Since announcing the return of Estonia’s Sweet Spot festival back in January, our anticipation for the weekend has been steadily growing. Held in Tallinn’s The KultuuriKartel, or Creative Hubon the 28th and 29th of July, the festival offers an incredibly diverse cultural and artistic experience, curating a stellar lineup across a plethora of genres.
The festival has just unveiled the first wave of artists set to soundtrack the weekend and, as expected, they have delivered. First to be announced is Swedish singer Lykke Li, whose blend of electronic and indie pop has been well received across Europe. Additionally, Grammy Nominated Alcoe Blacc, whose instantly recognisable ‘I Need A Dollar’ topped charts worldwide, will deliver his signature smooth grooves. Joining the selection of international talent is British Indie Rockband Friendly Fires, with what will be their exclusive performance of the summer. Also hailing from the UK, are electronic duo HONNE, bringing to Yallinn their foward thinking take on R&B.
With Tallinn being a creative breeding ground for some of contemporary music’s finest rising stars, it is refreshing to see a healthy amount of Estonian talent on the lineup’s first instalment. Noëp, the alias of Andres Kõpper, will bring his stripped back mix of mix of indie, electro and pop. 6-man band Lexsoul Dancemachine will deliver their take on raw street inspired funk, while Sander Mölder will perform a live set of the sounds that earned him “Debut Album of the Year” and “Electronic Album of the Year” at the Estonian Music Awards earlier this year. Duo Púr Múdd will bring their undeniably uplifting sound, complemented nicely by the Helsinki born Onni Boi. Rounding out the initial selection of artist is Tallinn’s own Pluuto, a rapper who is elevated by his forward-thinking style.
On the whole, Sweet Spot’s curation is marked by exceptional stylistic diversity, ensuring there is always something new for audiences to be inspired by. Lovers of house and techno can expect the announcement of artists to play at the Electronic Music Stage to come in April. The curation of the stage will build on last year’s established direction, with 2018’s edition featuring International heavyweights Jeff Mills, Soichi Terada, Bullion, Honey Dijon and Ford Romeau.
The unique experience offered by the festival extends beyond its musical offering: Sweet Spot opens a creative window into a vibrant city. With a thriving culture both underground and overground, there is always something to be discovered in Tallinn. Closer to the date, we will be bringing you our recommendations, however in the meanwhile, we recommend securing your tickets at www.sweetspot.ee
Bucharest’s Vlad Dinu has been inconspicuously refining his sound for over 10 years. His hunger for experimentation has led him to move beyond genre constraints and use music as a mode of emotive communication. Vlad Dinu’s artistry is an extension of his passion for the power of groove, and his expertly honed productions have found home on labels including Generatia’90, Synesthesia, Mihai Bravu, and Half Naked Dog. Vlad Dinu has also collaborated with the likes of Sublee and Iuly.B, releasing music under the Stedi and Nord Pipes aliases respectively.
We are honoured to have Vlad Dinu join our podcast series and delighted to have had the opportunity to talk to an artist whose drive and humility are palpable. For his MEOKO mix Vlad Dinu dives into the dancefloor-oriented side of his collection, building and sustaining an energy guaranteed to lift your spirits.
An advocate of the power of the groove, Vlad Dinu’s ability to extract new and exciting musical possibilities from his selections renders him a sought after presence in his local scene. Having appeared alongside Piticu, Charlie, Emi, Suciu, Cezar, Praslea, Kozo, and Ion Ludwig, Vlad Dinu is beginning to ascend on a promising trajectory of his own. Drawing from his multispectral influences, Vlad Dinu’s sets offer fresh and creative sounds delivered with an effortless veterans touch.
Hi Vlad, thank you so much for your time. It’s a pleasure being able to chat to you and we’re super excited about the mix you’ve put together for us. Can you start by telling us a bit about the idea behind the mix?
Hey guys, first and foremost, let me say that I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to be featured on your platform .
I’d like to think that the mix I’ve put together for you guys is somewhat representative of what I would play during a club set . I’m thinking this is a very good opportunity for people who don’t know me to get a small taste of what they might expect me to play during a club night . All together I hope the audience enjoys my selection of records and I surely hope to bring a smile to everybody’s faces 😀
Taking a step back, how did everything begin for you and how has it evolved over the years?
Well I guess it all began in 1996 for me. I went on a trip with my dad to Philadelphia and I discovered a local record shop whilst exploring the city, which would later become one of my favourite shops in the world. That’s the spot where I got in touch for the first time with hip hop, as I bought my first Kool Keith record. Dr. Octagon which was released that same year Mo Wax .You have to imagine that I was 12 years old and I just bought myself a PG18 rated record . That’s the point where I started losing it and started buying as much records and CD’s I could afford. Hip hop was a big part of my life as a cultural movement and I sill feel culturally connected to hip hop through my music a lot ! High school later brought me face to face with electronic music , as I was constantly hanging out in one of Bucharest’s most legendary venues ( one that actually saw a lot of the legendary names in Romania play , guys like Dj Vasile, BogMan which was then known as Dj Sleek , Vexxatu Vexx, Blanoz Distrusoz , Suie Paparude or Unu, just to name a few ) . I’ve started playing dance records about 12 years ago and haven’t stopped ever since.
What are your views on the current Bucharest club scene? Is there anything you’d like to see done differently?
Bucharest has rapidly evolved over the past 8 years into what you would might call “the place to be” when it comes to the clubbing scene. Clubs are constantly lined up with the best names in the industry, whether it be the local heroes or big names from abroad . Furthermore, I think that it recently became a more diverse scene than before as new and talented artists are diversifying their DJ sets with all sorts of music as a response to the massive growth in record acquisitions that goes on lately . Thus being said, I wouldn’t change much as I think that the local club scene is constantly developing into something better and better as time goes by. Only thing I would definitely wish for would be new venues as we have a lot of astonishing buildings and establishments that would easily fit a club event.
As a DJ, the breadth of your selections makes it clear you have an intuition for digging deep. What are you looking for when it comes to finding new music?
The main element for me is groove . If a track perspires groove, whether it be a minimal one, a housey one or why not even an experimental one, as long as it has groove it will definitely get me interested into it. Another thing that makes me buzz are the tracks that tell a story. You see, I also like to think that my DJ sets are about me transmitting my story to the audience , so therefore, a track with a good storyline and a strong groove is definitely going to have me buy it !
Now let’s get into the production side of things. Your catalogue is very diverse, and I’m sure only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the music you’ve created. Did you get into production through DJing? How long have you been making music?
Hah, thanks, you make me blush 🙂
Production wise, I started putting out tracks 10 years ago so I would guess that makes me old now wouldn’t it? I’ve always maintained a low profile as I have been constantly working to perfect my sound both as a DJ and as a producer but now I feel I have achieved that which I was looking for and it’s time for me to put it out for the people to enjoy.
Could you talk a little about the creative process behind your productions? What continues to keep you inspired?
I guess every day life is what gets me inspired. I always find myself jamming whenever I sit down in my studio, and it’s always based on how I feel at the moment. I don’t think that I have ever narrowed down my inspiration to on thing or another, it’s basically the sum of all my experiences since the last time I sat down to make music . So, in other words, my music is somehow my personal diary .
What about your technical approach? Could you describe your current studio setup, and your workflow when starting a new track?
