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Olga Korol Interview & Podcast No: 301

By Interviews

Olga Korol is an artist that needs very little introduction in recent times. Co-owner of BodyParts Records and currently based in Berlin 2021 is looking to be an exciting time for the artist. We sit down and catch up with her to see how things are going, learn the origins of her Body Parts label, delve into the scene in her home country and get to hear about her plans for the future.

She’s also graced the decks to supply us with our 301st Podcast. Deep and plenty of groove just how we like it!

This period has really been an opportunity for us to try new things and reconnect. How have you spent the pandemic? Are there things you have rediscovered?

For me the lockdown wasn’t that hard! Finally I’ve got a proper rest and dedicated time to myself. I’ve been thinking much about humanity and life in general. Obviously we are extremely dependent creatures in nowadays society, but this period showed us this never before. How fragile everything around is. It’s a good time to evaluate and to catch some hidden meanings. Like who surrounds you and who you are without your normal daily routine, gigs and travels. It’s not an easy discovery, but brings you to a level up I guess.

Many have spoken about this “corona-situation” has the perfect chance to re-invent the clubbing scene? Do you believe it? What are your thoughts for 2021?

I believe there is a chance to recover the clubbing scene. People get hungry for the music and dancefloors. When it’s possible, clubs and projects will restart their activity, artists will show all the skills and new material they’ve been collecting during this period. In lockdown many things have happened, like riots and demonstrations which united some people and brought divided others, this can rearrange the clubbing landscape.

Endless online streams gave a chance to see how some artists act in critical situations, how big names shamelessly were asking for donations when regular people were helping each other from the last resources. But I think a new wave is coming that will shape a proper selection of people and talents in the scene.

Looking back at your career, can you pick a moment that wraps it up a little?

Moving to Berlin definitely helped my career in a good way because I’ve got an opportunity to travel more and easier. There were not many direct or affordable flights from my hometown that every club could pay, as well as the visa situation. I had to collect a mountain of papers from the embassies almost every time I traveled somewhere. Once I joined my first booking agency I decided to make a step up and to get the artist visa and move to Germany. As well as I met many artists and promoters personally who contributed not only to my DJ career, but also developing the label.

How’s the idea of BodyParts born? What exactly does the name mean?

The idea was born when I was living in Moscow around 2010. We were learning music production with Denis Korablev under the guidance of my old friend from Ukraine, Alexander Sancho. We noticed how many young talented producers in Russia and Ukraine there were, as well as among our friends. They couldn’t reach foreign labels and show their music to the world. So we just made a platform first of all for them and us.

Since then we released a bunch of unknown artists on BP Digital who have subsequently got vinyl releases on the other labels. The imprint has been growing with time and eventually we are running four sub labels: Body Parts vinyl, BP Digital, Mind Series and Tooloop. The name “Body Parts” doesn’t mean anything particular, but it can be attached to our collective relations. After a few years we launched the sub label “Mind Series” which contains an alternative sound, that’s more dark and deep than BodyParts vinyl. The latest one, “Tooloop”, is a nice game of words. It’s a white label imprint where the tracks sound like tools, moreover Tooloop in Russian means a winter jacket which is embodied in its logo 🙂

You’ve not been very prolific (as a producer) over the last couple of years. Why? how did you prefer to spend your time?

I have never been a producer who spends all the time in a studio. I love studio jams, collaborations and experiments but never had the goal to release my own music much, I don’t even think it deserves to be released. I do around one release per year though. Mostly I dedicate time to the labels I’m working on every day alongside my dearest partners. Searching for new artists, remixers, combine releases, working with distributions. Might to confess a few bombs were born during the lockdown in a lovely collaboration that I would like to announce soon.

How do you see the scene in your home country?

The scene in Ukraine is on a very good level in the world. It has developed pretty fast over the past 10 years. The first events in Odessa was started by FEELEED project. It was a completely new format around that time with another kind of music and prolonged parties in different locations. The project educated and built our own audience which has grown big and after years of work the Port club has been built by the same community. Now it is one of the best event platforms for electronic music and concerts in Ukraine, alongside Closer club in Kiev. Port constantly hosting world famous artists and showcases. Nowadays I can admire the new generation on the dance floors. It’s super cool to see young people dedicated to the music, how many nice producers appear and how they can dare to play with sound.

Any particular festival that you’ve really enjoyed (as a dancer or DJ) and/or upcoming talents you’re looking for?

I started to follow the festivals in Ukraine in 2002. My first one was the legendary Kazantip festival in Popovka, Crimea. That year it lasted for more than one month. I went there every summer for 10 years in a row, and stayed the entire festival. I stayed in a small village near the festival, enjoyed music and the Black Sea coast every day. It was a wild life, no conditions and amenities, only electronic music makes you stay that long and keeps happy all the time. I opened up a new world of music the first time I got there in 2002, and after three years I played at Kazantip for the first time. It was changing and developing and I observed every year how it became bigger and popular world wide. Last time I was there in 2012 I played with my BodyParts crew. After that year I switched festivals, so my favorite and permanent one I visited became Sunwaves in Mamaia, Romania. In the same pattern I’m going there every single year. It makes me inspired and charged for a long period after, no matter if I play or just raving.

You had any gigs in the second part of 2020? How did it feel to be behind the decks again after a while?

