Now in its 9th year, Gottwood Festival has become known as one of the best small festivals in the UK, with a loyal following who keep returning year upon year, for a lineup of the best in underground music and beautiful location. After hearing so many glowing reviews, I felt it was time that I had to experience it this year.
Setting off first thing in the morning on Thursday to reach the site at Holyhead in Anglesey, there was already a magic in the air. I travelled through tunnels and over bridges, passing sheep and mountains, before arriving at the campsite, overlooking calm seas on the Welsh north-west coast.
After pitching up the tent and getting to know the neighbours, who were Gottwood regulars and who soon became friends, I went to check out the arena where the stages lie. Walking into this area it was a joy to the senses. Initially walking through lush green woodland with tall trees, where the sun was breaking through, this plays host to lots of the smaller stages. Individual pieces of interesting, colourful, hand painted artwork are scattered throughout. The largest stage named ‘The Lawn’ is an open grassy area from the trees and is opposite an old manor house bathed in ivy; this is where the majority of the live acts and more chilled out sounds would feature across the weekend. In the middle of all the stages is a shimmering lake with lily pads and fountains, providing relaxing tranquility. With pure blue skies overhead it couldn’t have been more perfect and I spent some time just taking it in sat down next to the lake, I couldn’t think of anywhere more picturesque for a festival.
With the sun starting to drop behind the trees it was time to get stuck into some music. What better way to kick it off than with FUSE boss Enzo Siragusa and label stalwart Archie Hamilton. Playing on The Curve stage, a fairly large tent, the boys had got it filled from early on. Archie was first up playing some of his own signature tracks with distinctive percussion such as ‘Confusion’ on his own label Moscow. Enzo then took over, by which time the tent was bouncing. He played a festival party set laden with house and tech-house bombs including ‘What was Missing’ by Jamie Trench forthcoming on Seb Zito’s ‘Seven Dials’ label. To cap things off the pair then finished the night going b2b with some classic house tunes, smiles and hands raised all round. This was a great energetic start to proceedings.
Following a good sleep and with the sun continuing to glow, waking up on the Friday was made easy, with the prospect of plenty of sunshine vibes to come on the day. It became a ritual over the weekend to head to The Lawn first thing to recover, listening to some down-tempo, live electronica and dub/reggae. Ready to dance again after eating some delicious wood fired pizza, just one of many outstanding food stalls; it was time to head to the Trigon Stage.
Arguably one of the most impressive, the area is surrounded by walls of hay bales, with a wooden triangular tunnel structure leading it’s way to the DJ booth. Secretsundaze were playing, with music perfectly suited to the blistering skies, including the Dusky remix of ‘Do You Want Me Baby’ by Cloud 9. One thing worth mentioning here is the friendly attitude of everyone at the festival, it was easy and comfortable to strike up a conversation with everyone who I bumped into, including the bar staff and security. Due to the small capacity of 5000 you would often come across the same people you had been chatting to at the campsite on the dance floor and this added to a great feeling of unity and positivity that I haven’t really experienced at a festival before.
Special Request aka Paul Woolford continued the mood, moving things up a gear as it progressed into the evening, with music from his UK rave inspired album ‘Belief System’ including the wobbling bass and euphoria of ‘Make it Real’. For the night time hours it was all about the Hypercolour stage at the Walled Garden, another outstanding venue that is situated in the garden behind the manor house. It has a secret garden feel to it, as you pass under the old brick walls, through the low hanging plants, before reaching the stage that is sunk into the garden with a terraced grass area behind it. Kate Miller was playing here and was one of my surprise highlight sets of the weekend, a diverse blend of electronic music summed up by the classic dubstep anthem ‘Night’ by Benga & Coki. The legend that is Andrew Weatherall closed out the night, taking the crowd on a journey and telling a story through a progressive nature that only someone with such knowledge in the game can.
Saturday fast came round and the daytime hours were again spent with some down time in the open areas of the festival. Some amazing live music featured on The Lawn all weekend such as the stripped back meditative rhythms from the Cuban Iranian group Ariwo and uplifting worldly inspired melodies of Africane 808. This was the perfect tonic after a night of heavy raving. The night held some of the most anticipated sets of the weekend with Half Baked in Ricky’s Disco, featuring Zip and Margaret Dygas headlining and playing for a combined 7 hours. Ricky’s Disco was a great tent and felt like one of the most intimate, spherical in shape, with a large disco ball and hanging flowers. The vibe inside was probably the standout of the weekend for Margaret Dygas. She played an awe inspiring set, with long flowing mixes and plenty of unknown and unreleased grooves. A discerning crowd of Perlon and Half Baked supporters loving every moment, particularly big receptions came when she dropped the timeless classic acid tinged beat of ‘The Sun Can’t Compare by Larry Heard, the vocals on everyone’s lips. Zip continued the raucous atmosphere with music like ‘I Have You On My Sound’ by Son of Sound & Jus Ed, a peak time Underground Quality US house stomper. Cheers, whistles and hugs between friends and strangers could be seen and heard all around the tent for the duration. There was even time to catch the final hour of Ben UFO who was constructing a mix at Trigon of music without the borders usually put up by genres.
At many festivals I have been to Sunday can often feel like a downer as people are tired and ready to go home, but this was not the case at Gottwood. With radiant skies still overhead reflecting on the lake, it was easy to get out of bed to grab a Bloody Mary and get back to a spot on the lawn, where Craig Richards was playing the first of two sets, a special dub and reggae set. Wearing a trademark patterned shirt, he demonstrated the diversity of his record collection, pulling out 7 inches like ‘I Man Can’t Live Like this’ by Barry Brown. A pure Sunday afternoon ambience was being created, almost as if you were on a beach, as I sipped a drink with my toes in the lake to cool off. It felt like a real honour to be part of such a special event and it was great to see the owner of the Gottwood site, an older gentleman, walking around the site and enjoying seeing people appreciate the natural charm of the landscape around them. In the afternoon I caught City Fly Records over on the other side of the lake at the open Cpt. Cabeza stage. A label based in my hometown city of Leicester, they played a great disco and house set that even got what looked like the youngest member of the crowd, a small young boy (not sure how he passed the challenge 25 policy!) dancing.
On the final evening I was spoilt for choice with One Records at Ricky’s Disco, Butterside Up at Trigon and The Nothing Special at the Walled Garden. Fortunately due to the long set times, another great feature of the festival, I managed to catch a bit of everything. One Records had John Dimas, Voigtmann and label owners Adam Shelton b2b Subb-an playing their brand of always high quality house and techno, aimed squarely at the dance floor and with rolling beats aplenty. Over at the Trigon it was a slightly different affair to the daytime flavours, as Nicolas Lutz went b2b with Binh. Another highlight of the weekend, the pair made their way through a devastating set of some of their cosmic electro, spacey house and garage tinged minimal tracks on vinyl, from their respective My Own Jupiter and Time Passages labels. This included the forthcoming ‘Tschuss’ by Draculas Lutz & Omar. The Trigon at its best underneath the dark red lasers and smoke cannons, with the crowd going for it and using every single last drop of resource in their limbs. The anthemic reach for the sky ‘Atmosphere’ by Luca Lozano came out the stacks and provided another boost. Sonja Moonear maintained the high intensity, producing another all vinyl masterclass of house and techno.
To close out the weekend it only felt right to catch the end of Craig Richards hosting The Nothing Special all night at The Walled Garden. A far cry from his earlier set, this time he was in the midst of a high octane mix of techno and electro. A DJ that is arguably one of the most experienced in underground music, with his long running residency at fabriclondon, where he has played before so many names. He crafts together mixes that include multiple genres and records that you may never have stumbled upon before.
Also painting abstract art outside of DJing (some may be fascinated by his label artwork) his expression through music is always mesmerising to watch and the tent was a carnival of warm emotion as a chant of DJ Otzi’s ‘Hey Baby’ rang out on top of the serious music, bringing a smile to Craig’s face. As the last track was played and I made my way back to the campsite, I was immediately thinking of when this enchanting, all-encompassing musical and arts experience could be absorbed in again. My mind was on Houghton, Gottwood’s sister festival, curated by Craig himself and where many of the people I had spoken to over the weekend would be heading to next. Four days had taken place where we were blessed with outstanding weather, an extraordinary location and you become part of a community brought together for the love of great music, the Gottwood family as it is described. You return with new friends, inspirations, favourite artists and a yearning to taste what is a truly unique environment once again.
Words by Tom Warner
Pictures by Here & Now
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
Madrid is a city of many charms. You may have heard about its amazing weather, its astonishing architecture made over centuries, its museums, its extraordinary and delicious gastronomy, even its electronic music scene which is in fact excellent.
Replay Sunset Party, one of Spain's leading electronic music brand turns six years old in a very special location : CAJA MAGICA , in the Spanish Capital.
Made out of steel, wood and glass, it is one of the capital's major architectural reference points, with a stunningly versatile and functional design. In the past already hosted a number of unforgettable festivals like ‘ Mad Cool’ and will bring again the public an overwhelming space for a party that seems like a 12-hour daytime festival.
