Interviews

Satoshi Tomiie: "There Is Always a Lot of Amazing Music To Discover" (that can also save your life!)

A pioneer. A legend. A point of reference for the entire world since the late 1980s who has been at the forefront of the global house and techno movement has made himself available for a talk about what matters the most: the music, which, apparently, has never left him (and vice versa) even in such an awful period. Please welcome the one and only Satoshi Tomiie, who also brought us 1 hour of pure dub, elegant, and charming pleasure.

 

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  • How's New York treating you so far during this period? Have you spent there the entire quarantine/lockdown period?

Yes, I have spent the whole period of the lockdown in New York. Crazy time we all are in, I was grounded at home but music “saved” my life! 

I started music as a hobby like everybody else and it had become a profession luckily after the years of doing it. Being a professional DJ/Musician for a few decades - now all of the sudden it had been forced to go back to “hobby” again! (at least for now). Who thought this would come?

 

 

 

  • You've done lots of streams during this weird period, have you also worked on new music?

Music is my passion, I simply can’t stop doing it. At the beginning of the lockdown, it was tough to get inspired and into it. After a little while (many cooking sessions and episodes of tv series (!)), the muse was back in the studio and led me in the right direction. I have been working on a lot of new material.

At the moment the key to making beats for me is having a lot of fun on the machines. Physical control works the best for me. Knobs, faders, and patch cables. Some musical ideas came from the preparation for a live jam streaming. Some from vinyl digging and some came from the mood in this world. I have started my new ambient / experimental project Sato - I am certain the mood made me do it.

The idea of starting a Bandcamp had been in my mind for a while, recently I have launched to release my own music and collaborations. You can find the recent work of mine and exclusive releases there including A_A and Sato.

As a DJ, since the beginning, I have been a big fan of playing new music.  In this lockdown period, this idea came to my mind... How about digging my 90’s record collection as if they were “new” and discovering something I overlooked or forgot? Listening to and looking at them with ears and eyes of 2020? I pulled out about 4000 vinyl and went through one by one. There are some photos on my Instagram doing it. From Chicago and New York house to Dub Techno, I have found a lot of amazing grooves that are still relevant to music today. So I started doing live streaming on Instagram to share what I have re-discovered - then ended up making a YouTube channel.

I had never done streaming before this lockdown and it took me a while to be on the track. Now it’s a lot smoother after many tries and errors. The “Wax” series (the vinyl digging sessions) on YouTube is still going strong.

 

 

 

  • I'm sure you were used to traveling a lot during your DJ life, what's the place you're missing the most visiting, and what's the club you'd love to be in (playing or not) right now?

What I miss the most is the feeling of sharing the vibe and music with people at parties. It’s really a special thing. Making music is sometimes about digging into the inner self, DJing is kind of the opposite. I love these 2 sides, one influences the other all the time.

 

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Click HERE to buy VL001 - Late Night EP

 

  • Tell us more about what's behind the tracks on your latest EP for the mad lads at Vatos Locos and the gear used.

I am very happy to be on VL! They are a great team and very welcoming. We were all DJing together for the first time a few summers ago and the idea of doing a release came up. I love this kind of organic connection :)

The music was written in different periods of time in different ways but mostly done on real machines. Ableton was used as a multitrack “tape” machine and a mixing desk together with an analog mixer to sum the tracks.

“Late Night” was written in entirely the hardware jam style. TR-909, Reon Driftbox (bass) Juno-106, etc. were used. Hit play/record, tweak the knobs and faders and all tracks were recorded separately on Ableton. One-shot recording.

I write some sketches and ideas on the plane sometimes. Many years ago I wrote something basic on the way to a gig. One of them had become “Out Of Nowhere”. On top of the original sketch, I added more synths and stuff, but I realized that it would sound better with fewer elements in the track. Many channels were muted and stripped at the end. "Less is more" philosophy worked I believe in this case. 

Something similar to the track I did a few years ago called “Bassline”. Simplicity works better sometimes.

On “Left Over” the mighty Roland House Music Orchestra was featured… band members were TR-909, SH-2, Juno-106, and SH-101 etc. Another rather simple live jam style track. 

 

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  • Last year you've released an album as A_A, tell us more about this project. Why have you had the need for creating a new alias?

A_A is a project Inspired by Electric Jazz, Experimental Noise / Avant-garde, and the stripped-down elements from the music I’ve been loving and creating from the beginning – Electronic and House Music. Current project members are me and New York-based experimental artist Nao Gunji and the name stands for ABSTRACT_ARCHITECTURE, this represents its craft, sound, and texture.

The idea was to make an experimental live project, it deserved a new name to represent. Check it out on my Bandcamp and see what you think.

 

 

  • "Metropolis" EP is your first solo release on Abstract Architecture since 2017. Are we gonna see more stuff on your Bandcamp page in the future?

This release features 2 of my recent studio jams. Aiming to compose stripped-down, hypnotic, trippy and dubby DJ tools. Both tracks were done with Eurorack modular and hardware instruments, live jam style as usual.

“Metropolis” features deep, simple yet driving beats with a kind of moody beat-synced Akai MFC-42 filter driven Juno 106 leading synth part. “Circular” is a jam written during a late-night session with headphones. Dubby vibe, using echo machine and spring reverb as musical instruments. I have tons of material, planning the releases on my Bandcamp page exclusively as soon as they are ready. 