I had a few shows, one of them was in Summer at Port club in my hometown. Don’t really remember the first track I dropped in, but the feelings at the decks were like at my first set, almost. The party was super nice, with a packed dance floor and people were dancing like it was their last time! It brings the energy on a high level and you value this job even more.

How about future plans. What do you have planned for 2021?

It was hard to make plans in 2020. That was the most unexpected and unpredictable year I remember. Many plans have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. But I’m really focusing on bringing a couple of releases on 2021, as I made some music during quarantine. The first release has been planned on this spring on Dirty Hands in a collaboration with the imprint boss. I keep on working on my labels and have got pretty interesting release plan on this year for BP recs. Follow it up!

 

 

Lastly, thank you so much for the podcast it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Mix series.

Thanks Meoko for having me for the Mix series and the opportunity to share some thoughts in the interview. Cheers 🙂

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

 

More Olga Korol: Facebook / Soundcloud

More BodyPart Records: Facebook / Soundcloud

‘A platform initially housing producers from all over the world and their own musical vision – giving way for the trio’s ODY arts moniker and label showcases around Europe.’

More MEOKO: Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud

Vlad Caia Interview & Podcast No: 300

By Interviews

Remarking the occasion of Podcast No: 300, we invited Vlad Caia , the man behind the podcast that has got over 500k+ listens on meoko.net (Podcast No: 210) for a special interview. This podcast also marks Vlad’s return after over 4 years since his first appearance on Meoko, giving us a new, refined, and even more avantgarde guise of the Romanian maestro.

1) Hey Vlad! How are you, and how are you spending this extended lockdown period?

Hi Meoko, happy to be here again. I could say I’m keeping busy as much as I can these past months with doing stuff, I didn’t have time for it before. Finishing a backlog of music spanning many years, working and studying electronics as a hobby and doing quite a lot of programming. It’s a nice feeling when rediscovering forgotten things and coming with that “aha” moment. That’s just a small glimpse on things I’m doing at the moment.

2) You recently collaborated as SIT for a charity event together with Scene Noise and Symetric Sound to raise money for the city of Beirut after the terrible explosion back in August. What do you think of the relationship between music and politics, not intended as “parties” but capabilities and wants to be concerned about society?

It’s a good question with a complex answer. Music is a powerful voice that can and should be put to good use. It’s a direct channel between our awareness and the reality of society. You can put aside the political aspect for a limited time until something of a big importance comes around and a statement is needed. I’m happy we took part in the charity to raise the help the people need and will continue to do so in the future.

3) Are there any other causes that you care about and you would like to tell us?

Not specific ones but as we all know it’s enough to watch the news and check your daily FB/Insta feed. The hardships, isolation and disconnect are all too real. People need to take care of each other more and look after their loved ones.

4) What’s the thing you miss the most about being unable to DJ /perform in clubs during the pandemic period? And what’s the thing you miss the least?

It was a fast transition last year from a full-on schedule to being at home every weekend. I felt like the machine was losing steam and you are thrown out of your routine. Slowly things calmed down and after a much-needed break I began working-from-home just like everyone else. I enjoy the free time I have now a lot. It’s time I can be with my loved ones and family.

I just realized that an important thing we can’t get back is our spent time. Time lost in airports, waiting for a ride and so on. I’m looking forward to performing again but I will always see it from this perspective from now on.

5) I’m sure that with all this “extra” time at your disposal, you’ve listened to tons of old/new stuff. Is there any fresh name that particularly got your attention or old gems that brought you special memories?

There’s so much new stuff coming out it’s hard to keep track of them all. I’ve been receiving a lot of new music from my friends and also people I haven’t kept in touch with for a long time. Everyone is keeping creative and I think that’s the most important fact. I’m also re-listening to a lot of old music and sorting them out and it sounds fresh as the first time and it’s awesome.

6) And I am sure that you have been producing also during this period. What does 2021 hold for you? Any releases lined-up yet that you can share with us?

A lot of things spanning may projects so I’m just going to write about the solo ones here. I’m doing a release on Uvar records coming in a couple of weeks with a 3-tracker record. Very happy how that came out and how diverse the music is. A couple of remixes for Alsi, Zefzeed, Alex Font and Nils Weimann and last but not least a remix for Tripmastaz on BodyParts records that just came out. Other stuff will come out in the following months on a new label called Synkro along with other remixes I’m working on now for new labels.

7) And we can tell the same on time spent in the studio! What’s next for you, SIT, and Amorf?

Amphia is preparing a new release by Ferro with beautiful atmospheric and minimalistic tracks. As SIT we did a couple of digital releases on VA albums these couple of months, for VBX, Trommel to name a few. These will be followed by new music coming out on Cali Lanauze’s Opulence label and a remix for Ada Kaleh released on Dialogue records. As Amorf we just released our new record “Shattered Glass” with two freaky and funky tracks and more are in the works.

8) How would you call the differences between playing alone as Vlad Caia, duo as SIT and trio as Amorf?

There’s a big difference between these. I have more control of the narrative and drive when playing solo. However, changing the direction of the set is a bit more challenging than playing SIT. With SIT is more of a table tennis kind of game. You can bounce ideas of each other faster and easier while keeping the entire game interactive. Doing live shows with Amorf is another different thing, when listening to each other is very important. We put a lot of thought into improvisation and doing things on the spot so it’s important to take notice of these big or small things happening from each other of us.

