It’s those records which standout most which often do the most to satisfy the scrutiny of time. Hannes Bieger’s electrifying circuitry sets the tone for Juan Hansen’s breathy, spine-tingling vocals of which we could always do a lot more of. Musically the bubbling Acid infused basslines sitting in amongst the crisp array of pulsating drums and buzzy stabs only serves to cap this very fine piece of music off perfectly. Next, the freaky stereo of Ashes follows with brighter keys sounding excitable but have to say you do miss the human touch of voice after experiencing what went before.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, John. Your new single Your Love (Skint Records) captures a sense of anticipation yet also hints at melancholy. What for you are the most important attributes in music? What makes a great piece of music?
Thanks and happy to speak with you, I’ve just been away so glad to be back in the studio. Yes as you say I always love a bit of melancholy in the music even if it’s a dance or pop song. For me music is all about a feeling and it’s really hard to think about music as ”music business”. It’s probably been bad for me as I probably could twist out lot of money from it, but for me, music is more than that. I’m not saying I don’t do any commercial crossover music, I have but it needs to vibrate with me or I won’t do it but around after 26+ years or so, I guess I’ve been doing something right after all.
Hard question as I would say again, for me it’s all about that soul and feeling, so if you don’t feel it you don’t feel it, nothing wrong with you or the music it’s just that you don’t connect for some reason.
Can you talk us through how you produced the track? What pieces of software/ hardware did you use in its creation?
I have always been into analog gear and have over the years built up a nice studio I’m happy with. I usually never talk about my studio as I think it loses that magic feeling of how things are done, but the studio is based upon Pro Tool HD. I wish I had been working with it since the year 2000, shifting from an Atari with Creator/Notator program and an Alesis MMT8 Sequencer. Around that I have lots of synths for different purposes, like the Memorymoog, Moog One, Roland Jupiter 8, PPG Wave + Waveterm B, MiniMoog and many more .. I use them all and they have a different colour of sound. The main studio speakers are the ATC SCM45A PRO, I just love them. Far from that a few outboards and some rare gadgets, like the Quatec QRS reverb unit, crazy enough pre owned by Kate Bush and used on her ”Hounds Of Love” album, which for me is still as mind-blowing as when I was a kid, nonstop watching the ”Cloudbusting” music video on MTV with tears in my eyes. So it feels strange that I got hold of that unit they used. But nothing in the studio is for gimmick or for collection, if i don’t use it I sell it.
What in general is the starting point for making a piece of music – a drum or a random sound? Do you think it is more important to concentrate on simplicity or more complex use of instrumentation?
It could be a random sound I tweak out of the synths or just a melody on the piano or a drum beat I start to build around, I never have a template or preset sounds. I think that is so boring, so I always try to start from a blank paper, music making should be fun, and going to the studio and not having that free open feeling is not fun for me.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I think I’ve more or less owned all the synths I thought were my dream synths, like the Yamaha CS80. I actually sold it as it was not for me and I believed it was my dream synth before but never really did anything on it, and have never been a huge Vangelis fan anyway so it was just not for me. I would say the Minimood Model D, PPG Wave and any of the Roland Jupiter’s like 4, 6, 8 or MKS80 are my favourite synths. They always stand on their own and don’t go with any fashion, I can do anything with them really.
What advice would you give to new producers on looking after their hearing?
Get some good studio monitors, follow your own feelings and don’t jump on trends. Now days there are plenty of labels out there that will dig your stuff for sure, don’t give up. Don’t stop on one track from 2 years, make new songs all the time, you will learn from each new song you make. Don’t let A&R people make you feel sad, from experience they are not always right, so do your thing.
How do you see the Dance Music industry at the moment? Is it in a healthy place in terms of artists revenue (Streaming etc) and how do you see it moving forward?
Streaming is a joke, it’s more or less the same amount of money as coal mine workers had in the early 1800 in payment. I love the technology but it has to change, music rights and value of work need to be granted. These companies profit on your work and believe it’s payback time just as it was for the coal miners back in the days, but first artists, writers and producers need to understand their own value and join forces. A magical thing would be a streaming service platform owned by the artist themselves, instead of greedy investment companies that invest in anything they can get money from.