 

 

  • What are your plans for 2021?

The world is on hold and we just don’t know how long it lasts. I won’t put my creativity on hold and will keep moving forward tho! 

A few releases scheduled on vinyl and Bandcamp - brand new Satoshi Tomiie and Rintaro on Yoyaku is just out now. Besides my solo and A_A project (new A_A vinyl release called “Midori” coming very soon) I have been working on dub/ambient material under Sato moniker. Kind of textile of the sound and tone - capturing the moment of live sculpting of the sound.

I miss being on the road a lot but quite excited about what’s going on in the studio.

 

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  • There's no better time than this to make people feel better with music. Would you like to tell us the names of three songs that impressed you this year?

I ended up listening to a lot of spiritual jazz this year. Maybe because of the mood in the world. I have been a jazz lover since I was a teen, I was very lucky to get an opportunity to see Sun Ra Arkestra live in a small gallery in New York right before the lockdown. That was the last live show I have been to. Listening back classics by the artists such as Pharaoh Sanders, Alice Coltrane, and digging the stuff I haven’t checked out yet. There is a lot of amazing (old and new) music to discover, never enough and the search is never over. 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Burnski: "If it Gets You Fired Right Up, That's the Way to Go Over What Anyone Else Thinks"

With a discography that takes in 30+ EPs, UK Burnski is without a doubt one of the most prolific producers out there. In his works, he manages to fuse house grooves with techno dynamism and dub warmth. Add in elements of acid, minimalism, electro, and breakbeat, and you have an infectious style that suits tasteful parties and connoisseur selectors. He also co-runs renowned labels Constant Sound, Constant Black, and Aesthetic, which is now the home of artists like Michael James, VSA, Iuly.B, Paolo Rocco, Mandar, S.A.M, Diego Krause and many more.

 

  • How have you been passing the time at the moment with everything going on?

Just keeping fit, healthy, and productive really. I exercise a lot and I love a good morning run when everything is quiet.

It's been more of the same music-wise, working on projects and keeping busy with the labels. There's a lot going on with both but I love it, so it's all fun and I don't even think of any of it as work. I also make time to spend a good hour a day not thinking or doing anything at all.

 

  • Did the lockdown kind help you out with managing the three labels you run, focusing on A&R activities and studio production?

I would say I have found myself having more time for sure. I was traveling 3 hours in total to get to the studio and back each day for a year, so being unable to go there, I found myself having more time straight away.

There are actually many more labels under the Constant Sound umbrella now. It's growing really fast and I am just going along with it really. I love starting new projects I do, it gets me properly excited when I start just going along with it.

 

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Click HERE to buy Point Of View LP

 

  • INSTINCT is a really different project to your Burnski alias what made you decide to go down this root? And what does this name mean to you?

I really felt the need to reset everything when I turned 30. There needed to be a shift as I was in a loop doing the same thing. I decided I would do my own bookings and just release music without sending it to anyone or being linked to anything.

I set up the Constant Studio around then and started doing a lot of mixdown work and engineering music for a lot of DJs.  I was still going to gigs but being more selective in which ones I did.

It was also around then I started INSTINCT and a load of other projects that just seemed to flow and come about themself. I was making them all just for the enjoyment of creating them.

I didn’t do any promo for it at all so it's built quite organically. Some things can make even more impact when people find it for themselves I think, especially if they discover the label after 5 releases and they are into them all. That wasn’t really a conscious decision to try and build it like that I just didn’t feel the need to do any promo.

 

 

 

  • We just had you on the tips for approaching labels piece, but how would you exactly describe yours and the labels' sound in 3 words?

Pacey, Fun, Rolling.

 

  • Tell us about the album, what was your inspiration behind producing it?

I was going through a folder of ideas I had done and thought there was enough music that worked with each other to release as an LP. I tend to make a lot of music then just go through it now and again and work out what to do with it. The previous album was a bit more of a home listener in places, so I liked the idea of putting a new album out which had a similar vibe to the previous EPS.

 

  • Less than a year ago you've released "Still Life" LP. Why, after so little time, did you feel the need to work on a new album? Which are the main differences between these two LPs?

The first album was definitely a wider scope of genres. It featured tracks from 80 bpm – 160 bpm, so quite a wide variety. A few people have said they can imagine hearing some of the tracks as a film score or something on those lines. The ‘Point of view’ album is a step away from that I think and more club orientated.

There's another INSTINCT LP ‘Happening’ to be released in December which is totally different from this one too. It's an ambient album that I have wanted to do for ages and I found myself unsure about putting it out.

I was sat one day during the lockdown and I just thought why not? I've got absolutely nothing what so ever to loose putting it out. It's what I want to do and it gets me excited. Again you can sometimes hear those echoes of people saying "oh I wouldn't do that", or "that will confuse people". If it gets you fired right up, that's the way to go every time I think over what anyone else thinks… so we will have some of that one next then.

It's available on pre-order now at Juno! Link: https://www.juno.co.uk/products/instinct-happening/790137-01/

 

 

 

  • What is your studio set up like that you made this on?