9) Tell us more about the story of the SIT project. How did you get in touch with Cristi? What makes him an ideal partner? Tell us also one of his ability that makes him outstanding!

We met online in the early days of MySpace many years ago. I was uploading some music I was doing at that time in their sound player and that’s how we connected. We’ve been working together more or less since then going through different stages of projects and I enjoy the creative work ethic we have.

10) Are there other artists with whom you’d like to work?

Many of my close friends I havent had a chance to work with yet and there are quite a few. I have so many ideas I want to try, I hope in the near future when the right circumstance shows up.

11) Do you think that the Romanian scene, thanks to its great cohesion and unity, is responding better than others to the disastrous period we are facing? And how do you see the scenario for the entire dance movement?

In my opinion, the Romanian scene was alive because of the many events that were going on pre-pandemic, festivals, club nights you name it. It was growing as a unique phenomenon at a steady pace. People attending these events were growing in numbers and also the artists were perfecting their craft. With the huge drawbacks and pandemic policies of today, this growth has been reduced drastically. I don’t think the response is better or worse I just know we as a people are used with shortcomings and will get through it hopefully stronger.

12) Do you have any favorite venue or festival that you feel very connected to and you can call home?

Lots of favorite venues so I just will name a few, The Block, Supermarket, Goa, Vent and the list can go on.

13) Any special shout out or final thanks to anyone in particular?

I would like to thank my loved one and my family. I would like to say thank you to my closest friends for being there and last but not least, thank you to all the hard-working and honest people in this industry keeping the vibe alive. You know who you are.

Your MEOKO Podcast is by far the most-played mix on meoko.net with over 500k+ listens. And a special THANK YOU from everyone at MEOKO for the Round 2.

Thank you Meoko for hosting me.

Words: Francesco Quieti / Erchin Jon

Photo Credit: Jan Bernet Photography

Not So Serious w/ Chris Stussy

By Interviews, Not So Series

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you would have heard of Chris Stussy. Himself alongside Prunk have grown PIV to be one of the most globally recognised labels and parties in the industry at the moment.

Recently the artist has launched his Up The Stuss imprint with a 3rd release expected in April after EPs from the likes of staple names in the scene Fabe and East End Dubs. His recent ‘Take A Leap Of Faith’ on Constant Sound has really turned heads with it being a nod to the deeper side of his productions. We caught up with him for our Not So Serious series..

1) If you could choose any stage, festival, or a city (or all in one) to play your first gig after the lockdown, where would it be?

That’s a tough question. There are so many places that I love playing. I think it would be in Amsterdam. A ten-hour set at Thuishaven during the day as a ‘festival’ and then ending the day in a club setting… somewhere like Shelter, with one of the best sound systems we have in our country… Haha, sorry I was just daydreaming about being back in the booth for a marathon like that.

2) Without thinking, name your most memorable set – either yours or any one of your choice?

Loveland Kingsday 2019. What a day… I was super anxious before the set but I was also full of excitement. Thinking back to this day makes me think of ‘Fury’s Laughter’ by S.A.M. – I’ve never seen a crowd reaction like that and afterwards, my inbox exploded because of everyone who wanted to know the track ID… the rest is history! I’m getting goosebumps while I’m thinking about that moment again!

3) Can you recall the last vinyl record you played at home?

So Inagawa ‘Yours Sincerely’ on Cabaret Records. When I discovered this track a few years ago I knew I had to grab the vinyl. I was playing some records at home last week and closed with this track. If you have a soft spot for deep chords, this is your tune.

4) Making a track feels like…

One of the best feelings. Being in the moment, just create whatever you want, no boundaries. I even forget what time it is haha. I sometimes say to my girlfriend I’m coming home in 30 minutes and 2 hours later I’m stuck in the groove again…

5) I find inspiration in my hometown when I think of…

Travelling, being around friends, having a good time. Going to a good party where the music is amazing. Hearing new tracks from my friends, there’s a lot of stuff that inspires me really.

6) Favourite drink after (or during) a set?

Vodka Redbull.

7) I’ll never forget that time when…

You have to dig for hours and hours on Discogs to find a track that you’ve heard at a party the weekend before – it happens a lot so it’s hard to forget!

8) If you have to pick one rooftop for a 12-hour set, where would it be?

I would say in London. I love the vibe in the entire UK, I feel really comfortable testing out new tracks there. The crowd is always very open to new music, it’s a very educated crowd so to say.

9) You are trapped in the jungle and are waiting to be rescued with 10% battery on your phone. iTunes/Spotify/Soundcloud are all working offline, name three tracks to accompany your waiting…

Richard Earnshaw feat. Ursula Rucker & Roy Ayers ‘Rise’
Georg Levin, Clara Hill ‘I Got Somebody New’
Robert Glasper ‘What Are We Doing’

10) My dream line up would be with…

12:00-14:00 Brawther
14:00-16:00 Sweely
16:00-18:00 Youandewan
18:00-21:00 Apollonia
21:00-23:00 Kerri Chandler

11) The greatest house vocal to date belongs to…?

Masters At Work feat. India ‘When You Touch Me’ (M.A.W. Remix) [1993]

12) My most sampled jazz record is?

