Animaux | UK

Preview: Farr Festival 2016

May
26

On the 14th July, Farr Festival makes a greatly anticipated return to Bygrave Woods in Hertfordshire. The festival has always prided itself on being located just 40 minutes from London, and its handy location has proved popular with the fans it has amassed over its 7 years in the running. Although by no means a landmark UK festival, Farr has popped up on the radar of electronic music fans from across the country and really made a name for itself. The line-up for 2016 is stellar and makes Farr an unmissable festival this summer.

The likes of John Talabot, Palms Trax and Jungle all appear in the woods this July. Palms Trax’s recent appearance in York was one of the best bookings of the year for this historic city and so seeing the German producer play again at Farr would be an experience not to be wasted. Hunee also appears at Farr after his brief but memorable stint in Fibbers this year. Festival organisers have cannily booked pop outfit Jungle to give a light touch to the otherwise more underground scene of Farr’s line up.

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Alga – Aralia EP – Inter-re-view

May
25

Available for free on Lost Oscillation’s website, Dan Egdell’s first outing as Alga is a 2 track EP showcasing an original and inventive mind.

Four Tet, Caribou and other associated acts have a lot to answer for when it comes to the current crop of SoundCloud wannabes. Luckily, sometimes the slew of homebrewed imitations and rip-offs is interrupted by tracks or EPs which genuinely develop and respect the fundamental successes of their inspirations. Aralia is one such EP.

By avoiding the temptation to smash random sonic textures together in pursuit of a rich and lush soundscape, Alga sidesteps the type of error a lesser producer would leap headfirst into. Still a student, his promising work thus far has shown him maturing into a canny aesthetic operator. Bringing his skill as a DJ to bear on these tracks, elements transition seamlessly; in fact, it seems like the main aim of both pieces to effortlessly end up far from where they started.

“This Is Your Carnival” spins itself a semi-demented fairground ride out of some propulsive brassy pomp. The selection and deployment of instrumentation is ingenious, allowing the track to retain its character even as the constituent parts are piled up, taken away, demand attention, or subtly change the direction. It pays rich dividends here as the midpoint of the track finds the layered pieces stripped away. The hand drumming, satisfying kick and rising mania of the synths is the highlight of its 8 minutes (and it truly is the better for being that long).

Moreso than simply grasping at sound and texture, Aralia illustrates Egdell working as a songwriter and a selector. The joy of “This Is Your Carnival” is in the details: the slight dissonance of the climax; the interplay of the reverbing horn blasts in the introduction; and the finely woven percussive textures that underpin the whole thing.

“Patina” relies even more heavily on Egdell’s percussion work. However, for much of the track these elements are foregrounded in the mix, rather than underpinning. Synth chords, rich basslines and ethereal vocal samples slowly emerge from beneath and behind them. This inverts the formula of the first track and though it leaves some sections feeling paradoxically sparse considering the variety of percussion instruments present, the payoff more than makes up for it.

At just two tracks (albeit two eight-minute tracks) long, Aralia is a teaser of what’s to come from Egdell. Having emerged from an album containing 8 tracks, it is a little disappointing not to be able to hear more of that body of work just yet.

I sat down with Dan (albeit over Skype) to discuss the EP, his musical history, and his inspirations.

EM: So you weren’t Alga to start with, you started out as Slyside?

DE: Yeah, I started as Slyside about 2 years ago when I was in second year. I just kinda decided to start making music, needed a name, went with Slyside and then released something through Anonymous Records in York. Which was great, I really liked the Slyside stuff, but it felt like I’d finished, and it didn’t seem right with the kind of stuff I was writing. So I decided to start from scratch.

EM: Would you say there’s been an obvious progression since your Slyside material? It’s no longer on SoundCloud, so it’s hard to view the material that came before Aralia.

DE: Well yeah, I kinda wanted to ditch the whole thing. Maybe it was a bit of a rash decision looking back but I didn’t want anyone to be able to find out about me and go “oh, you used to be Slyside”; I liked the whole anonymous thing.

EM: Would you change your name again for another project or EP?

