- 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
- Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 06:58
Little introduction is needed for our latest interview with Frankfurt based, Christian Burkhardt. An artist that continues to grow after over 20 years of production, performing live and mixing in all corners of the world. On his journey leaving a trail of successful releases on staple names such as Raum…Musik and Cocoon, with groove at the heart of every sound. Recent times saw the launch of CB Sessions a personal platform to release live jams and studio sessions with friends. Technology has always been a deep passion for him, and if you have been fortunate enough to catch one of his live sets, you will certainly understand.
Here is what went down when we recently caught up…
First, thanks a lot for taking some time out for us, and recording a special mix based solely around your personal productions and remixes. Hope you are well, and enjoying the start of spring in Frankfurt.
Thanks for having me. Yeah it’s a special energy when the sun comes out after depressing winter grey, people start smiling again.
Anybody who knows you, or has heard your name will understand your passion for technology, whether in the studio in Offenbach, or playing live. When did you start producing, and building your studio
I started producing back in my hometown Heidelberg, some friends had studios and showed me how to do it. My first Synthesizer, a Bassstation, I bought 1995. The Studio I built after moving to Offenbach in 2001.
What do you find yourself using the most in the studio? The set up looks very impressive.
In focus are different machines over the years, actually it’s the modular. I use it all the time, it’s the best thing for sound design, never ending possibilities. And the Elektron Rytm drummaschine, love the combination between analog and digital samples, with l layering, you get special sounds. But it’s not all about analog hardware, I do field recording a lot or jam around with cheesy ipad apps sometimes.
Do you find there is a different connection with the crowd when playing live as opposed to playing records?
Music wise for sure, because I have control about each element of the music in the live set. When I see a good reaction to a sound/element I jam in, I stay with the sound for a longer time. In Dj sets there is more time for seeing the crowd, cheering, smiling, waving having fun.
Summer is definitely on its way. Do you have any particular summer locations you look forward to playing in?
oh yes oh yes, I will play some shows during Sonar festival what is always the highlight of the year, everybody will be there. And of course Ibiza season is starting, playing at Pacha, Amnesia and Destino…still in love with the island. Not to forget two nice open air festivals at home “See us there” and then the “WCD-Poolsessions” looking forward to see the whole Frankfurt crew.
You have released on many highly respected brands, such as Pressure Traxx, Cocoon and Raum…Musik. All running for quite some time now. Raum… celebrate 20years this year, how does it feel to be a part of this, and to see the labels grow over time?
It feels good to be surrounded by passionate people doing music with attitude.
Trends come, trends go - we just do our thing working on the perfect groove for a better future. Haha, I am a poet.
In 2014, you started your personal project Christian Burkhardt Sessions. When did you realise it was time to begin a label of your own?
All the time I invite friends to the studio, I like to exchange and to share vibes, special moments. CB-Sessions is the platform to release the recordings of these moments.
How important is it to you to catch these live jams in the heat of the moment?
The best things are always happening when u don’t expect them. Sometimes we work for hours on a track and then u push a wrong button or switch and ta taaa- the groove is lifting up. A quick recording is always most necessary.
The mix you kindly curated for us is only productions and remixes made by yourself. Including a Donna Summer Hot Stuff Remix, The Milky Way Remix, and an Argy Remix. How do you decide on a track you would like to remix? What kind of process do you use when approaching a remix?
The artist or label of the original is asking me for the remix. It seems it’s a new thing that the Remixer is asking for it. It is really cool to have requests to remix classic tunes or super nice artists. Most of the time I play around with the parts of the original, run them through my modular system and work out a groove. I love remixing as I have already something where I can build around a groove. I always try to use as much as possible of the original. Just arrange, effects and work out in a new way.
I don’t like these remixes when you don’t hear the original.
There are several forthcoming releases also found in the mix, such as your next release on Do Not Sleep. When can we be expecting that? What else do you have hidden in the mix?
Yeah, the DNS release is the highlight, I did it with my long time buddy Daniel Roth. For me personally, the best stuff I did in the last years. Then the remixes u named before and some unreleased music.
How would you describe your mix to the listeners?
100% Original Burkhardt sound- no tricks, no fakes
Thanks again for your time and the magic mix.
By ZAC BIDWELL
- Published on Thursday, 10 May 2018 14:01
Microscope series is back again and this time we are having a very well known name - Andy Kolwes & A Special Mix.