Kool & The Gang ‘Summer Madness’

13) 2020…

2021 🙂

by zaq. | February 2021

More Chris Stussy

More MEOKO

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‘I’m always glad to open up when I feel it’s relevant.’: Akufen Interview

By Chats to MEOKO, Interviews

There are not many artists who manage to define a particular era in music, and there are even fewer who know how to evolve beyond such achievements and find other creative paths down which to travel. We caught up with one of industries finest, Akufen, to learn more about his new EP, sampling tips and much more…

Photo credit: Petronille Gontaud-Leclair

 

1) Thank you for joining us today. How are you?

The pleasure is all mine and I thank you for the invite to speak. I’d like to think that I’m doing alright overall, considering the rather challenging and uncertain times we live in since last March. Although I must admit that the complete standby of performing arts events feels like an unforgiving cleaver for many artists, including myself, who made a living from touring.  It’s definitely a major game-changer, but we’re in this together and I’m hopeful that we will overcome this situation in the end.  Meanwhile, I’m taking things a day at a time, focusing on my family which keeps me grounded and helps me in embracing resilience.

 

2) I think it’s safe to say you are very selective with your releases and labels that you work with – how do you decide what labels are right for you?   

I wasn’t always selective, to be honest. I had my fair share of unfortunate experiences, which made me grow eventually more cautious and more selective over the years. When you’re a newcomer, it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of spreading fast by releasing on as many labels as possible. Which is understandable. But to be fair, I had more pleasant experiences as my career blossomed. Nowadays I don’t release much, but the labels I choose to release on are the ones that I feel understand where I’m coming from and where I wish to go. In the end, I just wish to collaborate with good and reliable people and feel like I’m part of something greater than just a commercial output, Perlon being the finest reference I could cite. When I met Thomas, Markus and Chris in Montreal in 2000, we became friends at first and then I had the wonderful privilege to become a part of this family of fantastic artists and very lovely human beings, which is Perlon.

3) Your new EP on Onysia Records is another fine example of your work In the studio, What did you use to produce it?

First off, collaborating with Joseph at Onysia was a true pleasure and I salute his generosity and kindness. Joseph gave me complete freedom, which is a rare thing these days when you deal with labels. What I found exciting was his sustained enthusiasm, which is very similar to mine when I started. Now, I rarely if never discuss gear, tools and tricks. I think every musician in their own right and for their own good has to figure out for themselves what works best for them. There isn’t one way to do things, and the most effective one will always be your own. We never ask kids to list the type of crayons, paint, paper and glue they used for tinkering in school. All I could suggest is, try out all sorts of stuff, never restrain your imagination, don’t think of the trends and just play around and have fun.

And I had fun recording this one.

4) Your use of samples in your work is some of the best in the game and so distinctive. Any tips for upcoming producers when working with samples and crafting their sound?

Just be attentive and listen very carefully. Wherever we are in our daily lives, sounds surround us. The most insignificant noise can become a part of something beautiful and unique. Listen to them and what they are telling you. The art of sampling is partly intuitive and partly reflexive. In the end, you’ll figure ways to connect them and hear them converse.

5) It’s not very often you do interviews and you are very much famed for letting your music do the talking – do you think the media has become too much of a focal point around electronic music and artists?

I’m always glad to open up when I feel it’s relevant. Other than that I don’t feel the obligation to unnecessarily fill the corner of a page of some DJ magazine, to sell my mug, share my tricks and brag about my lifestyle, which isn’t very glamorous. I am as selective with journalists as I am with labels, and friends. The journalists I respected over the years have become friends. There is nothing wrong with the media becoming the focal point around electronic music and its players. What’s concerning is the focal point on the glitter rather than the music itself. I just despise the star rating, following and liking culture, and journalism in general which is validating and discrediting often without discernment. You’re either in the game or out of the game. Art is too personal to give it a thumb up or down. This is straight out of the Roman Empire playbook.

6) Back in your early years you were active in the scene in Montreal under many other aliases. What made you move to your Akufen sound?

So much! An insatiable appetite for music, films and books. Years spent in art school, and most of all, a constant need for change. The idea primarily behind the Akufen sound was to work from my intuition and subconscious. It was also very much inspired by the “automatic writing” and “cut & paste” methods, which was developed by the surrealists, the beat poets and the automatists collective in Canada in the forties and fifties. These techniques have been at the centre of my creativity since as early as my childhood. I have fond memories of meticulously crafting large collages of pictures cut from magazines and working with double tape decks in my bedroom, rather than playing with other kids outside. It’s about creating an unpredictable, and unique sound environment, and a story which leaves more room for personal perception and interpretation as it unfolds. I believe that my generation was lucky as we came at a time when everything was possible, and people were ready and all ears. You could throw a Tito Puente piece in a set and the crowd would go nuts. Today, there are too many politics and laws to embrace in order to fit in. There are still some oddballs out there who amaze me, but the music sales business has made their music less accessible to the general public, sadly.

7) You’ve graced your presence at some of the world’s best clubbing institutions and have seen many changes in our industry and clubbing landscape over the years – where do you see it going from here, particularly with the current situation having such a significant impact on venues and promoters?