What was the last piece of Club Music to really impress you, and which artists do you value from outside of the genre?
There is so much good club music out there, but nothing really new. It goes in circles and it’s not that I’m looking for something new, but club music is as it has always been really, to make people move and have a good time. Everything comes back in fashion after like 20 years, just to put a different name on it does not change it. But im glad a new generation is discovering it and there is so much good new music out there. I love music from 1977-1985, it was such an interesting period of new technology in the music studios and people had never heard of digital delays, affordable synths and spaced out effect units. Right now I’m listening to anything from cheesy pop stuff from early 80ísh to Speed metal, it comes back to the previous question, it’s all about that feeling in the music.
And finally. Where can people get to hear you DJ over the coming months?
Right now nowhere really, I’ve been changing booking agent and in the process of that. But requests have been floating in from Asia, Australia and the EU in the last few weeks so looking forward to a busy summer ahead DJ’ing.
Summer breaks can get things in perspective and returning to hear Steve Parry’s superlative production, as summertime begins to fade, positively sizzles with future expectations. It’s odd but listening to this instantly transports my mind back decades, which is maybe down to the nature of the vocal itself or perhaps the dark, synthesized, Acid rhythms that underpin it all. Either way this is a clever, creatively inspired piece of music to dance to, or to simply engage with sonically and emotionally. The remix comes from John Digweed & Nick Muir Remix who add cool, chord sequences to the tempting, rolling grooves resulting in a sense of warm melody heightening the arrangement, while keeping those addictive, soaring synth lines intact.
Quivver once again deliver electronic dance music with a difference. That is with Soul. Sure this is about gritty edges and brilliant electrics but this is also very much about emotion courtesy in this case of reverberating voices and poignant (hinting at the 90’s) keys on Mumbo Jumbo. Next follows more emotionally charged rhythms firing out across a bass heavy underscore and peppered with a breeze of fiery synthesizer hits plus chiming succession on the immensely beautiful This Was. Here now.
How could you not love this. Yes it’s about ‘Girls in Uniform’ but please put that preconception down and enjoy what is a playfully amusing lyric, although pitched over spikey, punk attitude that sees racing beats fight against punchy guitar and bass to produce a gloriously edgy, yet exhilarating experience. By the way Aladdin are the sum total of Nicolas Ker (singer, chaotic poet) and label boos Gilbert Cohen. The excellent Gilb’R then delivers a smoky Dub version that at once commands your stereo with its array of death defying weirdness that plunge the depths of cool. Followed by Trevor Jackson’s downbeat exploration into further dub excursions into intensity which also proves to be deliciously dangerous and rather f**king fantastic.
Returning with this exceptional remix care of Watergate resident Rüede Hagelstein, ‘Counting Comets’ is now injecting with a new lease of life for 2016. A tastefully crafted production that is driven by addictive syncopation accompanied by somewhat sassy percussion and contrasted by ethereal synthesizers which ultimately climax into a thing of darker beauty. And I’m glad it’s almost ten minutes long. Equally stunning is Marc Romboy’s own captivating beat-less Part 2 version which is cut through with a shining ambience that doesn’t require words, while also playing out across ten perfectly timed minutes.
Suggesting something of a theme this week (in parts) is this latest from seemingly ever present The Orb. Masters of their own landscape ‘Alpine’ doesn’t disappoint either via its lush textures spilt into three sections. ‘Morning’ favours a sleepy evolution of sounds that combine the surreal and wonderful, while ‘Evening’ not surprisingly adds the pulse of four/ four beats to its looped equation of rhythms. ‘Dawn’ then returns to an evocative, haunting bliss via a reworking of the previous ‘Morning’.
Three new tracks go to make up this debut release on KOMPAKT from Alex Under. Beginning with the title track, ‘Olas De Quila Quina’ which delivers waves of pulsating bass notes together with tripped-out vocal effects and swirling reverberations that become all the more impressive once the beat drops, causing all sorts of high-level impact. In a word, spectacular. Next, ‘El Reflejo Del Lacar’ hits the Techno button, leaving the cool melodies plus funk-infused bassline of the excellent ‘Lolog’ to complete.