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Music Through Pictures

Music Through Pictures with A Guy Called Gerald

By Hot Off The Press, Music Through Pictures

A GUY CALLED GERALD MTP BANNER

Music Through Pictures, is a new and unique interview series, attempting to highlight the relationship between art, sound, images and music whilst also getting an insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers…


We are hugely excited to have A Guy Called Gerald contribute to our second instalment of Music Through Pictures – if anyone is worth getting an artistic insight into, it is this man. Gerald Simpson has a truly unique insider’s view of the evolution of dance music having been involved since the early eighties when at 14 years old he started sneaking into Manchester’s underground clubs to dance to a blend of jazz funk, dub and electro funk that would later influence his sound dramatically. Now residing in Berlin, A Guy Called Gerald is probably best known for his 1988 classic ‘Voodoo Ray’ and his production with 808 State, with the infamous ‘Pacific State’ track that made him the first producer to have TWO instrumental dance tracks in the UK charts at the same time (a rare feat). His experiments in music production since the eightes, even the mistakes he made and rolled with, have gone on to act as a blueprint for a whole host of dance movements to follow. With the release of his ‘True School Manifesto’ (a written allegience to playing authentic, honest music that focuses on good times and rejects the notion of ‘style’ and musical trends), the ethos of A Guy Called Gerald is certainly one to take heed of. 

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“This track will never be repeated, but some folks will always try to do
someting similar. Their problem is they haven’t realised in 25 years
nothing I do or have ever done is repeatable. 😉
HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY VOODOO RAY. WE RULE!”


– 2 –

1 riot-police


“This song was written as a way to release tension at a time when I was
living in a gun town called Manchester a long time ago. The cops had a
bad attitude at the time because they were working in a war zone.”

 

– 3 –

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“This track is pure love and sunshine, and this is what I see in this photo.
A light, happy vibe.”

 

 

– 4 –

2 Beth Lesser - http-www.satellitemagazine.ca


“This tune reminds me of the land of my parents, Jamaica.”

 

– 5 –

3 Derelict by luna mora


“This track is over 20 years old but still gives me the chills. This image
reminds me of the studio where I wrote it…”


– 6 –

DeviantArt cainadamsson


“This track reminds me of a saxophone guy playing a lone sax over a track
alien to him, but he’s doing a good job :)”


– 7 –

http-www.ericlafforgue.com


“This track reminds me of a time I realised that I’ve never seen the land
where humans were invented.”

 

– 8 –

illegal


“This track is a crowd mover. When played live it never sounds the same
twice. I love adding new parts to tracks and tricking them out so that
eventually they become a different track. This is how I write music and
perform it.”  


– 9 – 

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“This track reminds me of that day I found out that it never rains when
I have my umbrella with me! Funny, but true – I have a special umbrella
that has never been wet 🙂 “


A Guy Called Gerald is playing LIVE at the secretsundaze Easter Special on Thursday March 28 at Electric Brixton alongside Nina Kraviz, Mike Huckaby, Anthony Naples, and more.

Buy tickets here
Visit the Facebook event here

Music Through Pictures with D’Julz

By Hot Off The Press, Music Through Pictures

MTP BANNER

MEOKO are excited to launch a new interview series, Music Through Pictures, in which we attempt to highlight the relationship between art, sound, images and music whilst also getting an insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers…

With this in mind, we thought D’julz would make a perfect candidate for the launch of this series. With a career spanning over two decades, D’julz (formally known as Julien Veniel) has undoubtedly made a critical and long-lasting impact on the culture of house and techno both in France, Europe and beyond. Perhaps his most famous contribution to electronic music has been the founding of his renowned Bass Culture parties back in 1997, the longest-running club night at Paris’ most legendary nightclub, Rex, and still running to this day. Ignoring the ebb and flow of trends over the past twenty years, D’julz has made his name through a consistently quality stream of production, with anthemic tracks being released on labels such as Ovum, 20:20 Vision, Pokerflat, Get Physical and many more. With the ever-growing success of his Bass Culture label, set up in 2009, and the recent release of his Special Day EP on Circus Company (listen here) once again expressing his timeless production skills, the Parisian techno veteran is still at the top of his game.

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alone by buaiansayapanomali  

Stripped down, deep, hypnotic and futuristic. A modern combination of
King tubby and Steve Reich (two of my favorite musicians).

