear. As we all know, musicians have always made the bulk of their money from live performances and touring. For the future, I hope they could also benefit from greater sources of revenue coming from streaming platforms. I think, there’s a urgent need for a more transparent and equitable model of streaming royalty distribution.

With regard to my music, I decided to self-release this album because I wanted to have a complete control over the creative process. I was afraid a label would have prompted me for a particular sound, selecting which songs should or should not be released.

What is your favorite instrument? Do you own one?

I’m in love with analogue and vintage synthesizers. As said before, I’ve recently bought a Prophet VI. I particularly like how it sounds.

Your new album: Unknown territories is a blend of styles, moods and atmospheres. What do you seek to convey most through your music?

I think it depends on the song. Sometimes I seek to convey an idea, sometimes an emotion, sometimes just nothing at all. Writing this album has been a sort of stream of consciousness, a therapeutic and cathartic act. I’ve just followed the flow.

Outside of music who/ what inspires you (in terms of any painters, writers, poets etc)?

Among the philosophers: Karl Jung, James Hilman, Noam Chomsky, Immanuel Kant, Alexander Lowen.
Among the painters: Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock.

And finally. What are you looking forward to most for the remainder of 2021?

I look forward to writing more music and working on a live set which will probably include part of the songs from the album.

buy/ listen to APOTEK – Unknown Territories https://ffm.to/unknownterritories
https://apotekmusic.com

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August Artièr Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, August. Let’s start with your early years growing up and which artists/ bands were most influential in shaping what you do now?

I grew up in Sydney Australia and from an early age I would fly regularly to Italy to visit family. As far back as I can remember I always loved listening to music. I would sit in the car when my parents were working and just listen to cassettes or radio all the time. As a kid I remember listening to artists like Culture Club, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson, Prince and more. At the age of about 13 I remember hearing for the first time Jungle and rave music back in the early 90’s. From that point onwards, I knew that is where I wanted to be. I was hungry to know more about underground and dance culture. Also spending a lot of time in Europe it introduced me to house and techno. So basically, underground music has been a way of life for me since my early years.

Your show on Ibiza Global Radio has been running for an impressive ten years now. What were the circumstances of how you got the show in the first place? What is the one consistent thing which you are most proud of running from back then to now?

My show with Ibiza Global sort of happened accidently really. At that time I was running a little label and the guys over at Ibiza Global were supporting the releases. I got introduced to Miguel Garji and things just went off from there. It’s not easy having a weekly show for over such a long period of time, but it’s great to support a lot of artists and music that on occasion you might not be able to play in a normal club or festival environment.

Your Indigo EP is the second vinyl release for Seve17een Records. What importance do you place on vinyl in 2021?

Yes, exciting times regarding vinyl. The EP is currently out now on my friend Dubphone’s label Seven17een. It has 2 great remixes, one by Giorgio Maulini and one by Dubphone. I grew up with vinyl and I have always been a vinyl artist. Nothing makes me feel better than spending my time in records stores around the world and coming home with new music. I love chatting with people at the stores and sharing recommendations to check out. It’s great that it is back in such a strong way so the younger artists have a chance to experience the whole vibe around it. I know that sales are not the way they used to be of course, times change. But to have kept a hold of that authenticity and uniqueness makes me very happy.

buy Indigo https://www.deejay.de/August_Artier_Indigo_EP_SVN02_Vinyl__975290

Can you name some of the oldest records in your collection (any style) that still inspire you?

This is a hard one to answer. Let me try.

DJ Ham Most Uplifting on Knite records, Jungle back from 1994

2. Callisto called the Nether World EP dates back to 1998 released by the great Chicago based label Guidance Recordings.

3. Masquerade’s – Set it off dates back to 1985 released by Streetwave records from London

4. Sextravaganza – Montobi Sex Tribe mix on Tribal America back from 1993

5. Paul Hardcastle 19 – 12” Extended version out on Chrysalis Records Ltd 1985

Tell us a little about your studio set-up? What are your go to pieces of software/ hardware you most like to use? And also, which are your favourite speakers to listen to music on?

