[Music & Interview]: Magna Pia

 

Music & Interview
Magna Pia

 

Introduction:
Magna Pia … one half of Cassegrain

 

Interview:

hello Hüseyin. Nice to have you for our “Music & Interview” series. As always I would like to start from the very beginning and hear something about where you were born and raised. And how your childhood/ youth was. When did you discover music as an important part of your life? What kind of music did you listen to at that time?

Hi there. Thanks for the invite. I was born and raised in Istanbul and lived there until I was 20. My music life started when I was 7 years old, learning to play the piano at the conservatory. From that age, I was more or less raised like a racing horse, years and years practicing the piano everyday for hours and having all that pressure. Apart from that, I was really into reading books from a very early age. I had to deal with a big surgery when I was a little kid so I was not really able to do a lot of sports for years. But there was not much time for that anyway.

I always loved the music but mostly hated to practice the piano. So I started writing music pieces on the paper when I was 13 and this led me eventually to study composition in Istanbul and later on in Salzburg, Austria.

Apart from that, there was a lot of sun, sea, amazing food and lots of love from family and friends and I happened to grow up in a very open minded environment. Because I was playing the piano, I was always into the classical music. But I had quite a journey between different genres. around 1989, I was 11 years old and really into the acid house. I used to find find some mix tapes and dance to them and wear neon coloured tights and t-shirts with smileys on it. Between acid house and techno, I’ve been listening, playing and producing metal, jazz, free jazz, Uyghur folk music, IDM, break core and other experimental music.

 

Magna Pia 1
(Magna Pia, promo pic)

 
You’re born in Istanbul. Lately DJs/artists from Turkey popped up but also the country gets discovered by DJs from Germany, UK etc. Are you still connected with the Turkish scene there? How would you describe it? What’s different to Berlin, where do you live now?
I left Istanbul in 1999. In the 90s, there was a small but strong scene for techno music as I can remember as a kid. After that, it completely disappeared from the scene until a few years ago. Now there is a new techno scene growing there. More and more artists have been invited every week until the pandemic started and there are many local artists who are very talented.

I do feel somehow connected to the scene as an outsider. I’m in contact with many people there and try to go to Istanbul and play twice a year. Although there’s a big potential for a growth, there are two massive problems:

1)
The first problem is that the economy and the currency is not stabilised and to book a foreign artist is a very risky thing to do, the government policy towards the club scene (opening hours, police raids etc.) doesn’t make the situation easier either. It is very difficult to make any dance event without any financial sponsorship and this mostly kills the underground vibes very easily.

2)
The second problem is that I find the local artists and promoters do not support each other enough. There is a big competition between people. A lot of young people in the scene try to reach to the top too quickly and there’s also a certain condescending attitude towards the artists who live there, a foreign artist is always more valued than a local one. It happened even to me a several times that I received ridiculous offers and behaviours, just because my name is Turkish although I’ve been away for 22 years and built my career completely somewhere else.

 


(full stream of “Veering” by Rhyw, the other half of Cassegrain )

You’re part of the duo Cassegrain. How do you work with Alex creating new Cassegrain music and how do you work on solo stuff? What are the differences? Which equipment do you use in the studio? You also collaborated with different artists e.g. Tin Man more frequently. How does this differ from your solo and duo activities?
We have a studio together and all the Cassegrain tracks are done when we’re both in the studio at the same time. Basically for me there’s no difference but connecting with other creative personalities and find the spots where we’re all happy with. I don’t really follow a different process of making music. The difference comes out through different artists collaborating together.

Since the pandemic started, I moved back to my home studio and unfortunately we didn’t get to do much music together because of the isolation. We worked a lot on our solo projects though and right now we’re trying to figure out a way we could keep making music on distance.

