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MEOKO Exclusive

MEOKO Exclusive

Sentaku: A journey from London to Japan (with Massaï and Simon)

By Chats to MEOKO, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive, News

Sentaku is a family affair” – Massaï says. The London-based label & event series has constantly displayed the ambition to spotlight enthusiastic and developing artists since its founding in 2017 by Massaï and Josh Rawl. Sentaku’s first event of the year is quickly approaching (yes, this Fridaaaay), and we are super excited to explore more about the party’s preparations and the strong Japanese culture behind it. So let’s get down with co-founder Massaï and the label’s booking and event manager Simon.

 

  • Hello guys! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Before we go any further, can you guys introduce yourself and tell us more about what inspired you to found Sentaku? 

MassaïHello Monika, I’m Alex co-founder, Artist Director and Resident of Sentaku and I am with Simon, our Booker and Event Manager at SentakuOur journey at Sentaku started from a friendship with Josh Rawl (co-founder), after we started a few conceptual parties in London we decided to create our own imprint, it has always been inspired from the very beginning by Japanese culture and specifically the Edo period. 

 

  • What was the goal of establishing the label in the first place, and how did you guys meet and collaborate? 

MassaïWe decided to create our label mainly because we had many friends that were struggling to find a platform to release their music. We had the idea of creating something that was our own and most important that was representing our values in this industry: bringing people together and creating a community of like minded people. We are grateful to all our friends and artists that trust in us, releases after releases and helped us in building the Sentaku and Shinuchu record label. This is for me the biggest achievement. Sentaku is a family affair, we all met in London through Uni years, gatherings, friends and parties. Simon has been part of our journey from almost the very beginning. He naturally started to help us during our events using his experience in stage management. Since then he officially joined Sentaku team and we became inseparable. 

  • What has been the most difficult aspect of getting this label off the ground?

Massaï: Well I think the most difficult part was the fact that we literally had zero experience in this nor money on our savings ahah. It was not easy to build the label from scratch but being surrounded by creative people was very helpful. I was at University at the time studying Management of the Arts so this was also helpful to build our legal structure and going through the first steps of organising a record label. Josh was studying Business management which was a plus in building our business plan for the record label. We both did a lot of research on the legal side as well as a curation of labels. We are both huge fans of the Hip Hop culture, being an underground culture before being more popular and accepted as part of the general culture. It was very interesting and inspiring to watch documentaries on how these small labels became big and worldwide companies using music as their medium of communication to the world with strong messages and images. I think that our community want to give a message of unity, peace and acceptance and music is for us the best medium to do so. 

 

  • Your first event for 2022 is just around the corner alongside Desyn, Man/Ipulate and Pablo. What are your expectations for the event and actually, I was hoping you could tell us a little bit more about the philosophy behind each Sentaku event in terms of location and artist selection, as well as elaborate on what you think are the game’s most important components for throwing an event in London?

SimonYes we are so excited about our comeback 🙂 To be honest after a long break due to COVID, the most difficult part as promoters was to not be allowed to organise events. So I’d say I’m so looking forward to welcoming people and seeing people’s faces reacting to the music. This event is a challenge in some ways as we come back with new ambitions mainly to develop our event side. This year we will focus on 3 different events implementing the Sentaku vibe in every aspect so I am super excited to present what we have been working on.

MassaïLondon is an amazing city and has a very strong electronic music community, we have always been looking for an intimate spot and this is the leitmotif from the beginning. In terms of artist selection we have always done the music we love and as you can see we have a wide range of musical tastes that progressed throughout the years. Our formula is simple: intimate spot, good soundsystem, a mix of resident and friends and last but not least an artist that is an inspiration and a true representative of the scene. It is very important to us to put the light on the up and coming scene, I believe this melting pot is the essence of SentakuWe are super excited for our first event of the year with Desyn in line, Man/ipulate and Pablo perfect recipe and we cannot wait to announce our other projects coming up this year – that said we are hoping to see all of our community as we are preparing something special including more stage design and projections. We want everyone to feel the Sentaku vibe all night long. 

  • All of Sentaku’s releases have Japanese titles (some of the tracks too). Could you please elaborate on that and how you came up with it? 

MassaïThe process behind it took us a whole year to elaborate, we wanted to do something that has a mystical aspect as well as linked to Japan’s history. I have always been fascinated about Japan since my early age and Josh is the same. It was kind of an evidence to dive into the Edo period (circa 1600); creating releases around famous characters of Japanese history as well as mystical beliefs like mythology. 

 

  • What inspired these titles and releases, and where did the names come from?

MassaïAll titles are inspired by existing figures from the Japan history, the names are not only characters but most of them are people who existed and marked Japan history as an exemple, Hattori Hanzo was a famous ninja from the Tokugawa clan and is known from being one of the most faithful servant of Tokugawa Ieyasu, he was a major figure in helping Ieyasu to become the ruler of united Japan. He is also known for being a very accurate sword master and tactical engineer.

 

  • Since its inception in 2017, the label has hosted 25 parties and released six vinyl records. If you could travel back in time and experience any moment with Sentaku over the previous five years, which one would you choose and why?

Simon:I have so much to be honest… in the London scene we have collaborated with so many friends for parties that each of them is special, such as the ones with our dearest 110 boysBut for the crazy and magic moments, I would say one of our biggest co-host party in Paris at Wanderlust with our dear friends from Lourios Bookings in May 2019. We lined up artists such as Praslea, Charonne, 100hz, Muten, and many more in 2 stages and welcomed more than 1000 people. This weekend was even more magical as the night before we were co-hosting a party with Opia and MOB in London. So as Lady Gaga said, this weekend was: club, train no sleep, another club.

Massaï: It is hard to bring one specific memory, we had the chance to experience many different cities and countries, meeting super interesting and inspirational people. The Mobtakopia (MOB, Opia, Sentaku) was one for the books where all conditions were met from an amazing venue to a memorable set (Michelle played 3hours in live), the VJing and stage design was also amazing, it was a very special and unique vibe on this day.

  • Could you walk me through a typical, day-to-day week at the label? Do you have typical, run-of-the-mill weeks, or are they always a little different?

MassaïWell first you have to know that dealing with the label is not our main job, I am a booker for Pieces where I manage 9 artists and Simon is a Cyber Security Consultant. However we always find time during the day/evening to exchange on label activities. Simon works mainly on the event/booking aspects: dealing with the venues for our upcoming events but also with promoters for the bookings of our 6 artists (Lamalice, Man/ipulate, Massaï, Josh Rawl, DandelooI am the artistic director of the label so I work mainly on finding new artists for the label as well as establishing the line up and contacting the bookers. I also work closely with Jane, our graphic designer, to share ideas on the artworks. It requires time and organisation but so far so good! Also during the pandemic we had the time to completely restructure the label and event side, assigning a role to every member of the crew, we are also doing meetings every week to share ideas and put them into reality. 

 

  • Sentaku releases, in my opinion, have strong electro elements, which I absolutely love. However, I am curious how you would describe the Sentaku’s sound in your own words?

