Longstanding residents (and friends) Bobby O'Donnel and Daniel Henriques join forces as The Molecule
- Published on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 16:04
After leaving their hometown in 2005, the pair found themselves either side of the Pennines, Bobby in Leeds, Daniel in Manchester. In 2007 Bobby started a residency at the already well-established System, whilst in 2008 Daniel started the now legendary Zutekh parties, as resident and co-promoter. During their combined 25 years at their respective residencies, Daniel & Bobby have shared the decks with everyone from Villalobos, to Jeff Mills to Chez Damier as well as gigs every year at The Warehouse Project and Cocoon in the Park.
Since collaborating a year ago and forming The Molecule, their first E.P is now ready for release, on Bobby's well regarded E-Numbers imprint.
What's the first memory that you guys have of each one of you?
Daniel: I first met Bobby in a Media Studies class in 1997. We were 16 years old and it was our first day at 6th Form College. The teacher had asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves one by one to the rest of the class - “Hi, my name’s Bobby and I’m divorced with 3 kids..” was the way he chose to introduce himself. I remember finding that hilarious and knew at that point we were going to be mates!
Bobby: Haha, that did happen, I should probably point out Henny was the only person in the whole class to laugh at my weird intro! His answer I think was - “Hi, I’m Daniel Henriques but everyone calls me Henny’. After that, we ended up becoming best mates. I think we always had respect and really impressed each other from a very early age musically, it's almost weird how long it took for us to collaborate.
Tell us everything about The Molecule project: how and when it started?
Daniel: It started a couple of years ago. I live down in Brighton now and before that, I’d been living in Manchester for 10 years doing the Zutekh parties. Bobby was over in Leeds during that time doing his System residency and we’d kind of lost touch since leaving our hometown. He got in touch and asked if I fancied going up north and making a tune. Everything just seemed to click straight away. That first session we made ‘Make The Trip Work’ - one of the tunes on our first E.P, soon to be released on E-Numbers.
Bobby: Yeah it’s been a case of that, with Henny coming up North each time. We made the first bits in Southport, then I moved back to Leeds. It’s been amazing to see my old mate again and to get stuck into the project. On reflection, we could have been more in touch, but life sort of takes over.
Daniel, what's the best part of working with Bobby?
Daniel: I can’t really think of any negatives, to be honest. We seem to agree on everything - whether it’s making music or DJing - hopefully, this translates well in our music. I’ve always regarded Bobby as one of the best producers I know and it’s a pleasure to be doing this with him. Of course, it’s also great to have one of my best mates back in my life on a regular basis.
Bobby, what's the best part of Working with Daniel?
Bobby: The best part is the results we’ve been getting together, Henny has a great approach to music and life in general. I’m quite erratic in the studio, so it’s been perfect to be creative with someone so calming. Also, we’ve got a really good crew in Leeds, it's ace having him over and being part of it all.
Who's the studio nerd between you two?
Daniel: Bobby for sure. A good chunk of my time is taken up with my work down in Brighton, which isn’t music-related. Bobby is now running classes teaching music production in Leeds and spends the majority of his time in the studio. He actually taught me how to use Ableton 15 years ago.
Bobby: Yeah I’m extremely nerdy about all things music-related and always have been. Where I still buy a lot of records, Henny is the more nerdy there. I remember him back in the day, mixing techno on three decks, after becoming obsessed with Jeff Mills. It was fucking mind-blowing how he could do that, and still can! So he’s still a proper nerd too!
From what I gather, you live pretty far from each other. How do you manage to work remote?
Daniel: For us, it’s important, whenever possible, to be in the same room when working on music - whether that’s making a track or deciding on tunes for a podcast - everything takes much less time and almost always seems to come together as it should. The studio we use is in Leeds, so at the start of the Molecule project, I made the commitment to travel up wherever possible and spend a long weekend on music every time I'm up there. Up until recently, I was travelling up around once every month or so. For now, though, I’ll be staying down in Brighton waiting for the pandemic to end.
Bobby: Yeah we don’t work remotely and hopefully never will do. I find it too impersonal and not collaborative, I mean how could it be really. It might take a bit longer if you take travel into account, but musically it's quicker and it’s the only way to work for us. Also, it’s the perfect excuse to see each other and make a weekend out of it. Obviously there’ll be no more anything until the Corona Virus fucks off.
What are your next steps?
Daniel: Since the coronavirus outbreak, everything’s kind of in limbo. Our scene has obviously been hit really hard and there are no gigs to look forward to for the foreseeable future. We’ve also made the decision to delay the release of our first E.P on E-Numbers until this has all blown over. It’s not great timing, as the E.P had just gone to cut when the situation with the virus started to become serious. So yeah, everything is on hold. I am of course more than happy to wait it out as long as needs be - the main thing at the moment is for everyone not to be out partying, staying safe and at home.
Bobby: There’s not much more to say here other than that.