As far as studio monitors go I am lucky to say that my partner Mick Wilson has lent me his Frontier monitors. These speakers are the result of a collaboration between Output Audio and Barefoot that has just recently come out on the market. Never have I heard such monitors in my life. My studio set up can be described as minimal I work only with UAD plugins and my Apollo Twin. I couldn’t imagine not having this set up.

Outside of music which artists, writers, painters etc mean the most to you?

I like Martha Cooper who has been behind the world of graffiti and street art since the 70’s. I also like the photos of Estevan Oriol too. I find his work is raw and his shots are great. I like Jean Michel Basquiat, a few years back I went to one of his art expositions and his work had a complete different impact seen in person.

You recently played your first gig again at Hostal La Torre. How did that feel after such a long time?

Well like any artist, after a long period away it felt incredible. Plus when you add the magic that a place like Hostal La Torre can bring, it’s like a cherry on top.

What changes would you hope to see post Covid-19 in club culture?

Respect for each other in a more peaceful environment and having a good time all united. I hope we will all remember what it feels like having lost elements of our freedom that maybe we all took for granted. I would also like to see clubs focusing more on the resident DJs. Their roll is so important. Their work gives the club its identity and character. So would be nice to see promoters invest more into this side of things.

Your remix with Mick Wilson (who you also co-release on RAWAX) of Do It Again on Do Not Sleep is fierce to say the least. Can you talk us through how the collaborative process works between you?

We’ve been doing a lot of work remotely, due to the fact that the COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t be in the studio together, however that doesn’t hold back our approach to the work. We both use UAD soundcards and plugins so in terms of in the box this area is covered, hardware, we employ Moog Matriarch which is hooked up to Erika Synths Black Sequencer, this is an amazing set up for sound design, The Moog SIRIN is great for some of those basslines and lead sounds that we like to use. Novation Peak adds to the pack as well as TB303 and various Roland Boutique bits. For sound sculpting we have the Korg Wavestate. We do a lot of external and internal processing on our sounds to create something unique. All which can be heard in both the remix and our other music.

Listening to your mixes I was wondering about your thoughts on vocals and songs in Dance Music today? And about the power of rhythm versus melody?

I believe they both have an important role. Depending on the situation or event the music is played in. I am more a rhythm type of person, however regardless of it being a vocal track or an instrumental the important thing we as DJs must do is share emotions and leave memories.

On a personal note. How would you describe your own philosophy when it comes to life and likewise on music?

I would say, be humble and respect others. This might seem very ABC but I think many people need to be reminded.
Learn from people who will give you their time to become a better version of yourself. On all aspects of life, whether it be career wise or life lessons. Eat healthy, exercise and never ever go a week without a pizza and beer.

And finally. What are you looking forward to most over this summer?

Just going back to living a normal life. Playing music at my wonderful residencies between Ushuaia Tower and La Torre.
Starting to see about some club and festival events even though it’s still early doors. I’m also looking forward to a little project that’s about to give way here in Ibiza. Can’t really say too much yet, but it will be a community for local artists and all music related people.

https://linktr.ee/august.artier
https://www.instagram.com/august.artier/

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Sean Brosnan Q&A

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Welcome back to Magazine Sixty, Sean. Let’s begin with the styles of music which initially inspired you growing up and how they shaped what you are about today?

There was always something about dance music that struck a chord for me, even from about 9 or 10 years old. I just connected to it and it was a golden era for popular dance music too with lots of tracks in the charts from the likes of The Farm, Blackbox, Adamski, Massive Attack – it was that era that grabbed me first and its never really let go.

Then at about 12 or 13 I discovered hardcore and I was an obsessive collector of the flyers and tape packs. Then I started buying 12 inches and I would travel all over the south to towns and city centre record shops (pre internet) Reading, Southampton, Basingstoke and sometimes London buying hardcore and what was to become drum and bass. Then by 15/16 I was getting into House and Uk Garage. The love for Disco came after, once I discovered all the records that I loved were actually remakes or sampled from disco records. Then it was like wow, there’s a whole other universe of amazing music.

I also just loved the culture of dance music, not just the music itself, but what it represents. I love the idea that anyone from anywhere and any background was into the music and sharing that passion. It didn’t matter if you were male or female, black or white, rich or poor – it was this unity over the music and there were opportunities to be a producer, create a party or start a magazine or label. I found that quite liberating and interesting.