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It‘s all over her face that she prefers drinking! 
Anyway, I’ve seized the opportunity to talk about the amazing Arthur
Russell and this timeless New York anthem.

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bootifulsky

Sci–fi and epic…it’s gotta be Detroit music.

 

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Birds and crying….I can think of only one song! Prince was my hero in
the 80’s, I was a hardcore fan collecting all the records and bootlegs,
going to all the concerts…He still is the best live perfomer I’ve ever seen
to this day but I‘d rather not listen to any of his recent work.

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crowd-surfing 

Yes, I think she feels it! The first house track I ever heard and which
consequently changed my life…

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Dark, spooky and menacing tune from these Chicago masters. Perfect
soundtrack to dismember somebody (I never thought I would actually
say that!)


-7-

techno-viking

I can’t think of any song made for Thor or Hulk Hogan, so I picked a tune
that describes what is probably going on in his head.

-8-

techno.sm9

Dring dring…another hero calling!

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love-2

I did play this track at an after party on a beach years ago and it just
made complete sense.

 

Listen to D’Julz new EP here
Visit his website here 

Acid Pauli talks to MEOKO about his Inspirations, music and life

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

 acidpauli banner

  MEOKO talks INSPIRATIONS 

MEOKO: Please send links to 3 YouTube tracks that have been the main inspiration to where you are now…

 

Autechre – Clipper
They have been a very big inspiration for me in the mid 90ies. Their record “Tri repitae” is the electronic album I listened to most. I just love this combination of “cold” sounding beats and and very warm harmonies just being hidden behind them.

Mathew Jonson – When love feels like cyring
 For me one of the most amazing tracks that was released in the past years. Don’t know how he manages to create such a melancholic atmosphere with so little elements.

 

Marek Hemmann – Changes of perception Remix 
 This track literally inspired me when I played it way slower one day. I even tried to re-program bits of the groove for one of my own tracks….

AcidPauli 2008 Gerald von Foris

Picture Credit : Gerald Von Foris

MEOKO talks MUSIC IS MY LIFE  

What does music mean to you?

 Music has been the most important inorganic companion in my life. Music always consoled me when I needed to be (consoled). Also I am connected to most of my friends through music…it’s just always there, no way to imagine a world without music.

 What was the first piece of music that really inspired you? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otJY2HvW3Bw

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
 First time I heard this song was when I was 10, it instantly created pictures in my head, without even understanding a single word of the lyrics.

Please tell us the moment you knew you wanted to devote your life to music? 

It hasn’t been a particular moment, rather a growing experience. But I remember when I was around 20 years old, I had this moment where I knew that if I didn’t try to make music become my profession, I’d always regret this in my later life…

Without music what would you be doing?

 I am very happy not having to imagine this…

 What is your favourite place to listen to music?

A quiet place.

 What music are you currently working on?

I am currently recording a new album with my band “The Notwist”. 

ACID PAULi LOGO copy

You can catch Acid Pauli playing next this Saturday at Zombie Soundsystem presents ‘My bloody valentine’ at Fire.

Tickets available from Resident Advisor click here

Join the event on Facebook

Like Acid Pauli on Facebook

Ryan Crosson chats to MEOKO

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

 ryan

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

RYAN-CROSSON

How do you decide on the future releases? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you define success?

Being happy with yourself.

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

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

What does 2013 have in store for you…?

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

Interview by Katrin Ritcher

 

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

 

This is no teddy bears picnic – Gottwood Festival Review

By Chats to MEOKO, Festival, Hot Off The Press, Music Through Pictures, Reviews

gottwood review4

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise…bounding down into a small valley surrounded by a tall and beautiful forest, you notice the welsh puddles vibrating, the bass reverberating between the trees and a kaleidoscope of colours glowing in the depth of the woods. Twangs of every genre of electronic music begin to reach your ear drums, teasing you into the darkness of the forest, becoming clearer and clearer and evolving into luscious beats as strange figures emerge from the twilight, stumbling, laughing, and dancing into the night. 

This is no teddy bears picnic.  This is Gottwood 2012, and it’s seriously good.