MassaïI believe Sentaku has a wide range of colour pallet throughout the years, our tastes in music has gone from minimal to house with some bits of trancy/techno/ electro touches, we want to represent what we like without any limit so the sound we stick to is the sound we love in every aspects. 

 

  • What factors do you consider when selecting artists for your releases?

Massaï: As previously mentioned, it is very important for us to work within our community. Sentaku is a family affair so we mainly work with friends we know and artists we believe in. This forthcoming year we want to focus on our residents who are producing amazing tracks, last EP was a combination of tracks from Lamalice and Dandeloo and the next one will be from Man/ipulate. We also plan on an album from Lamalice and two EPs from Dandeloo and Pablo. That said, our digital releases main focus is friends and family so it will focus on up and coming producers that are within our community.

  • Sentaku is well-known in London’s underground scene; what distinguishes partying in London from other European cities, in your opinion?

Simon: Oh that’s a very good question actually. I would say London is unique. Alex lives in Paris so he can certainly confirm what I’m saying. London is unique because of the vibe, the open-mindset of our crowd. As you understood from us, friendship is key for us and in London most of the crews know each other. We go to everyone’s party and there is no beef. I am not saying it’s a candy world far from it but coming from Paris where ego and vibe can be different. Underground means something here.

Massaï: Indeed London is a very interesting melting pot, there are loads of people coming from abroad so it definitely makes it unique, we are lucky to have such a curious crowd in London. In Lion and Lamb which has been the home of our events for the past years, allowed us to bring artists from small to bigger profiles and people would come down because they are curious in listening to new artists. There is also the fact that politics are more open to our industry in the UK in general. This allow us to look for new and intimate spots where in Paris it is a lot more difficult. However with the city (Paris) extending thanks to the enlargement of the metro, I am sure it will bring many more interestings places in the future. 

  • You’ve been in the electronic music industry for a while now, and you’ve probably seen some crazy things at parties. Are there any that spring to mind in particular?

Simon: You know what we say right? What’s happening in the party, stays in the party 🙂

Massaï: Well usually we have the same formula for doing events in London, we usually do Lion and Lamb and then an afterparty in different intimate locations (boats, warehouses, lofts…). Unfortunately in the middle of the Lion and Lamb one, the after party spot dropped out last minute but London is magical and full of opportunities. That night we had a friend who sorted out a boat and it ended up being a super cool after party we had Josh Rawl and Lamalice playing an extended back to back as well as Manipulate and myself for another 5 hours, the fact that is happened like this was definitely something and you could feel it on the boat. 

  • What does the future hold in store for you guys and Sentaku?

Simon: Oh man, I hope first  the future will be brighter for Ukraine as it is really hard to keep having fun and planning events knowing the situation over there… But for Sentaku as I said we are developing our events with our next one celebrating our anniversary 🙂 can’t disclose too much of it for now

MassaïThe main focus will be to develop our brand, we have been lucky to travel the word in the past few years. With Manipulate and Lamalice joining the team as well as Dandeloo, Pablo and myself developing our productions skill we would like to be able to present our project, family, vibe and be more established in the scene through a series of curated events and releases. I am also dreaming of a building festival where we could focus on our generation of artists maybe doing with other collectives and getting involved as much creatives as possible, make it something unique.

Words by Monika Zander

Tickets for Sentaku presents: The Underworld w/ Desyn here

More Sentaku: Facebook / Instagram /  Soundcloud

More MEOKO: Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud

JALE opens the door of J ROOM, a little oasis to share experiences and visions

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

Before you start to read this interview, make you sure to listen to his EXCLUSIVE 100% unreleased productions PODCAST ← and to the premiere of JALE – Orbital Dream [JROOM 001] ←

Click HERE to follow JALE on Facebook and HERE to not miss anything inside the beautiful JROOM!

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  • Hey Julien! You’re here unveiling your new JALE project for the very first time. Tell us more about it. How did the idea about opening a new label (J ROOM) come to your mind?

JALE represents the inner essence of the J ROOM, a place where I’m able to feel completely free to share my own vision of music, without trends and market’s compromises. It’s an bodiless identity which is all about an unstoppable but meticulous sound-research and experimentation. J ROOM is born from my own necessity and desire to create a pristine area to stand out in such a saturated market like today’s one, a little oasis where you can find some musical refreshment.

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  • Your last project called Blind Box has gained immense popularity during the last years. With releases from the likes of Dana Ruh, Subb-An, Diego Krause, Julian Alexander it was definitely a point of reference for all the up&coming labels around. Also, you have two successful projects like the solo Julien Sandre and Jarau (alongside Mennie). What made you decide to start everything from zero with a new alias?

It’s safe to say that this it’s totally a new beginning for me, but this does not exclude my artistic roots and all the experiences that I’ve made so far. The extraordinary journey that I’ve started with Blind Box will continue with a whole new maturity acquired over the years and with the usual and incessant research for a unique and fascinating sound which can clearly represent the main objective of this journey.

  • The support of Priku at Neversea (which was live-streamed on DJ Mag as well) has certainly been helpful to promote the new project. How important do you think it is nowadays to find a video of a DJ playing your record?

Today, the support of talented artists and colleagues is fundamental, especially if documented in iconic events such as the Sunwaves, the Neversea or the Off Week. The support of artists such as Arpiar, SIT, Priku, Barac, Praslea, Janeret, Shaun Reeves among many others, in addition to enormously gratifying our work, allows us to reach a vast audience of enthusiasts who can thus access the contents of our J ROOM.

  • The EP also features a Cosmjn remix. Why did you choose him?

Cosmjn is such an extraordinary artist. He perfectly embodies the sophisticated and visionary sound that we want to propose on J ROOM. His remix is a dreamlike-oniric journey that totally overwhelms the senses.

  • What sound are you going to promote on the new label? With your JALE alias, will you release music only on JROOM?

JALE is musical the materialisation of the J ROOM concept and will always be the protagonist, but firstly, music is sharing; therefore we are totally open to collaborations, obviously selective, with those who will be akin to our vision. We will try to propose a sophisticated and elegant sound, mainly aimed at stimulating the mind of the listeners and creating emotional connections with the dancefloor, then obviously to make the bodies move.

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  • In Italy, and in particular in Naples, where the “tech-Napoli” is very present, a certain type of sound (the “new-wave-minimal”) still struggles to emerge. What does it depend on you?

That’s a very complex and unfortunately very current question. In my personal opinion, the cause of this situation is to be found in many factors that have diminished the absolute priority of music in favour of business and entertainment of dubious taste. A tragic generational change that sees as protagonists hordes of kids dedicated exclusively to denying themselves with drugs and alcohol to the sound of traps and reggaeton (at least here in Italy); the looting of the agencies on artistic fees and the inadequacy or often the complete improvisation of our own promoters, as well as a general cultural impoverishment are for me the general factors of this crisis in Italy. In Naples, we have been trying for a couple of years with a project called Mesmerize to create a small niche where to look for some artistic contents rather than some miserable entertainment. We fight against the windmills but we don’t give up. Obviously, it’s not everything like this, as there are respectable national realities conceived to enhance musical research and a non-trivial sound and above all Italian artists of great depth who represent a flame of hope for the movement, highly appreciated by international audiences and semi-unknown at home: this leaves understand the difficulties of our clubbing.