Especially recently I try and remind myself of that passion and innocence. A lot can be discussed and debated about success in music, but if I take myself back to when I was in a record shop aged 13; I would drop the needle on a record or you would hear a snippet play and you knew after 1minute if it was special (or you had to gamble because they would sell out). I try and keep that excitement, that need for great records at the centre of what I do.

Your next Future Disco compilation: Dance Club features some nineteen tracks, most of which are vocal based. What is about the human voice and melody that stands the test of time?

I compiled this one in lockdown so it’s ironically called Dance Club. I wanted it to be a feel good party album, hence lots of vocals and an uplifting vibe. I wanted it to be the remedy to a year without dancefloors, to isolation and so it’s fitting that it drops just before we are allowed out in force the UK. I love the name Dance Club is just feels positive – a place where you can be free.

I’ve always loved vocals and songs too. Great songs live on through generations and while I’m a fan of a dub mix for sure, Disco is so much about great vocals and emotion, so I’m pleased to put together an album pointing in this direction.

Future Disco – Dance Club is out now via the Future Disco label.

We last spoke back at the beginning of 2014. What highlights and personal achievements are you most proud of over the last several years?

I started Future Disco in 2009 so that’s twelve years of albums. parties and records. I think the biggest achievement of the past few years has been moving Future Disco from purely compilations into releasing singles and soon artist albums. It’s a natural transition but to make that successful is an achievement.

As a label and along with the other labels I run, we’ve grown the team and the number of releases and I think the quality of what we do to.

Dance Club, is set to welcome back dancing again into the collective consciousness. While dancing together in a space full of people is undoubtedly a communal act do you think it is more about personal liberation, or does Disco/ House still have the ability to transform society? Seth Troxler made a recent observation of some European dance music being more cerebral than tuned to the body, do you think that’s true?

I think there’s always a balance and everyone responds differently to different music depending on their tastes or the time and place. There are some tracks that can move nearly everyone at anytime, that are so special. For me Disco is dancing. That’s what was so strange about lock down. Disco or even house music didn’t have the context anymore.

I’m not judgemental in terms of what makes different people move, as a DJ you are always trying to judge the crowd and what’s right in one environment won’t be right in another. Some of the best moments I’ve had DJing are at 5/6am and it’s a totally different mind set and a deeper musical output that’s required at that time.

In terms of transforming society, I’m not sure any music genre can do that now just because of social media and musical landscape. Saying that there’s no doubt that dancers have and can be a force for good and can make change. Like the points above I feel like dance music has changed society for the better with more acceptance and more creativity. If you think about many topics we discuss today Disco and Acid House were very progressive and I think a whole new generation will find their own way to be even more progressive, maybe in a more digital way too in the future.

Tell us about the album’s funky cover art?

About three years ago I worked with a very talented designer Simon Moore and we went on a journey to create a new look and feel. It felt like time for a refresh. We commissioned a photographer called Emily Cole. I think I found an image of glitter on the tongue and we thought why not give it a try. The day of the photo shoot it was about 40 degrees in this studio in Tottenham and the model couldn’t swallow for about 10 minutes. Top marks for dedication for the shot as I think it looks great and suits the uplifting party vibe to the album.

A criticism of House-Disco is that is feels stuck in a time warp repeating the same sounds, words and arrangements? How do you see it?

I’m not sure why we instantly fall in love with those 808 sounds, certain drum breaks, old strings or certain arrangements. There’s just something about an era of music that created certain sounds and then they become part of the fabric and a reference point for dancers. There are times, especially when going through demos you do think ‘give me something new’ but I think dance music is much like digital culture. You are taking the inspiration from the past and adding and morphing it with some new technology that’s available to you. But also paying homage to the past.

I think it’s harder with the internet for things to incubate. Dubstep and Grime, maybe the last big musical emergence and that was just before the internet and social media were big. But maybe we haven’t yet seen what the future holds for music, maybe in a purely digital environment it could get really experimental. I have a feeling that in the future, the next generation is seamlessly moving between online and offline worlds so I feel like there could be some mind bending trends coming from this in the next decade.