DE: Well, probably not because I’ve found a sound and Alga seems to make sense with it. You can still find the Slyside stuff on YouTube. I’m not too happy with that. I like that stuff, but I felt like I needed to progress and it was holding me back to try to sound like Slyside.

EM: When it comes to creating, do you have a procedure? Are there particular elements that you start with, or things you like to have in your mind at the start of a project?

DE: I wish I did! It would make my life a lot easier. No, I don’t. I get ideas when I’m walking around and I record a little bit on my phone, or I find a sample that I like or I find a groove that I like. There’s no real routine, what happens – happens and some tracks dissolve into nothing and others take off.

EM: Were there a lot more tracks that you could have put on this EP?

DE: Yeah, there was actually 8 tracks. I was writing an album in my 3rd year as an equivalent to a dissertation. I handed it in and I was happy with the results but I felt that there were some tracks that could be chipped away and weren’t really needed. And when I sat down it turned out there were 6 tracks that weren’t needed.

EM: Do you do live performance stuff, or do you have any plans to?

DE: I was thinking of getting a band together to do some of the Alga stuff, but now I’m writing again. The plan was to do some gigging but that’s on hold until I have a little more material I think. We might do it after that.

EM: In terms of the EP as a whole, what kind of influences have played a part?

DE: John Talabot, I love the way his tracks progress and his production style and how percussive it all is. I was listening to a lot of his stuff while I was making it. Caribou as well, which is an obvious choice but it was a big influence. Also Nicolas Jaar, even though it doesn’t really sound anything like what I make, it was definitely an influence. And again, jazz, even though it’s not really a direct influence and you might not hear it.

EM: And you play a lot of the instruments on the EP live?

DE: All the drums, all the brass, all the bass is recorded by me. The synth line at the end of TIYC, all the synth stuff was recorded into the computer but the rest was real instruments.

EM: Both tracks are 8+ minutes; did you consciously aim to create a long and smoothly transitioning track?

DE: It wasn’t a deliberate choice, like I didn’t sit down and say let’s create a 10-minute track that’s gonna evolve. It might just be because I’m bad at being concise, I don’t know. It starts with an idea and then I couldn’t end the idea without it changing. I started with it and it was like, this isn’t done yet. I kept going until it felt done and it felt like it morphed into a different song in the second half, but I kinda like that. They both do a similar thing as well which I think works, they both match that pattern.

EM: Thanks for your time Dan.

You can download Alga’s Aralia EP for free from Lost Oscillation’s website.

Preview: Dekmantel Festival 2016

Apr
28

Dekmantel Festival is back to the Dutch capital with its fourth installment and it is a doozy – they promise over 150 artists spread out their day and night programs as well as the opening concerts. Have a quick gander at the very stylish video they cooked up:

Dekmantel are heavily expanding on their opening concert idea and offering not one (like last year) but nine (!!) concerts spread out across Amsterdam’s beautiful city-centre locations. All venues are linked with free ferry services and promise an additional free cultural program. These range from James Holden’s dreamy techno ventures with a live band to Alessandro Cortini’s (Nine Inch Nails) live electronica experimentations. You can check the full opening concert line-up over at Dekmantel’s website.

August fifth marks the first official day of the festival in the stunning natural surroundings of the Amsterdamse Bos park and it is hard to describe the amount of musical talent spread out throughout the weekend. Just the first day sees the likes of Jeff Mills, Ben UFO, Surgeon and Moodymann among many other very talented folk. And this theme continues throughout the weekend – I can hardly imagine what it will be like deciding if I should see Dixon or Aux 88, Roman Flügel or Daniel Avery on Saturday and picking between Palms Trax or Motor City Drum Ensemble on a Sunday afternoon just seems cruel. To top it all off at Amsterdamse Bos, the organisers promise: “We aim high with everything we do, but the festival terrain is an exception. We want to give our visitors an open view on the landscape, and thus the decorum will incorporate no skyscraping elements of any kind.” You can check the full day-by-day line-up here.