  • Despite your brilliant productions released over the years with your various aliases, is it still difficult to find space in the various European circuits? Are you going to move abroad?

Being based in Naples has certainly represented a major limitation in my musical career: no contact on site and inadequate musical context. Everything I built was only achievable thanks to music and e-mails. Obviously, I move when I can in the cult places of European clubbing for connections and artistic briefings or gigs but everything is bound to the daytime work I do, which would make it impossible for me to move to artistically more pleasant places. Colleagues who have had the courage and luck to move to Berlin (for example) have finally seen the merits of their work recognized and this will always represent a small regret for me; however, music remains an inexhaustible source of serenity regardless of economic rewards.

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  • Any anticipation on the upcoming releases both as JALE and as JROOM?

We are ready with the J ROOM 002 but for those who want to know more, we invite everyone to follow us and get in touch with our magical room.

Words by Francesco Quieti

“When you listen to nature, you can hear those sounds – it’s music.” Exclusive interview with Russian DJ Andrey Pushkarev

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

Hey Andrey! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Starting at the beginning, when did you first realise you had a passion for music and what were you drawn to at the start?

Drum & Bass was the first electronic music genre I came across thank to a friend who used to travel to London often – she brought me cassettes from her travels. It sounded different from everything else I listened to at the time and it made me feel like I could be part of something bigger. We were a group of schoolmates in a tiny town of Russia – there was no internet in 1995-1996. Tapes, Cassettes, Films on VHS (“Trainspotting”, “Hackers”, “Acid House”), Russian magazines “Ptuch”, “OM” were the only sources from which we could gather information about music culture.

https://soundcloud.com/meoko/meoko-live-moments-with-andrey-pushkarev-b2b-stojche-recorded-echowaves-anaklia-24082019

Growing up in the small town Votkinsk in regional Russia, where we you finding inspiration?

I feel a strong connection with nature since I was a child. Votkinski is a small town but there, because the nature surrounds the city, I could find inner peace and unlimited source of ideas. Trees rustling, rain falling, thunder and lightning, waves crashing. When you listen to nature, you can hear those sounds – it’s music. The natural world has inspired composers to write many famous works of music. At the same time melodies, harmonies, rhythm, tempo and musical dynamics can combine to create the image of the variety of landscapes. If we allow ourselves to spend more time far from the cities, we can hear nature all the time.

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Fast forward to today, whenever you play there’s always a very palpable creativity and admirable feeling of ‘freshness’ that not many can sustain over a long career. What are your current sources of inspiration?

There are moments in life which have an impact on your overall state – sometimes we seek those moments because we feel the need of a change, and other times they just manifest by themselves. Those “moments” can be related to a person you meet, a trip somewhere, a dream or just during a solitary walk. Every moment is new and different from the moment before – I feel that if we manage to align to what life brings us every time, we will always be a different & “fresher” version of ourselves.

Having been a touring DJ for the best part of a decade, you’ve had more experience on the road than most. What are the most important lessons about this lifestyle you’ve learnt over time?

Eating healthy, staying hydrated, and trying to keep a regular sleeping schedule when I don’t travel. Being kind to everyone you meet on your way. Keep the focus on what really matters in this music business – it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and the real reason why you chose to live this career.

I read a while ago that you were particularly drawn to day parties. Is this still the case? What environments do you feel most at home playing in?

Daytime parties have a different energy – people are more in line with their biological rhythm and therefore the mood, emotions and social interactions are completely different than going out at night. I feel they create generally a much more relaxed atmosphere and enjoyable experience.

With a record collection well in excess of 8000 records, how do you approach packing your bag ahead of a gig?

I pick my favorite records of the moment and periodically revisit my collection – I always find something that still surprises me long time after being released.

How much of your time is spent digging for new music today?

I would say between two and three hours per day, sometimes more – it depends on how many promos I receive.

When it comes to the music you play, there’s an admirable amount of diversity (with everything from vibrant house to driving techno and breaks) but always a distinct character and emotive mood. Do you find this is something that comes naturally or are you conscious of it when selecting?

It’s a combination of intuition about how the audience feels in a certain moment, and a conscious decision on the atmosphere I would like to immerse the people in. It’s like taking someone on a journey: you have an idea of where to take your guests but leave room for spontaneity, ending up in places outside of the planned route.

Andrey Pushkarev b2b Stojche at Echowaves Festival 2019

It seems that this ability to create cohesion amidst music that can be so stylistically different is something that distinguishes the truly talented selectors. This brings me to the recording you’ve kindly provided us with, from your back to back set with Stpjche at Echiwaves. Can you tell us a little about this experience?

For me b2b it’s a pretty intimate thing, cause first of all I always trying to “read” my partner, what he is doing while playing, and what he is playing, to make a transiting more smooth. I experienced playing accidentally b2b sets and I must admit that weren’t so smooth (from my point of view). I try to choose very carefully with who I share the decks keeping in mind the musical taste, personality and more generally vision about life. I feel that when three elements are aligned you can build up something really nice, like our set with Roger Gerressen and Exos.

Lastly, looking to the future, what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

I’m preparing myself for the upcoming All Night Long tour At the same time we are working on a new release on Luck of Access with young and talented Russian producer.

– Escape the demands of modern life and immerse yourself into the idyllic world of a secluded island paradise – Three Smoked Olives Festival

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, MEOKO Exclusive, Reviews

 

Our 3 Smoked Olives countdown has been underway for a while, as we eagerly await one of the most unique music experiences of the summer. With just under 3 weeks to go, the excitement is truly burning and our time on the island could not come sooner.

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Taking place from July 24th– July 30th, 3 Smoked Olives invites attendees to escape the demands of modern life and immerse themselves in the idyllic world of a secluded island paradise. Now in its seventh edition, 3 Smoked Olives pairs an inimitable location with a faultless soundtrack and a welcome focus on sustainability and self expression.

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Names like Sammy Dee, Herodot, Lamache, Suciu and Francesco Del Garda to name only a few are sure to secure the event’s high calibre status, while more underrated artists like Vlad Dinu and Amir Javasoul (both of whom we have had the pleasure of hosting in our MEOKO podcast series) elevate the lineup’s expert curation. 