Sunday 15th of July will be the stage of an incredible line up, entirely filled by the high finests top DJs of the underground scene with a very Special Guest on top of that; Sonja Moonear.
Her sets reflect an enormous wealth of ideas and creativity and lead her to perpetually redefine her style specialises in trippy style of house and techno whose spiritual home is Club Der Visionaere. In Sonja’s hands, you might hear minimal sounds mixed with acid house, or electro into dub techno, but always connected by subtle transitions that never sound rushed or disjointed, she has the best ear for groove.
In action as Headliner smasher, the Perlon Co-Founder aka Dimbiman aka Zip is a familiar name for lots of us. Famous for his epic minimal shifts within the 4/4 scheme, he has an illustrious musical history which began in 1986 as singer in the band Second Voice to turn up on 1996 in Frankfurt where he got together with Markus Nikolai and Chris Rehberger to form the audio-visual project Pile, very interesting fact this one which took them in 1997 to found the banging Perlon labeI.
From Jupiter to Madrid we’ll see the master of mystery and implacable seeker, Nicolas Lutz alongside the old ruler at the Farringdon local and recently active in one of the most cosy venue of music quality in London with his new concept : Craig Richards & Friends that has seen a sequence of high class performances from the beginning of this year. This time together for a very elegant and awaited B2b.
For an impeccable Live Master Ion Ludwig, a fundamental key on the Toi Toi roaster, actively producing in the studio places like Weekend Club and Club der Visionaere helped shape is live performances to perfection . Synthesizers, drum machines combining with his sound spreades an endless story and energy.
A key innovator representative of a new class of producers who are reaching melody, moving away from the classic Romanian sound towards something more bumpy and colorful, Barac will perform on the Madrilenian stage to deliver a powerful minimal set.
The support will be from Simon Garcia and Alvaro Medina, both masters at Replay’s parties, standing out for them genuine, timeless, personal, hypnotic and futuristic sounds are going to close this interstellar line up!
Last but not least, the Brunch will be hosted by Roots with a London figure and Eagervision Records resident Alffie b2b Hons and Maryo.
If you are a music lover and you’re looking for a reason to travel, you can now stop. You’ve already found the perfect plan!
Words by Aghnes
More Replay Sunset Parties; Facebook / Facebook Event / Soundcloud / Instagram / Youtube
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
We had a very original and interesting chat with Sampol, relevant member of the Artists collective Checkpoint represented also by Sonodab, very talented producer has edited several of the most respected labels as Kina Music, Trazable Recordings and as well remixed the best artists of the moment.
Let’s start with Checkpoint concept, is a combination of arts established and focuses its events in Barcelona since 2013, as resolute forward-thinking approaches between different and contemporary shapes of House and Techno with unconventional artistic trends. Counting both musical and visual conceptions accurately aligned with having on board the most emerging electronic music artists of European’s underground scene, always located in emblematic spaces where a socially and culturally atmosphere is acoustically set.
And the residents; Baraso, passionate in Electronic music and culture, has a long career which is seeing him playing quite a lots around the best European stages and clubs.
Rainer, his appealing style realized him a place on the Half Baked residency in 2012 with releases on BodyParts, Redpanda, Vinylclub and Rooted Series as well as his own In Therapy records, is clearly an artist who deserve to be keep under the radar.
Last but not least Rick Maia is an extremely versatile DJ able to adapt his unique sound to any kind of environment where he combines impeccable taste with impressive technical skills to superb effect. He has the passion, intelligence and a understanding of the dance music environment which makes him a truly exciting prospect.
The main impressive thing is that the aim to create a special, characteristic scene in Barcelona offering people the possibility of an experience where the quality of music and art are staying in focus.
Regulary collaborations with rising multimedia artists, installation designers or sculptures talented from the most acclaimed local art academies and galleries, all of this is represented with the colorful graphics of the flyers which respect the themes and the different locations of the parties.
Constant collaborations with rising multimedia artists, installation designers or sculptures talented from the most acclaimed local art academies and galleries, all of this is represented with the colorful graphics of the flyers which respect the themes and the different locations of the parties.
Approaching to the OFF WEEK, best occasion to celebrate 5th anniversary of Checkpoint. The event is a three day-tour-de-force with dozen of DJs and live acts spread between three different venues.
Celebrations will start on 13th of June at Backyard Villa surrounded by a pool garden terrace and more hidden spots inside the house combined with a super tasty line up : Binh, Andrew James Gustav, Saverio Celestri, Christian AB, Giammarco Orsini and all the rest of O300f Recordings crew.
After a fresh orange juice and couple of bananas we’ll walk to Port Forum for a special outdoor Rooftop after party, right in front of the sea, special set up for the occasion where the Resident Djs will take over the decks shouder to shoulder with Robin Ordell B2b Onirik, Seuil, Quest and a very special Guest TBA…
Third, last and awaited one, MEOKO edition at the Meetingpoint Gallery where in the heart of Raval we will be involved in an avant- garde Music and Art community , Vinyl market, workshop, upcycle crafts and more activities all day long.
From this match with Meetingpoint, another great occasion was born for Checkpoint, a twin project, a space for work and training and dissemination, the experience of using a public space in a self-managed way through the use of healthy and natural materials, innovation and creativity that has become the residency Home for Checkpoint.
The Location, Espai Txema is one of the winning projects Pla de BUITs contest sponsored by the Council of Barcelona city in 2013. Small building built with materials / recycled, compostable and / or reusable. It is a project that aims to involve citizens in a process of continuous learning.
We literally can’t wait!
Words by Aghnes
More Checkpoint; Facebook / Facebook Event / Checkpoint upcoming events / Youtube
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
A Parisian club kid in the early 2000s, Djebali has grown into one of the most accomplished house producers from the city’s new generation of talent, leading to his Rex Club Residency. It is with great pleasure that MEOKO caught up with the French Star, ahead of his appearance at MDRNTY Cruise alongside a special mix recorded live at Rex Club in March at the Ideal Juice Showcase with Fumiya Tanaka.
MEOKO Exclusive Podcast No: 256 - DJEBALI
Q1- Hey Mehdi, first of all thank you for the mix and your time. How is life so far; what have you been up to?
Hi guys, All’s good so far! Even though I recently had a flood in my studio area, meaning I had to spend an entire week cleaning up the mess and reorganizing & testing the machines, thanks god everything’s working well. Again; Summer is finally here, and I just can’t wait for all those outdoor sunny parties to happen!
Q2- Rex Club is a big player in Paris Club Scene. It must take a lot to be a resident at Rex Club and it is surely a great match. How did it feel when you used to go there to party and how does it feel now to be in charge of the club during your set?
Rex Club is celebrating his 30th anniversary this year. That means something special, I guess it’s a dream for loads of clubs (all?) to be able to get this longevity whilst keeping on offering since day one quality music and DJs performance from around the world.
Of course I am honored to be part of the club history. As you mentioned, I’ve been going to rex club since my tender age, been then invited to play a few times before eventually becoming a resident. It’s been 4 years now that I have been holding Ideal Juice residency, and that goes beyond all expectations!
I love playing there, the audio set up sounds amazing, the Rex crew is always making you feel like home and I have the freedom to bring the dj’s / performers I fancy like recently Fumiya Tanaka, Ion Ludwig, Satoshi Tomiie… it’s a perfect match!
Q3- It is definitely one for the diary; MDRNTY Cruise 2018, a 3-day paradise across the Mediterranean Sea. You played at the first edition and it is nobody's surprise you are back for the 2nd edition as well. How was your experience there last year and any expectations on this year?
Well, I feel very lucky to return for the 2nd year in a row as it is a total renewed line up for this second edition!
Last year was simply amazing, I didn’t know what to expect because it was my first “cruising” experience! Everything was so well organized!
An incredible line up, 24/7 music, food and drinks, sunshine, day & night parties, but also some great boat facilities like spa, sport, casino… you could do whatever you want, whenever you want, so easily! On top It was so much fun walking around the boat and bumping into the crowd, the other djs, the staff.. it was a friendly vibe all over and big fun all cruising long! I had the chance to stay on board for the whole journey last year and I am looking forward to doing it all over again this June.. 3 days long no less!
A lot of friends are playing there too amongst which Guti, Mathew Jonson, Archie Hamilton, Lazare Hoche, Cassy and of course Dan, Dyed and Shonky as Apollonia, as well as a ton of very good artists.. Once on board, you’ll just have to go with the flow.
Again a big Thank You to MDRNTY crew to offer this special cruise to the electronic crowd!
Q4- Approaching the middle of 2018 already; how has your year been so far and what have you got planned for the rest of the year? Any upcoming releases, gigs, plans to share with MEOKO readers?
The year has been great so far, I had the chance to play some big events for the first time like Caprices Festival in the Alpes, or to return to The Block in Tel Aviv, or to PIV events in Amsterdam etc..
