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Festival Archives — MEOKO

UNUM Festival 2021 Means Business!

By Event Previews and Reviews, Festival, News

2021 is in full swing and a Summer of mischief and delights is ahead of us. With so many events popping up it can be hard to navigate even where to start… that is until you cast your eyes on UNUM Festival!

With recent editions to the line up including Sven Väth and Ben Klock, plus Mathew Jonson, Dana Ruh, Tobi Neumann and many more global greats, as well as local talents who are quickly on the rise. Combine this with forward-thinking partnerships with iconic brands like Sunwaves, Modernity Events, Club Der Visionaere, Nordsten you can’t go wrong.

The festival also comes assured from the Albanian Ministries Of Tourism and Environmental Health that the event will go ahead from 3rd – 7th June.

UNUM has already cemented itself amongst the European elite for a number of reasons – the close-knit first edition was a memorable gathering of real music lovers in an upcoming region of the world. The festival really shined a spotlight on Rana e Hedhun, the last untapped corner of Europe in the town of Shengjin, on the idyllic Albanian coastline. It is a rare natural, organic and uncommercialised setting that allows for non-stop music night and day, plus sunrise and sunset parties, beach parties, water sports, plenty of local culture, food and drink offerings as well as isolated bays and gold sand beaches to explore.

This year the bar will be raised again with the news that world class clubs and promotions will line up as partners. Each of these collectives will bring their own special know how and sense of underground style to UNUM and include cult Romanian techno festival Sunwaves, the unique party in the Alps that is Modernity, Berlin’s underground haven Club Der Visionaere plus the River Rhine’s floating nightclub Nordsten and more.

Now also playing across the five days of enchanting and escapist hedonism will be techno pioneers like Cocoon‘s Sven Vath and Berghain‘s own Ben Klock, plus the always essential master of his machines that is Mathew Jonson plus deep house’s finest Dana Ruh, Cocoon’s long time taste-maker Tobi Neumann as well as Manu Gonzalez, Jamie Roy, Andy Luff, Colin Chiddle and over 15 local artist who bring their own distinctive house and techno flavours and perspectives. Already announced are the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Priku, Praslea, tINI, Sonja Moonear, Shaun Reeves, Raresh, Cesar Merveille, Dyed Soundorom, Leon and more.

Check out the official event for all the info!

 

More UNUM Festival: Facebook  / Instagram/ Website

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Words by Jordan Diston

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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MEOKO Industry Insiders: Getting Signed Part #1

By Industry Insider

 

 

In this series, we will be taking you behind the scenes in areas right across the industry. From A&R to agents, to door pickers, to lighting and sound plus the rest. Let’s take a look behind the music and see what’s popping.

This month we will be offering some insight into the beautiful minds of label owners to discover what they’re looking for when picking music for their imprints…

You’ve done the hard work; you’ve spent years perfecting your sound and you’ve finally got some ammo to show the world. But where do you start and what’s good practice when approaching labels?

Let’s find out >>

Burnski / Instinct  – Constant Sound / Aesthetic / Instinct

What do you look for when signing artists?

It all just boils down to the music for me. I just listen for anything that really grabs my ear.

It’s a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

Don’t treat it like a competition. I would focus on improving your craft and making your music as good as possible over trying to stand out. Compare your progress to your own, you’ll see it coming on each year and that should give you all the motivation you need.

One way to stand out is to trickle into the gaps of what’s out there at the moment. Usually, people start out emulating what’s hot at the moment. You play that game for a bit but then if you start going the other way to that, dig deeper into the archives of music out there, you probably start making stuff that isn’t a flavour of the month at the moment.

I feel you’re more likely to stand out doing that as you’re going off on your own away from the crowd. You might then find yourself doing something other people aren’t and people start playing that and all of a sudden you might be at the forefront of it.

I wouldn’t consciously try and do that to stand out though, do it just people you dig the music. You won’t suck all the magic out of it then and get caught in the game of making music to get somewhere.

A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

I once asked a pretty known guy for a demo. He sent me 4 tracks and it wasn’t right for the label. I let him know politely and he kicked right off and blocked me. It really took me back and I thought about it a lot after. I didn’t think any less of him, but I found it quite fascinating. There’s no point signing music that doesn’t really resonate with you.

https://www.facebook.com/180183132001497/videos/2663385410410086

On the opposite, I have worked with other guys and finalized an ep after back and forth for 6 months because they go away and want to get their head down and really crack it. Sometimes it takes a while to get the ep over the line. It’s got to feel right, and you know when it does.