I have had most of my studio packed up in storage for the last year as I was in-between spaces and working in different spots. I have lots of folders of sounds I have collected over the years which is really well organized, some of those are recordings of synths, some of them came from my old library banks.

I quite like only turning my synths on now and again, recording the sounds, and then just limiting myself to that. I actually do the same when using plug ings too, I record them live to audio, and then I am limited to that and not always changing the sounds.

 

  • Tell us more about "Twister", the track we've decided to premiere. It's placed perfectly in my opinion since it leads gradually from the first, housier and more vocal-oriented part of the LP to the second part, more raw and dirty.

It took a few different forms this one I think. I was doing an INSTINCT gig and the week before wanted to make a load of tracks that I could maybe play. This was one of them and it fitted on the album well I thought.

 

 

 

  • What support have you had from the LP already?

The feedback has been great from a lot of people I respect. There are some tracks from the LP which have been supported by a really wide set of DJs like Four Tet, Floating Points, SIT, Caribou, Midland, Enzo Siragusa, Patrick Topping, Richy Ahmed to name a few.

You never know who is watching either. Some tracks of the album have ended up on adverts and computer games. People who just contacted me through the Bandcamp store wanting to license music so it does go to show you can just get cracking on your own label and things can happen to do it your own way.

 

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  • Garage is coming back around again in the UK and your label in many ways has headed this movement up providing us with plenty of new talent. Who are some of your hot picks at the moment?

0113, Holloway, Yosh, Pinder on a garage tip. TIJN, Niko Maxen are all doing great stuff at the moment which on more of a minimal vibe

 

  • Top 3 favorite garage cuts?

Oh, this is a hard one but here are 3 timeless belters:

 

Ah, I wouldn't choose one over another I think they both go with each other great. Peace!!

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Masomenos pres. Studio HC: "Hope: That’s What we Want to Share with our Work. Always"

We caught up with the Masomenos / Midiminuit crew ahead of their new studio album which is part of their Hotel Costes presents project of epic proportions totaling a number of 16 albums and 16 EP’s. This latest album is by Midiminuit the outfit made up of pianist Julien Quentin, bass player Yonatan Levi and electronic musicians Cesar Merveille & Adrien de Maublanc (Masomenos).

 

Following on from the ‘Round The Clock’ LP back in September 2019, Midiminuit returned with more of their atmospheric electronic twist on modern classical and contemporary jazz. Across the project they deliver hazy jazz jams like the bass noodle, wandering keys, and metallic percussion fuelled ‘Kitchen Table’, the baroquely unfolding improvised feel of ‘Loop’ and the snaking dynamic groove of ‘Why Is The Bass So Low’.

 

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When listening to the album you are completely transported away from the world. It really is a musical piece of perfection and we couldn’t wait to find out more about it and the project from the guys.

 

 

  • STUDIO HC project is really something! Tell us a bit about it…

STUDIO HC was born as we moved our studio in the hotel under construction. Huge renovation work had started in the hotel and the studio evolved and adapted to the rhythm of this transformation. It also defined a sound that would eventually set a style of music for the new part of the hotel.

 

 

 

  • What inspired you to do this project?

Life led us to slow our touring and groove pace as we settle for some more sedentary years in Paris with the family. 

The location of the studio is so specific and the ever ongoing transformation also inspired us to transform our way of making music. Suddenly we had the possibility to record live musicians to make more acoustic music as well.

 

 

  • There’s so much talent in Midiminuit from very diverse musical backgrounds, how did you all come together?

Again, Life and affinities brought all of us together.

Adrien: I was already working with Cesar, who introduced me to Julien and then to Yoni. Also, it led us to meet Moritz who has been a very important player in the development of Studio HC sound and setup. He even came with us in Aveyron for the lockdown. Became a real family member.

 

 

  • Creatively how do you keep yourself motivated?

Adrien: Hope. It’s my magic mission. That’s what I want to share in our work. In my life. Always. To share hope. Also now I just tend to accept and surf the creative wave. I can be highly productive for an intense period of time, so when it slows down, I accept to just become idle again, watching documentaries on Netflix all day, and unwinding till the next time that inspiring muse comes for a visit.

Joan: We have a big playground. It might be overwhelming sometimes, but inspiration can come from so many different inputs that it never gets boring. Collaborating and putting up a collaborative team is also very exciting.

 

 

  • Can we expect to hear the album performed anywhere any time soon?

With all these changes and regulations, let’s see what slots life offers us. Hopefully, we can gather in Berlin this fall and make it happen.

 

  • What’s next for the Studio HC project?

Oh, we have a lot of albums in the pipe that is the result of a two years intense recording wave. Now as we keep on recording new stuff, we were also very focused on the curation and broadcasting in the hotel itself as it reopened in a bigger version in august.
Also, our lockdown experiences of immersive visual mapping inspired us to start using Studio HC as TV as well as producing audio-reactive visual content.

 

 

 

  • What’s your favorite track off the album and why?

Welcome, when the singer Hani pop by the studio and we set her up to record on the first track we produced in the week so we would « welcome « her in the project, that same way we started it.

 

  • Tell us about the mix you recorded for us!

This mix as we mentioned above is an immersive audio-visual performance. We set the stage, put on the camera and audio recording, and started to play. So, the experience is a bit more than just the mix. We had a very good time doing it. It’s a bit experimental and features only STUDIO HC.

