Situated in the coastal town Pescara, Club Zero11 has become in just over 5 years one of the most famous clubs in Italy, actively contributing to give life to the local clubbing scene. As you may know, Italy has been one of the most hardest hit European countries by this pandemic situation, and even though the clubbing scene has been deeply affected sectors, the Zero11 staff has started a fundraiser for Italy's Croce Rossa with the aim of combating this emergency phase with concrete help in terms of health and social care.
The campaign, called MUSIC FOR HOPE, will include both famous local acts like Enrico Mantini, Leon, Togué, Deyayu and upcoming natives and will be streamed LIVE on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th from Club Zero11's Facebook page from 6 - 12 PM for six hours of great music.
DON'T FORGET TO MAKE YOUR PART, CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Words by Francesco Quieti
Labels are often remembered for a record, maybe for two or more. Then there are labels that are remembered for an idea, a feeling, something that goes beyond the simple music. That's the case of Wales-based Curtea Veche, which is celebrating its 5th birthday with a special various artists compilation that includes tracks by Tulbure, Guy From Downstairs, Herck, Clarkent, Direkt and Dragosh. Despite the clearly Romanian inspired name, the label has never got stuck into the fashions of the moment, resulting instead one step ahead of many other imprints, successfully dictating new trends and style difficult to imitate, both because of the top-notch quality music released, and because of the close link with his evocative abstract artwork realized by no one other than Halo Varga. Over the years the label has seen incredible music, including the sister-labels Curtea Veche LTD and Curtea Veche Serii Speciale, straight from studio wizards around like Einzelkind, Giuliano Lomonte, SEPP, Viceversa and Cally, receiving support from heavyweights such as Rhadoo, Pedro, Barac and Raresh, but also coming to hands of unexpected but equally appreciated names like Marco Carola and The Martinez Brothers.
To celebrate the label's birthday we've decided to give the floor to the head-honcho Haydn, and then we will have few words from three of its most representative producers.
Happy birthday Curtea Veche!
Click HERE to buy CV5 Five Years Of Curtea Veche
Starting from the roots: how's the project started and what the name "Curtea Veche" means? What pushed you to open the label?
So I started the label with a friend in 2015 when the hype with that minimal Romanian sound was rife. My friend chose the name after the old princely court in Bucharest... don't ask why because I couldn't tell you haha!! But we were going I guess for that Romanian sound so it was pretty apt.
What's the artist that you've most satisfied to have on the label? And who is the want you still deeply want to have?
I'm happy with the all the artists I've had on CV all have given their own stamp on the label and its sound. My good friend Sergiu (Herck) has been with me on my journey from the start with all my labels so I could say him, but no, really, all artists have been amazing and I'm super grateful if the output I've been able to give on CV. Going forward I just want to keep the ethos that I've tried to stick to, to be honest, good music and artwork, nothing more, nothing less.
Since the very beginning, the label has seen some amazing feedbacks and support from lots of the biggest DJs around. Do you think that there's one particular release that was a game-changer? Or is it because of the constant quality of the music and research on creating a kind of CV-brand that you've provided over the years?
Haha, tough one... there have been some really good ones I guess. Having Arno (Einzelkind) was a big deal for me, especially as it has been his last release under the Einzelkind alias before moving on the Arno moniker once and for all. I've been following him and his music for years, so I was pretty chuffed, to say the least, to get him on. That EP with Giuliano Lomonte was great, with the artwork and splatter vinyl was pretty special, seen as it was the 10th release too. But if I'm honest I've got to go with CV002 by Herck: Cookie Jar was a huge track that's been hammered all over the world by people from DeWalta. Barac, Raresh and even people like Carola and The Martinez Brothers. It was definitely a big crossover track, that boosted both the profile of the label and Herck's one.
So yea, that for me was the game-changer. Also, I have to say one of my personal favourites is Victor's Rodul EP (CV008) I still play his track "Drumul Spre" all the time, timeless stuff.
Also, having Halo Varga got on the artwork from, I think the 5th release, he has given the label identity. As soon as you see a CV cover, you know it's a CV cover, so yeah, he does an amazing job, one of the best at his game, and a massive pleasure to have him on as I grew up with his music in the early '00s.
Tell us more about the 5 years compilation. Why you not here? Will we ever see you on the label?
Yea so the 5 years free EP we are giving away on Bandcamp is just "a thank you to all the support we have had over the last 5 years". I think it's good to give our supporters that have spent money on buying our releases something back. There are 6 tracks on there by artists from the past and future, CV favourites Herck and Guy from Downstairs, Tulbure who is on the next CV013 EP, Dragosh, Direkt and also Clarkent. Not a bad EP for a free download for sure! So yeah, thanks to these guys too for providing some lovely tracks!
Regarding the second question... who knows... I've got not much time for production when I'm running 4000 labels hahaha! But yes, it's something I want to do in the near future, let's see!
After this 5 years milestone, what should we expect in the next 5? And what in the next 100? (or maybe I should ask this to Herck haha)
Haha yes! We just want to keep releasing good music an, that's the foremost thing I think, keeping the quality high, always!
We have a couple of spin-offs (CVLTD & CVS) so keep an eye out for some really good stuff coming on these, from some well-established name like Cristi Cons, Franco Cinelli, Mihai Pol, and also some amazing up and coming guys that you need to keep an eye on!
There is this amazing duo we just signed from Tel Aviv called Oskar Pink, the demos blew us away, keep an eye out for their Track 'Donnie' coming later this year, so good!
Its been good having my friend Martyn (TIJN) on board too for the last year or so, he's got a great ear and is a godsend with the A&R stuff. He also does an amazing job with the mastering too!
Now let's get right into some of the protagonists of this stellar VA compilation and lets' see what they have to say about the label...
Guy From Downstairs
"Curtea Veche...ah, just another vinyl label from Wales, with a Romanian name, that releases a specific sound with a soulful touch, leaving its mark on the (so-called) minimal music niche for the last 5 years. Loads of those fit that profile, right?
Difficult to write "just a few words, mate" about the good Olden Yard. Almost impossible to remain objective when you've watched it grow and move people on dancefloors around the world since its early stages (is there anyone on the planet that still hasn't dropped Giuliano & Einzelkind tracks?)
When everything sounds the same these days, somehow, our friend and label-captain Haydn always manages to find rhythmic gems from (known or not-so-known) artists and put together all those releases that are each so unique in style, always different, yet keeping the smooth, impossible to pinpoint, trademark flavour of CV.
It won't do justice and it's not easy to choose a favourite release from the back catalogue, but...let's say that SEPP's La Gura Sobei EP (CV006) never leaves my bag. I don't know many artists that can truly envelop the Romanian traditional spirit in the minimal realm, without sounding clichéd or tedious. Not in this case! Those two tracks are so enchantingly executed in such subtle way that, every time I listen, they really make me feel like I'm on a plane, back in the day, watching peasants working on fields under the sun, but at the same time also grooving with aliens from planet Bass.
"I love the Curtea universe - modern sound, old school, timeless or eclectic, colourful or at times outlandish. I'm happy to be part of it along with other (way more) talented, crazy producers and hope that new music will keep flowing for many years to come!" - Guy From Downstairs
"Well...nothing much to say about the label, the music speaks for itself. My first release there was a huge impact for me, and for the label also because we helped each other to grow in the industry. Haydn (the owner) had and has all his respect for me and I have for him, and of course, we trust each other when it comes to releasing new material on the label. Over time, the label released great music, with great artists, and I personally don't have a favourite one, because every release has a story to tell..." - Herck
"Since first discovering Curtea Veche through the "Cookie Jar" release it became very clear that the consistency of the output was exceptional and it's continued that way endlessly. For me, the label is the complete package the sound as well as the detail to the artwork is perfect and work hand in hand. It's really hard for me to choose a favourite we have so much amazing stuff coming but for now ill go with Einzelkind & Giuliano Lomonte - This N That. its been a goal to release on the label and to now be apart of the projects moving forward it's even better." - TIJN
Words by Francesco Quieti
In these dire times of human disconnection, we need now, more than ever a unified solution to help save our scene and bring music to the people whenever they want, wherever they are.