 


(full stream of Cassegrain’s remix of Border One’s “Toolbell” taken from ESCAPISM006)

 
Beside Cassegrain you use the moniker Magna Pia for your solo stuff with releases on Counterchange Recordings, Soma, Arcing Seas and Feral Note. Especially the stuff on Feral is very special and different. More classical music. Some electro-acoustic stuff. You also presented it with a piano session. Could you explain a little what’s idea behind your solo act in general? How does it happen to make this special stuff for Feral? What’s the idea behind this special project and how did you develop it? In the former days many artists used different aliases if they wanted to present different styles. Is it easier to have all the stuff under one name or does it make sense to split it?
Magna Pia has been so far basically a techno project, with a room for sound design, experimenting, ambience and composition. I really want my music to be driving, trippy and story telling though. It doesn’t matter if someone listens to it on the dance floor, on the bed or in the nature, it needs to have a certain drive. I aim to have a specific aesthetic in the music no matter what style or genre it is. So I don’t see my album Daiauna on Feral Note much more different than my techno tracks. Also I generally think that picking a new alias for every different genre can be really exhausting.

Of course the album is a special one. Pretty much two years ago, I was going through a life changing period and at the same time, I had a residency at Feral Note Studio for two weeks and had a chance to completely isolate myself during that time and tried to stay honest and personal. The only limitation I had was to replace drum machine with a piano. All output I had at the end of the 2 weeks period became the album.

My only live gig since the pandemic started this year was a seated concert at the “Arch” Events by Ed Davenport at Prince Charles Berlin last summer. It was a limited covid safe seated event where all the artists were playing ambient sets where the audience was not allowed to dance. I had two questions in my head: “How can I make people dance inside their bodies when they’re not allowed to dance freely?” and “how much sensitivity can a one hour electronic music set can handle?”. I had only five days to create a whole set from the scratch and I worked day and night. At the end it was some material of melodic yet detuned synth lines and a few slowed down IDM and Traditional Central Asian Music influenced patterns on a few hardware synths and a few effect pedals. I had the complete intention of playing my gear just like in the same way I would play the piano and create some kind of animistic rite in the space. I think at the end, it was one of the best gigs I ever had in my life.

 


(full stream of Magna Pia’s “Jericho” taken from ARCH001)

Being well-known for your techno and now for this more acoustic stuff the next question has to be asked… what are influences? Please name 10 tracks/records that are important for you and explain why.
I just would like to give 10 tracks which were really important for me while I was recording Daiauna, 10 out of 100. I don’t think any of those need any explanation to be honest:

01. Decks Dark by Radiohead
02. Nisagul by Sanubar Tursun
03. Things Behind The Sun by Nick Drake
04. Parallel Suns by Autechre
05. Liberian Girl by Michael Jackson
06. True Love Waits by Radiohead
07. Keyed Out by Tim Hecker
08. Lover, You Should’Ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley
09. French Suite No.2 Bwv 813 – Allemande by J. S. Bach
10. Das Lied Von Der Erde – Der Abschied by Gustav Mahler

 


(stream of “French Suite No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 813 – Allemande” composed byJ.S. Bach, interpreted by Maria João Pires)

 
You run the label Arcing Seas together with Cassegrain partner Alex (also known as Rhyw). What is your label philosophy? Do you have a special (visual) idea of it? What kind of music do you want to present there? Is it only for your own output or will you sign other artists too? How do you decide which music you have on it and which on other labels? What are the main issues/struggles if you run a label nowadays?
Basically at some point we realised that it was about the time we have our own label. At the beginning it was only for the Cassegrain, Rhyw and Magna Pia output. Later on we had some curation ideas and started the Collabs series. In the pandemic time, we released a massive digital compilation “in_vurt” with the 28 artists including us to give a bit of a support to our most beloved club VURT in Seoul, South Korea.

Alex is the one who’s behind the special visual idea of the label and he’s very precise about it. There is no specific way of deciding which track goes to which label. It just happens organically. I also don’t think that we have more or less issues than any other label.