Hi Andy, a pleasure to have you here! I couldn’t make it in time for your set due to my work but I had a blast at the Pressure Traxx’s 6th birthday at Hoppetosse, how was it for you?
Coming to Berlin is always a pleasure because I have so many friends & brothers in sound here. I entered the boat about ten at night and both decks were already fully packed. It was quite sweaty but had a great buzz about it. It felt amazing! I couldn’t t think of a better way to celebrate this birthday. I met so many friends from all over, including my friends from Cologne who came by as well.
I always prefer working with friends, because there is a deep level of understanding. Every problem can be solved with a quick phone call and you don t waste any time with chit chat. That means more time for the fun part!
So I realized I don’t know much about your background, what were your formative years like? Did you grow up in Cologne?
If I look back now, it seems like I have a special relationship with the night since the beginning. In my early youth I was a very busy graffiti writer. Very similar to the music scene with friends from all over across Europe. We were visiting each other, all sharing the same passion. A real underground feeling. It was natural for us to buy vinyl, even though we weren’t DJs at all. A good friend of mine was the first to have a DJ setup at home with 2 Mk2s and a mixer. The only problem was, that nobody knew what to do! There wasn’t any YouTube or Internet, you had to have somebody to show you how it works, not so easy like today. So I was more into graffiti at that time. It was in my early twenties, that I discovered the disco life for myself.
After that I was more & more going out and enjoying the party night life. Over the years I became a experienced clubber, first as a punter and later I started mixing, organizing parties & finally making my own music. The time between 20-30 was pretty tough because everything is unsure and finding your way in life is not so clear. Whilst studying economics, all the expectations were causing pressures and making me question what I was doing. Later on in my 30s things got much easier in a way, as you start to feel more comfortable with yourself. The path is more obvious and you realise you are doing the right thing.
Do you remember any experience that blew your mind and decided you to get into the scene, start mixing, etc?
My mate Nekes was playing in Cologne and we were at an after party we were doing, I decided right there and then to go for it & get into Djing as my new passion. From then on I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I started organizing my own parties. Then I made friends with Alex Multhaup who did the label Karmarouge back in the days. We were organizing monthly club nights and a big festival called "Cologne Summertunes”. In the following ten years I had the chance to develop my skills and grow as a DJ, playing with many of the guys that I’d looked up to previously. These were great times!
That’s how I met Thomas Melchior for the first time, as well as Dan Andrei who became a regular guest and long time friend. I think I was about 26, when I started making my own music. Our monthly event was a good opportunity to test out the stuff I had produced the weeks before. It was a very motivating environment for me growing as an artist. The music became more & more important.
Cologne’s a city our readers are maybe less familiar than Berlin or Frankfurt, how’s the scene like over there? Kompakt is a big reference point but that doesn’t seem to be your type of sound, was this an influence though?
Of course Kompakt was really important for many people back in the day but it frustrates me a little, that Cologne is still only known for the sound of Kompakt. We have some really talented people here who are worthy of getting mentioned as well. For example, Julian Bomm and the guys from Rheinrythmic crew. A highly motivated bunch of young guys organizing events. Three years ago, they came up with an illegal club for a short period of time in an old car wash. It was all built from wood inside with the help of their mates. For the weekend they rented a function one sound system & it was just one big rave!
Luckily my studio was 5 minutes away and so, every weekend I was making music and when I felt kind of stuck in the process, I walked over to "Waschstrasse“ to catch some vibes.
Mostly I came by in the morning. In the end they put the old couches on the dancefloor and we were all hanging out. Then slowly a few started dancing again & BOOM, it was going on! That brought a special feeling of to Cologne, which Berlin is usually known for. In this great environment I met many new friends, for example St. Joseph as well as Martin Mercer, a young and very good producer with a huge output who is surely one to watch.
Is it something special for you playing over there? Would you ever consider moving?
Of course it is a very attractive place: I mean, so many friends all living close by in the neighbourhood. That sounds very appealing to me. During the week I am making music mostly on my own, because everybody else is doing a job. That can be boring sometimes. I just started searching for the right place in Berlin around Kreuzberg, where i can live with my Studio All in one place. If anybody knows something, please just drop me a line!
People are coming to Berlin from all over the world and I see it as a gift, that all this is happening right in front of my door. The fact that there is almost no language barriers makes everything so easy.
You’ve been DJing for more than 10 years now but only started releasing records around 2013, so what got you into producing?