And what your main goals as The Molecule?
Daniel: Just keep on doing exactly what we’re doing I’d say. We’ve got a good thing going, so just keep working hard on it all and hopefully, the project will do well. We’ll be making more music and sending it out to some labels we respect, in the hope of getting something signed. I’m really happy with the way things are going in terms of us Djing together too, so definitely looking forward to the time we can play out again!
Bobby: We're both ploughing on with this project very much and I’m just doing projects in general and having a bit of a break from releasing my solo stuff. We’ve been getting the correct types of bookings, so once the world can get back to normal, more of that for sure.
Any anticipation on some E-Numbers' future stuff?
Daniel: It’s all very early days but we’ve spoken about a Molecule remix for an upcoming release on E-Numbers. Keep your ears peeled for that! Bobby has also been working on a pretty big E-Numbers party up in Leeds later on in the year, which we’ll be playing at if the lockdown has ended.
Bobby: On E-Numbers after The Molecule release I’ll be showcasing some new artists I believe in and two of the most talented people I’ve met. The first is KG93, who I’ll be putting out an EP together with as KB Gems. He’s like a brother to me and an incredibly talented all-rounder, who is a wonder when it comes to music and making it. He’s also a choreographer. Pure talent! I’m also putting a release together with Konnie. He’s not only one of my best mates but a seriously talented DJ, drummer and beatboxer (he won't mind me saying that). Then who knows really! More releases and I’ll speed up the rate of them once it’s all back to normal and start asking people for demos.
Any shoutout or final thanks?
Daniel: Absolutely - Huge shouts to everyone that’s booked us to play so far. We’ve really enjoyed every gig and it means the world that promoters have put their faith in us. Also a big shout and big love to my wonderful lady Corinne who is nothing but supportive of what we are doing with The Molecule. I’ve been away a fair amount in the past year and I’m sure plenty of girlfriends wouldn’t be too happy! Also to my 4 Zutekh brothers, especially James and Dave for asking me to come on board at the very start. I still remember our little meeting all those years back... I've learnt how to play out properly as a result and also what it means to be a resident. I'll always be grateful. I’d also really like to thank Steve O'Sullivan for giving us the opportunity with the last podcast we did for his Mosaic mix series. We had some nice feedback on that and a couple of ace gigs came from it too. It was a massive platform for us, as is this opportunity with Meoko, so a big thanks to you too! Really hope you enjoy the mix..x
Bobby: Yeah, to be honest, I'd like to give a shout out to all the Mint Club family and especially Shane for giving me the chance of being a resident all those years ago. It’s shaped everything that I do and warming up has taught me how to be a DJ properly. I'm so utterly grateful for it. Also a special shout out to Danny Robinson for being a consistent dude and the best dick head in Leeds.
Also from us both, on a final note, we just wanted to say a massive shoutout has to go to all the doctors, nurses & health care workers around the world during this absolutely insane time. It’s hard to even begin to imagine what they are dealing with at the moment. Also to the people working in food shops, delivering, helping the homeless, key workers and everyone else doing their bit. Respect..x
Words by Francesco Quieti
Carl Finlow: "It's something inside, a skill that I have to convey feelings and emotions through music..."
- Published on Saturday, 14 March 2020 17:14
Carl Finlow returns with a double vinyl 8 track album, following a prolific run of singles for Lone Romantic, Electrix, Craigie Knowes and Orson. Apparatus is a forward-thinking album that reflects Finlow’s return to live touring with many tracks hitting harder and darker, pushing his electro sound into new directions and soundscapes. Flawless production is something we have come to expect from Mr.Finlow yet he has managed to raise his game yet again with Apparatus, which is released on Leeds based 20/20 Vision who are also celebrating 25 years of the label this year!
Finlow has been on a staggering run of form and Apparatus continues this remarkable purple patch with a new lease of electro energy. It’s not surprising that every credible electronic master on the planet from Weatherall and Craig Richards to Dixon and Maceo Plex are all fans of his work.
Hey Carl, how has 2020 been for you so far?
Hi, 2020 has been good so far. The start of the year is usually slow gig wise but this always gives me kind of two months to get all my new music written and ready to send out to labels for the coming years releases.
You've been hugely prolific recently. What's the reason for that do you think? Can you pinpoint it?
I think I can really pinpoint it yes. I lived in Paris for 13 years, which was amazing in so many ways. I got married there and we had two children. We lived in quite a small apartment and my 'studio' became a table in the dining room. Being a musician, I work from home, but my wife went to an office job every day, so I was left to take care of home life. I was so used to having huge expanses of time to write my music and having two children really demolished that. The period in Paris was the least productive of my life so far. However, in 2015 we decided to move to the south of France. We ended up with a nice big old house and I had a studio room just dedicated to music. This, combined with the kids being older and more autonomous, meant that I once again had a good workspace and bags of time. I literally exploded musically.