Closer to us, the season in Ibiza looks already amazing. I will play several shows in Amnesia for Pyramid x Keep on Dancing on Mondays, which is meant to be my new home for the summer, also I’ve been invited by Black Coffee to play his residency at HÏ Ibiza and one play at Heart Ibiza in august. No need to say that I am very excited. :P
Releases wise, there is that OAM (once a month) project I’ve been running since January. The idea is to offer every month of the year a track for free Download. Subscribe to my channel on youtube to be warned when a new track is available with a video trailer. Caution! each free download will be limited in time to 3 weeks. May’s just been released via XLR8R.
On another note, I had the chance to remix a track called Fall from Legend DJ Pierre as part of his album Wild Pitch (Story) named after one of his alias and released on Get physical in May. On the remix duty, look out too the one I did of Enzo Siragusa and Nima Gorji “Foreal” and out too. Several 12” coming out: one collab with POD, coming out on POD Cross, and another one called “ Into the depth” on Reda Dare’s label Signatune.
Another highlight will be the remix I did for Guti’s album that will be out on the martinez brothers’ label, cuttin’ headz
Regarding my own labels, a new EP from Chris Stussy is just out on ( djebali ) presents, and the following one will be an EP from Italian friends Jonny n’Travis! ( djebali ) reworks will add to the catalog, remixes from Audio Werner and Rossko, and ( djebali ) extra an EP from NTFO with a remix of mine.
Q5- It is a great pleasure to see you join our mix series. It has been on our wish list in a while. Was it a live recording or you recorded in your studio? How would you describe it?
A shared pleasure it is! It s a mix I recorded live at Rex Club back in march at the occasion of the Ideal Juice with Fumiya Tanaka. That night I first opened the night, and closed it too afterwards.
Here I present the first part, the start. The recording is 2h30 long. This was Fumiya’s warm up so expect a deep start to an ongoing journey until I passed on the decks to Fumiya; Enjoy the mix!
Thank you again and see you on the Magic Boat. We hope to see you in London sometime soon as well!
Thank you! See you on the boat and also for sure in London soon!
Words by Erchin Jon
More Djebali; Facebook / Soundcloud / Instagram
More MDRNTY; Facebook / Facebook Event / Tickets
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
It’s hard to be a dance music globe-trotter sometimes. Ask any touring DJs and they’ll tell you about the exhaustion that comes with the lifestyle. Same for us at MEOKO: Romania, Prague, Barcelona… There’s always a good party going on somewhere outside of our homebase of London, and when we spot one, we’ve got to be there. This is worth all the comedowns in the world, after all, and so this time we’re setting sails to Paris, for the “Kinder Garden X Slow Life” on June 22.
Kinder Garden is a fairly new Parisian venture thrown by the collective RMMT, always focusing on a specific crew while showcasing younger members of the French capital’s scene in a second room. After Traffic or Libertine, they’re receiving Slow Life on June 22nd — and celebrating RMMT’s 1st birthday by the same occasion. If you’re French yourself, and probably even if you ain’t, you know that the local scene for all things minimal is at the top of its game lately. RMMT is one of the crews giving it a new youth, so this party in their 13th arrondissement basement is not one to miss, especially with such guests of honor.
Slow Life is a motor in this part of the minimal scene that’s been focusing on excavating forgotten gems from the vaults of dance music past, seeing treasures in what others would have dismissed as mere dusty wax. This makes it hard to pinpoint their sound: it’s more about vibe than genre, electronic music with a dare-to-be-weird attitude that never sounds forced, yet genuinely oblique and out there — organically grown by dedicated crate diggers.
It’s a six-person collective based in Berlin but with roots in Spain and Italy, one where friendship is at the base of the working relation. The four DJs though, all playing at the Kinder Garden, are Laurine, Cecilio, DJ Tree and S. Moreira, the latter of which might sound the most familiar as he produces as well and was behind all the early productions on the label — which says a lot as they largely contributed to put Slow Life’s name on the avid music seekers’ lips outside of their home base of Berlin.
If you need any introduction to the label, one that would perfectly summarize their ever-curious free-wheeling attitude, look no further than their 2016 compilation “Chromophore”. Here, you’ll find along Moreira likeminded young sprouts like Uruguay’s Luis Malon and Saverio Celestri, facing off with veterans Seafoam, A², and Mick Welch.
Besides this kind of dreamy breaks-leaning deep house that Moreira specializes in, another familiar face since the beginning is fellow Berlin Italian transplant Saverio Celestri. The label’s close friend has released his only LP so far on Slow Life, in his trademark electro-influenced style, full of rattling bass and out-of-control snares.
Lately the label’s been on a fantastic streak. Keeping it in the family, Moreira has collaborated with the in-house designer Santi Uribe for an album of ambient outerspace excursions surely inspired by the kind of experimentations techno and trance producers would often try their hand to in the 90s — the sort of stuff Slow Life must have encountered a countless amount of time in their digging journeys. And it’s no wonder that their most recent releases featured 100hz, Marco Repetto or Tim Jackiw — all more-or-less forgotten producers returning to the spotlight in the past years thanks to digging culture. They’ve also opened the label to other younger artists sharing their vibe, with Swedish newcomer Basement Space taking the UK route and Berlin duo Primary Perception going deeper than deep on their debut LP and stellar “Retrofitted Future Vol. 1” EP — perhaps my favourite record on the label.
But it’s really behind the decks however that the Slow Life ethos can be experienced. Anyone attending their regular label nights at Club Der Visionaere or Hoppetosse cannot fail to see the enthusiasm of the crew’s DJs, like a bunch of friends excited about sharing their discoveries to one another — a spirit summarized in the title of Slow Life’s second release, courtesy of Moreira: “We All Are Fra!”
With the whole crew invited, this Paris bash is one for the books. To celebrate the occasion, we’re holding a competition, the winner of which will get a
- 1x2 entry and
- Slow Life’s most recent release, Basement Space’s “Cosmic Collision”.
with “Kinder Garden” as the subject heading. And if you don’t feel so lucky, book your tickets here. Happy birthday RMMT!
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More; RMMT / FB Event / Slowlife
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
After the sold-out event hosted at E1 London in February, the live-set legend Stephan Bozdin comes back to London on 21st of September for his 2nd London appearance of 2018.
Originally a composer, Stephan Bodzin soon fell in love with nocturnal club sounds and began producing his own brand of techno. His productions are driving, hypnotic and with a very real and memorable sense of melody that sticks long in the mind.
This September, Stephan Bodzin will bring his impressive and innovative live visual show to Londons Electric Brixton for the event hosted by Parable; Fideles & Luna Semara are also on the bill.
You can sign up for pre-sale tickets Here.
FB Event Link
This June will see a big return to the decks together a very finest class B2b, Margaret Dygas and Craig Richards for the Sonar OFF week. Both old rulers at the Farringdon local with a long history of alongside sets. Minimal, breaks and tasty blend of house and techno, Richards’s sounds entirely reflect the successfull partnership between Fabric and Toi Toi ; as well the minimalistic sounds of the beloved Perlon label will be shown by Margaret.
For an impeccable Live Ion Ludwig, a master key on the Toi Toi roaster, actively producing in the studio places like Weekend Club and Club der Visionaere helped shape is live performances to perfection . Synthesizers, drum machines combining with his sound spreades an endless story and energy.
Rhadoo, perhaps the most famous student of the Villalobos style, an artist with a very strong Romanian identity, proved his stunning production talents ranging from deep, dubby house to is not only known as one of the most promising DJs in electronic club music, but he also uplifting and seductive techno. A perfect example is Fabric’72 an exclusive compilation of bomb records he takes with him all around the world.
Finally to close this exciting line up.....
Herodot. Not just a exceptionally talented DJ, Label Owner, Promoter and Club Guesthouse’s representative to part of the family Toi Toi Booking Agency Rooster, his sets are very well know for keeping the party going for endless hours...
"I’m booking my flight tickets right now to don’t miss this boiling line up, I willwear my coolest sunglasses...Nos vemos en Barcelona, WOLF Club / SonarOFF ."
and answering in the subject title: Which one of these is an actual alias name of Rhadoo?
A. B. C.
Amazing prizes for the winner !
2 x Tickets
Pox & Pol – Argenis Brito & Ricardo Villalobos vin
Fabric 01: Craig Richards CD
More Toi Toi
Words by Agnese Aghnes Valentini
Microscope series is back again and this time we are having a very well known name from Netherlands – Roger Gerressen. Born in Arnhem and currently living in Nijmegen continuously spreading his name across the world by his house and techno infused productions and smooth as butter sets. Roger just joined Paris based Yoyaku label which led him to release his music on imprints as Joule, Aku and Tartouffe. With their support he is about to launch two more labels to meet his output and give him his creative freedom– Irenic Records and Autodidact Records. As being a co-founder of ESHU records having numerous releases and collaborations with big guns as Ivano Tetelepta, Dilated Pupils, ARC and Novio Dub Tribe you get an image that this is the guy to keep your eye on. We can’t wait to dive in the interview with this talent and check his exclusive MEOKO Mix.