Being my dad’s kid, I grew up listening to Motown Records mostly every day, so you might say that my only technical approach is jamming till it sounds good . I currently work in a home studio which is basically pretty well equipped as far as my needs go. I have 3 samplers ( Elektron Digitakt / MPC 1000 / Roland SP 404 ) , 4 analog synthesizers ( Korg Minilogue, Roland JX-3P, Behringer DeepMind 12 and a Behringer Model D ) and a couple of other digital synths that I always go back to when I need that “extra something “ , a delay pedal from HardWire and that’s basically it. I also use a couple of VST’s , mainly the ones from Fab Filter but then again, I rarely use them as I like my sound to be as raw as possible whilst sounding pleasant to your ear .
Do you ever reuse elements of unfinished or unreleased tracks while generating new ideas?
Once I have exported a track, as far as I’m concerned, that’s one closed story . I like to keep it diverse and so if a jam builds up into a track, than that’s that . If it doesn’t, I will probably later strip the instruments apart and try to rebuild it from scratch.
Maintaining a distinct personal sound across a range of styles is something you’ve managed to master. Do you have any techniques processing-wise that contribute to giving you this distinctness?
Only “technique” I think I have mastered is the art of not being afraid to explore . I never set out to produce a track in a predefined way, whether it be in my mind or be it following a certain predefined arrangement that I earlier decided upon. I just sit down, jam , and let the music take me where it wants to .
Thinking ahead, what are your goals for 2019?
I’m definitely looking to travel more with my music and put out more records as my track stash is currently busting open with fresh material. I’m also aiming to give a fresh restart to my own record label, Mihai Bravu Records, and put out some of my favorite artists’ music . I also look forward to collaborating with more people from the industry – I have been blessed enough to put out a tribute EP for Swayzak and also got a remix from them , also got remixed by Tommy Vicari JNR ( again, a wonderful and blessed experience ) and I am currently waiting on a remix from the Italian duo Nudge , so that’s already a win for me this year 🙂 My main goal is to keep doing what I do no holds barred .
Experiment Intrinsic is an event concept which puts intimacy at its core. 2019 will see the organisation landing in France once again to plan a five days experience in the beautiful Le Parc de Josephine Baker in Dordogne, where it was held two years ago. The 2019 edition promises to be one of the best events of the summer for the audiences looking for something deeper, less loud and more sophisticated.
Experiment Intrinsic France 2019 you will experience eclectic live sets ranging from ambient to noise and world music, such as Jan Jelinek, Lucrecia Dalt, Ujjaya, but also some of our favourite DJ selectors presenting their ambient side such as Praslea, Francesco Del Garda, Margaret Dygas, Nicolas Lutz, or Vlad Caia performing his first experimental solo live set. Apart from the music you will also have the chance to learn more about mind and body and participate at workshops on subjects such as yoga and meditation. The mixture of well-picked bookings combined with a stunning location, the various workshops and an intimate crowd are all reinforced by the Experiment Intrinsic premises to create an immersive environment.
In sight of this year’s edition, we spoke with Nathalia, creator of Intrinsic and founder of the festival, in order to better understand the Experiement Intrinsic concept and Goals.
Could you tell our readers about your start in London and how the Experiment Intrinsic concept evolved into a five-days festival?
Everything in life goes in cycles, and an individual can generally recognise when they need a change or progression. Intrinsic was born in result of such a recognition.
In the beginning the idea behind the project was to invite DJs who usually play dance music by giving them an opportunity to play different fields of sound they listen to. I’ve always been passionate about experimental music and it was part of a very natural process to start a project in that direction. Soon after, everything evolved, and we started involving also live acts from the ambient and experimental field.
After running events in London for 2 years, the concept for an extended weekend event began to take shape and had become an opportunity to expand our vision further.
From the 1st until the 5th of August the event will take place for the second time in the French countryside, at Le Parc de Josephine Baker in the beautiful central region of Dordogne. Why did you choose this place and what makes it special?
A person proposed me to host Intrinsic in France. When we visited the site, I felt that the park of Josephine Baker would be a highly suitable place to deliver Intrinsic. I was impressed by the history and the nature of the park, which is also an institution devoted to culture, the arts, the education and actions for the benefit of fraternity and ecology. Josephine Baker was a dancer and singer who became widely popular in France during the 1920s. She devoted much of her life to fighting racism: “There is only one race, the human race.”
The park’s general ethos is aligned with our values and is thus ideal for us.
It seems that Intrinsic puts a particular focus on its intimate and curated atmosphere… Quality over quantity. Where does this choice come from?
It is an old wisdom of humanity.
By choosing quality over quantity we open ourselves up to the true efficiency and the depth of our experience. On the other hand quantity over quality brings distraction within our lives, we get taken away from our priority and values.
Intrinsic is focusing on the long term things that matter. We simply value ourselves, our work and our community. People’s vibration, mindsets, and beliefs become somehow our own, so it’s important to create a surrounding that lift everyone higher. Intimacy is so important, as it helps us connect. We feel free to be ourselves, without fear of criticism and expectations which has such a big presence at bigger scale events.
Every festival aims to be something different, but I feel like Intrinsic actually manages to do something unique. Let’s take the booking choices for example; the variety of experimental live acts is so incredibly curated, but also the established and ‘bigger’ DJ names are interestingly chosen (Nicolas Lutz, Margaret Dygas, Praslea…). What guides your booking choices?
We never tried to be something different to be honest, we simply felt its essential to deliver such a project.
The guidance comes from my heart and own sound preference. Involving mainly artists which have influenced my musical journey trough the years. It’s also important to have some personal connection and understanding with everyone who takes a part. The combination of both sound inspiration and personal connection creates a very special atmosphere that builds on appreciation and trust. This vibration manifests to the audience and the experience.
I also found very interesting that on your website it is mentioned how the music is rich in details and many audience members want to hear everything. This goes in the opposite direction from the usual party/festival experience where the audience is provided with a context where they are basically invited to be as loud as possible. In these times moments of reflection and focus, especially in a community context, are getting rarer. How do the atmospheres created in the Experiment Intrinsic events influence individuals? How do they react to ‘quieter’ performances?
I can’t really speak from our audience point of view, but I can share my own. I consider ambient music as a different form of meditation. Sort of gateway to go inward. You can’t meditate while your mind is busy and loud. As matter of fact I found out that quietness is one of the most underrated values in music. It is very important for us to create a floor where everyone shares similar values and join the events with deeper purpose than just an event to hang around or hear highlight DJs.
The event will also provide various workshops, from yoga to healing arts. The term ‘Spiritual’ is a little overused these days, but I would like to ask you to elaborate on the subject; developing a spiritual side in one’s life is certainly a challenge in our society. Can a gathering like Experiment Intrinsic be a place for human souls to develop themselves and meet each other in a spiritual sense?
Being spiritual means being kind to yourself and all other beings, loving your existence. Taking in account the feedback received from most of our audience members I believe the project is a platform where people connect to their higher self collectively and individually at the same time. Workshops, yoga and healing arts are playing a very important role for our personal growth. In combination with ambient music over a 5-day format, it allows the mind to get quieter and the soul happier. I feel the difference between Intrinsic and many other events lies not only in the chilled experience, but also in the post effect which many describe as another form of awakening.
You are also active as an artist under the moniker ’Nathalia’, and you will perform at the event in August. I was impressed listening to some of your recordings; deep soundscape submersions that retrieve distant memories. What’s your vision musically? What do you want to communicate to your listeners?