Where does it come from? Inside you or a desire to leave a legacy or hearing or seeing things in everyday life?
It's something inside, a skill that I have to convey feelings and emotions through music. I still find it very magical, music, it is so very mysterious, the way it conjures up images and thoughts in our minds. I love that aspect of it, the psychological aspect of it, to actually get inside other peoples heads. I guess all creative work is like that. As for leaving a legacy, I have given thought to that and indeed it is nice to be leaving behind things that will remain accessible to future generations. I have enough fans to conclude that I am doing something right so knowing that is very rewarding for not only now, but to know that it will possibly mean something when I'm gone.
Why now for a new album? Did you have something specific to say? What was that?
Things just fall into place at certain times. With my explosion of new material, I have had the luxury of giving it out to many different labels. With 2020 Vision becoming increasingly involved with electro and due to my past history with the label, it seemed like quite a natural path to take at this moment in time. The album doesn't have a specific thing to say as such, my music never does. It's a seemingly never-ending stream of ideas that I work on to create an ongoing collection of music that is in a style, electro, that allows me to continually update and push my skills in sound design, production and melody.
Did you approach it any differently than the last few? Why do it as an album and not a series of 12"s?
When I sit down to write music it is always with a blank slate. Very rarely it is because I have a melody in my head. I think one thing in the process that has changed is that I now write a large part of my music in my car. I have to do the school run each day and in the afternoon this requires me to park my car up 45 minutes before school is out in order to secure a good parking space. In this brief time slot each day, I plug my laptop into the car sound system, blackout my windows (it's always sunny here) and really focus on creating a 4 or 5 new ideas each session. I have nobody interrupting me, no distractions and I'm enveloped by the pretty decent car stereo. After a few months of this, I can end up with hundreds of ideas for tracks, which then, like the world cup, go through to the 'next round' back at home in the studio. These get worked upon further and further, often I will be working on 30 or 40 tracks, but these eventually come down to maybe 20 tracks that have made it to 'the finals'. This strategy works really well for me and I enjoy working on so many tracks simultaneously, I never get bored. Ralph at 2020 liked enough of these to suggest an album, so that was that.
You're a famous live artist - do you make music using any of those live skills, then edit down recordings for example, or are they different processes?
Well, Ableton Live was a game-changer for me. The interaction with the music, being able to jam with all your bits and pieces really satisfied me creatively. I had come from a full studio of all the classic real synths and drum machines when I lived in the UK (where Ralph and I shared the same house and started 2020 Vision actually) and so I was used to jamming with live machines. When I left the UK to live in Paris, I ended up with just my Mac and Cubase, so things became quite sterile, workflow wise. But then around Ableton Live 3, when they added midi to be able to play audio, it really clicked with me and there was no turning back. I love the modular nature of Ableton, allowing you to drag and drop effects, audio, machines, almost never having to press the stop button, really keeps the flow going when I'm writing.
What new skills, tricks and techniques have you learnt for this album, or did you already have all the tools at your disposal to say what you wanted?
I've been making music with a computer since 1986 when I had my Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k plugged into my Roland Juno 106. I also had a Moog MG-1 since 1983 too so I've spent a LONG time playing with synths and understanding electronic composition. It's a continually evolving passion and I relish the new technologies and tools that become available. It means there are always new things to experiment with and new ways of perceiving and developing my music.
Electro is bigger than ever right now. What is it about the genre you love so much? For me, it still sounds more futuristic than any other.
I think it's that too. To me, electro is musical Sci-Fi. There is a brutal, machine tainted pallet in its outlook. There is also more of a machine funk in its underlying rhythmic structure. It's a potent combination and I just can't get enough of it. I also really find that my melodies seem to work really well against this backdrop. I have a tendency to write quite melancholic music and I love the juxtaposition of this over the often very cold robotic rhythm and bass scapes.
What is better and what is worse about dance music and the scene around it now compared to when you first started 30 years ago?
