- Published on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 23:01
Argentinian producer Guti is one of the most exciting and evolving artists electronic music has to offer. Best known for his groove-loaded take on house and techno that comes to life in his dynamic live set, Guti’s musical roots go deep. After years spent touring in Argentina with a well known rock band, Jovenes Pordioseros, Guti found himself drawn to the dancefloor. Whilst living in Germany, Guti made the acquaintance of Loco Dice and released his debut album Patio De Juegos on Desolat in 2011.
In the years since, Guti has ascended on an exponential trajectory as an in demand artist with a unique sound. Now, Guti is making a return to his South American roots with his latest album, Year of the Conga, released on the 29thof March on the Martinez The Martinez Brothers’ Cuttin’ Headz imprint. The album is testament to Guti’s veteran status, showcasing his breadth of influences across 14 tracks, each rich with South American rhythm and percussive flair. Right in time for summer, Guti is currently touring his album globally. Amidst his packed schedule, Guti found time to chat with us at MEOKO. Read his interview below.
Hey Guti! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us at MEOKO, it’s a pleasure to have you!
Let’s start with you’re forthcoming album 'The Year of the Conga' on Cuttin Headz. Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the album?
The inspiration of the album is coming back to the dance floor. Is our rhythm. The Latino in me. It's all the music I grew up listening to transformed in this electronic artist of a thousand battles that I am today. It's something we always speak about with the Martinez Brothers and it is what we are. Our essence.
Listening to the album, it exudes that kind of well-considered sense of ‘sureness’ that only comes from an artist who has truly come into their own. Did it take you long to find your own identity as an artist?
Thing is I am many artists in one! I am the jazz musician. The underground producer that loves to go deep! I always wanna experiment but I am also the house guy that plays Latin rhythms and enjoys dancing and to make other people dance. I think I finally got in tune with all my sides and I can express myself.
How would you describe the evolution of your sound over time?
When I changed scene after all my years with rock bands I was thrilled with making people dance. Was addictive. Then I have some years experimenting. Now I'm back on the dance floor. Synthesizing everything. More direct. The message is more direct.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
All my inspiration comes from three parts. My life. My love. My issues. I am floating in an endless self discovery trip. And every music I do taps into that.
Aside from working in the studio, you’ve got a pretty packed touring schedule. How do you find balance?
Well I am pretty unbalanced! Been touring for 20 years! I do my best. Culture and sports. Hang out with my girl and my friends as much as I can. Go to museums. Different socio cultural activities that take me a bit out of my touring that makes me feel I have almost a normal life.
Having played across the globe, are there any particular scenes that attract you most?
I love to play in South America. I love Latin people and I love Asia. I'm doing this interview from Malaysia! In the end every scene has more in common than what you would think!
Looking ahead, you’re already set for a pretty stellar summer, with Off Week and Awakenings already announced and more to be confirmed. What’s your favourite part about playing big festivals?
Now I am on a mission. That is to present the album to as many people I can. That's why I am on this world tour and I'll pretty much do the whole world in the next couple of months. From Australia, to India, to Latin America, to Europe to the states and back. It's a challenge to play the album in small clubs and big festivals. And I love it!
Coming from an incredibly diverse musical background, we have to ask, what do you listen to when you’re at home?
I listen to jazz and salsa. I have an obsession with Oscar Peterson and Hector Lavoe.
Wrapping things up, what does the future hold for you?
Life goes on. And I am already writing the next album. It's from our band with Francesco Tristano "Another Paa,dise" and we are also launching a label together and preparing a big live show. We already played Mutek last year and it's a project that really got me excited.
Interview with Guti by Lily Dalton
''I'm Trying To Play Music That I Feel Strongly About, and I don't Want To Get Into The Hype.'' Melodie Interview&Mix
- Published on Sunday, 14 April 2019 23:15
Cristi Turodache, better known as Melodie, has deservedly earned his status as one of the most exciting talents to emerge from Bucharest’s scene. Over the past five years, Melodie has injected the scene with a vibrant, fresh sound, incorporating new influences and exploring new terrain. His polished, and continually forward-thinking productions, can be found on coveted releases across some of the scene’s most respected labels: Metereze, RORA, and Vivus, among many others. While his output positioned him at the vanguard of a new wave of Romanian talent, Melodie’s biography offers only a small glimpse of dedication to his craft.
An artist with an unwavering commitment to constant learning and development, Melodie’s most recent endeavour, the Redesigns album, is the conceptual realisation of his desire to continually offer something new. The digital-only release features refreshed ‘redesigns’ of eight of Melodie’s previously released tracks and is currently available via Melodie’s bandcamp.
We are incredibly honoured to welcome Melodie to our podcast series with two hours recorded from his set Saturday 9th of March at Club Eden. The podcast is testament to Melodie’s ability to create a sense of coherence amidst vast stylistic and emotional diversity. Traversing mind-melting textures from a range of genres and soundscapes, this mix is an escapists delight beggint the listener to get lost it.
Accompanying the podcast, we are delighted to feature an in depth interview with Melodie about his Redesigns Project, his production processes, and his evolution as an artist. We are incredibly excited for what the future holds for an artist whose patience and passion are palpable.
Let’s start by talking about your most recent project. Could you tell us a little bit about the concept behind the Redesigns Album?