As we trudged to set up our tent in the absolutely tiny campsite in the rain and mud on Friday afternoon (the festival began Thursday evening), I wondered how many spirits had been dampened by the rumours of flying tents and floods the night before, wondering if it had been such a good idea to drive for hours to get here…but my fears were unfounded.  After wondering about 20 steps from tent to forest it was quickly apparent that everyone was on a complete Friday high despite the inches of mud, all wooping and prancing beneath the tall trees. In the marquee named Summer Of the Wood, we caught rising stars The Other Tribe a six-piece group from Bristol (sound producing city of the year?) who combine British indie sounds and infectious electronic beats to produce dance-inducing vocal tracks including their summer anthem ‘Skirts’. 

Delving deeper into the forest we found the Boxford Caravan stage at the heart of the festival, in a grassy courtyard surrounded by stables and some random sofas, swings and haybales, was a caravan converted into a DJ booth, where we experienced one of the best sets of the festival; Max Cooper.  Really starting the night off (and for some climaxing it), Max is a man infamous for his intelligent techno .  Yet with heavy influences from all areas he produced a genre-smashing live set, killer remixes interweaved with beautifully melancholic originals, and he completely entranced the large crowd gathered beneath the caravan, in fact throughout the festival I heard punters continue to sing the praises of the set. Playing tracks from his new EP ‘Mechanical Concussion’ which were pounding and heavy; perfect for the growing crowd, his astutely altered and steadily building festival sets are guaranteed to get the crowd sweating, and this was no exception.

We staggered off having danced perhaps a little too excitedly for the first big set of the weekend to find Tiger and Woods hiding somewhere in the woods, and where we found them proved to be the most magical stage of the festival. Under a stone archway we walked through a small passage into a walled garden, which led to awe-inspiring RFID visual dome.  Not too big, very hot, and very magical, as soon as we entered we found people lying on the ground staring up at the starry night projected.  This was constantly changing to stunning visuals and colours that proved a completely surreal environment, perfect for Gottwood.  The set, like their brilliant ‘Through The Green’ album, was full of their classic disco vibes , combined with bass line tracks like ‘Just An Illusion’ and the encore of fun and dreamily sampled ‘Gin Nation’, perfect for the intimate space that the duo devoured.

The Dome

Dome

Back to the marquee in the woods and It was soon time for what became my absolute favourite set of the festival…Huxley.  This man is at the forefront of the British electronic scene, combining his perfected house with home-grown garage, which has evolved into some kind of beautiful hybrid genre that is huge in the charts and clubs right now, and from his performance at Gottwood its clear to see why.  His music and remixes are infectious and incredibly danceable with a great track selection for the festival.  Highlights included his popular bass driven house tracks ‘Box Clever’ and the deeper and smoother ‘Let it Go’ which has been a favourite of 2012 so far.  He also dropped Bashmore’s ‘Au Seve’, perhaps the festival anthem of this year, which causes a raucous in the crowd, but not as much as his frequent samples of old school garage and early rave.  Mixing Liberty City’s ‘If you Really Love Somebody’ with ‘Rhythm of the Night’, the atmosphere soared sky high and culminated in a hyper young girl performing the splits on the DJ booth….make of this what you will, but it’s safe to claim that every single person in that tent was having the time of their life – Huxley included. This is the effect of a fantastic DJ, and in fact something that Gottwood seems to bring in general– it brings out the best in both artist and crowd to create an amazing electrified feeling.

Huxley 6

Huxley

Huxley 3

Huxley

Late Saturday morning I woke to the shouts of the man with a megaphone pleading for rizzlers and other sodden necessities, which was quickly answered with friendly help.  So far, Gottwood’s crowds must be the friendliest I have known, perhaps it’s a combination of it being such a small festival with quite a hippy vibe, or perhaps it’s the freshness of the line up and diverse entertainment and setting – what ever it was, it worked.  New friends were continuously made, people stopped for chats with one another, everyone seemed happy to help those is need whether it be a spare rizzler, sharing warm cider or carrying an extremely messy person back to their tent.  I should also mention the fact that (for once!) security were absolutely lovely as were bar and festival staff.

