You are a trained musician with a proper musical education, how does it help you to understand techno and house music and how does it help to produce it? I heard of people who had a hard time with the dissonance at first.
I think the traditional, academic approach to a musical education is mainly useful in terms of naming things for people. Giving notes, harmonies, rhythms, and other musical structures names, and therefore some sort of distinct identity, is really useful for beginning to develop some sort of deeper, personal understanding of them, which I believe to be absolutely necessary in the creation of great music (whether the names are known or not). So, having these concepts introduced so clearly and distinctly from a very early age is especially helpful. But, the process of ultimately developing an individual and deeper understanding of them really has so little to do with that in the end. The language is just a framework. Someone’s musical education is really a sum of their entire life, and everything they’ve heard during it. As far as my musical education is concerned, my understanding of and approach to house and techno has much more to do with the part I received through my parents’ incredible record collection, and my early experiences DJing at B-boy battles and producing hip-hop. I’m all about the dissonances. I have much more of an issue with the consonances!
You were born in the USA (like Bruce Springsteen), how do you see this EDM invasion that happened the last year? Especially from a country that never considered anything else than rock, hip hop, jazz, pop or country music.
All repetitive, unoriginal music is equally unnecessary and bad to me, whether it’s an EDM track or a more ‘underground’ one. But, the reason it’s popular is because people genuinely get some sort of fulfillment out of it, so I’m completely supportive of its existence and fans, even if I can’t imagine a greater misfortune than personally having to listen to it. I also really like this idea of a movement that was born in the underground in the USA finally reaching people there on a wider scale. Regardless of how much less profound the musical content is in its new popular form, people hedonistically dancing together is unquestionably a good thing, I think, and something that I’m positive is happening on a much wider scale globally with the rise of EDM.
When did you decide to move to Berlin and did it affect your musical views and lifestyle?
I decided to move to Berlin after I got kicked out the Royal Academy of Music in London. I was actually sort of a refugee, I guess, because I couldn’t stay in London without a visa… Anyways, because of the circumstances especially, the whole moving experience definitely shaped my musical views. During my two years at the Academy, my ideas on art and music making underwent a serious transformation, mostly in reaction to and in spite of the institution. So, moving to Berlin marked a consolidation of all of these ideas, and the beginning of a new chapter for me personally and musically. Basically, one in which I can do whatever the fuck I want! Not being a full time student is, of course, a huge lifestyle change as well.
What are your plans for the next months?
Now that summer is ending, I’m going into hibernation mode. Going to hide away for a few months, work on lots of new music, practice piano, read, and hopefully progress further in the infinite struggle to learn German (and Max/MSP). I’ll pop out for a dance now and again when I can’t bear the solitude any longer, and hopefully play a few DJ gigs as well.
I first met you almost 20 years ago when you were part of The Advent, How did your music evolve now that you produce as Mr G ?
I learnt my art and got deeper into what I wanted to do and found my own sound…..
I also saw you play live with only a MPC2000, how do you like the sound of that machine and what made you decide not to use more stuff on stage?
Mmm, I’m ole skool if everyone does it then I don’t want to, I think limiting your self makes you work harder, is ultimately more fun………..but dangerous…..haha.
You don’t do a lot of remixes but we had the chance to have one from you on this release. What was your impression the first time you heard the original track?
I do a lot of mixes you just have to hunt for them, many different sounds and style too, with this one I loved the feel and groove of the original, although it was tough to take it to another place, but I got there……..
You live and work outside London, does it help your inspiration behind outside the craziness of the city?
Pose so, I love the calm, as the music is the madness, still go to london every week though so no pipe and slipper just yet.
Hi Jules & Moss, hope you’re doing well. Trying to classify your new song “My Brain Says Two” is incredibly difficult – the single’s title track leads off the release with a deep kick and some cosmic chords. Is there any reason you chose this song in particular to kick the EP off?
The title of the track resumes well the whole EP. We’ve worked on a style a little bit hybrid, mixing difference influences, for this release. Also, this track means a lot of emotions for us, and so a good start for the EP.
‘Borse’ is contemplative and deeper fare than the first track. The beat runs on, hypnotising the crowd.. (tell us a little bit more about..)