The night programme returns to the Melkweg – which is one of Holland’s most well-known and iconic music venues. The large building is a former milking factory, and has been in full effect since the abandoned factory got discovered in 1970. It’s a perfect spot for an adventurous club night, offering you a chance to wander and get lost somewhere between the four separate areas, including the majestic Rabozaal, and the coiling hallways that lead you there. Some of the names throughout the weekend include The OrbTama SumoOptimo and Jackmaster (full night line-up here) and yet again, Dekmantel showcase their prowess in offering a huge collection of talent with focus on great music as opposed to specific genres or styles.

It is clear that Dekmantel are continuing their strive towards building the greatest city festival in Europe. It oozes quality – from locations to the talent, everything has been meticulously planned in order to create an atmosphere like none other and if you are one of the lucky ones that managed to grab a ticket, I salute you as we are in for a ride.

http://www.dekmantelfestival.com/

Gottwax EP 3 – Review (with Ponty Mython)

Apr
16

Ah, April… The sun is finally starting to come out from under the clouds, thus warming our hearts and minds, as well as reminding us that the best season is almost upon us! Summer? No, of course not, it’s the festival season! With April comes Gottwood Festival vinyl imprint Gottwax‘s yearly offering of their carefully selected grooves.

This year we are treated to a bright orange four track EP with grooves coming in from Appleblim, Bonar Bradberry, Ponty Mython and Krywald & Farrer. “Phosphene” by Appleblim eases us in with a lovely slow crawler. Layers upon layers of synth goodness peppered with incredible drum programming, have a listen:

Next up, we have one-half of PBR Streetgang‘s Bonar Bradberry with his dreamy entry – “MOD”. Slow and steady rhythm oozes TRON – futuristic synths intertwine with a slow kick drum and very minute percussion to deliver what I can only describe as that feeling you get just after a good festival. Echoes of a storm.

On the flip, Lithuania’s fast up and coming star Ponty Mython picks the mood up with “Ruddy’s Loop”. Disassembled breaks, a powerful jazzy double bass, clever piano samples as well as an uplifting synth line drive in the “summer is here!” feel. A clever vocal cut about sampling makes the whole effort quite cheeky in the best sense of the word.

Ponty Mython

Ponty Mython

I managed to catch up with Ponty Mython and ask him a few questions:

Mantas: How did the partnership with Gottwax come about?

Ponty Mython: Tom from Gottwax found one of my unreleased tunes in some podcast and asked me to play it. I sent him a 4 track playlist with “Ruddy’s Loop” on it. He liked it so much that we decided to release it.

Mantas: What is the idea behind “Ruddy’s Loop”? Where is the quote in the song from?

Ponty Mython:  I thought a lot about Roni Size’s 90s stuff while making the tune. Wanted to make something with a live bassline, classic breakbeats, but served as a house song. Then I found that quote about sampling in an interview with Roni Size. So it is like an ode to sampling. Every time I play it people ask “what is that?!”, haha. I guess it is a very bright spot in my discography. 🙂

Mantas: Who’s Ruddy?

Ponty Mython: It is just my imagination – it is a guy from the 90s, who just found that fat bassline loop and was excited to do something with it.

Finally, it is Krywald & Farrer‘s turn to close the proceedings with “Innacamo”. The end, however, is tropical and the jubilant African vocals are what keep a smile on my face when the dreaded April showers loom. A guitar sample helps keep things interesting and the bassline mixed with copious amounts of bongos flesh this one out into a truly fun floor filler.

As a whole this is a great entry yet another year by Gottwax and annoyingly is getting me even more excited about Gottwood – most of these guys will be performing there. Why annoyingly? Because it is still April and Gottwood cannot come fast enough.

Available 16th April 2016 – Record Store Day release, record available from selected RSD outlets and Gottwax online store. You can pre-order online via the Gottwood shop.

Dixon & Âme – All Night Long – Albert Hall, Manchester.