We decided to explore our surroundings Saturday afternoon, and semi drunk frolicking in the forest ensued. Everywhere you looked there were random little tipis and huts, artwork, a tree house, make-shift tyre wings, a shisha bar, bunting and ribbons hanging from branches, bails of hail to fall into, and even a forest style sitting room complete with hammocks, 70’s style armchairs, and glowing lampshades strapped to the trees overhead.  Music started at 12.30 and we were more than happy to explore whilst listening to the sounds of rising stars and those already cemented in british electronic music, the crowds had already began to gather and dance already creating a buzzing atmosphere even within the rain, mud and hangovers of the night before.  People had gone to serious effort to create a unique and fun environment that fitted with the Summer of Love theme, but it was night time where the forest really shone.  The ambient lighting sent huge clusters of tree’s alive with colour, while thousands of fairylights lit up pathways and beckoned people to stages. 

Night time was truly magical at Gottwood and as you delved into different parts of the woods beats would ebb and fade until you found a stage filled with happy revellers, and on Saturday, the happiest of revellers could be found at Matanza’s live set in Summer of Wood tent, who epitomised the spirit of the festival, so popular in fact they played three times over the festival.  Their joyous and bouncy home-made South American beats made everyone dance and smile, influenced highly by their homeland, the band from Chile include influences from across the board of musical genres including rock and folk, which lends to the bands unique sound,  building to a euphoric crescendo that sent the Gottwood crowd wild.

louche 1

Louche 

Later Dinky received great reviews from her set in the Dome, the DJ has released on some pretty fabulous labels including Crosstown Rebels and Ostgut Ton, and her eight year residency at Panorama Bar has earnt her some serious credit – but her success is all of her own making due to her music which combines deep grooves and gorgeous melodies with quite heavy beats and funk, perfect for the personality of the dome and crowd within.

I’ve yet to mention The Stables, where we continuously stumbled in an out of.  An outhouse building that included some very talented and bass driven artists, we crammed ourselves into the tiny space, which because of this had some amazing acoustics, and some amazing artists to fill it.  The duo Disclosure are huge right now with their new kind of garage and bass music, and although the set wasn’t a stand out for me, they did play some anthemic old garage which the crowd loved, and their own tracks including the great Jessie Ware remix which has really proved the incredible talent of the guys.

The Stables

Stables

Heading back to Summer of Wood for Ed Solo, the man really stole the show in that place playing an intense mix of everything banged together, from hip hop and reggae with his own unique take on bass driven music including the dubby anthem ‘Age of Dub’.  Holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, people went completely mental. 

We also caught a bit of Groj in The Stables who had to fly back to Montreal a few hours after his set, which would have been hard after seemingly having a whale of a time ensuring punters entered a dance induced trance with his beautiful live set full of minimal and hypnotising melodies that built to a sublime climax, finishing the night perfectly, although many in The Stables seemed reluctant to leave.

Groj

Groj

Sundays can be tricky at festivals, many people are hanging on by a thread, pennyless and extremely muddy – and Gottwood was no exception to this – but the festival embraced it, brought everyone together, and happily celebrated the last day of the unique event, even managing a sunshine filled afternoon.  We spent it dancing to Krankbrother artist’s WildKats who with their blend of grooving house and hints of 80’s disco, splashed with some luscious baseline, ensured the crowd fought through the impending thoughts of Monday and real life.  Sunlight on faces, raising their hands and hearts with woops of delight, and the sounds of squelching dancing through the mud; it was simply perfect.

Small means beautiful really fits the bill for this boutique electronic festival, combining the setting of a fantastical acid trip fairytale and the best of underground electronica, talented pioneering producers, and heavyweight masters of the current dance music landscape.   But as we know many festivals can have beautiful settings and a fantastic line up, but what sets Gottwood apart is the people and the incredible atmosphere they create; the vibes from this independent and unique event are unparalleled to any festival I have yet to attend.  In the festival guide the curators invited us to “be ready to embrace a weekend of the weird, wonderful and most importantly, colourful…Festivals will change for the better when we all elect to take part, to take responsibility – if we all come together”; and this is exactly what Gottwood was all about, highlighting the type of other-worldly home we would all be part of for the weekend to come, and what a weekend was in store for each of us, coming together to lose track of every day life and reality; becoming part of something truly special.

 

 Words and Pictures by Rosa Devlin Holmes.

It’s Just One Big Popularity Contest Isn’t It?

