'I’m looking to entertain the listener more with talent and artistry versus just beats and groove.' Delano Smith Mix & Interview
- Published on Friday, 12 October 2018 17:53
Of the original crop of Detroit DJs, Delano Smith is now the last. Reflecting on house and techno without his influence would mean viewing a very different musical landscape. Coming up at a time when the world was just discovering the influence a DJ could have, Smith battled his way to the top in a tough scene full of talent. With the guidance of the late, great Ken Collier, his early sets fusing soul, disco and early electronic sounds would plant seeds in the minds of many of Detroit’s subsequent generations of house and techno. Those dancing to his sets in the late 70s and early 80s would go on to become dominant influences in first rave then global music culture. Now, the circle is closing as Delano stands shoulder to shoulder with artists he once educated.
We are happy to present his MEOKO mix with an interview, discussing his upcoming projects.
1- Hi Delano, it’s a great honor, how you doing? What are you up to right now?
Hello, it’s my pleasure and thanks for the opportunity! All is well in my world, Just trying to finish my next two releases before I leave for my fall tour.
2- I hope you don’t mind going down memory lane, cause it’s not everyday I get to interview someone who’s been playing dance music since the disco days and I’d like to start with a few questions about those times. To some in this scene, Detroit might seem very removed — the music went through so many mutations since its inception. Do you see a certain continuity with what you experienced, say putting on high school parties in the late 70s, early 80s, and what’s going on now?
It’s actually a completely different world both musically and culturally. The music and the scene has morphed into something completely different from it’s humble beginnings I think. I don’t have a point of reference on how this musical revolution started in Europe, but in Detroit it started in the gay black community - then spread to straight black crowds and eventually integrated after the introduction of the Music Institute in Detroit where Derrick May and others began rolling post-Disco and early electronica. What started as Black Music primarily has now morphed into an entirely different thing spawning multiple sub genres - it’s crazy! But I like it!
3- Dance music has become a real industry in the meantime. What do you think of the evolution of the scene around you now, when you play in Europe for example?
It’s more industry driven in Europe than the States. In Europe, particularly in cities like Berlin and Paris, DJ culture is alive and well and a lot of people are connected to the scene in some kind of way allowing it to thrive. There are only a few markets in the States where the scene is strong. Europeans seem more open minded to various styles where as the States is more spectacle driven in my opinion.
4- You recently said it underwent some kind of revitalization since the heydays of Club Heaven — how’s the scene like these days in Detroit?
Time has changed the musical landscape in the D. It’s nothing like it was in the old days as technology has changed the way we think and interact with the music and the club scene. Right now, thanks to promoters like Paxahau (Movement Fest) and clubs like TV Lounge and Marble Bar, they have elevated the scene here to new heights. The scene here is very strong now.
5- Speaking of which, the Detroit Sound Conservancy launched a campaign to restore Club Heaven’s soundsystem. As someone who’s lived through it, what do you think of this initiative?
I think it’s great novelty, the youngsters in the scene now are not connected to it in any kind of way however- nevertheless, it would be good to have this piece of history restored though, I think it’s a good thing. Probably the only thing left in Detroit that is a directly connected to the beginning of how this all started in here.
6- More generally, how does it feel seeing things you’ve personally experience being granted historical and cultural importance?
It feels like I’m old now - LOL! It reminds me of simpler times in Detroit, when DJ culture and this music was still relatively new to a lot of folks. I think it’s only nostalgia if you actually lived through it - while it’s meaningful to us - folks that lived and experienced it first hand, I’m not sure if a lot of the younger crowd actually gets it. Only DJs and serious clubbers are interested in the relics of yesteryear - what are treasures to us are like MEH to this new digital generation. But it’s all good though.
7- Can you talk about the importance of this club and his resident DJ Ken Collier for the city and you personally? How have they influenced you as a DJ to these days?
