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Interview & Exclusive Mix Archives — Page 3 of 13 — MEOKO

Under The MEOKO Microscope – DJ Schwa & Mix x UP Festival

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive, Under Meoko Microscope

DJ SCHWA UMM Banner

The Under The MEOKO Microscope series is back with a bang, as we call upon Czech producer DJ Schwa. We caught up with this talent in an interview to speak about his recent work, plans, Czech Republic and UP Festival. Let’s get into this and check his exclusive MEOKO mix.

1.Hey Michal, thanks for your time and having us. How are things with you so far?

Hi, no worries. I am great. Currently touring Australia. It’s great to escape the winter for a few weeks. And the gigs were all great so far.

2. It barely takes a pair of ears to tell that you have a real passion for electronic music. As a musician’s son, How were you first exposed to these sounds and what artists did you grow up on?

Firstly I was exposed to all different genres of music, mainly jazz, through my dad. I would hung out in the studio a lot as a kid and there I would hear whatever he was recording or working on – from classical to pop, rock, jazz and even tv / film scores. Later on, in the 90ties, I got introduced to electronic music through my brother and also through Radio 1. Bands like Underworld, Leftfield, Deep Forrest, Propellerheads, Ltj Bukem, Herbaliser. From there it took a drastic turn into the electronic music world and I started discovering music pretty much 24hrs a day. It became an obsession.

3. As being a Czech, how its scene shaped your music? Please tell us more about Czech underground scene, clubs, records shops, parties, favourite destinations.

I don’t really know how being Czech shaped my music. I left Czech Republic when I was 19 and came back when I was 26. I lived in Australia and I have also spend some time in US. Australia had a huge impact on me. I somehow felt more connected to the world of electronic music as I ever felt in Prague. Even though Sydney is s far away it made me realise that it’s somehow very close and connected to the UK/EU scene. Prague was always a bit disconnected – but that is changing now drastically and I am very very happy for that.

4. What’s one thing that you don’t see enough of in the music industry that you’d like to see in Czech Republic?

Czech scene is very healthy now. But I would like to see more and more clubs equipped with top class soundsystems and well managed Dj equipment.

5. You have your own label ‘Beef Records’, what made you start your own label? and we also love the name, what made you choose ‘Beef Records’?

It was a bit of coincidence. 12 years ago I was co-running label called Tribal Vision and I was working on an electro/techno CD compilation. I had a name for it which I found at local meat shop – Prime Cuts. On the comp I had track by artists like Trentemoller, Martinez, Mos, Peterski etc. When it was all ready we realised it doesn’t fit the labels sound. So I decided to start my own label. I have kept the Prime Cuts name for the VA and started Beef records as it was a perfect match 🙂

6. In regards to your own productions, what projects are you working on at the moment and what do you find the most challenging aspect of producing your own music?

Right now we got back together with Nick West and we are working on the new Shades of Gray album. I am in Australia for about 2 weeks and we wanted to get most out of my stay – so no beach for me. It’s studio time and gigs. One of the tracks I played at SASH this Sunday and it sounded great. Hopefully the album will be ready for release later this year. 

https://www.facebook.com/SOGlive/videos/1579032575483110/

 

7. You clearly spend alot of time in the studio. Would you like to talk us through your studio, and your favourite equipment when making some magic?

We have multiple studios going. One of them is Nick’s studio here in Sydney where we like to use some classic synths (Moog Voyager, SH101, Juno 106, Nord Lead and Korg MS2000). On the last track we triggered the SH101 with Arturia Beatstep sequencer and somehow we got amazing groove out of it. Something you would never come up with by playing the keyboard. I personally love using the DSI Tempest Drum synths but I didn’t bring it here as it was too heavy to carry around while travelling.

UMM Schwa

8. Please tell us about your projects; Shades of Gray, Komiks Events.

Komiks is a warehouse party concept what we run together with Fatty M and Lumiere for about 4 years now. It became quite successful and it found it’s sweetspot in Pragues underground scene. We are happy that Komiks is doing so well and that many people, even out of Prague, travel to it. So far we hosted artists such as Derrick May, Robert Hood / Floorplan, Fort Romeau, Recondite, Kink, Catz n Dogz, Palms Trax, Baba Stiltz, Makam, San Proper, Dorisburg, Bjarki, Roman Flugel, Cleveland, Trus Me, Artefakt, Monoloc and many others. We also launched a new podcast series;

https://soundcloud.com/komikswarehouse/komiks-podcast-01-fatty-m-schwa-live-the-block-tel-aviv” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer

 

9. If you had a chance to move to another city; which city would it be and why?

Sydney is my second home. So if I had to move somewhere it would be Sydney for sure.

10. How did first touch with UP Festival Crew take place? How does it feel to be going to play at a major festival alongside many other respected names?

I know Bruno for many years. To be totally honest I wasn’t sure that this will ever happen in Prague and that he will be able to pull it of. But it’s clearly happening and he has my respect and full support. Not just Bruno, the whole crew of course. I am excited to play alongside Ricardo, he has been a great inspiration for so many years. I am not a huge fan of big stages and crowded festivals but UP Festival seems to be shaping just perfect.

3RD-RELEASE-NAMES final

11. The venue of the festival looks stunning, have you ever attended an event there yourself? What are your advises to our followers (that includes myself as well) who will visit Prague for UP Festival?

I haven’t been there for ages. Maybe like 15 years so I am quite excited to see how it changed. However, it is fair to say, festival-goers wont be dissappointed by the beauty of Prague and yes the venue is stunning.

12. Thank you for the mix, it sounds amazing. Could you tell us a little about the mix you made for MEOKO? What was your approach and how would you describe it?

The mix was made on a fly. Pressed ‘record’ at one of the gigs I played at Sisyphos few months ago. Then I cut 1,30 from it as it was too long and did some basic levelling and mastering. I rather catch the live djing element even if it’s not perfect then doing a studio mix.

13. Last of all, do you have any exciting more exciting news you would like to share with everyone? Dates, releases, collaborations etc?

You should check out Beef records. We have lots of great new music coming out. LP by BUSZ (Pier Bucci & Oskar Szafraniec), 12” by Rico Casazza another 12” by Dircsen with Florian Kupfer remix and much more. Check: www.beefrecords.net and www.facebook.com/beefrecords/

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Okain Interview

By Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

Okain interview banner2

Okain is part of a wave of artists that began spinning records and producing music 15 years ago in Paris. His first release came in 2007, and launched the career of an exciting new voice in electronic music. Over the years, he has evolved into an accomplished artist with sets in Panorama Bar, Fabric, and some of the finest venues in the world. He has also participated in a lot of projects such as Handycraft, the alias he used to have in collaboration with Paul Ritch many years ago. But most importantly, he has shown a commitment to his very own sound with a steady output of records on labels such as Tsuba, Bpitch Control, and more recently Infuse (Fuse London). After relocating to Berlin in 2011, he has established his own musical imprint Talman Records, where he can freely release the music he loves. As a DJ, the Parisian has grown into an impressive and versatile selector that can pull from a wide spectrum of material from house to techno, both old and new.

Ahead of his exciting upcoming EPs and news, we caught up with Okain to speak about his career and plans. 

 

1- Hi Okain, thanks for the interview! How are you doing today?

Very fine, thanks.  

2- How did your NYE gig go? Apparently it lasted for 2 days, is Berlin’s endurance-oriented party culture something that you partake in?

NYE was really cool. It started in Berlin for a gig I did in Anomalie and I flew straight after my set to play in Malaga. It was nice to start the year in a sunny place. Yes, Berlin definitely has the longest parties. I am going out sometimes but I am getting older and I never stay until the end anymore really. 

3- What are your favourite places to play in Berlin by the way? In fact I’m moving there soon myself, so any recommendations?

There are many places I like to play : Tresor, Kater Blau, Sisyphos, CDV, Watergate, Chalet, Renate & Panorama bar are some of my favourite spot to play.

4- Hope you don’t mind reminiscing about the past for a bit… I was wondering about the scene in Paris back in the middle of the 00’s. It’s amazing that the scene is so strong right now but I always feel like it must have been a fun time to be part of something a bit more “underground” — less people but perhaps more dedication… Or maybe it’s just romanticism on my part! What are your thoughts on this, your best memories and parties from that time?

Yeah, you are right. Early 2000 there were a few big parties running but things went bad in Paris party wise around 2006/07 until 2012. Now it s stronger than ever but it was not the case few years ago. Still, at that time it was nice to be a part of that scene. Less people were involved so we all knew each other and there was no competition.

5- And do you keep an eye on the French scene’s recent evolutions?

Yes for sure – I always have an eye on what is happening in France.

6- Let’s speak about your own label, Talman. I know you used to be a label manager but did you learn anything the hard way with this adventure? What would be your advices to someone starting a label?

I haven’t had any bad surprises, to be honest. I was a label manager for two labels before so I knew exactly what I would have to do. Advice-wise, I think it’s important to have your first 3 releases ready before you start the label. 

7- How did the first VA on Talman come about? Are they all friends?

Yeah, all the producers on the first VA are all friends of mine and they make music that I play a lot in my sets. It will be the case again in few months when I release a single from two friends and great producers.

/

8- Your contribution to the EP is named “Belle Maison”, which means “Beautiful house” in English. But actually it’s a reference to a speech that you sample in the track by l’Abbé Pierre — a French popular figure that always sided with the disadvantaged — where he criticizes the dominant class’ hypocrisy. I feel like our music scene tends to be navel-gazing at times so it’s quite refreshing to hear someone tackling politics. Is it a subject that’s close to your heart?

Yes it is. Even if house and techno music is a club and party music, originally I think there is still place for a political message sometimes. I used another speech a few years ago with a release I produced under my real name, Samuel Thalmann. It’s called ‘Basic Economic’. It was on a vinyl only release on Alljacks.

 

9- Do you plan to keep the label open to other producers after this VA, or is it mainly going to stay your own outlet?

It’s not only about me anymore as I have an other release from two producers coming out before the summer but I will still release my own stuff on Talman. The next release is from myself and will come out in early May. 

10- It seems like you’re doing less collaborations these days, is it a sign that you feel more confident as a producer?

I don’t really think so. It is just the way it was. I am back working with other people in the studio. Hopefully I will have a new collaboration out before the end of the year.

11- I read the article about the pains of DJing on vinyl, but I understand you remain attached to the medium, why is that?

Yeah, I am very attached to it. I think it’s the best way to collect and consume music. It’s harder to play them in clubs as most of the time there could be some technicals problems but that should not be a reason to stop releasing vinyl and buying them. 

12- I’ve read that you’d love to collaborate with Q-Tip and make some hip-hop in general, have you tried your hand at it yet? One of your recent tunes is named “Boom Bap”, is it a hint at the kind of beats you’d be making?

I do make some hiphop beats sometimes, but I always kept it for myself. But who knows? That could maybe change in the future.

13- By the way, being French myself I have to ask… are you more into American or French rap?

Both! But when it comes to American rap mostly east coast and I have to say that I mostly listen to 90’s Rap. It s hard to find something that really excites me in hiphop today but it still happens sometimes.

/

 

14- Your next release is coming out on Fuse’s sublabel Infuse, does it mean we can expect to catch you in London anytime soon?

I am coming to play for my friend Alex Arnout this month and hopefully somewhere else soon! 

15- Actually, what else’s in store for you and Talman this year?

Talman 05 in May and Talman 06 not so long after. The first from myself and the second one a collaboration between two producers.