At first my primary goal was to produce in order to get more bookings. Over time producing the music was so important to me that if I would have to choose now between Djing & Producing, I would just Produce. It feels like a great gift, being able to make the soundtrack to my own life.
Making music is like therapy. Even though you are escaping from reality, but you are still doing something for yourself. I find it really cathartic.
If I look back now, starting my own label was a great move because it made me totally independent. I never had to get in touch with labels for getting my music released. Many artists out there have a few great tracks and usually they want them to be released on a labels where they think they’ll get the most coverage. But then it’s gets so political if you know what I mean..I feel so lucky that I never had to hustle like that.
Of course it all takes its time, for example getting new equipment and updating your studio. But it’s a means to an end to evolve your vision of your sound.
Your sound is particularly trippy and hypnotic, even for minimal. What’s your process like when you’re in the studio?
My musical journey usually starts on Wednesdays and ends on Sunday. In these long boot camp sessions at home I develop my vision of a modern, trippy house sound. My sound is mostly analogue, coming from synthesizers and classic drum machines like TR808, TR909, Emu SP 1200 and some modular stuff. I use analogue sequencers or my hands to feed my synthesisers. Sometimes I really know what I want to do or try. But I also love starting completely free with no expectations and just catching the vibe of the day. If there is something special showing up which is worthwhile and appeals to me, then I try to capture this feeling and concentrate on the parts which seem essential to support the essence of the vibe. Often its like writing a book and I might try 3 different endings. In the end it often is a pity, because you have to decide which version is the best to release. Unfortunately time is limited on vinyl and these decisions must be made, although you see something special in each version.
On Monday & Tuesday I usually let my ears recover. During these days I just play some Piano. I just love to explore all kinds of melodies and harmonies on the keys. It brings you closer to the essence of a track, its certain feeling. I mean the rhythm & groove is one big component of a track, but also is the tone. It doesn’t necessarily have to follow the rules of standard music theory. Even a disharmonic combination of tones can feel right and be a beautiful thing.
And what about mixing, do you have a routine to prepare gigs?
Before a gig, I always go through my whole stock, just digging for stuff I’m into right now. In the end it its is mostly a combination of old tracks from the 90’s, some all time favourites and some new stuff. I usually play 90-95% Vinyl because it sounds better, is more fun and a better buzz to perform. Especially if you look at it from the entertainment factor. You are working, you are in the mix, it is part of your performance. In my opinion, there is no time for stupid DJ moves in the eye of the storm. It looks so boring looking at a DJ, staring frozen with eyes wide open, scrolling through a 100 Gb USB Drive. I made up the rule to just pick a track when I tend to get lost browsing.
To me being a DJ means developing a constantly growing reference to rely on, especially while making my own music. It keeps me fascinated, curious and up to date as well. I buy records all the time for all kind of situations, not only focused on the dance floor. I love playing on a gut level, focused on the actual moment, hunting for that special vibe that lives inside all of us in the rave.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with tINI and the Gang?
In 2013 we first met because my friends Nekes was playing with her at the beach spot. I had just released my first record on my label "Anyway". tINI was telling me that she loved this record and to my surprise the next season, I was already hooked at the beachspot for the first time. If you are a newcomer, it is very important and gives you a legitimacy. Playing the closing set last year at Ibiza Underground felt like I finally arrived on the island. I was going to Ibiza almost every year since the late 90s, but back then more with the purpose of recovering from our monthly party business in Cologne.
I highly appreciate tINI, not only because of her support in my early days, but also for all those fantastic nights we shared over the last couple of years. She is the living proof to me, that it’s possible to stay true to yourself and even gain a bigger audience at the same time.
The three records you put out on your own label 'Anyway' are truly something special, and I hear there’s an album on the way now. How was it crafting an LP compared to EPs?
I’ve been thinking about this for some time. My biggest struggle is to find the right combination of tracks. The decision itself is the biggest problem, because if you are juggling too long without coming to a decision, it starts to do your head in! That feels more like work than in the end. I have had that last September. In the end I was so fed up thinking about the album, that I just stopped the thinking process. I just wanted to make music again.
You’re fresh off a tour in South America and Japan. That sounds exciting, tell us about it!
Oh yes, it was. I always wanted to go there. It was already planned for last year but did not work out in the end. This year, it was time and I had a blast! I left every place with the feeling of "I don’t want to go now because I’ve made some amazing friends” Manglus from Urugay was already a good friend of mine, because we shared some great nights in Club der Visionäre over the past few years. As well as Yoske from Japan. It’s an unforgettable experience when they show you the best places in their world.