Heaven was actually Ken’s House - it was where you could hear him in his most purest form - like Levan at Paradise Garage or Hardy at the Music Box. The system was like no other in the city and was a major influence to all the after hour party concepts that followed. Ken had other residencies throughout Detroit that were just as significant in the days prior to Club Heaven. His earlier residencies where the stuff of legend as well, it’s how we all became to know and love him. He was our ambassador to this music and culture.
8- How would you describe the Beatdown sound you became known for? It seems to be more about a vibe than a certain music genre, right?
It is more of a vibe. A stripped down vibe if you will, generally mid-tempo grooves that are soulful in nature - less electronic - more rooted in traditional House. An acquired taste.
9- You made it onto the scene with people like Norm Talley pushing that Beatdown aesthetic, do you think there’s a new generation of producers pushing that kind of sounds in Detroit?
Yes, I hear it all the time and I support the artists that produce this vibe as well. It’s a timeless sound and will never get old, especially with the a lot of producers pushing DAW-Less Analog rigs now, it’s a natural organic vibe. I’ve been hearing a lot of it at home lately.
10- How’s your sound received back home, by the way?
I think I’m still relatively underground in Detroit to the new generation, still new to the younger generation until they hear me or do a bit of research.. nothing like Europe though where my biggest market is. But thats the nature of things in the business now, loved more abroad than at home. I’ve accepted that fact.
11- I’ve heard you say you were making music for the clubs, which is a very DJ approach to it. Do you go out, whether you’re home in Detroit or when you’re in Europe, to sort of keep a finger on the pulse of the club scene?
Sure! I go out, listen to podcasts, stream DJ mixes on Soundcloud, YouTube, Be-At TV etc. in order to stay relevant you have to stay connected to the scene and adapt to it if you want to keep working. Plus, I enjoy watching and hearing other artists perform.
12- Your music remains obviously catered for the dancefloor, but after all those years, has your approach to production evolved?
Yes, somewhat. I’m longing for more musical elements in my sound now, more changes and progressions. I think this comes from age and attempting to escape monotony. I’m looking to entertain the listener more with talent and artistry versus just beats and groove.
13- From what do you draw inspiration then, when you produce back home, so removed from the club environment?
Thats a good one, and it’s hard to really say as it’s a variety of things. But I generally go in with some sort of concept as to what type of track this will be and go from there. I rarely just off the cuff starting with beat - bass- hat - etc.
14- Do you have any favourite clubs or parties to play?
YES. Paris is always fun, particularly Concrete (Rex too). Berlin is a great city too, but technically I’d have to say Contact in Tokyo is probably my favorite.
15- How did Europe and your success as a DJ it came to signify come to you? — you being first booked at Panorama Bar, your connections with Third Ear, now Sushitech…
Probably when I realized that I no longer needed a regular day job, when I realized that this was a sustainable career - now it’s serious and I no longer think of myself as just a DJ.
16- You released a new record on your own Mixmode Recordings after a 4-year hiatus for the label. What led you to re-launch it?
I decided to take a break from working with Sushitech as it monopolized mostly all of my production time with touring and all. That sound was working for me for years so I totally engulfed my energy into those projects. After the Lost Tapes album I decided to take a break from that sound and get back to some good ole House. I’m more inspired than ever now and have a lot of music that I will be releasing on the Mixmode label.
17- And what’s in the works for you, DJ-wise or personally?
I’m actually preparing to include some live elements in my DJ sets now, using a sampler, Drum machine and perhaps a bass synths to add some variety and perhaps doing a full blown live show. I will let you guys know when that's ready.
18- We’re super happy to host this mix, how do you feel about podcasts? Did you try to convey anything different from what you’d do in a club?