This is the kind of production that we like to do. Involving emotions, hypnotizing lines any remaining dancefloor. On this one, we’ve chosen not to have a too simple loop, so we’ve tried to cross influences.
‘Joke Poesie’ is more ‘tech-house’ oriented, throbbing with a deep bass pulse and confusing vocal samples. Are Jules& Moss the kind of artists who like chaotic and confusing music?
Actually, we have dancefloor direction but we want atypical and original music that mixes different inspirations, while dancing. It is also why we have a great pleasure to work with SOUVENIR which has this identity we’re looking for with artists who drain this kind of philosophy.
‘Poupie Flak’ rolls on a steady disco bassline, where gorgeous chords emerge like an oncoming dawn. How did you manage that? What is your studio set-up?
We wanted to produce something deep, intense once again mixing different styles of music. We use for this as much as possible recordings we do by our own hands : acoustic instruments, vocals, electronic machines, … but also some vst or samples to complete our production.
The EP ends on a strong note with ‘The Chichonnade’ which fits perfectly to a dance-floor. Is this kind of solid deep house beat coming back to the French sound?
We don’t think about the question to compose a french sound or not. But yes, actually we appreciate a lot this kind of deep house.
Anyway, hope you enjoy it to !! :)
Hi guys! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. First off, your new track, ‘The Future’ has a very old-school house vibe. What DJs / artists inspired you when making this track?
We were not inspired by any artist or deejay, we just got a new drum machine (Acidlab Miami) and started a beat with it, then we added some synths etc. We sent it to Navid and he gave us this amazing vocal, this was the process.
‘Set Me Free’ kicks in with hard, jacking drums and a mixed-down Jonny Cruz vocal that completely eschews soft focus. How did you meet the singer, Jonny Cruz?
We know jonny for a while, he has always been a very precious friend. He just showed up at the studio while we were working, so we started the track together as a natural process without any plan.
The Eric Volta remix is dustier with wobbly synth lines and a sharp hi-hat that takes the original track somewhere close to a rave anthem. Is it what you were aiming for?
To be honest we didn’t expect anything, he got inspired by the track and sent us an amazing remix. Eric Volta is a great artist, an amazing producer and can do what he wants, and we loved what he gave, it is such a great and original remix.
What other exciting projects are you working on right now and what’s in store for the future? A Strangers in Heaven live show perhaps?
We are working on a remix for Smash TV (who remixed our first EP), we will go back to the studio and work on some new music, we dont know what will happen. No live set scheduled for now, maybe one day!
Sonodab tells us a little behind the scenes story about his last Souvenir PLUS ‘Dose Rythms’ EP..
Hello Sonodab. The title track runs through seven minutes of moody pads with funky hi-hat patterns and weird, psychedelic underpinnings. ‘Dose Rythms’ builds to minor and subtle climaxes throughout, never boiling over, but never letting up either. How did you get that?
I liked the idea of doing a track using acid and deep bass rhythms with classical elements mixed with a base with a lot of groove. For example, for acid sounds and low parts, use xoxbox, Doepfer MS404, SH101É and for pads and atmospheres, use microwave XT, Tetra…
Could you tell us a bit about your studio set-up?
My studio set-up is mainly composed of hardware, from the classics like Juno 106, SH101, Moog Voyager, Doepfer … to the most recent Nord Rack 2X, Microwave XT, Mopho, Tetra, Elektron Machinedrum, Monomachine ….. supplemented with effects such as filters Schippman Ebbe und Flut and Sherman Filterbank 2, in fact it’s what I enjoy the most …. changing the sounds, giving me opportunities to experiment with different ideas. I mix in Ableton Live, I love it and every day surprises me more!
‘Back to the Nut’ comes out swinging, instantly hitting you with dub chords and a driving kick that definitely means business. A way to catch a club?
Yes I think that is a track with a lot of groove, with force, but without being aggressive, with a steady rhythm and many details and sounds that change without making it too heavy.
You close things with ‘Less is More’ which reminds us that minimal wave’s motto. But pretty soon an small acid line emerges out of panning tones and stays locked for the duration, while various effects drift in the background. Looks like Barcelona’s influences?
As you can hear in the EP, the three tracks share acid elements , but with different styles. Unfortunately, Barcelona not influenced me musically, because although it is gradually noticing an improvement, the fact is that it has lost a lot of electronic music culture, but that’s a long story… but like I said, thanks to groups, collectives and independent people, are contributing to enhance the scene of the city, so I hope that recovers soon! ;)
Italian housemeister Francys talks about his recent release on Souvenir plus..
