Category

Chats to MEOKO

Chats to MEOKO

Move D chats to MEOKO

By Chats to MEOKO, Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

BILLBOARD MOVE D

David Moufang’s musical career, having begun in the early 1990s, has been long and therefore, quite predictably, cyclical in its relevance and reach. Currently, however, the apropos of his work can be felt more than ever, at a time when the pulse of the rest of the world has re-aligned with his own tempo and ethos. His solo debut album as Move D, Kunststoff, is often given the accolade 17 years later as one of the most timeless techno albums ever. Still, it is perhaps his many collaborative projects – from Deep Space Network in the early 90s, to Reagenz (first in 1994 and then recently revived) and his Magic Mountain High live project, through which he has expressed his most experimental and adventurous side. Having grown up discovering music via his stepdad’s record collection and grandmothers’ classical training, Moufang’s work is constantly stretching the boundaries between house music, ambient, jazz, and classical whilst still honouring the essential canon of all things techno. After the release of his Secrets of The Beehive album in 2008, Move D’s legendary status (although he wouldn’t like to call it that) within the scene has been rapidly accelerating and so MEOKO was truly excited to get him on the phone and find out first hand his perspectives on the balance between commercial success and authenticity, the joy of live improvisation and the timelessness of music.

 move d by yonathan baraki2

Your first interactions with music, rifling through your stepdad’s record collection at a young age, has been spoken of a lot, but was there a point at which you decided you definitely wanted to have a career in music, and who were the biggest inspirations for you at the time?

Yes, my love for music started very early on when I was just choosing records based on interesting artwork but I didn’t actually start picking up instruments until I was 10. At first I had weird fantasies of playing at City Hall and by the time I finished school I definitely knew there was nothing else I wanted to do. When I was in my early teens, I think I was just taking the turn from ACDC to The Police and maybe Grandmaster Flash – but that’s just a quick sum up. The big moment for me in my relationship with music was really when I was younger, as you said, and discovering The Beatles. They are still a huge reference and inspiration for me. 

And how did your relationship with the techno side of things come about?

It wasn’t until the late 80s, early 90s that a friend of mine started putting on acid house parties and I got sucked into the scene. It was huge. One of the really appealing things about techno was that it was so underground. People would just do records, press them up and sell them as white labels with no extra help – that was really intriguing. 

From this early involvement and fascination for the techno scene, how has it changed from your perspective and how have you navigated these changes within the industry?

Well it always keeps changing. In the beginning it was an underground thing; big clubs hadn’t heard about it and it mainly happened in warehouses. It wasn’t a money thing – more of a do it yourself thing, all about the decoration and the people. But then it got super commercialized with all the sponsorship of huge events with expensive tickets. Because of this it was easy for me to drift away from the mainstream scene. From ‘93 on, every year in the German press they kept announcing the death of techno and I was pretty disillusioned with it all.

But then new trends kicked in all over again – it always goes in a cycle. England especially was a big inspiration; going out in London where the DJs were playing breakbeat, which you normally wouldn’t hear in Germany. After another dip when the UK was listening to the same boring shit as everyone else, now 10 years later there is so much happening there again. I really think it’s where all the interesting imports come from. In fact it’s always been about London and the UK.

You said earlier you were intrigued about the underground aspect of techno, but now there is so much hype around it, even the mainstream media is fascinated with ‘deep house’. How has this affected the scene?

I think when techno’s popularity dipped dramatically it actually made the scene healthy again. Parties started getting smaller and it didn’t have to be DJs like Ricardo or Sven Vath for a party to take off. Now, I think it’s grown in a healthier way and all the attention it’s receiving in the press is well deserved. It’s still the type of music that evolves most quickly and has the most impact, not in comparison to the superstardom of Madonna maybe, but it is cutting edge and avant-garde.

I read you feel uncomfortable when DJing, is this true?

No, that’s not true I enjoy DJing alot! But, it’s true I don’t feel comfortable with the stardom of DJs. I think the idolization you see at big raves is ridiculous – everything we thought we overcame with techno, like the rock stage, is coming back. I don’t really dig it too much, I prefer being on the same level as people. Sometimes I might not feel comfortable playing too big a venue, which puts an anonymous mask on everything and you cant relate to the people, and visa versa. 

Do you get this same feeling when you play at events such as festivals?

Festivals can be great, but I would prefer a smaller one to a huge one and if I played at a large festival, I would enjoy myself more on a smaller stage at least. But I’m in good faith that Gottwood will be exactly the type of festival I’m looking forward to; where I can get a feel for the festival and meet some people. It should be lovely…  

All of this is wrapped up in the relationship between commercial success and being creatively genuine. How do you think you’ve kept a balance between your musical purity and your vitality in the industry?

That’s a good question. I really look it as two different things. With DJing, of course I love bringing music to people that they might not have heard or aren’t in to yet but ultimately I’m there to make them have a good time and I don’t want to preach to them too much. But when producing your own material, for me it feels super wrong to look at it in the same way. I shouldn’t worry about the purpose of the song. Sometimes I might leave a track for 10 or 12 years. Good music is timeless but a track could be better if it was brought out later, at other times people might not take notice of it. I think its wrong if you try and stay with the trends too much – it seems to work best if I just do my own thing, and be grateful if it aligns with the rest of the world, like right now. I was lucky to always have some faithful followers but at the moment it is pretty crazy!

In your career you have been pretty prolific and now have a remarkable back catalogue of productions. How much time do you normally spend in the studio working on your own music?

Not enough! Right now, I am playing SO much and as well I have other obligations with a 15-year-old son, taxes to pay and cleaning to do like everyone else. Usually when I do make spend time, there is normally something I can use and so a lot of wasted isn’t time. That’s probably because I’ve never really over-spent my time at the studio – you can’t treat it like a 9 to 5 job and expect things to happen. So there’s not a lot of time, but that’s the way the industry works at the moment and I can imagine my colleagues, so to speak, are in the same position. They have to keep playing to keep the money going so the studio is kind of left alone. Also working now it will be mainly for 12 inches or single tracks – the whole culture of albums seems to be quite lost at the moment but I’m really hoping it will re-emerge, because albums can grow on you and allow you to find new music rather than just waiting for the charts and the same old.

You’ve done a lot of collaborative albums, how different is that process in comparison to producing solo work?

That’s also about the time factor because with collaborations you normally only have maximum 2 or 3 days with someone and after you split, you don’t want to work it over too much, as that would be unfair to the collaboration. So naturally a result comes a lot quicker. Whereas, if I’m working on my own, I might stop to do something else and then the next week I don’t have time so stuff gets left and not worked on for weeks, months, even for years – and by then it might be a different flow. I like doing things in one flow.

Your collaborative albums have sometimes been your most experimental, for instance the Playtime album you did under the Reagenz moniker. Is experimentation the driving factor behind teaming up with another musician?

Yeh, that’s why I thought Playtime was such a fitting title because we really had fun playing with instruments that aren’t just machines; things like guitar, bass, percussion, conga, symbols, our voices and even my wife and son’s voices are in there. We had a direction and a vibe but we just allowed ourselves to play and experiment.

Jonah is especially talented at using hardware, but he’s also solid on most other instruments. On the other hand, I’ve worked with a lot of musicians who maybe don’t have that same background and they just have an idea about music, so they are more directing in the studio, which ends up with great results too. It’s different to when you are more an educated musician, when you are thinking of the boundaries of what you ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ do. 

How do you think your own musical background and education has influenced your music?

Well I had my family’s influences around me, and my grandma was a classical pianist but myself I never had classical training, apart from on the drums and the xylophone maybe. But at least I had the patience to listen to an instrumental piece of music which influenced a lot of the ambient electronics, I guess. As well, it crosses over with the work of Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk, who referenced classical music with concept albums and songs lasting half an hour with no lyrics.

Many producers might solely listen to electronic music, or even a specific genre within that, like house and techno. Do you actively try and source other styles and genres?

I listen to anything: jazz, rock, world music…I’ve just been through a serious Serge Gainsbourg phase. I’ve followed him for several years but a real turning point was when I discovered his History of Melody Nelson, a concept album from the early 70s. I could hear so much in there, even Nirvana sounding stuff, and I just wanted to know more about this man. I discovered he’s worked for such a long time and his body of work is amazing, having worked with The Wailers on reggae or his early album Percussions, which has tribal rhythms that sound so timeless Ricardo villalobos could easily play it in a set, I’m not shitting you.

I think house and techno wouldn’t get anywhere if everybody were only listening to house and techno. Artists like Space Dimension Controller, Floating Points, anything that’s good from the UK – you can’t look at them without referencing things from outside of the genre like funk, boogie, hip hop and even classical. And it ends up in this weird, great combination. 

In a culture that so rapidly consumes music, how does one work towards making your own material more long lasting and timeless?