What changes, if any, would you like in club culture as a result of the fracture caused by Covid-19?

I would love to see everything less headliner driven. The obsession with one big DJ or act is a relatively new thing in dance music, fuelled by the EDM boom. There is nothing wrong with it as many people deserve to be huge. Yet sometimes it feels like it gets in the way of the party, the line ups become a bit similar and it’s harder for up and coming talent to break through.

I would love to see more local talent emerge. People to party in their communities more and build up a more local network around dance clubs. Big isn’t always better and I guess that’s one thing I hope may change. Also everyone just generally being positive and kind to each other. Thankful for what we do have and how lucky we are to dance again on the other side.

Likewise how would you like to see the industry reset in terms of how artists and labels generate income. How do you see the future in that regard?

The big talk is of NFT’s, hard to tell if that’s to stay or not, but that feels like a bit of a gold rush. I think it will remain fundamentally the same, so streaming and ticket sales. There are always new models and conversations but they tend to favour big artists with big fanbases so they have more options. If you are an unknown artist in particular, a label plays an important part in getting you out there.

I do really like bandcamp though, and I think the last year has shown anyone can sell direct if you have an idea, talent and the energy.

Outside of music which artists, writers, painters etc have inspired you most?

I’m definitely inspired by art, but more just immersing myself in it, rather than specific painters. I often feel like art is everywhere if you look for it. I have quite a lot of art in my office and house to keep me inspired.

Actually, it’s travel and places that most inspire me. I’m like a yin and yang, I like the city and countryside in equal measure taking inspiration from both. You can find me zipping round London but same time I love walking by the sea.

And finally. What are you looking forward to most for the remainder of 2021?

Travelling and seeing new places. Dancing and having a good time. Actually if 2020 has taught me anything just seeing some friends and hearing some music in situ will be great. 2022 mind you, I’m really looking forward to going to Ibiza, I’ve spent a lot of time there and I’ve definitely missed visiting this year.

buy https://ada.lnk.to/FutureDisco
https://futuredisco.net/future-disco-dance-club

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Joram Feitsma Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Joram. How did you first become involved with wanting to play the piano? Who influenced you to do so, where you taught by somebody or self-taught?

Well thank you Greg! And thank you for these great, thoughtful questions! I was very little when I started playing piano, simply born out of the fact I think that my mother played piano so we had a piano at home. Also, I guess I had a creative urge early-on… so my mother was a main stimulus, and then later my piano teacher, Marijse, who I had lessons from each and every week in the little village I grew up on in the north of the Netherlands. One day she showed me the piano score of Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni: with very minimalist, soft, melancholic, serialistic, almost pop-music-like harmonies. That was a key moment for my musical journey up til now, which very much leans towards the neoclassical genre of which Einaudi is one of the forerunners. First playing a lot of Einaudi’s work and some other neoclassicists, later I then gradually started making my own compositions and drawing musical inspiration from a broader palette of artists and styles.

Tell us about how your relationship with the label, Bigamo happened?

When I was starting to compose and record songs, I would put them online on Soundcloud. One day, don’t ask me how, Frank apparently stumbled upon one of those pieces of work and he ended with that song in a mixtape for the Ninja Tune label. From there I remained in good contact with Frank and the rest is history, or at least: we co-produced two albums from then on through his sublabel 

Your new album: Flux features a collection of music from 2017-2020. What do you seek to convey with the listener, or is it more open to personal interpretation?

I’m very much leaving it open to personal interpretation, although I do think there is some kind of generic ‘mood’ or ‘emotional tone’ that I often want to convey with my songs and I hope some of that finds its way to the listeners. But even that can be perceived differently I’ve noticed. Some works that for me are quite raw, awry and bitter can ring hopeful and sweet to others, and perhaps even that’s not such a bad thing. Life is ambivalent, so I understand when music is too…

Can you talk us through how one of the tracks was composed and tell us about how you record and then produce the music? Do you have a favourite microphone?

Almost everything is recorded with three Aston Original dynamic microphones, which I find very sensitive, and everything is going through Ableton Live. I tend to put the microphones very close to the piano’s hammers so as to also catch the inner mechanics of the instrument in the audio image.