Hi Francys. You’ve started off with the track ‘Trust Me’ headed by vocal phrases & synth effects trough the percussion that make the track such a fascinating listen. How did you manage the sound to get this mesmerizing level of detail?
Well let’ say i’m a perfectionist, I use to spend much time on a track especially when I want to create something more for listening, I work in a very peculiar way in all the little details, because I think this is the key for a good result “the little makes the big”!
I Usually start from the drums, then I play some synths, add vocals and everything needs to give the sense of atmosphere, that in case like this is one of the most relevant things.
I spent so much time making the “details” for Trust Me, as I worked a lot on the arrangement, i just wanted it to sound as more as organic as possible, using the right elements and the right effects, the hard thing was not to fall in a too busy thing, but let the various parts flow harmonically together.
‘Silver’ still finds this confident feeling but in a deeper way. You play several instruments / effects as well as composing and arranging this track to a complete harmony. What inspired you to create this sound?
As I said the atmosphere for me is one of the most important thing in a track, I love to try new fresh introspective things in my studio, I like music in all its shades even in the dub and ambient way.
During the production I always used to record some sounds from the environment and made my own sound library.
I think my music comes out from the deepest dark side of me, but dark means beauty and can reveal the infinite space inside, so think this track like a window on an unexplored world where everything inside lives in armory,like night and day,sounds and noises, men and machines.
‘Solitude’ seems to spin faster and faster. You dropped out the “Trust Me” guideline and push forward a deep-minimalistic-voiceless sound. A way to eventually say “don’t trust me”?
Yeah, you got the point! Solitude is kind of a “negative” of Trust Me.
I was alone, in a strange anxious mood and my thoughts were spinning on these sounds, but I wanted to punch forward a bit to create something usefull for the dance floor but always leaving a deep smooth and dark minimal feeling. Yes a way to say “don’t trust me”..you can expect everything.
You rounded off this masterpiece with ‘Water Woman’ which brings us to these ambiant tropes. You change in tone revealing an ear for more involved structures than 4 tracks might suggest.. How did you get ëtill that point? How did you start composing music?
Water Woman is a symbol of the synthesis of my sound, from the hard old school influenced beat and the dub bassline to the sidechanined pads and piano keys. I’s the compromise between the cold digital sound and the warm human touch.
When I was 15 I used to listen lot of music and this brought me to meet house and techno…it was love at first sight, I decided to try with mixer and turntables, after that I felt the need of fully express my self through music and thanks to a computer I started to use some sequencers and samplers.
Thanks a lot and good music to everybody!
Fischer & Kleber shared some behind the scene stories about their latest release on Souvenir Plus.
This EP gave an impression as if it was expressing the four seasons, starting off with the track “Air” with its winter atmosphere..
Kleber: Well, we didn’t construct the EP that way, but It is a nice interpretation for it! So if “Air” feels like winter, then “Wonderful Life” would be our spring, reflecting the darkness and beauty of the winter paired with the colours of spring and the hope for “Warmth”! It is even reflected in the title! “Wagner” would stand for summer, with it’s sweaty and tropical groove, evolving into a big thunderstorm with a happy end! And finally “Euphorium” feels like fall. Things get dark and gloomy and the coldness supersedes the warmth of summer. In the big break, all the bright colours of fall are shining through!
Fischer: It was important to us, that the EP would not just be 4 common club-trax put together! We wanted a sort of diversity that would make sense to us and reflected our love for music & sound in general, independent from the rules of “what works best in the club”.
There was a good combination of melodies, vocals, baselines, and the effects on the punchy track “Wagner”. Do you guys have a specific part to take when producing music? Also speaking of the track, is there a reference to the composer Richard Wagner?
Fischer: There are no necessary rules for Who’s doing what, but our history sets the general working-field automatically. Being a guitar-player / Composer, Niklas (Kleber) is the general man for harmony, melody, textures, colours etc. Being a drummer / sound-engineer, I’m the general man for beats, arrangement, mix, effects etc. But as I stated before, there are no rules!