Yes. It’s generally peak time when I play at clubs so I have to try an keep the energy level up and the crowd dancing and entertained. With podcast mixes, I can chill out bit - to me - it’s more of a listening experience. I try to entertain the listener with down-mid tempo grooves. Although you can still dance, I feel it’s a way to introduce another side of my DJing - rather than just playing bangers for 2 hours.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More Delano Smith
'My Aim Is To Spread Positivity On The Floor And Make People Dance, Dance Happily, Dance Wildly, Dance Weirdly.' Voigtmann Mix & Interview - 4 Years of Oscuro
- Published on Friday, 14 September 2018 12:24
With meticulous dedication to his unique studio productions and versatile DJ sets, Voigtmann quickly gained popularity in the underground party scene and acquired the respect of his peers. After completing his mission with his previous label and party series Toi Toi Musik, Voigtmann went off seeking new musical challenges with the label Subsequent, on which he is releasing his debut LP ‘Sublunary’ this September. His new brilliant podcast for Meoko is dreamy and ingenious; the one-hour recording evolves in a truly natural way touching various influences from micro-house to UK garage, and feels like the perfect soundtrack for morning sunrise after a heavy night out. We are happy to present his MEOKO mix with an interview, discussing his new record and upcoming projects.
1- Hi Claus! First of all, thank you for the mix and for taking the time for the interview. This month Subsequent is releasing your mesmerizing full-length debut album “Sublunary”, which got support from the likes of Zip, Ricardo Villalobos and Sonja Moonear, to name a few. How did the record come to life? What is the concept behind it?
Hi Meoko! Firstly, thank you for the interview and glad to be back on your lovely series. In regards to the album, I believe it should be defined by the music on the two black slabs rather than by the people who support it. I think it’s an old-fashioned way of defining quality. Yes, I am happy I got the support, but new people with new ideas are on the rise and always falling back on to the same 4 people for definition is pretty boring and I believe they aren’t comfortable with that either, they are just like us, doing what they love.
The decision to make an album came about because I felt very comfortable in my studio. I had the best setup I could imagine in my little room and also felt I knew where I am going to take the album style-wise. I always knew I wanted to keep my debut album as classy as possible. The word ‘timeless’ is overused but I wanted to be able to look back in a few years and still be able to listen back without cringing.
Halfway through writing it, I realized that I literally don't care if people like it or not. I fell in love with the process. As an artist, you are ideally maneuvering outside your comfort zone, hence you are instantly faced with judgment from other people. The process of writing the album showed me that the result isn’t the main focus. For me, the beauty is in the process of writing and the amount of thought that went into it. Along the way, my sound changed to something wider, more grown up, more technical. I tried to circumnavigate any trend and really establish a very own body of work.
2- The LP features club sounds ranging from minimal house to techno and breakbeat but also presents an elegant touch in the style that feels closer to ambient music. Can we expect more of this coming from you?
I always had an affinity for sounds outside of house and techno… For instance, I have been collecting 70’s funk records for years now. It’s beautiful NOT to work result-oriented in the studio and just see what comes out… Sometimes it’s really weird stuff, sometimes it’s beautiful ambient pieces. I am planning to seek different challenges outside the 4/4 under different aliases next year… For example venture into broken beats/future jazz under V-Man (who would have thunk). I feel, I fulfilled a first milestone with the album and I am now open to all kind of influences.
3- The album shows impressive and versatile production skills. How did your studio set up evolve in the last few years? Can you name a piece of gear which was especially used for this record?
Thank you very much. The studio evolved more and more towards an analog side. I added drum machines and synths I love and could not live without anymore. The album heavily features the Analog Rhythm, The Oberheim OB6, and my computer. I do a lot of textures and the entire arrangement in Ableton while all the rhythm section and the main melody elements are analog. The digital bits sit very naturally behind the analog bits. It’s the best combination for me.
4- Can you tell us about the development of your DJ career in the last few years?
I am very proud and happy where I got to, mainly in the last year. I broke free from some chains and expectations holding me back. I also overcame the whole digger mentality; before I tried to fit into what everyone was doing and as an effect, I would sound similar. It’s bonkers, sometimes I felt I have to perform only for the chin scratchers on the floor. I couldn’t care anymore, my aim is to spread positivity on the floor and make people dance, dance happily, dance wildly, dance weirdly. My DJ sets got a lot more energetic but less heavy if that makes sense. The funny thing is that by simply being yourself you present a unique style already, you dig for your own style, you are unique. Once this penny dropped in my head I feel complete freedom behind the booth, playing an old vocal house track and bits I would have never touched before…it’s very liberating. Try it.