As the first subscription and VOD based platform dedicated to live-streaming, Clubify.tv has been working hard behind the scenes to keep us connected to our beloved club environment. Now they’re ready to launch. Embracing high-performance technology, Clubify has come to the rescue of poor quality live-streams with their 4K adaptive bitrate technology. Supporting quality performance even in low internet bandwidth, Clubify offers discerning clubbers an all-in-one live stream solution - providing a technically sound outlet for labels, artists, fans and clubs alike.
The ‘Netflix’ for live content, Clubify is a dream-come-true for many music lovers and stream aficionados, enabling artists to stay in touch with their audience in a direct and personalised manner. MEOKO is proud to support the new platform which promises to redirect the subscription fee back to the contributor in order to help save our scene. Subscribers get a professional service and contributors get paid - as professionals. Fair pay, fair play. Bringing many aspects of the industry together through an ethos built on collaboration, their high-quality content and channels for DJs, promoters, clubs, and festivals will not leave much unanswered. MEOKO is excited to introduce them to an industry which is trying to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic threat in a future-forward, creative manner.
In The Studio With Clubify
Clubify.tv will launch during Corona, which has hit our scene super hard, with a well-curated event live-streamed in collaboration with Egg London at 10 PM on Friday 29th May. Almost every single artist and club out there is reaching out to their fans via stream right now, resorting to donations as the last-straw to save their livelihoods. Live streams are everywhere. But until now, the more we streamed, the less we earned.
Traditional platforms might offer exposure, but they don’t compensate the artist. They’re often disorganised, hard to find and archive, the artists don’t get paid (“donate here!” they cry but artists aren’t a charity, donations don’t pay the rent) and many sets are cut short because of copyright issues.
Can’t Stream My Love
During the Pandemia, the struggle to save our scene has led to bouts of solidarity between artists, clubs and labels. For some, streaming is saturation, for others, it’s a call to innovate. Stages and empty venues become a blank canvas where anything can happen now. Creative boundaries are meant to be pushed. We see music through our eyes these days - Clubify is a great tool for this, it’s a video platform for music; providing artists with extended possibilities for creative collaboration between visual and audio. The opportunity to think big is there. It’s time to stream out of the box. Even before Covid-19, streaming was dubbed the fastest-growing segment of music consumption. Listeners have consistently increased their consumption and the inclusion of AI and VR powered tools are shifting the experience in new directions that weren’t possible before.
Clubify brings a new dimension to the show. It is not only a powerful tool for promoting live events, it is a fully-fledged business model to connect fans to artists and create something that’s both innovative and sustainable. Once an artist, label or club has their own channel, they’ll be able to promote their events, draw a crowd, connect to other artists and sell their own custom merch and vinyl through the Clubify boutique. Unlike Mixcloud and lots of other services (who charge artists a fee to stream), contributors can activate their own channel for free and get paid for the use of their content. Copyright issues are also being resolved through their licencing partners' ICE and PRS, so a lot of legal obstacles are being taken care of. This is a professional platform, so the content will be selective: the criteria for opening an artist, club or label channel are a sound standing in the scene, (a strong fan-base and RA page for example). No more trawling through home videos on Periscope...
Love it or hate it, streaming is here to stay. Let’s see what Clubify have to say:
Who are you, who is involved?
Clubify is driven by a passionate team of internationals based in London and Berlin. We are all excited about the potential for the project and think Clubify’s going to be a game-changer for the industry.
What is the motivation behind your initiative?
To bring the industry together - to give clubs and artists a dedicated platform to promote their music and to give the public a new, streamlined way to enjoy the music they love. Clubify is the first centralised platform dedicated to promoting live-stream events. We want to make it easier for people to access live music, wherever they are.
Did you have the idea before or after Corona?
It actually started just before Corona. I know lots of people in the industry, and whilst it’s exciting, it’s tough. Nightlife’s changing and nightclubs are expensive to rent and run. Especially in central London. Lots of historic venues are having to close. And when they close down we lose a part of the history that goes with them. We wanted to work out how to change that. How to make a new model that’s sustainable for everyone.
Do you think your launch right now is clever, is it perfect timing?
So the idea started before Corona - thinking about how we might be able to adapt the industry to the times, and then Corona came along and everything shut down. We knew we had to do something quickly. The government’s not especially known for its support of the club industry, so if we want to make a difference. Change has to happen from elsewhere.
I think Corona really helped illustrate the power of the collective spirit - in so many ways. People singing from their rooftops in Italy, musicians and DJs making and sharing music from their homes. The number of live-streams multiplied by a million during this time and it was obvious it was something people enjoyed. But there are so many different platforms - from Facebook to twitch to Instagram - it’s almost impossible to track. Live streams are exactly that - these incredible trickles of performances, scattered all over the place. We wanted to make it easier for everyone to see what’s going on. So yeah, it’s necessary and timely. I’m not sure there’s ever such a thing as perfect ‘timing’ - but time is of the essence and it’s definitely time to change.
We are seeing people donate to support their favourite artists and venues, but a donation-based system is not sustainable in the long term. Clubify is allowing a user to support the whole ecosystem of the scene with a monthly subscription which is lower than a London club entry ticket, with the goal of helping the whole electronic music industry to develop a sustainable model during this time and for the future. Moreover from a product perspective, Clubify will be always providing very high-quality content both in terms of video and audio on a high performing, usable platform - this is completely different than FB for example, and furthermore, it will not have the same copyright issues that the other platforms are currently facing.
Do you think this crisis will have an effect on people's habits of music consumption?
People need music. It brings us together. I think lots of people have been turning to music during lockdown to help them through - music’s a mood changer (!) Whether it’s putting a record on or tuning in to the radio / watching a live concert... I think people have more time to listen to and enjoy music at the moment. So we need music more now than ever (!) but maybe live events will change after the crisis - we don’t know if we’ll ever see huge crowds like we’re used to seeing at Glastonbury ever again. Maybe mass gatherings will be a thing of the past once this is all over... we need to think about what the future might look like and how that’ll impact the industry.
Let's get back to Clubify, what is the incentive for labels and artists to participate? How does the business model work?
We centralise and promote live events. We make it easier for subscribers to discover and enjoy live music. And we give artists and labels a risk free platform to host their live-event.
One of the tricky things with live-streams is it’s hard for an artist to earn money from their set. By bringing everyone together we can simplify the model. We pay you a fair share of the subscription fee and we make sure you’re reimbursed for your music copyright. It takes the stress out of it or the artist. We take care of the logistics so the creatives can focus on being creative.
Having a centralised space is great for labels as they can promote their artists through their own channel. And fans can discover something new.
How do you think this can work right now, at a moment where absolutely every club streams for free and donation-based?
Clubs are streaming for free and for donations as they need to keep alive. But it’s not a sustainable business model. You can’t rely on donations forever. And I think we all know nothing comes for free... it’s time to respect the makers and pay them fairly for their talents. Artists are used to getting ripped off - because they do it for the love - but it’s time we stopped that. Makers need to make money too. We need to plan ahead to think about how we can create a model to sustain the industry not just now but in the future.
What do you think about their “business model” to help the scene as they have a transparent system about the donations they receive and redistribute the money equally. In moments of crisis, the ego-based scene does get less relevance whereas solidarity-based models seem to work well. Where do you see the future of both models?
So solidarity is absolutely key - we need each other. The industry’s full of big names, but it’s surprising how few of these names actually collaborate or work together.