I don’t want to tell anyone how they should do things but you have a choice which mentality you want to have. Just ask yourself, does it serve you well? Will it get me the best results? Will this make me get better at my craft?

Cinthie – WE_R HOUSE

What do you look for when signing artists?

 Sound-wise I’m mostly looking for house music but it can be disco house, 90ies house, deep house, UKG, some raw stuff. But when I’m signing music, it has to work on the dance floor and I’m always telling people to get out of their comfort zone and don’t just send me the generic house track I’ve already heard 5 million times.

But the tracks can be the best in the world if the artist is an asshole, I don’t sign it. The vibe between us also needs to be right. Also, I love to have fresh artists first and don’t really like to release people who already had 20 releases in 4 months, it’s nothing special then for me.

How do you like to be approached when someone submits a demo to you?

 I like a friendly little mail with a private Soundcloud link with up to 6 tracks. If I want more, I will ask for more. But more than 5,6 tracks is too much in my humble opinion. Add a few facts about you, maybe name, where you are coming from and if you had any previous releases. That’s how I like it.

What I don’t recommend is to send out mass emails, send me a mail with “hello Frank etc etc “ ( that’s not my name ), also I don’t really like to see 2000 plays already for the tracks on Soundcloud.

Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

Always be friendly and send your best tracks and try to keep them a bit diverse. There seems to be a formula at the moment, that always works but it will get boring after a while, so please always get out of your comfort zone and try not to sound like everyone else. Do a bit of research about the label. Sending a banging Techno EP to a nice house label does not look very professional.

A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

I usually always test tracks on the dancefloor, then I know if I wanna sight it or not. I also believe that after 24 years in the business I have some kind of experience of what works and what I want.

So far every artist I signed has only released with me once. I just wanted to support as many friends as possible but I will start now to also have a second release by some artist, just to help them grow and maybe tie them a bit more to me. But I have to see, especially for the more unknown artists, releasing with me is sometimes a good door opener. And as I said in the question above, I don’t really like an artist that does labels – hopping. Because then it’s not so special for me anymore and I rather release someone else.

Yaya – Tamango

What do you look for when signing artists?

I immediately know if a track can fit for Tamango or not. I’ve listened to so many records in my life that I kind of recognize in a few seconds if a track fits with the style of the label, both regarding the overall sound used and the mixdown part. I do basically the same thing that I do when I go digging in the record shop: picking 3 diff parts of the tracks and listen to them for a few seconds. If I like the track, I listen to it more carefully to know exactly if it can be signed on the label.  The main element that I’m the most interested in is the groove.

Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

First of all, I really like it when they send their email to the correct one hahaha!!! (promo@yayamusic.net). I also like some little introduction about them and their previous releases. Please do not send me music through Facebook/Instagram. Also, make sure that it’s a specific email and not forwarded to 100 contacts.

Make you sure that your music features a lot of grooves, a good dose of energy and an infectious bassline. I’m a real house music lover in all the different facets so on the label, despite the inevitable direction that I’m trying to do, I’m open to diff sounds and approaches.

It’s a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

Nowadays, an artist needs first to do EXCELLENT music. There are a lot of you talents around and the competition is stiff. He should try to create a kind of cool-character, image and needs to work out on the social stuff. This doesn’t mean to take 142343 photos in the studio or doing too much content but simply give a kind, nice and cool image out with some sick videos, meme or anything music and not music-related.

DJ W!LD – Dailycid

What do you look for when signing artists?

Good music that fits with the line of one of my labels, nothing more. If it’s for an EP, I am trying to look for a few tracks with a different flavour but fits together in some way. If it is an album, something more personal with a few dancefloor bombs. I also look for artists where I see the good potential and who can fit with the spirit of my labels to make them grow with labels and create a solid crew around it.

How do you like artists to approach you when submitting demos? 

The best is by email but at the end, I receive them everywhere, Facebook, Instagram Messenger, WhatsApp…The easiest is maybe with SoundCloud private link.

Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

-Try to send the right number of tracks (I did the mistake a few times to send too much then is really difficult to focus well on each one)

– Don’t be pushy (at the end the people who want to sign you will get back to you)

-Try to make sure the people you send the tracks received them

-Try to send tracks which fit with the line of the label (otherwise labels will refuse the tracks and have the wrong image of your sound)

– Even if the label says no and gives you some tips. Use them and come back later with more tracks.

A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

Most of the time I choose artists and tracks that fit already perfectly to my label, but also when needed I explain what I think could be done to fit better on my label. Using my experience in production and working the dancefloor for many years to give the tips and advice I can, to help the artist grow when I see this ability in them.

SY – EWax

What do you look for when signing artists?

As a label, we look for individuality and fresh creativity to the way they make their music, I feel that is key for finding the right artists to work with and not an artist who feels they have to imitate other more successful artists’ sounds.

How do you like artists to approach you when submitting demos?

This very simple, information is everything, It doesn’t take a lot just to tell me a bit about yourself and which artists may have influenced you and your sound, add some basic details on the music you’re presenting to us, so we have a small idea if it is fitting to us or not. This is missed so much these days and really puts me off listening to the music. It’s not rocket science.

It’s a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

It is a very competitive, yes, there are so many young artists coming through right now, the standards are very high, the highest I’ve seen since I made this a full-time career some 10 years ago, so I would say first and foremost the music, If it’s good enough that will do the talking for you, secondly, in these times social media presence is everything, so make sure this is all kept up to date and you’re using your socials effectively to present and project you and your music.

This very simple, information is everything, It doesn’t take a lot just to tell me a bit about yourself and which artists may have influenced you and your sound, add some basic details on the music you’re presenting to us, so we have a small idea if it is fitting to us or not. This is missed so much these days and really puts me off listening to the music. It’s not rocket science.

Dudley Strangeways – Leftback

What do you look for when signing artists?

The main thing for Leftback is that the music is good and fits with the labels sound but also the artists is someone we want to work with for a long time, this is usually down to if we think the person has something unique sounding to their productions. Most of the artists, but not all have a relationship with the label already mainly through being involved in events or through partying over the years.

Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

Read the labels demo submission guidelines as it can differ for each label. Do some research on the label, hopefully, it’s a label you’re into and you already have some of their releases so it can’t hurt to mention a track you’ve been playing or listening to. It can show the label you’re interested in them and you’ve not sent another CC all email. If you create a playlist it can’t harm to create a specific playlist per label with their logo so it’s a little more personal as it may grab their attention, it just leads to shitloads of playlists!

 

A&R is a really refined process. How do you work with artists to get their best work from them?

 It’s good to have a selection of tracks to choose from to make an EP up. It’s always hard when you get sent a few bangers and nothing else that fits, not a massive fan having a load of remixes done on one track for a release. This is especially the case for wax as the DJ playing the record is mainly going to play one track from the release and sometimes space can be tight in a record bag.

Those are the records I will leave rather than a 12” that’s got 4 really wicked tracks on, but maybe that’s just me. Sometimes we may ask the artists to change something in the track but this is generally “a would you mind trying this and see if it sounds better”, but the artists will always have the final say if we didn’t like the track there would be no point in sighing it in the first place! We do mix the tracks on occasion if we feel that the music is really interesting but the mix is not 100% up to scratch and the tracks are all mastered in house giving us creative control over those elements, but again with the artist having the final say. Ideally, anything that needs doing to ensure that the release sounds and works as good as possible for what we’re putting out.

Do you offer feedback to demos submitted?

Not all the time if the person who’s submitted the demo has taken the time to send a detailed and personal email with the music something close to what we release I will always try and give feedback. I think this is important as it’s not an easy thing sending demos to labels and can be a fairly daunting process. You’ve put something you’ve created out into the world and don’t get anything back. It can really mess up some people’s confidence, and this is the sole reason Leftback was started as none of the larger labels would respond to demos sent from myself and Michael.

TC80 – Sequalog

What do you look for when signing artists?

Usually, it’s music from friends or people I meet. But I’m interested in artists who have their own signature, even if it sounds classic. I don’t really care about the trend, I prefer timeless music.

Any tips for artists when trying to get signed?