5- This Saturday you will be playing at the fourth birthday party of Oscuro in London. What is special about it compared to otherplaces?
The boys are doing a great job and pulled together a top-notch lineup. I played for them before and just feel my music is very well-received. I am succumbing a lot more UK influences these days and I feel the Oscuro crowd embraces that.
6- Can you share your highlight from summer 2018?
Houghton, Houghton, Houghton.
7- How would you describe your new mix for Meoko?
All my recent mixes were very fast and energetic, this time I wanted to create a very slow-evolving, unpretentious afterhours mix with simply a lot of unreleased material and tracks that I consider great music. No need to cram a mix full of the weirdest tracks you know, I find it quite relaxing just listen to the music evolve in one flow.
8- Do you have any other upcoming plans or projects you wish to share with the Meoko readers?
I am off to my beloved South America for a two-weekend tour. I had a studio break for a couple of months after the album but from October onwards, I will shift my attention back to the production/studio life. My book is filled with EPs and remixes this year so I will work through them and simply be a happy (V)man in my little studio. I plan to be positive and happy.
See you on Saturday at 4 Years of Oscuro.
Words by Giovanni Bodrato
'London Always Has A Special Place For Me, The History Of Dance Music Is Vibrant And Is Still Bustling With Energy.': Maher Daniel Mix & Interview
- Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2018 08:51
It has been a long time coming, join us as we caught up with the natural and humble talent that is, Maher Daniel including a special mix described in his own words;
'.. it will start of Slow and build nicely telling a story.'
1- Hey Maher, first of all thanks for your time. How are things so far, how was your Off Week?
Off week was good, great to see and hang out with so many friends, considering I live in barca I took it a little easy and went to specific events. Its gets a little hectic and can’t be everywhere at once. But over all I had a great time and it was definitely a refreshing year.
2- Born in San Francisco growing up in Montreal, living in Barcelona; How is life treating you in Barcelona? And please tell us about the scene in Montreal as your Motherland.
Living in Barcelona is fantastic It truly is a central hub in Europe with a lot of shows and artists coming through. The city itself is refreshing the people and the energy is amazing I would not change it for anything. Montreal was considered one of North Americas main party hubs, the city and its dance music culture really brought me to where I am today. From its summer events at Piknic Electronik and its vibrant club scene its still going strong building and growing.
3- You have recently been to London to play at Apt: x Visionquest alongside Shaun. We heard the event went great. How does it feel for you to visit London to play?
London always has a special place for me, the history of dance music is vibrant and is still bustling with energy. I love coming back to London and playing. The Apt: team were wonderful and the showcase with Shaun was solid. we both had a great time and the party was really good. Looking forward to coming back again.
4- Sadly you had a misfortune with your flight which resulted in late arrival to Sunwaves; but you still managed to play last April. Also that picture, Guti and Amir dancing on the bar while Argenis Brito playing, you also appeared in the picture with a big smile. How was your Sunwaves 23 experience overall?
That was a whirlwind of emotions, but I still managed to play on Tuesday morning. All in all Sunwaves this year was truly incredible. Every year it only gets better and better. The team and staff are truly amazing and take care of the artist, Like there own. The vibe and energy is refreshing and inspirational. I always come back from sunwaves with new ideas for production and studio work. It really gets the creative juices flowing. Arpiar Friday night was on fire and one of the stand out sets for me this year was Petre Inspirecu on Monday morning.
5- Your Creatures of Habit mix landed at a good time remarking the collaboration. How did you guys meet and decide to play back to back? Any future gigs as COH?
Yes it did, myself and Amir had met a long time ago in Montreal but then he left to work in Paris, on his return to Montreal, I Happened to be playing with Ricardo the same night at stereo and he was there. We connected and the birth of Creatures of habit started then. There are a few gigs in the pipeline including our show at the Bpm festival for my label showcase The Other Side.
6- Looking at your recent & upcoming gigs, it is pretty heavy. You are played with RPR at SS festival; it sounds like a great lineup. It must be a great feeling to play alongside the Romanian trio. Will it be the first time?