THE LINE UP

Alexandra
Ali Nasser
Amir Javasoul
Andrei Ciubuc
Arapu
Bălașa Percussion
Cally
Cap
Cesar Merveille
Charlie
Clovis
Cosmjn
Denis Korablev
DJ Vasile
Emi
Fabe
Francesco del Garda
George L
Gescu
Giorgio Maulini
Giuliano Lomonte
Herodot
James Mc Hale
Kosta
Kozo
Lamache
Leo Pol
Lowris
Matt Foley
Mihai Pol
Nicolas Lutz
Noizar & Borys
Prichindel
Sammy Dee
Sedee
Sepp
Sublee
Suciu
The Rabbit King
Vincent Lemieux
Vlad Dinu

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Following the inaugural edition of our 3-part mix series giving you a taste of the sounds to expect on the island, we are delighted to deliver the second installment. We welcome James McHale and Giorgio Maulini, who have dug deep into their respective collections to deliver an electric b2b set. The two swiss artists have a reputation for their groove-fueled sets rich with energy and spontaneity, and the hour-and-a-half journey they have delivered to us is no exception. Full of infectious rhythms, robotic basslines, with a healthy dose of swing, McHale and Maulini provide a nimble journey through a selection of electro tinged club cuts. Guaranteed to have you dreaming of the dancefloor, this is the perfect mix to fuel the fire that is the 3SO anticipation! A listen guaranteed to lift spirits and evoke excitement, we cannot wait to see what James McHale and Giorgio Maulini bring to the Island. Dive in head-first to this one and keep your ears close to the ground for our next 3 Smoked Olives podcast.

Islanders, The countdown has truly begun.

UNISON WAX CREATOR DIEGO KRAUSE INTERVIEW & Mix

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

Berlin’s Diego Krause has firmly established himself as one of the finest purveyors of groove-laden, soul-infused and refined house music in the German capital. His productions are a regular in many infamous DJ’s record boxes with an impressive back catalogue of material on the likes of Berg Audio, his own Beste Modus and Unison Wax imprints (run alongside Cinthie and the rest of the Beste Modus crew) and most notably of late, a double LP on the revered Rawax imprint. Up next is a return to his Unison Wax label with a new EP entitled ‘Bring The Noise’ which has already piqued the interest of the likes of Varhat, Enzo Siragusa, Andrey Pushkarev and Yaya to name a few. Here though we see Diego offering up a slice of what you could hear from him in a club environment with a 60 minute journey through swinging rhythms, murky bass lines and ethereal house sounds.

 

 Diego Frause MEOKO Exclusive – Listen Here dk

 

You’ve got some really exciting stuff hitting the shelves over the coming months, a double 12’’ LP format on Rawax and another release on your own Unison Wax, how did the album format come into play with Rawax, did they just have too many tracks they liked and wanted to release a bigger project from you or was it planned to do something like this?

Actually we were planning on doing a follow-up for the „Pale Blue“ EP I released on the label last year. So I put together 6 Tracks for Robert to choose from but he liked them all and suggested we do a Double-EP or LP. I liked the idea so we just went with it. The tracks were produced within 2 weeks or so and I was trying out a more playful and experimental workflow, hence the title of the LP.

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Unison Wax now marks its seventh release this June, the label has acted as platform for your own material predominantly, any plans to expand the roster or will it always remain your own? 

I think it will stay like this. I am planning on doing a collaborative EP though, but not sure if it will be the 08 or 09.

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You’re a founding member of the Beste Modus collective and also Elevate.Berlin, for those people who may be unfamiliar with this could you tell us a little about what Beste Modus represents and what you’ve all been doing over the past five or so years, as well as the recent launch of the Elevate label collective, record shops and events?

Well, Beste Modus was founded in 2012 when Stevo, Ed and I met Cinthie when she was playing in Berlin. We hit it off immediately and started doing parties all over the city. The concept was a vinyl label that brings soulful and groovy house music for the dance floor and we only released our own tracks. During the past 6 years or so our friend group grew and some of us started their own labels. Stevo and Porter started Certain Circles, Nick Beringer launched Rubisco, I started Unison Wax, just to name a few. To bring it all together and support each other we established Elevate. At first it was only supposed to be a label collective and online shop. But unexpectedly we had the opportunity to get a nice space in central Berlin, that we now use as our shop, stock and office.

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You’re a Berlin native, I presume this clubbing Mecca has played a huge part in influencing your sound and style of DJing, could you talk us through some of the influential moments of your formative years growing up in Berlin though. Were there some particular events, promoters or DJ’s from the early years of the developing Berlin scene that played a huge part in your desire to become a DJ and producer yourself?

I started going to clubs fairly late. I come from a HipHop background and didn’t discover the Berlin night life until around 2010. But formative events to me were the Submarine night at Watergate, which was run by Ron Wilson, a good friend of ours. He invited a lot of great US and UK garage house artist to the city and introduced us to the genre. Also very influential were some extended sets by our friends ItaloJohnson at Panorama Bar or when they played solo at the Homopatik parties at ://about blank. There were however so many other moments that in the end played a big role in forming my musical understanding and approach.

Your music seems to resonate quite broadly in terms of the DJ’s supporting it, ranging from more micro house leaning sounds through to more robust deep house and sometimes darker techno aesthetics. What would you cite as some of your main influences when going into the studio, does it come from spending time on dance floor’s and wanting to recreate those special moments or do you take influence from the every day and things that happen to you outside of the club?

I’m always trying to create a certain vibe that I’ve either experienced in the club or in my day to day life.
For me music is about longing so I’m always attempting to build some depth and soul into my tracks. There needs to be a certain narrative to them. Sometimes I’m trying to do a party track just for the sake of it, but it seldom works.

What does your studio set up consist of, are you a gear collector or working mainly in the box and using digital software?

I was working all in the box until very recently. I never was a VST nut though. I always worked with sampling. Mostly old Sample-CDs that still had some character to them. The only Plugins I use regularly are Reaktor and Omnisphere. And of course a bunch of FX. Now I bought a Analog Rytm and it really changed a lot. I love the intuitive work flow and sound of that machine. I’m definitely gonna invest more in gear now.

 

When it comes to DJing what excites you the most, do you prefer to play a really nice warm up set and deeper sounds or keep things moving in the peak hours? Would you rather play a festival to thousands of people or a dark room and intimate vibe to a hundred?

I’m getting more and more into warm-up sets. It’s definitely something I had to learn to be good at. Setting the tone for a night is extremely important and a big responsibility. But there’s nothing like playing an extended early morning set at an intimate club and taking people on a trippy ride.

Could you tell us of something in your life you find inspiring right now outside of music, maybe a place you like to visit and relax, a book you’re reading to escape, a person you enjoy spending time with to feed your creativity or a movie that’s piqued your interest? Something outside of what you’re known for essentially?

I’m currently spending a lot of time in Paris, where my girlfriend lives. The city is very inspiring to me, especially the architecture. I love strolling around the streets with my camera. I find it very interesting how visual stimulation can feed into my music productions. That’s why at some point in my life I would love to work on movie scores, for me that would be the ultimate musical challenge. Another way for me unwind is to read. I’m not into fiction, but very fascinated by the sciences. Everything from Psychology and Neuro-science to Philosophy and Cosmology. Right now I’m reading‚ Meditations‘ by the stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.

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What’s next for Diego Krause, Unison Wax, Beste Modus and anything else you have planned in terms of shows etc?