1. Hey Roger, pleasure to have you with us! How are you doing?
I am doing good sir, I had a series of gigs last summer that went great and I just had a few weeks off to finish some music/remixes and get ready for the winter season.
2.First of all, tell us more about your involvement in the club scene. How did you get in the scene in the first place and what made you decide that you want to become a part of it?
I never expected to be involved in house music at this stage in my live. In the 90’s the only electronic music we grew up with was the trance and gabber that dominated in the Netherlands. Those styles had massive airplay on the radio and even took over the pop charts. Good electronic music was already out there, but it never reached me at that age. I never got into the trance/gabber music, the melodies felt cheesy to me. I was always more interested in breaks and loops and became a fan of early 90’s hiphop when I got introduced to A Tribe Called Quest. To this day it’s the music I play the most at home. I just love sample based loops.
At my 18th birthday coincidence happened. My friends bought me a ticket to a big techno event (still pretty much against my biased will), I had my first experience in the scene and immediately seemed to understand what this music was all about. I found another type of new loop-based music I love. I got some second hand belt-drive turntables and a mixer a few weeks afterwards and here we are today.
3.Do you remember the first record or artist you heard that clicked to you? Can you tell us shortly how did you get from hearing your first record to playing your first gig?
The first artist that clicked for me was the dutch legend Steve Rachmad. My sister was dating a guy back then who was also into dj’ing and he gave me the mix-cd ‘Sterac - Emerging’. That cd still is like a bible to my beliefs in techno music. Mixed live in a club with an amazing vision of hypnotic techno. I immediately drifted towards that sound from then on.
My first gig was a DJ contest in 2004 at Planet Rose, our local clubnight. Even though in my memories everything went great, I didn’t make it to the finals haha. But I was already happy to have performed for a crowd at that point.
4 .As you been raised in Nijmegen do you see a change in music and clubbing there? It is a quite remote city isn’t it? Do you have some special nights, clubs or events that are worth visiting?
Nijmegen used to be a very underground-minded city with one mayor clubnight called Planet Rose (the venue is called Doornroosje, the longest running clubnight in the Netherlands, which has been going strong for more then 22-years now) that has influenced everybody in my town. They had an amazing venue for techno music, high quality acts like Jeff Mills, Derrick May and Laurent Garnier came by on a weekly basis to play for a very open minded crowd. Outside of the Dutch borders, not many people know of this place, but over here it has a legendary status. A few years back they were forced to move out of their filthy old graffiti covered venue (which I loved ofcourse) and settle into a very new state of the art building, which changed things for me. It has become too big for me now and as a result of trying to reach bigger crowds the programming has also become a bit more mainstream and predictable. Luckily you have a few smaller promoters in my town who are now stepping in (like ‘The Tribe’) and hosting some smaller high quality events.
But I still hold the memories of the old venue in my heart. It was an amazing place.
5.As living near by one of the Europe’s partying hotspots, do you find yourself going to Amsterdam often? How does it influence the Holland’s scene in general? Do you think the city dictates the trend for the scene?
The city definitely dictates the trend for the Netherlands, but my country is so small it’s not hard for influence to pass over to another city. But indeed, there are so much more events in Amsterdam, so much more creative people moving there, it’s a logical evolution. Most capitols serve that role I believe.
When I don’t have to play for myself I tend to stay home and create music these days, but coming into the house/techno scene I took plenty of drives to Amsterdam to see some amazing artists in amazing clubs. I often visited Club 11, which later evolved into TrouwAmsterdam. Trouw still was and still is my favorite place in Amsterdam, both on the dancefloor and behind the decks. I was lucky enough to play there a couple of times.
6.Talking about your musical history. I could call you a label guy. You been involved in so many affairs that is hard to count. How did you get in Paris scene alongside Yoyaku? What’s the story behind it?
Before I was connected to Yoyaku I was with an agency that didn’t really put a lot of effort in their artists or have a plan to move forward. So I was starting to get a bit impatient and unhappy with the direction and growth of my career. A few years back I played an event in Strasbourg, organized by the people behind Yoyaku and we just clicked and had a great time. We always stayed in touch, every now and then we had a short chat or they sent me the latest promo’s. They were just setting up their first labels when we met and they had already grown like crazy since then. When the day came my agency pulled the plug and seized to exist, I had a chat with the Yoyaku crew about me flying solo again. It didn’t take long for them to ask me to join the crew.
7.Introduce us with your two brand new imprints as well. Irenic Records and Autodidact Records. What were the ideas behind it and what we should expect from them?
Yes lots of thing happening! Both labels were created for me to have more output, but I also wanted to showcase some of my friends. Let’s start with Irenic, which means ‘Aimed at peace..’. This label had it’s first release a few months back done by Novio Dub Tribe (a collab by Sinan Alakus and myself) and we’re working on the second release as we speak. Irenic is really about the deeper side of the spectrum. Techno, house or dub: as long as the atmosphere of the music is right. The upcoming EP is done by my close friend Alex Jansen (U-GOLD / Rue de Plaisance, also from Nijmegen), he delivered a very deep and emotional 3-track house record that will be out in a few weeks. Future EP’s on Irenic will feature music and remixes by Novio Dub Tribe, Udmo, Bas Amro and myself.
Then we have Autodidact, basicly the same guidelines as Irenic. Created to have more output for my friends/collabs and myself. But with Autodidact anything goes. The first release is done by my friend Doyle Johnson and will be out by the end of October or early November. After that we have a jungle/dnb collaboration by Alex Jansen and myself for the second EP, which will feature two amazing 4/4 remixes by Chris Geschwindner. Can’t wait to present all the details soon!
8.Congrats on you recent release on Tartouffe dubby and groovy piece! As well as one on Joule imprint. I could find endless releases around, how do you approach making music? Do you already have ideas in your mind before even sitting down in front of you desk?
I wish I could give you a very artistic answer right now, but it doesn’t happen to me that often. I just start and see where it goes. Since I have many aliases and styles I do make a choice in direction when I start the project, but it rarely needs a special approach. When collaborating with Ivano Tetelepta in the past, we had a few moments where we tried a ‘Rhythm Roulette’ type approach and try to make records by sampling the majority of the project (like the Build from Wax LP on Nilla Records) or only use certain pieces of gear as a restriction (on the untitled ARC# album on Deep Sound Channel).
9.What are your main inspirations when it comes to your creative process? Are there any things you could not imagine working without?
A hiphop attitude towards house music. To be an underground artist is to create music with whatever equipment you have around you. So if you don’t have the money to buy the gear you want (or think you need), don’t freeze up and do nothing. It was my situation for the longest time, so I really learned to be creative digitally. So even though I love to fiddle around with analog gear, and my studio is growing, I am still a very digital orientated producer that really needs to do those final touches digitally, because the lack of gear pushed me that way.
So I couldn’t work without Ableton to be honest. My MPC is my second answer.
10.Talking about making music, can you take us through your studio gear? What’s your favorite piece? Is there a piece that you really wish for? Or some future purchases?
I have just a small studio myself, at home. I use: Ableton, RMA-fireface400 soundcard, MPC, Dave Smith Tempest, MFB, a Strymon Timeline delay and I have a few other simple pedals and fx.
So far very beat orientated gear so the next step will probably be a synth, but like many people I have been mesmerized by modular synthesis too. Let’s see. Even though my studio is still small, I honestly rarely feel limited.
11.As a music lover you must have some artists you admire! Would you like to share some of your favorite acts this year so far? Anything we should check out in particular that stuck in your mind?
I am an old school guy. A Tribe Called Quest is my favorite group ever, no doubt about it. Gangstarr, Black Sheep, Large Professor, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Brand Nubian. Those are my jams.
Too much new electronic music coming out right now to pick a few, but if I had to I would say Udmo (two mindblowing releases on Analog Attic) and Chris Geschwindner, because I love their fresh styles and both of them have remixed some of my works/collabs so I had to do a shout out!
12.Thank you for this amazing mix! Did you have a specific idea behind it or just went with the flow?
I spent many years warming up dancefloors in my hometown, so when I am recording a mix I try to take the same approach.. a bit of music for the mind, some music for the soul and I always try to end up with some music for the feet as well.
13.Thank you once again for having us! Do you have any last words for the fans? Any news on collaborations or some exciting upcoming releases? What do you think would be the best advice for the upcoming artist?
Yes I have a big release coming up on Sushitech Records as my latest project ‘Monoaware’. It will be a 2x12”, out by the end of October / early November. Very excited to be a part of this label and its artists.
And just be sure to support the upcoming Irenic and Autodidact records when they drop in the coming weeks!
And thanks for having me ;)
Was a pleasure, Roger and thank you for them mix!