Some people, over the years, asked me for digital versions of the tracks, because some records were sold fast, or I don't know, they don't play records maybe, or they don't collect vinyl. Digital is cool, sometimes I also play digital, and why not? Also it's nice to have different versions, retakes.
What sort of things did you change up when you were ‘redesigning’ the tracks.
Well, one of the things was that the tracks were made many years ago, and over the years, I kind of changed the way I make music, and with the redesigns, I made them in two weeks or so, and they're all more my recent take on music.
Could you expand a little bit on this recent take? What’s your new approach like?
It was more like the way I make my mixes on tracks, and the way I work now. I'm always into developing my workflow and the way I work, and learning more and better. And I changed some gear also, some tracks, they were with my old sound card, and I have a new one which sounds better. And most of it, this was the way I make the mix downs. Because of the equipment I use now, the overall sound of the tracks has changed. I think now I'm getting closer to a cleaner sound, more transparent, where you can understand all the instruments pretty well.
Yeah, I can definitely hear that everything sounds really refreshing and new – it’s exciting!
Yes, it was a moment idea when I thought initially to remaster them, but then I was like, "Why don't I make them like new?" Some people tried to say, "This is the rework of that track," but I wanted to perceive them as something different, new.
What about your workflow? How has that developed over time?
My workflow, yeah, it changed over the years, and since a couple of years, I've been trying a lot working with hardware synths more, and I guess because for many years, in the beginning, I used to work only on computer. And I kind of got tired of it, being always on the monitor, and clicking with the mouse. So now I try to make tracks kind of in a live session.
Yeah, so a lot of jamming?
I don't do so many jams, but rather, I make the tracks like a piano player does. I just make live takes until I make the track the way I want it to be, from just one take, from one take. If I make a track and I make a mistake after three minutes, I just start it again.
That must take a lot of patience. Do you get frustrated, ever?
Not really, it's interesting, because sometimes I do, but in the end it goes well, or if it doesn't go in a way, maybe the track is not ready yet to be finished. I also feel that it helps me to understand better the trials, what the track actually needs as a build. I think I worked too much on the computer for many years in the beginning. Like on this album (redesigns), there are two tracks, I think it was six and seven, that I made with the mouse, like the block kind of arrangement thing, because yeah, I'm doing different things from time to time, because I don't want to be stuck in just that thing. I want to expand a bit and try different things.
It seems like you're someone who just loves constantly learning. Would you say that's true?
Yeah, I like that. There is many things I know now that I had no idea in the beginning. Somehow they come with time, I think.
What was this process like for you?
At the start I thought I'm making interesting things, but actually I was just playing around with loops before I started to release anything. I think yeah, that's why I started making music in '98, when I was 13 or 12, I don't remember exactly. And I got serious into it in 2005 or 2004, because for that period, I was just playing around with it, like you play a game or video game. And I guess also the internet brought a lot of knowledge available that you can read and find about.
In Romania also, if you are not in this environment already, I don't know how easy it is to get in touch with people who have studios and great equipment. I mean, the first time I went into a professional studio was I think in 2005, 2004. I just was there for a few times, and it pushed me a bit to start to learn more, and to work more on music.
I tried many things: in the beginning, I was working with loops, and just putting them there together. After a while I tried some edits, like in that period, and then I worked with samples and presets, and it was just, I guess, I was still learning a lot.
What were your inspirations back then, and have they changed?
Yeah, I had a long time, I think, making music that I was not so satisfied with. I mean, it was, I guess, decent, but I was not so satisfied. The tracks I released on Metereze were the ones that I started to believe a lot in, and they pushed releases with other labels. But yeah, Raresh liked them. I think it's the same now, it's not the same reasons as there were at that point, but I'm kind of the same. I get inspired by many things, like by equipment, by sounds. That's the thing with the acid tracks. I like = the acid style, and I was inspired by that. I just woke up one day and I was like, "Wow, I want to make an acid track."
I know what you mean by that. It just comes to you sometimes.
And sometimes it's just, I don't know, some feelings or ideas about gear, or trying some new technique, or sometimes even what's happening in my daily life, if I get inspired by that. Now I'm working more on sound design, and I feel have a more flexible way of doing things. I have this modular, and I'm kind of making sound from the scratch somehow. I don't use presets anymore for a few years now, and for example, I was in nature last year, and I got so inspired by the sounds of the birds and the bugs on the leaves. And I came home, and somehow I managed to transpose that into a track that I'm going to release in a few months I think.
Awesome, that's so exciting!
Speaking specifically of the Romanian scene, you would definitely be considered as someone shaped the direction of it and sort of filled the sound with this kind of emotional warmth. What do you think the difference is between someone who makes a good track in that style and someone who makes a really great track?
Oh, thank you. For me, I think I always felt like this when I started to go to parties. I felt that music has to create a build inside me. I want to feel exciting, excited about what I'm hearing, and surprised somehow. And also emotion, you have to have a feeling of something. I think music should have a story in it. Whatever kind of story, I don't know, happy, sad, linear. I used to listen to minimal music in 2004, 2005, like Richie Hawtin, and there are a lot of other people. And even though they were minimal, with a few elements, they had a story, like a small build there. And nowadays, a lot of this minimal sound and tech house minimal sounds a lot like a loop and it doesn't create a story somehow in it.