There’s a lot coming. I really had a great time at our Elevate Open Air at IPSE, Berlin in the beginning of June. We invited D’julz and my good friend Fabe. We programmed a nice day and night party, outdoor and indoors with the whole crew.
Also I’m very excited about a new label project I am working on. But nothing official yet.

Words by MEOKO

Set Sail with 3 Smoked Olives this Summer + Exclusive Amir Javasoul Mix

By Event Previews and Reviews, Festival, Hot Off The Press, MEOKO Exclusive, Reviews

From July 24th– July 30th on a remote island located on the Danube River between Calarasi Romania and Silistra Bulgaria, the 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival will be hosted, one intimate gathering that brings music, nature and people together. As in previous editions, 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival 2019 offers a highly curated line up from the minimal house scene, bringing names to the bill like Sammy Dee, Nicolas Lutz, Amir Javasoul, Arapu, Gescu, Herodot, Mihai Pol, Alexandra, Sedee, Sublee among other artists will set the tone to this magnificent experience in a remote natural paradise. As with any festival but particularly due to its exotic location, attendees will share respect to the island by taking care of the landscape through their no straws policy, recycling reusing and disposing properly of garbage.  People from all over the world will travel to the Danube River to find a place where electronic sounds and nature welcome those who open themselves to an adventure, one that connects people and their environment through music.

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In order to attend the event visitors must follow the registration process at the 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival websitwww.3sof.com ,in order to purchase their tickets. Follow the instructions, which include uploading an ID card and your social media profile. After validating the information provided, islanders will be able to purchase their tickets for a price of 65 euros until June 15th, when the full line will be revealed. The festival has a cap of two thousand islanders, making this event one intimate gathering that offers a comprehensive lifestyle experience that ranges from recycling initiatives, outdoor activities (cinema, yumeiho massage, ostho massage, stand-up paddle, kayak-canoe, volleyball, boat rides), quality people, great food and a billion star hotel as a unique setting. For more information about the logistics, line up and activities of the festival connect to their facebook and instagram accounts below.

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3 Smoked Olives Island Festival Facebook 

3so_Island_Festival Insta 

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3 Smoked Olives will host a brilliant international line up with talent hailing from Germany, Romania, Canada, Italy, Russia, Uruguay and Venezuela to name a few.  Among these artists, we find Sammy Dee, one of the leading figures of minimal and electronic music who has been active since the late eighties. These decades of experience have shaped his sound and music collection with plenty of unique records and his impeccable technique. Having worked with other big names in the industry like Zip and Ricardo Villalobos, Sammy Dee is one of those few artists that has a trajectory that extends for decades full of knowledge and love for electronic music. His work with the iconic and forward thinking label Perlon, his joint live set project with Bruno Pronsato, Half Hawaii, presentations at international stages like Epizode festival in Vietnam, the legendary Superlongevity showcase at Closer Ukraine, Get Perlonized nights at Berghain/Panorama Bar, and performances at Concrete in Paris and Fabric London are just a few of the many sides and events that the german selector has under his belt. Sammy Dee is definitely a major highlight to the festival, a true djs’ dj, that will delight crowds with his vast expertise and masterful selection of trippy and spacey sounds inducing dancers in a timeless journey.

Nicolas Lutz is another name that continues to marvel crowds across Europe. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay and based in Berlin Lutz is one of those djs that has grown professionally and personally along with his music through travelling and experimenting across musical genres. A regular resident at Toi.Toi.Musik. in London and at Club Der Visionaere in Berlin, Lutz is a true music collector and dj, that has developed a complex, diverse and refined mixing style.Having played at well-known venues and events in Europe, North America and Asia, Lutz will add his sophisticated and multifaceted style to the bill, making his performance at the festival a surprise that’s not to be missed.

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Amir Javasoul, Canada based and Iran born will also showcase his masterful selection and technique as a dj. Constantly playing in established parties and venues in North America and Europe like Montreal’s Stereo, Washington D.C.’s Flash, New York’s Resolute and Concrete Paris, Javasoul is a dedicated audiophile worth watching. If you want a preview of what to expect, back in 2017 he did an incredible back to back set with Ricardo Villalobos at Stereo in Montreal that still feels fresh to listeners and continues to hit right in the soul.

Arapu, Gescu, Herodot, Mihai Pol, Alexandra, Sedee and Sublee will also take on the bill as they are part of the usual suspects at the infamous Sunwaves festival among other local and international stages. Arapu is one to manage skillfully the relationship of rolling bass lines and spicy rhythms that drive feet into unceasing motion. Gescu, will showcase his selection as he uses subtle textures and beats to seduce the listener with extreme care. Herodot and his distinctive style that incorporates somewhat reminiscent percussion sounds of old school hip hop infused with minimal house and breakbeat are sure to draw people into a syncopated trance. Mihai Pol is one to create a sophisticated blend of minimal house with deep house. His productions use luscious pads, delicate melodies, profound atmospheres and textures that evoke leisure and groove with beautiful hints of vintage house and the golden days of house music.

Alexandra will be the cherry on top of the icing at 3SO, as she explores the trippy yet melodic aesthetic of minimal, mixing music with an enchanting gracefulness and extraordinary technique. Her sets at the incredible Sunwaves Festival, Robert Johnson in Frankfurt and De School in Amsterdam are just a few places where she has drawn smiles and feet with seamless charisma. If vinyl is your thing, then Alexandra’s performance will definitely be one worth witnessing.

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Sedee and Sublee will also bring their repertoire full of introspective yet powerful technoid sounds combined with darker shades of minimal. These artists are ones that deliver sounds that surely make any dancefloor at two in the morning go into a complete frenzy of adrenaline and euphoria within the darker tones of heavy, deep basslines and mysterious melodies. 

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Fabe, Kozo, and Giuliano Lomonte will also feature in this year’s edition of the festival, bringing their respective styles and expertise to the island. Fabe is known for his groovy percussions and quirky melodies, blending minimal house with techy elements creating a rare and yet familiar Mannheim sound. Kozo is an artist that continues to amaze crowds with his hidden gems of minimal that drive people into a dancing hypnosis.  Giuliano will bring dynamism to the dancefloor combined with a relaxed flair as his characteristic Italian minimal sound has shades of deep, trippy and groovy tech sounds. Vlad Dinu (Romania) and Giorgio Maulini (Venezuela born) respectively, are newer faces in the game that have shown great technique and amazing music selection that continues to dazzle audiences throughout Europe and abroad. These two selectors among the other names on the bill are proving that quality is more than quantity.  So be sure to give each artist a careful listen while enjoying the beautiful European summer at 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival, where musical vibrations and nature will converge in a unique and profound experience.

MEOKO and 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival have teamed up to bring you an exclusive three-part dj set series from some of the artists that will perform at this amazing event. First one up is Amir Javasoul on 31/05, take a listen and keep updated for more carefully selected sounds. 

See you on the Island! 