I did a lot of clubbing in the '90s and at that time everything was new. It was the dawn of sampling and home computers and this, in turn, gave us an ability to create things way beyond what tradition studios could give us. It felt like a musical big bang to me and I was thrilled to be there to witness it. As time went by and I got older, with more commitments, club life took a back seat and I settled down into a different phase, leaving the clubs for the youth to enjoy. It's come full circle now for me and with the newfound success of electro, and my recent prolific outpouring of records, I'm in demand to play lots of live dates, so I've found myself back in clubland. It's different this time around though, it's much more about work and presenting my music to people. That's one really big aspect of it that I didn't have back in the day. I'm up in the DJ booth now, looking out at fans dancing of my music. I love meeting people afterwards who often tell me that they have been listening to my music for 10, 15, even 20 years but also new people, young people who are only just discovering electro. It's quite incredible that, and really touches me deeply to know that my music has been with people for so long, being part of their journey through life. I can't really comment on scenes. I don't follow such things. I still don't even own a record player even after 30 years of making records. I try not to follow the 'latest thing' and prefer to just keep my head down pushing my own thing. I rarely listen to the music due to being so busy making my own. The only times I will hear new music is from the DJs before and after me when I do gigs.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
I've just finished about 25 new tracks and I'm in the process of finding homes for them. I've been very lucky in that I've been able to release on vinyl almost everything I've written. These new tracks have also been transformed into a new live set so that I can go out and do gigs, playing the music that will be released as the year rolls on. More of that really! I'm also looking at moving away from my traditional way of writing and working. I've been making everything inside my Mac computer for almost 20 years but now that I have a studio room I've been buying actual synths and machines. My next series of tracks will be done using this new setup, so hopefully, this will prove really fruitful creatively for me. Time will tell :)
Words by Pete Downes
- Published on Wednesday, 11 March 2020 17:37
Hailing from Leeds but now living in Australia, Niko Maxen has distinguished himself for the huge amount of sick productions released over the past 3 years, which rapidly brought him into the top of many stores charts, becoming one of the most requested (and played) names on the house & techno scene. In addition to having founded two labels - Pathway Traxx and the most recent one MAXEN - Niko has also released his music on Constant Sound, Hoarder, Aesthetic, Rowle and Signatune to name a few.
His relentless dedication in the studio led us to include him into our 20 artists to watch in 2020 list, and we're super happy to share along with this interview a fresh new mix which features only music by Niko himself. Enjoy!
Hey Niko! First of all, congratulation for becoming a father! How's life with a new-born son? Do you think it will change your DJ / producer career?
Honestly, it’s hard work! I’m pretty much tired all the time now but the sleepless nights are well worth it when I see him developing day by day! He’s the most amazing bundle of joy and we are extremely happy about how much he healthy is. As for producing, I think it will definitely take a back seat for a while. I’ve not been in the studio for a good few months now but the break is welcomed.
It seems that you also like to explore other genres. Tell us more about your "Dusty Hip Hop" project.
Well, it never meant to be anything for people to hear. When I first started making music many many years ago I was into making samples choppy hip hop. I used to spend my Saturday mornings buying random records from charity shops, mostly buying based on what the cover looked like, then I’d go home with a stack of random records and try to make hip hop beats by sampling them. I was mad into that for years and loved it. Last year I had a bit of time off and an abundance of studio time. I had already finished about 50 house/minimal track so I turned back to my roots and got stuck into a stack of my old records. I made 6 tracks in 2 days. It wasn’t until this year when I listened back to them and thought fuck it, people might wanna hear this side to me. Turns out people liked it. I’ll probably do some more when I next get time.
What about your "Maxen" label? Are you going to release more stuff on it?
Yep, 100%! This label is designed to be my primary outlet for my best stuff. 02 has gone to press and had already picked up support from Viceversa, Cesar Merveille, Arapu, Vlad Arapasu, Okain, Rich NxT, Burnski, Vern, Alexis Cabrera, Janeret, Giuliano Lomonte and others...
You have been relentless in the studio during the last couple of years: what's the track that you are the most satisfied and happy with?
Ouufff that’s a really hard one! Probably a track I have coming out soon called Twist. There was a pretty cool video going round of Arapu playing it. For me, it has all my favourite elements and sits well together. I’m also pretty happy with AAAA on MAXEN01. It’s pretty hard to judge your own music subjectively, instead, I’m overly concerned with the technical correctness of my music, like, how tight is the mix, how does it progress, does it have all the right elements.
Bandcamp has been gaining lots of momentum recently and as a concept I really warm to it. Giving the artist complete control and the platform to do whatever they want is exactly what the industry needs. I’m all about taking control of your output which is why I run my own labels. Bandcamp gives me another string to my bow. They are both massively different in styles. Galaxy is more of a dreamy vibe while rewind definitely has a UKG/breaks thing going on. I love all these styles of house and I make music across all these styles. It’s a challenge trying to manage what I actually release and what style I want to be known for. Bandcamp gave me the option to quickly and easily drop these albums out in differing styles without having to conform to a style of any label.
Tell us more about your studio and your production process. How do you go from initial idea to a finished project?
My studio is at home, which has always been a good thing as I can dive in whenever I’m feeling inspired, however that’s not the case now as it’s in the room next to my son’s nursery. The production process is something I have really worked hard on and now I have a very set one. It’s that solid process that has allowed me to make music at a very high output rate. I always start with drums, Percussions, bass, then I work in the music elements. I think it’s super important to work fast and not get hung up on ideas. I try something and if it’s not working within a few minutes I’ll delete that channel and keep pushing on with the next thing. I don’t spend any more than 10min on any one idea. I work with Ableton and I do all the creative stuff in session mode. I try to build up a loop to the point it has all the elements of the track. The key for me is then getting that into the arrangement view. Most of the time I will play the parts live through my APC 40 and hit record. I’d say 80% of my tracks are pretty much live jams that I have recorded. I’ll then go back in and make tweaks.
