Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Local Suicide. Your debut album, Eros Anikate, has just been released. Can you tell us about the influence the play written by Sophocles, ‘Antigone’ had on the title, where and how you first discovered it?
Vamparela: I am Greek, so I’ve been very well acquainted with Sophocles’ works since I was a child. ‘Eros Anikate’ is a phrase I’ve always felt deeply connected to because it entails the meaning of life; that love wins. When we decided to finally produce our debut album, Brax said, “We need a title, maybe something Greek?” and somehow, the first thing that came to mind was Eros Anikate. Nothing is more important than love, and the album is a product of our love for each other, the music and our audience, the scene and the artists we collaborated with.
The album features a wealth of collaborative artists. How does that process work in practice – are you all in the same studio, or are ideas exchanged online? How long did it take to make the album?
Local Suicide: Every case was different!
High Buildings began with Lee Stevens in his home studio in Vienna. We were visiting Vienna for a gig and ended up jamming at his home.
We started Whispering at our studio in Berlin with Curses. We originally wanted to do a Nine Inch Nails edit but made the basis for Whispering instead. We then worked on it from a distance during the lockdowns, with Curses adding guitars and vocals on top and us adding some production elements.
Moustache was created at our studio with Skelesys during the first lockdown. He was the only person we saw for quite a while, and we ended up making many tunes together that will hopefully be seeing the light of day soon.
Jam Bounce Release was produced with Theus Mago at our studio during his last visit to Berlin. He works super fast, so the main part of the track was done in two days.
Like Follow Subscribe was produced by us during a lockdown call with our friend Begum Karahan. We asked her to say “Like, Follow, Subscribe” in Turkish and English and just recorded it over the phone. In September, we met Hard Ton while visiting Italy and spontaneously asked them if they’d like to do some disco vocals on one of the tracks. We sent them a few, and they chose Like Follow Subscribe, writing some fantastic lyrics about digital love.
We collaborated with our friend Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras for Homme Fatal. We have been big fans of his music since forever but only properly started hanging out together after meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding in Spain. We wrote the lyrics together and recorded Joel’s vocals at our studio.
Cobra Wave with Kalipo originated when testing a new VST plugin that allows you to collaborate and create music in real time in different locations.
Agapi was produced by us, and our friend Sissi, whose voice is like a siren (humanlike beings with alluring voices), wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals in her studio in Athens.
Finally, for the title track Eros Anikate, we contacted Lena Platonos, an artist who has heavily influenced our sound and whom we admire a lot, asking her to contribute to our album with a vocal feature. We were stoked when she said she liked the album and agreed to do vocals on one of the tracks. She recorded the vocals reciting a section of Sophocles’ tragedy, Antigone, from her studio in Athens.
Local Suicide have a very distinctive sound. Who has inspired you most as artists both within music and from outside of it (any painters, writers, movies etc.)?
Vamparela: We both listened to many different genres while growing up. We loved new wave, italo, synth-pop, alternative rock, indie rock, dark wave, and EBM, the amalgamation of which somehow gave birth to our sound.
If I had to pick a writer, it would be Jack Kerouac and his novel ‘On the Road’, although when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Greek mythology, Jules Vernes, sci-fi fiction, books about vampires, paranormal phenomena and Agatha Christie. These themes keep coming up in the lyrics I write.
In terms of movies, my favourite directors are Tim Burton, David Lynch and Tarantino. I’m trying to add their surrealism to our music and our music videos. Also, one of my favourite painters is Dali, and Moustache started off as an ode to him and his moustache. Others are Hieronymus Bosch, Van Gogh, Monet and Malevich.
Brax Moody: While recording the album, I read a lot about 20th-century architecture by Le Corbusier & Bauhaus and USSR architecture after studying Frédéric Chaubin’s photo books. I have also been a huge fan of Andy Goldsworthy since childhood.
Talk us through how you made one of the tracks from the album – do you work from a vocal idea, or a bassline etc.? Do you have any favourite hardware/ software you like to use to achieve your sound?
Local Suicide: We usually drafted the tracks on this album with a simple kick-snare-hat combination before recording a bassline with either the Sub 37, 303, Arp Odyssey or Jomox MBass. We then added melodies with a D50, Minilogue, Prophet, Juno or VSTs, followed by vocals and then going back to more drum elements, pads and other fillers. Once we had about 30 elements, we usually started cutting them out one by one and then went into the final arrangement, fine-tuning and mixing etc.
Have you seen any lasting effects of the Covid epidemic, either positive or negative, on club culture when you have been DJ’ing recently?
Local Suicide: We feel that people are more hungry for clubbing than before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the prices for club entry fees and drinks have also increased a lot. Still, the overall atmosphere has been very positive in all the places we have played.
The downside is that many concerts and festivals were less busy this summer due to the price increases and because everyone is currently touring. Also, the fact that you can get covid at any time means people aren’t planning as much as before and take last-minute decisions.
Many people looked for jobs in other sectors, so clubs have also been understaffed. The same happened to the aviation industry, which has caused huge flight chaos with delays and cancellations in the past months.
How would you describe the importance of DJs in today’s world, given the amount of technology available where anyone can become a DJ?
Local Suicide: For us, being DJs in the electronic music scene was never about the technical aspect. Of course, a DJ should be able to mix, but it is much more than that. DJs should have broad musical knowledge, not only of the current trends and charts but also of music history; the quest for new and old gems should never stop. Apart from that, a Dj should be able to read the crowd and find the line between pleasing and educating them. They need to keep people on the dancefloor with music they enjoy while sneaking in more difficult tunes to get acquainted with or that the Dj personally likes. It’s also great when a Dj is interacting with the crowd. We love DJs who dance and look at people instead of just staring at the decks. If it was just about the perfect mix, we wouldn’t need DJs; a computer could do it for us.
How do you see the future for artists in the ways they will be able to make a living with streaming and so on?
Brax Moody: Especially in the last 30 years, the music industry has undergone enormous changes each decade, but I think streaming will stay for a long time. It’s already helping loads of labels by finally generating a decent income from their back catalogues, which they can use to help grow new artists. It’ll also be much easier for artists with many releases to make a living and hopefully guarantee a nice pension. Still, streaming services (and collecting royalties) need to switch to a pro-rata payment system as soon as possible to make it fair. Streaming services must also ensure they help all music be heard by setting up and pushing more niche editorial playlists so that the music productions don’t get more streamlined.
And finally. Do you think music has the power to change the world (or society) or just people as individuals?
Local Suicide: Totally! Music has a huge influence on everything. It can affect our actions, moods and emotions and even help build our personality. Especially young people, they are very easily influenced by their favourite artists. Music has the power to change our mood, make us happier or sad, more pensive or active at any time of our lives. A song can remind you of specific times and make you feel nostalgic, the lyrics can help you escape a difficult situation, like depression, and the music itself can make you dance, move and let those endorphins take over. For sure, music is our life, a part of our everyday life and the soundtrack of our life.
Magazine Sixty proudly present the premier of the video of Cobra Wave by Local Suicide & Kalipo. Directed and produced by French artist Jade Prevost.