Emptiness. My recordings come into existence as a result of personal expression trough mix of soundscapes. We use labels as if they were permanent “things” that make us who we are. Describing sound it’s like creating identity and attachments to certain labels. We are changing constantly, so it is our expression. I usually try to communicate through the sound which can lead me to the moment of emptiness within my mind and soul, however, sometimes that is a hard task due to my personal state, and that’s part of the journey. Depth comes from within the heart. It’s a true miracle when you get inline with your depth, as you touch the purest side of your being. That’s what I call meditation. Sometimes it’s very profound and sometimes you are just trying out – practicing.
You have been involved in the electronic music scene for a while. Where is electronic music heading in 2019? Could you share one positive and one negative aspect of the current state of the electronic music scene?
I don’t think I can be the one to comment on the future of electronic music scene. There is always room for improvement and innovation. As long as people are creating from the heart, we do not need to worry about positive or negative aspects, as they constantly change according to our own state of mind.
Can you please share your favourite moment from Experiment Intrinsic France 2017?
Collective awareness supported by the Universe.
Could you share 3 pieces of music that you think are representative of Experiment Intrinsic?
Gyorgy Ono supplied us with a two hour recording that captures the atmospheres of Experiment Intrinsic. Smoothly moving from dark soundscapes to middle eastern ambiences to avant-garde jingles that could have been delivered directly from ‘The Residents’, or some obscure country artist from what we know, the podcast has the same visceral potency of dreams to bring someone from one place to another in a few seconds without him feeling lost. The artist, with his roots in Georgia, aims to explore sonic fragmentation by combining various elements of pre-existing material, and we think he absolutely hits the target here.
The guest for this Meoko podcast is someone we can’t hide we are long-time fans of. Nima Gorji is back in the series with a new podcast, and it is no secret that we love his deep and groovy minimal style – Nima never disappointed us and we didn’t expect him to this time either.
Despite having origin from Iran, his musical roots are in Copenhagen, where he held his first residency in 95, at Rust Club, one of the best underground clubs in the city at the time. Nowadays when Nima Gorji is not staying in Ibiza to work on his music he is probably touring intensively in the best clubs and festivals around the world. We believe this mix undoubtedly shows his experience in building up a groove and his various influences.
Impress in an hour and half is not easy – yet almost immediately we smile and have fun while Nima is dragging us deeper on the recording. By combining obscure and deeper track with bouncy Ibiza tech styles (we are thinking, for example, of the Fuse release ‘
‘, played around the end of the mix) the outcome is amusing to say the least, with the only downside of leaving us ready with a party mood, and craving for more.
If you are based around London you will have the chance to hear Nima perform a back to back with the Venezuelan talent Giorgio Maulini, at the Decay Records Showcasecoming up in March, on Saturday 9th at 93 Feet East. The party, happening through the daytime, will start at 3PM and go on until 1AM.
Joining Nima Gorji and Giorgio Maulini headlining the line-up there will be Panorama Bar’s resident André Galluzzi. With more than 25 years of experience and releases on top notch labels such as Cadenza, Cocoon, Ostgut Ton and Highgade, André can be considered a real key figure in the house music scene and a master in turning up any dancefloor.Quality acts James Dexter b2b Davide Decay, Mauro Ferno & Mestivan, Max, Lenka Toma and Kego & Albi complete the line-up of what promises to be a memorable showcase.
Decay Records, based in the UK, was founded in 2013 by the Italian DJ and producer Davide Zeta.
Mostly focusing on modern tech and deep house, since its creation the label has hosted a wide spectrum of established and respected underground artists ranging from underground tech-house masters such as Sascha Dive, Jay Tripwire, Franck Roger or Hector, to more Techno focused artists like Nathan Barato and Dave Pezzner, and received support from the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Mr. G, Ryan Crosson, Dubfire and many more. Into 2019 the label continues to grow and attract new listeners and fans all around the globe.
93 Feet East, established in 1999 and recently relaunched, sits at the heart of Brick Lane and features high tech lighting, a d&b sound system within the frame of a raw and industrial decor, making it the perfect place for this daytime madness.
For their first instalment of 2019, London-based crew Grounded have set the bar high, curating a lineup of exceptional calibre for a unique warehouse experience. Since their debut in August last year, Grounded crew have been inconspicuously establishing themselvesthrough a series of parties bringing a slice of Romania to London.
On Saturday the 2ndof February, Grounded will welcome some of the scenes finest rising and established talents for a night set to satisfy the sonic palates of those keen to have their boundaries pushed. Romanian heavyweights Dan Andrei [a:rpia:r]andAndrei Ciubuc [Cuplet, MIORITMIC], will be joined by Spanish Baltazar[Shamandrum] alongside Drums mainstays: Elia Nafzger and Desuba. This curation strikes the ideal balance of diversity and cohesion, each selector bringing a unique take on the minimal sound and a healthy dose of both the familiar and unfamiliar.
Of course, a schedule this impressive demands a high level of care and attention towards event design and production. Naturally, Grounded have delivered. Equipping the warehouse space with a crisp Funktion One system, the subtle nuances of the music will shine, enabling the immersive listening experience prescribed by the Romanian sound. The musical journey will be complemented by the visuals of Constantin Malmare. In addition to his hypnotic contribution to previous Grounded outings, Constantin’s design work for Anthea’s Partisan is testament to his ability to visually communicate the intricacies of music. It goes without saying that this event is set to be a truly mesmerising affair.In Grounded’s own words, it will be an event“where words leave off and music begins”; a night of magic not to be missed.
To keep in the loop, we recommend following Grounded’s facebook page. We are pleased to be joining forces with Grounded to offer you exclusive access to win FREE ENTRY for you and mate PLUS both Vinyl, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us which artists you would like to see at a future grounded party
Vinyl. Prize Andrei Ciubuc & Frost (2 sides of the spatel)
MEOKO Discovers the Forward-thinking Sound Which is Reshaping Underground House and Techno, infusing it with Break-beat and Electro
Since 2017, Re-UP and Riccardo Piazza teamed up on a new project, forming the Venice based record label Where We Met. Distancing itself from the old minimal tech background that distinguished Re-UP, the multi-faced project is not only a ‘traditional’ record label, but also an independent DJ act, as well as a promoter entity. More importantly, WWM is pushing a forward-thinking sound which is reshaping current underground house and techno, infusing it with break-beat and electro.
Just listen to the first 2017 release from Reedale Rise; the ‘Broken Land’ EP throws a captivating amen break into its first track with impressive smoothness, but also includes minimal house tracks that sound closer to the micro-house style we often hear at our favourite parties lately. Or their last release from 2018, ‘Where is my Prisma?’ by Chicaiza – the astonishing title-track is just something else, a spectral groove which convinces us the label is really doing something special.
We were certainly impressed by the ingenuity of their nearly 2-hours exclusive recording for Meoko. Creating a flow with broken beats is not an easy task for any DJ, and WWM do it beautifully. 10 minutes into the mix and you will be sucked into a space wormhole of rolling electro basslines and lysergic atmospheres. As the mix progresses, house comes onto the game; steady 4/4 kicks and neat hats build an infectious groove, without switching off the note of deepness that characterizes the WWM style. To accompany the mix, we had a chat with Where We Met regarding their upcoming releases and events.
Hey guys, first of all, thank you for your time. We are very happy to have you on Meoko!
Could tell me a bit about your background? When was WWM born, and how?