Mar
26

Although both Dixon and Kristian Beyer (one-half of Âme) are very well known for their individual work, it’s hard to talk about either of them without mentioning Innervisions. Now in it’s eleventh year the label has grown to become one of the most talked about and innovative institutions in the industry. Since breaking away from Sonar Kollektiv Dixon, Beyer and Frank Wiedmann,­ the other half of Âme,­ have slowly, and not so quietly established the label as a beacon of quality in a saturated digital world. Their simple approach to their work, placing quality above all, has clearly paid off, with Dixon topping the resident advisor DJ chart three years running, and Âme (Beyer) in the top twenty in the last four, they have developed a solid pedigree. So when I discovered the Warehouse Project was bringing them to Manchester, I needed about as much persuasion to get tickets as a dog eyeing up an unattended burger stand.

More recently Innervisions have become known for their ‘Lost in a moment’ parties, a concept which has hosted some of the most unique, and perfectly crafted events on the industry calendar. ‘Lost In A Moment’ is all about finding that sweet spot where everything at a party clicks; location, sound system, music and lighting. Now I know it can’t really be said that The Albert Hall is not different compared to many other venues out there, it’s a four-story gothic chapel after all, but it is in danger of seeming run of the mill to a collective who are used to holding parties on their own island (Osea Island). Nevertheless, the atmosphere is gripping as we enter the main hall. The floor and upper tier are filling up with an excited looking rabble while the Innervisions pair gear up for what is sure to be a night of palpable emotion and energy. The stage is framed by the huge, century-old organ towering high above them, which seems to be pumping out the music with an almost demoniacal efficiency.

As we enter its Dixon who is in control, moulding the mood, his famous brand of melodic, brooding music, softly washing over everyone. With impeccable subtlety, the gentle harmonious tracks coerce our attention away from the bar to the stage. A slick lighting set up pulsates into view, greeting those arriving with lush vibrant orange and blue rays. His his first stint comes to an end and the headphones are casually passed to Kristian, the crowds movement starts to synchronize with the beat, the room submitting to their spinning wizardry. Kristian steps in, providing a new sense of urgency to the starting pace set by Dixon, his masterfully picked techno starts to reverberate round the room to a chorus of whoops and hollers. The crisp punching kicks are layered over and under with haunting dark distortion that gradually increases over the next 45 minutes, building in intensity. We’re 3 hours in and already it’s pretty clear, the German masters have no intention of slowing down, quite happy to leave a good many people around me in a state of hypnotised anticipation.

As the next few hours flowed over us, Beyer and Dixon casually rotate every 45 minutes or so, always with a few words of intent into the others ear. The energy still continues to build, Beyer coming in with the injections of heavier, driving techno, fueling the throng of bouncing heads oscillating up and down, with military precision. Dixon moves in again, black cargo pants tucked into heavy black boots, it looks for a second like an army is drilling in front of its stern unflappable leader. He uses Beyer’s change of pace to weave in his felicitous beats, no doubt bespokely edited to fit exactly where he wants them. He cements the atmosphere with a newly flourished vehemence as track after track of pounding techno permeates everything in the ex-methodist church shelter.

Unable to pinpoint exactly where the time has just gone the night draws towards its ultimatum. In the last hour and a half, we are emotionally dragged between hair-raising hand in the air build ups riddled with feverish anticipation, and colossal mind mincing drops that smack a look of ecstatic perplexion onto everyone’s faces. All except Dixon whose steely demeanour is replaced with a sly, cheeky grin. Gradually the house lights begin to brighten, the organ is bathed in a diffuse deep orange light, the inky shades of night artificially turned to dawn. Dixon, sympathetically switches the pace to an ethereal chorus, chiming around a lingering bassline which slowly fades out, leaving the room to revel in the contented afterglow of what has been, simply a special night.

Sacha Robotti & Kevin Knapp – Stay With It EP

Mar
17

This April sees Sacha Robotti and Kevin Knapp‘s newest EP’s – Stay With It – release on Lost Records. This is not the first time the pair have worked together – 2015 saw their tune “Thump Bumper” get released on the ten-year anniversary compilation of Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird label.

I had a chance to hear “Stay With It” EP and I will not lie – it caught me a little off-guard. I enjoy tech-house quite a bit, however, the sheer amount of releases, most mediocre, means that often I am left with ten songs that sound the same. This is especially evident when it comes to EP’s – usually one original track bundled with a few remixes that all sound the same – there is just so much iteration even I can take. This meant I went into this EP with zero expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised.