Yeah, that’s an interesting perspective, I think with the sheer volume of stuff that’s released now a natural corollary of that is that there’s going to be a lot of average, mass-produced stuff that doesn’t create a story, I guess. I definitely feel there’s so much to get excited about when it comes to the music emerging at the moment.
Yeah I do agree.
Changing direction a bit, let’s talk about your experience as a DJ. Do you think your approach as a DJ is quite reflective of your style as a producer? When you're performing a set, are you trying to conjure similar emotions that you are when you create tracks?
Yeah, I don't know. I'm trying to play music that I feel strongly about, and I don't want to get into the hype. Of course, I'm getting inspired by othcer people. For example, I was out this weekend, and over the years, I went out to a lot of parties in Bucharest where my friends played music, and I was inspired. I guess you can't avoid it too, you can’t not be inspired by the evolution, and the whole collective movement. Because I used to play rougher music, house, back many years ago, and now I've evolved. I'm still not playing minimal too much. I want to have a bit of diversity into my sets, but I'm not going too much into extremes. I think the one thing that I find I aim for in my sets, in my mixes, is a coherence, just like my tracks. I want them to have a coherent story, and the whole mix sounds more like a track somehow.
You mentioned you’re getting more and more into sound design now. what drew you to wanting to be interested in it? Was it sort of a natural progression from producing and DJing?
Yeah, I guess one of the things was being super unsatisfied with using presets, and the limitations it gave me. And also, sample packs. I don't have sample packs in my computer, I have just a few samples like drums. You know, the percussion bongos, congas, and all these tambourines, because I feel like I had an idea, but then I have to go through some presets, and I feel like they always have to be different. And now, in the last two or three years, I started to make sounds specifically for a track, and many times I don't use them again.
I mean, this is besides the drums, because you can have a drum machine and use the drums they make, you maybe process them a bit, put some EQ and compression, and you can't get too far away. Many times, I find it easier to use drum sounds from a drum machine, and I don't think they're so important, like the basic kick snare, hi-hat. I think more of the synths, the bass, and some other percussive elements, you can play a lot with them, and with the effects. And you can achieve more interesting sounds, at least this is what I like. And like I said, if I'm not evolving, I get bored.
I feel like the possibilities for evolution are endless. There's always going to be something new to create.
Yeah, I'm kind of losing my inspiration if I'm not into thinking too much on to it. Like, thinking up new things, "How can I approach these gears differently?" or what combination I haven't tried. Sometimes, I just make some music just to make something, but what moves me the most is trying new things and getting new ideas.
I think I'm starting to focus even on making music, DJing is cool, but lately I kind of lost a bit interest in it. I find myself spending more and more time on making music rather than digging for music.
Do you find it more inspirational to sort of create your own stuff?
So and so. I mean, I like to listen to other people's music, because sometimes I work on a track, and it takes me 10 hours, and I realize that, for the last 10 hours, I was listening just to this thing, and I want to listen to something else. Because, of course, if you don't listen to anything it's harder to get inspired.
I enjoy music a lot, I still go to parties and I find myself as a listener. When I was younger, I used to think, to listen a lot to what's happening technically, like when I was starting to DJ. But now I don't give it too much attention. I mean, you can hear, of course, things, but I'm not focusing too much on that.
That's a much more enjoyable way to spend your time on the dancefloor, personally I definitely fall into the trap of letting my focus on the technical side of whats happening take away from the experience and story.
Wrapping things up, could you tell us a little about what you have planned for the future? Are there any releases you can tell us about?
I have some music that I want to release planned already, but I'm going to work on music for some other labels as well. The thing with vinyl, is it takes such a long time, you make some music, and then it takes three months or four months to release it. I feel like I want to release stuff that I'm super satisfied with.
Words by Lily Dalton
- Published on Tuesday, 02 April 2019 20:56
No history of Bulgarian electronic music would be complete without a mention of Deyan Zlatinov. You might not have heard of him but there's a good chance you've danced to his music - particularly when you consider that Loopdeville has been engaged with electronic music since the 90s. Deyan has kept a low profile for much of his career, touring only occasionally while remaining an active producer. In the past 10 years he has played in countries like Switzerland, Germany, UK, Romania & Bulgaria and played on festivals like Meadows In The Mountains plus other Open Air Parties. To hear a Loopdeville record is to peer into Zlatinov’s soul: every broken drum sound, every old school pad, every dusty sample reflects something lurking in his subconscious. His aesthetic has arguably been best showcased in his standout mixes, with efforts for Introspections (Half Is Enough) and Project London Radio in more recent years.
It was 2013 when he released his first digital and vinyl EP’s under the name Loopdeville, respectively Karton Label and Knock Knock Series from Kiara records, Body Parts and his own label Delooped Records which he launched that year with his partner in crime Georgi Panchev. Through Delooped he began putting out an array of new music from the likes of Sublee, Pepp, Anima Mundi, Anton Pau as well as his own music and soon developed a close relationship with kindred spirits such as Lorenzo Chiabotti, Suciu and Harry McCanna to name a few. In 2014 he released on Moss Co., Odd Music and a remix on a vinyl only release for Moral Fiber with one track on a VA for Karton (vinyl only), also with a remix for Body Parts and recently on Rotate 005 “Mini Rotations I”.