Do you have any favourite bits of hardware?
In the last couple of years, I’ve cycled through so much gear. Buying it, playing with it then coming to the conclusion I didn’t like it. I’ve lost count of how many drum machines I’ve bought and sold. The only drum machine I’ve really settled on has been the Korg-ER1. From a synth perspective, I love my microkorg and I recently bought a Blofeld Waldorf which is amazing value for money!
Who are your favourite artists and labels in the business at the moment? Are there any labels you’re looking to get signed by?
Seriously there are so many amazing artists coming through right now, I could write a list as long as my arm. I’ll give a shout out to a few people I’ve been working with on my labels, Viceversa, Nolga, Swoy, Vern, LOy, Kepler. Haha, I’m not gonna say who I wanna get signed to but I will say that this year is looking really good as I’ve signed to a few of the labels I’ve been working towards for a long time. There are one or two labels left that I really wanna release music on so I’ll be hitting them up in due course when I’ve got the right goods. On top of that, I want to focus on making MAXEN a standout label.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Bullshit baffles brains! My dad has always told me this. It basically means you can talk your way out of or into anything.
Now's your turn to give one bit of advice to any ‘wannabe’ DJ or producer out there. What would it be?
Take your time! What you think is fire today you will almost certainly not like it in a years time. Also, this isn’t something for “wannabe’s” only. Passion and creativity need to be your driving force. If you're doing it for any other reason, go take up something else!
Words by Francesco Quieti & Dom Fletcher
- Published on Thursday, 05 March 2020 21:39
Coming right from the heart of Romania, Andrei Alexandru aka Aleka is one of the artists that managed to slip easily his catchy sounds and deep unique vibes among the "rominimal" movement.
Born in Brasov, his passion for everything that concern house, minimal and techno music can be dated back to his early childhood. In 2007, he decided to make his debut in the underground scene but two years later, in 2009, his project started to grow with pure energy and he was joined by his friend Vygo. From then until 2017, Vygo & Aleka performed together many times as residents for ProudlyMadeByUs events.
Over the years, Aleka has shared the decks with many big names in the underground panorama such as Praslea, Raresh, Barac, Livio & Roby, Kozo, Cezar, Priku, Gescu, Alexandra and many more, enchanting the crowd with joyful vibrations in well-known spots like Dor de Munte, Dancing mountains, Kudos beach and UNUM. Nowadays, he is acting in London as a resident of Sound Symptoms. One of the productions that perfectly surprise these is Evening People. Crossing the common borders, in 2017 he founded his imprint Synesthesia.
Hi Aleka! How are you?
Hey there! I'm doing fantastic! Many thanks for your invitation. It is a real pleasure to be here!
How did all start in this direction? Is there any person who guides you in this or you were a self-learner?
Ok, so it all began by going to some parties organized by some local clubs and not only, this happened when I was 15 years old. Slowly things escalated, from going to small club parties to bigger electronic music festivals. And this is how I got more and more in love with music and minimal techno scene.
Nobody initiated me, but I had Vygo’s support, whom I met in a club in Brasov, where he was performing quite often, by doing the warm-up for well-known DJs from the techno music scene. He took me next to him and slightly we started to play music together.
What kind of music do you approach?
Generally speaking, the kind of music that I approach has influences from all the genres of House music. I cannot say is more a certain genre, I’d rather say a little bit of all.
From where do you get your inspiration for your creations?
I would say that I am not getting inspiration from a specific source, I like to select my music based on my taste, by seeing and thinking what the audience would like to listen when I perform. For me the crowd is the most important, they are the ones you have to make happy. As DJ, if your audience is happy and excited about your music, you feed off their energy!
What does it mean for you to be a complete artist?
I don’t know exactly what a complete artist means, I think every artist sees things differently, hears different and does things differently. Saying this, as for me, "complete" does not characterize myself.
What story your sets are telling? What is the message you want to deliver to your audience?
I would characterize my sets as being an amalgam of music through which mixing it, I am trying to convey to my audience a happy and unexplained state of positive energy at the time of their listening.
Could you please tell us more about your project Synesthesia label?
This project was born shortly after my arrival in London when I met some people with whom I initially tried to create a concept of parties, but it was a failure and after a few discussions I realized that I better take it on my own and, together with my wife, I said that we will take care of "Synesthesia" brand only as a record label.
And why exactly did you choose this name?
Synesthesia means the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body. The name was quite easy to find, my wife came up with this idea, she is dedicating herself to the psychological field. After explaining to me what synesthesia is, we decided that the name is perfect for what we want to transmit through the music we will release at the label.
So far, Synesthesia has released 3 vinyl records, in collaboration with Vlad Dinu, Mihai Pol and Hansel. How would you describe each one individually?