 

 

 

  • It’s strange times across the world at the moment, how did you find lockdown?

We were very lucky to be able to relocate the family + studio into a very very nice location that gave us the opportunity to watch an amazing spring. Not every day was easy, but it ended up being very creative and inspiring also for our family life.

Now the digestion of this weird bubble that we share as a human collective experience is also very interesting. The dislocation of certain structures that were on is slowly allowing something to emerge, and we can just enjoy the process if we’re not letting our fear of uncertainty rise up. That’s quite a passionate experience both individually and collectively. Very grateful to be an artist so we can process it into our work.

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston

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DJOKO: "I Would Like to Keep Making Music in Every Direction"

Infectious, groovy, energetic, deep, driving. There could be many more adjectives to describe the style that the young Cologne-based artist has achieved during the last couple of years, just think of his recent releases on labels such as PIV, Berg Audio and Talman Records to name a few. A swirl of massive house and electro sounds, spacey pads, large drums and 90s dub vibrations that however nods to the future... it's DJOKO! An enviable ability to adapt possessed by the young German, which, combined with a naturalness on experimenting with different genres, made of him one of the most interesting upcoming acts around, being appreciated both by house purists and more electro and rave avant-gardists.

 

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  • We've been following you for a very long time and we can tell you've definitely made the mess over the last years. Was there a turning point in your career?

It’s been a slow process in general but that’s alright. I never had any goals set so there wasn’t something to meet or disappoint me. Becoming part of the PIV family definitely helped me a lot though. I wouldn’t have done this step if the guys weren’t so friendly and supportive. It’s gotten to a point where it goes over just the music thing and I’ve become close friends with some of them. They are all open to new ideas and concepts and I’m happy to be with them. Also having the HOOVE imprint to run my own events with my friends from Cologne gave me a lot. You meet the DJ’s and Producers you love and make a little connection.

 

 

 

  • Tell us more about the PIV sample pack and about your latest remix for Chris Stussy.

I’ve done some sample packs in the past already which I sold privately but none of these distributed over an official site. When the guys from PIV had the Idea to start their own series I was keen to do my first official one. There were some things I learned in the process of doing this one. I got some help from DeMarzo who has already brought out several packs in the past and I had a lot of fun creating a pack that I would dig into myself when producing.

The remix was done last year around September when I asked Chris to remix him at some point. I wanted to give something back to him for the continuous support he has given me in the past so when he showed me the track "Seeing & Believing“ I was immediately in.

 

 

 

  • Your music is a great joint of old school tastes and innovation, how do you find that balance all the time?

I guess it comes naturally by listening to a lot of music from the ’90s. The joint between these two then comes from having analyzed the tracks from 2010-2020 precisely and joining them with the older sounds.

 

 

 

  • Tell us more about the music in the mix you've prepared for us. What shall we expect?

The mix is made for home listening. Not too much dancefloor-oriented, even though there are some heavier grooves featured as well. I like to keep it changing and not too hard especially for podcasts. There are some older tracks in there which I only just (re)discovered & two unreleased remixes from myself for Josh Butler's Origins Rcrds and Lacuna Recordings. Also, it features a beautiful remix done by a girl from my hometown called Sandilé.

 

  • Apart from a few exceptions, we rarely see you working together with other artists. What do you think about collaborations?

It’s refreshing to see how other people attack the process of production so I’m always a fan of that. I love to sit down in the studio together instead of sending stems to each other to not interrupt the flow.

 

  • Do the best ideas come in the studio? How do you find inspiration?

Sometimes other tracks I just discovered give me the best inspiration. Just a certain element that triggers me where I go: "Yes, I wanna try to do an element like this with what I have".

 

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  • What are your thoughts about the sampling process? Are you a fan of it? 

I sample everything that sounds good. I don’t care where it comes from and have no problem with other people sampling me as well. Actually, I love it and feel honoured if I hear that it inspired somebody. There is no special equipment involved I would say. Anything that Audio Hijack catches is mine haha!

 

 

  • What is the role of analogue gear in your studio setup and workflow? Do you have just analogue synths/drum machines or also compressors, EQs, etc?

Analog gear for me is just like any other piece of gear I have in the box. Except that it changes my approach a little bit on how to start an Idea. One day I would start jamming a little bit on the TR-8s and play some chords to get a rough idea going, and the other day I would sample something from other tracks I love. Most of the time it vanishes into something so little in that Idea that you won’t recognize it in the end.

 

  • What is the synth you're craving at the moment?

There are a lot. I always wanted to get an original Juno-106 but these keyboards just cost way too much. If anyone of my friends would sell one at some point I’d buy it but for now, I’m fine with what I have already.

 

 

 

  • If you would have to get back completely in the box, what would be your top 3 go-to plugins for synths? And for mixing?

My favorite in the box synths would be Rob Papen's Blue, U-HE Diva, Korg M1. Mixing wise I like to just use the stuff Ableton provides.

 

 

 

  • Which direction do you think house music is taking lately?

I see a lot of artists delving into a deeper direction, not so much using the overused snare tools & white noises anymore. I think it’s becoming more creative and more rooted in the foundation of classic house. I’m happy with how it’s developing lately!

 

  • Which are the plans you have for 2021?