Like many producers, Loopdeville eventually wound up in London, and it was there that I met him for the first time about five years ago. Since then I have spend considerable amount of time with him at his studio, either observing him producing music or spinning records. What I’ve witnessed was a passionate collector with an extraordinary drive to take the crowd on a musical trip. In short, Zlatinov is an important ambassador for Bulgarian electronic music and is an artist with something to say, which is why we decided to sit down and have a chat with him! We also got him to record an exclusive mix for all of you so double treat right here for our Meoko readers!
Hi Deyan! Thanks for being part of our series! I appreciate that you made time out of your busy schedule for this interview! It barely took a pair of ears to tell that you have a real passion for minimal and techno. Can you tell us how all of this started and evolved over the years?
Hey Denny thanks for having me. Great to be part of these series for Meoko. Well, it all started with me wanting to be a singer actually. I tried, but somehow I could not see me practicing by myself at home singing to the walls. It all started when I joined a private singing school and at some point we went to a studio to record a dreadful song of mine... It was at that time when I had my first real touch with a studio and observed what the producer was doing.. since then everything changed. After a while I quit the singing lessons and got myself a PC, met another producer who was making music mainly for fun and he got me into music software so we started making beats.
What influences did your home country Bulgaria have on the music you make? Were there any particular people, parties, labels or moments that significantly influenced you in the early days?
Back in the early days of acid and techno / house music there was a very unique and famous club called Comics Club which was simply awesome! It was an old cinema theatre with high ceiling and some amazing DJ's over the years. There I fell deeply in love with this music genre which inspired my productions and allowed me to develop a “old-schoolish, broken, repetitive & dusty” style.
Artists from Mazi a.k.a Audio Soul Project, Dj Ali (Canada), Hipp-E & Halo, Joey Youngman, Terry Francis, Nathan Coles, Eddie 'Evil' Richards, Tony Thomas, Silicon Soul (they were the city favs actually at some point) to some crazy techno DJ’s from the great techno scene that Sweden had back in the day; Cari LEKEBUSCH, Hertz etc. All these artist were from the beginning of 1990s when the club was active. Nowhere else in the country, was there a place like that...it was a sanctuary for the new kids on the block. I should also mention Club "Weekend" where it all started for me as a performing DJ. A year or two after that I was playing b2b with the owner at that same Comics Club, presenting his new line of parties - we went on to have some glorious b2b with the guy and yeah it was a perfect beginning for me. If you add some broken beats inherited by my country’s folklor - (the roots you know) and the influence of hip hop, soul and jazz on top of everything else then you get the idea behind Loopdeville.
It’s been about 4 years now (more or less) since you left London and moved to Gibraltar. How do you find the city? Are you enjoying your life there?
Yes we moved out of London as it was getting too much for us (me and my fiancée). We went to a place called Tarifa and there we decided it was time for a new chapter for us and I couldn’t have agreed more. We live on the other side of Gibraltar, which would be Spain and there we had our little daughter Sofia. I was devoted full time on raising my daughter, especially the first 1.5 years which was an amazing experience, trust me (laughs). Gibraltar is an interesting place I must say with a nice little scene that has some proper big names and also current underground figures are making their appearance at parties here and there. I have much love for the people who gave me the chance to play music here - the guys from Noroc, but it wouldn't be possible without the kind help of a man like Rossko who introduced me to them as he played here too. Enjoying life here Denny you should come and experience the city yourself!
And what about your record label Delooped? What is the concept behind it and what should we expect in the near future?
Delooped is our baby - mine and Georgi’s! It is still kicking and will be kicking again soon as we have prepared a double 12” for our next release. This release comes from Bulgarian artists called Sumrak - a truly amazing duo - but more about them very soon… The idea behind Delooped is to stay within a small circle of artists and of course always push Bulgarian artists that make the kind of music we like and believe in.
We are also in the process of bringing back our second label Erorr or Catalogue Of Erorrs and we are working on a third label where we will be presenting a sound that would be similar to the one Delooped has already established after 5 releases. At the moment lots of things are being finalised and I will be revealing more when time comes. Erorr will be presenting slightly braver ideas and out of the box kind of productions - all mastered by our good friend Tom Gillieron. Just check our first release on Erorr and you will see what I mean. Vendi was the producer behind it and as always he did a flawless job.
You are also an artist in your own right - which of them two is more important? The label or your own music, or do they go hand in hand?
The label and my music both go hand in hand. I have always been interested in the idea of creating a circle of like minded artists who embrace the philosophy of having a good and clean relationship between us and also making sure everyone is appreciated by the label; be it artists getting paid or invited to a showcase party and so on. Surely we have made mistakes along the way but after all we are here to learn and we hope there hasn’t been any artist who we didn't treat well.
What are you looking for when it comes to finding new music and signing artists to your label?
What I am personally keen on is artists who got the “humpty dumpty” flow in their beats if I can say and it makes sense. There must be character in their music, funk, jazz, that techno-minimal magic dust; the kind of music where you can jack your body - don't really care if it is minimal or techno or house or electro tango. If you listen to what we have released so far, or the music I’ve done, you would probably get a better feel of what I’m trying to describe.