By: Daniel Ordoñez 

For more info on 3 Smoked Olives Island Festival 

First Edition of the Albanian Festival UNUM announces Zip, Raresh, Vera, tINI, Craig Richards

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, MEOKO Exclusive, News
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The brand new festival UNUM, which will held place in the Albanian town of Shengjin from May 31st to June 2nd of this year, just added a second wave of names to its exceptional line-up. Craig Richards, Leon, Adriatique, Raresh, tINI, Vera, Ferro will all be included among the already jaw-dropping line-up, where the first headliners announced were Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Butch, Petre Inspirescu, Praslea, Sonja Moonear, DeWalta and Dyed Soundorom.
 
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The first edition of this new event will bring underground house and techno to such as wide spectrum and level to the Albanian lands for the first time. The location chosen for the festival is by the seaside, on the stunning Mediterranean beauty that is the Albanian coastline; dense with breath taking landscapes which combine maritime pine forests and a mountain background with the coastline view. The festival will have three stages hosting 24 hours of music every day, so bring your sunglasses: sunrise and sunset parties are set to be one of the highlights of this three day stunning party. However the festival will not be focused solely on partying. You will be able to experience watersports, sun bathing, local cuisine and cultural trips and much more.
 
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The last additions to the festival’s line-up are stunning. The Fabric long-time resident and Nothing Special label boss Craig Richards with his wide range of expert selections ranging from electro to straight house and techno, as well as the rominimal institution Raresh, who will bring his infectious groove to the party. Perlon’s boss Zip is also joining the party with his eclectic selections. You will also be able to attend sent from Ibiza’s tech house master tINI, and another favorite for minimal lovers, Vera. The other names added are Adriatique, Cap, Cris Rej, Erti Lutaj, Ferro, Franco Cinelli, Hugo Bianco, Igor Vicente, Jonny N’Travis, Joseph Capriati, Leon, Manoloco, Ohmme, Mike Shannon and Traumer. Considering the whole line-up, it will be hard to get some sleep during the three days.
 
The festival will provide everything you need; the extensive food and drink options include grill, fresh seafood, pizza, a salad-bar and vegan/vegetarian options. Expect also treats like an icre-cream van, a vitamin bar and a wide range of wine and cocktail bar for the more thirsty. A chillout zone with various shops will provide alternative entertainment to the main music of the festival to make sure no one in the audience is ever bored; massages, body-painting and plenty of hammocks will all be found.
 
 
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UNUM agreed to a collaboration with the Tourism Ministry of Albania to facilitate easy access and avoid any possible issues for its attendants. This means the best accommodation in the local area will be exclusively operated through UNUM in order to provide a secure and quality accommodation for everyone. Package price start from €239 for 3 nights accommodation, transfers, festival shuttle and 3-day festival pass with unlimited re-entry.
 
 
The easiest way to get to the festival will be to fly to Tirana, the Albanian capital, which is around 1 hour away. However, the location will be easily accessible from the surroundings with UNUM taking care of all the transfers to and from the festival for just 20€ (from Tirana, Podgorica, Pristina and Durres Ferry Port).
 
 

FINAL LINE UP

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IN CONVERSATION WITH HERCK.ro + MIX

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

If you ask anyone well versed with the scene to name its most promising rising stars, there’s a sure-fire chance they’ll mention Herck. Hailing from Arad, the young Romanian has garnered a stellar reputation for his intricate productions that rich in texture, solidifying his place at the forefront of an emerging generation of talented artists. Since his 2017 LP, Sonetul Noptilor Fecunde, on Curtea Veche, Herck has exhibited a somewhat unstoppable momentum, releasing music on labels including Roche Madame, Muted Noise, Complatt and Otomoji, showcasing his distinctive brand of psychedelic infused minimal groove. As a DJ, Herck’s trajectory is equally as promising, with an increasingly busy touring schedule across Romania and Europe.

We are incredibly excited to welcome Herck to our mix series with a live recording of his set on the 12th of January earlier this year at the Puls Romania clubnight at D’arc, Timisoara. An incredibly agile mix with enviable selections, Herck showcases his dexterity with the mind-bending soundscapes he has come to make his own. Strap in for a trippy, 2 hour journey through the collection of an artist on the rise. A teasing taste of what to expect when Herck makes his Farringdon debut back to back Haydn at the Steppin’ Motion fabric showcase on the 19th of May.

Exclusive Mix – HERCK / MEOKO 286 – CLICK 

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Thank you so much for taking the time to be featured in our podcast series. Could you tell us a little about the mix you’ve put together? Where was it recorded?

Hello, and thank you for having me here ! Well, this set it’s what defines me as an artist and producer. It was recorded in Timisoara @ D’arc – Puls Romania.

 

How long have you been making music? I read that you began experimenting with electronic music at 15 – how did you get into it so early?

I started experimenting with electronic music around 2004. I already had some friends who listened to this kind of music back then, but I didn’t pay so much attention to it that much until I dug into it more and more. Around 2009 I realised that, I really have to do this, this is for me. Also my friends told me and supporting me…”you have to do this, you have what you need, music knowledge, and especially EARS for this”. Then I started producing and one year later I released my first EP. 

 

What’s the music scene like in your hometown Arad?

Well, Arad it’s not a big city, but the scene is growing from year to year and when new people discover this kind of music. Surprisingly they really enjoy it and that’s a good thing. 

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You have such a distinct texturized sound, did it take you a while to figure out your musical identity or is this something that came naturally?

Thank you, I appreciate it. Well…as a producer, you have to find your music identity at some point, but until you reach your goal as in sound and style you want to adapt, you need to dig, work hard and listen to lot of music, play and produce different styles. And yeah, it took a while until i realised that…yeah, this is it, this is what defines me. All the things came naturally, I didn’t force nothing.

 

Do you find that the way you make music is constantly evolving or has your workflow remained relatively consistent over time?

Depends on your mood of course. But as a producer, you evolve from track to track and that is what keeping you focused. If you are trapped in that loop/pattern over and over again, you will become monotone and the sound will be the same without changing too much. The thing is…always surprise the audience, that’s the beauty of a producer and that is what defines you as a producer.

What are your studio essentials?

I don’t have a professional studio…I work on a home studio with my laptop, a pair of Adams, a Blofeld synthesizer, a keyboard and my DAW. I’m happy with what  have, but my future plans is more gear of course. 

 

The last two years have been pretty stellar for you, with an album on Curtea Veche, three EPs in 2018 alone and already this year a stunning appearance on the Otomoji compilation, each release with substantial support. Would you be able to tell us a little about what’s in store for 2019?  

Yeah, 2018 was amazing for me as in releases, and I was really happy with it. 2019 will be more surprisingly, even for me. New Curtea Veche EP, remixes and VA’s on very nice labels.

Approaching the Summer season, what are your favourite parties to play?

As in playing in the Summer season…i don’t have a favourite one, but I’m happy that i will share the decks with Inspirescu, Barac, Mihigh and more @ Arad Open Air festival on June 28-30.

 

Are there any events on your bucket list that you hope to be able to play at soon?

Indeed, I would love to play in Romania at Sunwaves of course and Mioritmic. Outside Ro, would love to play at Hoppetosse, Gazgolder, Caprices.