I have no particular plans for 2021 except for making some music here and there. I would like to keep making music in every direction and not hold on to any concept which was doing quite well in the past. I would love to plan the next releases with the label but we take our time and not do this too hasty.

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

 

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Iuly.B: "I Feel That in Hard Times, Art Is a Way of Escaping"

Ever since the MEOKO Podcast that Iulian delivered 2 years ago, the Iasi-based producer has always been always on our radar. Being a great person and a bright talent, the time has come to invite him to talk about his latest tracks, plans and the current devastating situation.

 

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  • Hello Iulian, thank you for your time. How is life treating you so far? And how was the Dubla Party last weekend? 

Hello, it’s always a pleasure to chat with nice people. Life has been good lately despite the situation, having plenty of activities to fill my time with. And the party was really nice, people were enjoying it properly.

 

 

  • You also played alongside Raresh in Romania a few weeks back. How did it feel to be behind the decks after a while?

That was the first party after the isolation actually, long-awaited and with lots of good vibes. It was a great pleasure for me to do the closing set after him, an artist and person I always enjoy being around because of his knowledge and vibe.

 

  • Any clear update from the COVID situation in Romania? We heard that cases still rise... What's your thought on the situation, especially as Romanian?

The cases may be rising, but also the news is pretty exaggerated, more into panic-inducing. The situation is not very well since the economy crashed a bit due to the restrictions that at some point have no sense. I agree with all the individual safety measures but the big hit was on the closed business and activities, as it was to other countries as well. Mentioning Romania, we had pretty bad management before and this situation brought more chaos, especially in the health section.

I just hope people will educate themselves faster and choose to comply with the rules rather than disobey them. Otherwise, this will only create more problems and will not allow the economy to recover as soon as we'd like.

 

  • How’s your life changed during this period? Are there things you (re)discovered?

This lockdown came with downsides initially, but after realizing how useful this free time can be, I started diving deeper into the self-discipline. Starting with physical activities, good alimentation and a clearer mind, I’ve had plenty of time to finish all the things on my to-do lists, rearrange and clean my musical collection then start new projects with renewed forces.

I am sure there is a lot of good stuff coming from the artists after this period because I feel that in hard times, art is a way of escaping, so the events after the lockdown will be amazing!

 

  • Many have spoken about this “corona-situation” has the perfect chance to re-invent the clubbing scene? Do you believe it? What are your thoughts for this last part of 2020 and for the next year?

Reinventing the clubbing scene in those conditions seems like some cold rules for us, as I am thinking social distancing is implied and also live streams or other digital alternatives. They may be a good temporary solution, but not a reinventing solution, since the music scene we all enjoy is based on connecting people, getting together under the same music and vibes, being close and sharing warmness with each other.

Hopefully, we would all be able to dance freely starting with spring 2021.

 

 

 

  • What are you looking for when you're listening to house/minimal music? Do you still feel the same passion that hit you years ago? What do you think will be the next year's trend?

After years of exploring the variations of house and techno, I feel the same growing passion, because of the neverending possibilities of finding or creating new sounds. It’s something strongly connected inside which gives me pleasure and it’s best to hear it in my sets or production rather than trying to explain it in words because what I play is mostly what I listen to at home.

The trend is something I am not paying too much attention to in my sound because it’s temporary. It comes with benefits for the artists that it affects, but in my opinion, if you are trying to follow and keep up with it, will alter your beliefs and way of building a proper sound.

 

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  • You're constantly adding new music on your Bandcamp page lately. On your latest series called "Houseworks" you've gone a little bit back to some housier roots. Is that something that we're going to see in the future too?

Houseworks is the idea of putting out old projects of mine, remastered with new knowledge gathered up till today and also an intention of diversifying my sound. It’s still minimalistic but not in a rominimal way, an aspect I would like to focus on more in the future (check part one and two).

 

  • One of the often most difficult things, when it comes to releasing music, is to give your track a name! What's your process?

That’s an aspect I always like to pay good attention to. In most cases, I am focused on what I feel while listening to the track, which sensations I have or how will I feel it in a party environment. I am aiming for the name to be in tight connection with the feelings or actions inspired.

Of course, I also have some tracks with simpler or basic names, applied in the same described manner.

 

 

 

  • Not saying that you're old, but do you have any young talents on your radar?

There is a lot of good music coming out lately, and I have noticed that most of it start to sound the same in terms of instruments used or arrangement patterns.

Consistency and passion are making the difference in this case and some of the latest artists I have to mention in terms of really nice production are Nobodi, which is more underrated than new but delivers great tracks for my musical vision and there’s Cumuli & Bvrton, a duo of great guys which are combining elements from lots of other musical styles in a fine minimalistic style that can make a great moment.

I have mentioned them after listening to a lot of their work and remaining with a consistent number of tracks that I really like because of course there are many other good upcoming talents to mention but maybe I haven’t had the chance to listen more before coming to a conclusion.

 

  • Zenith with David Gtronic was one of our favourite tracks from 2015 I think. More collabs on the pipeline? Who would you like to join forces with?

Nice one to mention, since I have had a good collaboration with David. The process was flowing nice and each track we did got released in the end. I rarely get interested in collabs but recently I have started working with Andu Simion. We have known each other for a long time, sharing the same musical vision and this pandemic got us exploring a new sound together.