 


(previews of Magna Pia’s “ARCS-05”)

As mentioned above you played a piano concert but also do live and DJ sets with Alex. What means touring/being on stage/djing in other cities for you? What is important? What creates a good night?
I also play techno dj and live sets on my own as Magna Pia, not only as Cassegrain. I’ve been on the stage since I was 7 years old and it is the place where I can completely let myself go and feel comfortable. Therefore the best moment of touring is to be on the stage, second would be seeing different countries and catch some untypical characteristics of every culture through the night life, third would be the food you get to eat.

I stopped playing piano concerts years ago and just started doing it again last year. I realized the biggest difference between a club gig and a piano concert for me is that I need to embrace the crowd at a club completely and I need to close myself into my own world at a piano concert.

A good night is when the crowd and artist really connect with each other in the right space with the right sound system.

 

(Magna Pia playing piano)

We already mentioned your several artist names & label name. Could you please give us an explanation for each? How did you come up with them? What do they mean? What are your favourite spots? Any anecdotes?There is a new discussion about the travel trips of DJs and artists regarding the impact on the climate. What do you think? Will it have consequences in the near future for you and your colleagues?
Well Cassegrain is quite simple and we came up with it really quick back then. It comes from the telescope type. And Arcing Seas is just an anagram of Cassegrain. I really can’t tell you what Magna Pia means. The only thing I can say is that it is also an anagram.

I don’t really have favourite spots to play, sometimes you have an amazing night at a certain venue and the year after it can be totally not the same when you get back there. But I can definitely say Vurt, Berghain and Bassiani were never a let down. To be honest, there’s really no place that I would say that I don’t enjoy playing music. Basically wherever I go in the world, I find the like minded people who come to my gigs, with subtle differences. And I would say, this is the best part of touring. Meeting the like minded people.

 

Magna Pia 2
(Magna Pia, promo pic)

 
Do you also have another profession or something else you do to have your daily income? Which hobbies/interests do you have beside music? Any activities you do in spare time to relax and get new inspiration and energy so you can be creative?
I work as a composer, mostly working in collaboration with theatre, dance and visual artists. Since the pandemic started, I haven’t been able to do any of that or playing any gigs. Because of the pandemic, I work now as a private music theory teacher for electronic music producers who like to know more about music theory.

I have many hobbies and interests. I constantly try to learn something new. My main interests are all kinds of arts, history, languages, coffee beans, plants, martial arts, cooking, etc…

 


(Hüseyin giving some lessions in producing during the covid pandemic)

 
Already at the end of our small interview. So we would like to ask you about your future plans. What’s coming next? Any ideas which you want to realize?
Thank you very much. Right now I’m working on my second solo album and trying to be finished within a month. Apart from that, I’m just trying to keep fit and healthy in my mind and my body like anyone else. It is very hard to cope with the situation as an artist but I’m trying to stay positive and calm.
 

Recommendations:
Magna Pia’s “Tocharian EP” on Soma Records]
Magna Pia’s “Narcissist EP” on Soma Records]
Magna Pia’s “Eostre EP” on Soma Records]
Magna Pia’s “Daiauna” on Feral Note
Magna Pia’s “Incantations” on Counterchange Recordings
compilation “Life On Small Planets” w/ Magna Pia on Arch
compilation “BRBL004” w/ Magna Pia on Brothers Black

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Magna Pia – NovaFuture Intro
02. Eduardo Dela Calle – Aynanma
03. Pris – Flagrant Foul (Ruhig Remix)
04. YANT – Contained In A Vein
05. Magna Pia – Kurgan
06. Lady Starlight & Rodhad – 200616
07. Yan Cook – Quicksand
08. The Lady Machine – Resilience
09. ANEW – Airborne (Tensal Remix)
10. Kill Reff – Subbaculta
11. Setaoc Mass – Complete To None- Clergy
12. Aiken – Second Law (Doug Cooney Remix)
13. Oscar Mulero – Gradiente De Voltaje
14. Magna Pia – The Beauty Of Loulan
15. Donato Dozzy – Tao
16. Rune Bagge – How Would It Be
17. Kosei Fukada – Airen
18. Magna Pia- Jericho

 

Booking:
Source Artists for Magna Pia & Cassegrain

 

Websites:
Magna Pia
Cassegrain

 

[Music & Interview]: Rosa Anschütz

 

Music & Interview
Rosa Anschütz

 

Introduction:
Rosa Anschütz is a transmedia artist, composer and vocalist based between Vienna and Berlin.