 

Lastly, what’s inspiring you most at the moment?

My family, nature and of course…music 🙂

Catch Herck Playing at Steppin’ Moton alongside Fabe, Lee Burton and more. Check it Out, Not to be Missed, Happening At fabric London 19th May. ….. Full Event info and Tickets HERE

 

Interview by LILY DALTON 

Sundays at fabric: Steppin’ Motion with Fabe, Lee Burton & More

By Hot Off The Press, MEOKO Exclusive, News

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Parisian outfit Steppin’ Motion are set to cross the channel for their Room 1 debut on Sunday the 19thof May. The fabric takeover marks a new chapter for the Steppin’ Motion crew, who have established an estimable reputation for their tasty offering of events and releases that champion music for the body and soul.

Last year hallmarked the label’s first release, a stunning two-part split EP by don Mihai Popescu (MP), in addition to the launch of their Motion event series at Nouveau Casino in Paris, that welcomed guests including Lee Burton, Enrico Mantini, Janeret, Djebali among others.

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For their inaugural Farringdon outing, Steppin’ Motion have curated an attractive line-up of their all-star friends and family, with Fabe, Lee Burton, Haydn and Herck joining residents Swoop and Mooglee. Salty Nuts label head, BE9mainstay and one of Mannheim’s finest, Fabe has garnered a reputation wide and far for his slick brand of infectious minimal. A dancefloor connoisseur with a penchant for digging deep, Fabe will be bringing his formidable vibes and timeless taste. Lee Burton is at the forefront of a handful of artists pushing the scene forward in Athens. With a coveted catalogue of releases on labels including Finest Hour, Elephant Moon, Taverna Tracks and Raum…Musik, Lee Burton has steadily honed his sound. Expect classy, stripped-back groove with a healthy dose of heard and unheard gems.

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Rounding out the lineup is a B2B for the books: Curtea Veche all-stars Haydn and Herck. With Haydn at the helm of the highly respected, Fake, Curtea Veche and DreamsAreNotInside & OGE lables, it goes without saying that his ear for quality sound translates impeccably to the his impeccable track selection and dexterous mixing style in the booth. One of Romania’s most exciting rising talents, Herck has been making waves globally for his instantly recognisable productions that are rich in texture. Haydn and Herck have been increasingly appearing together at events and label showcases, growing into a talked-about combination for their spontaneous magic and faultless flow. Capping off the stellar lineup, are Steppin’ Motion residents Swoop and Mooglee, embodying everything that excites us about the creative hotbed that is the Parisian scene.

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Block out your calendars, as something tells us this is one worth taking Monday off. To celebrate the excitement, MEOKO are delighted to be collaborating with Steppin’ Motion to offer an exclusive prize. Steppin’ Motion have put together a fresh stack of wax, including some of the hottest releases from those on the lineup. The prize in question includes Julien Sandre’s Melancholia EP on Fake (FR012), Viceversa’s forthcoming three tracker on OGE (OGE010), Lee Burton’s outing on Finest Hour (FH12), Part 2 of Fabe’s Sketch EP on Valioso Recordings(VAL019) and of course Mihai Popescu’s stunning Still 1 Measure EP – Part 2 on Steppin’ Motion (SMR002). For your chance to fill your bag with these treats

To be in with the chance of winning this very special prize to this exciting event, simply email meokolondon@gmail.com with  ‘Steppin’ Motion’ as the subject heading. Good luck!

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Melodie Interview & Mix “Music I Feel Strongly About”

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

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Cristi Turodache, better known as Melodie, has deservedly earned his status as one of the most exciting talents to emerge from Bucharest’s scene. Over the past five years, Melodie has injected the scene with a vibrant, fresh sound, incorporating new influences and exploring new terrain.  His polished, and continually forward-thinking productions, can be found on coveted releases across some of the scene’s most respected labels: Metereze, RORA, and Vivus, among many others. While his output positioned him at the vanguard of a new wave of Romanian talent, Melodie’s biography offers only a small glimpse of dedication to his craft.

An artist with an unwavering commitment to constant learning and development, Melodie’s most recent endeavour, the Redesigns album, is the conceptual realisation of his desire to continually offer something new. The digital-only release features refreshed ‘redesigns’ of eight of Melodie’s previously released tracks and is currently available via Melodie’s bandcamp.

We are incredibly honoured to welcome Melodie to our podcast series with two hours recorded from his set Saturday 9th of March at Club Eden. The podcast is testament to Melodie’s ability to create a sense of coherence amidst vast stylistic and emotional diversity. Traversing mind-melting textures from a range of genres and soundscapes, this mix is an escapists delight beggint the listener to get lost it. 

Accompanying the podcast, we are delighted to feature an in depth interview with Melodie about his Redesigns Project, his production processes, and his evolution as an artist. We are incredibly excited for what the future holds for an artist whose patience and passion are palpable. 

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Let’s start by talking about your most recent project.  Could you tell us a little bit about the concept behind the Redesigns Album?

Some people, over the years, asked me for digital versions of the tracks, because some records were sold fast, or I don’t know, they don’t play records maybe, or they don’t collect vinyl. Digital is cool, sometimes I also play digital, and why not? Also it’s nice to have different versions, retakes.

What sort of things did you change up when you were ‘redesigning’ the tracks.

Well, one of the things was that the tracks were made many years ago, and over the years, I kind of changed the way I make music, and with the redesigns, I made them in two weeks or so, and they’re all more my recent take on music.

Could you expand a little bit on this recent take? What’s your new approach like?

It was more like the way I make my mixes on tracks, and the way I work now. I’m always into developing my workflow and the way I work, and learning more and better. And I changed some gear also, some tracks, they were with my old sound card, and I have a new one which sounds better. And most of it, this was the way I make the mix downs. Because of the equipment I use now, the overall sound of the tracks has changed. I think now I’m getting closer to a cleaner sound, more transparent, where you can understand all the instruments pretty well.

Yeah, I can definitely hear that everything sounds really refreshing and new – it’s exciting!

Yes, it was a moment idea when I thought initially to remaster them, but then I was like, “Why don’t I make them like new?” Some people tried to say, “This is the rework of that track,” but I wanted to perceive them as something different, new.

What about your workflow? How has that developed over time?

My workflow, yeah, it changed over the years, and since a couple of years, I’ve been trying a lot working with hardware synths more, and I guess because for many years, in the beginning, I used to work only on computer. And I kind of got tired of it, being always on the monitor, and clicking with the mouse. So now I try to make tracks kind of in a live session.

Yeah, so a lot of jamming?

I don’t do so many jams, but rather, I make the tracks like a piano player does. I just make live takes until I make the track the way I want it to be, from just one take, from one take. If I make a track and I make a mistake after three minutes, I just start it again.

That must take a lot of patience. Do you get frustrated, ever?