Okain’s Magic Box EP (featuring a remix from Rich NxT) is out 19/02 on Infuse. Listen/pre-order the release here

More Okain; Facebook / Soundcloud

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1- Hi Okain, thanks for the interview! How are you doing today?

Very fine, thanks.  

2- How did your NYE gig go? Apparently it lasted for 2 days, is Berlin’s endurance-oriented party culture something that you partake in?

NYE was really cool. It started in Berlin for a gig I did in Anomalie and I flew straight after my set to play in Malaga. It was nice to start the year in a sunny place. Yes, Berlin definitely has the longest parties. I am going out sometimes but I am getting older and I never stay until the end anymore really. 

3- What are your favourite places to play in Berlin by the way? In fact I’m moving there soon myself, so any recommendations?

There are many places I like to play : Tresor, Kater Blau, Sisyphos, CDV, Watergate, Chalet, Renate & Panorama bar are some of my favourite spot to play.

4- Hope you don’t mind reminiscing about the past for a bit… I was wondering about the scene in Paris back in the middle of the 00’s. It’s amazing that the scene is so strong right now but I always feel like it must have been a fun time to be part of something a bit more “underground” — less people but perhaps more dedication… Or maybe it’s just romanticism on my part! What are your thoughts on this, your best memories and parties from that time?

Yeah, you are right. Early 2000 there were a few big parties running but things went bad in Paris party wise around 2006/07 until 2012. Now it s stronger than ever but it was not the case few years ago. Still, at that time it was nice to be a part of that scene. Less people were involved so we all knew each other and there was no competition.

5- And do you keep an eye on the French scene’s recent evolutions?

Yes for sure – I always have an eye on what is happening in France.

6- Let’s speak about your own label, Talman. I know you used to be a label manager but did you learn anything the hard way with this adventure? What would be your advices to someone starting a label?

I haven’t had any bad surprises, to be honest. I was a label manager for two labels before so I knew exactly what I would have to do. Advice-wise, I think it’s important to have your first 3 releases ready before you start the label. 

 

7- How did the first VA on Talman come about? Are they all friends?

Yeah, all the producers on the first VA are all friends of mine and they make music that I play a lot in my sets. It will be the case again in few months when I release a single from two friends and great producers.

Dorian Paic about 20 Years Raum…Musik – Interview & Mix

By Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

artwork meoko dorian

In an age where any newcomer can use their connections to be propelled to the homepages of every other website, it’s nice to see figures like Dorian Paic and his raum…musik. label discreetly get the dues they’ve patiently earned over the years. Whereas the formers enjoy their few months or years of fame before being dismissed as fads and swept away by the next big thing, the Frankfurt native has always been doing his own thing, whether it went in or out of fashion. For sure, he’s had plenty of time to find his sound in a life whose most part has been dedicated to music: from working in record stores and going to the seminal Dorian Gray club in Frankfurt airport in the 1990s, to becoming one of his scene’s most in-demand DJ — not many can claim to have held a Ibiza residency for the past 12 years and played on every continent, and fewer less are still acknowledged by the more discerning heads —, this sound has patiently shaped itself into something curiously befitting Paic’s understated character. As the early years’ dub techno morphed into the more recent minimal house (epitomized by last year’s inescapable earworm “

”), Dorian’s constant signature has been a loopy sound emphasizing continuity and immersion, his long transitions blending tracks for a hypnotizing ride. And few do it as well as he does — it’s no surprise that those who do, like Vera or Ricardo Villalobos, are usually his close friends.

Same goes for his role as raum…musik label head: celebrating its 20th birthday this year, the label is all about letting the music do the talking, which it will surely do with its upcoming anniversary compilation. Peak-time bangers sit next to after-hours and warm-up rollers in its discography, faithful to a philosophy that favours a party’s overall excellence over a few reckless hands-in-the-air moments. Not that Dorian won’t make you reach for the lasers — he’ll just wait for the right time to do so. Accordingly, raum…musik rarely taps the many headliners that are part of Dorian’s entourage. Yet it’s one of those labels you know to check out whether the producer rings a bell or not — as Dorian puts it, it’s all about the trusted bond the label has built over the years with its listeners. In fact, Perlon aside, it’s hard to think of any other German label that has been active for so long — a testament to the label’s commitment to carving its own way in the ever-changing, trend-hopping wilderness that is the electronic music landscape. In short, Dorian and raum have got something that no amount of PR can garner: legacy.

So with the 20th birthday landmark around the corner — not mentioning last year’s 100th release on the label — it was due time for MEOKO to catch up with Dorian. Here we go.

1. Hi Dorian, a pleasure to have you back at MEOKO. How are you doing today?

I am fine I have a free weekend and I did not go out yesterday night, so I am feeling great actually.

2. Congrats on raum’s 20th birthday! I know your partner Olaf was supposed to leave you at the helm of the label after the 100th release, which came out last year courtesy of Sakro, so what’s going on with that? Are you on your own?

No I am not alone as Olaf decided to stay with me after the big success of our 100th release by Sakro. (Raum…Musik # 100 -­‐ Sakro -­‐ No time to explain EP)

/

3. I interviewed Martyné recently and he mentioned how Frankfurt’s old guard has an influence on the city’s newer scene, mentioning Freebase where you used to work or Sven’s Cocoon Club… So from someone who’s been involved since the early 90s and Dorian Gray, do you see this continuity in Frankfurt’s scene?

Yes of course I do. I think as for new producers and upcoming talents Frankfurt never has been that strong since the early days and I enjoy to see how it is continued by the new breed of artists hailing from the Rhine Main Area.

4. Speaking of it, what do you think of this younger wave of producers in the city? You released a few of them on raum, like Cédric Dekowski & Felix Reifenberg and more recently Phil Evans, actually.

They are all pretty cool guys and pretty much down to earth. They don’t take themselves too serious, which is always the right approach I think. A group of certain small collectives can always be very stimulating for each camp, because everyone just tries harder, but not really in a competitive way I think.

5. I remember in an interview you criticizing producers and DJ that jump from one trend to the next, aren’t you wary this might be happening with this scene?

Well they are all still a bit younger and at this age a certain evolution or change of style from time to time is a must. I think that you really find your style only after certain years of experience and also with a certain age, because you are not afraid to miss out on something anymore and you are more confident with yourself and what you like and do. Therefor you just decide by your own taste and not by what you think is „cool“ to play. As for the current Frankfurt scene I am pretty sure they will all go the right direction and not get stuck too much on any trends.

6. It seems like raum has always been doing its own things, sticking to its sound — not following trends precisely. Is it the secret to the label’s longevity and continued relevance?

Yes, I think that the trick to achieve this longevity is to actually not really have a certain sound and to be able to react on certain developments on the market, as for the musical direction of the label. It is more important to gain trust in people, so that they know it is worth to check your record, no matter if it is house, techno, more minimal related or whatever, they just know that is going to be a good record, because it is on this particular label and therefor they decide to give it a listen. To achieve this you need to select very wisely and carefully and also with a certain vision of longevity of music or timeless music so to speak, even though I don’t like this phrase too much.

7. raum turns 20 this year already, you have now more than 100 releases, and you’ve been with the label yourself for 17 years, how do you look back on this legacy?

Well I am very happy of course that we are still there after all those years and that we are still doing good. From the first breed of German labels Raum…Musik. actually is one of the very few ones that managed to survive.

8. How has the label’s sound changed over those two decades?

The early days of course have been Basic Channel related Dub tracks, well at least most of them. Then we had a period of minimal music being released on the label and short before the total overkill of minimal music from Germany we moved ourselves into a more house related direction. Nowadays I would describe the sound of the label as minimal house in the broadest sense.

9. Do any records or artists stick out over the label’s history?

Well I definitely would mention the crew that is around me now as one of the best ones ever in the history of the label. Federico MolinariJohn DimasLee BurtonPhil EvansFranco Cinelli and Jorge Savoretti plus the newcomers Andy Kolwes and Enrico Mantini that are both going to be featured on the 20 Years compilation, really helped to shape the sound of the label these days. Ricardo Villalobos of course is a good friend that needs to be mentioned here as well and also is one of our main artists as for the Label. For me it is great to have this group of some of my favorite artists around me that are also friends at the same time, which makes „work“ a lot easier for everyone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45N_KDlW1gs

 

10. It feels like you’re pretty unconcerned with promotion and let the music do the talking, which is fitting with your DJing style — patient, disciplined, devoid of ego. So are there any plans to celebrate the 20-­‐year landmark or is it going to be business as usual?

That is exactly my concept. We are never working with any promo pools. German media is completely avoided by us. If someone shows serious interest like you guys or like Resident Advisor for example, of course we are willing to promote our music but in the first place I really try to let the music do the talking as much as possible. As for the birthday of the label we will be hosting a few parties in selected countries and venues and so far we have shows confirmed in Lima (Peru), in Bogota (Colombia), in Tokyo as for Japan, one at Robert Johnson with Ricardo and me, that will take place on march 9th, plus 2 dates in Berlin at Club der Visionäre and Hoppetosse later this year and a few other possible options, so things are looking quite good there as well and I am happy for that.

20raumDorian

11. What about the upcoming compilation, can you talk about that?

Yes of course. The compilation consists of 8 exclusive tracks that are only going to be released on this record. Apart from the usual gang that I mentioned earlier before already (Federico Molinari, John Dimas, Lee Burton, Phil Evans and Franco Cinelli) we have three newcomers on board. Jorge Savoretti from Argentina that is also going to do the next single on Raum, which is going to be released before the compilation in mid february, as well as Enrico Mantini from Italy and Andy Kolwes from Cologne in Germany and I am more than happy about these new entries as they are also some of my favorite producers lately.

20years boom

 

12. How do you A&R? I’m asking because besides Ricardo and a few other producers, you don’t reach for the bigger names usually.

That was also always the concept of the label. Raum translates as room in english, so the concept of the label always was to create room or to give room to new music. My idea was always to find new artists and not build the reputation of the label around any sure shots or stuff that is being hyped. If you check the back catalogue of Raum you will see that quiet a few artists had some of their first releases on Raum before getting more popular. I like this idea and I think this is also the right approach to create a certain label profile.

13. What about your own productions, can we expect to see some new stuff?

Yes actually there is quite a lot in the pipeline for this year. There will be a release coming out soon together with Markus Fix on Savor Music from Argentina, run by Jorge Savoretti and Cape, with an excellent remix from Franco Cinelli. Besides that we are going to release 2 singles for the labels Housewax and Pleasure Zone distributed to DBH. One is going to be with our full names and the other one under our MFDP moniker. Markus and me also did a remix for Nektar Agu that is going to be out on Fake Records from the UK, as well as another remix for a track that I di
together with my dear mate

obi Neumann and Patrick Ense that features some vocals by the legendary Eric D Clark. Markus and me did an MFDP remix for this track as well and both versions plus a DJ tool are going to be released on La Peña very soon. Last but not least there will be Remixes of Sasse’s „Soul Sounds“ by Ricardo and myself that are going to be released on Raum Musik after the 20 years compilation, so actually it is quite a bit that is going to be released in 2018

 

14. You don’t release very often — I imagine that’s the good thing about being famous as a DJ firstly: you don’t need to release all the time to exist. But is it because you rarely produce, or do you actually sit on a lot of unreleased stuff?

