When did you first discover that you could sing, and which vocalists are your biggest influence?
Long time ago, I was 13. Maybe less..singing was the only thing I could do in my friends band.
My biggest influences are Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison.
You released an EP of tracks (July 7) as an album teaser for: Midtown (due late Sept) which features a host of collaborations. How long did it take to complete such a mammoth project, and can you tell us about some the locations it was recorded in?
It took me 3 or 4 years to complete this project with my friends. MIDTOWN is the middle of the world, where everyone from everywhere is passing by; you have Art Department, then my dear Italian friend Piers Faccini, then Rose Ryot from London… then my sister…then Cassius .. then Brodinski.. then a DJ Pone remix … Claude VonStroke, a new dOP track …. it’s un predictable .. it’s my all seasons dream compilation, recorded in SF , LA , Paris , Berlin , Beirut , London , Tel Aviv..
Where do you find inspiration for your words and subject matter?
In what I’m living, and other people’s lives ..
or sometimes it just starts with a good title.
Can you describe the process of how you wrote one of the tracks from the EP/Album?
The one with Steve Smyth is funny, it’s kind of an interlude, we wrote it while eating a big piece of meat, and recorded it direct around the table.
We are both into poetry so I leave you the pleasure of trying to understand the meaning of this track: Talking Lonely
You have also sung on big crossover hits such as Claptone – No Eyes. How do you see the importance of songs in electronic music, especially after the lack of melody in Tech House etc?
I think it’s good… there are more and more good singers into House Music… for a long time it was hard for me to be a singer, people were not happy to listen to me in the club. It was not normal. They made me get better and better… now with dOP we do 100 shows every year.
Who do you listen outside of Dance music?
A lot of hip hop..
But these days I’m into WILLIAM ONYEABOR
Where can people catch you (and dOP) live over the summer
Next dOP gig: vilanoura on july 24
IBIZA : august 4
saalburg : 9
gotha : 15
Your third album is called Black Frames. Can you tell us about the idea behind the title?
There are a few different ideas and meanings behind the title, but on the literal tip I used some black photo frames that were on the walls of my former home studio for the core sounds, and as a whole it’s a somewhat darker more bold statement of where I’m at, musically and personally.
The album touches upon a number of styles. I was wondering who your main influences were in creating it?
The frames were surrounding some classic 60/70s album artwork so those were the immediate inspiration, but beyond that I’m influenced by a variety of music- around that time I was digging into stuff like William Onyeabor, The Dirtbombs, Taylor Mcferrin, Jack White, Shock G, Madlib, Mo Kolours, Paranoid London, Chateau Flight, and Moodymann.
Lyrically you touch upon a number of subjects. Can you tell about what you feel most passionately about – Law strikes me as a powerful message.
“Law” was inspired by the increasingly intense police state situations taking place around the world in cities like Istanbul, Sao Paolo, and Kiev, and the mindless ignorance that allows them to continue. In the States there’s the Oscar Grant story that’s especially close to home – there’s a great Forrest Whittaker film out about it; so the song is about abused power of so-called order, somewhere between ‘Fuck The Police’ and who watches the Watchmen? In general I prefer to go a bit deeper and more meaningful with lyrics on albums.. I mean, surface and fun party-oriented vocals can be great too, but something a bit more personal and expressive takes more balls and resonates longer.
Can you talk us through producing one of the tracks on the album and how you create such a distinctive sound?
Well the frames literally provided the framework for each track, so the basic rhythm structures and arrangements are laid out using handmade kits and sound banks per piece as I like each one to have a unique palette and not reuse the same sounds, even within an album, then either some vocals or melodic textures to bring it to the next level, whichever comes more naturally.
Black Frames is due to be released on Circus Company. How did your relationship with the label come about?
They’re basically good friends turned adopted family for me.. We met years ago back in SF while Sety was visiting and studying there, and we had so much in common musically and otherwise, it would have been damn silly not to start working together, despite being from ‘different cultures’.
Where can people get to hear you play Live/DJ over the summer?
I’ll be debuting an all-new live set based on the Black Frames material coming up at Sonar on Sunday June 15 for the Circus Company Piknic Electronik with the whole label family, and then another dope fam jam at Watergate in Berlin on June 21 for the official album release party and at Fuse in Brussels on June 28; In July I’ll be hitting the States for a rooftop party at Output NYC then back home to SF for the Sunset Campout; looking forward!
Every once and a while a bassline arrives that is so dark it runs tingles up and down your spine. Welcome to Luv Thang. The new ep from Alden Tyrell and label boss, Gerd is a relatively uncomplicated affair but one which will have you pushing the volume (up). Not sure if I prefer the Instrumental or the vocal version featuring Jessie Allen’s sassy voice intoning the title. But perhaps that’s simply down to the Instrumental option and the chance to hear that epic, rumbling bassline plus rapid-fire snares all on their own! Meanwhile, Girls Can’t Swim dispenses with any form of melody to deliver what can best be described as twisted Tech. The choice is all yours.