The Clubify platform’s great as it gives everyone their space to shine - clubs can host their own branded channel, artists can promote their new material etc. It’s their name, their image, their sound... their content. On Clubify everyone has space through their own channel, but it’s a space that’s also shared. As there are hundreds of channels to choose from... it’s just a way of bringing content together and organising it. Together but apart. Haha. Like corona. We bring everyone together to a single platform. And then give them their space to grow. Centralise the content, decentralise the power...
Where do you see the future of dance music?
The future’s bright. There are so many exciting possibilities out there - technologically. I think we’re going to start seeing VR and AI integrated into the user experience - with 3/4/5D visual mapping, 8D sound technology.... dance music’s always been about bringing people together. Maybe Clubify is the future of that. We can connect artists to a global dance floor. Collaboration is the key. When we all work together anything’s possible. Time to make it happen.
→ Please click HERE or follow the link in order to join Clubify and get on board for a 2-weeks trial subscription: https://www.clubify.tv/checkout/subscribe/purchase
Words by Kat Richter
Straight from the other side of the world, the Conspiracy Music crew joins the always longer list of proactive and vibrant Australian solid realities. The Sidney-based label reaches the 15th release from the hands of the figureheads Elijah Something and Nate S.U, to which are added European talents Ben Balance and Josh Baker, which respectively provide a version of the two originals.
Long time collaborators Elijah and Nate are specialists in up-tempo house with a tasteful electro flavour and hints of 90s rave-reminiscent melody. From hosting their own 1000 person+ parties with the Conspiracy Crew to hitting festival main stages like Lost Paradise in Sydney, Your Paradise in Fiji and 121 Festival in New Zealand, Elijah and Nate’s sound is thoroughly in demand in the Southern Hemisphere. Now the boys are ready to take it to the next level with their latest EP together: Electrode. It's their first combined EP on Conspiracy since the label’s very first release three years ago.
Title track "Electrode" is a fuzzy banger. Aggressive and harsh drums are kept together by a lively layer of rampant synths, whilst melodic and harmonic elements nervously alternate in a swingy dance. The low-end area is dominated by the combination of a twisted bassline and a hefty 303 acid arp. Pitched effects and filter sweeps are wisely arranged to raise and release the tension, just like an electrode would do, until reaching the epic peak time drop. Hands in the air ensured.
The thing gets funkier with second original, "Provocation". Here too, there's a powerful fusion of an acid bassline and jackin' sub-bass, both helping on keep the groove up. The thick groove patterns progress fast and syncopated, with tiny harmonic elements restricted to the maximum, almost shotted as lethal bullets.
Up next is the young talented Josh Baker (Tamango Records / META) who makes of the original a percussive monster, rising the heat with a naughty bassline, clean drum patterns and sinister pads. On his version of "Provocation", Josh uses only a few parts from the original, keeping the acid lines alive and adding his typical dribbled percussions for a more straight forward house piece. Drums are fattened and dried out, being tighter on the beat and more prominent. That bold techy attitude is Josh's favourite colour, and also ours.
The second remix comes from BE9 affiliate and Sukhumvit head-honcho Ben Balance, who's also half of the Ho Do Ri duo with Fabe. He provides a joyful version of "Electrode", featuring swingy drums that hit with enthusiasm. Electro synths are thin and shiny, exasperating the retro imprint of the original also thanks to the numerous old-school cowbells, shuffling hats and warped digitalized shots. Once all the elements are playing, we are completely lost in a rich texture of synthetic sounds and drums.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
After the highly acclaimed ‘Positive Vibes’ EP by Orlando Voorn and the follow-up "Feel Good" EP, courtesy of label-head honcho Giuseppe Scarano, NICEPEOPLE drops a blissful brand new wax from the veteran Vincent Floyd. The US maestro is famous for having released house classics in the mid-'90s for labels such as Dance Mania, Relief and Gerking Records. In 2014 he experienced something of a career renaissance, with the release of ‘Moonlight Fantasy’ on Rush Hour, and since then he’s been totally on fire.
Vincent kicks things off the lovely "Music Therapy", delivering a laid-back track, perfect for some sunny (after hour?) moments. The track offers some joyful and retro-sounding drums, with the hi-hat being sharp and clean at the right point. The melodic pluck has something retro too, hitting high into a majestic progression, assisted by vintage arpeggiators and deep stabs that give to the track some extra-power.
Thus, "What We Have Done" is an amazing 808 ballad, with the closed hat that presses right on the kick drum, almost getting over it. Again, the track is filled with celestial sounds, starting with the epic pads that set to the track almost a holy mood. The beat insists in short loops, simple but effective, while melodic elements give an housy romantic touch. Overall, the atmosphere is playful, making this track sounds like a real 90s anthem as if it were coming out of a lonely stereo near a basket camp.
On the flip, Italian powerhouse Nico Lahs, turns the original of "What We Have Done" into a jackin' dancefloor tool with a harmonious repartee of housy stabs that flow above a clean interplay. The groove is nothing but classic, with a powerful kick that perfectly fit with the long-tailed snare, blinking an eye to the last century house. The jazzy and soul chords do the rest, adding energy to the original but without ruining the smooth house feels.
Rounding out the package is the more melancholic jam "You Never Knew Me". With fewer elements in the drums, the beat moves syncopated and rigid, almost felt uncomfortable. Some retro synths are arranged around a deep and steady arp sound, whilst moogish melodies arise from the filter sweeps. melodies are glidy and cut in the mix easily, laying on top of everything else. The arp cycles inexorably, with only the rimshot breaking its regularity, as if, at least, he really knew him.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
Macarie's label Midas Touch is about to drop another juicy release. The entitled "Microwave" EP comes from the hands of elusive producer Maifaunu who debuts on the label following the previous formula of 001: three originals + one remix, which this time is courtesy of prolific Romanian Cosmjn.
Click HERE to buy "Microwave" EP - MDT02
Opener "Microwave" is a curious tool that sucks you in the loop since the first moment. Processed hip-hop vocal shots are melt together with nervous drums loop, pressing shakers and rhythmic percussions, remembering, in a way, some ancient tribal rituals. Dub stab oddly hits, far away, super delayed. The rich sound environment gets lost in the intricated texture of the groove. Almost experimental, it's easy to lose the main beat and just float in the irregularities of the piece.
Up next, "Order In Chaos" slows the beat down, turning the things emotional with a sort of hidden melody in the interplay of all elements. A melancholic chant that emerges from the complexity of drums and synths. The sound palette is wide and variegated, with Maifaunu showing his skill on crafting incredible puzzles with many different sounds that fit together. Within this expanse of sounds, it's the snare the pillar of the groove and everything comes back to it, making of it the start and the end of this endless cycle.
B1's "Son Rise" takes the drum patterns to a whole new level introducing an exquisite ethnic flavour. Congas and percussions melt in a thick, vibrant whole. Some distant female voices in the background create a dark and spiritual atmosphere, in contrast with the acid splashes that barely emerge during the long piece, creating a wavy motion.
Romanian established Cosmjn remixes A1. His version of "Microwave" features a thin kick that cuts nicely in the mix alongside reversed FXs, diverse congas and odd synth stabs, all together bouncing in a void. Proper SW stuff.
Words by Francesco Quieti and Francesco Zambianchi
Chelsea Hotel Records is back after a 2 years hiatus with a mesmerizing EP by YOUniverse. Launched in 2016 by Italy's veteran Leon, the vinyl-only label has seen, since the first release, an incredible array of artists joining the line, including Egal 3, Faster, Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie, David Gtronic, Ada Kaleh and Leon himself. The dub-tech gloomy rhythmic patterns, typically used some years ago, were merged with influences of any sort, offering unexpected jazzy riffs or introspective minimal trips. The label's 9th output is courtesy of the Turin-based duo of YOUniverse, who makes his CHR debut with the three-tracker "Ride" EP.