Words by Matas Balta
More Roger Gerressen; Facebook / Soundcloud
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
The LWE event will hold its third edition on the 9th of June in Boston Manor Park — a 10-hour long event that includes the biggest names in house and techno. Fan of the melodic fare? Âme, Mind Against, Tale of Us, Maya Jane Coles check. Prefer the harder, darker stuff? Nina Kraviz, Len Faki, Jay Clarke, check. There’s the King of Ibiza, Carl Cox; the Queen of minimal, Sonja Moonear; and the prodigal kid of UK dance music, Joy Orbison. And it’s particularly nice to see Nicolas Lutz on such an event. The Uruguayan digger’s been everywhere last year, as comfortable spinning obscure bangers on a festival’s main stage as at some dodgy afterhours — proving that popularity does not require compromising on quality.
With its outrageous line-ups and top production values, no doubt the team behind the festival would come up with something special for Junction 2... And watch out the special back to backs;
Adam Beyer b2b Carl Cox (World Exclusive), Dixon b2b Âme (6-hour Set) and Sonja Moonear b2b Nicolas Lutz.
Some of the biggest structures in the game will be hosting stages. One of them is Drumcode — Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Enrico Sangiuliano, La Fleur. The other is Sonus Festival, the Croatian festival that seems to lure half of your Facebook friends to its idyllic shores and decadent boat parties every year - . As well as Sidexside (THE PAVILION ), Relentless (THE WAREHOUSE) and Oasis Festival (THE WOODS).
No need to introduce Nina Kraviz anymore. Out of all the generic techno DJs out there, her name will always stick out for me, as she’s certainly the one who has made the less concessions to get to where she is. She stays faithful to her high-energy, banging mixing style that forays into the most abrasive strains of 90s techno and trance, while pushing more experimentally-inclined but no-less banging up-and-comers on her трип label. You can tell Nina is passionate, and this is infectious. She will be joined by Tale Of Us, Maya Jane Coles,Mind Against and Dana Ruh; What a stage!
The Warehouse; LSD, the joint project of Luke Slater, Dave Sumner (aka Function) and Steve Bicknell, would be worth the price of entry alone. From the dreamy techno he put out as The 7th Plain to the relentless sound of Planetary Assault Systems, Luke Slater is a proper techno mastermind. Same could be said of Function, whose carrier embodies an entire section of techno’s history: his angsty sound brewed in the dark corners of late 90’s NYC mutated to a more hypnotic strain of techno when he relocated to Berlin as part of Sandwell District, a cult project that pioneered the currently prevailing trend for deep, mental techno. Steve Bicknell, meanwhile, is a UK underground hero whose Lost parties left an indelible mark on British techno. Their forces combined should send you on a proper mind trip.
There’s also Scuba, the head of Hotflush Recordings who has established himself as one of UK’s main tastemakers, presenting SCB. As a matter of fact, the big room techno of Dense & Pika, who also share the bill in the Warehouse, wouldn’t be where it’s at if it wasn’t for him. Finally, Len Faki and Jay Clarke will also be present.
If that’s too much to handle, the artists billed for the Oasis Stage will doubtless soothe your ears. Sonja Moonear is an Ibiza regular who’s as comfortable pushing the deeper and trippier cuts in her collection, and a definite MEOKO favourite. She will be playing b2b with Nicolas Lutz and joined by Joy Orbison and William Djoko.
Not enough? Well we thought so. Junction2 team announced their after party for this year’s festival, which will take place at fabriclondon on the same day starting at 11pm with Tale Of Us, Âme, Len Faki, Trikk, Dense & Pika and Jay Clarke. As two of UK clubbing's most iconic names, fabric and LWE unite to reinforce their positions at the forefront of London nightlife and deliver one of the summer's most unmissable parties.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More Junction 2 // Junction2 2018 // Junction 2 After Hours at fabricJunction 2 After Hours at fabric // LWE
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
Thomas Melchior/Melchior Productions Ltd (Perlon, Aspect, Arpiar)Laylla Dane (Rotate)Leiris (Reduce, minibar, Rotate) Aline Raphael (Catenaccio, DroupOut)The Daniel ( Madness CR3W, Zero Fucks SF)
For Sunday 17th of June 2018, OFF Party Barcelona teams up with Rotate(label & Agency) and Madness CR3W (collective from Amsterdam) to propose you a closing event OFF Week 2018 at an OFF location from 19h till 4h.Villa with garden, pool, terrace, several rooms (and hidden rooms) on 3 floors with Funktion-One spread over the Villa. (Barcelona - Sarria / Pedralbes Area) Attend on RA: https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1098446Sound Funktion-One (Official) OFFER : with every ticket purchase, you will receive 10€ credits for CABIFY (car service like UBER) average price to go to the event from Placa Catalunia
There will be no ticket on the door, but you can already book yours here. See you in Barcelona!
More ROTATE; Facebook / Tickets (51 tickets left online - NO TICKETS ON THE DOOR) / Facebook Event / OFF Party
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
Little introduction is needed for our latest interview with Frankfurt based, Christian Burkhardt. An artist that continues to grow after over 20 years of production, performing live and mixing in all corners of the world. On his journey leaving a trail of successful releases on staple names such as Raum…Musik and Cocoon, with groove at the heart of every sound. Recent times saw the launch of CB Sessions a personal platform to release live jams and studio sessions with friends. Technology has always been a deep passion for him, and if you have been fortunate enough to catch one of his live sets, you will certainly understand.
Here is what went down when we recently caught up…
First, thanks a lot for taking some time out for us, and recording a special mix based solely around your personal productions and remixes. Hope you are well, and enjoying the start of spring in Frankfurt.
Thanks for having me. Yeah it’s a special energy when the sun comes out after depressing winter grey, people start smiling again.
Anybody who knows you, or has heard your name will understand your passion for technology, whether in the studio in Offenbach, or playing live. When did you start producing, and building your studio
I started producing back in my hometown Heidelberg, some friends had studios and showed me how to do it. My first Synthesizer, a Bassstation, I bought 1995. The Studio I built after moving to Offenbach in 2001.
What do you find yourself using the most in the studio? The set up looks very impressive.
In focus are different machines over the years, actually it’s the modular. I use it all the time, it’s the best thing for sound design, never ending possibilities. And the Elektron Rytm drummaschine, love the combination between analog and digital samples, with l layering, you get special sounds. But it’s not all about analog hardware, I do field recording a lot or jam around with cheesy ipad apps sometimes.
Do you find there is a different connection with the crowd when playing live as opposed to playing records?
Music wise for sure, because I have control about each element of the music in the live set. When I see a good reaction to a sound/element I jam in, I stay with the sound for a longer time. In Dj sets there is more time for seeing the crowd, cheering, smiling, waving having fun.
Summer is definitely on its way. Do you have any particular summer locations you look forward to playing in?
oh yes oh yes, I will play some shows during Sonar festival what is always the highlight of the year, everybody will be there. And of course Ibiza season is starting, playing at Pacha, Amnesia and Destino…still in love with the island. Not to forget two nice open air festivals at home “See us there” and then the “WCD-Poolsessions” looking forward to see the whole Frankfurt crew.
You have released on many highly respected brands, such as Pressure Traxx, Cocoon and Raum…Musik. All running for quite some time now. Raum… celebrate 20years this year, how does it feel to be a part of this, and to see the labels grow over time?
It feels good to be surrounded by passionate people doing music with attitude.
Trends come, trends go - we just do our thing working on the perfect groove for a better future. Haha, I am a poet.
In 2014, you started your personal project Christian Burkhardt Sessions. When did you realise it was time to begin a label of your own?
All the time I invite friends to the studio, I like to exchange and to share vibes, special moments. CB-Sessions is the platform to release the recordings of these moments.
How important is it to you to catch these live jams in the heat of the moment?
The best things are always happening when u don’t expect them. Sometimes we work for hours on a track and then u push a wrong button or switch and ta taaa- the groove is lifting up. A quick recording is always most necessary.
The mix you kindly curated for us is only productions and remixes made by yourself. Including a Donna Summer Hot Stuff Remix, The Milky Way Remix, and an Argy Remix. How do you decide on a track you would like to remix? What kind of process do you use when approaching a remix?
The artist or label of the original is asking me for the remix. It seems it’s a new thing that the Remixer is asking for it. It is really cool to have requests to remix classic tunes or super nice artists. Most of the time I play around with the parts of the original, run them through my modular system and work out a groove. I love remixing as I have already something where I can build around a groove. I always try to use as much as possible of the original. Just arrange, effects and work out in a new way. I don’t like these remixes when you don’t hear the original.
There are several forthcoming releases also found in the mix, such as your next release on Do Not Sleep. When can we be expecting that? What else do you have hidden in the mix?
Yeah, the DNS release is the highlight, I did it with my long time buddy Daniel Roth. For me personally, the best stuff I did in the last years. Then the remixes u named before and some unreleased music.
How would you describe your mix to the listeners?
100% Original Burkhardt sound- no tricks, no fakes
Thanks again for your time and the magic mix.