Well to be honest it took me quite a while to really get into this working in the studio, but now I collected a lot of music for a period of over two years. As you mentioned I am a DJ in the first place, but as a friend said recently, I would be really stupid not to take the chance to work on some music with some of the close friends that i have. This is also something that I really enjoy about my moving to Berlin. Being able to connect myself with new people or with some close friends like Federico Molinari, Tobi NeumannFelipe Valenzuela or John Dimas, just to name a few and work on some tracks together with them. I am not in a rush as people know me for my deejaying in the first place which of course makes my studio life quite easy, as I don’t feel any pressure to do something. Pressure and a creative proces never go together well I think and therefore I am more than happy with my situation.

15. Cocoon, where you’re a resident, is set to move from Amnesia to Pacha this year. Do you have any standout memory from all those seasons at Amnesia?

Countless memories of course and it would be very hard to just pick out one night after being a resident there for 12 years. Even though I am curious to see how the new concept is going to be at Pacha and I am looking forward to another summer on the island.

16. I heard you mention how having people mixed from all levels of society makes for the best parties, is it something you still manage to find today?

Well I think that actually finding yourself in a party like this is the most difficult part these days, as our scene has split itself into one million little niches. Consensus nearly does not exist anymore and certain people take their musical taste and ways of expressing themselves through music way too serious. This is taking out the fun part of the whole thing too much, at least for my personal taste. It is actually hard to find a party these days where you can find this mix of all social levels, nationalities, gays and straight people just partying together and having a good time. From my experience in my 26 years of deejaying until now I still think that this is the key to a good night out, where the moment counts more than cellphone videos, Facebook posts etc. and time is just not existing anymore and the people get lost in the moment without judging or over analyzing everything. Those have been always the best parties in my perception if I try to remember.

17. Here’s to 20 more years of raum…musik then! Any final words?

I am very thankful for your support and for the opportunity to talk a bit about about the label and the 20 Years Raum Musik compilation that is going to be out in April 2018.

 

Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin

More Dorian Paic; Facebook / Soundcloud / Raum…Musik.

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There’s nothing more off-putting than big-headed Djs who think they are rock stars- just let the music do the talking!’: Lauren Lo Sung Interview & Mix

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

Lauren Interview Banner

The Liverpool-born, Lauren Lo Sung, took the country and the club world by storm, steadily growing her status from a Northern local hero, to an Egg London resident, to an Ibiza darling in the space of a few years. Just in 2017, she played fabriclondon and was one of Mixmag’s breakthrough DJs. Hearing hear eclectic set on NYD at Tobacco Dock, there wouldn’t have been a better indicator that she was truly a good match with the MEOKO podcast series. Therefore, naturally, we asked her to record a MEOKO exclusive mix, which she agreed to, and which you can hear in all its glory right here!

We are pleased to hear how Lauren managed to bring many different influences — some dub here, some acid there — together into something super coherent and absolutely stomping. It is fair to say, when those dubby chords come in around the 21’ mark, you know you’re in for a treat. But listen for yourself and read our exchange with the up-and-coming DJ.

 

1- Hey Lauren, thanks for talking with us and for your mix! So you’re from Liverpool but I’ve heard it was actually a trip to Ibiza that changed everything for you, can you talk about that?

I first visited the island when I was around 17,  going to places like Zoo Project, Cocoon at Amnesia, Space. It was a very influential place for me, a place that made me dream- I used to visualise myself one day playing there.  I did the season in 2011 and that was when my Dj career really started to shape.

2-You still manage to spin over in Liverpool quite often it seems, as well as at the Warehouse Project in Manchester. Is there something you particularly like about playing in the North compared to London or elsewhere?

The North is where I’m from, so it will always have that warm feeling of home. I wouldn’t say it’s too different to other places around the UK though, you can get a good clubbing experience wherever you go. Even the ones you don’t expect to be good can surprise you. All it takes is a decent sound/ lighting, the right crowd/ venue and you can make a special party. I love playing in London, especially clubs like fabric and smaller venues too, it’s very cosmopolitan so people can be open-minded to different styles of music. 

Lauren Lo Sung Press 1

3- How was it like coming of age in the club world in Liverpool?

Liverpool has a huge history when it comes to club-culture, it’s where Cream first started and my older brother and sister used to blast cream compilations around the house as I was growing up. I had no choice but to eventually start liking the music! I’ve grown up listening to house music in the city, I first started clubbing when I was 14, even back then I would be one of those annoying people who knew what track was mixing in from hearing the first few bars. I loved it.

4- You’ve played more festivals or big one-off events last year, such as LWE’s Tobacco Dock NYE party, how is that different from a club night? Is this something you enjoy more?

LWE is a very well-organised event, they make a lot of effort with lighting/ sound /stages and it’s fun for me to play larger rooms now and again so I can experiment a little with my sets. I always keep true to my sound, but part of being a Dj is being able to adapt to different rooms, sound systems and situations. 99% of the shows I play are in small intimate clubs, these are my favourite as I can get close and personal with the crowd- you can create a more intimate experience for clubbers in a smaller room and I can take the listeners on a deeper journey. 

 

5- In those past few years of breaking through the scene, do you have any funny stories, or moments of feeling blowing away by the situations?

I played for Carl Cox‘s Revolution at Space Ibiza in 2016 for the final chapter- this was a huge moment for me. I had visited Space almost every summer since 17 years old and to play there was a magical, overwhelming feeling. I was staying in Carl Cox’s villa which was pretty surreal, my family came out to support me too which made the experience 10 times better. It really was an emotional night for me- especially when Carl Cox came to the DJ booth to watch my set and had one of my LOLiFE T-shirts on!

6- With all the interviews, the praise, the growing number of dates — this crazy industry basically! — how do you keep your head on your shoulders?

I have a super supportive family and circle of friends that are proud of me, but also keep me grounded- they would probably slap me if I was to act big-headed. It’s not in me to act like that, I’m just the same person as when I started off and I will be throughout my career. I work hard, so it’s good to get credit and praise now and again, but it just spurs me on to work harder. There’s nothing more off-putting than big-headed Djs who think they are rock stars- just let the music do the talking!

7- You recently gave away a Sade edit you did, I was wondering about your influences then. Your mixes are definitely full of dubby vibes, for a start.

I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste in music, I will listen to anything from Motown to Techno. Growing up I’ve always been a massive fan of 90s R’n’B/ Hip-hop. I love Sade, SWV, Tribe Called Quest, 2Pac, LL Cool J and Lauryn Hill and have probably picked up influences from those. I’m also a fan of Romanian minimal, dub techno and Parisian house music- which you can hear in my sets/mixes.

8- You started producing after establishing yourself as a DJ. How does your DJ side influence your productions?

Djing before producing influenced the way I arrange my tracks, it’s good to have a good feel for the music and how it would mix into another track. I had a clear idea of the type of music I wanted to start making, whatever would fit into my sets was something I wanted to make. I’ve been producing for around 5 years now, It was difficult to shape my sound for the first couple of years but I’m happy with my sound at the moment and it’s improving and developing everyday. I have a few pieces of hardware such as Korg Minilogue, Moog mother 32, tr-8 and tanzbar which make recording tracks live really fun.

9- Can you talk to me about both your party — LOLiFE — and your label — e1even? You seem to enjoy being in charge of things for sure! Any plans for them in 2018?

LOLiFE is all about low ceilings, small venues, great sound and a friendly relaxed party atmosphere where myself, friends and guests can play. Our parties have been sell-outs in the past year, it’s great to see the brand grow every year. We’ve brought artists like; Subb-an, Samu.l, Stuart Hawkins and have 2018 booked up with great artists. Our next Liverpool show is in March, which will be announced in a couple of weeks. There’s a couple of other big plans for LOLiFE this year, I will finally start a new project for LOLiFE records, a vinyl/ digital label plus more tba in the coming months… 

e1even records is a label I started with my partner Sian, we both have a driving passion for deep, stripped-back house music. It was the natural step for us, I have a lot of friends who make great music, and it needs to be heard. We’ve got some incredible music lined up for 2018 and I can’t wait to release it. 

10- And any confirmed projects for yourself in the coming year? I know you’ve got an upcoming release on DJ Steaw’s Rutilance…

I’m just putting the finishing touches to two EPs which are coming this year on vinyl, on labels I’ve been following for a long time, more will be revealed soon. I have a remix coming on Downhill Music alongside Deigo Krause as well as plans to remix on e1even records and my new label LOLiFE records. There’s lots of exciting projects coming up so 2018 should be an exciting year!

And finally, can you talk about this mix you did for us?

It’s deep, dub, with lots of groove. Starts off more stripped-back and slowly builds throughout. There’s new music from myself in there, as well as friends and unreleased music from some of my favourite producers. Check it out 🙂

Interview by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin

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Under The MEOKO Microscope – Maksim & Mix

By Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive, MEOKO Presents, Under Meoko Microscope

Maksim Mic

When you’re steeped in the European minimal scene, it’s easy to forget that there is more to it than the Old Continent’s capital cities, that everything does not exclusively revolve around London, Berlin, and the occasional Romanian getaway. Just as comfortable spinning in his native Russia or his adopted home of New York, Maksim is the living proof that the scene is just as vital in many places around the globe, and he’s now part of those DJs from the periphery that have started touring Europe, rather than the other way around. Indeed, as a resident of ReSolute, Maksim cut his teeth on one of the states’ most infamous minimal dancefloors; it’s no surprise that, sooner or later, our European ears would catch wind of the man’s talents.

It surely helped that 2017 saw him release his first official EP on Aline Brooklyn — the three edits have encountered massive success and already fetch high prices on the second-hand market. Thankfully if you’ve missed the boat on this one, Maksim hints at more to come on the release front next year. And with a Moscow booking that places him along the likes of Eli Verveine, Dorian Paic or Livio & Roby for the New Year, his name is justly becoming an established one on the circuit. 

 

As the list of his achievements is sure to grow longer in the coming years, it was due time for Maksim to get Under The MEOKO Microscope, with an interview that sees him talking Russian clubbing, edits, and… Spice Girls. And to soundtrack the read, Maksim offered one of his own favourite creations as a MEOKO exclusive. Nope, it’s no Spice Girls edit — we’re still hoping to ever hear this one — but this rendition of Chinawoman’s “Party Girl”’s got the languid groove that’s steadily becoming Maksim’s calling card all over it.

Hey Maksim, thanks for having us, a pleasure for me!

Thanks for having me, I was looking forward to it!

1- You’re one of ReSolute’s resident DJ since 2013, so let’s start from there. Can you introduce ReSolute to our European readers?

Resolute, resolute.. well, it’s dirty, it’s dark, and it’s real.  We have guests come from around the world to join our parties in everchanging venues in NYC ( mostly warehouses)  and also throw international parties. The consistent component is the music. Don’t expect to leave with clean shoes but expect to dance till sunrise. And a driving force behind all of it is Nektarios, with his charm and vision.

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2- And what about you? What age did you move stateside? Can you tell us a bit about your backstory basically?

It was an accident. I had friends living in New York and was invited to visit so I got a visa but never used it.  Then, after a long party,  a fight with my girlfriend, and one brilliant decision… I walked out from the afterparty onto a flight.

3- You’ve been spinning for 6/7 years now but how did you get into electronic music and ended up becoming one of ReSolute’s residents? Are there some DJs that exerted a strong influence on you?

My dad was music collector and my mom was a ballerina.. well, actually not true. I was a fan of Spice Girls and had a Nick Carter haircut. No jazz in the kindergarten for me,  I literally had a bad taste in everything.  I was a part of all subcultures in the end, but I can still sing along with Britney Spears.

It’s okay to grow, to learn, you don’t have to be brilliant from the beginning. Look at me now, doing an interview for Meoko.