Some tracks of the Flux LP are more experimental, such as ‘Struck’ in which I experimented with using a friend’s cello bow on acoustic guitar. Also there’s ‘Dropped’. This piece was performed and recorded in one single take, looping multiple layers over one another using a TC Electronic Flashback looping device connected to my Hammond Melodion. Consequence of the looping improvisation method is that I will never really be able to replay this piece but that’s okay!

Is music more powerful without the use of words?

Good question… for me, yes it is. Or at least it is more fitting in terms of the music I want to make and what I want to convey… for me words are maybe too precise and would give me the sense that I would be telling a rounded, rational story with the music, whereas I don’t. I seek to work under the surface and seek to convey blurry, imprecise moods – not clear-cut sharp images. I don’t want to dodge ambivalence, I’d rather express it.

You are also an Assistant Professor in Utrecht working in public policy science. Can you tell us more about that role, and how it influences what you create musically?

Yes, I teach policy science at Utrecht University and conduct research on various topics related to public policymaking, such as how the government is trying to change the behaviours of citizens using new psychological insights. It’s been an interesting journey combining this science and musician life, sometimes feeling like a split between the more rational and emotional side of my live, sometimes feeling more integrated. To give a sense of how it is integrated: in my music I try to capture personal experience alongside some of the current zeitgeist – what it means to be alive right now – and with such an ambition it can help to draw from the vocabulary and insights of historical and sociological works. For instance, last year I was teaching a course in which we talked about Max Weber, the renowned German sociologist, he talks about the ‘disenchantment’ of mass society from the 18th century onward as the result of the secularization, industrialization and bureaucratization. The world as an ‘iron cage’, producing a lot of social benefits but also coming with increased feelings of alienation and existential uncertainty… I think my music ties in with some of those latter experiences… The modern experience of feeling somewhat alienated in this mass society is a great source of musical inspiration.

What is your favourite piano? Do you own one?

I have my own Rippen upright acoustic piano, I love its soft, warm tone. There’s a few piano’s I’ve performed on that I still have keen memories from… I really loved Frank Wiedemann’s piano in the Berlin Muting the Noise record store where I did a solo concert once. It had this very mellow and authentic tone, with its inner mechanics making all sorts of little ticking and cracking sounds that made it very soothing and beautifully old.

buy Under https://bigamo.bandcamp.com/album/under

How do you feel about the way artists generate income given streaming etc? Do you think the model could be improved?

Good one… I’m still getting my head around this one actually. It’s my second album, with that I’m still finding out how the financial system works and whether its structures are fair. From what I’ve seen… it seems that for a lot of musicians it can take quite a while to earn any decent money and they have to work another job ‘by day’ to support their music activities… which does raise questions.

And finally. What plans do you have for the remainder of 2021?

It feels like I’m in an in-between-phase at the moment. Having just released ‘Flux’, a big multi-year project, now there is time for a new experimental phase and to engage in new projects with other artists. I want to do more on the electronic side, and maybe experiment a bit with cello. I’ve also started some collaborations with electronic music producers, including with the label Nie Wieder Schlafen and the music duo Esteble, which feels like a wholly new avenue to be explored.

Buy Joram Feitsma – Flux https://bigamo.bandcamp.com/album/flux

https://www.instagram.com/joramfeitsmamusic/
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Spindle Ensemble Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Daniel Inzani and Harriet Riley from Spindle Ensemble. Let’s begin with the name Spindle Ensemble and its meaning?

There are a few reasons actually… Wood is a theme, Spindles are wooden like (almost) all our instruments: piano, violin, cello, Celtic harp and marimba, and there’s a very beautiful tree with a distinctive bright pink fruit called a spindle tree. It’s also a reference to the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, the princess pricks her finger on a spindle and it sends her into a long, long dream. I love those old magical and creepy stories, and want to create music which has an unspoken narrative so it seemed like a serendipitous name. (Daniel)

Your stunning second album: Inkling is your first for Hidden Notes. Tell us about how your relationship with the label came about?