I could not say honestly. We are all still in shock, trying to adjust to this new reality. Options and ideas will unfold as we start healing and getting our lives back to some kind of normalcy. The pandemic has put on the back burner all public music activities and I believe it will affect not only the scene but the music itself. I have a feeling that the music will evolve in unexpected and surprising forms, and it will be interesting to see how artists will adapt and overcome this situation. I for myself, don’t want to speculate much, I am not even sure that I will pursue my career on the road. I will, however, remain active as a musician, there is no doubt about that, but I’m contemplating other avenues such as film scoring, art installations in collaboration with artists from other fields. I might as well return to visual art and graphic design which I studied in school. It’s clearly a time for radical changes, and I’m hopeful we’ll figure something out. Having said that, we must not look back in nostalgia, because things will never be as they were. Clubbing or not, music will prevail, one way or another, and that’s what’s reassuring in a way.

8) Your live show is something which has brought a lot of attention. What is your set up for this and what made you want to move into a live setup?

I’ll be bluntly honest, playing live is what puts bread on the table for most of us. I was able to feed and provide shelter for my family and send my kid to school with touring. I am overly conscient of the luck I had to be able to travel doing the greatest job. It had its flaws at times, but overall I can only be immensely grateful. I’ve always made it a priority to be as generous and available as possible for those who support me and who will sometimes travel miles to hear me. So performing is not only a way of making ends meet but also a responsibility and an act of loyalty. Night after night you have to leave the rest behind and give your best, no matter how tired or sick you may feel. We must never forget that without the record labels and club owners, the promoters, bookers, agents and the public we wouldn’t have the privilege of doing what we love most. As for my set up, there’s not much to brag about, I use a laptop, a soundcard and a couple of controllers.

9) To stay so relevant for so long takes a lot of drive and passion.  How do you push yourself to achieve your goals and keep creatively motivated?

I believe honesty and integrity were the main keys in remaining relevant, in my case. Being stubborn and uncompromising creatively comes at a high cost, but I agreed to pay that price at an early stage in my career, and I don’t regret it. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. I rather enjoy a more modest success based on loyalty and which will last after I’m gone. What’s left of us, is what makes us immortal. Not in a glorious historical sense, but rather in a humble inspirational way, primarily for my daughter, and the generations to come. Not only as an artist but as a man of my times. No matter what you do, you got to have faith, you also got to have doubts, never take anything for granted, and be grateful for everything you got. I have to remain continuously.

Photo credit: Petronille Gontaud-Leclair

 

10) Where does 2021 take you? Do you have any new projects on the horizon you can tell us about?

In January, I launched “Ourway”, my new record label, introducing a first Akufen release which you can currently listen to and purchase online at Juno.  The name of the label speaks for itself. I’m aware that starting a new label is a bit of a gamble right now, but I thought it was worth giving it a shot.

I finished recording the new Horror Inc. album last year, and I am in the process of discussing its release in 2021, on “Anoma”, a Montreal based label run by my buddy Ohm Hourani.

There is also a possible 20th Anniversary re-issue of “My Way” on the new label, but it has to be confirmed. As for the new Akufen album, it’s done, but I don’t see it happening until next year.

2021 isn’t gonna take us anywhere. We will have to take 2021 somewhere. Sadly, I had to let go of my studio when the pandemic started, and everything’s been sitting in boxes since July of last year. Relocalizing is complicated for now, but I have faith that I’ll find a new place when the social restrictions soften. As for now, all music work is on hold. Stay tuned, we will return after this pandemic.

 

Words by Jordan Diston

 

More Akufen: Facebook / Soundcloud

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Wlad: “hedZup Records is all in one, label and family…”

By Interviews

For today’s talk, we’ve invited Wlad, 1/2 of the HedZup record label alongside his partner in crime Mancini. The Frenchies have built a solid label/family over the last years, affirming themselves as chiefs of one of the most respected labels in the deep and tech-house scene. In fact, HedZup has seen steady growth, releasing quality tracks from the likes of Fabe, Rich NxT, Toman, Chris Stussy, Tuccillo, Diego Krause, Josh Baker, Ray Mono and many more. 

 

  • Hey Wlad, great to chat with you!

Hi guys, thanks for having me. 

 

  • What would you say you have learnt about yourself during the lockdown?

I think it made me re-focus on myself. I had a lot more time to take care of myself, cook and call my family, my friends, even over long distances. In fact, I did not at all feel locked up as a bad thing. I am a great traveller, I have done 2 world tours and I really have this notion of letting go. I live in Paris which is a megalopolis and it’s easy to get into the rhythm of being frantic and not stopping for time for oneself. We must constantly run and outdo ourselves. So this period really allowed me to find what I have on a trip and especially to concentrate on music production and the label.

 

  • What has been the thing you have missed the most?

Of course, even if I didn’t really suffer from this confinement, being able to play music especially at parties outdoors was really strange. We have so many great terrasse in Paris to play. It was very nice and warm in Paris during the confinement. We also had several international label showcases postponed and especially the big come back of our famous HEDZUP party in Paris with Rossi, and DJOKO cancelled on March 14, day of official French lockdown 🙁

 

 

  • In your opinion, will dance music be very different or will it get back to normal after this?

Of course, it will return to normal. The music and the strength of people are stronger than anything. It is obvious that it will take time and that we will have to adapt. Personally I think it is a good thing because it allows you to surpass yourself. Always find new ideas. We must not wait, we must always innovate, it will make us even better.

 

  • Tell us about your hedZup label you run with Mancini – what is the sound, the vibe?