Maksim 1

My first club job, at 17,  was a favor to my sister and was in my hometown. I’m still not sure what kind of a shady business it was, but I got in as a lighting guy. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing. Aside from lighting, I also resuscitated the resident who drank too much. My “big chance” came when unable to revive him, I was asked to jump in and play. Eventually, I began to play on the weekends.Then I moved to Kursk and got a job at the club there. It was pretty commercial but it was huge and popular and paid. After 5 am we could play whatever we wanted, so I started to explore.  Minimal came along, I fell in love, I got fired. But, don’t fret, love of a woman did get me to Moscow and Arma17. Which finished shaping my taste

NYC was a crazy couch surfing, broke, no visa situation. But over time I made progress in the techno scene. Connie, who is a resident of Resolute, got me my first gig at a resolute Party.  I guess I was okay because I became a resident shortly after. 

When it comes to influences it’s Backstreet Boys.. joking. It’s Trentemoller who was ahead of his times, Led Zeppelin (yes) and Mathew Herbert. I love Mathews music and enjoy listening to his interviews. He often gets blamed for being too political and talking too much about societal problems, but I think that’s what art is about. I personally believe good music comes from a similar inspection of the struggles and debates of the times, but then again sometimes you just want to dance. Unfortunately, nowadays its difficult to be critical or have a differing opinion, the art of intelligent debate has suffered under social media.

4- You had a few tracks and edits coming out under your birth name in the past, but Aline 002 is really your first proper release. Can you talk about the label and the people behind it, and how this record came up? It seems quite mysterious…

True, I had a few digital releases back in the day. Different genre, not a big fan of those. but there is always a beginning 😉 Then I started doing edits, they’re more like remixes without stems. Some received lots of positive attention, like Who are we- on Ricardo Villalobos. One of my favorites is an edit on China Woman – Party girl. I love Rock and grunge.

 

I still wanted to have a record of my own, but it seemed complicated. Then my friend Nico (French, Young, Fabulous and Broke DJ) started his Aline label. I’m glad it seems mysterious, that’s what Nico wanted. I showed him some demos and he loved them, then the long process of finishing started. Producing doesn’t come easily to me, I’m quite distractable, a bit of a goldfish in a bowl if you will. I may or may not also be a perfectionist, so it’s a fine balance. I had no gear. I borrowed a sound card from a friend, I used Nikos home studio to check if everything sounded ok. 

5- The release’s got a great feedback, how did you feel about that? Does it mean we can we expect more stuff on the production side of things from you? 

I was very excited to hear the final product and hold the record in my hands. it sold out in 3 days, I was very happy about and also now I don’t have to buy presents when I travel for a least a couple months. I have few remixes coming on Minim Records, hopefully, right after NYE. And it’s a very important project for me, you’ll see what I mean later. (insert intrigue here) I actually think you should release about 3 tracks per year, as a kind of quality control. 75% of iTunes don’t get downloaded ever, seems like a bit of a quantity problem 😉

6- What’s a good edit supposed to do for you?

It gives me the freedom to breathe new life into things I already love.  No rules, everything goes. Rembrandt to Picasso.

7- You still play fairly regularly in Russia, do you follow the local scene?

Yes, I do. I can say it’s one of my favorite gigs. The nightlife is crazy in a good way! There are a lot of beautiful venues. You can party just in front of the Kremlin inside the Old Soviet Saunas for top politicians which are now a club, or in a club where you walk through a Chinese takeout Place to enter, and at the roof of an old factory by the river in the middle of Moscow. it always amazes me. A huge diversity of music and on any day of the week you can find something to do. Also, the parties last forever, last time I played there it went from Friday to Sunday. I think Slowdance is one of my favorite Moscow parties and definitely Stakenshnaider in St.Petersburg is very cool. Adjustment Bureau throws out some great productions and go see Pushkarev, Gorge and Izhevsky.

8- How is it different to play in New York, Russia or Western Europe? Different crowds? Would you ever move to Europe, to be closer to the “scene”?

Crowds are very different, that what makes it exciting and sometimes challenging to play different countries and cities. I have definitely considered moving to Europe, but right now I’m happy in New York. 

9- In general, what’s the scene like in New York? What would you recommend our readers to check out if they get to visit? Any artists and labels you think deserve more recognition?

New York has a very decent scene! In recent years it’s grown very much. Venues, Labels and real talents have emerged here. Definitely, visit Output, stop by at TBA for a drink. Of course, Resolute always has something special. There plenty of good small underground parties, as well. Resolute has a new label DisDat that’s worth a look, Julia Govor just put out a solid record, and Mimin Records have released some good stuff. and of course, my fellow residents are worth a listen, all of them unique but gifted. Lauren is the lone real jobber and is a part of All Day I Dream. Connie plays the drums is a rock band and just wrote and made a video for a Pop song. Obee just finished a project for Pornhub  ( yes, you read that right) Orazio our resident political thinker.

10- Have you noticed any changes in recent times? I know the cabaret law’s been repealed, there’s a new Office of Nightlife… do you think the narrative around NYC’s nightlife is changing?

Yes, it was finally repealed but I don’t think it will directly affect dance culture. The problem with throwing parties in NY is that it takes forever to get all the permits, it’s very expensive, and the relevant hours are tough to accommodate.  All this just forces people to get creative for better and worse. 😉 

11- There’s also quite a nice house and techno scene, with Bossa Nova, Sustain-Release, the Bunker, Unter… Is it something you’re interested in at all? Are there connections between your people and them?

It’s my guilty pleasure, gladly I’m a good friend with Julia Govor, so I get an in. We recently did Resolute with Nina Kraviz, that went very well, the music the crowd! you may expect more like it in the future! I really like the sound, it’s raw it’s more human, same when it comes to the house. I like it less perfect, more dirty, that you can feel it was made by a human. Not sure about connections, when it comes to crowd’s it’s absolutely different people, which I understand, but hopefully in the future, it will be more united.  

Maksim in action

12- Any recent highlights? How was the Get Perlonized party you guys did?! You’ve also had the 10 years anniversary!

Get Perlonized is definitely a highlight for us, when a major player in the scene does a party with you, especially for their anniversary, that means a lot. Proper warehouse, next to the railroad, night to day party! For our 10th anniversary, we’re going global, recently we hit Bucharest Romania, at Guest House. Then Moscow’s Gazgolder and much more to come.

13- And finally, can you tell us what’s in the works for you in 2018?

2018 will start with the gig in my beloved Moscow, I’m playing for Slowdance. Then St.Petersburg on the 2nd and I have a few gig’s in Spain, definitely, wait for a couple of new edit’s, I can promise it will be special. And of course a release on Minim Records, with a truly great story behind it. I always wanted to do something good, something I can be proud of and finally got a chance, and I’m not talking about me or music.

Thank you very much, Maksim, all the best!

Thanks to you! Poka

 

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Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin

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Preview: The Sunday Afters ‘NYD’ w/ Vinyl Speed Adjust & Competition

By Competitions, Event Previews and Reviews, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, MEOKO Exclusive

nyd krpt banner

Hello little pumpkins, and happy new… not yet, not yet! But it’s coming soon and there’s an avalanche of parties to ease in 2018. The one you’ll be more likely to see me at is The Sunday Afters — which will happen on a, well, Monday. That shouldn’t stop your favourite Sunday afterparty to absolutely smash it though. A rallying cry for all of the city’s party freaks, minimal lovers, jaw-munchers and quite simply anyone desperate for an afterparty in the wee hours of the morning, the East London institution will be fresh off its 5th birthday and seems to be determined to start off the year with a boom. And let’s be honest, they came up with a line-up that puts most clubs to shame, assembling the finest team of minimal traffickers.

 

First up there are Vinyl Speed Adjust, with a 4-hour set that will let them deploy the full extent of their hypnotic magic. The Romanian duo have a massively broad scope, and it’d be impossible to single out a favourite tune. But rest assured that the one constant feature is their Romanian seal of quality. That’s why they’ve been longtime favorite of ours at MEOKO, and you can check the interview we did with them in 2015 — or better yet, “let the music do the talking” as they like to say, and listen to the two mighty mixes they did for us.

That said, it’s not like the Sunday Afters put all their eggs in the same basket with their headliners; the supporting acts are serious competition. Take Alex Celler. London’s Greek minimalist’s reputation is already very established, and with recent releases on Trelik and PAL SL, it’s fair to say he’s become a bit of a Baby Ford favourite — earlier this year, he even played for the label’s showcase supporting no less than the bossman himself and Zip. Such backing from one of electronic music’s all-time best is not granted to everyone, but it’s definitely deserved in Alex’s case.

AlexCeller MC

On the other hand, there’s Frazer Campbell, another London stalwart. His take on techno is twisted and driving — the kind that will lock you in a languid groove perfect for the hazy hours. Since 2016 he’s had a very productive time with the beginnings of his two labels, Open Recordings and Elliot Project Records, and for me his recent EP with Steve O’Sullivan on the latter’s Mosaic imprint is clearly one of this year’s best. No doubt 2018 will be his year, and I’m genuinely stoked at the idea to start it in his company.

Based between Tel Aviv and Berlin, we haven’t heard much of Stan Yaroslavlky yet, since The Sunday Afters are bringing him over for his first ever UK gig. But if his newly-minted Small Things Records label is to be trusted, the man knows a thing or two about making your feet move. The first release is full of those clicks and bleeps that make sane persons ask you “is this even music?”, when this is precisely the reason we love it so much — odd sounds for odd people ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Obviously, this wouldn’t be a Sunday Afters without their own crew, and resident Geometric will play B2B with another regular from the party Modebakù. We might be drawn in by the big-hitters, but it’s guys like them that have made the Sunday Afters what it is. In addition, we’re promised some special guests from the Arupa Music camp. Keep your eyes peeled!

 

Aaaand we are here to the sweetest bit of all this, the giveaway time. So we have teamed with Sunday Afters to give away 2 vinyls, PTX019 & NGT09 and 2 guestlist spots for the NYD madness. All you have to do is email us at hello_competitions@devmeoko.co.uk with ‘NYD w VSA’ as the subject heading & click attending on the facebook event. Good luck!. 

 

Well that’s it — and that sounds, to me at least, absolutely amazing! Any East London weekend warrior worthy of the name has already spent a Sunday morning in the safe hands of the Sunday Afters’ team, and they should be out in force on this New Year’s Day. This will go down at a secret location, and we’re told it’s a new warehouse. But is there anything more to say, really? If you know, you know. So grab your tickets and see you there!

 

Words by: Pierre-Alexis Chauvin

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MEOKO Exclusive: A Deep Insight into Traffic Records w/ Martyné & Mix

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive, MEOKO Presents

Traffic Interview Banner

10 AM at an afterparty, and through the misty haze and your friends’ chatter, you can hear the twinkling arps of “

” rising. Or maybe you’re at a festival’s peak time, and it is “

” that sends the crowd into a frenzy. Other places, other tracks, but what’s for sure is that Traffic tunes have been ubiquitous in the past year. Your favourite DJs probably played them, and it’s likely their favourite DJs did too. 

Traffic records formed back in 2013 in the Frankfurt/Offenbach area — a region that evokes an important financial center to many, but which to dance music fans brings to mind some of house’s and techno’s household names. From Sven Väth to Robert Johnson, by way of Perlon, Playhouse, Roman Flügel and countless others, this city breathes electronic music like no other, in a very free-spirited way — and you can tell the Traffic boys did soak in its air. Technoid beats, alien sounds, synthetic textures. Few live up to the old techno ideal of machine funk the way Traffic does. In spirit at least, they’re proper members of the Midnight Funk Association. Even their graphics resemble strange textures, evoking the swirl of perception your dazed brain cannot process on a night out. Hell, this logo sure reminds me of my blurry-sighted intoxicated self, happily caught in the strobes and lost in the sound.