 

Interview:

Hi Rosa. Cool to have you for this “Music & Interview” feature, originally planned in April but Corona changed everything. …Nevertheless it is a shame that us synth lovers from NovaFuture didn’t know about you until we discovered the remix Berghain resident and Ostgut Ton artist Kobosil made for your track “Rigid”. We will talk about it later, let’s start with the very beginning: your youth and childhood. So please tell us where you were born and raised and how your childhood was.

Hello Jürgen !
So, I was born in Berlin. Half of my childhood i grew up in the suburbs, countryside of Strausberg. Our family lived very absorbed in a house at a lake. I got influenced very early from all sorts of art sectors, because of my parents and their friends that came visiting us. My childhood was very bond to the place, being in nature, building things in the workshops and playing piano and singing mainly. In the age of 12 we moved to West Berlin. I continued playing a lot of instruments and also started quite early to discover the post punk and bit later techno scene myself.
 

Rosa Anschuetz 1
(Rosa Anschütz, promo pic by Sebastian Köck)

 
“Rigid” is your debut EP on Quiet Love Records released last year. How did you start with producing in general? Which equipment did you use when you started with producing and which for the EP? What was your process/how was the production process? Did you write the lyrics before you have the sounds etc?
I met Jan Wagner through Max Kobosil in 2016, we produced the EP together. Before I met Jan (Wagner), I was teaching myself everything. I took lessons in classic instruments, but I am not a “to be taught person”, I prefer intuition. When having a freedom, I know what I want. I started with Garage Band and then went on to Ableton. Including different instruments from time to time, modular synths, guitar, bass, traverse flute. I played trumpet for some years.. Maybe that is next to come.
 

Rosa Anschuetz 1
(Rosa Anschütz, promo pic by Clara Berger)

 
You signed to Quiet Love Records who say they are based in Zurich, London, Istanbul or Berlin at different times – always depending where they are. How did you get in contact with them and got your music signed? Do you believe labels are still important for artists – you can also release your music totally independent via bandcamp and distribution services? Why did you sign with Quiet Love Records?
I met the label manager through Jan (Wagner), and was excited for someone to release my music the first time. I think you shouldn’t hesitate to release music yourself via the internet, but I believe that at one point, it’s somewhat healthy to have a small team behind you, that supports the journey. From early on I uploaded my music on myspace and later Soundcloud. Get myself heard by others is what I wanted.
 


(full stream of Rosa Anschütz’ “Watch Me Disappear”)

 
As mentioned earlier we discovered your music when Berghain resident Kobosil released his stomping remix of your track “Rigid” on vinyl. How did it come to this release? Did you know the music of Kobosil before? I guess when you got the attention of people like us who love synth music at that time there were more and it became a big push for you /your career, right? Did it change something for you?
Sure the remix was a push for my career and I am also very thankful to Max, that he is supporting me that much. I knew his music before, because I had a period in my teenage years, going to Berghain quiet often;)
 


(full stream of Rosa Anschütz’ “Rigid (Kobosil 44 Rush Mix)”, released on R-Label Group)

 
After the release of the remix you also played at Berghain’s Säule for a R-Label party on a Thursday. I remember that the queue was of the same length like on a Berghain Klubnacht on Saturday. How was this night for you? Please also tell us something about your (general) technical setup for live performances and how you prepare such events like mentioned. What are the most intense or strangest experiences during your live touring?
I was very excited to play at Säule, because I haven’t been inside the club for many years. Still there are a lot of memories connected with it and it was crazy to return and sing into the clubs darkness.