I would say don’t focus on the trends but develop your own musical identity. With time and practice, the quality will rise and it will sound outstanding compared to the mass. Even if it’s very special, better to stay true to the sound you like and resonate with. It’s also cool to receive tracks with playful arrangements, which captivate the audience, telling a story and keeping the intensity climax around the end, before the outro.

It’s a competitive industry. How do you think artists can stand out?

I think it can be cool to work on some decent marketing to accompany a release’s artists. Nice artwork, story, music video, etc… But regarding the creative music process, I would recommend to not think about the result. More important to focus on the practice and a natural expression, being present, crafting the skills step by step and being bold to sound different. With time all of this leads to quality. Then it’s about getting in touch with people/DJ/label owners resonating with artist’s music. If you can try your tracks in a real club situation, it can be helpful to identify things you might want to tweak or change.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Being aware of what you feel and going with the flow. Sometimes it can be chill downtempo, sometimes punchy club orientated, most important is to stay true.

To produce club tracks, I would recommend taking the time to listen to other types of music than exclusively dance music or trends.

For example listening to your favourite music from your childhood, adolescence, world-traditional music, etc… If you are deeply resonating with those different sounds/inspirations, it can naturally constitute your sonic palette that you can use to produce outstanding dance music. Ultimately practising to be in a creative state let things happen by themselves, witnessing presence and life itself. In this state, it’s not the self/ego trying to exist through expression anymore but pure flow.

 

Words: Jordan Distan

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The connection between Ben Vedren and Concrete will always be special, we asked Ben of his top five moments at Concrete

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Reviews
A sad occassion for all party goers this summer, as we waved goodbye to an integral part of the night scene in, Paris. Sadly Concrete had to shut it’s doors. Ahead of his fantastic ‘In Harmony’ release on his label Reduce Records, we managed to catch up with long term resident and friend of the club, Ben Vedren. The two track EP sees one original from the French artist and co founder Leiris supplies a classy remix. 
ben vedren by lara kiosses
 
 
The connection was and always will be strong between Ben and Concrete, so we asked him his top 5 moments since he became a resident at the club… 
 
1. First Live : wood floor 23/07/2012
Probably my strongest memory at Concrete… was hot and sunny summer afternoon, and  many of my dearest friends were here for support! This moment would change my life forever.
 

 
2.  Afterparty first Weather Festival 19/05/2013
When you play at Concrete, you have the privilege to share the lineups with the best artists. This day, I was thrilled to be around all those incredible guys, which I admire the work of most of them.
Playing my live set between Kerri Chandler and Robert Hood in the main room was a blessing to me.
Pic2
 
 
3. New Years Eve_ main room 31/12/2018
Definitely the most intense vibe I’ve experience at Concrete… that night was completely out of control. Those kind of moment you get stuck for days after!
VIDEO :  https://www.facebook.com/benvedrenmusic/videos/343995466196962/
 
4. Parents_Main room
I can’t remember which party it was, the only thing I know it was a Sunday afternoon. I decided to invite my dear parents to assist my show, a way of trying to show them what I do as they never been to a party before. My dad was really intrigued and my mum dancing all the way. And every one from staff to public were sooo nice to them. Was just the right moment to do it !
 
5. Closing Party : woodfloor 21/07/2019
Learning that Concrete will be over for good was a shocking news for all of us. But we decided that this moment should not be a sad, even if nostalgia was in everybody’s mind.

 

Keep up to date with all things Reduce Records, Reduce Records Soundcloud, Reduce Records FB. 

Artist profiles Ben Vedren Soundcloud, Ben Vedren RA, Ben Vedren FB, Leiris Soundcloud, Leiris RA, Leiris FB

Listen back to the Reduce Records back catalogue here, Monkey Nenufar – Pusspo/Element and Ben Vedren’s MXA EP, coming soon on digital platforms. Watch this space!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrey Pushkarev b2b Stojche at Echowaves Festival 2019

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

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

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

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

An alternative Houghton weekend – in the midst of heartbreak, London pulls through again

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

No photo description available.

Just before arriving on site Thursday morning and receiving the heartbreaking news that Houghton Festival had been cancelled due to predicted 60mph winds by the Met Office, the underground electronic music family all shared a quiet moment of reflection about not getting to experience the magic of one of the finest festivals in the land again this year.