Martyné is one of the crew’s founders, and it’s little to say we’re excited he agreed to do an interview with us. In it, he frequently stresses the idea of crossing borders, of overcoming limits. Martyné knows his dance music history. He’s part of a generation of DJs who seem to have an unquenchable thirst for the most obscure records, those that will live on in the dancers’ memory long after the night is over, and be jealously guarded in the coveted shadows of the DJ’s bag. This passion for dance music’s legacy and their open-mindedness to cross-fertilization means the Traffic sound is a mixed bag of influences that exceeds their sum.

This also means that it’s a sound hard to pinpoint. House, garage, breaks, techno, electro? All of those, and more? Really what binds together the label’s tracks is more akin to a spirit than a music genre: at its heart is an inherent playfulness — a deeply infectious playfulness that explains the label’s success. As Martyné explains, this is the product of a close group of friends who grew up together, shared their first parties and ended up making tunes together. You could dissect these tunes for sure, study their use of drums and steal their synths. Yet the inimitable ingredient is this close bond that allows Martyné, Bodin, Jacob and the others to let go and capture the essence of a session — you may call it a feeling, or an aura, but this surely is what makes these sounds click.

At the end of the day, this is a group of friends having a bloody good time together, and you can hear it. This has clearly been there since day one. But as they mastered their gear, the mixture became deadly; a sound-transmissible virus aiming straight for your eardrums — to be fair, you’ve probably already caught it. This virus is very much present in the exclusive mix Martyné came up with for us: sprinkled with some unreleased tracks from the crew, it features breezy house, queasy bleeps, and a bunch of basslines designed to tear up dancefloors. Careful, it ain’t no cure — but why’d you want one?

MEOKO caught up with Martyné to hear about his and Traffic’s journey — a journey that took them from the Rhine banks to the breezy shores of Ibiza and saw them come up with a unique sound. Press play, and read on.

1- Who are the main characters running Traffic right now and what ́s your relationship? Apparently you and Jacob grew up in the same village…

The inner circle of Traffic Records consists of Bodin, Jacob, Patrick and me. We are the main characters and producers, running the label and managing everything linked to it. Jacob ́s brother Julian Chenaux is also co founder, belongs to the collective and is a very close friend. I know the Chenaux ́s and Patrick since the age of 15. We all grew up in a small town in the countryside next to Frankfurt where we had our first beer together and also our first party experience. So it ́s quite a long term friendship. In 2010 we met Bodin at a party. He was playing one of my first records and was hardly into it. So he is actually the only one of the collective coming straight out of Frankfurt and was more or less the last piece of our Traffic puzzle.

2- What led you guys to launch Traffic? Did you have a specific idea in mind about what the label should be, or was it a case of “let’s see what happens”?

The intention was to create a platform for our own creativity. Releasing several EPs on different labels is important for an artist but you always give away a small part of yourself. An own label is the best way to express your own identification or personality with different emotions and to show the specific style of likeminded musicians. Its a kind of a white sheet of paper giving you the opportunity to draw your personal picture and write down your own story. All our productions are reflecting exactly these inspirations and moods. Starting with more reduced sound, over garage, house till raw techno and breaks. Its a very personal journey showing a lot of different faces.

3- Do you feel like now you’ve reached a distinctive sound with Traffic?

After almost 5 years you can say the label is a cross-section of electronic music with the fingerprints of each of us. Coming from euphoric impressions down to sentimental, hypnotic grooves – you can feel and hear everything in our productions. This personal touch is very important for us and a kind of a trade mark not to sink in any hype. It ́s representing the development of our musical consciousness. Traffic Records is not focusing on a specific genre. It´s more about the variety of sounds. It really feels conclusive to me. Due to the fact that there are only some protagonists and key producers, the label got its own identity really quick. The releases by A2, Z@P and Edward were carefully selected to deliver even more variety. But all in all the label still keeps up the main spirit and it ́s identity. So I can say we reached a level where we can look back with no regret and we can be happy with our discography so far.

4- Traffic feels very much like a family affair between a close group of friends, what’s the spirit behind the label?

The spirit behind the label is based on friendship. We grew up together, shared big nights, experienced great sets and therefore we are on a very similar level when it comes to music. Everyone of us is following the same idea and is bringing in his strengths. Hate or jealousy are loanwords so we ́re able to create things with a free mind.

5- Frankfurt and Offenbach have got quite a legacy in terms of electronic music, how do you relate to the city’s old guard? Were some of them a big inspiration for you?

Yes, definitely! The former Freebase Records shop for instance was my very first base to explore electronic music. It was one of the places where I met many of my current friends and learned about the Frankfurt scene. Carsten Schuchmann aka MEAT (owner of Freebase Records) gave me the first opportunity to play at Robert Johnson, a very important experience for me back then. Another important spot was the Cocoon club where we started our first raves, listened to Sven and other big names. A lot of characters from the old guard and places from the past still have an influence on today ́s generation. Actually there are too many to mention right now but I would like to highlight Heiko MSO. Once I did an interview with him for my studies where he told me all stories about “Snap!”, the development of “I ́ve got the power” or stories about fundamental movements of this city. It was really impressive and showed me how that kind of music stands for the area in and around Frankfurt. Many people connect Frankfurt with big banks and the stock exchance but in fact the most important cultural identification is its steady contribution to electronic music.

6- I know Robert Johnson played an important role in shaping you and the label, what’s so special about the club? Do you have any memories associated with it that stick out?

Robert Johnson is limitless and places with no limits are a rare good in this world. Artists are able to break through their comfort zone and to experiment with different kinds of styles. There is no need for steady floor bangers to keep people dancing. The venue represents a level of openness which I ́ve never felt in a club before. Robert Johnson is my personal school of sound and when it comes to producing music I always have it ́s floor in my mind. I don’t know how many hours I spent there, but this club has had an big impact on my musical education. The experiences I ́ve made there are helping me to know what sound suits me and how my productions have to be finalized. When it comes to a specific, influential night I really can’t figure it out, because we had so many of them. The crowd there is really into the music and together with all our friends every night is a special one.

7- What does a Traffic night at Robert Johnson sound like? I’d imagine it’s always special for you to play there.

Since the very first Traffic showcase at Robert Johnson in 2015 it ́s usual that we invite a guest who is close to the sound and idea of the label. We had artists like Binh, Onur Özer, Andrew James Gustav or Etienne in the past. At the moment we are planning to host different live acts when it comes to the next edition of Traffic at Robert Johnson. All these artists are likeminded in terms of our definition of musical quality and we ́re always happy to play alongside with them at our favorite club. It ́s very important for our development to have a residency in a well respected club and to gather experiences and increase our skills. From the proper sound system to the professional team on site – the whole package let you feel good and it ́s a great to have our label nights in such good hands.

8- I feel like release after release your sound has become leaner, crisper — more focused in a sense. Do you have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for when going to the studio, and do you feel more confident production-wise?

We never have a specific idea when we ́re in the studio. Most of our output is driven by inspirations, moods and emotions. So it ́s difficult to compare one session with another; but during the last years we ́ve been getting more and more experienced with our gears and the way of how to arrange all these different inspirations in our tracks. The beginning of Traffic around 2013 was also the beginning of our work with machines and hardware. So for sure we needed time to gain experience with it. In the past we always had the feeling the track needs more fullness and elements, but with every year we reduced this thought and this leads us to a cleaned up arrangement of sounds. With every track we come closer to the ability to recreate our imagination in a track and this is what its all about for me. Get away from “Try and Error” to a focused. clear view on producing music.

9- Many of the tracks on Traffic tend to be collaborations between you guys, how do you usually proceed? What does each of you bring to the table? What’s the atmosphere like when you’re all in the studio, behind the scenes?

These collaborations are an important factor and also a kind of a unique feature. The inspirations and influences of two guys are always more versatile and are leading us to better results. We share a special energy in company linked to a higher level of quality. It´s easier to cross borders together especially with someone you know for so long. It keeps your mind free and open for any impressions. When someone stucks the other one will always have an idea of how to proceed. All these components give us the possibility to work on a fast and focused level.

However, when I produce by myself it takes me longer to get lead just by my feelings and to reach a thoughtless state of mind. Therefore I need to do longer sessions to make sure to reach my personal intuitive flow. The differences in terms of the output itself aren ́t that big due to the fact that Bodin, Jacob and me are all on a similar level. Producing alone is an introvert way of working for me. It ́s also the time for me to come down a bit.

10- To me it felt like the label broke through big last year, and around the same time you really seemed to establish a distinctive aesthetic, did you feel any pressure following up and keeping things interesting?

No I don’t feel any pressure to keep things interesting. We have a steady development in our studio work and never have the feeling that we reached a point of stagnation or boredum. Specific hypes doesn ́t affect us and we always stay real to our style and the people around us. That ́s what people feel when they listen to our music. You can feel the energy and situations we shared in that very moment when the track was created. With this attitude and behaviour in mind your music never get an expire date .

11- I know you’re on the Cocoon roster now, what did it change for you?

Cocoon, especially our booker Gregor, did a very good job in the last year. We played in well known clubs across Europe which brought us to another level. You can feel their long experience in the business and they have a sensible, professional way to handle our bookings and everything around. We are grateful to be in a roster of such an agency following their goals since 20 years now. Many important protagonists of our scene are related to Cocoon and have been part of their agency over the last two decades. Now we can bring in our part and we are curious about the plans for 2018.

12- You also played in Ibiza for the first time for a b2b with Bodin&Jacob at Amnesia, how was that? Were there any moments you wondered what the hell is going on?

It was definitely one of our highlights in 2017. We played the warm-up slot b
fore Sonja Moonear and Ricardo Villalobos on the terrace. I cannot imagine a better way to make your debut at Amnesia. I ́ve been already there as a guest and its pretty impressive to go through this venue. It ́s a kind of an aim of life for many artists to play there and we had the opportunity to reach it. It was a proper night with a great line-up on both floors. Everything went very well and I ́m still impressed by the sound system and the atmosphere of Amnesia. A massive night and we had a lot of fun. Of course we hope to be back in 2018.

13- Were there any other highlights in this busy year, for you or Traffic?

Apart from Amnesia we were really happy about our first appearances at Concrete Paris. It was in March when Brice invited all of us to play the whole night on the wooden floor. In September Bodin and me returned for a Most Wanted showcase. Concrete really belongs to our favourites now. Another gig to highlight was our Traffic showcase at the famous Goa Club in Rome in October. It ́s a super nice venue and the Nozoo team did a great job to make our label showcase a real blast. Also our showcases at Robert Johnson in March and August have to be mentioned and we ́re really grateful to host a third date now in December. Apart from the dates together with Bodin and Jacob, I played my first gig alongside Sven Väth in Antwerp. It was a Cocoon showcase where I warmed up for him and took over for the final shift. That was really heavy and intense but it worked out pretty well. A very positive feeling and of course a night to remember. In general I have to say the whole year was a highlight. I really can’t complain.

Traffic gang2

14- Whether in Ibiza or at a confidential afterhour, do you have a routine when preparing a set?