In the beginning I was a little frightened by the thought of being away from studio for 6 weeks. Although it was very important for me to go out & enjoy life after a very long winter studio period.
You’re featuring on the upcoming raum…musik compilation, for the label’s 20th year, and there’s also an EP coming. How did the connection with Dorian happen?
That is a cool story because he was eventually a key player in success. The story begins about 20 years ago. At that time I remember dancing to Dorians sets in Space Ibiza. Since then he has been steadily releasing timeless & contemporary dance music.
In September 2013, I eventually went to Ibiza with a handful of copies of my first release. I was very lucky to give one of those copies to Dorian as he was playing. In the following weeks there was a huge demand for my record, so Dorian passed me over to Freebase Records. I drove down to Frankfurt with my first 20 copies. Three days later, they were all gone and Freebase was asking for more. As I am self-distributing my records, it was a brilliant start and got my record straight into the shops.
Being part of the 20 years anniversary of Raum Musik makes me very proud, as I have been following Dorian & Raum Musik since the beginning. He is not only one hell of a nice guy, he’s such a sensitive DJ who has been consistently blowing my mind for two decades!
When I do a sound check in a club, I often put on Raum Musik first because it shows you very clearly what you can expect from the sound system and where the limits are for the night. Always a very good reference to rely on.
And what else is coming up for you? Any exclusive bits for our readers?
There will be coming an additional artist Ep on Raum Musik around in the late summer.
And of course hopefully my first LP (2x12)on my label Anyway.
I usually try to not look too far forward and take life step by step.
Thanks for the mix! Did you have a specific idea or mood you wanted to convey when recording it
It was recorded in Nagoya in Japan which is the hometown of my friend Yoske. It was the last gig of my Japanese tour and a mental night. I always prefer to take a mix from a night than making a podcast at home. At home its more clinical and somehow an feels like an audition, although nobody is there. Then I end up recording two or three mixes & have to decide which one I prefer. From my experience that’s a waste of time and I’d rather capture the spirit of the rave on the night.
It is believed that booking agent plays a vital role for a DJ throughout the career, particularly in the early stages. Tell us a bit about Zero Logistics and how your life changed since you signed with Z.L.?
I first met Roberto as I was playing for tINI & the gang in Underground. That night I told him that one day I would like to have my own Roberto. I was very pleased and did not have to think long as he asked me if I would like to join his agency, Zero Logistics, three years later.
I am really thankful especially for my first South America tour. It was a great start this year and I really feel like there’s some wind in my sails now.. It is great for me to have him in the back taking care of all the booking stuff. People often forget that it costs precious time & a lot of work until a date is confirmed.
Despite that I am very grateful for him helping me with improving all my social media stuff. Something that I couldn’t be assed to spend too much time on in the past.
Of course it is the responsibility of the artist to deliver great content and new releases, so your agent has some material to work with. I see it also as a great opportunity to show the people what you stand for musically and what they can expect by booking you. You are step by step creating your own image and defining yourself as an artist. If you accomplish that while staying true to yourself and enjoying the process, it is all you can achieve I think. My work is a great experience to me and a very spiritual thing.
Thank you for your time and the mix & All the best for the future. We hope to see you in London.
Thank you MEOKO.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
- Published on Friday, 20 April 2018 11:49
A true enforcer of timeless rhythms, with an ability to draw the listener in with a wide spectrum of sounds and moods. A unique thought process when digging for records, searching way above and beyond the ordinary. Over recent years, a reputation has been built solidly around his passion and raw ability to structure records whether playing in a club or after party atmosphere. A journey of all kinds. With successful releases on London based labels Fuse, Infuse and Arupa, the energy does not end in the booth.
It has been a long time coming, join us as we caught up with the natural and humble talent that is, Joseph Williams; he will be joining us this summer on the MEOKO stage at RPMM Festival in Porto (and rightly so).
1. First, thank you for your time and recording a mix for us. Where did your journey with music begin?
It’s a pleasure to finally do a mix! I would say my journey did not begin with electronic music; my taste was varied growing up from Hip-Hop to Blues and Folk. A lot of the electronic music I heard was filtered through my older sister who would play it at home and took me to my first parties when I was around 17/18. I would pair up with her friend who was older so I could get in to over the 21 nights with my baby face!
I was always more inclined to listen to electronic music as I got older. After my first club nights I began collecting for myself, starting with classic/soulful and funky house. From there I was constantly discovering new sounds and different variations of our music. It felt like I stumbled across all the parties and music I now enjoy, but my path makes sense when looking back.