Originally, Mancini and I only made vinyl. Then we started to get known and get lots of great demos, we didn’t have enough space on a disc to put all the music we wanted to release. So we decided to start digital in September 2018. We are still keeping the format of our vinyl releases, 4 pieces per digital release. It’s quite difficult to give a real style to our label. Mancini and I release the music we like, and even if we have our own style of productions, we are in perfect harmony with the musical choices. 

 

 

  • Do you want to build a label family and bring them all through with more releases or is it just about the music at the moment?

hedZup Records is all in one, label and family. Mancini and I went out a lot in clubs and other parties around the world. Every year in Ibiza, Sonar Barcelona, ADE Amsterdam. We build our network like that. We have lots of friends everywhere. We only look for friendships. So all the artists that release on hedZup become part of the family. If they become part of hedZup, it means that they still release on the label if the music is good and also play on the label showcases.

 

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  • About your own new ‘Full Squad’ EP – what inspired or influenced it?

I want to tell you something, it is the very first time that I release a full EP on my label, so I’m quite happy! I was a breakdancer when I was younger and I come from a Blues, Jazz, Funk and Flamenco musician family. I play African percussions myself. So I always have a pretty funky and dancing touch in my tracks. I added a touch of sunshine too because it comes out at the start of summer. It must be my Mediterranean origins 😉

 

 

  • Is your music made for a certain club, moment, party? Are those things in mind when writing?

Definitely, I really love music make me dance, so I try and try always until I feel this dancing feeling. Because in this music when you producing one little element can change all the feeling of the track. So probably make more peak time music but this is not me has to say

 

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  • How did you choose the remixer Rich NxT? What did you think he would bring, and did he?

I chose Rich NxT because I am a big fan of his music and of the Fuse London label. Rich has a good approach in his music and whatever the track is, it’s always a treat on the dancefloor. He already had great success on our vinyl part with his track “Come Alive”, so it is just a pleasure to have him again on the label. He is a very talented and busy guy and I really thank him to considerate to remix me on this EP. Big up mate x

 

 

  • What else have you got coming up?

I have a remix on Surge that we will release this summer and have my EP with Mancini with a remix by iO Mulen and our Parisian friend Djebali. We are working on the 5 year anniversary double vinyl with some amazing artists and my digital collab album. So many good stuff is coming this year on the label with some good surprises. Stay tuned, Wlad 🙂

 

 

 

Words by Pete Downes

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Floog: “everyone has a way of express and I feel so comfortable when I improvise with my own compositions”

By Interviews

George’s path has been something unbelievable: from his Premiesku venture (alongside fellow-Romanians Livio & Roby) to his current Floog project, this man has constantly researched for the sound that could most represent him from time to time, risking and developing a discernable “Floog’s stamp” of thousands of facets. In just one year he had releases on labels such as Mulen, Bleu Ciel, Hoarder, SCI+TEC, Atipic, GFD, QNQN, Croosed Grooves and Joule (Yoyaku) and also on his own FLG label. His sound, filled with catchy melodies and groovy hooks, results to be the perfect crossover of Romanian minimal with a more dancefloor-oriented house and techno. Over the years, Floog’s tracks have been played by the likes of Apollonia, Petre Inspirescu, Raresh, Livio & Roby, Priku, Sonja Moonear, Sammy Dee, Dubfire, Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Tini. George is also famous for his live performance, using drum machines, analog synths, a small modular rig and a bunch of controllers, his set being energy-oriented, melodic, alternating raw sounds with a more minimalistic approach, having a lot of improvisation moments were artist feels is right for the audience and the type of venue.

 

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  • We know you both for the splendid productions and for your live exhibition. Tell us more about going live rather than a regular DJ set (as Floog and as Premiesku).

In the begging when I met Livio & Roby I had interest just into making music and didn’t think about the performing side for about 2 years, then in 2005 when I had my first project with them (called Monochrome) we have chosen to perform live cause that was more or less our approach from the studio. Indeed in 2009, I tried to be a DJ/collector for about 6 months but it was clear that was not my thing, I was not attracted about staying all day on Skype with people, on Beatport to dig for music, making folders and CDs etc, I rather wanted to spend that time in the studio and making music and building something from scratch.

My opinion about this is that everyone has a way of express artistically and the art of DJing and a live act are quite different approaches regarding performing music, you just need to feel “in your shoes” when you do it and personally I feel that when I play live my own compositions and improvise.

 

 

  • Your early career started as George G, which also is the moniker you’ve used with the Premiesku project. How difficult is to change alias (into Floog) after such a successful one? And what does “Floog” mean?

Both George G and Floog represent each a part of my musical journey, let’s say Floog came naturally as another chapter, a new challenge and new sound territories. Back in 2012 when I met my actual wife, one day on an afterparty we played with our first names – Florentina and George, and we came with FloG and after we google it to see by curiosity if this makes any sense we had a lovely surprise cause we found this meaning for Floog word on the Urban Dictionary: “Floog” is a connection between two people who share a bond much stronger than “like” or “love”. Those who are in floog experience something that the vast majority of people are never lucky enough to have”. So in 2017 when I was looking for a name for my new project this was the first and only option 🙂

 

 

  • Going even further back in time, what was your first contact with electronic music?