Yes been really busy building a solid schedule for the summer and this is one I was excited for, as it was the first time for all us of playing in Iceland. I have played with the guys 2 other time this will be the third time. It is always exciting playing along side the boys, as they do inspire me technically and musically.
7- Speaking of upcoming releases, please tell us a bit about your future releases, collaborations and remixes.
Well one that I am really looking forward to came out on July 23rd on circle music. They got the rights to Der Dritte Raum’s album and have reissued one of my all time favourites Hale Bopp, which I have had the honour to remix. Also the first release for the second series of records on my label The Other Side will see a Creatures of Habit Collaboration with a remix from Barac. Plus much more
8- An exciting project, The Other Side Series; Any future plans/releases you can share with us?
The Beauty of the label was to always push up and coming artist plus a specific sound and direction and I think with the first releases I was able to do this. Following up in its second year there is a lot of exciting new material coming out. With artists such as Guy From Downstairs, Faster, Barac, Hokuto Sato and Creatures of Habit.
9- Thank you for the mix, it sounds quality. How would you describe it?
This is mix is a curated with loads of new music I have collected and ordered over the last couple months it will start of Slow and build nicely telling a story.
10- It has been a pleasure to catch up with you. Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for Having me it really was a pleasure being part of the editorial and thank you for having me. #
Words by Erchin Jon
'I think that an artist always has pressure to deliver something good at anytime': Under The MEOKO Microscope - Giuliano Lomonte & Mix
- Published on Tuesday, 10 July 2018 22:18
Here at MEOKO, we took the opportunity to interview Giuliano Lomonte as part of our Under the MEOKO microscope feature, where we scout out emerging and underrated talents. He tells us about his musical journeys from his homeland to Germany and paints us a picture of what clubbing is like in both countires. And of course the future plans including his own record label Point of View. Read on...
Hi Giuliano, thanks for your time! How’s life been treating you lately?
Hello guys, thanks for having me. Life is great now that Summer is finally here and that always puts me in a good mood.
You’re originally from Italy but when did you move to Berlin? What decided you?
I moved to Germany 10 years ago actually, it was 28.08.2008 :)
During the years before I decided to move, I was actually flying to Germany once a month to go and visit all the best parties that were happening around the Frankfurt area at the time like seeing Ricardo Villalobos playing at Robert Johnson, Love Family Park Festival and many others.
After realizing at some point that I was spending more time Germany than I was in Italy, I decide to relocate to Mannheim, as during that time I met and became friends with many people from there so it seemed like the most logical step.
After an intense 2.5-year experience there I felt there was more for me to discover in Germany especially as it was, and still i, the heart of the electronic music scene so in March 2011 I moved to the city that would inspire me even further to continue to pursue this musical dream, and that was Berlin.
How was the scene like back in Italy?
The scene has been always been strong in Italy. The country has a long history of appreciation for house music and club culture. Italians love to go out and celebrate and there are many nightclubs all over the country for people to enjoy.
We still have many good club that made the history of the italian nightlife, to name a few, Goa Club in Rome, Clorophilla in puglia, Tenax in tuscany, Cocorico in Riccione. Since day one, they all run top quality party!
Do you have any favourite clubs to play? I know we can quite often catch you behind the decks at Club der Visionaere and Hoppetosse…
There are many clubs that are on my favorite list but on the very top is Robert Johnson.
I love playing there so much and it is such an honor every time I get the chance considering this was the place for me where everything started and inspired me to change my life completely!
Of course I really like to play in Berlin at CDV and Hoppetosse too, there is such a feeling of freedom behind the decks there, I can play things I would never be able to in other cities as the crowd is always up for everything and the parties last so many hours that as a DJ you are really able to show a range not possible in short sets like in most other clubs around the world. I really feel home when I’m there.
I must also add, a few years ago I discovered another club that has all the characteristics for a perfect party. It’s called VENICEBERG and is in Verona, Italy.
I recently I had the opportunity to play a 12 hour B2B there and it was magic!