2. What would you say influences you amongst the scene right now?
I value my time spent with friends the most. This could be at a party, or the countless hours we spend playing and discussing music in between. It’s these moments that are influential for me and I draw energy from. Even a simple conversation with a friend Shauny could spark and renew my enthusiasm. Connective moments of shared passion fuel and drive our scene forward and we all experience them in some capacity – these are fundamentally what inspire me to be creative.
3. Where would you say you enjoying playing the most, either past or present?
Can we make it a time during the night? If so, after-parties. It’s where I am most relaxed, I feel less pressure and I can play the music that I enjoy collecting the most. I think there is a certain expectation from the crowd for the main gig of the night and this includes the DJs living up to their expectation of the event. I can definitely appreciate this and to some degree, it can’t be helped.
The after party, however, is where people are (mostly) open to DJs experimenting, so it is a space where the DJ and dancer can subconsciously both transcend the expectation and convention of a standard party and experience sound differently, together. With this comes an atmosphere that permits more freedom, which is always good when playing.
4. Having released on Fuse, Infuse and Arupa which are highly respected labels, are there any labels in particular you would love to work with in the future?
It’s been great working with these labels as the people behind them have been friends and have somewhere along the line, helped me on my journey. I’ve not thought about any other labels to release on, my main focus for now is to simply make the music.
5. Do you have any releases in the pipeline you can reveal to us?
I’ve been working on a first EP, its something that's not come naturally in terms of creating and selecting. I’ve had loads of ideas but none I feel have represented me. Although now I have one more track I’m working on which completes a 4 track EP.
6. This July you will be playing along side many fantastic artists at the brand new RPMM Festival in Porto. It sounds like a great concept they have, how does it feel to be part of such an exciting project? You will be able to pack some special records for that trip.
I’m looking forward to it! The main stages of the festival host loads of different styles of music, so it will be nice for the Meoko room to continue in that fashion and provide alternative and deeper sounds.
Ultimately you can’t fully plan for a gig, but lately when finding music I've been saying ‘yep, that’s for the festival’ - some feel-good sunshine groovers.
7. You recently played at the refurbished 93 Feet East, how did you find it with the new makeover? It is refreshing to see a club being given a new lease of life. Do you think this could have a knock on effect in the city, maybe more day time focused clubs opening?
I think its great that its back. The club was home to a lot of my first parties and raving experiences; it is of course synonymous with Sundays at Fuse. In a way, this club and party was a preamble of things to come for me. The makeover has given it a stripped back no-nonsense feel, and this has been mirrored by the extensive quality on the line-ups every week. I recently had a convo with my friend Zack who is involved with the events in the club and we spoke about the potential it has for so many different types of parties and events.
I hope it does have a knock on effect! I have seen a few cool new spaces pop up recently and have been to some great parties, there is still a lot of passion in London and the city can still be the clubbing capital if we are not limited by restrictions and closures.
8. What can the listeners expect from the mix you kindly made for us, how do you go about compiling online mixes and podcasts?
I’d like to think overall, it represents distinct moods and sounds that I enjoy most and look for when collecting. I love music with feeling. Some of the tracks in the mix I connect with when I’m home or daydreaming with headphones somewhere (which I do a lot). Despite appreciating loads of different styles, on a whole, my taste is definitely dictated by synths, melodies and the feeling they give. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bass line! But I am a listener of music first, and these are the tracks that catch me, so its only natural it follows in my selection when I play. I hope this mix is a snapshot in to what I groove to and reflects parts of my personality.
When compiling the mix I wanted to focus more on my personal connection with the tracks and tried to subdue the ever-enticing factors of novelty and obscurity, as they don't always help the cause. In regards to the structure, I try to be gradual with the intensity in mixes and leave the end dreamy, I left this mix on a lighter note as I try not to take everything so seriously all the time ;)
9. A question we like to ask, if you could choose three records that never leave your bag, what would they be?
I wouldn’t say they never leave my bag, but here are three tracks that I always come round to at some point and have done for a while:
1. Wamdue Kids – Echoes and Instruments
Timeless Wamdue on the seminal label, Guidance.
2. Ricardo Villalobos - H.E.I.K.E. (Ricardo Villalobos Mood Mix)
The man is a major influence for me, probably not one of his most cited tracks – but the simplicity and percussion groove always catches me. It circles round in to my sets every so often.