Hi, It’s a pleasure to chat with you, guys! As explained in the introduction, WWM is a blend of Re-UP and Riccardo Piazza. Ricky’s history with electronic music had a serious turn when Leo and Omar asked him to go out a dinner in 2. “I remember I was back from an important business meeting in Milan” Ricky says, “dressed like a boring suited jacket man and I said “let’s meet up with the guys!”. Until that moment, I was just a guy with a lot of passion for electronic music, now I can say I have a way to express and share his passion with others. So I really have to thank Omar and Leo who gave me this opportunity, I’m sure that I’m now a better DJ / promoter / whatever you want because of them.” On the other hand, the Re-UP project needed a reboot. The duo, founder of Kina Music, had been around for over a decade. After joining Music On between 2014 and 2016, they felt the need to step back from a mainstream brand that went too far from their musical taste. We’re plenty of good memories of this period, lot of fun and most important, we had the opportunity to see how a big agencies works. Ricky’s has been fundamental to help the Re-UP rebranding because He enriched their musical knowledge and thanks to his different background, he contaminated Re-UP’s sets which are now more sophisticated but still effective.
The name Where We Met celebrates a specific moment in which the three of us had a mind-blowing experience all together, surrounded by inspiring music and funny scenes. Sunwaves 14 is Where We Met and that’s also the story behind the name.Zip’s magical 5 hours set and the unforgettable Ricardo Villalobos set in the middle of a storm were both essential for understanding that we were feeling the same energy , and from there our friendship has been growing with mutual respect and with the security that we share certain human values which are at the core of the WWM project.
That’s why Re-UP suddenly decided to invite Ricky to that dinner. As soon as the meeting started, things flowed naturally. Omar already had the name in mind, ‘Where We First Met’, so we just shortened it and here we are, ready to go!
What is the fundamental vision behind the Where We Met project? What are your goals?
In the beginning we wrote a sort of WWM manifesto that we thought we would have to present to the artists. The picky and meritocratic process we use to select the music for each release allows us to be like a super selector which is composed by our 6 ears and 3 hearts.
WWM’s vision is set on human values first and foremost, and as a reflection we work with artists we empathize with. Our goal is to release high quality music that match our taste. Something to be played in different moment of the day, something that people will hear in 20 years and still enjoy it.
Some of the label releases show a Detroit old-school electro influence, other feature broken beats so neat that they almost sound like they could have been released on Hessle Audio. What inspired you to go in this direction?
Thanks for the comparison, hats off to Ben UFO and whole Hessle Audio crew! We know that music is cyclical so it was about time that electro and old school music became popular once again.
What inspires us is the message behind a track and that’s why we didn’t set any limitations to the label. Obviously the first release was an electro package that surely put the label on the map, but after that we felt the need to explore a more deep influenced sound.
With the third we returned into a techno electro mood and luckily, one tracks has been selected by Craig Richard on his Fabric Mix. We will never thank Reedale Rise enough for this! WWM004 represents an excursion from breaks, deep and techno while the 5th was meant to be a dance floor-oriented release.
The Chicaiza EP is very important for WWM because it is something we needed in order to be a bit less predictable. The label was becoming an almost pure electro one because the best music we found at that time was electro, which kind of attracted similar music to us, but it wasn’t completely reflecting who we are and the range of the music we play and like. So We want to have different genres coming from WWM and we would really love that in each of our releases you are be able to hear our trademark which will always reflect our 3 different visions!
The first record of 2019 is already being released in February – the ‘Event Horizon EP’ by Tonnovelle. Can you describe the record for us?
WWM006 is the most rave-ish on the label, an expression of our techno side and something you will need when you play peak time. It’s an intelligent release, pretty contemporary music, something that might have been out on several current “trendy” labels, but beware the A2. 😉
The influences that Arman and Kamyar had for this one in regard to the Vienna/Berlin connections are pretty clear to us even though it’s a pretty personal record. We also love the energy on this one!
Ricky adds “I’m really happy to have Arman on board because he is a longtime friend that I met in a special city, Vienna, and a very special place Metz. It’s a second home for me and it was so important to help me define my taste in music and also what is nightlife to me. I’m so thankful I’ve met the Funkroom crew and all the people that I can now call friends!”
WWM also has a sub-label, Spaziotempo. It only had one release from Freddy Fresh in 2018 so far, which sounds as brilliant as inventive. It definitely makes us want to hear more!
How does Spaziotempo differ from Where We Met? Do you have anything scheduled for 2019?
Spaziotempo is hard to describe…We felt that Freddy Fresh EP would need a different home rather than WWM. At the very beginning we wanted to create a label for represses and reissues but we immediately realized that this concept would be a limit. As soon as we worked on the Spaziotempo002, the division between the 2 labels was getting clear to us – and if you read between the lines you can spot the artist already. 😉nds like Freddy to be hosted
You are active as a record label and DJ act, but also as promoters in the Venice area.
How is the scene moving nowadays in Italy? Did you find any particular difficulty in promoting your projects?
Italy is trying to reshape a club culture and many good producers are coming out. At the same time, people are understanding that music and small venues can be turned into intimate spaces that fits perfectly with the party experience we aim for. We had few great shows in Italy last year, there was a living connection with the dance-floor, almost tangible at times.
Luckily we’ve shown up on Michele’s radar, the owner of Veniceberg, who invited us to host a showcase series in his club. Since the first event, the relationship with Michele grew and we managed to understand the right steps to introduce the WWM project. There’s a mutual faith, he trust our bookings because he knows that we understand his club.
The music we love is neither easy nor popular, so it’s normal that not so many people would enjoy a 3 hours IDM/breaks/whatever set as we do. What we are trying to do is to offer quality music, always making sure that people have a good time at our parties, that’s the key! Behind a successful event there’s a motivated crew which is able to transmit energy and passion, hooking people and giving them the right tools to join the experience. How to do that? Passion plus smiles plus respect to our followers.
Your next party will be on the 18th of January at Veniceberg, the venue you just mentioned. The underground space in Verona provides quality acoustics thanks to a purposely hand-made sound system. You will play alongside Gwenan, a daring artist who plays tracks ranging from techno to more experimental beats. What is your expectation for this party?
Can you imagine the most comfortable situation in which everything works perfectly? That’s Veniceberg! With this scenario, you just need to focus on being the perfect host for the artist and the people attending to the party.
Gwen is a great Dj, one of our favorites for sure. We love her selection and flow, you can feel a personal touch in her sets and she’s always able to make a good connection with the crowd. Empathy: one of the skills every dj should have!
Other upcoming parties also have intriguing bookings; Freerotation resident Jane Fitz and Madrid DJ/producer Corp will play respectively in March and May, also at Veniceberg. What guides your booking choices?
As for our releases, we want to book artists that we would love to see at other people’s parties. Being a DJ means to connect with the people and not everyone have the ability to bring the audience through their journey.
Jane needs no introductions, she’s one of the best in the business and it’s such an honor to have her with us: I can’t wait to hear her on the Veniceberg’s sound-system! Ricky still remembers her debut at Panorama Bar, at the end of her set there were literally 15 people waiting in line to hug her (including him): we think that this tells you a lot about the great human being she is (and of course…how good that night was!).
Corp is our bet this year! He’s surely a superb producer, his works for Libertine are outstanding but we heard he’s a good DJ too and we can’t wait to listen to him in Verona! We would also like to give a special mention to Chicaiza, who did a superb set in November. We knew he was skilled but he really nailed it!