No photo description available.

Leaving 8000 ravers with four free days to fill with dancing, alternative parties immediately sprung up online, featuring many of the artists due to play over the weekend and resulting in some of the quickest sold out events in recent months due to the eagerness of the crowd, intimacy of the venues and the gargantuan popularity of the DJs due to play. Some of the immediate events to surface were Voigtmann at Lion & Lamb and Cartulis at FOLD, both of which I quickly jumped on and therefore had something to look forward to and ease the blues.

The tiny capacity of pub venue Lion and Lamb meant that it was almost full upon arrival at 14:00 in the afternoon, with bodies eager to let off some steam and find solidarity on the dance floor. The pub has close connections with Houghton festival curator Craig Richards who can often be found on Thursday and Sunday nights playing here alongside many special companions who you rarely ever find in such a small setting. Voigtmann, another regular here, had today handpicked another very select bunch of artists including Bruno Schmidt, Patrick Klein, Silverlining, Taimur, Mr Shiver and Thoma Bulwer.

Image result for lion and lamb pub london

Tucked away off the main stretch of Hoxton, the traditional London boozer is cosy and familiar, with an outside terrace that allows you to chill with a pint before getting warmed up to hit the dance floor. Outside I met ravers who had travelled from as far as Malta and New York for Houghton and although as disappointed as they may have been, they still had smiles on their faces in anticipation of a day of quality music in these surroundings ahead. The family spirit associated with the festival and its deep-rooted connections across the country and further afield there for all to see.

Suitably limbered up, when I made my way past the leather sofas and rugs, and under the arty stereo jack lined ceiling, the party was already in full flow, with Bruno Schmidt making arms move and feet step in front of the small booth that included a simple set up of technics and a rotary mixer. Voigtmann could be seen interacting with the crowd, hugging both friends and newcomers alike and dancing behind the decks throughout. This set the tone and he embodied the collective enthusiasm. Taimur provided deep, hypnotic house, equally lapped up by the adoring faithful who were now crammed in and finally letting off some much-needed steam.

The party was just getting into its prime when I had to unfortunately cut it short and make my way over to Canning Town to FOLD to ensure I would be able to get a place in the again fully sold out event being hosted by Cartilus. Again, this featured some favourite underground heroes and masters of the turntables including the formidable Nicolas Lutz and My Own Jupiter label mates Omar, Unai Trotti, Kino and Michelle.

This was my first time at the club and I was impressed to say the least in its approach. Located in an industrial space far removed from anything that it might disrupt, it boasts the loudest sound system in London, with its 24-hour license and no-filming policy it has a European feel, and this was also represented in the diverse crowd in attendance. The door staff are friendly but selective and ensure that only those who are there for the music gain entry. From the outside it appears as abandoned as the other surrounding warehouses, but inside it becomes a rave paradise, with huge pillars, metal supports and shutters alongside the far wall. Lockers are available to return to throughout the night which provides safety and security for endless hours of dancing.

Inside the venue impressive lighting and sound filled the main room, with warm red lasers capturing the mood of the soundtrack of slow breaks that was initially being provided by both Kino and Unai Trotti, robotic sci-fi synths putting the early crowd into an early trip inside the former paint factory. The fascinating projections on the back wall behind the DJ of a bookshelf fading in and out accompanying the spellbinding records.

As the 600-capacity main room started to fill to the maximum and a dim blue hue filled the air, OMAR took the reins and played an engrossing set of stripped back house, experimental sounds from the Panama native enthralling stomping ravers. The sound system sounded fine-tuned wherever you were placed, and the room has an intimate yet dominating atmosphere.

The dystopian feel of the club that looks onto electric pylons and concrete rubble felt perfect as headliner Nicolas Lutz mesmerised the audience with menacing slow electro jams featuring long breakdowns that provided brief respite, before hitting into bombastic bass lines not of this planet. As the daylight began to pierce through the shutters creating an eerie, enchanting atmosphere, the appreciative and varied crowd were happy to be taken in whichever direction Lutz saw fit, as he didn’t make the path easily digestible, but it was ever exciting and the crowd seemed to welcome hearing new and completely unexpected tunes, many of which I’m sure may never see the light of day for some time yet.