3. B12 - Debris
Bags of emotion and a record I’ve played towards the end of many after after parties.
Thanks a lot for your time Joseph, see you in Portugal J.
Interview by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Thursday, 12 April 2018 11:59
In recent times, there has not been many more names synonymous with the London scene than, Harry McCanna. Whether, kicking it with his NorthSouth Records family at their local home, The Lion & Lamb, or locking down after parties in off key locations around the city. One thing remains, his unique ability to weave together a wide range of genres with a full understanding of the desires of the dancefloor.
A talent that has been acknowledged across the board; with a recent trip playing several cities in Australia, alongside parties in the UK, Italy and Belgium. The curiosity of this young artist does not stop there, as he continues to build a reputation under the production alias, Henry Hyde. A variation of releases on Undersound, Half Baked and joint outlet NorthSouth Records.
Check out what went down when we caught up with him ahead of his Oscuro London Showcase this Saturday at 93 Feet East:
Harry McCanna Exclusive - MEOKO 251
So, to kick things off, congratulations on your recent debut tour of Australia, How did you find it? How would you compare it to parties in Europe?
Thank you, it was an amazing experience. It was my first time spending a few weeks away ‘touring’ so it will always be a milestone for me.
I think it’s hard to compare the two right now, it feels like Australia’s scene for this kind of sound is still growing. However, there’s some real passionate people both involved in the scene and just generally out partying and that’s always great to see. I definitely felt a buzz and an openness to new ideas at each party, especially in Melbourne, we had a lot of fun there.
It's been many years since we last caught up with you, and I'm sure a lot has changed! Last year saw the launch of your own label North South Records, along side Half Baked resident Sam Bangura and Dale Mussington. Where did it all start? How have you found the reception so far?
It was actually December 2015 that we first spoke about starting a label together, then there was about a year of us getting our ideas together and getting in touch with the artists we wanted to work with etc. It took us ages to come up with a name, but when we finally settled on ‘NorthSouth’ towards the end of 2016 everything seemed to move fairly quickly. We didn’t quite know what to expect, so it’s really nice to see that people out there are enjoying it.
It is great to see you are releasing frequently now on personal projects and recently Half Baked. It is Coming up to NorthSouth's third release featuring yourself and Chris Geschwindner, who also featured on the debut release. An incredible talent for sure, is there an umbrella of artists which you have in mind for the label moving forward?
We’ve always had the ethos of working with friends. We’d known Chris Gecshwindner for a few years already and he was the first artist we knew we wanted to work with. We’d spoken about releasing his tracks long before NorthSouth was properly formed, Christian Jay and Bilal were both on the radar from early as well. We really love the individual sounds each artist bring and we’ll definitely be working with all three of them going into the future. We’ve also got plans to introduce one or two new artists as well, but that will all come soon enough.
I love the fact you have an alias when producing, Henry Hyde. What inspired you to use an alternate name for your releases? It's definitely got a ring too it.
Ha! Glad you think so. Henry Hyde first came about in 2014 when I made a batch of tracks that all had a certain sound about them. For me they were the first tracks that I felt really represented me and the sound I wanted to produce. 2 of them went on to be the first Undersound release in 2015 and I’ve continued to work under the alias since, although I feel like the actual sound of Henry Hyde is always developing.
This May, NorthSouth celebrates its first birthday at The Lion & Lamb, the local pub. Do you see this a fitting home for your label and the sound you portray? We think the opening of this venue was a breathe of fresh air in London.
The Lion & Lamb is one of the best things to happen in the scene in London for ages. It feels like a real hub for what we have in London and everyone working there has a real passion for what they’re doing.
We didn’t really plan on running parties as NorthSouth until a couple of months before the first release, although I still wouldn’t really call ourselves promoters, we just bring our mates and our records and have a good time. The pub is so well prepared, there’s not much else we need to do! It’s definitely the right place for us. Long live the Lion & Lamb!
There is a always a certain buzz around the scene in London, but recent times feel like it really is thriving with even more incredible line ups and off key after party locations. Would you agree?
Yes I would. In the last few years London’s underground has faced some tough times, but I would say that it’s coming back even stronger now. As you say there’s been a lot more interesting new spots used for afters, it’s great to see promoters are always looking for different spaces. It’s nice to see some new venues opening as well, Cell 200 and The Cause both look very promising and the recent reopening of 93 Feet East is good news. The overall level of London-based parties, labels and artists has always been high, but I feel like people are really pushing things forward now. It’s extremely inspiring to look around you and see so many people doing great things.