In regards to your own productions, what projects are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m not really working towards anything in specific rather than a remix I will be starting soon. Usually I would sit down and make beats whenever I find time for it and let emotions do their job. It has always been more of a hobby of mine rather than a regular thing, even though I have had many unsocial months, maybe even years of my life devoted on crafting my sound and all the rest that followed. Making beats is probably the only thing I have been patient and consistent with in my life - in terms of interests and work wise too (laughs)!
Is there anything that you don’t see enough of in the music industry that you’d like to see?
The music industry as it is stands has more than enough and as every fairy-tale you got the dark side of it - here too, but I am not going to elaborate on that as it is a long subject. At the end of the day it will be what it will be. We can only keep our heads down and work towards always changing things for the better for our environment and the industry as we know it. What I aspire is to create a sustainable life for the labels - me and Georgi are already presenting and investing towards this and will continue to do so in the future. We’ve been off the grid for a while, although behind the scenes we’ve worked hard in order to come up with ideas on how to reach closer to our goals. In addition we have always been on the look for fresh artists with fresh ideas.
Coming on to the mix you’ve made for us, what can you tell us about the music on it?
This is a mixture of the tracks I love listening and playing at the moment. Probably only one or two of them are released, again from artists whose music I love; Dj Ali, Afriqua and also this sick up and coming artist from Manchester called Samuel Padden feature in this mix together with my good friends Maruntelu with a cover of RHCP track by the end of the mix.
In the beginning of the mix you will find out a forthcoming track on our Erorr label from an artist that requested to remain unknown. Not only to us, but to everyone who is about to hear the music and we totally respect that as we absolutely love the productions and the final product. By mid way the mix builds up with tracks from forthcoming releases on both our labels. Those are productions from our newly signed Bulgarian artists that will be having a double 12" for Delooped and later in the year on all other labels. Basically these tracks will be available at some point this year through our labels.
Words by Denny Kem
- Published on Thursday, 07 March 2019 23:29
Despite big head line ups, techno festivals and events, discovering, hearing and dancing to some tasteful rhythms remains the main goal of what we love and want to share. Techno is all about music and passion, a fact that we can’t deny. In this way, we choose to offer you something fresh, a brand new bangin label named Phonik, co-founded by Yoshitaca, Fasten Musique Concrète Resident DJ among Archie Hamilton, Verrina&Ventura, SIT or Roger Gerressen to just name a few - and friend and partner Julien Lucas.
One release and another one out since yesterday, we had a talk with this last one but least quoted, Julien. 25 y/o French young man livin in Berlin since few years now, talked us about Phonik origins and his vision of the music berliner way of life.
Hello Julien, thanks for having us. I’m glad to exchange with you today.
Hey Dylan, thank you for your welcome and interest in our new project Phonik.
First of all, and as it’s the main reason of our venue, can you tell us few words about Phonik creation, aims and directions.
Everything started in 2016 when Yoshitaca and myself met at the club Hoppetosse in Berlin, during his first gig there. From this time, a strong friendship started and our love for the same music pushed us to make this project together.
In February 2018, we decided to create our own label Phonik. We could define our music by a mix between House and Electro, with some techno sonority.
We all know that the Berlin underground scene is pretty huge and various. It’s a kind of pilgrimage site for every DJ and ravers who want to become more imbued with the electronic music culture. How can you define your place in it?
First of all, Berlin always been for us “the” electronic music city, which is actually the main reason why we both moved here.
The rave culture always been huge here. Clubs like Heideglühen or Hoppetosse have been for us a lot of inspiration in our music direction.
But like we all know, the concurrence here is important and it’s getting harder to stand out from all of these new labels.
Our music wanna stay underground, in the way that we only press 300 copies for each EP and work mainly with new artists.
Phonik has for the moment released two vinyl records : PNK001 Thoughts or Feelings, an whole EP composed by Yoshitaca and PNK002 Members Only EP including four tracks by Mariano, Optique, Yoshitaca and Yoske which is out since yesterday!!
How do you feel about this second EP?
We are really excited to see how the public will react with this various artists composed by four very talented producer. The four tracks are made for the dancefloor.
Bikini Waxx Records located in the famous Kreuzberg district, became one of the most popular record store in Town since there opening five years ago.
A great selection from House to Techno with a warm customer service.
The team is composed by Yannik Zander, Alexander Skancke and the owner Gerd Tammist.
With their cosy mezzanine space, it’s feels good to listen records while drinking a tea or talking with friends.
You have the chance to have Bikini Waxx Records store for your second release party. Can you tell us more about this partnership?
We really wanted to make a partnership with a record store in Berlin, and naturally our choice turned into Bikini Waxx.
We both are regular customers of the shop, and with the time became friends with the team. Like we said, it is really important for us to work with people close to us.
On March 8th, so basically TOMORROW you will be hosting the PNK002 release party over there. What can we expect about it?
It’s gonna be a lovely event starting at (from) 6pm till 10pm. We wanted something familial for this one, and Bikini waxx feels a bit like home! For this event, our special guest will be the talented Velasco playing his finest records.
Of course will follow our two Phonik artists Yoske and Yoshitaca. You will find some copies of the PNK02 directly there.
Fresh beer will be served as well!
What is next for Phonik?
Working at the moment on the third EP, which will be out hopefully beginning of summer!
We’re planning also to make really soon some merchandise goods Phonik T-shirt and tote bags.
Thank you for your time Julien, see you really soon.