Well I think that’s everyone’s aim, but I wonder how to get there. I’m sure its certainly not following the trends, because then what you are doing is always within a context and people will always be able to tell that. If you try to neglect everything and follow your own direction and instinct, you might end up with something unique – and that is timeless. Hopefully that’s something I do quite well with. I look back at stuff I’ve done years ago and it doesn’t seem dated to me. My release on Warp, I think would have done better now than it did in 1996 because back then there was sharp divisions; you either played four-to-the-floor or broken beat, never both. Whereas now, there is such a crossover especially with all the dubstep guys playing house, which I think is great.

Your own music tends to defy and blend genres in a similar way, but is there a continuity overall or anything you like to play with everytime?

Well no, I’ve done experimental stuff and I want to do slow stuff again. But through everything, I think there is some sort of permanent aesthetic value and I guess you could describe that as my ‘style’. It’s important to have this, but you just have to listen to your own beliefs and then your stuff will have a signature of sorts.

There is often a sharp distinction between your tracks that are slower, more experimental and those that a dancefloor-centric. Is this something you start off with knowing is going to be the end result? 

Well in some respects there is normally a mood that you want to go into. But in collaborations it varies wildly; there are situations when you just start jamming without talking and other times when you discuss doing something ambient or something more playable. But I love it most when it’s open and unplanned. That’s why I really like the Magic Mountain High project and the stuff we do live, which is fully improvised and unrehearsed. I really never know what to expect, just that the other two guys are great, accomplished musicians so no need to worry.

What equipment are you relying on in these live shows? 

It’s all analog. Our aim was to get rid of the laptop altogether. So basically we use a couple of old drum machines and synthesizers, mainly Roland ones. Either we take them to the gig or we try and ask promoters to get them for us, whether it is a Juno 60, SH101, 909. But either way if something isn’t available we can improvise with something else. There’s no staring at screens and the sequencing is all done on the spot, maybe while the others are jamming and so its organic, there’s no need to stop or pause.

It’s improvised, so things must go ‘wrong’?

No of course things go wrong, terribly wrong. Sometimes I have to lie down for a minute and let the others struggle with it, until the storm calms down and I can rejoin! But that’s part of the deal, how it works with people – the audien
e can feel the dynamics too, the whole room can feel it. It’s much different from having pre-programmed material and hopefully makes it a lot more interesting for people…even if they have to suffer for a while, but when it comes together everyone feels the same relief.

Lastly, you’ve been closing a lot of your sets with St Germain classic ‘Thank U Mama (For Everything You Did)’. It’s an astonishing record. When did you first discover it and why bring it back now?

I knew the track when it was released, as I was following him at the time. Ludovic Navarre is his real name and St Germain turned out to be his most successful project but he had many others at the same time. He’s in the same league as Derrick May but I don’t think he gets enough credit – he’s made some really, really great records. But now its kind of forgotten and I like bringing back old stuff that doesn’t sound old, that in fact sounds better than ever. It’s strange for me to think people don’t know it because it’s such a classic, but why should they? I like playing old tracks that matter to me personally – I remember what great times I was having around the time the record was released and then I can see what great times people are having now and so it doubles the fun in a way. I get to be like, “OK I’m going to show you this and I already know it’s fucking great”…maybe that’s one of the benefits of being a bit older.

Thank you so much David for your time, it was great chatting with you! See you at Gottwood 🙂


Words by Becky Young

Buy tickets to Gottwood Festival here.

Culoe de Song chats to MEOKO

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

culoedesongbanner

The house music scene in South Africa recently found itself thrust into the limelight after Resident Advisor did a big feature on it and, as many readers of the piece and fans of SA’s house masters will know, the scene there has been thriving for quite some time now. One of the key artists to have sprung up from South Africa’s house scene is a man whose soulful, tribal rhythms have permeated into the lives of many, many house lovers around the world. Culoe De Song is his name, and MEOKO felt blessed to be able to ask him some questions recently… 

 

Can you tell me firstly when music first filtered into your life?

Music has always been a big part of my life, right from the beginning.

What’s your earliest memory of music?

In the early 90s I was always singing to myself and out loud…you know, all the big songs!

At what stage did you start to gravitate towards making music yourself?

I was 16 when I started learning how to play vinyl and began making music for the first time.

Who/what inspired you to start trying to make your own music?

Well there were so many musical inspirations, both internationally and locally here in SA. More importantly, I really feel like I was destined to do this… my name actually means Culolethu “Our Song”

How did you get started? What instruments or software did you use?

I used FL Studio. I can’t remember the version, but that was my first contact with making music and mastering the idea behind the art.

When did electronic music and house enter your life?

It first entered my life through all of the house music compilations in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I was exposed to all of the cassettes and pirated CDs of the countries biggest DJs. I used to love recording the mixes from the late night radio shows that played a lot of tribal house.

Who were the first house artists you listened to during this period?

Soha, Masters At Work, Osunlade, DJ Gregory, Ame – the list is endless!

What was the house scene like in South Africa at that time?

It was well known I guess, but very much favoured by the youth and the ‘cool’ adults. It’s still pretty much the same thing today, but there’s more young beat makers emerging all the time.

Have politics in SA ever had much of an effect on the club scene?

I guess people would generally party within their circles or cultures. A bit more natural than political, but either way that’s what I’ve seen.

Who were your local heroes and inspirations? Where did you go to hear house music?

I’d hear house music everywhere. Radio & taxis that would drive on with loud sound systems. Pioneers like Oskido, Bop, DJs at Work, DJ fresh had big albums that had music that I really respected.

Nowadays the South African scene has had the light shone on it with people like yourself and Black Coffee et al gaining international recognition. What effect has that had on you, and the scene in general?

It’s been awesome. The scene is buzzing and a lot more young blood is influenced by music to a point of activity. Travelling the world has opened me up and inspired me to explore my talents in music making and DJing. The art is infinite.

culoe        culoe2

Do you feel a certain responsibility for the scene and its growth/development? Do you work with any up and coming artists?

It’s important for me to tell other young artists about my journey and share a bit of how I do things. Knowing the circumstances of what I do and the discipline it requires, they then have a choice to pursue or not. That’s development…you watch, listen and decide.

With regard to that, who’s exciting you from SA’s younger generation at the moment?

I love a lot of music I’ve been hearing from our shores but I’m very much enlightened by the drive & willingness of the duo “black motion”. We need more young people to have a good attitude towards the craft. Also emerging producer “Da Capo”, I love the solo energy from him & he will attract more. I wish them all the best.

What about the rest of Africa (big place I know!) – what are the other hotspots, if any, for house music?

I’ve played in Botswana, Swaziland, and Lesotho & Mozambique. Great vibes there! But I hear Angola is also booming right now!

Thinking back to the beginning, how does it feel to have come so far?

I feel bold; I’ve got so much to do. The more you grow, the more you realise the infinite journey. But I feel great anyway. God has blessed me, I’m grateful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yLrLXobt2I

There’s a real strong tribal and soulful element to your music, where does this come from?

I’m Zulu by culture. There’s a certain rhythm that comes with that.

Have you ever attempted to make ‘minimal’ or less emotional styles of music?

Yes. I’ve made different kinds of music; it has added more value to what I’ve done before. People have a choice with my music. Even though real fans will always feel my natural element regardless of style.

What’s next for you? Any big projects on the go?

Right now in South Africa I’m working on “exodus” my third studio album. I’ve just released “Stig Boardersman” with Innervisions and I’m working on other remixes but mainly surrounding my album.

Where do you see the SA scene going? It seems to be really holding its own right now.

Time will tell. But, I feel greatness.

 

Culoe De Song on Facebook 

 

words by Marcus Barnes

 

Rico Casazza chats to MEOKO plus exclusive free track download

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

 ricob

Rico Casazza, like many before him, left his native Italy at the turn of the millennium and moved his life to London. Attracted by the bright lights and bustle of the city’s multifarious music scene, Rico soon found his niche in house and techno, experimenting with the minimal craze before trying his hand at slower, more downtempo styles. Today, he produces across the board, still as keen and hungry as ever to make the best music he is capable of. With over 10 years experience on the streets of the capital, MEOKO thought it best to catch up with Rico and see just what it is about London and its relationship with music that has kept him invigorated all this time. 

rico1

Picture credit: www.stock5.tv

Hi Rico, thanks for talking to us. First up for those that may be unaware of who you are and what you do, could you give us a quick intro?

I have been making music for many years, always out of pure love. Music for me has always been an emotional output. I like to make music that causes goosebumps. I think about the dance-floor too, but my main drive is more psychedelic and deep, timeless music.

I started playing classical guitar when I was a child for a few years, then switched to electric, and then one day I bought a videogame for playstation called “Music 2000”. It was more than a videogame actually, you could create little compositions and edit sounds. From that day until today I’ve basically never stopped banging my head against the wall using various electronic devices. [Laughs].

Now that you’ve had some time to settle into 2013, how do you see the year ahead? What will you aim to build on and improve from last year?