You are known by many for your impeccable selection of records. What are you favourite spots for digging for records? UK and World Wide.
I wouldn’t really say there’s any specific places, obviously the internet can be extremely handy, but you can sometimes miss the more personal experience of actually going and having a look. Whenever I’m visiting another city I like to look for any local spots to have a rummage. Visiting a collection is always nice, you can generally find a more varied selection and it’s just a bit more of a comfortable environment. Shout out to Mr Plasticvinyldog, he’s always got the goodies, and makes a great tea.
You seem to be pushing out a unique sound under your alias Henry Hyde. What kind of set up are you using in the studio?
As I’m still making music from home it’s a pretty bedroom friendly set up:
I use an I-Mac with Logic Pro X, a Roland Octa-Capture interface and a pair of Yamaha HS-7s. As for hardware I’ve got a Roland Juno-D, Access Virus B and a Yamaha TX81Z that goes through a Waldorf filter. I also have a Korg Electribe ER-1 and Volca FM that come out everyone now and then. I’ve also got a cheap mic I’ve had for years that I use to record the odd clap or voice when I feel like it.
There’s always the quest to get more though!
Anything else you would like to enlighten us with, any plans for the summer, releases?
There’s a few nice bookings coming up I’m excited about. Oscuro this Saturday is shaping up to be real fun, can’t wait to play b2b with Voigtmann for the first time. Ojoo’s first birthday in Ghent May 27th should be great, I played for them at their first party last year and was one of my favourite gigs of 2016. Leeds Inner City Electronic festival in June as well, that looks like a cracker. I’ve got a couple more tracks coming out on VAs, but I’d like to focus on doing a full length EP soon. I’ve only ever released a maximum of 2 tracks at one time, so I’m quite keen to get something a bit more substantial out.
We really appreciate you taking out your time to do this interview and thanks for recording a special mix for us, can you tell us a little bit what the listener can expect?
Some old, some new, some unreleased. There’s tracks in there I’m playing out at the moment and some I’ve been saving for a mix. So yeah, a bit of everything really, hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, the million dollar question. Three records that never leave the bag?
Vengaboys - We’re Going to Ibiza
Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out
Shaggy - It Wasn’t Me
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Thursday, 15 March 2018 18:58
Join us as we take a trip in to the world of Detroit raised, Magda. Not many words are needed to introduce such a high caliber artist from over the years, a sturdy reputation built upon a dare to be different ethos. Taking music in directions beyond the imagination. The definition of an artist, combining a wide range of aspects; audio, visually and the surroundings they can be experienced.
We discussed exciting new projects regarding Perm Records, and her unique alias under the name Blotter Trax. Live set ups, upcoming festivals and mention of a particularly random trip from Colombia to Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Check it for yourself…
First of all, many thanks for your time and catching up with us again after almost six years. How have you been?
I have been well, thanks for asking. So yeah, let’s catch up! ;)
Just a little bit about your past. It has been an incredible twenty years since you first signed with Minus, touring with Richie Hawtin. Is there any particular memories that really spring to mind when you think of these times? How would you say the scene has changed since then?
It’s crazy to think two decades have passed since I began all of this... Some memories feel like another life. Those early days were pretty crazy, especially moving to Berlin in 2003. Everything felt so raw and free and completely wild, it was a real shock coming from NYC where the nightlife was restricted by no dancing laws and curfews. Berlin was the opposite and I loved it. My first gig was at the old Panorama Bar when Zip invited me to a Perlon night. I’ll never forget asking him what time I was playing and he said 11 AM. I was shocked. I’ve never heard of such a thing, and it was even more shocking to find out that it was completely packed the entire day. That’s the truly unique thing about Berlin, which has also taught me how to play long sets. There are so many funny memories I have of first tours, travels and crazy adventures. One that springs to mind is being on a jet in Colombia, sitting on the pilot’s lap with a bottle of vodka en route to a show on Margarita Island, Venezuela, where we got into a car crash and got help from a transsexual prostitute. I know it sounds like I’m making this up but I’m not.
Regarding the scene, things will always change and we adjust the best we can. I would love for artists and managers to come down to earth a bit more and work with promoters with more realistic expectations so that they can build the scene as they want it.
When you look at future events you have planned across the year such as Time Warp, UP Festival and Houghton Festival, it does not really get much bigger than that. Would you say you prepare differently for these types of high profile gigs than smaller events? Is there any particular parties you always look forward to playing the most?