Can each of you tell us your favourite record from 2018?
And favourite party?
OMAR: Checkpoint meets O300f Recordings at Backyard Barcelona Villa. I
oved the energy all over, especia
en Kashawar played one of the best sets i’ve ever heard!
Today we are more than proud to feature a legend in our podcast series, someone who is often named among the creators themselves of the techno music genre: Mr. Kevin Saunderson. The recording sets the mood with the timeless Kenny Larkin Tension Mix of Kevin’s own ‘Future’ featuring Inner City. Kevin then shows his skills as an artist who has the incredible ability to create a mood in its mixes with just 2 or 3 purposely chosen tracks at the right tempo – throughout the mix each track is extremely strong, with no frills. Whether it’s house or techno elements in the mix the result is astonishing; Kevin Saunderson brings a classic Detroit touch to each single moment. The mix sucks up the listener until the end leaving one to scream for more techno – we could not have expected anything less from a legend such as Kevin Saunderson.
Kevin Saunderson returns to London this weekend; on Saturday 19th of January he will perform at Corsica Studios. And while platinum-selling Detroit artist will be back headlining room 1 of this special event, room 2 will also see something more unique than rare happening; Memory Box welcomes Renaat Vandepapeliere – the Boss of the one and only R&S Records who is known for taking risks in his sets beyond trends. Robin Ball and Brassica playing live finish up the line-up into what already feels like a memorable event – definitely not one to miss out if you are around London this weekend
Catch the man himself at Memory Box this Saturday One of London’s perfect venues to host such an event, Corsica Studios alongside Renaat (R&S)
There is really no need for introduction when it comes to the unstoppable fun trio that is Wareika. For the past decade Florian Schirmacher, Henrik Raabe and Jakob Seidensticker have been at the forefront of electronic music, consistently developing and pushing their signature sound in every corner of the world with great success. Their finger work is finesse itself and has been universally appreciated, also and foremost by Visionquest, Perlon and all the labels they have charted on. Wareika are more a band that has fun experimenting with electronic music, but has a musical culture that goes well beyond it. Listen to any of their productions and you will discover atmospheres which refer to their own world and personalities.
From London’s iCAN Studios where I first met them 4 years ago, to Funkhaus in Berlin (for the 20 years celebration of Perlon), to London again at Ministry Of Sound and back to Panorama Bar in Berlin this August (for Get Perlonized) – I’ve been travelling between cities in order to get to know them better and witness them perform live. Trust me when I tell you this; I have rarely come across such masterful artists. However, I believe the main thing about them is that despite all their fame and success, despite all the collaborations and all the world class labels they have released their music on, despite everything that comes with it – these three individuals are genuine, humble and down to earth. Their love for music is fundamental, a sacred value that leaves no space for anything pretentious. To my eyes this is a rare quality, especially nowadays..!
As we say farewell to 2018 we had a proper catch up with Wareika in order to find out what they’ve been up to lately! In addition to the interview the trio teamed up with Meoko to deliver a “goodie bag” of exclusive audio & visual material for our readers, just in time for Christmas and New Year (well almost…)!
Afternoon mighty Wareika! It’s a great pleasure to welcome you back to Meoko! So, you guys toured South America recently for a duration of two weeks. How did it go?
Florian: We played in lovely Colombia and Mexico. Colombia is one one of our favourite countries. From the first time we were booked to perform there few years ago we fell in love with the people and their mood. Since then we go back regularly and always have a great time.
And what about Mexico? How was it there?
Jakob: It was a fantastic short trip to Papaya Playa Project in Tulum. This spot is like a paradise and at this time with not so many tourists. The dance floor is open air and just 30 meters from the sea. It was a full-moon Party with lots of people and we played very well. As our gigs are always different and not always perfect, I can say that it was a special one and we really want to go back asap, especially as it is fucking freezing here in Europe for the next months.
What do you think of the club scene in South America? Is it any similar compared to the club scene in Europe?
Henrik: It’s different for sure and it’s way smaller. The positive effect of this is that you have a very intimate feeling when you are clubbing there. Everybody knows each other. There is competition too but way less if you compare it with Berlin e.g.
You have travelled quite a lot these past years, is there any specific country that you would like to visit / perform and haven’t done so yet?
Florian: The electronic music scene is still young just like many countries in the world. For example Estonia had its hundredth birthday this year. Good reason to celebrate there. Cuba, Peru, Ethiopia, Ruanda, Armenia would also be interesting for me.
2018 marks 11 years (more or less) since the three of you formed the band. How has this journey been so far?
Henrik: First of all, AMAZING! It feels very special to share such an intense experience (like touring the world with your music) together with such good friends. I think I couldn’t do this on my own, like many DJs do it. I am so grateful to have… a BAND! Of course it is often not so easy, especially when you play mostly in smaller clubs, where even doing a proper soundcheck is nothing usual. Beside that, if you work together you have to find solutions together, you have to discuss things… It’s a family thing and that’s not always easy, but it is so beautiful!! From a musical perspective I could say, that none of us would have done what we could have done on our own. It has been possible because we did it together.
Did you expect back then that things will develop the way they have?
Jakob: When the three of us met about 10 years ago in Hamburg we had no idea of what was going to happen. We first experimented with different drums and percussions and recorded everything. The result was our debut single „Men Village“ on Connaisseur. Shortly after this release we met regularly in the studio of Henrik and mine. We were also trying out vocals with Florian for the first time. This mixture of different kinds of instruments and styles has probably brought us where we are today.
Henrik: Honestly, in the beginning all of us were really keen on making it out there and touring the planet. When that started to happen it was still very exciting, but also felt very natural in a way, because it was just what we wanted and what we worked very hard for. Everytime when we have the chance to go somewhere, and play our music for the people, it feels like part of the dream becoming reality, and that’s what life is worth living for, isn’t it?
If you could go back in time 11 years ago, what would be the one main advice you would give to yourselves?
Henrik: On a band level I have nothing to admit, we did exactly what we had to do together. Maybe for myself I could say that I started a bit late the process of going in depth with learning certain musical basics, so I still struggle to really play what I want to play, because I cannot play it yet. But I am on it!!!
On your set-up there is always some sort of little custom-made modular boxes that you build yourself Henrik. How do you do that? You’ve even built a custom-made lute, now that’s even more impressive! Do you find it easy building your own instruments? looks so difficult to me!
Henrik: Playing electronic music LIVE simply calls for very special needs in the field of instrumentation. You want to have lots of control about many musical as well as mixing aspects in real time. That led me to spend a lot of time experimenting with hundreds of different devices and their possible combinations, and even building things myself, because I could not find what I needed out there. But after all that process I have to say, that music comes first and foremost from your heart. We had some gigs where parts of the machinery decided not work with us, and we felt pretty naked on stage. But then we played the best music ever with very little technical stuff.
Back in February you released your 5th album “Water Sky Sun Wood” on Japanese imprint Mule Musiq. Could you give us a bit of an insight?
Jakob: We recorded a long session of about 1-2 hours at Henrik’s Studio in Bingen/Rhein (near Frankfurt). First I wanted to delete it because it had some crackle sounds in it but Florian insisted to keep it and this was a good idea.