Following a day break, the final party I checked out was a special collaboration between Meoko and BAG at the world-famous Fabric. Relative Perlon newcomer and extraordinary hardware wizz kid Spacetravel was headlining alongside Gene on Earth. The tunes throughout the night were exceptional as anticipated, with a fun, playful and heartwarming blend of abstract house selections that ended the weekend with a fitting sense of positivity.

This was one of the busiest times I have encountered at Fabric on a Sunday evening and the dancefloor was completely full right from the beginning of the night to the very last record, the surrounding of the caged booth right to the raised terrace at the back of the main room packed with familiar faces who were making the most of the additional days they had booked off on Monday and Tuesday. Keep a close eye on Meoko for more forthcoming events that will surprise and excite in the autumn and winter months.

Even though it wasn’t the weekend everyone had anticipated, with many sold out events across a whole host of venues and spaces, it was an opportunity for those who may not have otherwise received such a spotlight to get some well-deserved recognition. Old friends were reunited, new ones made, and it was great to see the community of the scene come together and make the best out of a bad situation, the days proving that London is still one of the friendliest and most interesting places to party in the world.  No one in attendance at these events had a bad word to say about Houghton, warm feelings remained inside, and all will be seen back there in 2020.

Words by Tom Warner

A journey through the years: behind the scene with the unstoppable Quenum

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interviews

Quenum is surely one of the longevous acts in the electronic scene. His first steps as a DJ could be dated in the 80s and since then he has been an unstoppable train in continuous movement, taking part as a co-founder to the legendary Cadenza and giving life to the AZIMUTE project alongside Cesare vs Disorder and co-owning with him, since 2016, the prestigious Serialism label. 

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  • Your first track is dated in 2003… I was only 7 years old! How do you feel about having such a long and prolific career compared to the new generations and how do you see the evolution (from the parties to the music prod) of the whole electronic movement?

That’s so funny! Actually, I was already DJing professionally in the 1980s. You know I never had a career plan, I just started DJing because I went a lot to clubs, I was a dancer and it was natural for me to be in music. I never thought this would last one year or 20 years, I just go day by day because I love it so much. In this new generation, there’s a lot of good stuff and with social media and the Internet you can find out about it, everything is so much easier to access. But the problem is that there’s a lot of hype and fashion and people who are in this business for the look, for looking cool on Instagram but they have no depth. That doesn’t take away from all the young generation dudes who are doing very good stuff, better than ever. I don’t know where we’re going really, there are so many people doing electronic music, it’s so easy with the evolution of technology. Today we work much faster, at the same time we have so many new things to manage.

  • The 1993 track is was talking about is also actually the first EP on yours and Luciano’s Cadenza and we know you have such a good relationship with him. Did you expect at that time the success that the label would have had and the importance that Cadenza had (and still has) for all the house lovers around the world? We can still talk about a “Cadenza-ish” style so I think that it really set the standards.

Actually, the tracks I was doing in the 90s were my own tracks, as part of a project called Access 58. Luciano and I met in Geneva in 2001, and we started working together in the studio. “Orange Mistake” came out in 2003. It’s one of those classic crazy music stories. Luciano and I contacted many labels to release the track but nobody wanted it, and we got impatient. So we were hanging out one day together, with his sister Amelie, and the three of us said why don’t we start our own label and then we don’t have to deal with this nonsense. Hahaha. So we started Cadenza and our first release was Orange Mistake, and the rest is history. Of course, we had no idea what we had started. We both love music and love working together. It’s been a while, but there is a surprise coming soon.

  • “Orange Mistake” is actually #3 in your Beatport chart! It seems that people still love your roots! How do you feel about that?

I’m super proud of this track, it’s incredible for an artist to have this happen, to have your creation receive so much love and attention. I love what we did, I think the date doesn’t matter, as much as the quality.

  • Will we have the chance to see you again on Cadenza? 

Actually, I released an EP on Cadenza in 2016, called Solitaire. It felt really good to be back on the label. For the moment I have no plans for releases on Cadenza.

 

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  • You have reduced your music output during the last years, on how it depends on this? Did you focus more on other stuff?