Before a show I get the usual nervousness, go though the tracks in my head, sometimes read a book, but prefer to not have any social contact. Same is after a concert, I need some minutes to calm down. I reduce my sets very much on the voice.

When I started playing live, I was taking all of my equipment with me. It got me super busy and I wasn’t satisfied with performing, because most importantly is the voice.

Säule was intense, my last show in Vienna was also very intense. The location was very special, open air, I was playing from a small hill and the sun was setting slowly while the show. It was the first concert with a larger audience after quarantine and such a relief. There is no strange experience for me with shows, people are strange.

 

Rosa Anschütz 3
(poster of the R-Label night at Berghain’s Säule with Rosa Anschütz)

 
Listening to your EP and the singles “Soft Resource” & “Opacity” remind us of names like Zola Jesus, Austra but also 80ies stuff come to our mind. What are your favourite artists and records that you still like, inspire you and are important for you? Please name 10 of them and explain why they are.
I remember going to the Atonal festival the first time with 15, which had a big influence on music for me. I saw Grischa Lichtenberger but also Raime, went further on to Blackest Ever Black Label, further to a showcase at Urban Spree. Urban Spree continued to be a usual club I was going. I went to a lot of concerts and parties, these experiences there and also at Berghain were important for me. Earlier on I was influenced by Portishead, Tricky, The Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees. I enjoyed She Past Away, Swans, Black rebel Motorcycle Club. Hard to name the influences because I am an almost all style listener, but not a collector of Vinyls.

I enjoy when I discover a good album, because it uncovers a body of work, that can be vey impressing. I do search for new music but I am neither in scenes nor genres.

 


(stream of Swans’ “It’s Coming It’s Real”, Mute 2019)

 
On facebook you are described as a transmedia artist. Could you please explain and describe what you do in addition to music production?
Transmedia means mixing all kinds of media or working in various fields. My work is equipped with a lot of visuality, which comes from photographing or videographing. From the artworks of my covers to the music videos that are out. Through my studies in Vienna I am also working on sound installations or lecture performances.
 


(video of Rosa Anschütz’ “Rigid”, Quiet Love Records 2019)

 
Especially in these hard times when touring is not possible and also selling records is difficult, many smaller artists have to look for another income – eg. working in jobs that they studied for or had a professional education for. Did you study or have an education? Do you work these days? To stay mentally healthy it is also good to have some hobbies. Do you have anything apart from music? What are you interested in?
I am still studying transmedia arts in Vienna and will finish next year. I am quite busy on projects around the main music one. At the moment I am preparing a position for an artfair called „Parallel“ in Vienna. It’s a translation of my album and will function as a sculpture and audio installation teasing bits of the record. Besides that I am writing music for a theater play at the „Schauspielhaus“ Vienna. And so much more ! I have routines, do sports and love to eat ice cream at Schwedenplatz in Vienna and read or write texts.
 

Rosa Anschuetz 5
(Rosa Anschütz, promo pic)

 
Actually we have another good reason for doing this interview. You will release your debut album on Quiet Love Records in November. What were the inspirations for it? With which topics are you dealing on it? As we know Jan Wagner, another amazing artist on Quiet Love, helped you with the production. Could you please describe the process of producing with him and in general? Was the process different from the one making the EP?

The title of the album is „Votive“.

Votives are used as a religious term for offerings, that please a god or goddess. For each track of the album I formed a clay sculpture. The album refers to rituals. Collecting texts, writing music, shaping electric voltages, it’s all a process. I was singing in choirs, make use of reverb, there are many acoustic references to religious aspects. I remain an agnostic.

The lyrics are from daily notes, material of observation, learning and listening produced with Jan Wagner in Berlin. Working with Jan is a virtual exchange between Vienna and Berlin.

When I have new recordings , I send them to him, he is doing a first order and then I am coming to the studio. We recorded quite a lot this year already.