Florian: Yes, I took the whole project to Berlin and worked on it for quite a long time. It was a bit like Chinese whispers, so Henrik got it back! (Henrik laughs)
Henrik: I took the whole Opus with more than 50 channels and bounced them in about 3-4 Stereo Channels and started to add new elements from zero. In the end I sent it to Jakob who speeded the track about 10 bpm up, added some more elements and did the mixdown. That was it! The album sounds like a 60min jam but it was lots of work (even though it was a 60min jam)! (Henrik laughs)
Also this year you have released many EP’s with the most recent being the Shamania EP on Sleep Is Commercial, expected out very soon. How did that come along?
Jakob: Not too sure how it happened, like I remember Henrik and I played together on his piano in his studio, the rhythm was so strange that we had no idea of how to loop it… in the end it was a 5/7 bar measure as far as I remember.
Henrik: Or was it 4/11??
Jakob: Maybe it was. Once we figured out what loop and bar measure it was we slowly started to build the structure around this first piano idea.
Henrik: Usually Jakob and Florian have strict ideas about what labels are suitable for our music but this time it was me that thought of Francesco Assenza from Sleep is Commercial. We have known each other for years and as you can see he was into it.
It’s not the first time we see Ricardo Villalobos remixing one of your tracks. This time he teamed up with Thomas Melchior and delivered two remixes. Whose idea was this?
Florian: The year is almost finished, yet there are so many things coming up for Wareika it feels like spring-time. The Ricardo Villalobos & Thomas Melchior Remixes are for sure upfront and we are happy to release this double 12” as this was a process of about two years (to make this release with all the remixes happen).
A beautiful Remix will come out this month also: Its for our friend Sary called „Hear & Hakim Murphy – Motion Currents („Wareika’s Moon Aligned Remix“). Its a link between different worlds as well…
Jakob: The whole bunch of releases will come straight early 2019.
Is there anything particular you would like to see Wareika getting more into in the future?
Henrik: Taking over the groove from those machines. I love all kind of electronic music devices and my studio is full of them, but still I find the best grooves are played by humans, not by machines. Somehow we left the groove to the machines and sometimes we become slaves of the machines, without realizing it. Let’s free ourselves from that!
Last time I saw you perform live was back in August at Panorama Bar for Get Perlonized. That was an insane live set and the vibe was so special! From your perspective how does it feel when you perform there?
Jakob: Oh my god that one was fantastic! Everybody was sweating to the fullest, three o’clock in the morning it was still 34 or so degrees outside. So you can imagine the vibe inside. Insane. For me it was one of the best gigs we ever played! We also played about one hour longer. The people were just too hungry (laughs). Playing for Get Perlonized is always special though. It’s just a guarantee for a good party. Thanks to Tomo and Sammy for keeping it up for such a long time now!
I also remember the day I came across Florian randomly at Panorama Bar in January. How often do you go out clubbing?
Florian: I like to go out and experience new things! For example I also enjoy dancing to Salsa.
Jakob: I try to keep it low between the gigs, but it doesn’t always work as I like to visit my friends in clubs and dancing to good music. Henrik is rather in his family thing, less clubbing, more music production and making music with his refugee friends from Syria.
For someone who doesn’t live in Berlin what would be the top 3 places you’d recommend them visiting while in the city?
Florian: The Philharmonic Orchestra has a special sound. I also like the Teufelsberg, it’s such a cool venue and it has open doors for visitors. Also the Loop Gallery! It opens randomly but it is very special.
Jakob: For clubbing there are obviously way too many venues one could recommend. I like Club der Visionäre in summer best.
Henrik: For food there is also loads of good options. We often stay at Michelberger Hotel, Warschauerstraße when in Berlin. As I almost always ran out of time, I end up at the Haloumi place next door. That’s a good one too (laughs)!
As we speak of Berlin, Jakob when are you moving there (laughs)? Jokes aside this year you’ve been playing music in Berlin almost on a weekly basis, would you consider relocating or you’d rather stay in Hamburg?
Jakob: Yes! 2018 was intense. I was DJing as Jakob Seidensticker a lot besides our live gigs as Wareika and Silky Raven. I love Berlin but I also like to leave Berlin once the work is done (laughs). I love the city but it’s also too grey and dangerous for me. Coming back to Hamburg from all over the world has always given me a feeling of relief. I was born here and i will die here hopefully – (everybody laughing)!
What shall your fans expect from Wareika this coming year?
Jakob: As we are making music as Wareika for more than 10 ye
rs now, w
are celebrating this with a huge collaborative double album with loads of brilliant musicians, friends and other inspiring people, such as Sonja Moonear, Maayan Nidam, Shonky, Radio Slave, Kalabrese, just to name a few…
That sounds brilliant! We’re definitely looking forward to that! Anything else you would like to share with the world before we wrap up?
Jakob: Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. In case you don’t celebrate Christmas, just have a wine on me 😉
Henrik: See you somewhere on this lovely planet at the weirdest dance floors.
Thank you so much for your time and pressies Wareika! It’s been fantastic having you back! Merry Christmas from Meoko!
It’s not everyday that you come across a DJ that has had an EP release to their name at the age of 13, but Oskar Szafraniec has done just that. Now 24, the Polish-born, classically-trained musician has 11 years of music production experience up his sleeve. Since then, he has been dedicated to the studio and the continual growth of his musical abilities releasing solo records with RAWAX, Cyclo and Closed Circuits.
In 2015, Oskar spent time in the studio with Ricardo Villalobos, and afterwards they produced separate tracks on a split record on RAWAX. Since then, Oskar has also collaborated and on several records and produced an album with Pier Bucci, as well as touring and working closely with a Guy Called Gerald. Now living in Berlin, Oskar has been busy collecting records and working in the studio, perfecting his sound. As can be deduced from listening to Oskar’s creations, he is very honest to his craft, and draws inspiration from a range of different musical genres, adding subtle yet unique elements into his distinctive minimal style. In the near future, Oskar Szafraniec is teaming up with Perlon’s Wareika, and also Caruan to produce some exciting new with an Italian jazz ensemble – definitely some projects to keep your eyes and ears ready for. We sat down to take a chat with Oskar to find out more about his career and life.
1- Hey Oskar. Nice to speak with you! How are you doing? What are you up to right now?
I’m fine, thank you! I am currently visiting my mom in Poland as unfortunately she has been fighting with cancer recently. She is in recovery right now though, which is such a relief. In these moments, it is very important to stay close to your family. My friends have helped me a lot, which I am extremely grateful for. I have my studio equipment here with me in Poland so I have been doing a little bit of work on upcoming projects where I can, and driving back to Berlin if I have any gigs on. I’ll be playing at Watergate this Wednesday, supporting System of Survival and Alexandra – I am really looking forward to dance with all those creative people at such a great location. I’m thinking I may play a bit more of an interesting set on Wednesday as my music selection will usually be a reflection of my personal life it – so let’s see where I’ll take it! I always believe that the best release for your emotions is to tell your story through music.
2- Very sorry to hear about your Mother, Oskar. But we’re glad you’re still powering through and making music. So tell us, you’re only just turning 24 but you have 11 years of producing and DJing. How exactly did you get into electronic music at such a young age?
It’s quite difficult to really pin-point point a single thing. I was always very musical, but became very curious listening to different types of music on the internet and it just escalated form there. I started researching about electronic music, getting inspired and trying to understand what electronic music was truly all about – looking back, I was definitely a big music nerd – I still am, really! I began to produce music, experiment with different instruments, sing, and eventually DJ… I got my first DJ gig when I was 14!