Actually it’s a funny begging for me, it was in 1983 and I was six, we were on the communist times when access to music was really hard in Romania and my father was a collector of classical music vinyls. The source of the vinyls mostly was from a guy that brought them illegally from Bulgaria and one day he mixed up the vinyls with someone else and by mistake, we got in the package a vinyl with Kraftwerk – The Man Machine. I was immediately intrigued by the cover of the vinyl and when I played the first track (The Robots) I was totally blown away by the sounds on it! That was something I’ve never heard before! Then, after the ’90s, when access to music was finally free, I realized that I was so lucky to discover and hear the godfathers of electronic music so early!

 

  • Are you still working w/ Livio & Roby as Premiesku?

Yes of course, actually we had some studio sessions into Roby’s mountain vila before the epidemic crisis and we started choosing tracks for our next Premiesku album.

 

 

  • Talking about collaborative projects, we know you and Mahony have been cooking some stuff together over the last couple of years. Are you working on more collabs?

Yes, I have a few into the pipeline, one of them being a release with Priku that will see the light after summer.

 

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  • Tell us about the Joker005 you did with Mahony, which has been one of the most requested IDs in 2019. How the idea was born?

Mahony came with this idea and initially, I thought that was almost impossible to come with something cool due to the melodic intensity of the original track 😀 but in the end, we found a way to make it fit with our sound 🙂

 

 

  • What about your own FLG label? 

I launched my own FLG label back in 2018. Since then, I’ve only made 3 originals EP and all of them gone really well. I’ve always been in favour of the “quality over quantity” motto. This year I will start another label with my dear Mahony specifically for our sound and also a sublabel for FLG will see the light, more info about after the summer! 

  

 

  • Is there a label that you’d like to release on? And why?

There are a lot of really interesting labels these days but I don’t think I want to chase any when a track is good for a certain label it’s attracted like a magnet 🙂 

 

  • We’ve seen some great tools in your studio! What’s your favourite one?

I’d say the 0-coast by Make Noise, it’s a lovely semi-modular synth and does wonders both in the studio and live. Highly recommended!

 

 

  • Why is the Romanian scene so lively and forward-thinking? Do you think it will continue to be a point of reference even after this COVID emergency?

Many things come to my mind: one important thing is that Romania had a gap of freedom and access to music till 90’ and then when big DJ names came here we had a lot of enthusiasm and joy for electronic music that naturally was translated also to local DJs, producers and passionate. I think you can actually hear that enthusiasm translated into this music 🙂

Nevertheless, our roots are also important, being a Latin country surrounded by different other types of cultures it had a great influence as well.

Also, another important factor, from my point of view, was the “innocence” of the producers, many of them didn’t have as reference old skool music (in particular) and also most of them are not musically trained, they just made/make music by “filtering” the sound they heard in their surroundings and that was mostly in Romania, so that was like a “feedback” coming back to the music scene and making it very evolving but in a certain sound range.

Yes, I dare to say scene will continue like this, musically speaking; like how we call now some particular styles “Berlin sound”, “Chicago house”, “Detroit techno”, “UK garage”, also this wave of minimal electronic music will have the “Romanian stamp” on it, even tho I have to admit that there are a lot of great producers coming from many other parts of the world that add amazing value to this music.

 

 

  • What’s gonna be the opening track that you will play at your very first show when clubs will finally open again?

It’s a track that I’ve made during this crazy period called “Pale Blue Dot”. It’s about our home, the planet Earth, that we need to love and take care of more than ever now.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Behind the scenes: “PIV basically sums up the meaning of our brand, which is based on inclusiveness”

By Interviews

Since its inception, PIV has brought a unique and recognizable sound to the music world. The Dutch collective’s first release dates in November 2015. Since then, their output has been exceptional, delivering bomb after bomb by blending the most delicate and lush deep house sounds with the modern tech-house grooves. The PIV-sound has flooded every club, festival and Spotify playlist since. Among the artistic gems of Chris Stussy (A&R) and Prunk (founder), the label has released sublime tunes from the likes of Toman, DJOKOANOTRThe Willers BrothersS.A.M. and many more, establishing itself as one of the leaders in the scene. Their success is partially explained by an outstanding crew dedicated to making the PIV brand bigger and better every day. Today, we hear from Kevin, one of the cornerstones of the infamous crew, who will tell us what’s behind of PIV and the latest People Invited mix series. 

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  • Where the PIV name comes from?

The name is an abbreviation of People Invited. As a funny side note, it’s also VIP spelt backwards, which basically sums up the meaning of our brand, which is based on inclusiveness.

  • Where do you think PIV’s success comes from?

Not easy to say, because it has to do with many factors. First, we hope of course because the people out there feel the same way about the music we release as we do ourselves. Then second, all the people behind the label are present and active in the scene. What we mean by that is, our team draws experience from both sides of the spectrum, as our collective consists of artists performing live and people who are more engaged in the crowd. Thirdly, our brand identity has been consistent with a recognizable output in our artwork and finally, we have been fortunate that a lot of our affiliated artists have developed their careers into different directions. The synergy between label and artist has played a big part in that way.

  • Was there a turning point into your rise to the top?

Not really. For us, we never really viewed it that way. It’s more like an ongoing journey. When we first started the label, we just wanted to be a platform that was a source for quality house music, as we really feel it’s a cultural legacy that has been left to us by previous generations. As time progressed, we started noticing more artists and upcoming producers, who were starting to feel attached to our philosophy. As a lot of these affiliated artists started progressing their careers while staying attached to the label’s identity and it helped both the label and the artists grow in their own way.