 

 

 

  • With 2020 definitely not being the best year so far, have you set any goal for 2021 or secret projects your working in?

Being realistic because of the current situation, goals are set on more general aspects, like improving the sound I present and personal evolution. We have to see which will be the best way for the musical community to get back on track.

There’s always something better in progress, but I prefer to keep it secret until it gets in good shape.

 

  • Lastly, we know you have recently joined the Subtil Records family, what a great match! What was the factor(s) on your decision? How did it feel to play with your new family at their latest label Showcases?

I joined the Subtil family after meeting Nils and Martin couple times. Seeing that we share the same vision, it felt like the natural move to work together. They are passionate individuals who always pay attention to small details while taking the broader music community into account. Must shout out to my agent Cathy here for her great work!

 

  • Thank you so much for the answers. We look forward to meeting you behind the decks sooner than expected!

Thank you so much for your time :)

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Erchin Jon

 

 

More Iuly.b: Facebook / Soundcloud / Instagram / Bandcamp / Discogs

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Bucharest's Misbits Records store Battling to Stay Open

The pandemic around the world has affected many of our livelihoods and endangered many businesses. With COVID still very much with us, Misbits Bucharest is working hard to raise funds to help support the record store we all know and love in these difficult times. Today, we had a quick chat with Ioana Parlog, founder of the shop and a true vinyl devoted.

 

m1

 

  • Misbits has become a music hub in Bucharest being the first electronic music-oriented record store in the city's history. What made you want to open the store? 

At that time I just finished my studies and closed my contract at my job, I didn’t know exactly what’s going on with my career, let’s say…I had only music in my head =)  I wanted to take a break from everything that didn’t involve music. So slowly I received a lot of signals from the Universe that I need to do this. With the impulse of friends, quite fast I can say, Misbits was born on 18th March 2013.

 

m2

 

  • The current pandemic across the world has completely changed the landscape of our industry. How is it affecting you guys?

To be honest, during the lockdown I didn’t feel the change, with the physical shop closed, people were still interested in buying records online.

After 2 months of keeping the doors closed, we finally opened but it seems that the people’s interest has dropped, the online sales were not going well at all and people didn’t come to the shop either. Recently we changed our website, the last one became super hard to follow on the mobile and I think this dragged us a bit down because it was time for online shopping. 

Now we are good to go also with the website and soon more products will be available!

 

  • Digging is something that brings enjoyment to so many people around the world. What are your thoughts around the culture of record shops in the industry?

Mhmm, my first thought was that we need to collaborate more. It’s a fact that only from records we cannot survive, so that’s why its good to have also more activities on top. Events, record fairs everything works with music and records. This last period made us think more for ourselves but I realised that it’s quite important to unite powers and be connected. 

 

  • How can people support and help if they would like too?

If you want and can donate, you can do it via this link: http://www.sprijina.ro/cauze/misbits Please help us spread the word by sharing this article, we only have a few days left! 

 

 m3

 

  • Pick 5 of your favourite records on the shelf at the moment and pop a couple of questions why:

 

Calibre – Break That – I like the diversity of tracks. From deep house to dubstep and break-beat <3 what can you ask more? J))

https://misbits.ro/shop/genre/breakbeat/break-that-ep/

 

Pepe Bradock – Not Complicated – like the name of the release, not complicated at all, a nice house with influences.

https://misbits.ro/shop/genre/house/not-complicated/

 

Dj Sports – Adaptation – I like a lot these kinds of beats, DnB  - jungle, hope to play more like this one day

https://misbits.ro/shop/genre/drum-and-bass/adaptation-2/

 

Rupert Marnie – Catwalk – this record easily can be in my bag when I play in a party :D

https://misbits.ro/shop/genre/tech-house/catwalk-ep/

 

Masomenos, E/Tape – Studio HC#05 – Ambient is my new thing, and this combination of artists turned out to be really cool 

https://misbits.ro/shop/genre/experimental/studio-hc-05/

 

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston

 

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Industry Insider - Tips for Approaching Labels (Pt1)

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In this series, we will be taking you behind the scenes in areas right across the industry.

This month we will be offering some insight into the beautiful minds of label owners to discover what they’re looking for when picking music for their imprints.

You’ve done the hard work, you’ve spent years perfecting your sound and you’ve finally got some ammo to show the world. But where do you start and what’s good practice when approaching labels

 

Burnski / Instinct  - Constant Sound / Aesthetic / Instinct

 burnski

 

  • What do you look for when signing artists?

It all just boils down to the music for me. I just listen for anything that really grabs my ear.

  • It's a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

Don’t treat it like a competition. I would focus on improving your craft and making your music as good as possible over trying to stand out. Compare your progress to your own, you’ll see it coming on each year and that should give you all the motivation you need.

One way to stand out is to trickle into the gaps of what’s out there at the moment. Usually, people start out emulating what’s hot at the moment. You play that game for a bit but then if you start going the other way to that, dig deeper into the archives of music out there, you probably start making stuff that isn’t the flavour of the month at the moment.

I feel you're more likely to stand out doing that as you're going off on your own away from the crowd. You might then find yourself doing something other people aren’t and people start playing that and all of a sudden you might be at the forefront of it.