Click HERE to buy "Ride EP" - CHT009
Opener "Ride" is a delightful techy-minimal jam with dubby flavour. 909 drums are fat-sounding and tight on the heat, with scratchy percs that create a surgical thickness and well-balanced stereo width. The classic deep stab is omnipresent and grooves smoothly, changing and evolving throughout the piece. Some pads make their appearance in the break, powerfully answer to the main stab, enriching the whole track with a romantic feel. The nervous bass rubbery rolls from start to end. When the drums get pitched high and disappear, the floor under our feet is missing and we're flying. Sit back, relax, enjoy the Ride.
The acid "Yellow Line" digs deeper, adding more melodic elements and creating a polished interplay. High pitched hooks fill the air with magic, creating a frame for pads and harmonic stabs. Drums are dried out, with straight-forward snare rolls and hats. Since the very first second, the gentle acid line comes in, introducing some motion with the filter sweeping from top to bottom. The lively chords and pads are perfectly matched with the profound sub and make of "Yellow Line" a great dancefloor-oriented tool both in terms of sounds and arrangement, keeping laid back feelings for the sunniest afternoon.
Rounding out the package is the splendid "Stability". Energy comes from the elegant bassline that gently cuddles the listener over its 7 minutes ride. The synth hits, always there, keeps the tempo. Stab rises and appears super smooth, finding its place in the mix effortlessly. Again, 909 drums are reduced to the essential with an irresistible but simple groove which stays in front while synths go in and out agile. Proper B-side stuff.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
George's path has been something unbelievable: from his Premiesku venture (alongside fellow-Romanians Livio & Roby) to his current Floog project, this man has constantly researched for the sound that could most represent him from time to time, risking and developing a discernable "Floog's stamp" of thousands of facets. In just one year he had releases on labels such as Mulen, Bleu Ciel, Hoarder, SCI+TEC, Atipic, GFD, QNQN, Croosed Grooves and Joule (Yoyaku) and also on his own FLG label. His sound, filled with catchy melodies and groovy hooks, results to be the perfect crossover of Romanian minimal with a more dancefloor-oriented house and techno. Over the years, Floog's tracks have been played by the likes of Apollonia, Petre Inspirescu, Raresh, Livio & Roby, Priku, Sonja Moonear, Sammy Dee, Dubfire, Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Tini. George is also famous for his live performance, using drum machines, analog synths, a small modular rig and a bunch of controllers, his set being energy-oriented, melodic, alternating raw sounds with a more minimalistic approach, having a lot of improvisation moments were artist feels is right for the audience and the type of venue.
We know you both for the splendid productions and for your live exhibition. Tell us more about going live rather than a regular DJ set (as Floog and as Premiesku).
In the begging when I met Livio & Roby I had interest just into making music and didn’t think about the performing side for about 2 years, then in 2005 when I had my first project with them (called Monochrome) we have chosen to perform live cause that was more or less our approach from the studio. Indeed in 2009, I tried to be a DJ/collector for about 6 months but it was clear that was not my thing, I was not attracted about staying all day on Skype with people, on Beatport to dig for music, making folders and CDs etc, I rather wanted to spend that time in the studio and making music and building something from scratch.
My opinion about this is that everyone has a way of express artistically and the art of DJing and a live act are quite different approaches regarding performing music, you just need to feel "in your shoes" when you do it and personally I feel that when I play live my own compositions and improvise.
Your early career started as George G, which also is the moniker you've used with the Premiesku project. How difficult is to change alias (into Floog) after such a successful one? And what does "Floog” mean?
Both George G and Floog represent each a part of my musical journey, let's say Floog came naturally as another chapter, a new challenge and new sound territories. Back in 2012 when I met my actual wife, one day on an afterparty we played with our first names - Florentina and George, and we came with FloG and after we google it to see by curiosity if this makes any sense we had a lovely surprise cause we found this meaning for Floog word on the Urban Dictionary: "Floog" is a connection between two people who share a bond much stronger than "like" or "love". Those who are in floog experience something that the vast majority of people are never lucky enough to have”. So in 2017 when I was looking for a name for my new project this was the first and only option :)
Going even further back in time, what was your first contact with electronic music?
Actually it's a funny begging for me, it was in 1983 and I was six, we were on the communist times when access to music was really hard in Romania and my father was a collector of classical music vinyls. The source of the vinyls mostly was from a guy that brought them illegally from Bulgaria and one day he mixed up the vinyls with someone else and by mistake, we got in the package a vinyl with Kraftwerk - The Man Machine. I was immediately intrigued by the cover of the vinyl and when I played the first track (The Robots) I was totally blown away by the sounds on it! That was something I've never heard before! Then, after the '90s, when access to music was finally free, I realized that I was so lucky to discover and hear the godfathers of electronic music so early!
Are you still working w/ Livio & Roby as Premiesku?
Yes of course, actually we had some studio sessions into Roby's mountain vila before the epidemic crisis and we started choosing tracks for our next Premiesku album.
Talking about collaborative projects, we know you and Mahony have been cooking some stuff together over the last couple of years. Are you working on more collabs?
Yes, I have a few into the pipeline, one of them being a release with Priku that will see the light after summer.
Tell us about the Joker005 you did with Mahony, which has been one of the most requested IDs in 2019. How the idea was born?
Mahony came with this idea and initially, I thought that was almost impossible to come with something cool due to the melodic intensity of the original track :D but in the end, we found a way to make it fit with our sound :)
What about your own FLG label?
I launched my own FLG label back in 2018. Since then, I've only made 3 originals EP and all of them gone really well. I've always been in favour of the "quality over quantity" motto. This year I will start another label with my dear Mahony specifically for our sound and also a sublabel for FLG will see the light, more info about after the summer!
Is there a label that you’d like to release on? And why?
There are a lot of really interesting labels these days but I don’t think I want to chase any when a track is good for a certain label it's attracted like a magnet :)
We've seen some great tools in your studio! What's your favourite one?
I'd say the 0-coast by Make Noise, it's a lovely semi-modular synth and does wonders both in the studio and live. Highly recommended!
Why is the Romanian scene so lively and forward-thinking? Do you think it will continue to be a point of reference even after this COVID emergency?
Many things come to my mind: one important thing is that Romania had a gap of freedom and access to music till 90’ and then when big DJ names came here we had a lot of enthusiasm and joy for electronic music that naturally was translated also to local DJs, producers and passionate. I think you can actually hear that enthusiasm translated into this music :)
Nevertheless, our roots are also important, being a Latin country surrounded by different other types of cultures it had a great influence as well.
Also, another important factor, from my point of view, was the "innocence" of the producers, many of them didn't have as reference old skool music (in particular) and also most of them are not musically trained, they just made/make music by "filtering" the sound they heard in their surroundings and that was mostly in Romania, so that was like a "feedback" coming back to the music scene and making it very evolving but in a certain sound range.
Yes, I dare to say scene will continue like this, musically speaking; like how we call now some particular styles "Berlin sound", "Chicago house", "Detroit techno", "UK garage", also this wave of minimal electronic music will have the "Romanian stamp" on it, even tho I have to admit that there are a lot of great producers coming from many other parts of the world that add amazing value to this music.
What's gonna be the opening track that you will play at your very first show when clubs will finally open again?
It's a track that I've made during this crazy period called "Pale Blue Dot". It's about our home, the planet Earth, that we need to love and take care of more than ever now.