Yes, my style of working has changed a little bit. Before I spent so much time in the studio, I was also super open to doing remixes and collaborations with many people. Then I realised I better take care of business too, today there are so many things you have to do with social media, meeting people etc. Also, I’ve pushed myself in a musical sense, trying to learn new things and explore new ways. So, for example, I’ve done a solo album, I’ve worked in the studio on an album with a group of musicians, including some very talented jazz musicians, I’ve worked on the score for a television series. Of course, all those experiments take time away from the studio, but it makes me very happy because it enables me to grow as an artist.

  • How’s your relationship with Switzerland? Talking about your country, I only know Caprices Festival, Breakfast Club and Luciano, but it would be sick if you want to introduce me and our readers into more Swiss parties and DJs.               

I moved to Switzerland around 1988, I was already working as a DJ (lol). Since then I’ve moved around, lived a long time in London, then again back in Switzerland. I’m there quite often and it’s where I keep my studio. I love being there, I have good friends. For sure there are lots of talented people. Check out Stade, it’s an electronic music project with my good friends Pierre Audetat and Christophe Calpini, both music geniuses. The Attias brothers and their label Visions Recordings, great stuff. Also DJs like Dachsund, Ripperton, Laolu, Garance and Reas, all in different styles and so good.

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  • You’ve also started a project with Italian Cesare vs Disorder. How did you guys meet and how did you start the project, despite having already a nice image as a solo artist.

We met because I was in Berlin in a recording studio with my friend Sierra Sam and Cesare was there. I was talking about releasing my solo album and was not sure which label to approach. Cesare listened right there in the studio and loved it and he gave me such attention and freedom as a label boss, I thought immediately I want to be there. And then we hit it off and became good friends. We decided to start collaborating and that’s how our project Azimute was born. We went on tour all over the world, especially in Asia and Australia. That brought us very close. Both our families love each other, and we’re always looking for new ways to extend our work. So now we are organizing parties in Sao Paulo and London.

  • The Cristi Cons for AZIMUTE’s “The Secret” on Cocoon was one of the highlights from last year. Any anticipation for the future?

For sure, I love what Cristi Cons did with the track. And also we had great support from Cocoon, always love working with them. So thanks for that! Azimute keeps ongoing 100% and we’re currently working on new music. We play together at the Serialism parties we do in Brazil and the UK. Right now we’re focusing on work we did for our album, trying to finish it.

  • Personally, I really like the project of Serialism: from the music to the artwork and the whole idea behind the project. I see you guys are doing a lot of parties in Brasil. How’s the scene/movement in there?

The scene in Brazil is captivating. It’s a young scene,  so it reminds me of the energy in New York and London years ago. There are great parties, in unusual places. You can still find places like old industrial or warehouse buildings that you can take over to do a party. It’s more free. The youth there is very energetic, it’s a young population, very cool. I love it. We’re very lucky that Fernanda, the wife of my partner Cesare, is a talented graphic artist, filmmaker, designer. Incredible. So she’s done all our posters, flyers, promos, album covers, videos. We’re just so spoiled to have the best artist in-house (lol).

 

 

 

  • We know that you’re such a healthy person (and I love to run too). Can you tell us more about your hobbies and interests?

Yes, for sure! Apart from music I’m really into sports, especially running. More than an interest, it’s my survival, my balance, my happiness. I’m totally addicted to running. And I love food too… so I better continue running!!!!

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti

MOGA Festival : A mystical place on the Moroccan coast

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, News

moga

 

MOGA Festival has announced the full line-up of this exceptional musical gathering taking place this October 11-13th at UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city of, Essaouira, Morocco. The festival spirit combines music and art at various levels with an emphasis on Moroccan, Maghrebian and African culture, alongside top tier international artists and guests.
This breathtaking site will host a variey of artists like Bradley ZeroKenny Dope, Enzo Siragusa, Folamour, Lazare HocheBLOND:ISH, Raresh and Praslea (as Praslesh), Amine K, Maher Daniel and more.
MOGA creates therefore, a diverse and unique experience during the three-day festival at the beautiful Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa resort. The festival harmoniously combines the local landscape by the sea with its grand and antique architecture and the warmth of the sun, the amazing local cuisine, culture and colour.