Phonik02 Release Party x Bikini Waxx Records promises to be a lot of fun, a perfect way to breathe out after a long week, afterworks golden hours to enjoy with vinyl only sets from Velasco (Nil), Yoshitaca (Phonik) and Yoske (Phonik/LARK).
And ‘cause we love to treat you damn well, one of you will have the chance to win the new PNK002 Members Only EP. One rule, like and share the Facebook publication, Julien will pick the luckiest of us with our help.
Words by Dylan Am
- Published on Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:46
Bucharest’s Vlad Dinu has been inconspicuously refining his sound for over 10 years. His hunger for experimentation has led him to move beyond genre constraints and use music as a mode of emotive communication. Vlad Dinu’s artistry is an extension of his passion for the power of groove, and his expertly honed productions have found home on labels including Generatia'90, Synesthesia, Mihai Bravu, and Half Naked Dog. Vlad Dinu has also collaborated with the likes of Sublee and Iuly.B, releasing music under the Stedi and Nord Pipes aliases respectively.
We are honoured to have Vlad Dinu join our podcast series and delighted to have had the opportunity to talk to an artist whose drive and humility are palpable. For his MEOKO mix Vlad Dinu dives into the dancefloor-oriented side of his collection, building and sustaining an energy guaranteed to lift your spirits.
An advocate of the power of the groove, Vlad Dinu’s ability to extract new and exciting musical possibilities from his selections renders him a sought after presence in his local scene. Having appeared alongside Piticu, Charlie, Emi, Suciu, Cezar, Praslea, Kozo, and Ion Ludwig, Vlad Dinu is beginning to ascend on a promising trajectory of his own. Drawing from his multispectral influences, Vlad Dinu’s sets offer fresh and creative sounds delivered with an effortless veterans touch.
Hi Vlad, thank you so much for your time. It’s a pleasure being able to chat to you and we’re super excited about the mix you’ve put together for us. Can you start by telling us a bit about the idea behind the mix?
Hey guys, first and foremost, let me say that I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to be featured on your platform .
I’d like to think that the mix I’ve put together for you guys is somewhat representative of what I would play during a club set . I’m thinking this is a very good opportunity for people who don’t know me to get a small taste of what they might expect me to play during a club night . All together I hope the audience enjoys my selection of records and I surely hope to bring a smile to everybody’s faces :D
Taking a step back, how did everything begin for you and how has it evolved over the years?
Well I guess it all began in 1996 for me. I went on a trip with my dad to Philadelphia and I discovered a local record shop whilst exploring the city, which would later become one of my favourite shops in the world. That’s the spot where I got in touch for the first time with hip hop, as I bought my first Kool Keith record. Dr. Octagon which was released that same year Mo Wax .You have to imagine that I was 12 years old and I just bought myself a PG18 rated record . That’s the point where I started losing it and started buying as much records and CD’s I could afford. Hip hop was a big part of my life as a cultural movement and I sill feel culturally connected to hip hop through my music a lot ! High school later brought me face to face with electronic music , as I was constantly hanging out in one of Bucharest’s most legendary venues ( one that actually saw a lot of the legendary names in Romania play , guys like Dj Vasile, BogMan which was then known as Dj Sleek , Vexxatu Vexx, Blanoz Distrusoz , Suie Paparude or Unu, just to name a few ) . I’ve started playing dance records about 12 years ago and haven’t stopped ever since.
What are your views on the current Bucharest club scene? Is there anything you’d like to see done differently?
Bucharest has rapidly evolved over the past 8 years into what you would might call “the place to be” when it comes to the clubbing scene. Clubs are constantly lined up with the best names in the industry, whether it be the local heroes or big names from abroad . Furthermore, I think that it recently became a more diverse scene than before as new and talented artists are diversifying their DJ sets with all sorts of music as a response to the massive growth in record acquisitions that goes on lately . Thus being said, I wouldn’t change much as I think that the local club scene is constantly developing into something better and better as time goes by. Only thing I would definitely wish for would be new venues as we have a lot of astonishing buildings and establishments that would easily fit a club event.
As a DJ, the breadth of your selections makes it clear you have an intuition for digging deep. What are you looking for when it comes to finding new music?
The main element for me is groove . If a track perspires groove, whether it be a minimal one, a housey one or why not even an experimental one, as long as it has groove it will definitely get me interested into it. Another thing that makes me buzz are the tracks that tell a story. You see, I also like to think that my DJ sets are about me transmitting my story to the audience , so therefore, a track with a good storyline and a strong groove is definitely going to have me buy it !
Now let’s get into the production side of things. Your catalogue is very diverse, and I’m sure only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the music you’ve created. Did you get into production through DJing? How long have you been making music?
Hah, thanks, you make me blush :)
Production wise, I started putting out tracks 10 years ago so I would guess that makes me old now wouldn’t it? I’ve always maintained a low profile as I have been constantly working to perfect my sound both as a DJ and as a producer but now I feel I have achieved that which I was looking for and it’s time for me to put it out for the people to enjoy.
Could you talk a little about the creative process behind your productions? What continues to keep you inspired?
I guess every day life is what gets me inspired. I always find myself jamming whenever I sit down in my studio, and it’s always based on how I feel at the moment. I don’t think that I have ever narrowed down my inspiration to on thing or another, it’s basically the sum of all my experiences since the last time I sat down to make music . So, in other words, my music is somehow my personal diary .