I was lucky to release through some good record labels like Stock5, Release Sustain, Wavetec, Archipel, Serialism, Soma… This year I’m preparing a new live set that will showcase a lot of new, forthcoming music and some secret, unreleased tunes. I’m also preparing a second album, a lot of remixes and some new music. All in all, there are some goodies on the way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KJVVOxTjU8

I read you’ve been living in London since the 90s. Did you move here to pursue music? What aspects of the city and its scene have shaped the way you make and experience music?

I’ve only lived in London since 2001 actually. I moved here for music and also for an adventure. In my home town life and music were quite boring and the internet wasn’t fully developed like it is now, back then you couldn’t just log on and find music from any corner of the planet. I knew London was the home of trip hop, drum’n’bass and just considered the general European mecca of music. It is a magnet for dreamers and twisted minds and I understand the city well as I resonate with both categories. I was fascinated by belonging to a big city, where you can go and find interesting opportunities and totally odd experiences.

This city has had such an incredible influence over my musical career. It’s not even just the music, but the people, the parties – every moment spent in this city inspires you. There’s such a huge like-minded community in London when it comes to great music.

When I was a kid I used to listen to all kinds of music, remembering all the particular sounds that were more interesting and combining them with a lot of different, contrasting styles. I always loved the timeless melodies of classical and ambient music, the infinite dub delays and combining them with hard electronic drums to make a cosmic war!

How do you view the London scene today? Did you have any idea house music would take over East London in particular so dramatically?

The London scene has always been very strong. Something new comes up every year. In east London right now you can find many different type of music events. But yeah, house and techno are probable the biggest and the most mental [Laughs]. There’s a never ending cycle of new music genres springing up and dropping away – they stick around for a few years and then leave to allow for other, fresher styles to rise to prominence. I have been lucky to have witnessed the east London hype.

When you started producing, your tracks still carried that minimal aesthetic, whereas now they’re much fuller and more house-driven. Would you agree? Why the shift?

Yeah I hear you. I started releasing minimal techno in 2007 but at the same time I was making tech-house and broken beat/chill out music. The only thing is, these tracks got released after the minimal techno records. The track I’ve given to MEOKO for example is minimal, but I wrote it recently. If you asked me to choose between house and techno, I’d say techno. But I like to experiment with different genres, different moods and landscapes. I’ve enjoy writing trip-hop, dub, broken beat and ambient music – my first album ‘A Mother Love’ released on Bonsai Elemental on 2007 is a bit like that.

You’ve been releasing records solidly for over three years. Are you happy with where your writing ability and sound are at currently or do you still feel you have more to give?

I have been releasing music for the last 6 years. And yes I definitely have more to give and more to learn. I’m very happy with what I have achieved until now, but in terms of sound quality my productions aren’t the best they could be quite yet. I use Ableton and the sounds do lack crispness and clarity, whereas Logic gives a much fuller tone. But then again on Logic you can’t conjure up the sound you have in your head in a matter of seconds, like you can on Ableton. What’s important for me is the originality of the composition, more so than the sound quality itself. This is an endless debate, like vinyl and digital. A lot of people would disagree with me on that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5B867m9xtc

When you approach tracks these days do you ever feel pressured to make something that will really stand out? Something that will take your career to the next level?

When I sit down to make music I prefer not to work to a specific target. You can have certain ideas in mind or be inspired by a certain artist but in general I prefer to just encourage a natural flow to the process. I just make sounds, melodies and grooves and eventually it all comes together and a smile crosses my face. It’s kind of like when you’re cooking: combining spices and flavours to get that unique taste.

I think that if you set yourself a target while you make music, you will be influenced by the fact that your sound has to sound a certain way. It’s not natural. You should be wary of trying to copy something that is not within the competence of the manufacturer. The only pressure I feel is to make a better song than the previous one.

Your track ‘Ryuichi Dub’ on Bonsai elemental was really beautiful. Will we see more downtempo stuff like that from you in the future?

Thanks! ‘Ryuichi Dub’ is from an album I released in 2009; the track contains a sample of Ryuichi Sakamoto. That album sound is quite different than the trip hop stuff that I do now. And yes definitely, I’m preparing a second album of trip hop/downtempo music as we speak…

Your recent collaboration with Kozber on Soundbar brought a real full-bodied swing to your output. What was it about working with him that achieved that? Are there plans to hook up some more in the near future?

Yes, when we make music together, we make completely different stuff to what we would usually on our own. We’ve known each other for many years, we understand how each of us likes to work and he’s a kick-ass dj – and a nice guy too!

That Soundbar release was something we made last summer. We were thinking to make some edits of abstract funk music from the 70s and in the end we came up with ‘Gillett Square’. We are working intensely on new projects right now, including many remixes for great electro clash and synth pop bands, which will come out in a few months.  

https://soundcloud.com/ricocasazza/ax-musique-skin-on-me-rico/

Finally, what’s next for Rico Casazza?

I’ve got some music that will be released later this year for Holic Traxx, Cartulis Music, Save You Records, Stock5, Suspect Package and a good number of  remixes and collaborations with some good friends.  And of course my new album. More and more music to come! 

Rico Casazza exclusive mix click here

 ricko copy

To accompany this interview, Rico has very kindly donated an exclusive, unreleased track to the MEOKO readers. ‘Holy Kingdom’, as Rico mentioned above, calls on his earlier, more minimal influences, despite it having been written fairly recently. The record provides us with a rhythmic, percussive and slightly twisted insight into the mind of one of London’s most dedicated electronic musicians. Definitely one for the early mornings.

rico click here

Like Rico on Facebook

Half Baked chats to MEOKO about their plans for 2013 and beyond…

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

hbfbanner

Half Baked are, without a doubt, one of MEOKO’s most cherished London-born parties. Beginning back in 2009, they successfully transformed the conventional party formula with their epic Sunday afternoon rave-ups that often combined quirky art installations, cinema, live graffiti and stylish people under one, thumping roof. The HB crew threw themselves passionately into constructing parties full time with large-scale productions and awesome lineups that showcased their own love for grooving, forward-thinking techno as well as inviting some of the scene’s most important artists and trend-setters. Since then we have witnessed them grow and grow, taking their inescapable vibe across Europe and around the world and MEOKO are ecstatic to see them flourish into both a booking agency (HBF Agency) AND a record label (Half Baked Records) in 2013. At a crucial time in the history of the Half Baked entity, MEOKO have caught up with Bruno and Robin from Half Baked to chat about the changing landscapes of the future, whether they’re enjoying their new expanded roles, and how they are remaining a family (and a half baked one at that..)

 

How do you reflect back on the year? What lessons do you take with you in 2013?

Bruno: Last year was a really good year for Half Baked in which we did events and attended different music conferences, such as WMC, Sonar and ADE for the first time and with completely unexpected success! This made us really happy with the results, especially travelling with the HBFamily and bringing Half Baked into new countries for the first time and have such amazing connection with the crowd!

We learned a lot from our mistakes in 2012 but we still have much more to learn and lots of exciting challenges for 2013 with all our new projects!

We are planning to have more solid line ups, which will be linked with Half Baked Records’ artists and producers. We are also really proud of being a vinyl-only label now, growing and sharing our passion for a full music experience.

bikehalfbaked

Which of the (many) parties from the past 12 months especially stand out in your memory? Why?

Bruno: That’s a really hard question! We had many parties that stand out over the summer and winter but personally there are three events that were the highlight for 2012: Sonar, Half Baked with Mike Huckaby & Hold Youth, and ADE with Harry Klein & Jeff Audio Family. Those events all had such an amazing vibe with all the residents and our good friends around.

Robin: We had a few special parties to be honest. I really enjoyed having Matthew Herbert and Fumiya Tanaka over especially, as they are two artists I am particularly affectionate for. I also really enjoyed doing Half Baked abroad, it’s new thing but cool as people had still heard about us! It’s exciting and motivating to play outside London representing Half Baked and to see that people are appreciating my music. I have travelled with the Half Baked family now to Moscow, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and the feedback we get is insane!

halfbakedlights

The greatest change must be the introduction of the HBF Agency. Tell us about the project and how it came to be.

Bruno: We set up the agency in late 2012 to extend the Half Baked platform, with the mission to continue to spread our passion for up and coming talent within the house scene, to bring playfulness and innovation to the table, and always operate as a ‘family’ whilst also being international. Also to spread our belief in delivering a full music experience, which is explored through the Half Baked parties. We have lots of new projects outside of our original Sunday Half Baked parties in East London and the agency will bring all these projects together. Keep tuned 😉

 

Is it going to be a conventional DJ agency, whereby you represent a select team of artists? If so, who is on the books?

No I wouldn’t say so. Yes, we have at the moment four talented resident artists – Rainer, Robin Ordell, Greg Brockmann & Rudolf – but we are a bit more forward-thinking and try to be more creative than just another conventional agency. We are lucky to have with us our latest family member, Nicole, who is working as our Marketing & PR manager as well as taking care of our boys and the whole family. Nicole is managing the agency, a very creative process. She is also building new partnerships abroad for Half Baked showcases involving our resident DJs – Seuil, Le Loup, Yakine, Mike Shannon and Julietta.