It all starts with the title track “Stay With It” – groovy tech-house rhythm peppered with male vocal samples and a bouncy bassline. Sounds all too familiar so far, right? Wrong. Groovy synth stabs, a long quirky lead, manipulation of the bassline you had come to rely on while going through the song, multiple sound effect samples and great breakdowns are what make this track an absolute joy to listen to. The sounds of summer are here!

The same thought process of layering vocals, a constantly building up synth in the background, the now familiar vocal applies to the second tune of the EP – “The Hip”. For the first four minutes, I was entranced by the bouncy rhythm and being told to watch the hip, after that, however, they pull out the rug from under you in the best way possible with a beast of a build up. Once you realise what the hell happened you are back down grooving away to the beat shouting “THE HIP!”.

The two remixes are on point too – Toucán strips “Stay With It” of its tech-house roots and reshapes into a lovely “sun-is-out” kind of house jam. Dale Howard, however, took his remix of “The Hip” in a different direction with a 90s twist on things. Old school synths, mangled up vocals and an absolute beast of a breakdown bring a smirk to my face every time I hear it and I cannot wait to lay this one down at the next Animaux.

Sacha Robotti and Kevin Knapp’s “Stay With It” EP drops sometime in April on Lost Records.

Zutekh Presents: Ricardo Villalobos, at Gorilla

Mar
14

It’s the first time since 2012 that Ricardo Villalobos has graced the damp streets of Manchester with his world-renowned minimal magic. So it’s with heavy anticipation that I approach the entrance to Gorilla and descend into it’s dark steamy underbelly. It’s about half eleven and already the place is being filled with an eager looking crowd. A lively warm up set from Zutekh’s, Daniel ‘Quixano’ Henriques fuels the building energy, as the room steels itself for a night that many have waited too long for . As the floor begins to fill up the atmosphere is one of anxious anticipation, it’s tight but there is space to manoeuvre. Space which is being utilised to the full by the white leather jacket in front of me, who seems intent on teaching anyone who will listen how to slut drop.

Photo by Gemma Parker Photography

In what seemed like no time fellow Chilean DJ Umho, with a face dominated by a wide cheeky grin, takes over the decks. Since playing alongside Villalobos at Cocoon, Amnesia in 2009 Umho has spent the last six years spreading his spellbinding minimal tech sets all over the world, in a style he calls “groove travelling”. He warms up the scene well, moving away from the more hard-hitting tech house, settling the show into a much more subtle, elegant sound, caressing the amassed with warm kicks and euphoric melodies. The set continues to maraud through the night, gathering a steady momentum that charges the room. The strip lighting and well refined sound system – kudos to Zutekh – start to come into their own, delivering an enthralling and engaging wave of atmospheric bliss.

The scene is set perfectly, as a blast of appreciation from the crowd heralds the return of the maestro himself, the four-year wait is quickly forgotten as the humid energy reaches fever pitch. The intimacy of the night takes hold, an international headliner playing to 700 people, as the four to the floor techno kicks whip the crowd into a cluster bomb. Villalobos floats the vocals from C’hantal ‘The Realm’ over the driving melody of ‘Hows Your Evening So Far?’ Josh Wink & Lil Louis, masterfully moulding the crowd into one giant restless wave. Constantly keeping the crowd in limbo between recognition and uncertainty, unable to identify seemingly familiar tracks I was never really certain of what I was hearing.

The effect was completely hypnotic, I found myself craving each change in bassline or key, just desperate to hear what he was going to do next. Momentarily the trance was broken as the crowd respond to Josh Wink’s ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ with outstretched arms and a bellow of appreciation. A spectacle which, over three and a half hours became something a ritual, as Villalobos with a deep, devious grin on his face filled the room with resounding, unrestrained techno, from all corners of the globe.

Photo by Gemma Parker Photography

Heading home, out in the inky early morning dampness, I was more than impressed with everything the night had to offer. Both of the Chilean spinners held nothing back, and looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves as much as everyone else. Zutekh didn’t put a foot wrong either, providing a good sound system and creating a captivating atmosphere, without overfilling the venue. Lets just not leave it another four years ey?