What I can say is that each of them has his flavours, they are very different from one to another, which is exactly what I am looking for. I do not want to release the same music style, I want listeners and those who buy music to get always something different.
Will Synesthesia collaborate with Romanian artists only?
I will not only promote Romanian artists, but we will also certainly have artists from abroad as well, and this will happen this year.
Where we can find Synesthesia releases?
They can be found in most of the online stores such as deejay.de, Discogs, Redeyerecords.com and in dedicated stores all over the world.
What surprises has Synesthesia in store for us?
Stay close! I only can say that you will certainly be pleasantly surprised by what we are preparing in the foreseeable future.
Words by Miruna Ioana Dan
- Published on Tuesday, 03 March 2020 20:05
In a world full of "Instagram stars", in which improvised DJs are on the agenda, Slovak-born and Berlin-based Robin Virag aka Just_Me seems to come from another planet. His relentless dedication in the studio led him to release his tracks on labels such as EWax, FA>|E and Floorpiece, also bringing his vibes into famous clubs such as Tresor and Watergate in Berlin and Space Ibiza. Just_Me also runs numerous labels like Druzhba and the recent-born Synkronized and Retrospect.
Last year he also launched RV Audio, affirming himself as an audio engineer and making him a point of reference not just for Europe but the worldwide electronic music scene, confirming the undoubted skills he has.
You come from Slovakia, which is a relatively unknown place in the house & techno scene. Do you want to introduce us to any label/artist/party that needs attention?
Indeed I was born in Bratislava, however, my family moved when I was 3 years old. After that, I lived in Bulgaria, UK and Austria for a short period of time so I haven’t really been in touch with the scene in my home country. The last time I performed in Bratislava was over 3 years ago.
Having said that, do you think that moving to Berlin was the right decision? Are there any people that help you out to settle down in such a diverse city and reality?
When I moved to Berlin 5 years ago, I had no contacts whatsoever in the city. Amongst some of the first people I met here was Simon who now owns EWax. He had moved to Berlin around the same time as me. We started to make our way in the city’s scene and continue to work together to this day. Moving to Berlin has without a doubt been one of my best decisions so far.
Tell us more about your next step: RV Audio. How did it come to your mind and what are your next steps.
During 2013 I completed an electronic music production course at the SAE Institute in London. A few of my friends who studied audio engineering at the time gave me some tips regarding mastering my own music. I have since been exploring that aspect and as time went by, label friends asked me to master their releases, which worked out well. It wasn’t until 2018 when I decided to get a diploma and take up an audio mixing & mastering course at Point Blank Music School. Following my studies and some changes in my employment status at the beginning of 2019, I felt confident enough to start a company and took up studio work as a full-time occupation.
Check out https://www.rvaudioltd.com/
First Dhruzba, now also Retrospect and Synkronized. Are you going to stop now? Which are the main differences from the labels in terms of sound?
It’s true, we have been keeping quite busy on the label front. Druzhba is a project that I co-manage with my friend Nikolay who is currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria, although the label originated in Berlin. With regards to Retrospect, it is a project I started with Chad Andrew. We both have a strong and genuine love for 80’s music especially the nu-wave/synth-pop genres. The idea came about very organically during one of our studio sessions. As a matter of fact, Retrospect was never meant as a label, however, following a great reception of the first release, we decided to turn it into one.
And last but not least - Synkronized! I decided to take the experience I have gained with my previous projects and made my own label. That way I can have full control and freedom over all musical/visual aspects. Another thing worth mentioning is that the first release was produced, mastered, pressed and distributed 100% in Berlin with Joe from black.round.twelve.
You've collaborated with some Vatos Locos' members lately. Is there a particular affinity with these guys? Will you work on more collabs in the future with them?
The cool thing about it is that I have met most of the guys from Vatos Locos separately at different times. It wasn’t for a few years since I first met Chad and David that we became friends. Once again everything happened very organically and we first became friends before considering going into the studio together. Thanks to that, all our sessions were extremely productive, which led to starting Retrospect with Chad and doing the first release on Synkronized with David. We are working on a number of projects together right now and I’m sure we’ll continue doing so in the future.
We (or me at least ) know you as a pretty "studio nerd" - in the best positive sense of this word! Tell us your top 3 studio tips that could work both for beginners and relative-pro persons.
I consider myself a very curious person in general. The more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know. My 3 tips would not be on the technical side but they worked well for me. For number one I would say keep your mind and ears open as there are always things to be learned, I myself regularly ask producer and audio engineer friends for feedback and suggestions as I consider them to be very knowledgeable in different areas. Such communication helps me consistently improve and develop my workflow. Number two would be not to rush your music and releases, it takes time to get to a certain level. The final one would be discipline and work ethic. In my opinion, regular practice is the way forward and a producer’s focus belongs in the studio before anything else.