Words by Francesco Quieti
Among the many labels that were born over the last years, thanks also to the ease with which everyone can nowadays access to the digital stores, the guys of PIV has immediately offered something unique and recognizable, by focusing on the most important thing: the music. The Dutch collective's first output can be dated in November 2015 and since then the label has delivered bomb after bomb, blending the most delicate and lush deep house sounds with the modern tech house grooves, giving life to a kind of PIV-sound that has really flooded every club, festival and Spotify playlist. Among the diamond points of Chris Stussy (A&R) and Prunk (co-founder), the label has released incredible tunes from the likes of Toman, DJOKO, ANOTR, The Willers Brothers, S.A.M. and many more, establishing itself as one of the leaders in the scene thanks to an incredible team who daily put all his effort to make the PIV brand bigger and better. Today we'll have some word from Kevin, one of the thinking-heads, oftentimes forgotten in favour of the big DJs, that will tell us a bit of what's behind PIV and the latest People Invited mix series.
Where the PIV name comes from?
The name is an abbreviation of People Invited. As a funny side note, it's also VIP spelt backwards, which basically sums up the meaning of our brand, which is based on inclusiveness.
Where do you think PIV's success comes from?
Not easy to say, because it has to do with many factors. First, we hope of course because the people out there feel the same way about the music we release as we do ourselves. Then second, all the people behind the label are present and active in the scene. What we mean by that is, our team draws experience from both sides of the spectrum, as our collective consists of artists performing live and people who are more engaged in the crowd. Thirdly, our brand identity has been consistent with a recognizable output in our artwork and finally, we have been fortunate that a lot of our affiliated artists have developed their careers into different directions. The synergy between label and artist has played a big part in that way.
Was there a turning point into your rise to the top?
Not really. For us, we never really viewed it that way. It's more like an ongoing journey. When we first started the label, we just wanted to be a platform that was a source for quality house music, as we really feel it's a cultural legacy that has been left to us by previous generations. As time progressed, we started noticing more artists and upcoming producers, who were starting to feel attached to our philosophy. As a lot of these affiliated artists started progressing their careers while staying attached to the label's identity and it helped both the label and the artists grow in their own way.
Which are in your opinion the 3 most significant tracks released on PIV so far?
We can't get around Chris Stussy - Evening Drive, that has been #1 on all deep-house charts for so long. For the rest, we would like to let everyone decide for themselves :-)
How have you chosen the artists on People Invited series?
When we noticed a lot of events were being cancelled because of the circumstances, we reached out to artists that have released or played with us including some upcoming artists we have been following for a while now. We set a deadline and everyone who was on board at that time was included for the series.
What is the common point of all these artists?
It's a collection of renowned and more upcoming artists from different sides of the music spectrum we represent. Some of them are more deep-house influenced, some a bit more minimal tech and some just plain club performers. We like the variety of it.
Prunk b2b Menado: will there be more of these unexpected b2b?
Perhaps there will still follow a few more. It's always nice to come together like that creating some unique sessions.
Are there other artists that you would have liked to involve in People Invited?
Yes many more, but unfortunately we had to draw the line somewhere on the deadline date.
The PIV brand/label saw an unstoppable rise last year. With this “corona” tough moment going on, do you think that this will slow down your plans?
We think everyone in the scene will be affected by this with so many events cancelled already, but also in times like this, there are opportunities to analyse plans for the upcoming year ahead. We are in the fortunate position to be a flexible organisation, so, for now, we just focus more on running the label and as soon as the bans are lifted we can plan ahead for events again.
Will there be more initiatives against the quarantine/stop of parties from you?
Like mentioned above, it's a good time to review your strategy and to make sure all the things are running smooth with the label, this podcast series was the least we could do for now and for the rest we just keep releasing music to hopefully make peoples time at home a little less stressful. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best and send our sympathy for everyone thas has been affected by this.
Words by Francesco Quieti
Click HERE to buy the EP
Review: Priku ft Dinu - Luna (Introspections 01)
Half Is Enough is a Romanian artist collective based in Bucharest that focuses on delivering forward-thinking music and has now decided to create a new brainchild: Introspections. The launch of the new imprint arrives and with their first release, Luna. The album’s first and homonymous track is no other than a collaboration by Priku and Dinu, a delicate and thoughtful downtempo masterpiece which serves as the common thread for the release. The name Luna alludes to the mysterious allure of nighttime. ¨Luna¨ means moon in Spanish and Italian, a name that truly evokes a nocturnal ambience and elegant tension apparent as well in the album artwork. Sublee and Lizz are on remix duties and deliver a perfect closure to the work as a whole.
The Luna EP is a perfectly balanced yet edgy, three-track recording that showcases the original work by Priku and Dinu, which directly contrasts and complements the latter reinterpretations. The original version of Luna takes form as a downtempo song, with swinging jazzy instruments, improvising piano melodies along with, syncopated percussions and subtle atmospheric electronic sounds. While, Sublee adds a very smooth yet dynamic twist to the piece, driving you on a highway to a deeper sound realm, perfect for any dancefloor. Lastly, Lizz takes on a more progressive approach which keeps the listener moving back and forth. The release clearly expresses a unique sense of intimacy, as an experimental take on minimal and dancefloor music. Introspections is a label and concept, that allows for artistic freedom and then takes form as deeper reinterpretations upon the dancefloor to complete the circle. This is what Introspections is all about.
To remark the occasion, we invited Sublee for an interview to hear his personal thoughts on the release and his production in general.
How was working on the remix of such a totally different track?
It was very inspiring, I love working on downtempo/experimental tracks and approach them in my style.
Do you feel more comfortable to approach on downtempo/experimental tracks like this or a "regular" 4/4?
I feel comfortable approaching the mood, the momentum, so I enjoy working on both themes the same, as a producer. Also when remixing, it is about feeling the track no matter its style and of course feeling I can bring something there.
What do you think of the overall concept of "Introspection? Would you like to provide "A-side" stuff too?
This approach is like a multiverse. Sounds morphing into something else, transcending genres, music taking shapes and states of self.
Sometimes I do this myself, a track in both interpretations. Since long I work on experimental/ambient projects so I would be happy to share some introspections.
Which are the original stems that inspired you the most while working on the Reinterpretation?
I love the whole vibe of the track and I think all the elements have their role in this composition. For me, the most inspiring were the jazzy percussions, the bass and of course the piano.
Do you think that with this lockdown/studio days producers will release more of this kind of unusual stuff?
I think in this situation that we are now having time to experiment more will lead for sure to some amazing and unusual ideas.
Have you dedicated yourselves into more activities aside from music production during this lockdown period?
I worked on my schedule, diet and tried to rest better and train more because it was a long period of playing music every weekend and I really needed some time out. Also having time to spend every day with my son and my wife makes this period overwhelmingly beautiful.
Your tracks always sound so gentle but at the same time, they work great on the dancefloor. What do you think it's your secret to have this perfect balance?
The secret is listening again and again and again.
What's gonna be the first track that you will play at your first gig after this pandemic situation?
John Tejada – Soft Spread
Will see how I will feel then. I really hope that will happen soon because I miss dancing and people a lot.
Words by Daniel Ordoñez / Interview by Francesco Quieti
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As soon as you hear the name of Djebali, your hips gently start to oscillate and you realize that your foot is tapping the ground. The Paris-based groove ambassador has constantly provided dancefloor rollers over the years, releasing some of them on his homonymous label. For the imprint 10th catalogue, he invites French producer S.M.A.L.L. who's also 1/2 of the prolific duo Politics Of Dancing with Easy Babe EP, rounding out the package with his own version.
Click HERE to buy DJEBEX10
"Easy Babe" is a straight and direct house tune with lively drums and solid kick drums with just the right amount of punch, depth, and click. Scattering percussions and tiny shakers provide an extra dose of groove, while hypnotic sounds perfectly match together with a powerful and funky bassline from which it's impossible not to be dragged gently. Deep vocal shots make everything rotate and flow, with a subtle but yet effective piano melody adding that romantic touch. Not a bad re-debut for someone's who released his last solo EP back in 2013. It was worth the wait!