By ZAC BIDWELL
More Christan Burkhardt
Well, we didn’t see that one coming, but looks like two of our favourite DJs have struck an unlikely alliance. tINI and Molly have been orbiting each other lately with invites to their respective parties, but they’re now taking things to the next level with a string of b2b sets across Europe.
Any profile-raising news for Molly is sweet as honey to my ears. It’s heartwarming when people finally get their dues, and that’s exactly what seems to be happening to her at the minute. The Paris-based DJ has come a long way since starting her ongoing Rex Club residency. Initially a behind-the-scenes employee at the club, she slowly but surely established her mark behind the decks on the boulevards all the while gigging around town, leading her to become a fixture of the French capital. Resident DJ at Paris’ most historic club? Check. Appearances at Concrete and their yearly Weather festival? Check. Ties to the beating heart of French minimal, that is Yoyaku? Che-e-e-e-ck. Molly is one of those local heroes that shape a scene, and if she remains an untiring champion for the best of underground house and techno, her increasingly minimal inclinations reflect Paris’ embrace of the sound. Indeed, with Yoyaku she seems to have struck a chord, with the Belleville outlet releasing her first EP last year.
Not that she’s a newcomer to the genre though, as a look at her list of guests in the past years at Rex Club is testament to her versatility — American underground warriors like Aybee, Kyle Hall or Fred P have rubbed shoulders with the cream of the crop of the European minimal scene, namely Zip (!), Eli Verveine, Vera or Onur Özer — and a look at her schedule is even more revealing: Molly is jumping from Panorama Bar, to dates with the twee Giegling crew, to brasher Ibiza parties, like it’s nothing at all. With her abroad dates showing no sign of slowing down, it’s Paris’ loss, but the rest of the world’s benefit.
MEOKO Exclusive Podcast 254: tINI b2b Molly
tINI, on the other hand, has already been a powerhouse on the house and techno circuit for years. Instead of a Rex Club, it was her ties to Loco Dice and Desolat that broke her through the scene, but she soon enough established her own tINI and The Gang residency in Ibiza — a favourite on the White Isle, whose beach party vibe and free-entry policy until a few years ago marked her as a bit of an outlier amidst the island’s superclubs. Having played the biggest scenes in the world — Coachella no less — The Gang shows tINI’s constant attachment to the music firstly, something all too rare in a corner of the industry that at times seems to have more to do with the stock exchange than with the transformative experience of clubbing. The Gang is tINI’s loose group of affiliates, a Justice League for bumpy beats that pairs more established names like Bill Patrick — with whom tINI’s epic b2b have become the stuff of legends — or Cologne’s own Andy Kolwes with a pool of fairly unknown up-and-comers, and some carefully selected guests, that have included all from Alexandra to Giammarco Orsini. Sure, the brand is centered around tINI’s figure, but its rotating cast makes it about the vibes rather than the names. As Andy told us, she’s “the living proof […] that it’s possible to stay true to yourself and even gain a bigger audience at the same time.”
So now those two names are joining forces, with a series of b2b sets that started on May 9th at Frankfurt’s beloved Robert Johnson, following tINI’s invitation to Molly’s HEAD—ON residency at Rex Club back in January, and continuous appearances with The Gang for Molly over the past few years. This collaboration is a win-win-win situation: tINI maintains her appeal as a big name DJ that still knows what’s hot, Molly’s continuing ascent to DJing royalty is propelled by the partnership, and we, the public, get to see those two unique DJs get face to face. Beyond their respective knack for working a crowd into a frenzy, the two have more in common than it seems. Most importantly they’re DJs first and foremost: although both have made forays into production with success, it’s primarily their skills as party hosts that ground their respective appeal — which in this day and age where everyone seemingly is a DJ is no small feat. While many turn to production to stand out from the mass, those two have mainly relied on the old art of DJing: the ability to select the right tune at the right time, and to string those good tunes over hours into something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a skill that shines most through their residencies — where you can’t merely fly in, soundcheck, play some bangers, but have to think out the entirety of the night, from the warm-up to the last encore, as a continuous whole, and have to maintain this continuity month-in month-out.
A successful residency shows great curatorial skills, and the next logical step, which funnily enough they’ve both decided to take around the same time, was to launch their own labels. Kicking off last year with a warm and dubby EP courtesy of Florida’s Michael Zucker and associate Pete An under the Prophets of A New Generation moniker, Molly’s RDV carried on with an Aybee record smothered in his gently psychedelic percussion-heavy style and has already reached its third release, this time crossing the Pond back to Paris for an Aleqs Notal/1977 split.
And now tINI’s taking the plunge, too. Little do we know yet about her Part of The Gang endeavour, except that the first record, out this summer, will mark her return to production and come backed with a Mr. G remix. What more do we need to know, really?
After a gig at Sankey’s on the 10th of May, Molly and tINI will be back together in Barcelona with the whole Gang on June 13th. Last; but not least, the duo will gather again for a Tuesday treat on the island for tINI and the Gang Ibiza Showcase. It seems like we can expect more from this collaboration in the future — a chance to catch two exceptional curators at the top of their games, having a bloody good time together and sharing it with us.
To remark the occasion, MEOKO proudly presents tINI and Molly Exclusive Podcast (2-hour cut of their Rex Club Set). Nothing much to say, turn the volume up and ENJOY!
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More tINI / Molly / tINI and The Gang
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
Microscope series is back again and this time we are having a very well known name - Andy Kolwes & A Special Mix.
Hi Andy, a pleasure to have you here! I couldn’t make it in time for your set due to my work but I had a blast at the Pressure Traxx’s 6th birthday at Hoppetosse, how was it for you?
Coming to Berlin is always a pleasure because I have so many friends & brothers in sound here. I entered the boat about ten at night and both decks were already fully packed. It was quite sweaty but had a great buzz about it. It felt amazing! I couldn’t t think of a better way to celebrate this birthday. I met so many friends from all over, including my friends from Cologne who came by as well.
I always prefer working with friends, because there is a deep level of understanding. Every problem can be solved with a quick phone call and you don t waste any time with chit chat. That means more time for the fun part!
So I realized I don’t know much about your background, what were your formative years like? Did you grow up in Cologne?
If I look back now, it seems like I have a special relationship with the night since the beginning. In my early youth I was a very busy graffiti writer. Very similar to the music scene with friends from all over across Europe. We were visiting each other, all sharing the same passion. A real underground feeling. It was natural for us to buy vinyl, even though we weren’t DJs at all. A good friend of mine was the first to have a DJ setup at home with 2 Mk2s and a mixer. The only problem was, that nobody knew what to do! There wasn’t any YouTube or Internet, you had to have somebody to show you how it works, not so easy like today. So I was more into graffiti at that time. It was in my early twenties, that I discovered the disco life for myself.
After that I was more & more going out and enjoying the party night life. Over the years I became a experienced clubber, first as a punter and later I started mixing, organizing parties & finally making my own music. The time between 20-30 was pretty tough because everything is unsure and finding your way in life is not so clear. Whilst studying economics, all the expectations were causing pressures and making me question what I was doing. Later on in my 30s things got much easier in a way, as you start to feel more comfortable with yourself. The path is more obvious and you realise you are doing the right thing.
Do you remember any experience that blew your mind and decided you to get into the scene, start mixing, etc?
My mate Nekes was playing in Cologne and we were at an after party we were doing, I decided right there and then to go for it & get into Djing as my new passion. From then on I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I started organizing my own parties. Then I made friends with Alex Multhaup who did the label Karmarouge back in the days. We were organizing monthly club nights and a big festival called "Cologne Summertunes”. In the following ten years I had the chance to develop my skills and grow as a DJ, playing with many of the guys that I’d looked up to previously. These were great times!
That’s how I met Thomas Melchior for the first time, as well as Dan Andrei who became a regular guest and long time friend. I think I was about 26, when I started making my own music. Our monthly event was a good opportunity to test out the stuff I had produced the weeks before. It was a very motivating environment for me growing as an artist. The music became more & more important.
Cologne’s a city our readers are maybe less familiar than Berlin or Frankfurt, how’s the scene like over there? Kompakt is a big reference point but that doesn’t seem to be your type of sound, was this an influence though?
Of course Kompakt was really important for many people back in the day but it frustrates me a little, that Cologne is still only known for the sound of Kompakt. We have some really talented people here who are worthy of getting mentioned as well. For example, Julian Bomm and the guys from Rheinrythmic crew. A highly motivated bunch of young guys organizing events. Three years ago, they came up with an illegal club for a short period of time in an old car wash. It was all built from wood inside with the help of their mates. For the weekend they rented a function one sound system & it was just one big rave!
Luckily my studio was 5 minutes away and so, every weekend I was making music and when I felt kind of stuck in the process, I walked over to "Waschstrasse“ to catch some vibes.