 

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The annual MOGA Creation Initiative has also been announced — following dOP and the Maalem Hassan Boussou in 2016 collaboration, and Stavroz and the Essaouira Issaoua one in 2018 — Thomas and Julien de Bie, who form the duo Parallells, will combine their electronic productions with the gnaoua music of Maalem Omar Hayat. After several days of working together in the studio in Essaouira in the days prior to the festival, they will perform the final pieces from their collaboration on the main stage. Other names of the local scene will include top quality acts including Daox, Mr ID, Achil, Noritsu, Amine K and Nomads.
For more information, consult the MOGA social media pages and site.

 

https://www.mogafestival.com

https://facebook.com/mogafestival

https://twitter.com/MogaFestival

https://instagram.com/MogaFestival

 

FESTIVAL INFO

4 Stages: Pool Stage, Garden Stage, Terrace Stage and So Lounge
Young creators market, wellbeing and relaxation
Hours: 12h – 05h00

Location: Sofitel Mogador Golf & Spa Essaouira

 

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MOGA X-TRAS

The city of Essaouira will vibrate to the rhythms of the Festival, for this new edition of many must-see places will be invested again:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

18h: Opening at DAR SOUIRI with officials
20h – 00h: OCEAN VAGABOND – BBQ / buffet + Dj set
22h-2h: BEACH & FRIENDS – Dj Party Set

Monday, October 15, 2019

12h to 18h: CLOSING SIDI KAOUKI Seagulls and Dromedaries – Brunch Electro

Other Moga X-tras TBA

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HOT SPOTS

The attendees that present their entry ticket will be able to benefit from many preferential tariffs on the hiring of Buggy, Quad, Kite-Surf, ride on horseback and camels, shops of souvenirs and crafts, workshops, cooking classes — details announced very soon.

 


TICKETS

Festival Ticket Only —  3-Day Pass from 150€

Ticket + Transport + Hotel — from 206€

https://www.festicket.com/fr/hosted/festivals/moga-festival/2019/shop/?page_mode=hosted&fbclid=IwAR1QMuRuX5UEwtPqq9Q0YUMi6IX0fNVMSz2L5n6NYopSrR_PsTEpx5Z0RzA

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

THE LINE UP

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

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

Islanders, The countdown has truly begun.

28th of July, Elétrico Festival returns to Porto’s Parque da Pasteleira

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Reviews

From the 26th to the 28th of July, Elétrico Festival returns to Porto’s Parque da Pasteleira. The boutique festival launched last year, born from the charismatic energy and culture of the Porto city. Taking its name “Elétrico” from the Portuguese word for “Tram”, the festival aims to be a “vehicle of emotions”, offering connection, immersion and liberation through a dynamic artistic and cultural experience.

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MEOKO is delighted to be partnering with Elétrico in 2019, celebrating one more year of positive energy through music and the outdoors.  The festival prides itself on its values of cultural sustainability and diversity, which permeate all dimensions of Elétrico. The festival aims to bring the unique Porto character to the world in an inclusive atmosphere, where the musical offering is complemented by artistic exhibitions and a focus on nature and wellness.

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This years’ musical programming fills the big shoes left by last year’s instalment, with a richly curated selection of local and international talent from house to jazz, minimal to funk, and techno to disco. Elétrico’s tasteful line-up caters to heads from all corners of the musical landscape.

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Artists include (in alphabetical order): Apollonia, D’julz, Diana Oliveira, Helena Guedes, Inner City (live), Janus Rasmussen live (Kiasmos), João Dinis, João Tenreiro, Leo Cruz, Levon Vincent, Matthew Herbert, Maria Gambina – Fashion Designer, Marcel Dettman, Magazino, Maayan Nidam (live), Moodymann, Petre Inspirescu, Rui Vargas, Theo Parrish, Tiago Carvalho and Vasco Valente.

electrico

What stands out most about Elétrico’s programming is the selection of highly influential artists that have been at the forefront of their respective genres: names like Dettman, Parish and Inspirescu are undoubtedly synonymous with stalwart status. For those looking for a July weekender away from the hype of commercialism, Elétrico is an excellent choice. If last year’s edition was anything to go by, the festival will enrich and energise while offering you the opportunity for immersion in the beautiful city of Porto. 3 day tickets are currently available for 45,00€ via the Elétrico website.

Tickets for Elétrico

Elétrico on Facebook

Elétrico Facebook Event Page