By Hot Off The Press, Music Through Pictures, News

Love them or hate them, there’s no escaping the end of year polls that descend upon us year after year. From top ten YouTube video’s to top ten films of the year, best fashion brand or most powerful photographic images, every December the whole world turns into a competitive ‘let’s rate everything that exists’ monster. Tucked away in our not so quite little corner of dance music, we are equally guilty of partaking in this bizarre obsession like some warped ‘underground’ X-factor competition. I have never voted in any of these polls or awards with the exception of the annual Resident Advisor charts where we, as staff or contributors are asked to submit our top compilations, labels, albums and tracks of the year. I have also never been that interested in them, not interested enough to vote outside of the staff polls anyway.

hannah

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MEOKO chats to La Fleur

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

interview01

Every year there is a deluge of new DJs and producers all proclaiming to be ‘the one to watch’, but Sanna ‘La Fleur’ Engdahl is one of the special ones who has broken through and made her mark. Bursting out of the gate in February with her debut DJ set at Fabric, she’s been on the up ever since. The groundswell of DJ support for her Flowerhead EP in 2010 – the debut of her own vinyl-only label Power Plant – continued into this year when WhatPeoplePlay launched their new label with La Fleur’s Flowerhead Revisited EP, including Spencer Parker’s chart-topping remix.

The Swedish-born and Berlin-based artist has steadily developed into the fully-fledged artist that she is now: a DJ, producer, radio presenter, label owner and fashion designer, with a creative spirit, a clear artistic vision and the need to stay continually inspired.

For our readers who aren’t familiar with you, how would you introduce yourself?

 I’m a Swedish dj, producer and label manager. Fours years ago I decided to move to Berlin to get going with my own productions so I left my pharmacy career behind me in Sweden. Well in Berlin I also started my imprint Power Plant, which is mostly known as Power Plant Records. Power Plant is a foundation and breeding ground with branches within music, art and we put the power in different creative projects that we would like to see grow.

Why do you think you’ve ended up following a few different paths at the same time?  It all started out with the love for music, and through that it has developed and built up to what I’m doing now. The different paths are just different artistic expressions coming together through music somehow. I always did a lot of different things. I danced for eight years, I played the piano, the flute, stuff like that, and I have an interest in art and clothes. So in some way I’ve just continued doing the things I like, maybe in a different way but still with the same urge to create or express myself. Therefore Power Plant is an outlet for all the creative things I’m interested in. On our label nights we usually have a lot of installations. Last labelnight in Stockholm we made 200 pin wheels (the logo for Power Plant) and arranged them into a huge field in the basement, where you walk through to take the elevator up to the club. There were also an installation with three of the samples from the forthcoming clothing line and on the dance floor we had an interactive audio installation. For me music is the nourishing part, the core from which everything grows and come together.

What was your first introduction to electronic music?  I always loved to dance, and I think for me the love for electronic music comes from the dance. When I discovered electronic music, at night clubs at first, it was a ‘wow’ feeling. I could dance to that for hours, with people or by myself, without rules. I was really blown away.

What came first for you as an artist?  DJing. Even when I was listening to other genres like rock or pop I was always at home recording mix tapes for friends saying ‘please listen to this’. I really tried to convince them to listen to the music I liked, preaching about the music I loved. Early on when I was first in clubs and saw the dj playing, I thought ‘I wanna do that too’.

How long did you spend honing your skills for before playing out?  I started in 2004. So I was at home practising a lot and I got a gig from the guy who introduced me to mixing in 2004, so kind of soon after I got started. First I I tried it out with CDs and then i got my turntables in mid 2004 and thought ‘wow. THIS is fun’.

What was that first gig like?  I’m not sure it was the very first one but one of the first gigs was at a festival and at that time hip hop was mainly being played in Sweden and everyone asked me ‘why house music? why don’t you play hip hop?’. I remember that there weren’t that many people on my dance floor, but there was a older famous Swedish artist from a rock band, and another famous Swedish hip hop artist, and they were dancing!(Ulf Lundell & Timbuktu) It was a weird first gig but it was fun.

Where did you go after leaving Örebro your home town?  I went to Uppsala where I studied to my master of degree in Pharmaceutical Science, and at the end of my studies I started djing and had my first gigs. Then I moved to Stockholm where I worked as a pharmacist and started to dj more and more.