S.M.A.L.L. (1/2 of Politics Of Dancing)
On the flip, label-head Djebali introduces more groove elements, starting from some congas, toms and twinkling bells. Clap is fat and prominent and gives a good swing to the track due to its little forward shift on the 2 and 4, but the hypnotic mood stays as the old fashioned overall sound. The bassline is just huge, 100% bouncing to the groove and holds the piece up until a warpy stab joins the jam. The vocal is pitched higher, sounding uplifting. Some dub FXs and light plucks create the right scenario before the drop, giving life to another banger from the label owner.
Enjoy this 1-hour stream from the man himself and make you sure to follow him on Instagram as well!
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
After six years in the making between Malmö and Berlin, Per Hammar will release his first studio album on his Dirty Hands imprint this May. Spanning 12 tracks, for release on digital, triple vinyl and streaming, the album is designed for the dance floor and represents the evolution of one of Sweden’s finest artists from his musical beginnings in 2004 to the current day.
Click HERE to buy Pathfinder LP 3x12"
On the opener "Mother", Per Hammar kicks things off with a slow intro of rattling sounds and noisy textures, to which his trademark dubby synth makes is appearance. With the harmonic elements being prominent, the old-school-sounding kick along with the profound bass, it starts with SCI-FI sounds for 3 minutes, then it makes a plot twist. With a long airy intro, that's the perfect way of starting out an LP.
"F Dubb 1000" resumes Per Hammar's typical "Dubb" entitled track name - do you remember his Linjbaan Dub and Remote Dubb right?- and gets more minimal, woody with intriguing metallic percs rigidly keeping the seductive beat up. Kick is a little back this time, creating some room for the atmospheric layer for a high definition track that hides behind a crystal clear musical thought by Per Hammar.
We wouldn't expect "DX Sport" to be on the B-side, being that bold and upright. The Swedish's signature perc is creating the pace and everything follows up fluently, transmitting a ton of swing on it. Kick doubles often, recovering the groove every 4 bars. Dub delayed stabs kicks in with soul and drama, while the interplay between drums and synths works perfectly and polished, creating a whole homogeneous amalgamation.
B2 gets deeper and soulful for what is in our opinion one of the top 3 from the album. Here the things go intimate and emotional, but always keeping the style we all start to recognize. "Late For The Trance Gate" is the exact track that you hear when you unlock the passageway to another dimension. Since the very beginning, the track offers a full-bodied groove winding above solid kicks and melancholic pads that turn out to be just a prelude for sharp textures, scratchy noises and the epic female vocal parts. A pad on the break lifts us by 2 centimetres from the floor, take off... Proper goosebumps track this one. Just when the track has lulled everyone into that ethereal mood, suddenly it changes direction: an acid bassline makes all the dreamy elements disappear, leaving the listeners suspended in a void right in front of the tougher second drop is to, naked of the harmonics. Pad comes back and again we fly to the sky.
"Low Bats" abandons the straight 4/4, exploring dusty breakbeat sonorities. The loop underneath sounds very old-school and rolls with the snare. Bass is fluid and creates a solid layer on top of the irregular kick. Here, the Swedish producer is wisely using more regular elements to stabilize the groove, also to make up for the absence of massive harmonic elements. Berlin influence is very explicit.
The catchy entitled "If You Have A Mind It Will Wonder" tells us a fairytale of a bygone era, where children used to play near luxuriant rivers. They are precisely the protagonist of the track, with their joyful voices in the background that bring harmony in the whole piece. For the whole duration, the groove remains almost unchanged, with Per Hammar's trademark combination of silk drums and everchanging playful FXs. Harmonics appear very dense, and on top of them, more melodic elements create a deeper and more intimate feel of joy.
Up next, is the club banger "Novo Line". Here, the acid synth lines themselves are responsible for the groove structure, jumping and fading away with a lot of dynamic. Drums are tight and get immediately us moving, helped by extra vocal chops and splashes of dirty sounds to prepare for the heavy and teachy drop. What did you expect? We've told you that this one is made for the floor.
Thus, "Inter City" is one of Per Hammar's profound dubbs. The stab gets processed with an everchanging delay, moving throughout the piece. Toms roll unceasingly, creating a sweet rotation on the steady groove, while as the track proceeds, the main stab gets answered by another one, seemingly processed. This is a very essential piece, where arrangement plays an important role, creating surprise and contrast.
The last wax kicks things off with "Galatea". From the very beginning, we are moved by the resonant tom endless movement, which constitutes an important element of the whole melodic part, also making the right dose of loopiness. Dub pads on the background suggest some distant harmony, while low toms are playing together with the profound bass, creating a complex texture of deep hits. A flickering stabby sound emerges from the most remote areas, stuttering in a huge desolate space. Some distant vocal shots here and there is a challenge to be heard, creating mystery while the track unveils little by little.
E2's "Passenger Blend" features a gnarly bassline that pulls and pushes the piece, creating a wavy feel. The entire track is imbued on a sinister and gloomy mood, almost awkward in some parts. A sort of flute sings with difficult an odd melody made of long and heavily processed notes. Percs are bond together and they complete each other's line. As the track progresses, another second bass, more steady and gritty, scratches on the kick. A track for distant memories that leave the listener floating on a bubble of apparent innocence: the passenger blend.
We're getting close to the end. Per Hammar is trying to advise us by using cold and faraway sounds already since a couple of tracks. "Midnight Print" is no exception: electronic bleeps make up a full layer of tiny objects and sketches of noise, while the bass gets in and out of our focus with a wise and delicate cutoff move. The harmonic minor melody played by a glidy lead takes us in a disturbing eastern mood. Calmly, drums stay on the beat, never getting too in front, with the exception of the clap, which results pretty shifted backwards, slowing down the entire track.
The closing track is called "Manchester Lone Star". Here, the Swedish artist fires his last shot, heading into an endgame... In fact, it's not the usual beatless piece that we're used to seeing as a last track on the album, but another powerful edgy tool that starts with insistent toms and a stutty synth. The voice is at the core of many of the sounds used, processed and used in many different ways. And out of nowhere an airy pad comes to us with an epic progression, sporting its power on the breaks and but soon fading away right before for the rough tech drop. The drums, bass and kicks blink an eye to Guti's stuff, while on top, the northern melodic soul of Per Hammar comes out full-on-force throughout a sort of guitar that gets sentimental and its line perches on the pad. This piece has something enchanting and deep, revealing his vision of music, made of soul, bold contrasts and a solid technique, sanctioning the end of the Pathfinder LP.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
UNCANNY is Juliche Hernandez's newborn label that makes clear from the very start that it's got the fire in the game. After successful releases on labels such as Downhill Music, MadTech, hedZup, PIV and Audionik to name a few, the Spanish producer has decided to create his own space - locked up between two index fingers - to share his idea of house music. UNC001 is courtesy of UK fabric resident Tommy Vercetti who marks the debut EP with 2 rousing house originals followed by 2 Djebali remixes and another version by PIV-head Prunk.
"In The Groove" is all about the bass, rolling and powerful directly on the floor. Vercetti's style funky stabs get the track bouncing while silky vocal from Florence Bird gently creates the proper mood. Drums lay on the piece solid, never coming out of the mix too much, in perfect balance. Plucky sounds on top are crystal-clear and remember us of some synth-poppish vibes we really dig. That playful melt of old and new is what got us to discover Vercetti in the first place. This one is an assured "hands in the air" dancefloor anthem as it spreads the positive vibes all over the place; we're only waiting for this situation to be over to smile at our friends when the kick drops again.