3- That’s pretty impressive! After all these years, do you have any rituals before going into music writing process?
I hope this doesn’t make me sound too OCD, but I have to admit I like to reorganise the studio room a bit before I start; put the cables and machines in the right place, clean up. A clean environment means a clear mind to me. Before I start recording I also like to finish all private things I have scheduled to do, I really need to feel free from distraction.
4- We know that you’re pretty experienced with using serious studio equipment; I believe that Roland once asked you to test out some of their new kits! What is your favourite piece of studio equipment right now?
At the moment it’s Space Echo. I’m actually using it on nearly each track I work on right now! My favourites come in waves though. A while ago it was an old Electribe ER-1, and before that, the SH-101. I really love sampling though as well. Anything what helps me to write beautiful stories with sounds.
5- Let’s talk a little about your inspirations then. What factors in your life influence your music the most?
It is usually the people I meet, situations, new instruments, and music I’ve never heard before. Recently it has been difficult for me to focus on new music and find inspiration as my mom has been sick but I have been trying to work with this as much as possible.
6- I guess it can’t always be all easy going in the studio sometimes and there are days where you struggle to find inspiration. How do you overcome writers block?
I don’t like to push things. It’s not like I’m working everyday on music trying to get the best out of it. I need to feel it’s the right moment; be inspired, be free. I believe if you push yourself to write, then your art sounds pushed, not honest. If I’m not inspired, I find other ways to spend my time. It is important to take breaks and come back with a fresh mind!
7- What have you got in the pipeline at the moment – can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
There’s actually a lot of projects I have been working on lately! I have an upcoming release for Barac’s Moment Records, which I am currently tweaking some details on. I have also recently teamed up with Wareika for a new project, and I’m working on a track with the Swedish singer, Sailor & I. I have been collaborating with Otake Record’s owner, Piotr Bejnar, Round Up’s Bruno Curtis, and also the young artist, Assal (who I worked on the Meoko free release with).
There are several solo projects, too – records coming up on labels like Skylax, and some very high secret ones that I can’t mention yet (Ooooh!). I’m very fortunate to be working with such an inspiring, talented people with strong character. To be honest, I work only with people I personally like; people I can talk to about everything, whether it’s spirituality, family issues or art, people who has slightly different view on things and can’t be put in any frame. Oh! I am also travelling to Italy soon to work on a very, very special project with my dear friend Caruan and an Italian jazz ensemble. There’ll be no limits! We’re mashing up the styles: lots of instruments, bass guitars, piano, singing… I can’t wait!
8- Sounds like you’re going to be incredibly bust for the foreseeable future then! What are your goals for the next few years?
Constantly make music, be a better person. I want to keep learning everyday – learning about people, about myself, about music.
9- Alright, a (not) very serious last question now, haha! If it was the end of the world and you had to throw the last party, where would it be, and who would play?
I would have to go with a beautiful private Island in Africa with a line up full of young passionate musicians who haven’t had the chance to get heard yet, and crowd of true music lovers!
If you want to catch Oskar playing, he will next be playing at Watergate’s Mittwoch night on the 21st November, supporting System of Survival and Alexandra. Also keep your eyes out for his releases dropping very soon!
Australia has long held a mysterious and exotic appeal for people the world over. It’s rugged, untamed natural beauty entices travelers from across the globe to visit its shores, creating a melting pot of culture and ideas. This unique atmosphere also permeates down into its underground music scene, injecting a cosmopolitan vibe onto dancefloors and inspiring its producers and promoters. Australian’s two biggest cities; Sydney & Melbourne became the setting for the explosion of the rave scene in the late 80’s, as English expats coming out of the UK’s Summer of Love brought with them the house, disco and techno sounds that swept the globe. Seminal warehouse parties and mammoth raves across both cities sparked a longstanding affair with House and Techno. This laid the foundation for more niche musical tastes to flourish with Australia’s current minimal scene putting down preliminary roots around 2011. This is about the people and spaces that have kept this music alive.
As influences from German labels like Perlon, Keinemusik, Kompakt and Playhouse began to find favor on Sydney dancefloors during 2011, collective ‘Braille’ appeared and began playing the forward-thinking sounds of micro, dub, deep house and minimal techno. Their progressively motivated tastes saw them spin regularly at iconic Burdekin & Imperial hotels, alongside hosting their own warehouse parties. Combining German influences with the emerging Romanian sound to great effect. The now defunct group opened the door for successive groups to evolve Sydney’s minimal scene. These early years also saw the rise of seminal event ‘Spice’ ..a legendary after-hours party held in the intimate underground club called ‘The Spice Cellar’. Striking a chord with Sydney punters who yearned for a more European clubbing experience, it was a breeding ground for more experimental sounds, many of which were minimal in nature.
Tragically as the scene was blossoming, one of Sydney’s most defining moments landed like a hammer with the introduction of ‘lockout’ laws in 2014. Using inflated crime statistics to pursue a hard line against what they deemed to be rampant alcohol-fueled violence, State authorities instituted 1:30 am lock-outs and a 3am last drinks policy on clubs and bars. Targeting clubbing hotspots in Kings Cross, Oxford Street, and the CBD. Famous clubs like Goldfish Bar, Goodgod Small club and The Cellar were just a few of the many, that closed their doors due to heavy government regulations. Irrevocably changing the house and techno scene.
One group who not only weathered this storm but has emerged as the current spearhead of Australia’s minimal scene, are Mantra Collective. Forming in 2012, It’s three core members Telly, Whitecat and Aboutjack (Aboutjack left in 2018) have heroically maintained a steady influx of reputed minimal artist into the Australian club circuit. Their warehouse series (now onto its 16th installment) continues the legacy of the 80’s rave scene. One that took advantage of the inner west industrial districts as a refuge for countercultural movements, now utilized to escape the over-regulation and hostile attitude of state authorities. They were the first to bring artists like Vid, Cosmijn, Lazar Hoche, FUSE London’s Enzo Siragusa, Seb Zito and Rich NxT to Aussie shores. As well the being the ones responsible for major highlights in Sydney’s underground scene. In 2016 they collaborated with S.A.S.H., Romanian visual artist Cote and producer Arapu to pull off ‘Inner Space’, a breathtaking audio-visual immersion at the ArtHouse. Their two ‘Reconstructed’ parties in 2017 also hosted iconic producers East End Dubs & Barac as well as Cezar & Subb-an in an incredible underground carpark location. These groundbreaking parties cemented Mantra as the current leaders of this scene.
Before the lockouts damaged Sydney’s nightlife, there were already established crews in the city and SASH is one of them. Although not focused entirely on minimal sounds, they have toured many artists in that realm like swiss whiz Alci, Romanian’s Cristi Cons and duo Vinyl Speed Adjust. Their weekly Sunday parties have been a ritual for Sydneysiders over the last several years. They host a daytime, open-air gathering at North Sydney’s Greenwood Hotel and an evening rager at the iconic ‘Home’ nightclub next to Darling Harbour. They’ve been a big supporter of local talent , whilst still consistently flying in talent from across the world to showcase on Aussie soil with the support of touring agency Solid Circles.