No, there is no specific routine. Of course it depends on my playtime but in general I just pick the records I like the most. I don’t have a specific way of playing either. My aim is to absorb the mood of the crowd and to play with it in the most positive way. Every venue and crowd is different and when you know how to catch the mood you can act or react quite flexible. A good night for me is mainly based on the wordless communication between the artist and the crowd. If you have the sensibility to connect to that you can’t pick wrong. Of course, sometimes that connection can be disturbed but there is no preparation for this case.

15- How important is the pacing of a night, from the warm-up set to the late-hours? Are you more of a peak-time sort of guy or do you revel in those hazy hours?

I feel quite comfortable in the early morning hours, this is my favorite time to play. People are getting focused on the music, they had their talks and met their friends and then its the time for the floor. It ́s a very thankful time and you get back what you give to them. You can bring some bangers or try to lead to a more mind based sound. It depends on you but in these hours the variety and the spectrum you can serve is not comparable to the main time or the warm up. But for sure also the main set is one of my favorites, I love to play out bangers and this is also characteristic for our sets.

16- With all the hype around the kind of sounds you’re pushing, aren’t you afraid it ends up becoming too formulaic? How do you keep things fresh?

I don’t have a plan to keep my stuff fresh. A hype can be over in a second, so you should not concentrate on it. This whole movement creates a platform for a lot of amazing artists who are spreading their sound now. So to keep things fresh you just need to focus on your ears and listen. At the moment there is so much great output like I didn’t hear for years now. A musical hype always ends when there is no variety anymore. It ends when everybody is jumping on that train and the market is flooded with similar, copied music and the loss of creativity. For sure this will happen somehow. You ́ve to keep a constant state of quality, don ́t get lazy and dig deep to keep things fresh.

17- Do you feel like the obsession with obscure records leads to some kind of exhaustion, or does the competition sort of pushes you to dig even deeper? Is it all about Discogs these days for you?

For me its the only thing which continously pushes me. I never get bored to search through this limitless amount of music. It ́s a task for your life and the feeling when you find great records is not comparable. In my opinion showing unknown, flashing music to the audience is the one of the most important parts of a dj. I get bored very fast as a listener so I always need some new impressions to keep on going. For example, I heard Nicolas Lutz and Binh recently at Hoppetosse and I danced the whole night. Djs like them are giving me the motivation and impressions to continue my game. So for me it ́s all about obscure, rare records. I don ́t criticize anyone who has a another opinion about it but I can’t find my pleasure in another, more generic sound.

18- Do you play exclusively vinyl? How important to you is it as a medium?

Vinyl is my focus but I don’t play it exclusively. For our own unreleased productions and the music of our friends we use USB. Furthermore there aren ́t so many venues focusing on this medium so you have to be prepared when it comes to problems with the turntables. But I have to say that our agency has a focus on artists playing vinyl. So the promoters are mostly aware to optimize the setup as far as possible to play records.

19- Is there any scene or genre that you’re particularly obsessed with in terms of digging right now?

Being focused on just one genre is not my style. I just go through a collection and pick what I like. I like listening to bleepy techno and electro but I also enjoy great house tunes. It ́s really difficult to figure out a specific genre which I listen to mostly. Sticking to a specific sound is boring for me. We can look back on such a long history and variety of music so why build up borders to yourself?

20- Speaking of digging, this is how you ended up releasing  A²’s new material and contributing to put them back on the limelight, right?

Yes, that ́s right. First we found their records and we were really impressed. Then we started working on the EP. It ́s cool to work together with the older generation of producers. They have their own view on music and we learn a lot from their experiences. In general I feel another energy when I listen to old tapes and recordings. The aesthetic of these old tracks tells another story than the music from today. But the combination of impressions from today and the past is what keeps the music always interesting in my eyes.

21- Are there any other forgotten producers that were instrumental in shaping your sound, and that you might want to release as well?

We have no specific plan to release another artist from the past but we are always open for that. There are many artists out there who shaped our sound from today.  A² is a great example.

22- On the other hand, one of Traffic’s most recent releases was by Z@P, how did that connection happen? Do you intend to welcome other producers to the Traffic family?

Z@P catched our attention when Vera played his Melliflow release at Robert Johnson. We asked her for the track id and the day after we connected us with him. He is a very cool guy and right from the beginning there was a friendly relation between us. After sharing some tracks we asked him if he is up for a release and he agreed. The tracks fit perfect and we are really happy with that release. Sadly we havent met him so far but we are working on it in 2018. We gonna try to get him over to our label nights. I really like the people I met from Montevideo. It feels like they are sharing the same idea like we do in Frankfurt/Offenbach. It was just a logical result to connect these two cities with this release. Of course we´ll welcome other producers to the Traffic family sooner or later. But right know I cannot mention any names.

23- You’ve been associated with a strong scene of labels (Pager, HardWorkSoftDrink, etc) achieving similar recognition lately, but are there any up and coming crews and artists from the Frankfurt/Offenbach area you’d like to shed some light on?

We have a lot of groups in Offenbach/Frankfurt and all of them are doing great in their own style. There is the crew around Orson Wells with more rough electro and the guys of Hotel International who are doing great parties in our area. Talking about the younger generation there are talented guys like Tom Ries and Robin Stern. They are doing a great job with their productions. In general there is always a development going on here and it is important to always have an eye on it.

24- The label’s already turning five next year, are you planning on celebrating in any way? More generally what’s in the works for Traffic? Any upcoming releases and gigs for you?

There will definitely be a proper rave to celebrate our 5th anniversary. We are going to start working on it very soon so keep your eyes and ears open 🙂 Furthermore we´ve planned our first solo EP´s on Traffic Records. This is quite a premiere and we ´re really looking forward to it. Another highlight production-wise will be the EP on our close friends label Pressure Traxx. All three of us contributed here and it´s gonna be released at the beginning of 2018. Finally we are going to launch a new label which is related to our afterhour project called „Not on Earth“. 2017 will be closed with two label showcases. The first one at Robert Johnson together with Dopplereffekt LIVE and the second one at White Noise in Stuttgart. I´ll also play at RED58 together with Dana Ruh right before Christmas. All in all we want to take up that drive from 2017 and continue with it in the new year. There is still a lot to do and we´re are really looking forward to it!

25- Finally, can you talk a little about this mix you did for MEOKO? Was there an idea to it or did you just go with the flow?

I chose some nice house stuff and unreleased Traffic tunes for the mix. Hear it upfront the night, fits very good 😉

Words by: PierreAlexis

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Under The MEOKO Microscope – Giammarco Orsini & Mix

By Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, MEOKO Exclusive, News, Under Meoko Microscope

gianmarcomicros

We are back with Under The MEOKO Microscope feature alongside a very exciting name – Giammarco Orsini. The Italian artist first enriched his musical culture in Italy where he grew up, influenced by the grooves of the 90’s. He further developed his musical identity by spending countless hours of discovering and playing vinyls. Soon enough, Giammarco started showcasing his talents to a wider audience and his first forays into DJ culture happened in Pescara, where he became resident DJ at Zu::Bar, thus kickstarting his career. Havinh many gigs there increased his notoriety in the local scene and allowed him to meet other inspiring talents, pushing him to start producing and to create his own imprint “Heko Records” – the label behind Pancratio’s stand out EP “Pancratio 1”. As well as bringing new producers like Pancratio to the fore, Giammarco Orsini is also behind a number of successful releases himself, his four-tracker « Game of chance » on Partisan an undeniable dancefloor favourite. His move to the German capital further cemented his profile, leading to gigs alongside big names such as Ricardo Villalobos, John Dimas and Shonky to name a few. He is a regular at venues such as Club der Visionäre and Watergate but still finds the time to play in his home country at the famous Goa Club. He has recently got back from a tour in America, and we are happy to learn more about the Italian « Enfant Prodigue ». We caught up with this talent in an interview, so let’s get into this and check his exclusive MEOKO mix.

Hi Giammarco, we are really happy to have you for the new edition of Under the MEOKO Microscope, thank you for taking the time for us. 

Hi Guys, I’m happy to be on board and thank you for inviting me for this special feature.

1. How old were you when you started playing music and which influences made you want to be the DJ you are today ?

I started around 14, I was buying all different kinds of music and in the beginning my focus was just improve my technique. 

I was mixing from Hip Hop to House and Techno and I was trying to understand the differences between genres and how to mix them. Slowly i started to look more for some specific subgenres that sounded more interesting to my ears like progressive house mixed with breakbeat to get into minimal techno or house lately but basically I was just surfing between genres. 

During this process I started to realize what I really liked in the music so I started to produce my own music which helped me to understand which elements in one track are more interesting to me and in general what I feel more in the tracks I play. 

2. Did the fact growing up in Italy have any impact on the music you play now, on your inspirations from when you started? Italy have a good history of house music and your selection has always been eclectic, are the 90s Influences still something you explore and re-discover for your sets or even your productions ?

Growing up in Italy has of course had big impact as it’s in my roots and it’s where I found the inspiration of to play and make music.  Even now my sets are full of those records that were released in the late 90s. I think it’s amazing to discover old records that still sound relevant now but to bring them back under a new light and to a new audience.

 

3. Your productions range from the groovier sounds on Heko Records to a more minimalistic style on Partisan. How would you describe the differences in your approach when producing on different labels?

I always do different styles of music, blending my influences all together to evolve my sound. I think the Partisan EP for example it’s a crossover between my Italian roots and the influences I got here in Berlin. 

For example when we chose the tracks, we started from the A2 Divenire and it was just a spontaneous decision to build an EP that reflected my style paired with my evolution and the same time that also fit well on the label. 

Same thing happened with the EP on Elephant Moon. You always start from one or two tracks that take the attention of the A&R and then you build an EP trying to find the right balance between your sound and the sound of the label. 

4.How did your moving from Italy to Berlin affect you ? Is it an incisive moment in your music career ?

It was a key moment not only in my career but in my life in general. I realized how much I wanted to dedicate myself to the music and Berlin is the place where many artist live and work so being here gave me the opportunity to meet other producers or go to hear DJ’s that I usually wouldn’t have an opportunity to hear play very often. It’s also amazing for record shopping and there are many chances to collaborate with other artists as this city really encourages that community feeling.

In general you get inspired from this whole thing, parties are happening every day of the week and all of this inspire me and make me more productive but still I needed time to establish myself in the city and get into my new life rhythm. 

Obviously you have to be focused on your objective otherwise one of the common side effects that I see around is you can lose easily yourself in a black hole of permanent partying.

5. You play often alongside John Dimas, you also just made an EP on his Label Elephant Moon, how did you met and how is his music important to you? Do you plan to work together on any other upcoming releases ?

I met John Dimas a few years ago in Italy during one night in San Benedetto del Tronto and he played 80% of records that I used to play!  I was so impressed because I was already a big fan of his music but I never saw him DJing before that night.  

Since that day we’ve always been in contact and especially when I moved to Berlin we became closer. Actually we’re also working on some music together but we don’t have a release date scheduled yet.

6. You play often at the famous Goa club in Rome together with Fabrizio Sala ,how can you describe the music scene in Italy compared to Berlin ?

Goa Club is a legendary club which has shaped electronic music in Italy over the last 20 years and I’m really grateful to get the chance to play there regularly along with Fabrizio for the party Nozoo

In Italy there is always something going on, club culture is still alive and well and especially in the last few years a lot of new promoters started to support underground events and this gave the opportunity to small artists to get booked. 

I don’t think it’s really possible to compare the two scenes. There are too many cultural differences that generate a totally different approach. For instance, the amount of events that are going on in Berlin every weekend don’t exist in any city of Italy or in general in any other city in Europe. I think the club culture here has another weight compared to Italy and the other countries in Europe. 