Mostly I came by in the morning. In the end they put the old couches on the dancefloor and we were all hanging out. Then slowly a few started dancing again & BOOM, it was going on! That brought a special feeling of to Cologne, which Berlin is usually known for. In this great environment I met many new friends, for example St. Joseph as well as Martin Mercer, a young and very good producer with a huge output who is surely one to watch.
Is it something special for you playing over there? Would you ever consider moving?
Of course it is a very attractive place: I mean, so many friends all living close by in the neighbourhood. That sounds very appealing to me. During the week I am making music mostly on my own, because everybody else is doing a job. That can be boring sometimes. I just started searching for the right place in Berlin around Kreuzberg, where i can live with my Studio All in one place. If anybody knows something, please just drop me a line!
People are coming to Berlin from all over the world and I see it as a gift, that all this is happening right in front of my door. The fact that there is almost no language barriers makes everything so easy.
You’ve been DJing for more than 10 years now but only started releasing records around 2013, so what got you into producing?
At first my primary goal was to produce in order to get more bookings. Over time producing the music was so important to me that if I would have to choose now between Djing & Producing, I would just Produce. It feels like a great gift, being able to make the soundtrack to my own life.
Making music is like therapy. Even though you are escaping from reality, but you are still doing something for yourself. I find it really cathartic.
If I look back now, starting my own label was a great move because it made me totally independent. I never had to get in touch with labels for getting my music released. Many artists out there have a few great tracks and usually they want them to be released on a labels where they think they’ll get the most coverage. But then it’s gets so political if you know what I mean..I feel so lucky that I never had to hustle like that.
Of course it all takes its time, for example getting new equipment and updating your studio. But it’s a means to an end to evolve your vision of your sound.
Your sound is particularly trippy and hypnotic, even for minimal. What’s your process like when you’re in the studio?
My musical journey usually starts on Wednesdays and ends on Sunday. In these long boot camp sessions at home I develop my vision of a modern, trippy house sound. My sound is mostly analogue, coming from synthesizers and classic drum machines like TR808, TR909, Emu SP 1200 and some modular stuff. I use analogue sequencers or my hands to feed my synthesisers. Sometimes I really know what I want to do or try. But I also love starting completely free with no expectations and just catching the vibe of the day. If there is something special showing up which is worthwhile and appeals to me, then I try to capture this feeling and concentrate on the parts which seem essential to support the essence of the vibe. Often its like writing a book and I might try 3 different endings. In the end it often is a pity, because you have to decide which version is the best to release. Unfortunately time is limited on vinyl and these decisions must be made, although you see something special in each version.
On Monday & Tuesday I usually let my ears recover. During these days I just play some Piano. I just love to explore all kinds of melodies and harmonies on the keys. It brings you closer to the essence of a track, its certain feeling. I mean the rhythm & groove is one big component of a track, but also is the tone. It doesn’t necessarily have to follow the rules of standard music theory. Even a disharmonic combination of tones can feel right and be a beautiful thing.
And what about mixing, do you have a routine to prepare gigs?
Before a gig, I always go through my whole stock, just digging for stuff I’m into right now. In the end it its is mostly a combination of old tracks from the 90’s, some all time favourites and some new stuff. I usually play 90-95% Vinyl because it sounds better, is more fun and a better buzz to perform. Especially if you look at it from the entertainment factor. You are working, you are in the mix, it is part of your performance. In my opinion, there is no time for stupid DJ moves in the eye of the storm. It looks so boring looking at a DJ, staring frozen with eyes wide open, scrolling through a 100 Gb USB Drive. I made up the rule to just pick a track when I tend to get lost browsing.
To me being a DJ means developing a constantly growing reference to rely on, especially while making my own music. It keeps me fascinated, curious and up to date as well. I buy records all the time for all kind of situations, not only focused on the dance floor. I love playing on a gut level, focused on the actual moment, hunting for that special vibe that lives inside all of us in the rave.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with tINI and the Gang?
In 2013 we first met because my friends Nekes was playing with her at the beach spot. I had just released my first record on my label "Anyway". tINI was telling me that she loved this record and to my surprise the next season, I was already hooked at the beachspot for the first time. If you are a newcomer, it is very important and gives you a legitimacy. Playing the closing set last year at Ibiza Underground felt like I finally arrived on the island. I was going to Ibiza almost every year since the late 90s, but back then more with the purpose of recovering from our monthly party business in Cologne.
I highly appreciate tINI, not only because of her support in my early days, but also for all those fantastic nights we shared over the last couple of years. She is the living proof to me, that it’s possible to stay true to yourself and even gain a bigger audience at the same time.
The three records you put out on your own label 'Anyway' are truly something special, and I hear there’s an album on the way now. How was it crafting an LP compared to EPs?
I’ve been thinking about this for some time. My biggest struggle is to find the right combination of tracks. The decision itself is the biggest problem, because if you are juggling too long without coming to a decision, it starts to do your head in! That feels more like work than in the end. I have had that last September. In the end I was so fed up thinking about the album, that I just stopped the thinking process. I just wanted to make music again.
You’re fresh off a tour in South America and Japan. That sounds exciting, tell us about it!
Oh yes, it was. I always wanted to go there. It was already planned for last year but did not work out in the end. This year, it was time and I had a blast! I left every place with the feeling of "I don’t want to go now because I’ve made some amazing friends” Manglus from Urugay was already a good friend of mine, because we shared some great nights in Club der Visionäre over the past few years. As well as Yoske from Japan. It’s an unforgettable experience when they show you the best places in their world.
In the beginning I was a little frightened by the thought of being away from studio for 6 weeks. Although it was very important for me to go out & enjoy life after a very long winter studio period.
You’re featuring on the upcoming raum…musik compilation, for the label’s 20th year, and there’s also an EP coming. How did the connection with Dorian happen?
That is a cool story because he was eventually a key player in success. The story begins about 20 years ago. At that time I remember dancing to Dorians sets in Space Ibiza. Since then he has been steadily releasing timeless & contemporary dance music.
In September 2013, I eventually went to Ibiza with a handful of copies of my first release. I was very lucky to give one of those copies to Dorian as he was playing. In the following weeks there was a huge demand for my record, so Dorian passed me over to Freebase Records. I drove down to Frankfurt with my first 20 copies. Three days later, they were all gone and Freebase was asking for more. As I am self-distributing my records, it was a brilliant start and got my record straight into the shops.
Being part of the 20 years anniversary of Raum Musik makes me very proud, as I have been following Dorian & Raum Musik since the beginning. He is not only one hell of a nice guy, he’s such a sensitive DJ who has been consistently blowing my mind for two decades!
When I do a sound check in a club, I often put on Raum Musik first because it shows you very clearly what you can expect from the sound system and where the limits are for the night. Always a very good reference to rely on.
And what else is coming up for you? Any exclusive bits for our readers?
There will be coming an additional artist Ep on Raum Musik around in the late summer.
And of course hopefully my first LP (2x12)on my label Anyway.
I usually try to not look too far forward and take life step by step.
Thanks for the mix! Did you have a specific idea or mood you wanted to convey when recording it
It was recorded in Nagoya in Japan which is the hometown of my friend Yoske. It was the last gig of my Japanese tour and a mental night. I always prefer to take a mix from a night than making a podcast at home. At home its more clinical and somehow an feels like an audition, although nobody is there. Then I end up recording two or three mixes & have to decide which one I prefer. From my experience that’s a waste of time and I’d rather capture the spirit of the rave on the night.
It is believed that booking agent plays a vital role for a DJ throughout the career, particularly in the early stages. Tell us a bit about Zero Logistics and how your life changed since you signed with Z.L.?
I first met Roberto as I was playing for tINI & the gang in Underground. That night I told him that one day I would like to have my own Roberto. I was very pleased and did not have to think long as he asked me if I would like to join his agency, Zero Logistics, three years later.
I am really thankful especially for my first South America tour. It was a great start this year and I really feel like there’s some wind in my sails now.. It is great for me to have him in the back taking care of all the booking stuff. People often forget that it costs precious time & a lot of work until a date is confirmed.
Despite that I am very grateful for him helping me with improving all my social media stuff. Something that I couldn’t be assed to spend too much time on in the past.
Of course it is the responsibility of the artist to deliver great content and new releases, so your agent has some material to work with. I see it also as a great opportunity to show the people what you stand for musically and what they can expect by booking you. You are step by step creating your own image and defining yourself as an artist. If you accomplish that while staying true to yourself and enjoying the process, it is all you can achieve I think. My work is a great experience to me and a very spiritual thing.
Thank you for your time and the mix & All the best for the future. We hope to see you in London.
Thank you MEOKO.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More Andy Kolwes; Facebook / Soundcloud
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
Hot on the heels of his appearance at Eagervision on May 11th, Javier Carballo flies back to the Canaries to celebrate the 11th anniversary of his and partner-in-crime Berna’s Underyourseat party. The party’s a staple of the island’s nightlife, and going stronger than ever with the recent launch of the in-house label to celebrate the 10-years mark. The first EP was provided by Javier himself with Lowwaxx, and encompassed the broad range of the party, with four enchanting groovers of dub and minimal allegiances.