I usually think about every gig beforehand, but I do prepare a bit more for festivals and shows I find dear to my heart. I particularly look forward to parties where I play alongside my friends in special venues. Houghton Festival, for example, was just that. Playing in the woods, and in nature in general, is incredible. It’s just such a good vibe.
Speaking of Festivals, A fresh addition UP Festival taking place at a new destination for the festival land; Czech Republic. Do you think a festival can play a vital role to a country's exposure?
Absolutely. I must say I usually don't play there and many of my friends don’t either, so it is a great opportunity to expose the Czech people to what we do and hopefully grow something new.
This April your next release under your psychedelic alias Blotter Trax with T.B. Arthur will see the light of day, how did this collaboration originally begin, and what separates these ideas from your other projects?
TB Arthur and I were introduced by our mutual friend BMG of Ectomorph because I was obsessing over TB’s first releases. We immediately hit it off and connected through our shared love of the sound from the midwest growing up. From our first studio session, it was clear we were onto something, and things just flowed after that. The workflow is exactly what makes this project different: we don’t use a computer and we base everything on long studio jams recorded straight to tape. It’s a fast and exciting process because of the limitation of not multitracking anything. Whatever happens, happens, and we have had some wonderful surprises and happy mistakes along the way. These recordings were about capturing great live performances and playing off each other, much like recording a band.
The Blotter Trax outlet is based around all analogue machinery, is this something you have always had an interest in?
I’ve always worked with both digital and analog formats but never strictly analog, and it definitely feels different. You are constantly refining the instruments, how they interact with each other and who you are recording with. It’s about listening and performing, without the visual distraction of a screen.
Last May your first live modular set took place together, can you explain to us a bit about your set up? Would you say you connect with the crowd/audience differently when playing live as opposed to DJing?
We were still figuring out the right set up last year and for that live PA we used a mixture of gear and a laptop. We had an 808, TB’s modular Eurorack, a Roland Space Echo, a Simmons SDS9, and a laptop controlled by Maschine. I had never played live before so it was a whole new experience for me. It’s quite a different feeling to be limited to your own sounds. I felt quite impatient and wanted things to change faster because I'm used to that in my DJ sets. However, once I got into the groove of this different way of performing I really enjoyed it and understood it much better.
In 2016 you launched Perm, a home for innovative visual and music ideas. What triggered the birth of Perm? With new material and events on the way, can you give us a bit more information about what is in store? What is it that draws you towards Berlin?
PERM is a project inspired by my musical and aesthetic influences growing up in Detroit and always searching for the lines between things. It’s a collaboration between myself, Baby Vulture, Hamid, and our visual artist \ // \\\ . I wanted to create a cozy living room atmosphere where PERM can sit at the crossroads of art and club culture, showcasing anything from an ambient performance to a left-field club set. A huge part of the project is its overall production quality with emphasis on sound and visual installations. These change with each PERM event so none are quite the same. It has been a lot of work and experimentation resulting in an amazing learning experience. I'm very excited to launch the PERM label in the next months and start doing events again. Our first one is scheduled for April 26th with Jan Jelinek live and Melina Serser as special guests. We are working with a great new venue called Arkaoda and looking forward to utilizing the space in a new way. What draws me to Berlin is its rich and diverse musical palette: there’s something interesting happening every night of the week and that is a huge reason PERM was born.
The Perm podcast series is nothing short of magical with luscious downtempo and experimental rhythms. When you began the project, did you have certain artists in mind to carry out such a unique vibe?
We wanted to keep the focus on more eclectic non-dance mixes from various artists and friends we like, and respect who have been a part of our events. I'm very happy with the range of the mixes and they definitely carry a unique vibe as a whole.
Is there anything else you would like to enlighten us with from the world of Magda?
Yes, actually I want to mention that TB Arthur and I will be performing live as Blotter Trax May 3rd at Superbooth in Berlin with a very special visual performance by Lillevan. I’m very much looking forward to this.
Thank you so much for the mix, we have been wishing for this to happen for a long time. How would you best describe it for the MEOKO listeners?
Cosmic cats riding through electro space on the psychedelic disco train.
Last of all, a question we like to ask, can you name three records that have rarely left your bag over the years?
A Number Of Names;
Shari Vari (Ectomorph Remix)
Chaka Khan - I Feel For You (Silent Treatment remix)
DBX - Losing Control
Words by Zac Bidwell