Not really, it’s interesting, because sometimes I do, but in the end it goes well, or if it doesn’t go in a way, maybe the track is not ready yet to be finished. I also feel that it helps me to understand better the trials, what the track actually needs as a build. I think I worked too much on the computer for many years in the beginning. Like on this album (redesigns), there are two tracks, I think it was six and seven, that I made with the mouse, like the block kind of arrangement thing, because yeah, I’m doing different things from time to time, because I don’t want to be stuck in just that thing. I want to expand a bit and try different things.

It seems like you’re someone who just loves constantly learning. Would you say that’s true?

Yeah, I like that. There is many things I know now that I had no idea in the beginning. Somehow they come with time, I think.

What was this process like for you?

At the start I thought I’m making interesting things, but actually I was just playing around with loops before I started to release anything. I think yeah, that’s why I started making music in ’98, when I was 13 or 12, I don’t remember exactly. And I got serious into it in 2005 or 2004, because for that period, I was just playing around with it, like you play a game or video game. And I guess also the internet brought a lot of knowledge available that you can read and find about.

In Romania also, if you are not in this environment already, I don’t know how easy it is to get in touch with people who have studios and great equipment. I mean, the first time I went into a professional studio was I think in 2005, 2004. I just was there for a few times, and it pushed me a bit to start to learn more, and to work more on music.

I tried many things: in the beginning, I was working with loops, and just putting them there together. After a while I tried some edits, like in that period, and then I worked with samples and presets, and it was just, I guess, I was still learning a lot.

What were your inspirations back then, and have they changed?

Yeah, I had a long time, I think, making music that I was not so satisfied with. I mean, it was, I guess, decent, but I was not so satisfied. The tracks I released on Metereze were the ones that I started to believe a lot in, and they pushed releases with other labels. But yeah, Raresh liked them. I think it’s the same now, it’s not the same reasons as there were at that point, but I’m kind of the same. I get inspired by many things, like by equipment, by sounds. That’s the thing with the acid tracks. I like = the acid style, and I was inspired by that. I just woke up one day and I was like, “Wow, I want to make an acid track.”

I know what you mean by that. It just comes to you sometimes.

And sometimes it’s just, I don’t know, some feelings or ideas about gear, or trying some new technique, or sometimes even what’s happening in my daily life, if I get inspired by that. Now I’m working more on sound design, and I feel have a more flexible way of doing things. I have this modular, and I’m kind of making sound from the scratch somehow. I don’t use presets anymore for a few years now, and for example, I was in nature last year, and I got so inspired by the sounds of the birds and the bugs on the leaves. And I came home, and somehow I managed to transpose that into a track that I’m going to release in a few months I think.

Awesome, that’s so exciting!

Speaking specifically of the Romanian scene, you would definitely be considered as someone shaped the direction of it and sort of filled the sound with this kind of emotional warmth. What do you think the difference is between someone who makes a good track in that style and someone who makes a really great track?

Oh, thank you. For me, I think I always felt like this when I started to go to parties. I felt that music has to create a build inside me. I want to feel exciting, excited about what I’m hearing, and surprised somehow. And also emotion, you have to have a feeling of something. I think music should have a story in it. Whatever kind of story, I don’t know, happy, sad, linear. I used to listen to minimal music in 2004, 2005, like Richie Hawtin, and there are a lot of other people. And even though they were minimal, with a few elements, they had a story, like a small build there. And nowadays, a lot of this minimal sound and tech house minimal sounds a lot like a loop and it doesn’t create a story somehow in it.

Yeah, that’s an interesting perspective, I think with the sheer volume of stuff that’s released now a natural corollary of that is that there’s going to be a lot of average, mass-produced stuff that doesn’t create a story, I guess. I definitely feel there’s so much to get excited about when it comes to the music emerging at the moment.

Yeah I do agree.

Changing direction a bit, let’s talk about your experience as a DJ. Do you think your approach as a DJ is quite reflective of your style as a producer? When you’re performing a set, are you trying to conjure similar emotions that you are when you create tracks?

Yeah, I don’t know. I’m trying to play music that I feel strongly about, and I don’t want to get into the hype. Of course, I’m getting inspired by othcer people. For example, I was out this weekend, and over the years, I went out to a lot of parties in Bucharest where my friends played music, and I was inspired. I guess you can’t avoid it too, you can’t not be inspired by the evolution, and the whole collective movement. Because I used to play rougher music, house, back many years ago, and now I’ve evolved. I’m still not playing minimal too much. I want to have a bit of diversity into my sets, but I’m not going too much into extremes. I think the one thing that I find I aim for in my sets, in my mixes, is a coherence, just like my tracks. I want them to have a coherent story, and the whole mix sounds more like a track somehow.

You mentioned you’re getting more and more into sound design now. what drew you to wanting to be interested in it? Was it sort of a natural progression from producing and DJing?

Yeah, I guess one of the things was being super unsatisfied with using presets, and the limitations it gave me. And also, sample packs. I don’t have sample packs in my computer, I have just a few samples like drums. You know, the percussion bongos, congas, and all these tambourines, because I feel like I had an idea, but then I have to go through some presets, and I feel like they always have to be different. And now, in the last two or three years, I started to make sounds specifically for a track, and many times I don’t use them again.

I mean, this is besides the drums, because you can have a drum machine and use the drums they make, you maybe process them a bit, put some EQ and compression, and you can’t get too far away. Many times, I find it easier to use drum sounds from a drum machine, and I don’t think they’re so important, like the basic kick snare, hi-hat. I think more of the synths, the bass, and some other percussive elements, you can play a lot with them, and with the effects. And you can achieve more interesting sounds, at least this is what I like. And like I said, if I’m not evolving, I get bored.

I feel like the possibilities for evolution are endless. There’s always going to be something new to create.

Yeah, I’m kind of losing my inspiration if I’m not into thinking too much on to it. Like, thinking up new things, “How can I approach these gears differently?” or what combination I haven’t tried. Sometimes, I just make some music just to make something, but what moves me the most is trying new things and getting new ideas.

I think I’m starting to focus even on making music, DJing is cool, but lately I kind of lost a bit interest in it. I find myself spending more and more time on making music rather than digging for music.

Do you find it more inspirational to sort of create your own stuff?

So and so. I mean, I like to listen to other people’s music, because sometimes I work on a track, and it takes me 10 hours, and I realize that, for the last 10 hours, I was listening just to this thing, and I want to listen to something else. Because, of course, if you don’t listen to anything it’s harder to get inspired.

I enjoy music a lot, I still go to parties and I find myself as a listener. When I was younger, I used to think, to listen a lot to what’s happening technically, like when I was starting to DJ. But now I don’t give it too much attention. I mean, you can hear, of course, things, but I’m not focusing too much on that.

That’s a much more enjoyable way to spend your time on the dancefloor, personally I definitely fall into the trap of letting my focus on the technical side of whats happening take away from the experience and story.

Wrapping things up, could you tell us a little about what you have planned for the future? Are there any releases you can tell us about?

I have some music that I want to release planned already, but I’m going to work on music for some other labels as well. The thing with vinyl, is it takes such a long time, you make some music, and then it takes three months or four months to release it. I feel like I want to release stuff that I’m super satisfied with.

Words by Lily Dalton

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