With the HBF agency we aim to promote culture and innovation in the modern music industry, targeting music lovers that want to connect with the sound and the artists. 


2013 will also mark the release of HB Records 001. Is the label part of the wider agency project? What is the vision for the imprint?

Bruno: Well, I guess it was a natural flow of the HB brand, as one of our aims is to have a solid underground name. HBF Agency has initiated the record label in order to complete the Half Baked platform, working with our friends, creating an imprint representing the music and artists we believe in, and each release will be released on vinyl only.

Robin: the Label is our latest project, operating under the agency. The idea behind it is to release music we like from people we’ve been working closely with – our friends mostly.


The first release carries a strong HB identity, with tracks from residents Seuil, Yakine, Le Loup and Robin Ordell. Will the following releases feel similarly homely or are there plans to branch out and include non-family artists?

Bruno: The idea for the future releases is to have our residents releasing their music and getting different artist, not from the family but good friends, to do the remixes.

Robin: There will be a bit of everything. It is important for us to keep a strong identity by working with people that are close to us but if I receive a great demo from an “outsider”, I won’t turn it down.

hblabel

Bruno, as co-founder of the HB enterprise, will you be fully involved with the agency and the label or will the parties remain your priority?

Funny question. Back in the days I worked in different booking agencies for two years and I learned a lot doing it. I always wanted to have a booking agency on HB and the better option was when the label came along. Anyway, Half Baked is my baby and whatever it takes to run it properly, I’ll be involved.

 

And Robin, how has your role changed – I take it you’re more than simply a resident DJ now? Will you be more involved in the record label A&R side of things?

Robin: Yes indeed, I’m working on the label’s A&R with my friend Fede. It’s a very interesting experience, especially when it comes to listening to new material and choosing music for the records. I don’t find the paperwork and administration stuff that thrilling though, I guess that’s why I’m not in charge of it…

 

Will the agency be an opportunity for HB to expand the family or is it simply a way to further consolidate the ties that are currently in place?

Bruno: We are simply consolidating the HB brand with the existing residents. So this way we can have more control of the Half Baked showcases and better manage the artist bookings.

Robin: We’re happy with the crew we have, we’ve been working altogether for a few years now and we’re getting along well too. There is always an opportunity to make things bigger but I’d rather focus on what we have at the moment.

Will the advent of the agency/label have any impact on the parties? Are we going to see a similarly busy schedule in 2013? Any special plans? Tell us about the next HB event.

Bruno: Not really, the agency will be bringing all our projects together, such as Half Baked Records, bookings of our resident artists, and Half Baked abroad. Regarding the parties, to keep them truly HB style we have a few new ideas on how to control the crowd, such as being stricter at the door with guest list only, as well as bringing in new Half Baked specialties.

Regarding our schedule in 2013, we are looking at having a similar amount of gigs in London but abroad we are planning to have more showcases promoting the label and the artists.

Robin: Many many special plans! But you guys will have to wait to see it coming. For future events we are having some really nice guests such as Bruno Pronsato live, Thomas Melchior, Mike Shannon, and many more that I can’t mention the names of yet.
 
Thanks to Bruno and Robin! MEOKO wishes you all the best for the future and we shall definitely see you at the next party…

Half Baked website
Half Baked on Facebook 

Ryan Crosson chats to MEOKO

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interviews, MEOKO Presents, Music Through Pictures

 ryan

First of all… Thanks for your time…. I can imagine you are very busy and answering questions can be tedious…

2012 was quite a year for you and your label… with a remix for David Lynch’s “Pinky’s Dream”… how did this come about, and what does it mean for you?

We’ve all been fans of David Lynch for quite a while, so when this opportunity came up the term “dream come true” really was happening.  The original is also not something we’re normally asked to remix which added to the fun.  If I recall correctly our manager bumped into his in an airport and they wanted Seth to do it but Seth decided we should all do it together and so we had a go at it.  We did have to bounce it back and forth to Lee in Chicago which I normally hate doing because then people are on different wave lengths but we didn’t have time to all be together so it was the only solution.  All and all I was happy with what we were able to turn out.

For me it’s very special you remixed Violett back in 2006.  It made me discover not only the Argentinean guys but also you lot, the new skool of Detroit.  Back then it felt like the start of something new.  Now we’re in 2012 it’s clear you’ve made a success of everything you were spearheading back then.  How do you feel it’s gone and what kind of journey has it been for you personally?  

It’s been a weird strange ride to say the least with a lot of ups and downs.  We were pretty broke and busted upon arriving in Berlin but we slowly got some steam behind us and are doing quite well at the moment.  Each of us has had their personal demons to battle at different times but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  The whole journey so far has helped me grow so much as an adult I can’t even believe it.  And we’re still in that infant stage!!!!  The label is only two years old and although it’s not been a blockbuster type label we’re doing great.  On top of that, we all haven’t been touring that long…maybe steadily for only 4 years.  Very exciting indeed to see what the future holds in store!

 

 

Where do you live now, and where do you feel most connected with?  

I bounce around quite a bit but am spending most of my time in Berlin and London, I’m also making more of an effort to visit my family in the States more.  I’ve been away from home for about 5 1/2 years now but only in the past year I’ve really started to feel homesick.  Not for America, but mostly my family.  I’m watching my nephew grow up in pictures and it’s frustrating that I cannot be there more.  I guess because of more travel I don’t feel too connected to any city but am trying to be more connected with my family.

Can you tell us about some of the artists you’ve unearthed through Visionquest. What kind of sound or esthetic are you looking for right now?  

Tale of Us and Footprintz have been the two standouts in my mind that we’ve “unearthed” I guess you could say and while we may not be uncovering any unknowns at the beginning of 2013 a lot of the releases are from artists that are new to our roster… Terje Bakke, Wareika, Voigt & Volta and Subb-An will make their Visioquest debuts next year.  Clarian (one half of Footprintz) will also be releasing an EP and an album.  As everyone knows the aesthetic is always changing with us so I guess you’ll just have to wait and see. 

RYAN-CROSSON

How do you decide on the future releases? 

Ha, umm.  Some are no brainers and some we go back and forth.  No fist fights just yet 😉    

If it says ‘Visionquest remix’ on the package, who of you four is behind it? Or is it all four who get together in the studio? How do y divide responsibilities?

 It really depends.  I’m working all the time and I don’t mind transferring files over the internet to bounce ideas back and forth but some of the guys can’t handle it and it becomes a nightmare quickly.  After the last go I think we’ve made it clear to each other that if 3 out of 4 can’t sit and do it together, it won’t be titled Visionquest.  When we do manage to get together normally one person will be on the computer and the other two will be playing with synths on the side until a framework can come together.  Once we have our basic framework it goes quite quickly and we can really flow on an idea.  A basic rule is that  If you’re sitting at the computer and you’ve got nothing going on, get up! Let someone else take a shot to keep things moving forward.  Food/cooking breaks are also very frequent 😉

Tell us all about your album with Cesar. How did it come about, what does DRM stand for? 

We have been longtime friends, and the situation just came together. The album idea really took shape after an EP we made for thesongsays didn’t come out due to complications with the distributor. That process took forever, so we just decided, “Hey, let’s work towards an album”. DRM is an acronym for “drum” and “dream” – both essential to us in making the music we make.

What kind of studio set up did you use, how did you work with Cesar?

We were using a mix of computers and hardware.  We’ve both acquired a bit more kit since finishing in June so the next one together should have a slightly different sound although we want to continue recording live musicians and chopping them up.  90% of the work was done with us sitting in the same room together.  Some bits I was travelling to London to work at his, some bits he was at mine in Berlin.  I think that’s part of the reason it took us so long from when we actually decided to go forward with the album we weren’t down the street or a short train ride away.

If you had to define what you do, how would you sum it up? Trial and lots of error. Did you ever imagine as a child that you would be DJing all around the world?  

I feel very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing with my life right now.  Even when we moved overseas I wasn’t sure if it would pan out to where I could continue to live from DJing.  At age four or five I told my parents I wanted to be a steam shovel operator. They probably weren’t too thrilled to hear that even though it was coming from a preschooler.  Then about 20 years later I told them I was quitting the family business to move to Berlin to become a full time Dj, They weren’t too ecstatic about that either but they’ve been super supportive the whole way.  That has meant so much.  When times weren’t the best they were there too pick me up, that support has been everything.

tumblr lur67aOHcR1qgz75e

Seth has just been voted number 1 DJ on the RA polls. Do the polls matter and do you personally take much notice?