I wouldn’t consciously try and do that to stand out though, do it just people you dig the music. You won’t suck all the magic out of it then and get caught in the game of making music to get somewhere.

 

 

 

  • A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

I once asked a pretty known guy for a demo. He sent me 4 tracks and it wasn’t right for the label. I let him know politely and he kicked right off and blocked me. It really took me back and I thought about it a lot after. I didn’t think any less of him but I found it quite fascinating. There’s no point signing music that doesn’t really resonate with you.

On the opposite, I have worked with other guys and finalised an EP after back and forth for 6 months because they go away and want to get their head down and really crack it. Sometimes it takes a while to get the ep over the line. It’s got to feel right and you know when it does.

I don’t want to tell anyone how they should do things but you have a choice which mentality you want to have. Just ask yourself, does it serve you well? Will it get me the best results? Will this make me get better at my craft?

Constant Sound on Soundcloud

 

 

Cinthie - WE_R HOUSE 

cinthie

 

  • What do you look for when signing artists?

Soundwise I’m mostly looking for house music but it can be disco house, 90ies house, deep house, UKG, some raw stuff. But when I’m signing music, it has to work on the dance floor and I’m always telling people to get out of their comfort zone and don’t just send me the generic house track I've already heard 5 million times.

But the tracks can be the best in the world if the artist is an asshole, I don’t sign it. The vibe between us also needs to be right. Also, I love to have fresh artists first and don’t really like to release people who already had 20 releases in 4 months, it's nothing special then for me.

 

 

  • How do you like to be approached when someone submits a demo to you?

I like a friendly little mail with a private Soundcloud link with up to 6 tracks. If I want more, I will ask for more. But more than 5,6 tracks is too much in my humble opinion. Add a few facts about you, maybe name, where you are coming from and if you had any previous releases. That’s how I like it.

What I don’t recommend is to send out mass emails, send me a mail with “hello Frank etc etc “ (that’s not my name ), also I don’t really like to see 2000 plays already for the tracks on Soundcloud.

 

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

Always be friendly and send your best tracks and try to keep them a bit diverse. There seems to be a formula at the moment, that always works but it will get boring after a while, so please always get out of your comfort zone and try not to sound like everyone else. Do a bit of research about the label. Sending a banging Techno EP to a nice house label does not look very professional.

 

  • A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

I usually always test tracks on the dancefloor, then I know if I wanna sight it or not. I also believe that after 24 years in the business I have some kind of experience of what works and what I want. 

So far every artist I signed has only released with me once. I just wanted to support as many friends as possible but I will start now to also have a second release by some artist, just to help them grow and maybe tie them a bit more to me. But I have to see, especially for the more unknown artists, releasing with me is sometimes a good door opener. And as I said in the question above, I don’t really like an artist that does labels - hopping. Because then it's not so special for me anymore and I rather release someone else.

We_R House on Soundcloud

 

 

Yaya - Tamango Records

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  • What do you look for when signing artists?

I immediately know if a track can fit for Tamango or not. I've listened to so many records in my life that I kinda recognise in a few seconds if a track fits with the style of the label, both regarding the overall sound used and the mixdown part. I do basically the same thing that I do when I go digging in the record shop: picking 3 diff parts of the tracks and listen to them for a few seconds. If I like the track I listen to it more carefully to know exactly if it can be signed on the label. The main element that I'm the most interested in is the groove.

 

 

 

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

First of all, I really like it when they send their email to the correct one hahaha! (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). I also like some little introduction about them and about their previous releases. Please do not send me music through Facebook/Instagram. Also, make sure that it's a specific email and not forwarded to 100 contacts.

 

Make you sure that your music features a lot of groove, a good dose of energy and an infectious bassline. I'm a real house music lover in all the diff facets so on the label, despite the inevitable direction that I'm trying to do, I'm open to diff sounds and approaches.

 

 

  • It's a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

Nowadays, an artist needs first to do excellent music. There are a lot of you talents around and the competition is stiff. He should try to create a kind of cool-character, image and needs to work out on the social stuff. This doesn't mean to take tons photos in the studio or doing too much content but simply give a kind, nice and cool image out with some sick videos, memes or anything music and not music-related.

Tamango Records on Soundcloud

 

 

DJ W!LD - Dailycid Music

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  • What do you look for when signing artists?

Good music that fits with the line of one of my labels, nothing more. If it’s for an EP, I am trying to look for a few tracks with a different flavour but fits together in some way. If it is an album, something more personal with a few dancefloor bombs. I also look for artists where I see the good potential and who can fit with the spirit of my labels to make them grow with labels and create a solid crew around it.

 

  • How do you like artists to approach you when submitting demos? 

The best is by email but at the end, I receive them everywhere, Facebook, Instagram Messenger, WhatsApp ….The easiest is maybe with Soundcloud private link.

 

 

 

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

- Try to send the right amount of tracks (I did the mistake a few times to send too much then is really difficult to focus well on each one) 

- Don’t be pushy (at the end the people who want to sign you will get back to you)

- Try to make sure the people you send the tracks received them

- Try to send tracks which fit with the line of the label (otherwise labels will refuse the tracks and have the wrong image of your sound)

- Even if the label says no and gives you some tips. Use them and come back later with more tracks.