Check out Zutekh’s Facebook page for more events!

David Bowie’s Influence On All Things Electronic

Mar
13

It has now been three months since the passing of music titan David Bowie. Sadly, the world and the industry he helped mould have been forced to move on, and in some respects culture will never recover from his loss. Thankfully though, his indelible mark is still evident everywhere you turn. From the offbeat tinkling of Tiga’s “Bugatti”, to the now omnipresent grooves of Daft Punk, Bowie is lurking (in a non-creepy way) behind every note.

The comparison may not at first seem obvious. Art-pop legend David Bowie an electronic pioneer? And yes, the case could be argued that well before Dave started to dabble, other artists such as Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk had been working as part of a thriving European tradition dating back to the late ‘50s. However, it cannot be argued that during his stay in Berlin in the mid ‘70s, Bowie seamlessly began to intertwine niche electronic vibes into mainstream pop. No example of this is more salient than his 1977 album “Heroes”, which is well worth a listen if you have a spare hour.

“Beauty and the Beast”, the opening track, roars into life in all its spasmodic weirdness, rumbling with electronic synthesisers and Eno masterminded treatments before we can even settle in for the ride. The title might even be a reference to the meeting of two musical worlds (I’ll let you decide which genre is the Beast). The aforementioned “Bugatti” begins to look a little tame in comparison…

More remarkable perhaps is “Fame”. Released a full two years before electronica masterpiece “I Feel Love”, this song is a precursor to the huge Disco sensation which was to come. Wailing across the soniverse like a synth banshee, Bowie threw down the gauntlet, and the music industry really responded.

Finally, the last example needed is the hugely popular “Ashes to Ashes”. Self-consciously ushering in an era of New Wave artists, Bowie swaggers across an unknown planet dressed as a clown (amongst other things) in an unforgettable video illustrating his rightful place at the helm of all things new, strange, and exciting. In short, all things electronic.

Review: Neana – NSWL020

Mar
11

Neana is no new kid to dance music, the youngster has been producing with his notorious crew for a couple of years and despite being a young kid in many people’s eyes, the lad has delivered as a DJ, producer and as a personality.

In November 2015 a documentary was released on him and his crew ‘Gang Fatale’ made up of big names like Trap Door and Ra Ra. Neana discuss their rise to prominence in dance music, the rise of tribe-tech and overall the viewer is astonished by how much a group of teens have achieved in such a short space of time. He started producing at 14 in Kendall in the lake district and eventually developed to create monster tunes like “Yeezus 2” “Hotel Vobez” and “42 Dunjunz”. He mentions how slowly time passes in his isolated village but he’s grateful for his rural upbringing as it influenced his early work radically. Neana recently released NSWL020, his second release on the London label Night Slugs who have signed people such as L-Vis 1990, Bok Bok and Jam City.

NSWL020 is a two-track EP with Neana’s own Nightshade and his remix of Bok Bok’s less well-known tune Foxtrot. Nightshade opens up as a relatively lo-fi and subtle tune with some really nice guitar sampling with some atmospheric texturing. The cover, a few deck chairs on a port by the sea is a great image which nicely symbolizes the vibes of the release, two tracks heavily influenced by central European techno and house with certain holiday-esque Italian or Spanish tones. The tune then at around 1:30 plunges into an absolutely filthy bass line. With a typically fast pace time signature and a tribal-esque bass line, this is nothing out of the ordinary for a Night Slugs release.

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After listening to Neana’s insane boiler room set god knows how many times, I realize this would not be out-of-place in one of his typically hard-hitting sets. This tune does lack the poppy, R&B and sometimes satirical sampling that we are used to hearing from Neana. The occasional Kanye line such as “STRAIGHT OUT THE SALON” or Three Six Mafia’s dirty vocal sample is chucked into his sets but this release has reduced tribe-tech to its roots: atmospheric, dark and almost atlantic backing with hard-hitting basslines and gorgeous snares. Neana’s Foxtrot remix deserves equally as much praise, it packs the bassey punch that Foxtrot so proudly delivers and in my opinion improves the original drums as well as having more interesting production. Overall a really impressive take on the genre from Neana and as the 12” sold out in a couple of days in late February I look forward to hearing more of him in the scene.