I’m extremely happy and proud of Seth and all the success he has had in such a short period of time.  Knowing him for over 10 years now, it’s been crazy to watch the transformation in his DJ career.  But to me and the guys he still just plain old Seth and he’ll always be that to us, no matter what number he’s tagged with in whatever reader poll.  A lot of people put too much stock into those end of the year, “best of” things.  I understand how they can help a career or DJ fees or a booker but I’m pretty apathetic about them overall.  There’s a limited number of electronic music publications and because of that I think too many people put too much stock in the opinions of these writers, whether it’s good or bad.  Fan polls can be cool but then you find out that only England and Italy are voting so that’s not so accurate either.  The bottom line is that no poll can ever tell you who the best DJ is, who the best live act is, label, track etc because everyone’s taste is different…and that’s a good thing.

How do you define success?

Being happy with yourself.

You’re finishing off 2012 with a gig at Cargo in London! Why is this a special night for you, and what kind of expectations do you have?

I really am hoping it’s special.  New Years Eve can always be a bit disappointing but this will be my first in London and I know when friends have played London in the past on NYE they said it was great…so my expectations are quite high. Hopefully this years turn will prove to be just as memorable for us at Cargo as it was for my friends in past years.

What does 2013 have in store for you…?

Hopefully a bit more mental stability and more focus.  I’d like to complete my solo album plus EP’s for Life and Death and Supplement Facts and get started on another album with Cesar. There are remixes in the cue of course.  We’re going to launch the new Visionquest website hopefully by February which will include a lot more user interaction, podcasts, webshop and online MP3 sales.  We’ve also discussed doing our own sample packs.  Visionquest 13 will also be kicking off in late March (www.yourvisionquest.com).

Interview by Katrin Ritcher

 

Catch Ryan next at Cargo NYE presents: Post Apocalypse with Ryan Crosson (Visionquest), Omid 16B & Shane Watcha – Get Your Ticket Here  / 8pm – 6am / 83 Rivington Street; Hoxton; London EC2A 3AY; United Kingdom

 

MEOKO chats to Liz Mendez ahead of Kubicle’s 7th BDAY

By Chats to MEOKO, Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive
 kubicle-1 copy
 

Remember the days when Sunday and Monday mornings were spent dancing in dodgy public toilets and seedy S&M clubs? Well, if you’re an east London club kid then you probably do… MEOKO caught up with Liz Mendez, one half of the promotion duo behind Kubicle that has brought us so many memorable after hours and saucy soirées. With resident DJ’s that have included the likes of Lee Foss, FB Julian, Clive Henry, Richy Ahmed, Luca C and Toni D, not even mentioning their spectacular secret guests who regularly grace the decks, Kubicle has been one of east London’s quality hidden treasures for the last seven years. Liz talks to us about her favourite memories, festivals and future plans..

 
20101219-img 0875 colour

 

Hi Liz, Thanks for speaking to us today. Kubicle is celebrating its 7th birthday on the 16th December…you must be proud! What were you doing prior to Kubicle and how did you get into throwing parties?

 Hi Nick, yes I’m so proud of Kubicle my business partner Sonia and I have worked so hard to keep it special and it’s great to see it grow in so many different ways.  Ive always been very conscious with the decisions made for Kubicle its definitely a project that is about the love not the money. 

We are passionate about providing an experience with Kubicle and retaining that family “kubi” vibe. 

All my friends still come to my parties and that’s important to me its always a sea of familiar faces mixed in with the new.  Prior to Kubicle I’d been hosting parties since i moved to London to go to University. I started by doing a Hip Hop party every Tuesday night with my friend DJ Nikki in a private members bar called 57 Jermyn St. We had a crazy few years hosting for the likes of Eve, Kelis, NERD, Missy Elliot, Mos Deff, Lucy Pearl,  Nas, Eminem, Guru, Run DMC, Jam master Jay those kind of people it was so much fun and I learnt a lot.

 

 KUBICLE-IMAGE-4

Over the years, Kubicle seems to have earned a real cult following of fashionistas and kubi kids, where did the idea for Kubicle come from?

We first started KUBICLE in “Public Life” a tiny victorian toilet converted into mini daytime rave hence the name “Kubicle”.  

Originally it was an after party every Sunday and Monday morning from the summer of 2005!! before we moved to Whipping rooms 🙂 I’m still called Lizzie toilet in some peoples phones which I still find quite amusing. 

East London is full of creatives and fashion students etc who at that time often did not have to go to work at on a Monday. We catered to that plus Sunday was always our favourite day to party because it avoided all the Saturday night Brigade…Sunday was always a lot cooler.

2zfnxhw
 
KUBICLE-IMAGE-11
 

Looking back, do you have one specific memory that sticks out in your head from a Kubicle Event?

There are so many to choose from where do I start? Kubicle on NY Day is always memorable, everybody always ends up with us at some point throughout the long session. All the djs after their gigs want to come and hang out after jumping on the decks.

The speaker blew up once mid after party in the toilet that was hilarious as nobody wanted to stop the party.

Our door girl let in the police to the whipping rooms with open arms when we were so over capacity thinking they were kubikids in fancy dress.   Hamiltons amazing Kubicle roof top parties in Hatton Garden when it started to rain and we all went under the umbrellas and refused to go home.  We have always done a die hard 2nd Jan after party since we started Kubicle 7 years ago I remember when we did it at Cable St we propped Jamie Jones up at the door who had passed out and he was the first thing everybody saw as they walked through the door………

 

image
 
 34
 
Picture by Kenny Campbell – KCTV

 

………All our birthdays are so memorable the Dolphin Terrace, the brick house terrace, Tbar and Fabric birthday room three with kubi hosting.

 

uk-0725-178533-backThat’s just London, Magical Festival moments are always the best. Kubicle Glastonbury parties in Shangri La over the years are always amazing and the pagoda stage at Secret Garden Festival has such a beautiful view over the lake as the sun goes down……  Lovebox after parties in Metropolis getting stuck on the beach and how could I not mention Ibiza here and Berlin.   Bar 25 was the most inspiring place i have ever been to, we are so happy to have been a part of that. 

In recent years, Kubicle has been found at some of the biggest events around Europe including Lovebox, Glastonbury and so on, can you give us a little peep into any exciting plans for 2013?

 

As always we have a lot on for next year. We are programming our summer and working on the creative & production for the festivals already at the moment which is fun. The monthly parties in London and all the Bank Holiday Sundays at Basing House our new home. 

 

Happy to be back at Glastonbury next year with our kubicle party on the Sat night in Shangri La and we have also been asked to program the Hub all day Sunday which can accommodate thousands 🙂

 

We’re involved with Lovebox a lot more this year come and check us out in the VIP on Saturday last year was amazing. Secret Garden of course and other new festivals we have been offered to do the VIP of Eastern Electrics, Croatia, Lots more Berlin we have hosted a few parties in the Chalet which is a great venue. We will also be based in Ibiza again this year so watch out for that. 

 
12048 385340861550377 1198624742 n
 

Obviously lots of people do associate Kubicle with Public Life, it must have been a very sad moment when it finally closed down?

Its a shame that it closed down but it was due to greed from the owners letting in other disreputable parties who ruined it for everybody else. We had not done an event down there for so long as we had totally out grown the space but we just decided to throw in a last minute free toilet as it was our birthday. The place had already been under surveillance for some time and we were just unlucky it was our day that they came down in force to close the place down. 

All the egyptian clad party goers spilling out onto the street in the morning was also a moment i will never forget 🙂

 
238 28667056600 8141 n
 
 

Onwards and upwards. You have two big events coming up at Basing House, One is your 7th birthday on the 16th December and the other being New Years Day…what have you got lined up?  And have you found a new home in Basing House?

Yes we have a new home at Basing House. I love it there, the management  and crew are so cool it’s good when you’re all on the same page which is hard with club owners. So happy to be doing our birthday and NYDay parties with them. 

The 7th Birthday is going to be so great with all our favourite djs playing a few special back to backs.

Lee Foss, Richy Ahmed, Luca C, Mark Jenykyns, Toni D, Guilhem Monin and Francesca Lombardo who we welcome to join us, it will be the first time she has played for Kubicle so I’m looking forward to that.

We’re also doing the Light box on the 2nd of Jan following Circoloco and Hot Creations now that one is going to be incredibly messy. 

 
Check out the Francesca Lombardo Exclusive MEOKO mix – Click Image 
 
052
 

I’ve actually got some pretty spectacular memories of Kubicle at the Whipping Rooms on Cable Street. I used to end up there on many a Monday morning. Can you tell us a little more about it for our readers who weren’t lucky enough to witness it first hand…

Wow the Whipping rooms I cant believe that we actually got away with that it was basically a Dominatrix called Madame K’s S&M studio. A friend had recommended the unusual space for a kubicle party so we had to go and check it out. It was at the back of Cable St Studios which was pretty derelict at the time with nothing much going on apart from the seedy side. 