 

  • A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

Most of the time I choose artists and tracks that fit already perfectly to my label, but also when needed I explain what I think could be done to fit better on my label. Using my experience in production and working the dancefloor for many years to give the tips and advice I can, to help the artist grow when I see this ability in them.

Dailycid on Soundcloud

 

 

SY - EWax 

ewax.jpg

 

  • What do you look for when signing artists?

As a label, we look for individuality and fresh creativity to the way music is made. For me, this is the key in finding new artists to work with.

 

 

 

  • How do you like artists to approach you when submitting demos?

Keep it simple and tell me about yourself. Add that personal touch. Which artists influenced you and your sound? Add an overview of the music you're presenting so we have an idea if it"s fitting to the label.

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

The main tip I always give is: Be yourself! Express yourself the way you want to be heard. Keep it friendly, courteous & confident. This definitely goes a long way when approaching labels & A&R's.

 

  • It's a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

It is a very competitive industry, yes. There are many artists coming through right now & the standards are incredibly high - the highest I've seen since I made music a full time career some 10 years ago, so I would say first and foremost: Let your sound stand out. If it's good enough that will do the talking for you. Secondly, in these times social media presence is everything, so ensure you're using the social platforms effectively to present and project yourself and your music.

 

 

EWax on Soundcloud

 

 

Dudley Strangeways - Leftback 

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  • What do you look for when signing artists?

The main thing for Leftback is that the music is good and fits with the labels sound but also the artists is someone we want to work with for a long time, this is usually down to if we think the person has something unique sounding to their productions. Most of the artists, but not all have a relationship with the label already mainly through being involved in events or through partying over the years.

 

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

 Read the labels demo submission guidelines as it can differ for each label. Do some research on the label, hopefully, it’s a label you’re into and you already have some of their releases so it can’t hurt to mention a track you’ve been playing or listening to. It can show the label you’re interested in them and you’ve not sent another CC all email. If you create a playlist it can’t harm to create a specific playlist per label with their logo so it’s a little more personal as it may grab their attention, it just leads to shitloads of playlists!

 

 

 

  • A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

It’s good to have a selection of tracks to choose from to make an EP up. It's always hard when you get sent a few bangers and nothing else that fits, not a massive fan having a load of remixes done on one track for a release. This is especially the case for wax as the DJ playing the record is mainly going to play one track from the release and sometimes space can be tight in a record bag.

Those are the records I will leave rather than a 12” that’s got 4 really wicked tracks on, but maybe that’s just me. Sometimes we may ask the artists to change something in the track but this is generally “a would you mind trying this and see if it sounds better”, but the artists will always have the final say if we didn’t like the track there would be no point in sighing it in the first place! We do mix the tracks on occasion if we feel that the music is exciting, but the mix is not 100% up to scratch and the tracks are all mastered in house giving us creative control over those elements, but again with the artist having the final say. Ideally, anything that needs doing to ensure that the release sounds and works as good as possible for what we’re putting out.

 

  • Do you offer feedback to demos submitted?

Not all the time, but if the person who’s submitted the demo has taken the time to send a detailed and personal email with the music something close to what we release I will always try and give feedback. I think this is important as it’s not an easy thing sending demos to labels and can be a fairly daunting process. You’ve put something you’ve created out into the world and don’t get anything back. It can really mess up some people’s confidence, and this is the sole reason Leftback was started as none of the larger labels would respond to demos sent from myself and Michael.

Leftback on Soundcloud

 

 

TC80 - Sequalog 

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  • What do you look for when signing artists?

Usually, it’s music from friends or people I meet. But I’m interested in artists who have their own signature, even if it sounds classic. I don’t really care about the trend, I prefer timeless music.

 

  • Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

I would say don’t focus on the trends but develop your own musical identity. With time and practice, the quality will rise and it will sound outstanding compared to the mass. Even if it’s very special, better to stay true to the sound you like and resonate with. It’s also cool to receive tracks with playful arrangements, which captivate the audience, telling a story and keeping the intensity climax around the end, before the outro.

 

 

 

  • It's a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

I think it can be cool to work on some decent marketing to accompany a release’s artists. Nice artwork, story, music video, etc… But regarding the creative music process, I would recommend to not think about the result. More important to focus on the practice and natural expression, being present, crafting the skills step by step and being bold to sound different. With time all of this leads to quality. Then it’s about getting in touch with people/DJ/label owners resonating with artist’s music. If you can try your tracks in a real club situation, it can be helpful to identify things you might want to tweak or change.

 

  • Anything else you'd like to add?

Being aware of what you feel and going with the flow. Sometimes it can be chill downtempo, sometimes punchy club orientated, most important is to stay true.

To produce club tracks, I would recommend taking the time to listen to other types of music than exclusively dance music or trends.

For example listening to your favourite music from your childhood, adolescence, world-traditional music, etc… If you are deeply resonating with those different sounds/inspirations, it can naturally constitute the sonic palette that you can use to produce outstanding dance music. Ultimately practising to be in a creative state let things happen by themselves, witnessing presence and life itself. In this state, it’s not the self/ego trying to exist through expression anymore but pure flow.

SEQUALOG Soundcloud 

 

 

  

 

 

Words by Jordan Diston & Francesco Quieti

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