Damien and Clement aka dOP aka, the strangely apt, Aquarius Heaven return to the fold with the exquisitely produced Slow Love for Circus Company. Which not only sees shimmering keys chiming beautifully across punctuating beats, but also has Brian Brewster’s commanding vocals play alongside Miss Kitten’s evocative delivery. And you’ve got to love the opening line, ‘I’ve been in and out of love since 1988’! Undoubtedly first rate this inspired production pushes boundaries while feeling just that bit timeless. Three remaining tracks explore different avenues of Brian’s voice with the tense electro rhythms of Caloni working notably.
Soul Button feat. Stee Downes
In My Stride
Next in line from Underground Audio is this instantly pleasing production from Soul Button. Maybe it’s something to do with the new season but this puts you in mind of warmer climes, stiff drinks and electric dancefloors. Its high on atmosphere with warm pads and relaxed drums combing with Stee Downes enticing vocal on the Original version. Atapy then picks it up with energised bass giving the vocals more edge, leaving Habischmann to give the song a more melancholy backing which particularly suits the tone. Sasch BBC & Caspar finialise matters with the most urgent version that sets moody bass against perky beats to give the unhurried song yet another approach.
Sid Le Rock
Busted with a Bag of Bliss
My Favorite Robot Records
The fourth artist album from Sid Le Rock invites into his world of brooding electronics and breathy voices, or should that read tempts you? It’s one to lose yourself in and one whose textures prove to be richly rewarding, although we are talking introspection – less light, more shade. Much like Depeche Mode’s new album sounds appear out of nowhere to excite and envelop you as the soundtrack constantly evolves over the course of the event. It’s tempting to say that there are no real standouts on Busted with a Bag of Bliss because this journey deserves to be relished in full. However, just for the hell of it the haunting decadence of Foreign Love and the pulsating syncopation of the opening Here We Are win for me.
Mr G’s second album for Rekids sees the renowned producer continue his trademark theme of smoking beats and funky attitude to supply yet another winning formula. What I love here is the way that the music embraces technology yet retains a distinctly soulful element – State Of Flux couldn’t be a more apt title. Take the first track G’s Riddem which perfectly sums it all up: Thumping kick drums, heavy-duty bass, offset by treated timbale and emotive chords to produce a stunning, uplifting effect. The album then continues to fuse together a range of influences and styles, taking the best cues from House and Techno. From the brutal end of Pumped Up to the twisted Disco of Absurd Beatz No.4 this one journey that you won’t want to get off in a hurry.
The first label compilation for Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle’s Berlin-based label ‘Items & Things’ is fittingly called Variables. Variable in so far as the imprint champions cutting-edge electronic music that’s neither afraid to get deep and nasty, or even comparatively subtle such as on Miro Pajic’s infectious intro: Love Love Love. What follows next is a selection from the aforementioned and the likes of Jimmy Edgar, Tomas More and Andy Martin plus a few newer artists. There’s plenty in the way of hot syncopated Disco action to get into here too, all with Items & Things distinctive twist of course. Try Howard Watson’s, Keep Away and Nyma’s, Brain Crunch plus the beyond comprehension: In The Mirror for size. Satisfaction guaranteed. release: July 13. Mixed CD version by Magda released July 29
Your Feelin’ undoubtedly references synth-pop with its fizzy keyboard lines and restrained European melodies, but also counter balances it all with subtle contemporary pads and punchy beats. And just to drive the point home an Acapella follows so you can judge the vocal for yourself, although this proves to be something quietly addictive the more you hear it. Title track, Kisses sounds more like what you would expect with deeper, moodier sounds playing off against intriguing vocals, and this time comes in vocal and instrumental versions.
The second release from Holic Trax sees Tuccillo deliver the title track House 19 in a blaze of House flavoured Techno that seeks to capture the spirit of 1988, and quite frankly succeeds – smiling faces all round. Eves Sky is next and gets deeper with provocative drums and deliciously moody bass, while teasing you with haunting voices and a killer arrangement. PercussHolic then invites into you into a creative play on instrumentation with its excellent combinations of beats and fiery percussion. These tracks appear on ltd 10” vinyl while the digital release features the added bonus of Dubao, whose addictive electronic rhythms become uplifting in the most pleasing way.
Benjamin Quint and Markus Schwarzbauer aka Bara Bröst deliver their second album for BBE and if you’re not already familiar with their unique sound then prepare yourself now. Quirky, lively and thoroughly excitable the music and words play with each other while seeking to let you in on the party. Having said that, this will either work for you or you may find it all not quite serious enough with titles such as Juicy Lady, My Mess and Tony Curtis (try the soundcloud link below). Despite the eager wordplay there are some fine \House and tech grooves which reveal themselves as on the instrumental Tiger Milk and as with everything else it all boils down to personal taste.
Franck Roger & Mandel Turner Through The Motions Real Tone Records
You may recognise the beats from the eighties but if they’re fresh to you then you can relive the excitement generated for new. Through The Motions goes through anything but that with smooth vocals feeling soulfully refreshing in the summertime, as layers of keys build up the tension on yet another rewarding release from the label. An excellent Dub version pays compliment by stripping back the voice to highlight the cool bassline and hot House groove.
Next single to be lifted from their self titled album Into The Night is accompanied by a typically hot video along with a series of excellent remixes courtesy of Prince Language, CFCF, Nicolas Jaar, Renaissance Man and Seth Troxler, Masomenos & Jaw. All of which you could simply say speaks for itself. Like them or love them, you know this is good already from hearing the album.