Despite being relatively young, you've accomplished many goals during the last couple of years. Name some young DJs and new labels that will rock 2020 or during the next few years.
There are a lot of good things happening in the scene at the moment, so it's very hard for me to point out specific artists & labels. It makes me very happy to see my clients at RV Audio growing, selling out their releases and occupying regular spots on many different charts. With regards to artists, we have been signing music from producers we consider to be very talented (actually 80% of this mix consists of music from producer friends and labels). Keep an eye on Synkronized, Retrospect and Druzhba as all of those will be coming out during the course of this year.
What's the next goal, considering that you have many different pursuits every day, that you'd like to accomplish this year? And what would be your biggest achievement by far?
My next goal is to maintain my focus, continue growing and developing RV Audio along with my labels in order to have an even busier and more productive year ahead. What I consider as my biggest achievements, are starting my own company as well as having a great circle of people in both personal and professional aspects of my life.
Any particular shout-out or final thanks?
First of all, I would like to stress the fact that I appreciate all the support for my own and my label’s music in the currently dynamic electronic music scene. It is the people who buy our music and attend events that allow us to continue pursuing our passion. I would also like to thank my clients at RV Audio who greatly contributed to the growth of the company, as well as everyone who reads this interview and listened to the podcast.
Words by Francesco Quieti
- Published on Saturday, 22 February 2020 11:31
Tuscany's very own Fabio Della Torre is a real Italian institution, as he's been around for almost 25 years, also collaborating with his partner in crime Ennio Colaci under the Minimono moniker. Fabio also runs the renowned Bosconi Records, a shining example of creativity and craftsmanship in the Italian music scene. With a back catalogue rich in hand-crafted house music, unique downtempo beats and all the moods in between, hosting huge names such as Mass Prod, Dan Curtin, 100hz, Eduardo De La Calle and the legendary A Guy Called Gerald.
Back in June, the Bosconi Records crew rocked up there for a live hardware jam session featuring an array of musicians from the label including Fabio Della Torre on the mixer and Dukwa, Ennio Colaci, Herva, Mass Prod, Rufus, The Clover on the instruments with the special participation of A Guy Called Gerald. Now comes the record with the exceptional results all pressed to wax. The selected tracks follow the order of execution which has naturally developed in a crescendo from 130 to 180 BPM, and then closes by slowing down with a take at 110BPM.
How did you come to the idea of this exhibition?
For a long time, I had in mind the idea of organizing a jam session with the entire Florentine core of the artists of Bosconi Records, the friends with whom we grew up musically. The opportunity has finally come with a project in collaboration with Manifattura Tabacchi, location in Florence (a former industrial complex built in the 1930s) which is experiencing a beautiful moment of urban redevelopment and with which we have planned the annual Bosconi Fest held on June 29, 2019.
The starting idea was to leave a tangible testimony of this collaboration. Hence my proposal to do a jam session and record a 12” inch out of it. So we did it in the same environment the day before Bosconi Fest, an occasion in which most of the artists of the label were involved, including Gerald Simpson aka A Guy Called Gerald guest of the event.
You want to talk about '110 - Offhand', the track we've decided to premiere
The tracks forming the EP follow the order of execution which naturally developed in a crescendo from 130 to 180 BPM, and then closes by slowing down with a take at 110BPM. B3 is the last take we did kind to close the project and calm the atmosphere again after the sonic storm of the whole day ;) Indeed it is a deeper, more thoughtful track with whispered vocals and a dreamy vibe.
How have you chosen the artists involved in the 'Gang'?
Well, I didn’t really choose the artists involved; basically, it was about the closest artists, friends, living in Florence who already released on Bosconi plus A Guy Called Gerald, who was invited as a guest for the event we were celebrating the day after and I was delighted to have him joining the project the day before.
My idea is a totally open project, so the formation can evolve or change, I guess I’m just happy to keep on doing this project until we’re enthusiastic about it. I like it because it creates new paths, different alchemies and brings new ideas in Bosconi sound spectrum.
Who would you like to involve in the next jam session?
Oh yes, I would have loved to involve many other artists from the label but for logistic reasons, it was not possible. Still, we are going to reply to this project again so maybe more artists can be involved in the future.
After more than 70 releases, it's hard to say which musical direction is Bosconi following. Is there from your point of view a musical path that still resists in the project?
Who knows Bosconi knows we have never really been following a path. I’m always looking for new challenges, new ideas or hybrids that can melt multiple influences into the electronic dance music (for which I don’t mean EDM:). I guess this is very subjective to the moments and personal influences each one of us has. But my motivation is in the discovery, the idea is not to reply to any formula but to evolve in the music and possibly as individuals.
Is there any secret wish you'd like to realize on/with Bosconi?
I normally try not to have expectations on what I do, the love of doing it is enough for me. Still, I would like to join some nice festival as Bosconi with my fellas. Maybe also one day would like to find the time and focus on doing an album from myself.
