''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