I’ve played Nightshade at a small block party and on a big sound system it sounds absolutely incredible, I prefer Nightshade due to its more creative sampling and original sound however for a remix Foxtrot is a highly impressive tune. Foxtrot was featured as a Boiler Room debut which came to my surprise, however after seeing Shamos’s tune “Ode to Lynch” and Commodo’s remix of Hi5Ghost’s “Nook Shot” I felt Boiler Room would deliver the goods for 2016, the year of the bleep. Neana has definitely made a name for himself over the past few months and this release has proved his competence as a producer which I am happy to see. Let’s hope Night Slugs deliver the goods on their next release, no doubt it will be a banger.

Meet “Thing” – Lithuania’s Klock [Naktiniai Paukščiai]

Mar
10

Thing (Alex Krell) has been making absolutely massive waves in the Lithuanian techno scene. Alex listened to lots of hip-hop and rap while growing up but his passion for Techno came from his dad who owned and played him records throughout the 90’s. Currently he is one of the hosts to ZIP FM’s (national radio) show – “Naktiniai Paukščiai“, is finishing up his newest EP and is heading to Belfast on April 9th among countless local performances with local and foreign talent alongside him.

Mantas: Hi Alex – what are you up to these days?

Alex: Hey! Right now I’m finishing my new EP which should be released next month, so I’m putting final touches on it.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Alex: Inspirations…Wow, there are a lot of them! Maybe I will be banal at this point but Berlin and it’s Berghain music and residents inspire me the most. I couldn’t name only ONE of them… But if there’s anyone I would aspire to be as – it’s Ben Klock. I mean he is more than 40 years old and he tours like a 20 year-old dude. Despite that his production and dj sets are just amazing. 🙂 I produced my EP just after listening to his Essential Mix so this tells how much he inspires me.

Mantas: Why ‘Thing’?

Alex: Oh wow, that`s a funny one! We have to go back to 2012, when I was studying  in Belgium via the ERASMUS programme and I started my solo career as Thing. I’ve made a couple of tracks and one label offered me to release it, so I had to think of a stage name that is easy, sounds good and is easy to remember… There was Adam`s Family TV show on in the background and I heard “THING!” there. I wrote it down, it looked cool and I decided to keep it.

Mantas: Lithuania and Eastern Europe are not generally well-known in the techno scene. Could you tell us why – or what steps are you taking to amend that?

Alex: I don’t know what the situation in Latvia and Estonia is, but Lithuania? I would deny that! We had Ø [Phase], Function, Ben Klock, Tadeo, Kobosil, Par Grindvik, Gary Beck, Regal, Deadbass, Benjamin Damage and many others since summer of 2015 till now, so I think techno is “on its wave” now and everybody’s loving it. Many thanks to such promoters as HOOKED:ON, Minimal.lt, ResoluteDAI and my colleagues from Naktiniai Paukščiai (Nocturnal Birds) for making this happen in our country

If I look to this question as a producer – yes, there are many great producers that make good music, but it’s very hard to release your own productions on big labels when you don’t have “friends” there. If labels paid more attention to production from talented people as opposed to their “friends” we would have been taken techno market in Europe, haha! Anyway, I’m trying to produce as much quality music as I can and I often send it to techno “big-heads” on SoundCloud and sometimes they give me feedback, they download it and etc., so maybe I would say little step by step moves and we`ll make it. 🙂

Mantas: Future plans?

Alex: I have some projects started for my future EPs, I even have some tracks for my 1st album but an album is a lot like wine: the more it gets saved in the basement – the more delicious and expensive it gets. It’s the same in music industry. 🙂 I also have a project for my live show, but it needs time and more hardware to make it a stunning one, so we’ll see about that.
Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Alex: Oh my. I have a radio show with my colleagues Roads and Pakas called Naktiniai Paukščiai so I played b2b sets with them only once and both sets for me ended with drinks spilled on the CDJs. Thank God my colleagues are playing with vinyl – they saved my ass from silence. 🙂

Mantas: Thanks Alex!