The booth was perfect, the sound system was amazing and the crowd were all so connected to us and each other, so it made the place very special. Im so glad we have a club there like this today, it really makes me proud to be Italian.
“La Musique” makes me think so much of Sunwaves where it was rinsed last year, it seemed like the perfect place for this tune. So I was wondering, do you produce with a specific context in mind — for example, those aforementioned clubs…?
To be honest I didn't had anything specific in mind, just the bassline. All the rest came after I had that.
I did go to Sunwaves a couple of years ago so maybe something stuck in my subconscious about a moment I had in that environment that somehow I might have accessed without being aware of it when I started the idea for the track. I always try to allow myself to be free and not think too much when I’m making music as this tends to interrupt the whole process for me and creativity is a very delicate thing that comes moment by moment without having the feeling l have control over it.
And how was it getting back to production after such a hit? Did you feel any pressure to craft another banger, for example?
The La Musique EP was probably the best expression of myself that I have released up until now so it was nice to get such great feedback on the production, and it gave me the confidence to continue and make that my minimum standard to strive for with all my future records.
I think that an artist always has pressure to deliver something good at anytime, and this becomes even more intense once you have some success with a particular track. I had to learn not to be too hard on myself after this came out and got so much attention because you can’t choose what is going to become a hit with the people and what isn’t. You just have to be happy with what you have done for yourself when you put your music out into the world for other people to hear as and then after that’s totally out of your control.
I feel like your style is usually more understated, but would you say you have a “style” yourself? And if so how would you describe it?
Well I was a clubber to begin with and that will always stay with me in the style of music I make as a producer and play when I DJ. I always aim to create an experience where people can feel high on the dance floor even if they are totally sober!
Are you an after-hours kind of person?
I am all all hours kind of person haha . I would say yes i'm also; its the time when finally i let myself go after all the work is done. and if you are surrounded by good friends and people can just be great!
It seems like you’ve had more gigs outside of Germany lately, do you feel like your career’s picking up recently? Did it affect your daily life?
Since I signed with Solid AM in 2017 it has been really great especially to have the support from an agency like that, based in the city i live, which represents so many other great artists such as John Dimas, Vera, Steve O’Sullivan and Sammy Dee.
Actually I was working full time as a professional chef for the last 15 years and just doing music and DJing on the side in my spare time but I had to make the decision last year to quit that so I could focus all my time and energy on the music as it was really taking off so much I couldn’t manage both any longer.
How was it playing across Europe, and even Japan and Australia recently?
It was incredible! Japan was totally insane! Such a different culture for me to experience, it was like taking a glimpse into the future! I have to say though that Australia was the biggest surprise and shock. So many great gigs, especially SASH in Sydney and then Breakfast Club at 161, I couldn’t believe so many cool people were out in Melbourne on a Monday afternoon going crazy and so into the music! They really should do this party all over the world. I was very impressed with the Australian way of life. It felt so relaxed and easy with so many friendly and happy people but 6 days was definitely long not enough to be there and I can’t wait to get another chance to visit there again but next time I would love to stay much longer.
Let’s talk about the label now if you’d like! What’s your motivation with Point Of View, and how did it come about?
I wanted to start my own label as a place to be free to release my own music and music from other artists I believed in without the time pressure or difficult release schedules from other labels where sometimes you can be put in a position where you need to wait for years before they finally are able to release your tracks. This can be incredibly frustrating as it can also happen that over those years you are waiting, the tracks feel so old to you that by the time they finally come out you could be in a totally different place musically and creatively which can also be confusing for people that do love and follow your music.
How do you choose the producers you’re going to release on the label?
It’s usually friends i believe in which I feel is the most important. We all share music in our daily lives with each other and if I hear something i feel i can support with the label I really like to do this. I feel the personality of an artist is so important as it comes through in the music they create as its the expression of the artist’s soul and I really believe in all the people I have around me.
Speaking of which, what can we expect from you and Point of View in the near future?