Our first party there was hilarious think it was Mr C’s afters following Superfreq. We arrived and Madame K had been holding here own little soiree just before us and we got to see it all in full swing so to speak. They had love swings and cages and bondage saddles and a dentist chair all super weird and freaky. We had MANDY come and play at that first party and we literally had to go round to tell everybody if they wanted to stay they had to pull their trousers up before our guests arrived!! After that episode we made sure all her clients had left the building before we started our party whether you loved or loathed it, it was definitely memorable and still spoken about today. 

 

When did the Monday morning after parties end?

After Whipping we went back to “Toilet” for a few more years and concentrated on the Sundays but we still do all the Bank Holiday Monday after parties so I guess they have not completely stopped.

 
205394 318226314928499 1864585712 n              23904 385738691510594 458680889 n
 

Maybe a sign that you’ve become extremely busy in your career outside of parties? How is Liz Mendez Vintage going?

Amazing I love it. I’ve been working on my website that’s just about to go live in the new year where you can buy online. I’m still selling out of Lucy in Disguise in Soho and plan to do a pop up in Ibiza next year. I’m styling, art directing and loving that side of things.

 

Besides your London events, you’ve also been throwing parties abroad. How was your recent trip to Berlin? Do you have any more plans for Kubicle outside of London?

As I mentioned earlier Sonia and I will be based in Ibiza over the summer so we are just working out our Kubicle plans now. We are going to do a couple of dates at Sankeys as that went really well last year. I’m all over Berlin and cant wait for the next one I’d love to do something at Renate its right up Kubicle’s street. 

We have been in talks to maybe do something in Australia next year a boat party and Croatia is calling. I also really want to do something cool in NY and LA. 

 

484252 319313788153085 337096751 n
 

You’ve had some amazing resident Dj’s in Lee foss, Toni D, FB Julian, Clive Henry, Richy Ahmed to name a few. Not even mentioning the special guests you’ve had down to play. How have you maintained such a high quality for such a small and intimate party?

We are a kubi family between us and our residents.  Its always about the Music and the love, no greed no attitude just amazing vibe and music. Our residents will keep on growing we have just added Luca C to the mix and have a few more to announce next year. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/lucacmusic/luca-c-kubicle-7th-birthday/

 

Any plans to do bigger events in London or will Kubicle always remain personal and intimate?

I’m happy for Kubicle to remain intimate that’s what it is all about I mean we stretch to 500 max but once you start going over that you loose the vibe. It would be easy to hire a warehouse stick in a couple of headliners and thrash it out but its not the way for Kubicle. I’m more interested in the festival side of things in that way we can definitely grow I’d love to organise my own festival one day. Just want to say a big thank you to all that have supported us throughout the years the djs, the industry peeps, the kubikids, we could not have done it without you. xxx

 

Kubicle 7th Birthday at Basing House 16th December with Lee Foss, Richy Ahmed, Francesca Lombarda, Mark Jenkyns, Toni C, Guilhem Monin and Guests – Buy Tickets  (Limited Tickets available) 

 

Kubicle New Years Day at Basing House with Matt Tolfrey, PbR Streetgang, Guilhem Monin, Tony C and Special guests – Buy Tickets 

 

Kubicle on Facebook 

 

MEOKO chats to Cerca Trova + Exclusive Rossko Mix

By Chats to MEOKO, Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

 BILLBOARD cercatrovaNOLINK

Hi guys, so firstly, congratulations on the fourth birthday. Obviously you’re both a little older than four…is there a back-story to Cerca Trova? How did you guys meet and where did the idea for Cerca Trova come from?

Rossko: After one night out I came home in the early hours of the morning and I sat up watching the Discovery channel not being able to sleep (As you do!) there was a documentary about Leonardo Di Vinci. These “art detectives” were trying to solve the mystery of whether it was myth or fact that his famous lost painting was hidden behind a mural he painted in Italy for centuries. On the mural the words “Cerca Trova” were inscribed by Di Vinci, this was his cryptic clue that had people believe that this was where his master piece was kept hidden. Till this day they still don’t know! Cerca Trova means “Seek And You Will Find” and it was at this point in the documentary the light bulb went off in my head – this was the beginning of the concept and from there we started to organize the first party from this point.

Exclusive Rossko MEOKO Podcast 

rossko pod-1 copy

Can you remember the first party, how did it go?

Rossko: I remember it like it was yesterday – It was a collection of all our close friends and party people that we had met through years of clubbing in London. It was a very personal and intimate party for around 250 people. Tolga Fidan and Hector were headlining, we spent weeks going out meeting new people, taking down email address & mobile numbers to those we felt we were right for the party. We were chased by the Police on a number of occasions for putting up posters in the wrong places around East London – we wanted to reach out to all the right people..

The party had such an amazing vibe – it was so raw and the music from start to finish was so on point. We were so green on how to put on parties…I think that made that party even more special. We grew mainly from people talking to their friends about Cerca Trova, I think if it wasn’t for word of mouth, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

5900 113141419577 6735672 n

 

405278 10150489859628693 647734760 nYou’re famed for finding edgy basement and warehouse locations for your events. What makes you do this rather than using a more traditional venue?

Daniel: We never once thought about using conventional nightclubs when we were planning our first parties. From the outset we wanted the party to have a raw and underground feel to it, this reflected the music we are still pushing to this day. We found that finding new environment’s really captured people’s imaginations. This really added to the atmosphere of the parties and it created a concept which we have kept; Seek And You Will Find. When we found our first venue, it was the final piece to the puzzle that brought all our ideas and ethos together. We wanted a relaxed atmosphere which we could control, we really wanted people to let go and forget what was going on in the outside world and more importantly the focus was around the music that brought like minded people together. I think larger clubs and bigger promotions have to think about attracting the numbers and look at which artists are current and in the now, they know this will bring the masses to fill their night – So I think they miss a lot of areas that we want to cover as a party.

With the exception of Fabric there aren’t really many big London clubs pushing that cutting edge House and Techno sound that we love. Is there a gap in the market for it in London?

Rossko: I think there is defiantly a gap to bring more House & Techno clubs to London. I just think there needs to more thought that goes into it. I’d like to see more intimate venues pop up with good values rather than larger business-minded clubs. In recent years we have seen these come and go and to be honest I think their failure was missing the point of what House & Techno is all about. All you need to do is look at the clubs that have been successful in the past. If you look closely enough you always see a trend, amazing residents, amazing sound, lighting and everyone connected inside the club from the door staff to the directors even down to the door policy…all are on the same page. Im sure there is a lot more behind to running a successful club than what I have said but I think those are the foundations that will give longevivity to the House & Techno scene. I’d definatly like to see clubs use less outside promoters and brands and concentrate on bringing back in-house nights and promotions.

418169 10150602280213317 1396967055 n copy

You must have learnt a lot from throwing so many parties. Have you had any major catastrophes that you’ve had to deal with?

Daniel: I remember two days before one of our events we were told the new basement venue we were using had been closed down by the local council due to problems that were out of our control. You can imagine the stress this caused, but we always try to remain positive and find a solution than look at the problem. These are the risks that occur frequently when you deal with rogue venue owners – thankfully we have always had great support from close friends and other promotions so we used our contacts to find a new venue close by. In-fact we got the green light on the day we released the address, that is how close we came to a major catastrophe. In the 4 years we have learned a lot and are always looking at how to tweek and improve from the last party, that’s so important to us.

You’ve had some amazing artists play at Cerca Trova including Tolga Fidan and Dan Andrei but you also push the upcoming local talent. Which sets have gone down as the most legendary at your parties would say?

Rossko: Locally Antony Difrancesco’s middle set before Dan Andrei really got me dancing, normally I’m in the background at the parties but I had to stop what I was doing and put my head down and dance to myself away from everyone at the back of the basement. Lee Rands 4 hour b2b with Chris Maran still goes down as one of my favourite warm ups at CT, I only wished that we recorded it – it was amazing to see the crowd arrive early and get into the set straight away.

566159 10151149476378317 769196946 n

Daniel: Internationally; Federico Molinari really played with the crowd and sucked people in, very hypnotic with so much groove. He is one of the best technical DJ’s I seen for a long time, 3 deck mixing and using a lot of tools and acapellas to give it that third dimension. Not only his sound and skills but as a person he is such a great guy – the perfect gentlemen. We have a lot of respect for people like Federico.

So the 1st of December will see you turn 4. What have you got planned for us?

Rossko: Lee Burridge is coming to play an extended set along side Daniel and myself. Not much more needs to be said, we all know what we can expect 😉 He is one of those DJ’s that if your in the know – then you know.. As always we have been searching high and low for new and interesting spaces that fit the bill to host our parties. We are really excited to be working with a professional team and new venue which has restored our faith with venue owners. We will be giving you the usual Cerca Trova treatment, as well as installing a four-point sound system really giving us that extra clarity and warmth.

Lee-Burridge-February-Chart-2012

Lee Burridge is indeed a top booking and a fantastic DJ.  Assuming you didn’t have to worry about DJ fees and booking agents, who would your ideal lineup consist of?