We played at the first Hidden Notes festival in 2019 which we loved. There were so many fantastic acts and everyone running the festival was super engaged and passionate about the music – plus being in nearby Stroud, it was great to see such a wealth of experimental classical music so close to home. They decided to create a label and ours is the first record to come out under Hidden Notes Records! (Harriet)

The music combines the traditional alongside a more radical, teasing of the senses. Is there a particular piece of music from childhood which set each of you on the path to the music you now create?

Certainly for me, the fantastic Ruth Underwood, who was percussionist for Frank Zappa in the 70s. She often had an array of massive percussion instruments around her: marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, bass drum, tubular bells etc. Plus she was often the only girl in the band – something I have related to a LOT in my career. We’ve got a fairly unusual ratio in Spindle! Check out St Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast by Frank Zappa. (Harriet)

Can you talk us through the process of how one of the tracks from the album was created and then produced? I was also curious to ask about the recording process itself, which microphones are best suited to each instrument and about any effects etc you use?

I set up a location recording studio specifically for this album consisting of ribbon microphones, some handmade from Extinct Audio and some vintage refurbished ones from X-Audia. They have a very warm tone which suits our whole instrumentation but the real advantage is being able capture a 3D sound image of the space we’re performing in using a Blumlein array with a matched pair of BM9 ribbon mics. We record in concert halls and churches where the acoustics suit our music and set up around this pair as if it was an audience member positioned in the best seat in the house. This stereo image is the bulk of the final sound which is spacious and allows the listener to feel like they’re hearing us perform live in concert, even able to pick out the position of each instrument. (Daniel)

How would you say the atmosphere of living in Bristol has fed into the music you make? Which (pre-Covid) venues are your favourite to play at in the city?

We’ve had some fantastic support from venues with Spindle! I love playing in the incredible acoustic of St George’s, but also smaller venues like the Forge where there’s a really intimate vibe. (Harriet)

How would you describe the power that music has without words?

I think there’s that extra sense of subjectivity. I know it can be a different experience for musicians and non-musicians, but I certainly hear a conversation happening. There’s voices and emotions and it’s like tuning into another language. It can be an incredible way to getting know someone by playing them, getting to know their insecurities and strengths and supporting each other within these. I think with great music you can hear these relationships play out. (Harriet)

Should music always be political in some shape or form, or purely about emotion?

Everything you do can be perceived as political. It’s political to make music about emotional and reject the ideas of suppressing your emotions which daily life often involves. Our music certainly doesn’t have catchy chorus’ about systemic change, though those can be great, but we have our own take on connecting to nature and ourselves and our music reflects that. Sometimes being completely abstract is like rejecting the whole system. (Harriet)

Outside of music which artists inspire each of you most (Painters, poets, writers etc)?

I absolutely adore visual art, specifically paintings. Georgia O’keeffe’s super enlarged flowers, really detailed surrealism by Dali and impressionists like Degas would definitely be up there with my favourites. But I also love to support and buy local art – Bristol and Stroud have some amazing designers and artists and supporting their process and work is really inspiring in a totally abstracted way to music. I recently got a painting by Nettle Grellier which is incredible – check out her work! (Harriet)

(Music video/animation by Marie Lechevallier)

Your recent single, Caligo is elegantly accompanied by a video from Narna Hue which captures and then blurs memory in amongst the reflective arrangement. What can you tell us about the making of it and what it represents for you?

Narna Hue and I have collaborated on a lot of music videos now. Caligo combines two of the different approaches she used in previous videos: filming on super 8 and creating animations from scratching directly onto 16mm film. The colours and patterns are very visually satisfying and her editing is very musical, she has created a narrative that flows perfectly with the music. (Daniel)

And finally. The obvious question. What is each of you looking forward to most in 2021?

I’m looking forward to performing and connecting with people. It’s so hard when such a big part of your life like sharing music with audiences is taken away, it really makes you value your place in life. Releasing ‘Inkling’ will be a really emotional event coming out of this. Plus just meeting people for a casual drink and a hug! (Harriet)

Spindle Ensemble – Inkling – Hidden Notes Records is released May 27
Buy https://spindleensemble.bandcamp.com/album/inkling
http://www.spindleensemble.com

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