PIV head-honcho Prunk remix slows down and gets sexier, introducing more percussive elements, congas and a deeper kick. The vocal is pitched down, sounding smooth and lush. While the track goes with its not-too-gentle pace, liquid pads flow on the sides, forming a classy atmospheric layer. This remix confirms Prunk as a master in making this mellow-kind of pieces and that's not disappointing: we're headbanging from start to end.
Up next is "Under The Sun", the second original from Vercetti who this time delivers a more modern feeling roller. His trademark stab remains the main act, and it dances, moving and slapping with joy. Drums are thick and the hats sound like perfection, not too sharp, sandy; all the ingredients are dosed at the right point. The dubby and deep bass finds its moment on the second drop, alone with the delicious percussions, hitting hard on our feet and breast. Old school housy string lifts us up for the break until we dive back in the groove.
Closing the EP is not one, but two remixes from Parisian groover Djebali, who serves two versions of "Under The Sun".
The DEA mix is a real club banger, with the main synth driving deep and moving across the pan, never settled. The atmospheres turn out to be strangely mysterious and dark, infusing a sinister mood to this version. Some subtle acid arps whisper in the ears, shaking along with the hats, while the analogue sounding bass gives that grain on the bottom with the kick. Its sequence is pressing, tight on the groove and really pushes the track endlessly.
On his other version, Djebali brings back some classic housy Apollonia-vibes by removing extra-elements, keeping only what is strictly necessary. The groove is bare and essential and the massive bass cuts really well in the track and creates that sucking feeling. Glitchy percs play in the background with high-pitched synths, while on the break, the DEEP mix takes a sharp turn and kicks in with a new synth with a plot twist. But no worries, the groove is just around the corner and we're soon back to it for the last dance.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
Please could you introduce yourselves to our readers who may not be aware of what you do?
We are a collective of musicians that perform live and improvised techno and related influences using classic drum machines and synths, stringed instruments and vocals.
Playing mostly at clubs, raves and warehouse parties we have released three physical records and a few digital-only releases as well as some full improvised live sets over the last 5 years.
Last year we toured in India and had our first tour in Europe where we played at the Fusion Festival as well as Berlin Clubs etc. We have played extensively in NYC and on the U.S. East Coast with emphasis on underground warehouse parties as well as certain clubs we have really connected with like Flash in Washington DC, Mono in Mexico City and the now-closed Output in NY.
How did the three of you first meet? What made you decide to team up as a band?
We met in college about 15 years ago. Since then we have collaborated with each other in various functions and formations. Our love for electronic music, parties and improvised music brought us together to form N/UM in 2015. It started with jam sessions with electronic gear and evolved into this project that is very dear to us and has brought us to so many places and is making people happy through music. For years we were all very focused on improvisation, mostly through the jazz idiom because this is where the improvisation game was mostly confined to or at least was strongest in that realm. However, we always had a feeling that there was a need to break with the set and settled stylistic traits, the defined sound and general approach in musical interaction that the jazz tradition always seems to carry with it. This holds true even though we all have a deep love for Jazz still and in fact, still do a lot of our work in the jazz world. We also often go out to let ourselves soak in the music from the incredible scene that continues to exist in our city for jazz. There are a lot of amazing artists that really push the boundaries of the style. Starting N/UM was a way for us not to keep pushing the limits of the style but rather leave the style all together while keeping the sensibility and notion of a kind of musical telepathy which the history of jazz has brought to such a high level of development.
Band members tend to have more clearly defined roles. How do you split up your responsibilities? Does each of you bring specific skills to the table?
For the most part, it is very even. Of course, musically we all bring a very personal style and taste to the table. It has been very interesting and rewarding to combine them into a cohesive whole that is bigger than its parts. Since Jeremy is an incredible engineer, he is doing the mixing and mastering (with input from Emil and myself). I feel when one of us makes a particular connection or gets passionate about a certain thing they might take the lead on that. Many of the skills needed to play in this very interconnected and technologically complex context we had to learn together as we went along and bit by bit developed our setup and technique to what it is now. It continues to evolve and change as continually experiment and as we change as humans and as musicians, learn and gather inspiration. It all goes into a process.
Can you tell us more about your live set? Which equipment do you use and why?
Elias: Our live sets are totally improvised. We tried in the beginning to recreate 'tracks' that we liked, but we found out that the pure improvisation feels most alive and groovy. There is something really beautiful about having an experience with an audience that is totally original and in a way not repeatable. You had to be there!
I'm playing mostly guitar that I feed first into a 2 track looper that then goes into two different effect chains. One effect chain is the guitar sound processed with pedals like Red Panda's Particle and Tensor, a freeze pedal, an octave pedal, delays, reverb and a Frostwave Resonator Filter pedal. The other effect chain is a Meris Enzon guitar synthesizer with an Erika Acidbox III filter pedal and a delay. Since the loop is before the effect chain, once I have set up a loop I can freely use my hands to extensively morph the sound with the effects. The two tracks are completely independent. Everything gets clocked by a master clock.
Jeremy: I use mostly 3 drum machines, the Roland Tr-909, I love playing it!! it sounds incredible on big systems, it’s very playable as an instrument. it’s an absolute classic, the same as a guitar player would cherish their vintage fender guitar. the second one is an analogue drum synth of any sort that I trigger with the 909, usually the Simmons SDS or UDS Marsh (it’s a vintage Russian drum synth) I love drum synths because I can make them sound however I want on the fly, I can turn a snare sound into a Hi-Hat, percussion or bass drum in a matter of seconds, it helps to have instruments that are dynamic in a free improvised setup. And the last one is the Elektron Octacapture, I use this mainly as a sampler, I have a collection of samples that I like to warp change reprogram, it gives me a more organic texture to the beat.
Emil: I use a wide variety of analogue synths, mostly clocking with cv in one way or another to control oscillators or filters in order to connect rhythmically to the rest of the trio. We always joked that we are three people playing one instrument. Of course, there are actually many units that go into the chain but the connectedness of the rhythm that drives the majority of our sound and the ways in which the instruments affect each other very strongly gives this feeling of one big instrument. In addition to synths, I use my voice a lot. I use looping and effects on both synth and voice to be able to layer elements and carve out fleeting soundscapes that can form either the thematic basis or a sort of ambient background for what sometimes is in the end perceived as songs or “tracks”. We never have any songs going into the improvisation but when things are flowing they appear out of the moment.
You’ve shot a video set in the mountains around Ri Kynjai, Lake Umiam in Northern India. Can you give us a little insight as to how the idea came about and why you settled on that location?
As mentioned earlier we were touring in India in early 2019. We performed at the 'Nowhere Is Here' Festival in Shillong on New Year's Eve. The father of the festival organizer is the incredible architect Prabhat Dey Sawyan, who built Ri Kynjai. We spent some afternoons there and were mesmerized by the beauty of the architecture and nature. We had some free days and our friend and musician Hammarsing Kharhmar and his brother Larsing Ming Sawyan, who curated the festival, helped us to set it up.
The breathtaking surroundings in India were so inspiring, we felt the need to document our time there and to make an artistic testimony in some way out of our experience there. The 3 of us sat down and discussed if it was possible to realize or not, somehow everything quickly fell into place with the help of the organizers and their amazing community.
Can you tell us about who directed it and how you hooked up with them?
The video was shot and edited by The Hillspeople, a local video collective that also shot some videos for the festival. They were great! They had a team of just three people and made everything very seamless and focused. We had very little time to make the shoot happen and they were incredibly good at what they were doing so it was easy for us to just focus on taking in the scenery and the immense solemn energy of the place and give our best shot at turning it into music.
It looks like the location posed some unique challenges for a live set - how difficult was it to get set up for the shoot?
Well, we have the luxury of needing mostly power and speakers apart from the equipment that we bring ourselves. So once we had that setup, it was no problem for us to play. For the camera people, it was a little more difficult, since they had to film multiple angles at once and figure out on the fly (literally) how to stay out of each other's shots.