At such a good time for Underyourseat, no doubt Javier and Berna will be in the mood to celebrate. Both are proponents of a stream-lined and hypnotic sound, that carries the crowd seamlessly into the night up to those wee hours of the morning — sunglasses on, head-bobbing to the tunneling grooves til the sun is well up. There’s probably no better way to enjoy it than catching them in their home turf. After 11 years of inviting over the best names in minimal, from Onur Özer to Cabanne and Raresh, there’s a reason they’re now the ones headlining events across Europe.
For this special occasion, they’ve invited a good friend of ours, who we interviewed back in December: Traumer. Since he steered his alias into a more micro/minimal direction, here at MEOKO we can’t get enough of the Frenchman’s drum-heavy rollers. And in that regard, we’ve been treated: even more productive than usual, Romain is already four releases in since the beginning of the year, including one on his ever-special GETTRAUM label. A very special guest for a very special occasion.
So there you go: on May 12th, it’s in the Canaries that the good things are, so it seems. you can already book your tickets here. See you there at the front-left speakers — after-party on the beach.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More Underyourseat; Facebook / Soundcloud / FB Event / http://www.underyourseat.com/
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
A true enforcer of timeless rhythms, with an ability to draw the listener in with a wide spectrum of sounds and moods. A unique thought process when digging for records, searching way above and beyond the ordinary. Over recent years, a reputation has been built solidly around his passion and raw ability to structure records whether playing in a club or after party atmosphere. A journey of all kinds. With successful releases on London based labels Fuse, Infuse and Arupa, the energy does not end in the booth.
It has been a long time coming, join us as we caught up with the natural and humble talent that is, Joseph Williams; he will be joining us this summer on the MEOKO stage at RPMM Festival in Porto (and rightly so).
1. First, thank you for your time and recording a mix for us. Where did your journey with music begin?
It’s a pleasure to finally do a mix! I would say my journey did not begin with electronic music; my taste was varied growing up from Hip-Hop to Blues and Folk. A lot of the electronic music I heard was filtered through my older sister who would play it at home and took me to my first parties when I was around 17/18. I would pair up with her friend who was older so I could get in to over the 21 nights with my baby face!
I was always more inclined to listen to electronic music as I got older. After my first club nights I began collecting for myself, starting with classic/soulful and funky house. From there I was constantly discovering new sounds and different variations of our music. It felt like I stumbled across all the parties and music I now enjoy, but my path makes sense when looking back.
2. What would you say influences you amongst the scene right now?
I value my time spent with friends the most. This could be at a party, or the countless hours we spend playing and discussing music in between. It’s these moments that are influential for me and I draw energy from. Even a simple conversation with a friend Shauny could spark and renew my enthusiasm. Connective moments of shared passion fuel and drive our scene forward and we all experience them in some capacity – these are fundamentally what inspire me to be creative.
3. Where would you say you enjoying playing the most, either past or present?
Can we make it a time during the night? If so, after-parties. It’s where I am most relaxed, I feel less pressure and I can play the music that I enjoy collecting the most. I think there is a certain expectation from the crowd for the main gig of the night and this includes the DJs living up to their expectation of the event. I can definitely appreciate this and to some degree, it can’t be helped.
The after party, however, is where people are (mostly) open to DJs experimenting, so it is a space where the DJ and dancer can subconsciously both transcend the expectation and convention of a standard party and experience sound differently, together. With this comes an atmosphere that permits more freedom, which is always good when playing.
4. Having released on Fuse, Infuse and Arupa which are highly respected labels, are there any labels in particular you would love to work with in the future?
It’s been great working with these labels as the people behind them have been friends and have somewhere along the line, helped me on my journey. I’ve not thought about any other labels to release on, my main focus for now is to simply make the music.
5. Do you have any releases in the pipeline you can reveal to us?
I’ve been working on a first EP, its something that's not come naturally in terms of creating and selecting. I’ve had loads of ideas but none I feel have represented me. Although now I have one more track I’m working on which completes a 4 track EP.
6. This July you will be playing along side many fantastic artists at the brand new RPMM Festival in Porto. It sounds like a great concept they have, how does it feel to be part of such an exciting project? You will be able to pack some special records for that trip.
I’m looking forward to it! The main stages of the festival host loads of different styles of music, so it will be nice for the Meoko room to continue in that fashion and provide alternative and deeper sounds.
Ultimately you can’t fully plan for a gig, but lately when finding music I've been saying ‘yep, that’s for the festival’ - some feel-good sunshine groovers.
7. You recently played at the refurbished 93 Feet East, how did you find it with the new makeover? It is refreshing to see a club being given a new lease of life. Do you think this could have a knock on effect in the city, maybe more day time focused clubs opening?
I think its great that its back. The club was home to a lot of my first parties and raving experiences; it is of course synonymous with Sundays at Fuse. In a way, this club and party was a preamble of things to come for me. The makeover has given it a stripped back no-nonsense feel, and this has been mirrored by the extensive quality on the line-ups every week. I recently had a convo with my friend Zack who is involved with the events in the club and we spoke about the potential it has for so many different types of parties and events.
I hope it does have a knock on effect! I have seen a few cool new spaces pop up recently and have been to some great parties, there is still a lot of passion in London and the city can still be the clubbing capital if we are not limited by restrictions and closures.
8. What can the listeners expect from the mix you kindly made for us, how do you go about compiling online mixes and podcasts?
I’d like to think overall, it represents distinct moods and sounds that I enjoy most and look for when collecting. I love music with feeling. Some of the tracks in the mix I connect with when I’m home or daydreaming with headphones somewhere (which I do a lot). Despite appreciating loads of different styles, on a whole, my taste is definitely dictated by synths, melodies and the feeling they give. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bass line! But I am a listener of music first, and these are the tracks that catch me, so its only natural it follows in my selection when I play. I hope this mix is a snapshot in to what I groove to and reflects parts of my personality.
When compiling the mix I wanted to focus more on my personal connection with the tracks and tried to subdue the ever-enticing factors of novelty and obscurity, as they don't always help the cause. In regards to the structure, I try to be gradual with the intensity in mixes and leave the end dreamy, I left this mix on a lighter note as I try not to take everything so seriously all the time ;)
9. A question we like to ask, if you could choose three records that never leave your bag, what would they be?
I wouldn’t say they never leave my bag, but here are three tracks that I always come round to at some point and have done for a while:
1. Wamdue Kids – Echoes and Instruments
Timeless Wamdue on the seminal label, Guidance.
2. Ricardo Villalobos - H.E.I.K.E. (Ricardo Villalobos Mood Mix)
The man is a major influence for me, probably not one of his most cited tracks – but the simplicity and percussion groove always catches me. It circles round in to my sets every so often.
3. B12 - Debris
Bags of emotion and a record I’ve played towards the end of many after after parties.
Thanks a lot for your time Joseph, see you in Portugal J.
Interview by Zac Bidwell
More Joseph Williams; Facebook / Soundcloud
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube
It is that time. Yet again, another masterful release is on its way from genius Romanian producer, Ada Kaleh. ‘Nedeslusit in Amurg’ is the seventh release on his up close and personal outlet named after himself, Ada Kaleh Romania. A vinyl only label, with a desire to enforce the full package with each release. From the sound, down to the artwork, simultaneously aligned with the stories behind them. For this release artist Anca Buzilan has made her mark with two detailed images, one on each side of the sleeve telling the tales of the music.
Taking up the whole of the ‘Sunside’ is ‘Nedeslusit in Amurg’ inspired by the whirling dance of the Sufi Dervishes. A physical form of meditation, an aspect that reflects within the sound with hypnotic loops and choppy vocals. After several days trapesing the desert, the sun begins to set (amurg; in Romanian) and the dervishes gaze in to the distance to find an image of a woman holding a blue pot of water. Flickering in and out of focus, a ‘Nedeslusit’ (Mirage). All senses vanish and the Dervishes’ are lost amongst the whirling dance, in ‘Amurg’ they remain. The image accompanying this side shows the dervishes stranded in the desert as they realise the mirage.
On the ‘Moonside’ there are two interpretations of ‘Morgana Avidoma’. Morgana representing the female in the image, rolling, off the bat rhythms proving her capability to remain, whether in the distance or in front of your eyes. There is a sense of confusion, but the beat keeps coming back, two tracks that would sit well in a mix. Morgana herself features on the artwork of the ‘Moonside’
Kaleh, is known for his ability to curate atmospheres of an extraordinary variety, sometimes the subtlest of tones go such a long way due to his attention to detail. Never short of magic, with his special touch. Quality of the highest order, for listeners who will immerse themselves in minimalistic and stripped back sounds with a touch of class.
She is always there, but only for us to see.
Presale link on Decks:
Artwork by Anca Buzilan
Words by Zac Bidwell
More Ada Kaleh; Facebook / Soundcloud
More MEOKO; Facebook / Soundcloud / Youtube