  • Which are in your opinion the 3 most significant tracks released on PIV so far?

We can’t get around Chris Stussy – Evening Drive, that has been #1 on all deep-house charts for so long. For the rest, we would like to let everyone decide for themselves 🙂

When we noticed a lot of events were being cancelled because of the circumstances, we reached out to artists that have released or played with us including some upcoming artists we have been following for a while now. We set a deadline and everyone who was on board at that time was included for the series.

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  • What is the common point of all these artists?

It’s a collection of renowned and more upcoming artists from different sides of the music spectrum we represent. Some of them are more deep-house influenced, some a bit more minimal tech and some just plain club performers. We like the variety of it.

  • Prunk b2b Menado: will there be more of these unexpected b2b?

Perhaps there will still follow a few more. It’s always nice to come together like that creating some unique sessions.

  • Are there other artists that you would have liked to involve in People Invited?

Yes many more, but unfortunately we had to draw the line somewhere on the deadline date.

  • The PIV brand/label saw an unstoppable rise last year. With this “corona” tough moment going on, do you think that this will slow down your plans?

We think everyone in the scene will be affected by this with so many events cancelled already, but also in times like this, there are opportunities to analyse plans for the upcoming year ahead. We are in the fortunate position to be a flexible organisation, so, for now, we just focus more on running the label and as soon as the bans are lifted we can plan ahead for events again.

  • Will there be more initiatives against the quarantine/stop of parties from you?

Like mentioned above, it’s a good time to review your strategy and to make sure all the things are running smooth with the label, this podcast series was the least we could do for now and for the rest we just keep releasing music to hopefully make peoples time at home a little less stressful. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best and send our sympathy for everyone thas has been affected by this.

Words by Francesco Quieti

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Review: Priku feat. Dinu (Luna – remixed by Sublee and Lizz) + Sublee Interview

By Interviews

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Click HERE to buy the EP

Review: Priku ft Dinu – Luna (Introspections 01)

Half Is Enough is a Romanian artist collective based in Bucharest that focuses on delivering forward-thinking music and has now decided to create a new brainchild: Introspections. The launch of the new imprint arrives and with their first release, Luna. The album’s first and homonymous track is no other than a collaboration by Priku and Dinu, a delicate and thoughtful downtempo masterpiece which serves as the common thread for the release. The name Luna alludes to the mysterious allure of nighttime. ¨Luna¨ means moon in Spanish and Italian, a name that truly evokes a nocturnal ambience and elegant tension apparent as well in the album artwork. Sublee and Lizz are on remix duties and deliver a perfect closure to the work as a whole.

The Luna EP is a perfectly balanced yet edgy, three-track recording that showcases the original work by Priku and Dinu, which directly contrasts and complements the latter reinterpretations. The original version of Luna takes form as a downtempo song, with swinging jazzy instruments, improvising piano melodies along with, syncopated percussions and subtle atmospheric electronic sounds. While, Sublee adds a very smooth yet dynamic twist to the piece, driving you on a highway to a deeper sound realm, perfect for any dancefloor. Lastly, Lizz takes on a more progressive approach which keeps the listener moving back and forth. The release clearly expresses a unique sense of intimacy, as an experimental take on minimal and dancefloor music. Introspections is a label and concept, that allows for artistic freedom and then takes form as deeper reinterpretations upon the dancefloor to complete the circle. This is what Introspections is all about.

To remark the occasion, we invited Sublee for an interview to hear his personal thoughts on the release and his production in general.

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  • How was working on the remix of such a totally different track? 

It was very inspiring, I love working on downtempo/experimental tracks and approach them in my style.

  • Do you feel more comfortable to approach on downtempo/experimental tracks like this or a “regular” 4/4?

I feel comfortable approaching the mood, the momentum, so I enjoy working on both themes the same, as a producer. Also when remixing, it is about feeling the track no matter its style and of course feeling I can bring something there.

  • What do you think of the overall concept of “Introspection? Would you like to provide “A-side” stuff too?

This approach is like a multiverse. Sounds morphing into something else, transcending genres, music taking shapes and states of self.

Sometimes I do this myself, a track in both interpretations. Since long I work on experimental/ambient projects so I would be happy to share some introspections.     

  • Which are the original stems that inspired you the most while working on the Reinterpretation?

I love the whole vibe of the track and I think all the elements have their role in this composition. For me, the most inspiring were the jazzy percussions, the bass and of course the piano.

  • Do you think that with this lockdown/studio days producers will release more of this kind of unusual stuff?

I think in this situation that we are now having time to experiment more will lead for sure to some amazing and unusual ideas.

  • Have you dedicated yourselves into more activities aside from music production during this lockdown period?

I worked on my schedule, diet and tried to rest better and train more because it was a long period of playing music every weekend and I really needed some time out. Also having time to spend every day with my son and my wife makes this period overwhelmingly beautiful.

  • Your tracks always sound so gentle but at the same time, they work great on the dancefloor. What do you think it’s your secret to have this perfect balance?

The secret is listening again and again and again.

  • What’s gonna be the first track that you will play at your first gig after this pandemic situation?

John Tejada – Soft Spread

Will see how I will feel then. I really hope that will happen soon because I miss dancing and people a lot.

Words by Daniel Ordoñez / Interview by Francesco Quieti

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