Rossko: I have been a big fan of Terry Francis for a very long time. His older productions and aliases I’m very fond. He has always captured me and every time I see him in Room 1, 2, or 3 at Fabric. More importantly he has always delivered a sound to compliment the room and line up for that night – a proper resident DJ. I’d love to take him out of Fabric just for one night!

Daniel:  For me this is one of them, Lee has always been the first artist on my list to book. We wanted to wait for the right time and moment to book him (3 years) and we felt that our 4th birthday would be the perfect party to introduce him to our underground party away from his usual club and festival environment. Steve Bug is also another established DJ that has interested me since the first days of buying the Pokerflat vinyl. I’m also a big fan of Pablo Denegri which I am sure in the future we will be introducing from Argentina.

Besides throwing underground parties, have you got any other plans for Cerca Trova? Have you got any personal projects on the go?

Daniel: Next year will see the launch of Cerca Trova Recordings, which will be a limited pressing vinyl imprint. Like the party, the label will be a base for me and Rossko to release on aswell as featuring E.P’s and remixes from previous guest DJ’s that have played for Cerca Trova. We want the label to have that intimate and family feel to it – like the party. Each track will be focused around their experience at the party they played. We felt going into our 5th year was a good point to have another platform to express the music and the artists we currently respect.

Finally, if you could choose one, what’s been your favourite Cerca Trova memory so far?

30592 10150183181390556 4184766 n copy copyRossko: My favourite would have to be when we done one of our London special events; inviting Geddes and Enzo Siragusa to spin with us. Halfway through the night when Geddes was playing we had a power-cut, everything went pitch black and you can imagine what it must of felt like in a pitch black basement. 15 minutes went by which felt like an eternity while the owner frantically was checking the fuse-boxes to fix the problem. Suddenly, out of know where we heard the thud from the amp and before anything else turned back on we see the lights from the 1210 decks light up – Geddes instinctively picked up the needle and dropped it at the right point at the end of a break down which by in a few seconds when everything had powered back up it dropped straight back into the tune he was originally playing…The whole place erupted you could feel the energy in the place go through the roof!

Daniel: Dropping; Antonio’s – Hyperfunk in the basement, the crowd went completely bonkers! Not bad considering it’s a 15-year-old 2-step track…

Also at the end of our Autumn 2012 party at Autumn House, Rossko & I played a rare back-to-back set at 6am unannounced, we both knew it was the right time to connect and have a jam. You could see the sun coming up through the slats in the warehouse and small windows behind us, it completely changed the mood and the vibe of the party. This is what gives us the bug to continue to do these parties – creating special moments like that leave a lasting impression.

Interview by Nick Maleedy

Cerca Trova 4th Birthday Event Details 

Saturday 1st December / 22.00 – 6.00 am

Full Line Up

★ Lee Burridge (extended set)

★ Daniel

★ Rossko

Capacity: 500 /Smoking Terrace backing on to the Canal / Brand new toilet facilities /Local Taxi company will be supplied on the night /2 mins walk from Hackney Wick Railway Station

Steve Lawler chats to MEOKO

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

BILLBOARD stevelawlerNOLINK

Hi Steve, thanks for talking to us. You’ve just played the closing party at Amnesia, how was it? With Chuckie headlining the main room it must’ve been quite a mixed crowd…

Thats not how it works at Amnesia. What goes on in the inside room at night on the Saturday, is very different to what goes on in the main room, which is in fact the terrace on Sunday morning. Its 2 completely different crowds..

Your Viva Warriors night at Sankey’s came to end a few weeks ago. Now that you’ve had a bit of a break from it, how do you reflect back on the season?

It was amazing, better than we could have ever expected. Not only were we packed every week, which is nice, but more importantly we had an amazing crowd and that’s what I was really happy about.

In terms of the amount of competition in Ibiza, did a lot of thought and preparation go into making sure each week stood out musically from the scores of other events?

No we just did our own thing, there is no point trying to be “in competition” with anyone in Ibiza, because there is soo much going on and many of the super clubs have super budgets and can out do us in marketing, advertising, etc. So, we just focused on what we were doing, putting quality first and putting lots of love and passion into our party, and with that hope it works. And it did.

12656 442646405772173 1473907887 n

OneMore Halloween w/ Steve Lawler + Livio & roby at Hern Street Car Park – Picture by Goodmoodz

Similarly, did a lot of planning go into how yourself and the other Viva warriors would approach each night? I imagine there had to be some variation in what the residents would play week on week..

As an artist and DJ I dont plan music, music needs to be free and unplanned. The only planning we did was with the night itself. There was one other resident and this year that was Darius Syrossian, who is an incredible DJ and Producer, we also had regular apearences from Julian Perez, who in my eyes is one of the most talanted DJs to come about in the last 5 years. You just need to hear him to believe it.

Of the 10 parties you threw, were there any particular standout favourites? Why?

We did 12 party’s and honestly they were all amazing, we never had one single low point throughout the whole season. Overall what stood out to me was the vibe we created in that room. Fuck it I’ll say it, not something that looks good me saying, but it’s true and that is there is only one other night that had the sort of vibe we did and that was Circo Loco at DC10 on Mondays. I played other clubs and nights on the island, but none of them came close to the vibe in our room. It was incredible.

Is there anything that has come out of the experience that you perhaps weren’t expecting? (Perhaps a new artist, a new friendship, reactions from the public..)

I wasnt expecting for our first year to be rammed like it was, I thought our first year would be a laying the ground type year, setting the foundations. So that was very exiting for me to know in just our first year we exceeded all expectations.

Are there already plans in motion to do it all again next year? Is there anything you would change in any way?

                                                                                                       

We learnt alot this year as you do in the first year, we know there aremany things we can do better, like our promotion and marketing, we knew we didn’t have much to play with as far as promotion etc. We know which DJs we will invite back and which new DJs we intend to invite etc. So yes, there will definitely be a VIVa Warriors Season 2 next year.

One artist that has seemed to have really blossomed under you is Darius Syrossian – he was the only Viva artist to play every single event of the season. Is he someone you’ve come to rely on more as time has gone on? Why is this?

I took Darius on 3 years ago, and he was just about to sell his records and give up his career and move on. I told him no way should he do that, I told him I will take you on sign you to my label, and lets show people what you’ve got. Put some things into action, gave him certain responsibilities like the radio show, and of course making him the other resident DJ of our new night in Ibiza Opening the room every week, and sharing a mix compilation with myself. All these things will give Darius a platform to show his skills as a DJ and for his production. VIVa Management also look after him, so we made sure he was getting music out and not just selfishly on our own label, but also others to get his music to the public. And it’s worked. We put alot of attention into Artist development at VIVa HQ, as you know it’s something I have done for many years with several artists because it’s something that I have personally enjoyed. I took pleasure in seriously helping the careers of Audiofly, Livio & Roby and Simon Baker.

Next up on the label is seriously one hell of a talanted artist called Detlef. You wait till you hear his album!

What’s the next big project for yourself and Viva?

For myself, it’s having a baby! Which comes early next year. I have a string of releases scheduled to come out and I am focused on touring VIVa Warriors worldwide and throughout the whole of next year. For the label the next big project is Detlef, his album will be out early next year on the label followed by a vigarus touring schedule and his summer residency in 2013.

By Carlos Hawthorn 

 

Steve Lawler on Facebook 

Viva Music on Facebook

 

Bruno Pronsato chats to MEOKO

By Chats to MEOKO, Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews, MEOKO Presents

BILLBOARD BRUNO-NOLINK-1

Bruno Pronsato is somewhat of an enigmatic figure. Not only is he in no way Italian, as his name suggests, but his music does not lend itself to any single genre, existing independently of itself in its own, self-forged categories. At once deep and minimal, dance-floor orientated and explicitly technical, his music has been, for so many years now, brilliantly packaged and presented via his widely appreciated live shows, admired as much for their sonic value as for the auteur’s unwavering energy and enthusiasm. MEOKO caught up with Bruno ahead of his debut visit to South Africa to discuss exactly how it is he views himself as an artist.

bruno-pronsato1

Hi Bruno, thanks for your time. I was genuinely surprised to hear that Bruno Pronsato wasn’t your real name. What’s the story behind it, and why did you go for something so italian sounding?

 The name comes from my ex-wife’s brother, actually. I always loved the sound of his name. the first record I released I thought I would use it as it sounded so much better (at least to me) than Steven Ford. At that point I never would have dreamed this would become a career.

You are especially revered for your percussion sounds – described as ‘piquant’ in one article i read and likened to those purveyed by Ricardo Villalobos. Are they a part of your repertoire you focus a lot of your time on?

Well, I played drums for 16 years before I started making electronic music. so i would say that percussion has always been a huge part of my musicianship. It’s what I feel I do best.

Your sound feels quite minimal at times. Was the whole European movement several years ago a big influence on you at all?

Ha, there’s that word again. I sort of came into my own within the community around the time of the so-called minimal movement, and because of that I feel people perceive my music as minimal. If you could see my studio projects as they exist in logic, I think your opinion would be quite different.