We make music together for 15 years, been on the road together a lot, with different projects, so we trust and know each other 100%. For me, trust is one of the key-aspects of making music together.
Kleber: Actually the title is not a reference to “Wagner” the composer, but a reference to a friend who is carrying the same name. We sampled the piano and the chopped up vocals from a track he wrote.
‘Wonderful Life’ is on a slowest tip, with its heavy vocal crawling on the melody. At some point it gave a feel of a Baroque music. Do you get a large inspiration from a classical music?
Kleber: Every kind of music and sound & noise in general is an inspiration for us! Both of us have several other bands/projects, playing different styles of music, which is really important to us. In this case, the sound of the viola di gambas inspired me to sing the dark vocal-line, which holds controversy within, calling Life wonderful, but also asking why it is so sad!
Fischer: We love controversy in music, or let’s say in art in general! Which is also the key for this track, connecting deep electronic & percussive elements with a baroque & symphonic vibe. These opposing elements combined, create a sort of controversy that makes music exciting and unique for us.
‘Euphorium’ boosts the EP with its well balanced tempo. Since this is the most club-feel track in the entire EP, this release gives an impression as being more matured compared to ‘Minas’.
Fischer: I wouldn’t put it that way necessarily. We make music in the moment! So it’s possible that our next thing will be a straight up club-feel again! :) We don’t know because we don’t plan or analyze these things. Music is way to important to us, we try to stay pure with it. That’s one of the reasons we enjoy releasing on Souvenir Music. Freedom of art, Controversy & Uniqueness are appreciated and celebrated here, which is exactly our way of celebrating music & art.
Kleber: The first time we played Euphorium live, was on a Souvenir Label Night at Watergate in Mai 2012. It was one of the best tracks within our set! The vibe was great, when I started playing the Mandoline-Textures over the pumping Bassline that Rob (Fischer) had created! With this energy in mind, we immediately locked ourselves in the studio, when we returned home, and recorded the track Live in the studio :)
After nailing a life-take together, we started editing and adding details & textures, and pretty quick it was done!
To kick things off seems like we have to ask how you managed to craft such an intimate sounding record. Every vocal snippet on the EP seems to convey a message…
For “Insanity” I worked together with LIA. She has a very good taste in music, so I asked her to do some vocals for my track. We only had contact via mail as she doesn’t live in Berlin. It was a bit complicated but I really love her voice on my track. It makes it more special – like an insane journey.
For the “Closer” track I worked with Vonda7, DJ based in Berlin. She did some rough vocal phrases and I just chopped and looped it. Come closer. I think it’s quite catchy.
‘Insanity’ seems like such a fitting name with its syncopated, tribal drums is underpinned by a hypnotic bass and mysterious female voice. It’s pure sexual energy. What were your working methods to achieve this?
I worked quiet a while on this track. The sound is very rough and together with the voice it’s kind of mystical. It’s always the same procedure with my productions. I work on some layouts and while traveling I get more ideas. I worked very long on the background atmosphere and of course on the bass tone.
‘Lonely’ continues on in a more introspective manner. That feeling of being in club and closing your eyes in the crowd..
Yes, I wanted to create a slower but more intense track. At the moment I like “Lonely” the most. This dark atmosphere is perfect for club nights!
‘Closer’ is more on a house tip, opening things up a bit after Insanity’s claustrophobic feeling. Is the choice of syncopated rhythms prevalent throughout the record deliberate? And tell us a bit about Amine as the remixer?
Yes, the syncopated rhythms are the engine of this EP. I wanted to create a complete journey. From a1 to b2!I met Amine at a gig in Heidelberg. He’s pretty cool, so I just asked him if he could do a remix for me. It’s good to have him and his partner DANCE on board. They’re giving a totally different vibe to “Closer”… And it’s great to have a totally different remix. Otherwise it could be boring for the listeners.
I’m happy with this EP. I hope the people also like it!
Let’s first talk about the track ‘Montre’. How did you come to work with Vargas?
Well, Vargas is actually one of my good friends, Oscar Quiroz. The same guy I used in my other Souvenir track, ‘Fortuna feat. Quiroz’. Oscar is born in Mexico, but has been quite around – France is one of the destinations, and he speaks (and sings obviously) French very well. His voice on ‘Fortuna’ came out perfectly, so I thought it would work with him singing in French on my next project, which I think it really did. To avoid any kind of confusion because of the French lyrics, we decided to give him a different alias, ‘Vargas’.