 

Rosa Anschuetz and Jan Wagner
(Rosa Anschütz & Jan Wagner, facebook pic)

 
Yes we are already at the end of our short interview. The last question is always about the future plans. We know that it is not easy to see what is coming next nowadays but are there any plans you already have in mind?
I want to finish my studies in Vienna, get more independent with my art. Go to Japan for some time and just learn more and more about everything. I have plans.
 

Recommendations:
Rosa Anschütz’ album “Votive” on Quiet Love Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “Morph Me” on Quiet Love Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “Out Of True” on Quiet Love Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “Diopter (Hior Remix)” on Ki Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “Opacity” on Quiet Love Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “Soft Resource” on Quiet Love Records
Rosa Anschütz’ “RR4” on R-Label Group
Rosa Anschütz’ “Rigid EP” on Quiet Love Records
single “Kapitel 30” by Jan Wagner featuring Rosa Anschütz on Quiet Love
Jan Wagner’s album “Kapitel” on Quiet Love Records
Jan Wagner’s album “Nummern” on Quiet Love Records

 

Exclusive Live Set:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Live Set:
it’s a live set

 

Websites:
Rosa Anschütz

 

[Music & Interview]: Shaleen


(Artwork based on a photo by Jan Croonenbrock)

 

Music & Interview
Shaleen

 

Introduction:
Shaleen … founder of Surd party series and member of the Seelen crew

 

Interview:

Hi Shaleen. Great to have you for our little “Music & Interview” series. I was just thinking about the moment when we met first but (as usual) I cannot remember. Do you know it? Was it at a Seelen event? Not sure but let’s start at the very beginning and with little introduction. Where were you born and grow up? How was your childhood? When did you realize your passion for music? What kind of music did you like at that time / when being a teenager?
Hey Jürgen, thanks for having me! To be honest, I can’t remember either. Probably it was one of our Seelen-nights or maybe at Berghain. I was born in Bielefeld, but up from then I moved a lot. My father’s still living in that area, so it always feels like home when I’m back there. Basically, I have always liked music and my passion for it awakened already when I was pretty young. But when I was 15 I discovered electronic music and fell in love with it immediately.
 

Shaleen 1
(Shaleen, promo pic 2020)

 
In Essen you organize(d) the party series SURD. Please tell us something about it. When did you start it? What is/was your concept? What‘s the idea behind it? Anyone else involved?

The Surd event series started in 2016. The concept is based on the combination of art and music on the one hand and on the embodiment of our fundamental cornerstones – open mindedness, equality, LGBTG support, freedom to self- realization and the unity by our devotion to techno – on the other hand. We put a lot of effort into the whole set-up design with our art and video installations, to create a special kind of atmosphere and make it an entire SURD experience. Furthermore we love to work with photography, videography (like in case of our trailer clips) and got also some great support by our graphic designer Pixelgesicht, who creates gorgeous artworks for us.

There’s actually a whole collective of artist involved into SURD. The resident DJ’s / Producers next to me are Damiano (Cosima), Miro (Miro Von Berlin), Sammy (Shoener), Miran (Miran N.) and Rob (Dj Hyperdrive).

Courtney Calevra – our lyrical mouthpiece and creative talent – is part of the project from the very beginning. She writes all of our texts and creates art video installations for each event. I really need to say, how grateful I am for having such a great crew. The next step we’re working on currently is our upcoming label – which is really exciting to me.

 

Surd 1
(Surd poster for party in June 2019)

 
Some time ago you moved to Berlin. What was your reason for doing it? What are the differences to your hometown? Do you feel comfortable in such a big & city? How do you earn your money? What are the things you like to do (that are not directly connected with music)?
Like I said before, I was always moving a lot. I always had a special connection to Berlin and I’m totally in love with big city vibes, especially since I have lived abroad. Luckily I was able to earn some money by doing what I love most – sharing music, djing and creating events. Besides I was working a lot in promotion and also went to university.
 