What about your technical approach? Could you describe your current studio setup, and your workflow when starting a new track?
Being my dad’s kid, I grew up listening to Motown Records mostly every day, so you might say that my only technical approach is jamming till it sounds good . I currently work in a home studio which is basically pretty well equipped as far as my needs go. I have 3 samplers ( Elektron Digitakt / MPC 1000 / Roland SP 404 ) , 4 analog synthesizers ( Korg Minilogue, Roland JX-3P, Behringer DeepMind 12 and a Behringer Model D ) and a couple of other digital synths that I always go back to when I need that “extra something “ , a delay pedal from HardWire and that’s basically it. I also use a couple of VST’s , mainly the ones from Fab Filter but then again, I rarely use them as I like my sound to be as raw as possible whilst sounding pleasant to your ear .
Do you ever reuse elements of unfinished or unreleased tracks while generating new ideas?
Once I have exported a track, as far as I’m concerned, that’s one closed story . I like to keep it diverse and so if a jam builds up into a track, than that’s that . If it doesn’t, I will probably later strip the instruments apart and try to rebuild it from scratch.
Maintaining a distinct personal sound across a range of styles is something you’ve managed to master. Do you have any techniques processing-wise that contribute to giving you this distinctness?
Only “technique” I think I have mastered is the art of not being afraid to explore . I never set out to produce a track in a predefined way, whether it be in my mind or be it following a certain predefined arrangement that I earlier decided upon. I just sit down, jam , and let the music take me where it wants to .
Thinking ahead, what are your goals for 2019?
I’m definitely looking to travel more with my music and put out more records as my track stash is currently busting open with fresh material. I’m also aiming to give a fresh restart to my own record label, Mihai Bravu Records, and put out some of my favorite artists’ music . I also look forward to collaborating with more people from the industry - I have been blessed enough to put out a tribute EP for Swayzak and also got a remix from them , also got remixed by Tommy Vicari JNR ( again, a wonderful and blessed experience ) and I am currently waiting on a remix from the Italian duo Nudge , so that’s already a win for me this year :) My main goal is to keep doing what I do no holds barred .
As Vlad Dinu :
As Stedi (collabo with Sublee)
As Nord Pipes (collabo with Iuly.B)
Words by Lily Dalton
- Published on Sunday, 24 February 2019 14:56
We catch up with DJ/producer and party promoter Bruno Curtis, founder of Round UP Agency and project director at the RTS.FM Prague studio. Based in Prague, Bruno has become a key figure for raising the bar in the city's underground scene, both as a DJ and as a promoter with Round UP since 2016.
Into 2019 Round UP is stepping up its game with a series of special events happening both in Prague and around Europe - in parallel, Bruno's DJ and producer activities took off as well, with a schedule getting busy with performances, from London top notch events to an Ibiza residency at Ibiza Underground one Wednesday per month this summer, from June to September. We had a chat with Bruno to get to know his plans for the warmer seasons coming up.
Hi Bruno! Thank you for your time, it’s a pleasure to have you on Meoko.
Thanks for having me.
First of all, can you give us a little bit of background regarding Round UP? How was it born and what are its objectives?
Round UP started as a birthday event for me and Agustin Alvarez - our birthdays land on the same week, so we decided to do an event together. As you may have heard Prague wasn’t too big on the type of sound we play or present at the time so finding a venue was pretty complicated. We finally managed to get our hands on a bar owned by our now very good friend Claudio. Basically he’s responsible for starting the scene as much as we are, because without him we wouldn’t have gotten this far, or anywhere for what matters. After the first event in which we managed to sell out the bar we were offered to continue, and we did. Starting with small events, we added the visual concept into the events, which at the time wasn’t really a big component for these type of parties. We had a guy working with us named Orkhan, he would create the craziest of visual presentations either from lights, objects, or both... A seriously talented guy.
From then on we started presenting Round UP as more of an art-orientated organisation (yes, music in itself is already art), but we did bring that edginess to the events by delivering quality music alongside these crazy visuals. For example, when we had tINI over we built a forest on the stage with real plants and bought fake flowers etc and had them drop from the ceiling to create a jungle effect while we had visuals projected on them this in a warehouse. This was a very DIY idea that we had just hours before the event started.
So in shorter words, Round UP is an audio-visual presentation as most promoters these days, but we put a lot of work on the visual side with objects and projections. That and the overwhelming good vibe. Every single person that works with us needs to have this sort of attitude: be nice to each other, respect each other. That's the recipe for a perfect event!
On the 15th of March you are collaborating on an event with MU, a venue in the industrial district of Istanbul. How did this collaboration start? Is it the first event you host in Turkey?
This year we have made a lot of changes in our team, work method, events etc. With that changes came the partnerships with new bookers that assist Round UP outside Czech borders. One of these booker is Muge Tuzer, who happens to also be the booker at MU. She gave me the idea of doing something in Istanbul, and it's been a city I have wanted to visit for a very long time. We agreed on Barac to be the guest, I got in contact with Nicu and that was it. It has been very spontaneous as the whole thing unfolded in 10 minutes... I can’t wait for that one.
Then on the 29th of March you will be back in Prague with a Resolute collaboration. The line-up for this one is stunning, with Sonja Moonear, Francesco Del Garda and Shonky headlining the event. What guides your booking choices?