‘Montre’ flirts between the sensual (particularly the vocals) and a chillier atmosphere. It almost sounds like a modern tango?
It could be a modern kind of Tango, I wouldn’t know But the idea was to make it sexy and cheesy without losing its drive. The drop makes up for the long sensual break I think. I’m confident
‘Turning Point’ is much more direct with the rhythm taking centre stage. How does your previous career as a drummer influence your production methods?
Working with drums/drum machines is one of the best parts for me, it brings me back to the days where I was a rockstar in my own band (I wish) . In the beginning I used a Spanish vocal as a main part of the track, but it came out too latino so I removed it, and continued the track with percussive elements. And with the chunky bassline it doesn’t get too balearic.
‘Leftroom’ ends the EP quite violently. A deep voice accentuates the chunky, icy chords. The song nicely heralds the arrival of winter. How does the Danish climate influence your music if at all?
Denmark is cold about 8-9 months a year, so if I adapted my music inspiration with the weather conditions, I would release some really sad tunes Long time ago I bought my microkorg, which I haven’t used in a while. So I decided to do all the synth parts with this particular synth. All the sounds made me go in a aggressive and evil direction. Thats why the track came out so deep. FYI the vocals on ‘Turning Point’ and ‘Leftroom’ are made by me Another experimental thing I had to try.
How are you feeling since the release of Souvenir+ 16? Have you had a chance to try the tracks out in a club?
I already played the tracks in my sets, and the feedbacks from the dancefloor are always so good! I’m really happy for this, now I can’t wait to try the stuff mastered!
The EP is really upbeat. Was it a conscious decision to crank up the tempo?
I was in my studio working with my drums, looking for a strong groove. When I found what I wanted, I put some vocals, and the combo was really nice!
What was the inspiration behind using a Michael Jackson vocal sample on ‘Always with Me’? The track title implies a tribute perhaps?
Yes! ‘Always with Me’, because I love Michael Jackson since I was a child, his voice gives me a lot of inspiration: he open my mind to make music. So I tried to put his voice inside my track, and finally I found a really good combination.
There is a lot of attention paid to the drum programming and bassline, particularly on ‘Feel the Reaction’. Is this a reference to your family background (Benin) and a desire to connect your African roots with your love of house music?
The African rhythm is inside me, because my father teaches me a lot about African groove and percussions… And for sure I will come back soon to Benin because the real groove is there! X
Welcome back to Souvenir! How do you feel this EP differs from your previous release on our ‘In The City 2’ Summer compilation?
Yes, luckily is not the first release on Souvenir and we hope will NOT be the last Musically we changed a little bit our style than our previous 2 tracks on “In The City #2″ compilation. In this release we play a little more with synths, we changed the bassline, more deeply and we raise 3 or 4 BPM.
You guys run your own label but last year was a little quieter production wise. Would you say this year you’ve found new musical inspiration?
Follow our label and follow its musical evolution is important for us like follow our personal releases, so in 2011 we preferred to run mostly our label to understand what was the sound to produce and play. After that in 2012 we come back with new musical ideas and new release and we hope that Souvenir +16 can be a launch for this new sound!
Souvenir+ 16 features some particularly hypnotic grooves. How did this come about?
For us this sound it’s a natural evolution of our musical trip, a maturation of our sonorities. We hope the people can appreciate it!
What makes your two contributions seriously pop on this EP are the driving vocals. How do you come across new ideas and sounds?
The voice for us is like a supplement thing that make complete a track! Sometimes we listen to incredible tracks that however missing a little thing that can make that track a real bomb. Usually we missed a huge vocal. Every day we spend several hours in our studio to try to find new original ideas. Originality for us it’s a factor that can never miss and then the originality in the voices in our track is like a ticket to take off in our musical dimension.
More important than the parties, the plane rides, the magazine covers or the money, every great DJ is first and foremost, a collector. A discoverer of music. A traveller weaving through a sea of new sounds and honing down the multitude of records to those that matter most. It’s this drive for sonic exploration that’s responsible for Souvenir, the Berlin label spearheaded by Tiefschwarz and their french partner Arthur Vélasquez. In little over a year the label has...