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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

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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