We always try to book artists that are either very close to us personally, or artists that completely embody the energy that all of us put into what we do. In this case specifically all of the guests are personal friends and have some of the best smiling faces present in the scene - always delivering that good energy that can light up a crowd. It's not all about standing there dropping the best tracks for 2/4 hours that get you to the next level of being a good performer. The aura, the energy that you yourself transmit into the crowd is very important, something as little as eye contact and a smile can make someone’s day.
It's important to be conscious of these kind of things, people rave because they want to escape and feel like they belong - we can help this with music, but these type of details can also be very helpful. A simple smile can literally change everything about a set. That's the type of artists that we want to book, the ones that are able to connect on a personal level and bring a lot more than just mixing tracks.
You will also be hosting the first-ever Cocoon showcase in Prague on the 10th of May. What are you expectations and what information can you share for now about this massive event?
Well to be honest we’re still working out the details, but I’m very much impressed with the entire Cocoon team. They’re all super organised and it's all going smooth like butter. The visuals for this event will be massive... Like festival style massive. Super excited for this.
What’s the underground music scene in Prague like at the moment?
The scene in Prague is actually very vibrant at the moment, not internationally acknowledged but still vibrant. There's a lot happening all the time, promoters are booking more and more interesting and good names. The guys at Ankali club lead the way in this subject. The Komiks crew always throws massive warehouse parties once every 3 months that are somewhat part of the veins of the city itself. Then there's the Harmony crew, all young and super talented guys, and the XYZ guys also... I mean there’s a lot happening. I’m very confident that sooner rather than later the door will open. That’s always been our mission after all.
You are playing at the Half Baked x UP Festival Easter showcase in London. What are you expectations for that? What other upcoming events or releases are you looking forward to?
Yeah, thats sort of a gig that i’m still to digest, the whole past 2 years really. Always followed closely Half Baked and the entire team and having had the chance to befriend them and now play for them is as cool as it gets, all in all I’m thankful and focused on all of whats coming my way, really can’t wait. In terms of releases we have (on our ANBC project) 3 releases now on the pipeline, first already found its home the other two are still in the engine room, lets see prefer not to jinx it and just go with the flow on this. Have been playing a lot of my stuff in my sets recently and been surprised with the reaction so can say I’m excited for what 2019 will bring.
Tell me more about ANBC, the collaborative project with Alex Neivel. How did this collaboration start and what are its objectives?
ANBC was more of a logical step in terms of music production and progression. Alex basically pushed me into diving deeper in the studio and he’s been the one pushing me from day one. After a lot of after party jams or late night studio sessions we figured out that the compatibility was just there and joining forces made sense. Since then we’ve been making a lot of stuff - we built an additional studio in my house, so we pretty much live and breath music from Monday to Sunday. Our musical direction? We’re very classically orientated, jazz infusion as well, experimental, so we try to bring those components into micro-house and just try to approach it in a way that what doesn’t make sense then starts to make sense... a bit hard to explain. In the mix we gave now you can ear a lot of our own productions, won’t say which but you’ll find out soon enough.
Could you tell us your highlight moment/story from 2018?
UP FESTIVAL!!!! (link here)
You are also working at the RTS.FM Prague studio. When did this start and what do you have upcoming on this side?
This was what got me more involved in music, it was roughly 2 years ago and it all started out of me being discontent with what was happening musically in Prague at that moment. I always felt that Prague could go further, so I’ve always been trying to find a way to get the music out of here in some form and RTS.FM came along and provided that gateway for me to start putting some Czech artist on camera, in a way pushing people to try and be better.
It's different when you’re playing for an audience much bigger than your normal bar crowd, you tend to put a little bit more effort. For me if I could just push people around me to that point then the scene all together would grow. I couldn't do it alone, either we all move or no one moves. Nowadays it's a little bit more stagnant due to the amount of projects I’m working on, which are all very time consuming.
Thank you again for your time Bruno, we really hope to catch one of your sets soon!
Interview by Giovanni Bodrato
Who are 'Where We Met'? MEOKO Discovers the Forward-thinking Sound Which is Reshaping Underground House and Techno, infusing it with Break-beat and Electro
- Published on Thursday, 17 January 2019 10:36
Since 2017, Re-UP and Riccardo Piazza teamed up on a new project, forming the Venice based record label Where We Met. Distancing itself from the old minimal tech background that distinguished Re-UP, the multi-faced project is not only a ‘traditional' record label, but also an independent DJ act, as well as a promoter entity. More importantly, WWM is pushing a forward-thinking sound which is reshaping current underground house and techno, infusing it with break-beat and electro.
The name Where We Met celebrates a specific moment in which the three of us had a mind-blowing experience all together, surrounded by inspiring music and funny scenes. Sunwaves 14 is Where We Met and that's also the story behind the name. Zip's magical 5 hours set and the unforgettable Ricardo Villalobos set in the middle of a storm were both essential for understanding that we were feeling the same energy , and from there our friendship has been growing with mutual respect and with the security that we share certain human values which are at the core of the WWM project.
That’s why Re-UP suddenly decided to invite Ricky to that dinner. As soon as the meeting started, things flowed naturally. Omar already had the name in mind, 'Where We First Met', so we just shortened it and here we are, ready to go!