Coming from the US, what’s your opinion on the recent rise in popularity of EDM? Are you surprised that dance music has finally been allowed to become mainstream?

Well, EDM has been big in the US before, so it’s no surprise that it’s found its way back into the mainstream. I believe things that reach a mainstream status are good in a way because what usually happens is people that are truly interested in the mainstream find their way to more underground roots. Interested people usually educate themselves and that’s always a good thing.

Have you seen any change in the more underground scenes as a result? By that i mean, do you think it could be widening the appeal of electronic music in general?

As i mentioned above, it seems that interested people will find their way back to the roots and the more underground sounds. It always takes the mainstream to present people with what the possibilities are.

You recently played for RA at Decibel in Seattle. it must feel great having such a respected festival take root in a city that must mean a lot to you – has it changed the city’s sonic landscape for the better do you think?

It’s hard to say. I don’t live there anymore, so to say things have changed on a daily level, I wouldn’t know. I will say that the people that I knew there before I left seem to have a bit more of an interest in electronic music in general. Seattle has always been a more indie-rock focused city, so to see electronic music being taken more seriously is a nice surprise.

You’ve moved about quite a bit in your life. Are you still happy living in Berlin? Apart from the techno and amazing record shops, what’s the best thing about it?

I am still very happy in Berlin. I think what I’m liking more and more these days is the variety of places to eat. When i first moved here there was a pretty big gap between plain food and fine dining. There has always been extraordinary places to eat, but i think Berlin is sort of filling that middle ground a bit more these days.

The public are yet to hear any original productions from yourself in 2012. Did you decide to take a break after the release of Lovers Do last year? When will you next find yourself in the studio?

I did take a sort of small break after the birth of my daughter, but I have been mainly busy with collaborations. I released the Public Lover LP with my girlfriend last february, and just released a record with Daze Maxim as ‘Others’, which just came out a week ago. Sammy Dee and I have our Half Hawaii collaboration which will be out on Perlon later this year or early next.

Although you haven’t released anything original so far this year, you must constantly be updating your live show with bits and pieces to keep it fresh. Tell us a little bit about your performance ethos. Do you ever play tracks that aren’t yours?

I am constantly working on music. Some of the music I make goes into a live set – the more dance floor oriented stuff. I sort of dissect those pieces from those tracks and move them into my live set. the more home-listening stuff goes into ‘tracks.’ I never play other people’s music in my sets.

You’re playing three dates in South Africa at the beginning of November, including one where you’ll be playing on a train platform in-between two subway trains. Will it be your first time there? What do you know about the scene there? How are you feeling about the shows?

Yes, it will be my first time in SA. I am very happy about this. I have never really heard much about the scene down there, so that is another exciting aspect. I have prepared some special music for the shows there. Speaking briefly with the promoter I feel like there may be a bigger appreciation of my more abstract sound. I have been trying some new stuff out here and there to see how they work. Hopefully by the time I reach SA i’ll have nailed it.

Catch Bruno next at Make Believe in Cape Town 

WIN TICKETS ON MEOKO TO BRUNO PRONSATO LIVE AT MAKE BELIEVE PRESENTS FACE THE MUSIC IN CAPE TOWN 

BUY TICKETS 

MEOKO chats to Tom Clark + Exclusive Podcast

By Chats to MEOKO, Hot Off The Press, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

tom clarke banner

For those of you unaware, DJ, producer and label owner Tom Clark is not, as you might presume, British. He is in fact one of Berlin’s hardest-working electronic musicians, with a career spanning from the early 90s and his days as a resident at Tresor, to the present day, where his label Highgrade Records throws regular parties at Berghain and Panorama Bar. Celebrated for championing what can only truly be described as tech house, in its purest form, Clark is very much a DJs DJ, which is part of the reason everyone is so excited that he’s returning to play at the Cartulli’s 3rd birthday on November 3rd in London.

Hi Tom, thanks for your time. You’ve been involved with electronic music in Berlin for over 15 years. What are the main differences in the way the music is presented and consumed in the city today as opposed to back then? Do you miss the ‘good old days’?

I’m not one to look regretfully back at the past. For electronic music it was naturally an exciting time, because there was a real feeling of optimism that a kind of revolution was coming. But these days it’s basically just as exciting. There are well established clubs and equally amazing parties. Above all, there isn’t a fight for acceptance of electronic music anymore. Of course there is a lot more competition now and the market has become a lot more professional. Who could have guessed back then that a DJ would need a manager, or that new media such as Facebook could become so pivotal to the success of a DJ? The definition of a DJ has also changed a lot. Now it’s not enough to simply play records, you also have to be a producer and even more, to have your own label.

40907 126049584115548 116232981763875 144104 4420120 n-525x350

Berlin must be a tough place to be a DJ – everyone involved is so up-to-date on the music that you must have to work really hard to both impress and separate yourself from the rest. Did you feel a lot of pressure DJing when you were making a name for yourself? Would you say Berlin is the hardest city to DJ in the world?

The level in Berlin is altogether very high and many of the worlds best DJs live here and play regularly in the city. In some clubs it’s always a challenge to play because the club people in Berlin are constantly listening to the creme de la crème of DJs, week after week. But that simply spurs you on. And naturally, for your own artistic inspiration it’s also a big advantage.

How did the Highgrade relationship with Berghain and Panorama Bar first come about?

I’ve know the management of the club for years and used to play for them at the former club ‘Ostgut’, so there is a long-standing connection between us. The personal connection certainly had something to do with us getting our label parties in the club, but this alone wouldn’t have been enough to sustain a long term relationship. Ever since we have been promoting nights there, we have always made an effort to do a great job and I think Berghain also values us as a good and solid partner.

Exclusive Tom Clarke Podcast 

tomclark podcast

Few people have had the chance to really gain an insight into what Berghain/P-Bar is all about. In your own words, how would you describe it both as a space to play at and as an institution to have grown personally so close to?

The Berghain club has given techno music a new lease on life and is, in my opinion, also partly responsible for the wider revival of techno. DJs like Marcel Detmann and Len Faki have measurably influenced this sound. But the main thing is really that everyone who ever goes there feels inspired. The mixture of the people who party there can’t be found in any other club, anywhere.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt about life and DJing as a result of your sets at Berghain/P-Bar?

Probably to be patient. A lot of people may think that when you’ve played there once or twice then it’s all on. But most things happen in small steps. Only a few people achieve a kind of super ‘boom hype’ in a very short time. Most of the successful people I know have worked hard to get there. Therefore, I’d say keep it steady, stay true to yourself and keep on your own path.

They say London is Europe’s second city for electronic music. How would you compare/contrast the two cities in their attitudes and approaches to dance music? Are they dramatically different?

I would say that both cities are very different and not so easy to compare. There are probably a similar number of clubs in London as in Berlin but London still has location problems. A lot of parties happen in the same locations. In that way Berlin is extremely lucky. There will probably be plenty of locations in Berlin for the next 20 years. However I think London can still be very important for a musical career. In Germany people say that when you’re successful in England, then you’ve really made it! That’s definitely true in electronic music.

Highgrade Records has long had the reputation for putting out top-quality tech-house. This is a wide and often disputed sound, so what does tech-house, if anything, mean to you?

The term tech-house has almost taken on a negative meaning in recent years. But it basically describes best what we do on Highgrade. Our sound has always been in the middle somehow. Never really house, never really techno. It’s just what we do. We’ve stayed very true to this over the years and haven’t followed every new trend hype, like a lot of others have. A couple of years ago there were labels who brought out only minimal and techno and now suddenly they’re releasing deep house, a la Crosstown Rebels, just because that’s what’s hip right now.

Highgrade is such a prolific label, sometimes release 2 EPs a month. Is this something you guys think is important, to keep active and constantly fresh?

Sometimes we’ll bring out two EPs in a month, and that’s almost always one digital and one vinyl release. We think it’s important to maintain a regular output. Electronic music for the club can be pretty short lived these days, and sometimes there is so much good material available that we just want to get it out. Apart from that it’s important for all the core artists in our roster that they can regularly release a record with us.

Finally, you’re playing at the 3rd birthday of Cartuli’s day, at which you’re a resident. How did you first get involved with the party? What can we expect from your set?

I’m pretty sure they just booked me the first time. Then it was somehow love at first sight, and the vibe at the party is really something special. Basically everything just seemed to fit and the boys asked me if I wanted to come and play more often. Now I’m back again and I’m very happy about it. Expect something groovy and twisted… Panorama Bar House with a bit of kick arse Berghain techno thrown in!

Catch Tom Clarke next in London at the 3rd Birthday at Cartul’s Day alongside Claro IntelectoAlexkid, Kasper, Rico Cassaza, Unai Trotti, Dead Echo, Monika Ross, Ken & Davy and more 

BUY TICKETS 

Words by Carlos Hawthorn