People come to Berlin from all over the world specifically to go to parties and listen to electronic music. They call it Techno Tourism actually! This doesn’t mean that Berlin is better but it’s just a place where the culture is more developed and accepted into the social system. 

giammarco goa

7. Do you feel the club experience is shaped by cultural differences? When travelling, do you take cultural differences into consideration? How far is your approach as a DJ benefited in different countries and in different crowds?

I think the club culture is definitely shaped on the cultural system. It’s a process that is evolving in every country in it’s own way and it changes with the generations. 

From my experience as DJ I have observed that in countries like Italy or Spain you always have to bring a certain amount of energy to the dancefloor. Parties are shorter and in general you have to do your best in a smaller time frame as opposed to countries like Germany, Russia or Belgium where the parties are longer, the music is more hypnotic and you have more time to play something special that you cannot do in just a 2 hour set. 

I have recently been, for the first time, to Panama and I was so impressed with how the crowd reacted to the music, they were dancing and enjoying every minute till the lights came on. Everything seemed new for them and they were really open to hear records that would be  a bit more challenging to play everywhere. The same happened in Austin, Texas as well which was a nice surprise!

8.How do you prepare your set from venue to venue and country to country?

Obviously I try to collect as much music as possible to be ready to play for different crowds. I check my set time and what kind of party it is and if I’ve never been there I like to do a little research so I can be as prepared as possible.

I pack my bags with the thought of always trying to bring a bit of everything because in the end you never know what is going to happen there and sometimes you have to be ready to adapt to some lineups changes or just to play in front of less people. However, in general if I play an afterhour or a warm up I’ll always bring something deep and if I play peak time, something more energetic. 

For me it’s just really important to be aware of what’s happening in the club around you and try to play the right records while staying true to your style. It’s nice to be able to express yourself and educate the crowd a little but also people want to have fun so you have to always keep that in mind.

Thank you again for your time and the very energetic podcast you recorded for us, we look forward to hearing more exciting news from you !

Thank you guys for this nice interview, I hope to see you soon in London or somewhere else! 

GiammarcoOrsini2

Words by: Natascha Kramer

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Lamache Interview: ‘In London we say that when the party is good, even the walls sweat!’

By Event Previews and Reviews, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive

Lamache interview

A bright and shining artist – Lamache! French fella, from Toulouse, is now a part of the Berlin scene. His name is not new to the scene and you can find him performing alongside biggest names all around the world. His label discobar is still young, but already hosting showcases in Europe and beyond representing a talented group of artists such as Odd Soul, The Mole, Toba, Ark, Zendid, Alex & Digby, Robin Ordell. His influences from French house, minimal and techno can be felt through out his dj sets and productions. By travelling, he has gained an enormous amount of experience which helped him become a versatile dj who will make sure you will have the night to remember. 

1.Pleasure to have you on board with us today! You have been on our radar for a while now. How are you doing?

Hello there, I am very well thank you. Listening to some music and chilling with the cats at home before the weekend starts. 

2.House scene and dance music in general is a big deal in France. You don’t have to really dig to find good parties around, but as originally coming from Toulouse how do you think its scene shaped your sound?

When I started getting into this type music , the south played a big part in its influence in France, with some serious clubs popping up in Toulouse, Montpellier, Aix to name a few… I remember traveling all the way to Montpellier for a night to see some of my favorite artists, which inspired me a lot to carry on doing what I am doing today.

Nowadays the south isn’t like that anymore, some clubs closed, the others took a different music direction that doesn’t interest me anymore. Paris on the other hand is on fire clubbing wise – every weekend, the clubs are full and the line ups competitive.

3.What was the situation or a party that made you think – “alright, I love this and I want to be part of it?”

Playing records in my bedroom was already something magic for me, but the day I started playing in bars and clubs, it was so natural to feel the people, and vibe with them; I loved it instantly. I remember the day when I saw Ricardo Villalobos playing at Razzmatazz in Barcelona, everything made sense. This journey he took us on was really special to me, it was just what my ears and body wanted to feel. That day, the whole room was connected, I will remember that forever. For me, this is what music is all about.  

 

4.What were your favourite parties and places to go in Tolouse and France in general? Any secret record shops you would recommend?

Ufff, this is not an easy question… To start with Toulouse, my favorite places were “Beaucoup” (now closed), which was my first residency. It was this small bar/club where some underground magic was happening in the basement every weekend. This is where I taught myself to play on decks. Then later on, the go-to place was “La Couleur de la Culotte” where I played regularly with one of my best friends – we had some amazing nights there. I remember playing with Nina Kraviz there at the beginning of her career. Then onto Paris and my student life (ahah), I can’t really say one or two places because I had so much fun everywhere, but definitely REX CLUB, CONCRETE and BADABOOM are my favorite places nowadays…not forgetting crews like Crazyjack who invited me many times in different places all over the city. 

Record Shops wise, I spent a lot of time at Techno Import back in the days… I used to find some amazing stuff that I still play. The owner was super nice and he was always helping you out not like some of those music snobs you can bump into these days. Synchrophone was also a big thing when I was living in Bastille.

5.As far as we know you love adventure and you been travelling a fair amount. What made you to decide to have London as your first stop? Were you scared before moving in?

I’ve always listened to my feelings and this instinct that I have inside me. When I moved from Toulouse to Paris, it’s because I was done with the city as it wasn’t inspiring me anymore. I wanted to learn more and discover everything that we didn’t have or couldn’t have there. I went on to study in Paris and that was 5 amazing years.

But then again, the feeling of ‘the grass is always greener’ came back to me. I went to play in London for Toi Toi Musik, those guys that I met once in an after party in Paris. It was amazing, and again something new, something more underground, in a city where the boundaries were beyond what I knew in Paris. It was a natural move for me to go there music wise, it was like a calling from London and I just embraced it.

I had 4 crazy years with Toi Toi Musik. London taught me a lot: meeting new people, discovering a new culture, the basements, the rain, the hard life because of the lifestyle in the city, the love, the break up, the anxiety and finally,  the creation of my label “ Discobar”… many things happened there.. for better and for worse. Nowadays I’m based in Berlin and who knows where I’ll be tomorrow…

6. You did not take long to settle well in London. You became a part of amazing Toi Toi Musik collective, how did that happen? What’s the biggest memory you have with them? Any crazy moments?

Toi Toi Musik was always natural from the first day we met and we became close really fast. Basically Claus and Isis were in Paris for a weekend and they saw me playing for an after party. I was the only person playing records in that boat that morning. The records were jumping a lot due to the moving water below but I didn’t care, the vibe was great and I think that they liked that moment a lot. They invited me to play in their party in London, I will always remember this first gig alongside Delano Smith, Le loup and Voigtmann. Everything felt good again, we had so much fun so they invited me again a few weeks later and this was even better, I even remember my set… So when I decided to move to London, they asked me to get more involved into their project and invited me to be a resident with Jan Krueger, Daze Maxim and Voigtmann
The next event I did the warm up for was the party for ZIP with Claus –  I couldn’t believe it. I have so many good memories from this period that I can’t tell you which one was the best.

But if you want to know a funny one, it was that day when we invited Marc Schneider to play in one of those dodgy basements in Hackney. That day the party was so good and hot that a part of the ceiling fell apart right behind the DJ booth near Marc’s record bag. He was a bit shocked but I assured him that in London we say that when the party is good, even the walls sweat!

7.Your last venture is Berlin. How do you find it’s scene? Did you had the idea moving in before, or something happened that you made such a decision?

Berlin was a new page, a new chapter and time to learn a new culture and history. I’d never thought about moving to Berlin before this, I was never attracted by it to be honest, but this city is different than others, the life style is very different, noticeably slower than what I’m used to. 

When you’ve lived in cities like Paris or London, Berlin teaches you how to breathe, and this was the best thing that could happen for my health. 

It made so much sense for me to move here because all my friends I work with are based here. Also, my career took a step forward so I really wanted to spend all my time working with music, which I couldn’t afford to do in London. Berlin gave me this ability to focus 110% on my things, my label, my music and the studio. 

8.Talking about Discobar, how is your imprint doing? Loving this name! What made you come up with a label? What were the ideas behind it?

Discobar is doing very well, I am very happy about it and what we have been accomplishing with it. The name came from a joke that we had with a friend and basically Discobar in Belgium is a DJ booth. So very simply this became the name of the label. 
I always wanted to create something were I could grow my own family and friends. I really believe that music needs to be shared (in the good way) and I am also a person that believes in team work. Getting together is a beginning, staying together is very good but working together is a success. 

The only concept for the label was music that we like from people that we respect and inspire us. 

9.Thank you! Amazing stuff. Do you have some exciting new releases or dates to announce?

This year many things are coming actually, I want to release a lot of interesting new stuff on Discobar. 

The Part 2 of Darren Allen debut on Discobar is coming out in January and I am very happy about it, I love it. Then a new EP of Zendid is coming with a great remixer that I am a big fan of. 

And more to come for the 3rd birthday of the label…

10.What would be your number one tip for upcoming artists or people who want to start a label?

I would say, don’t try too hard, take your time, listen to a lot of different music, don’t follow the trends, do what you like and stick to it. If you believe in what you do, it will pay off at some point. And if you start a new label vinyl only like everybody wants to do, support the movement and buy vinyls! & Thank you for having me! It was a nice talk.

Thank you again, Lamache, for having us. Can’t wait to see you spin the records again at Half Baked 8th Birthday!

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Under The MEOKO Microscope – Clovis & Mix

By Festival, Hot Off The Press, Interview & Exclusive Mix, Interviews, MEOKO Exclusive, Under Meoko Microscope

Clovis UMM Banner

We are back with The Under The MEOKO Microscope feature alongside a very exciting name – Clovis. Born in Los Angeles, now venturing Berlin and Europe’s scene won our hearts with his deep and hypnotizing grooves. His wide sound variety expands into deep explorations of the tones, forms with soulful elements and complex patterns making sure to move the peak-time dancefloor to the max. His hardwork and tirelessly spent hours in studio bagged him a lovely catalogue of labels such as Lessizmore and Body Parts. Being a resident at Berlin’s Club der Visionaire as well as Los Angeles’s Standard Rooftop gives you an image that his sound is going to places. Clovis can be seen playing alongside big names as Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu, Magda to name a few and debuted in one of the biggest festivals in Europe – Sunwaves. We caught up with this talent in an interview, so let’s get into this and check his exclusive MEOKO mix.

1.Hey Clovis, thanks for taking time for us. Was really looking forward to this. How did you get into this music and what influenced you most throughout your musical journey so far?

By far the main musical influence in my life was my father. He was a music aficionado his whole life, and when I was growing up there was music playing at home during almost all waking hours. He liked a huge range of music, though he was most knowledgable and deep into jazz. He would always be playing something to fit the mood or the time of day, which taught me very early on that music can accompany you through almost any situation in life and enhance the mood or experience. There is appropriate music for the full spectrum of human emotions and something for almost any moment. So, in the mornings with breakfast, usually classical works or even church choir. Afternoons were freestyle…rock, alternative, jazz, peruvian or andean music,…anything. A rainy day could be married to some solo piano or Philip Glass. When I first moved out to live with different family for a year I was surprised and confused that music was something they only occasionally listened to on weekends, or only in the car. Though I do love quiet at times, it still feels to me that a day spent without listening to music for most of it is somewhat of a waste. 