As your performance was fully improvised - how much do you think the environment influenced the music?
Very much. Nature and architecture, as well as the fact that we were playing the three of us without an audience, influences the music immensely. I think it is definitely more relaxed and chill than what we play at 6 am in a dark warehouse. That is the beauty of improvisation that all these factors as well as how you personally feel that day combine into something new.
And did the thought that it was being filmed make you approach it differently?
Not much. We try to focus on the music. That is always paramount.
Some would say this is a bit of a dream location, but what would each of your actual dream locations be?
Emil: I think our dream location is really wherever open-minded people are willing to suspend expectations and run along with our risk-fueled approach to musical performance. It goes hand in hand with a culture that celebrates experimentation and alternative ways of thinking and realizing ideas over prefabricated, neatly packaged and marketed experiences.
Elias: The advantage to playing in a great club or festival (which we are fortunate to do in many places) is that the sound system is great, which is very important especially when you're improvising, and that you get so much energy and feeling from the people who share the experience with you. The connection with the audience is the most amazing thing about playing music. But since we mostly need speakers and power I always had this dream to improvise in some unusual settings and places. Maybe a forest, in the mountains, in an old abandoned building... I think the vibe we would get from these locations could lead to some very interesting music.
Jeremy: The dream location for a party is not really about the location, but more about the people, the vibe, the decor the sound system and setup of the place, it could really be anywhere, the location can help to make a moment even more memorable but It’s even better when you get surprised by it!
Can you tell us about what’s next for N/UM? Anything you’re particularly working on?
We had a tour planned in Europe again this summer, but those plans are postponed for now for obvious reasons. We did two lengthy recording session where we spent days in the studio earlier this year, which yielded a lot of material that we are looking forward to putting out. We are going through that right now to decide what and how to release it. We also have some recordings from 2019 that we still have to release, which will be around the summer or early fall. Right now we are also trying to figure out if we can play remotely and somehow push the latency of streaming to each other to such a low level that we could perform being in different places. That would be quite fantastic but it has proven difficult with the complexity of the connections we have going. We’ll see if we manage in the coming weeks. We are working on another video project as well. This time in a very different way where we will not be in the video ourselves but instead have some very talented animators and film wizards work with their own creative freedom to form a visual world to merge with a recording of ours.
The current times are quite dark and in many ways tragic. The mood here is unusually heavy for NY, being that we are currently the centre of the crisis and don’t have much of an end in sight. We are doing our best to stay productive through and do enjoy the time allowed for introspection and seeking new inspiration and knowledge in books, films and music that we would not otherwise have time to delve into so deeply. That said, we cannot absolutely wait to be back out in the night playing together again surrounded by the irreplaceable force that is the energy of people, gathering around music and the collective experience.
Our best wishes to everyone. Stay safe and stay strong.
Words by Willy
Madrid-based Bohrium Records is ready to drop its very first chapter called "Empirical Test Vol. 1". This various artists compilation consists of four sublime tracks by four different talented producers, which have already been hammered by heavyweights like Priku and Gescu.
Click HERE to buy BHR001 - Empirical Test Vol. 1
The first empirical test is courtesy of Romanian rising talent Cojoc. With his "Frics", we are immersed from start to finish into an ocean of sinister sounds and twisted hypnotic synths. The groove winks to minimal-techno, making us understand the power of repetition trough well-balanced elements and extra-tight hats. As soon as the track proceeds, perception of time is lost, and we slowly dig deeper in this dark gem, falling relentlessly into the loop. Swishy effects are framed by the straight-forward attitude of the drums, while the main vocoderized synth talks to us, escalating to the breaks.
Up next is the more driving techno-oriented "Mal So Mal So" by Switzerland-based Marques Sigi. This one is a headstrong minimal roller with subtle but sticky acid mood with prominent snares, trying to surface in a wide sea of sound. The synth line spreads in huge reverb and outlines a deep ambience, drums are on top and epic reverse sweeps bring us in a completely new dimension. As well as the track progresses, we can taste some piano-ish sounds as well as some horns, all melt in a beautiful and abstract way.
On the flip, the newborn project of Akela (aka Angel Mosteiro and Joel Vazquez) goes deeper and melodic, kicking things off with carillon-like arp alongside majestic pads. Metallic sounds give goosebumps while they travel from one side to another while the breakbeat kick is tight and clean, stinging elastic on the high-tech groove. The synth horn arising introduce the breaks, with LFO's rate constantly changing throughout the track, giving life to a virtuous movement that slows down and speeds up the entire track. "Space Runner" reminds us something from the 80s and the 90s, bringing to our memory epic soundtrack themes and dark-wave records, due to the old-fashioned synthesizers used, almost wanting to celebrate a time now remote.
Wrapping up the record is the powerful "The Muggles" by Panama's Avidel. This one's a pure ro-minimal club tool, conceived for after-hours moments due to the delicious drum patterns, dense of micro variations. Kick is boomy enough, in contrast to the stabby synth insisting on the sixteenths. Dreamy pads, noise fills and SCI-FI arpeggiators do the rest, leaving the subby bass going rigid on the beat, while everything else is sounding so fluid. The break represents our only time to rest, while we float in the evocative texture.
Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi
We shone a light on the Addition By Subtraction imprint a little while ago in our 20 Record Labels to Keep An Eye on in 2020 article. Here, we take a look at their next outing which sees them put out their fourth release with the handy title 'Fourth Addition.'
Music should not be restricted by the somewhat dubious borders of a so-called 'genre.' In essence, 'Fourth Addition' entails an all-inclusive selection of Tech and Deep House alongside Minimal and Techno to offer something for everyone and for those with an open mind.
Click HERE to buy ABS004 - Fourth Addition"
Argentinian export Sound Process kicks off the A-side with a lovely rolling tech-house number titled 'Hoxton', perfect for when you need to step things up a gear on the dance floor! Having released on labels such as 20/20 Vision and Little Helpers, the Buenos Aires-based producer and DJ has been well renowned in the scene for around 10 years now and was able to showcase his sound alongside Fuse head-honcho Enzo Siragusa earlier this year in his home country!
Closing out the A-side is an exciting new joint venture between two artists who are undoubtedly one of house music's hottest properties at the moment! PIV President Chris Stussy and DJOKO aka Stussko combine their reputable and well-distinguished sound and provide eclectic diggers with a track suitable for various types of listening and use. We are big fans of these guys and everything they seem to pump out of the studio is pure gold and there's no chance to the routine here!
Born in Venezuela but residing in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Giorgio Maulini showcases his stripped-back sound to kick off the B-side. The Minimal House specialist is the founder of the amazing Underground Town, a vinyl-only record label aiming to influence the underground music scene in Switzerland. Having signed artists such as Silat Beksi, Michael James, Mihai Pol, and Kepler in recent releases, his refined yet uplifting style is clear to hear throughout his track 'Send Me Your Location' and is the perfect sunrise set-ender for those looking to close things up in style! Perfectly constructed drum hits and percussion blend with infectious pads and lead lines to create pure magic!
Last and by no means least, rounding off the release is the highly acclaimed and respected Voigtmann. The German producer and DJ has been rocking dancefloors and festivals for many years now and delivers a unique take on Maulini’s original to present his minimalistic techno-inspired sound ready to jump-start the dance floor! His rework oozes pure class from start to finish with a trippy and melodic bass, spacey glitches, and shuffling hats and shakers to really get you moving! Support has come in so far from the likes of; Archie Hamilton, Ben Rau, Djebali, Diego Krause, Fabe, Michael James, Stephan Bazbaz and Toman just to name a few.
You can buy the record from clicking right here and you can check out snippets of the 4 awesome tracks below...
Words by Dom Fletcher