There has been a full concept behind the label since I started it which revolves around the number 12 which has always been a very significant number to me. There are 12 letters in Point Of View, and there will be 12 releases on 12 inch vinyl and a big surprise for the last release which is going to be something very special from me personally and will tie up this whole project in a really interesting way. I feel it’s so important these days to do something with meaning, there are so many labels out there, to stand out you have to be unique in your concept and deliver quality music consistently.
The next point007 that will be out in September is going to be the third original EP from me on the label which I’m also very excited about.
Finally, thanks for your mix! What were you aiming for with it?
Well I wanted to give you guys something very special. It’s a part of my last set recorded live from Robert Johnson which I think shows exactly what people can expect of me as a DJ for any club set I play from opening, to main and also to after-hours. And considering how special this club is to me and my whole story, I hope you will all enjoy listening to it as much as i loved playing it.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
More Giuliano Lomonte
- Published on Wednesday, 04 July 2018 16:31
Marlie, a talented and passionate selector born in Sydney has certainly made her stamp on the music map. Recently just signed to Round Up Agency, Marlie has fast tracked her career by playing her unique and signature sound with a flawless and professional manner that has earned her respect throughout the industry in a very short time. Having kicked off her career properly in 2015, Marlie already has co-founded one of Londons biggest parties Point, established her own project roots which seeks to explores many differnt avenues of the industry and puts its focus on the local community and exposing the sound that she loves to her native country aswell as having played many high profile gigs including CDV, WYS and Up Festival to name just a few.
MEOKO can't wait to see whats instore next for this young and promising artist.
Which is the track that changed your life? The one that made you understand that music is really a particular emotion, more intense than others.
Taking me back to my very first days in East London before I started playing… It’s a track called Jacausa by one of our mates who’s artist name was Circus Line at the time. It was my first time at Keep on Going and I’d just discovered the wonderful world of minimal music. I’d often get goosebumps when I’d hear it - It just took me somewhere else..
Which are the DJs and producers with whom you feel more affinity, and with whom you would always like to share words, music and goals?
In the past couple of years I'm so happy to have met & connected with two of my favourite artists, Priku & Barac. I've seen both of them play multiple times & I continue to have so much respect for them. Priku played the best set I've ever experienced at Sunwaves and Barac's set at Up Festival this year was just so special. Aside from their music they are both beautiful souls which is what makes them more of an inspiration to me. It's no doubt that RPR are also a huge influence on me musically and artists that I admire.
How has your year been so far and what have you got planned for the rest of the year? Any upcoming gigs or plans to share with MEOKO readers?
I've had such an incredible year so far! I'm still trying to get use to Winter here in Sydney as I recently got back from two months in Europe where I had some awesome gigs. I was based in Prague with Round Up agency however I was constantly travelling. I went to Sunwaves for the first time which was mind-blowing & I played at my very first festival too - Up Festival. It was amazing to be able to listen & dance to my favourite artists at some of the best parties, connect with old friends & make new ones. I arrived home feeling pretty exhausted but very inspired nonetheless.
My plans for the rest of the year are to continue building my brand Roots here in Sydney & enjoy what Australia has to offer when Summer comes around. I'm stoked to finally be getting my European passport this August after 4 years of waiting! This means I'll be heading back to live in Europe early next year and hopefully continue chasing the Summer between there & Australia.
Which artistic achievement of you are most proud of so far ?
In London I had spent a lot of time building my party Point, with Dean Marc. When I moved back home to Sydney I felt like I was leaving a big part of me behind. I didn’t know anyone in the music scene in Australia so it was quite overwhelming at first - I felt like a stranger in my own city. It was only a matter of time before I started to miss the European music culture I was use to as well. I was determined to start my own new project here, so Roots was born. The brand began to grow in such a short period of time through a couple of illegal raves, podcasts, radio shows and live streams. We’ve now been doing parties in clubs for just over six months and I’m really happy with the direction it’s going - We’re playing our part in bringing that European vibe over to Australia!
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- Published on Saturday, 09 June 2018 10:29
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.
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
- Published on Friday, 01 June 2018 09:06
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