As far as dance music is concerned, I slowly began to gravitate towards more electronic sounds in the early teenage years, via Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Moby, the usual late 90s suspects, and then began to discover DJing and club music, progressive trance, house, and the journey of exploration has continued for more than 15 years to where I am now. I started to DJ when I was 20, in my bedroom in Los Angeles, while going out to see Sasha & Digweed or Danny Howells with a fake ID. (you have to be 21 to go to nightclubs in the USA). I don’t remember exactly when I decided I wanted to try and earn a living from it, I keep doing it because it’s fun and the exploration of music never ends.

Rene Bouhier CDBANZAI 

2.As being a Los Angelian, how it’s scene shaped your music? Tell as more about it’s underground scene, clubs, records shops, parties.

The scene in Los Angeles was rather exciting when I became a part of it in the late 2000’s. It seemed like it had continuous potential to grow and flourish. Some good friends launched a label, Culprit, and we had some great intimate rooftop parties at the famous Standard hotel in LA where we invited a lot of great international guests, and had wild after parties which allowed me to DJ long sets in more intimate settings, often b2b with the guests we would invite. But with the economic crash of 2008 things changed somewhat, and this seemed to coincide with my own evolution towards music I was hearing in Europe and less in the USA. Around 2008 I heard a Rhadoo record for the first time and became interested in the Romanian scene, little by little. They still did not play in the US so much except a few small appearances on the east coast. I travelled all the way to New York once in 2011 to hear Petre Inspirescu do an open to close set in a loft in Brooklyn, which I still remember clearly. I knew this was the style and approach to dance music I loved the most. I began to order records from Europe to Los Angeles because a lot of the music I wanted to play was vinyl only and not carried by the few local record stores in LA. Everything I wanted had to be ordered from european shops or discogs. I never had the usual record store experience where the shop owner understands your taste and can suggest things, I’m super happy that I now have this in Berlin with black.round.twelve!

I think the best impact that coming up through the dance music scene in Los Angeles had on me was to give me a broader appreciation of dance music. We have quite good disco house and techno scenes, and I used to go see DJ Harvey’s famed Sarcastic Disco nights in which he played open to close by himself which were extremely educating and also probably the most fun nights I had in a warehouse in LA. With Culprit we invited a range of artists for smaller, more intimate parties. Losoul, Craig Richards, Shaun Reeves, Dyed Soundorom, all played an important part in informing my taste and DJing in the earlier years.

3.You were travelling in Europe for a while. How was the experience in comparison with Los Angeles? What was the most exciting/craziest moment, people you met?

I have been traveling and living in Europe on and off since 2012. I spent 7 months in Berlin one year, did 3 months of summer in Ibiza two years ago, and now finally after so many long back and forth trips to Los Angeles I decided in February of this year to move permanently to Berlin. Most of my best friends live here, most of my musical connections are here, and I cherish the strong feeling of community I have with all the people I love here, mostly based around Club Der Visionaere, which is definitely my musical home in Berlin. 

The parties you can experience here in Europe are unlike anything possible in Los Angeles, simply because of the restrictions we have to deal with in the US. I have had many special nights in Los Angeles, and some of my favorite party characters and friends live there, but there is simply a much higher degree of freedom in the night life in Europe and the party culture is much more advanced because of it. 

 

4.You have shaped a really original sound, do you have any plans on making your own imprint as a label?

It has become kind of cliche now for everyone to have a label…there are so many new ones popping up in the shops every week, it’s amazing. I would eventually like to start my own imprint, if nothing else for the freedom it brings to release whatever you really like, and those beautiful gems from certain friends that have not found a home. Right now I have no plans to do so and lack the financial means to start anyway. At the moment I’d like to concentrate more on making my own music and studio collaborations with friends.

5.Seen you play alongside some great names as Ryan Crosson, Rhadoo, Fuse guys. How did you guys meet?

After close to 10 years in this music with a bit of travel, an open mind, and (what I think is) a good sense of humor you can meet a lot of people and make some amazing friendships. I think it is actually one of the things I love most about DJing and music: the interesting and great people you meet along the way and lasting friendships that come from that. I have known the visionquest crew since around 2008 when they came to play in Los Angeles. Shaun Reeves, Ryan Crosson and I have now played a few times together at Club Der Visionaere and this always entails a few long b2b sessions, and since we’ve known each other for so long those are always welcome.

Meeting Rhadoo was a fluke occurrence while in Mexico for BPM festival in 2013. I was opening a very big stage around 10 in the morning for just the bar staff at a beach club, and he came with a few friends and asked if we could play some music together so we had our own little party for just us. I’m not sure why this happened but this moment changed the course of my life as I decided from then to follow more intensely the music I really love and push myself deeper into the craft. This also led to an invitation to play at Sunwaves which opened all kinds of new doors and opportunities for me in Europe.

Clovis CDV window

6.You were playing during sunwaves festival this year. How was the experience? Was it the first time you performed there? Would you come back again?

The first time I performed at Sunwaves in 2013 I had no idea what it was really, apart from seeing a few short video clips on youtube and listening to a few sets. I was completely unprepared for what I stepped into, the party is intense and does not stop! It requires serious stamina and a bit of planning and calculated decision making to enjoy fully. It was a very eye opening experience for me the first time and I witnessed some magic moments. It was also probably the most nervous I was to play anywhere in my life. Happily, since then I have gained much more experience and confidence in those situations, and coming back to play this year after enjoying last year’s edition was so much fun. Of course, still a bit nervous before playing, but if you can relax and focus on just DJing and the decks you have in front of you everything is fine in the end, and I was able to do that and really enjoyed it. I am so grateful for the invitation, and to play on that beautiful beach front stage on the opening night was very special. I will definitely be back for each may edition, because it’s one of the best places to hear many of my favorites.

7.You seem to be working really closely to lessizmore and body parts labels. What triggered this relationship?

As usual, a consequence of making good friends who like your taste. I have never released a full EP of my own, and so remixes and single tracks on compilations have been my main output over the years, and both lessizmore and bodyparts were always interested in some of my music. I met Jessica from lessizmore in Mexico in 2012 and we have had a long friendship since then with many fun party adventures, and playing quite a few showcases for the label. I met Denis from BodyParts at my first sunwaves in 2013, and after a great time in Moscow at the old Arma together, another great friendship was born. I have many friends running cool labels and asking me for music, so now I just need to make more!

8.You obviously spend a lot of time in studio crafting your sound. Talk us through your favorite gear. What is your opinion on never ending discussion between analog vs digital?

Actually, I have not had my own studio in years, I have always had to rely on using spaces of friends and whatever gear they would have at the time. I use ableton live for almost everything, and though I have some favorite plugins, namely Trillian for bass, and a variety of reverbs and effects, I strongly prefer to source sounds from analog gear. I don’t really care about the analog vs. digital debate because I have always been of the opinion that ideas and creativity are more important. However, to me it’s a lot more fun to use actual stand-alone electronic instruments in the studio than do everything on a computer, and analog machines can have very unique characters that simply can’t be replicated. Two synths I used a lot when I was working in Los Angeles were the Moog Voyager and Roland’s classic and simple Juno-106. I also spend a lot of time working with samples. I have an extensive library of jazz and classical music recordings that I got from going through my father’s massive CD collection. Almost all my tracks contain samples from acoustic music, but mostly used in ways that would make them indistinguishable from their original form, and many tracks contain samples from 5-6 completely different sources, working together. In absence of having a full studio with acoustic instruments and musicians to play them, I find this is my favorite way to bring some of that color and texture to the music I make, and also makes for happy accidents as you go along.

9.Aside DJ things, give us few highlights of the year, your favorite clubs and artists you enjoyed the most.

I had some great adventures in Romania this year, Sunwaves, playing at Guesthouse in Bucharest, and the wonderful 3 Smoked Olives festival down on the Danube in the summer. Two other parties stood out most for me. In Los Angeles, my friends at Cyclone, almost out of nowhere, began bringing some of my favorite DJs to LA and pushing the sound that I enjoy. For the first time in years I found myself able to comfortably play exactly what I wanted when doing opening sets for some of my favorite DJs, and people more receptive to this style than ever before. Cyclone has curated a great list of artists that were strangers to LA before, last year we had Rhadoo, Pedro, Nu Zau & Sepp, and this year we’ve seen a bunch of diverse names, among them Stefan Goldmann, Lamache, DJ Masda, Leo Leal, and Akufen. In February Herodot & Gescu visited us in LA also for Cyclone, and it was one of my favorite parties I’ve played in the city so far. It was also really fun to host artists that I really respect and are good friends and show them around my home city. 

The second party I felt an instant bond with is in Prague, for my friends at Wildt. After over a month touring in the US and dealing with all the issues and different rules we face in America to have parties, like the overzealous and constantly intrusive security in clubs, I was excited to go back to Europe and feel free to have fun, to dance and enjoy music as long as I wanted to, and most of all be silly, and laugh and have fun in unconventional ways. Wildt is a small bar with a beautiful green, tree covered backyard patio in the center of Prague, owned and operated by some of my best friends. It is also bringing a bit different
usic to a city
that isn’t quite used to it yet, but with a strong group of friends and local DJs to support it. These kinds of new scenes surfacing are always fun and exciting! In July I played there with my good friend Audio Werner and we had a great time. Recently they hosted TC80, and also Timur Basha from Closer in Kiev. I am fully supportive of this lovely place and I will be some kind of resident next year most likely. Already planning another visit in November, each time is too much fun!

CLOVIS SC

10.Thank you very much for creating mix for us. Top notch. How do prepare for a mix series? What’s your inspiration and ideas behind it?

For this mix, I was trying to record something for over a month in the summer during my tour in the USA. At each stop where someone had a nice DJ setup I would give it a try. I had only picked out the first two tracks, and from there each mix was kind of a different adventure, which is what I usually do. I don’t like making studio DJ sets on the computer at all and I can’t really plan beyond a couple tracks what I feel like playing, it’s more interesting to just follow how you feel and your intuition. In the end I came home to Berlin and wasn’t really happy with any of the recordings I made, but after further consideration, this mix, recorded at my lovely friend Paulo’s place in San Diego on a cloudy afternoon, actually seems like a very good representation of my DJing right now. It goes from a bit more minimal, deeper sounds, to more house and breakbeats. A good encapsulation, in around an hour, of the music I’m playing these days. After testing it out in some chill afterparties with friends, I decided I could use it for Meoko. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope others will too!

11.All in all, thank you for your time. Any last words for fans about exciting new releases, collaborations or dates you would like to share?

My Cyclone friends in LA are starting a vinyl label, (they already have one called KNIFE), it will be called Cyclone to go with the party series. The project has been in the works for a while but hopefully it will be up and running soon, and I believe I will be the 2nd release with my own EP.  I also have some new podcasts to do, after a year with very few, one for Fasten Musique in Japan and one for my Bodyparts friends. It’s difficult to find good places to record as I don’t have my own setup and I’m still trying to find somewhere comfortable in Berlin. I have some nice dates coming up, Mioritmic Festival in Cluj October 5th-7th, Moscow at Rodnya on October 14th. Berlin with Round The Corner at Katerblau on Sunday the 15th. Then in early November, it will be lovely to return to Guesthouse in Bucharest! And as usual…I will continue my TrackOfTheDay routine on my facebook page where I share stuff I’m playing and enjoying, new and old. People seem to enjoy it a lot and I am always happy to share music I like in whatever way possible, that’s what music is for!

Again thank you so much!

Thank you Meoko for documenting our dear little music scene! 

Words by Matas Balta

Press shots by Marie Streikt & Karim Rosati

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