Solid Circles Touring have been a big force in feeding the Australian underground circuit with international tours from the likes of Sonja Moonear, Varhat, Sammy Dee, Priku, Traumer, S.A.M. and many many more. Led by Gregory Pepperpot the agency is a key player that’s connected overseas talent with Australian promoters. Their event series Hello has forged a strong partnership with local outfit Lokomotiv over the past year and a half. Focusing squarely on minimal house and techno the two brands have widened the scope for touring European producers. They’ve thrown shows with artists like Janeret, Anthea and Sepp at Oxford street venue The Bunker. Whilst having also showcased talents such as Germany’s Fabe, Italian Giuliano Lomonte, VBX frontman Ferro and Greek producer Lee Burton under the moodily lit lampshades of inner west nightspot Slyfox. Led by Tyson Brunn and resident Lachie Simpson Lokomotiv’s rise to prominence in Sydney was born out of their incredible podcast series and vinyl label which is capturing the current wave of Romanian music.
With vinyl being such a key ingredient for the dissemination of underground music, a huge windfall for Sydney came with the opening of ‘Something Else Records’ early this year. The first physical record store dedicated purely to underground house and techno music. It was a long-held dream for founder Dave Stuart, who alongside business partner Alex Dimitröff has played a pivotal role in Sydney’s nightlife for many years. Their weekly show’s at the Burdekin Hotel back in the day, were legendary, as they treated Sydney to the who’s who of international talent from across dub, minimal and techno spectrums. Now their record store is having a huge influence on the scene, importing quality vinyl into Australia, becoming the go-to spot for Sydney selectors. You can find vinyl releases from local labels like Addition By Subtraction, Touch Of Loft, Lokomotiv, Unic, Dokutoku & Elision on the shelves here, joining digital imprints like Museme & Conspiracy as they collectively contribute to Australia’s growing, more minimal focused discography.
Another vital crew within Sydney’s minimal community is collective ‘Roots’. Spearheaded by talented selector Marlie, their clandestine parties beckon partygoers to secret and exotic locations across the city, treating them to intimate and exhilarating musical experiences. Constantly experimenting with new concepts and spaces, Marlie leads a star cast of residents who are also sought after djs in their own right. Each bringing a unique flair and sonic flavour to the mix. Producers Venda and Variance join selector Nikola as core members. Their combined forces injecting a fresh and vibrant new energy into the cities underground consciousness.
A recent addition to Sydney’s minimal community is crew ‘BeAvanteGarde’ (B.A.G.). Having relocated to Australia from Brighton in the UK, the experienced team (led by Manfred Spagnoli and Andrea Dev) have had an instant and memorable effect on the scene. They’ve brought the likes of Junkie Inoue & caLLy to perform on Aussie soil for the very first time. Combining mesmerizing visual effects with world class sound systems in a formidable series of secretive warehouse raves. Their work striking a chord with Sydney punters who are hungry to experience the skills of foreign minimal icons.
While the Sydney scene continues to battle against bureaucracy, further south in Victoria’s capital Melbourne it’s been quite a different story. Similar lockouts were trialed in 2008 but were scrapped shortly after following a huge public backlash. As Melbourne is now fast becoming a 24hr city, its nightlife is booming. There are promoters and venues pushing minimal sounds there, but it’s still a niche scene. Ultimately the freedom of expression that comes from a scene not bound by government influence and oppression, is also one that’s more relaxed when it comes to pushing groundbreaking music. This hasn’t doused the fire of the few purveyors of minimalist music in Melbourne though, those who have built iconic parties within more mercantile surrounds. One such phenomenon is ‘The Breakfast Club’, a weekly, Monday morning afterparty that’s a hotspot for Melbourne’s minimalist underground. Based at club Onesixone it pulls both local and interstate revelers who are treated to internationals like Nima Gorji, Dana Ruh & Bill Patrick. The guerrilla campaign to take Mondays back for the people is run by Gabriele Terlicher and Ethan Mclaren and has become a uniquely Melbourne institution. Complete with fresh fruit on offer to patrons and a Nexo sound system that provides the grit for their devilishly long 18hr long parties.
The great bastion for minimal in Melbourne has to be the institution, Killing Time. The intimate Chapel street club has had a storied history over the course of its 10 years of operation. Famous as an intimate, perfectly tuned sounding room, Killing Time has hosted an endless list of underground players. One crew that has been utilising the Killing Time space regularly is Losing Control. A new brand yet a highly experienced crew, with years spent in the booth in the Uruguayan, London and Glasgow scene between them. Their bookings consist of Losoul, Audio Werner, Vinyl Speed Adjust and they’ve booked and assisted Georgia Girl, Harry McCanna and Junki Inoue to tour the country. A fiercely independent club that embodies a true underground ethos. Killing time also plays host to newer event series ‘Over’ run by local producer Peruw. It’s a hometown favourite for veteran selectors like Brock Ferrar and locals Mimm and Made Inc.
With Mantra at the helm of Australia’s minimal movement, newer collectives have formed and bought with them renewed energy as they carve out their own space within the scene. Up North in Brisbane, brand Flux have established a solid reputation from warehouse jaunts with internationals like Cristi Cons, Lazar Hoche & East End Dubs. In Sydney, industry brand ‘Unic’ run by Hendrik and Elia, continue
o garner fans
ith exclusive premieres and vinyl reviews. They’re building strong international ties with Romanian and Ukrainian producers,as they build on their noteworthy podcast series and newly minted vinyl imprint.
With their masterfully decorated and flamboyantly themed raves, the ‘Conspiracy’ crew have curated an event series that have become a huge favourite for Sydney locals over the past year. Reigniting that mid-morning magic that was lost with the close of Spice, brand ‘Afters’ has now established itself as Sydney’s go to after party. Alongside these budding new additions to the scene, Club 77, a historic Sydney club steeped in two decades of history has just reopened its doors after an innovative renovation. Sporting a brand new, world class KV2 sound system it’s now set to become one of the new bastions for underground music in the city.
Growing numbers of minimal artists have also begun to infiltrate boutique festival line ups. Festivals like Subsonic and Babylon are set to bring out icons Zip, Raresh, Fumiya Tanaka, Cezar and Cristi Cons to Aussie shores over the coming months, solidifying a growing taste for this niche music. The real distillation of the Australian scene, however, can be found in the output of its local producers, many of whom have begun to break ground on international labels. The most recognizable would have to be Monika Ross, of Serialism, FA>IE and Metroline Limited fame. Talented producers like Litmus (Signature Records / Pathway Traxx) and Sun Archive (Politics of Dancing / Hoarder) are certainly names to watch in the future, alongside rising producers like Nate S.U & Yokobus from the Conspiracy crew. Variance (Weather Recs), Dan Baartz, Harrison Morris and Papa K (Flux) are also amassing a solid following. Fellow Sydney artists on the minimal techno side are Venda (Bodyparts, Norse Projekt) and Mike Watts (Mantra Collective). These two are constantly honing their craft and are set for huge things next year. Down in Melbourne, promising producers like Peruw, Occult Funk (CMOK), Thomas David (Museme.), Dylan Griffin & Chad B (Subsonic Music) are all beginning to garner attention for their productions, channeling worldwide influences to create brand new sounds. They perform alongside favoured Sydney selectors like Le Brond, Jac Frier, Persian Rug, Jackson Winter (Conspiracy), Val York (B.A.G.), A.lias, Thilini (Flux, Mantra Collective), Cassette, Marley Sherman (S.A.S.H.) and Tiril, all of which continue to push an exciting and essentially minimal house and techno sound.
Although a geographically isolated community, Australia’s minimal scene is gathering momentum, spurred on by numerous passionate supporters and creatives who seek to build a world class movement that can take its place on the international stage.