Why did you decide to leave for Berlin when there was so much going on for you in Sweden?  I felt like I needed inspiration in my everyday life. I was working full time and had a good job but it was taking up a lot of time, and I was playing every weekend and I really wanted to get going with my productions but it was hard to find the time. So I thought I need to go somewhere where I don’t know anyone, where I could lock myself into the studio but still feel inspired. I’d visited Berlin and I really fell in love with the city and thought, why not go there and feel inspired?

Do you think Berlin has had an effect on you as a DJ or a producer?  Yes, Berlin has given me a lot of influence and inspiration! I often get the feeling that it’s happening first in Berlin. You really feel like you’re in the middle of it here. Of course it effects you in some way, in a good way I hope (laughs).

Your track “Flowerhead” really blew up and was then chosen to launch the WhatPeoplePlay label, how did that all come about?  Flowerhead EP, with the tracks Et La Fleur and Flowerhead, was the first release on my limited vinyl only label Power Plant Records. These two tracks were really special to me and I had wanted to start a label for many years so thought: OK lets do it! The EP was released in May 2010 with a beautiful artwork by German illustrator Olaf Hajek. I was really nervous because people told me ‘no, you’ll lose so much money, don’t do it’ and I had also shopped the tracks around to other labels with no success so I thought I would have to buy the 500 copies myself! But then it turned out that people liked it, and it sold out very quickly. I was really happy about it and got support from a lot of great artists and Spencer Parker was one of them. He was one of the first who really took it up and then he asked me if he could do a remix of the Flowerhead track. And around the same time the distributor Word & Sound contacted me and wanted to distribute and/or license the EP from me for their new label Whatpeopleplay. I didn’t want license the whole EP since I released it as vinyl only so we decieded to go with just the Flowerhead track. They suggested Spencer Parker to do a remix, so it was perfect. Like it was meant to be.

Why did you decide that Power Plant would be a vinyl only label?  I love vinyl, I love the feel, the look and the sound of it. Also the cover artwork is a big part of my label, and you don’t get that if you only release in digital. And if you do digital you wouldn’t really see the artwork. I had people that bought the vinyl because they liked the tracks and cover and sent in pictures of themselves with the vinyl, saying ‘I don’t actually have a turntable, can you send me the digital?’ (laughs) which I did. The promotion was also done digitally as well so its not like it’s not available, of course i want people to listen to it so it’s up on Soundcloud and Youtube etc. Every vinyl comes with a special artwork, first out was Olaf Hajek, the second release on PPR had an artwork from visionary illustrator and collagist Sätty. I want every release to be special and beautiful, a piece of art to hang on the wall when it’s not in the record bag.

Have you thought of venturing into live shows as well?  Yes, that’s been on my mind for some time now. I’m learning Ableton at the moment so next year I’d definitely like to have a live set ready, that’s a goal.

What’s up next for you and Power Plant?  I have a release coming out on Power Plant Records, in the near future and I have some other exciting things coming up that I can’t talk about yet! Power Plant are also in the making of the alternative to the merchandise t-shirt; a five pieve collection that will be ready for A/W 2012. We also plan a labelnight in Malmö in the beginning of December. I’m also doing a cooperation with a Swedish headphone company, Zound Industries, they’re starting a new headphone label and I’m going to be involved with that.

You’re quite an inspirational character having forged your own path and created opportunities for yourself, do you have any word of advice for other people who may be thinking about making their own way in this industry?  Just do it! Follow your heart, don’t be afraid, aim high and you’ll get there eventually, in some way.

 

MEOKO chats to Anthony Collins & Seuil Ahead of their London Appearance at Half Baked 30th September

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

Half Baked has grown to become a buzz word meaning ‘very special party’ in East London since it began in 2009. Having grown from being a small Sunday daytime session, masterminded by bar managers and staff from Fabric nightclub, it has since developed into a tight and growing group of party loving people. Calling themselves ‘The Half Baked Family’, this lot never fail to draw the crowds and push the boundaries of deep house music.

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This month, they add an extra special Friday night date to their disco diary. Choosing a secret warehouse location they join forces with French entertainment developers and DJs ‘Lola Ed’ for a special ‘Half Baked meets Lola Ed showcase’. Lola Ed promise to take the half baked party people through a journey of the freshest, most progressive French house sounds they are pushing forward at the moment.

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