What are the clubbing scenes (and label projects) that you feel the closest to?
This is also something evolving quickly so it is difficult to mention any label or club in particular. It’s a world moving really fast so I guess I care good music and labels who don’t follow special trends, as well as clubs who are faithful to a philosophy. Behind any idea, there are always people, so when I like the idea, in the end, I really care when someone is doing it truthfully in his own way.
Which do you think is the city that appreciates the Bosconi sound the most?
Hard for me to know! What makes me happy is that anywhere I go there is someone that is aware of the label, this is probably because of the wide spectrum of sounds of the labels (including Bosconi Extra Virgin and Bosconi Squirts) and also probably because of a roster rich in international artists have released on the label.
Nice anecdote: I was at A1 store in Ny listening to records, on my side another fellow picking up a few interesting stuff.
We start chatting, he’s from Uk also visiting the USA and at some point, he comes up with “you know at the moment Bosconi it’s my favourite label” no joke :) but that is a funny coincidence!
Are you already working on a new Bosconi Gang Band session?
We are repeating the Jam session at the End of February this year this time in front of public again in Manifattura Tabacchi for “Many Possible Cities” Festival. For the occasion we’ll record the session again and let’s see if another release can be cooked :)
Any final shoutout?
Big up to you guys, doing a great work :) Also yes once again I’m really thankful to Manifattura Tabacchi to have helped me to realise this project.
Words by Francesco Quieti
- Published on Thursday, 20 February 2020 18:20
To celebrate in the best possible way the 10 years birthday of the fantastic Toi Toi Musik family, we have ready for you an exclusive mix by French-born Alex Troubetzkoy, who's also known for sitting behind the 'Pocket Club' alias, where he feels free to unleashes his inner jazzy-soul.
Alex will be part of a huge line-up which includes giants such as Sammy Dee, Dan Andrei, Dubtil, Vincent Lumieux and Brad into a huge marathon (21st and 22nd Feb) that will take place first at Guesthouse and then at Vissual (RO).
The Toi Toi crew will visit many spots during the upcoming months including Lisbon, London, Barcelona and many more. Make you sure to keep an eye on their pages, so you won't miss out anything in the future!
Hi Alex, you're going to play 21st and 22nd in Romania (Guesthouse and Vissual) to celebrate 10 years Toi-Toi Musik. How long have you been in this family and how did you get into it?
It was about 1 year ago that I joined Toi Toi. It was very special for me as I’ve always been sensible and close to their esthetic of sound, I danced in front of that roster quite a few times before I became a part of it... So yes it was a huge honour to be able to join this family of artists, and at the same time, it went down pretty naturally, as it feels like we are all kind of on the same page. I actually met Isis on something that didn’t really have anything to do with music, then followed months of talks and parties, a few trips abroad... It was a pretty smooth meeting :)
How does it feel to be part of such a big family like that of Toi Toi? is there anything that sets you apart from other roosters?
Well, it feels motivating of course, and sometimes reassuring too. As much as I love the party scene, my main purpose was always to create music, and so it was important for me whichever way I would go, to surround myself with people like that too. Most of the artists on the roster and around it were really key influences for me as producers, and how special it is to be able to have conversations and build relationships with the people who you looked up to all this time! I feel lucky and humbled.
Are you excited about your upcoming gigs 21st and 22nd? Have you ever played in these two famous clubs?
I'm super excited! I’ve played once in each club last year, Guesthouse being one of the most comfortable clubs to play in, geeky as I am it’s always a huge pleasure to put some music there. Vissual is one of my best memories of parties in Romania actually, the vibe was amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there again!
Do you have new productions coming soon?
Productions are coming, and possibly a live-set soon too. I’m making music all the time but it’s sometimes hard for me to know where to stop as the process is really never-ending ... I’m trying to be patient, I would like a certain balance between my ideas and the quality of sound I would like for those ideas before I start sharing my music more widely, but I'm getting closer to it!
Tell us about your new label/alias 'Pocket Club'. Which sonorities would you like to share? We've heard some serious jazzy influences coming from you lately!
I used to play instruments and I went to music schools before electronic music actually, so jazz was an influence before that and still is! That’s why «Pocket Club», is a group of different influences. Sometimes it will be more jazz, sometimes more minimal, and on some projects, you will hopefully not know what you are listening too, a mix of all the details I like in everything, from how the vocals are recorded in Bossa Nova, to how smooth a jazz drum sounds, some noises and misunderstanding of minimal music but with a 1950’s warm and romantic melody over it ... a best of the details that changed my life in a pop music format. In the idea of «intelligent pop music».
Is there any particular artist (or artists) that you'd like to collaborate with or you'd like to have on your label?
Well, it’s a little early to say, musicians will be involved, friends that are not working in the scene too. For the rest, I think I prefer to let you follow my journey. Time will tell!
Words by Francesco Quieti