Shaleen 2
(Shaleen, promo pic 2020)

 
I already mentioned Seelen. You’re the first female member. When was your first contact with the guys? How did it happen? How do you work together? How do you feel?
I couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing label and I felt right away very welcomed so as if it was meant to be like this – it just matched. The guys became my closest friends and I couldn’t have imagined a better start into this chapter of my life. We’ve got always a great time while we are working together, because we’re understanding each other perfectly. My first contact to Jan (JANEIN) was when he was playing at SURD a few years ago. Shortly afterwards we went together with Nik (Narcisss) to Berghain, where we had a lot of fun. We stayed in touch and after I had showed Jan a few tracks of mine, which he seemed to like, he invited me to be part of their team. Big shouts to my brother Jan who believed in my right from the beginning and gave me this wonderful opportunity.

 

Seelen
(Seelen Records logo)

 
One reason for this interview is your upcoming EP on Seelen. Please tell us something about the production. When did you start producing in general and when did you start the work on this EP? What are your inspirations and intentions? What equipment do you use? What’s the way you work on a track?
I started producing some years ago and basically I would say, that I do find a lot of inspiration on a personal and emotional level as well as in circumstances and situation that concern me. In case of ‘Deconstruction‘ it was the first time that I started producing a track and kind of directly finished it. Usually I’m working on a production over and over again, because I’m to picky with myself and do always think that it’s kind of unfinished, so that I try to rework it endlessly. Meanwhile I have learned that it’s not always about perfection, but about a learning progress. I have a Drumstation (Novation), a 909 (Roland) an Arp Odyssee (Korg), a Model D (Behringer) and some Effect Pedals at my home, but Damiano, Miro and me are building our new Studio at Arttraktiv currently, which is really great. My good friend Sibel (Yakoyako), who is working at Schneidersladen will get us some cool Modular as well.
 


(snippets of Shaleen’s upcoming EP “Consolidation” on Seelen Records)

 
Before this EP you made a remix for label mate Narciss. Are there differences in working on own stuff and on editing stuff of someone else? Which ones? Did you talk with Nicolas (Narciss) about it during the remix process or just after you had a final version?

It was a really interesting experience for me to do this Remix. Since it was my first remix, I was a bit insecure about it in the meantime, but in the end I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to proceed my learning progress in that way. Thanks to Nik for believing that much in me and giving me the opportunity to do that. I had a final version which I showed him once, when we were at the studio.
 


(full stream of Shaleen’s remix of Narciss’ “Brennpunkt”, SEELEN006)

 
You travel through Germany with the Seelen family – just mentioning the incredible Institut Fuer Zukunft in Leipzig or Berghain’s Säule. How does it feel to play at famous places like these where you (and many of our readers) like to dance. What are strangest experiences? What do you like and what do you hate about touring?
To me it felt like a dream come true, because this was exactly what I always wanted and what I was working for. So I feel really gifted that this really happened to me and it doesn’t feel strange at all. In general I was just happy to be there and to make this kind of experience, while having my friends and the whole crowed all around me. It was always heavily energizing and the atmosphere empowered me to put my feelings into the music I was playing.
 

Shaleen 3
(Shaleen, promo pic 2020 by Jan Croonenbrock)

 
We mentioned that you’re the first female member of Seelen. There is also strong discussion about including more female DJs and artists, about more diversity in the line-ups. What do you think about this discussion? Should promoters create a line-up of 50/50? Do you feel there are disadvantages because you’re a female DJ? Is it difficult to work in a “collective” which mostly consists of male artists?
Fortunately, I didn’t have to make a lot of negativ experiences, the boys at Seelen for example immediately welcomed me and treated me as an equal member. But as a women, I am of course aware that it doesn’t always work out that way and so I do support equal opportunities naturally. Women have proved already that they belong behind the decks and they should be treated like this. Basically, I believe that artists should be judged by their talent and ability and not by their gender, but yeah there could be more mixed line ups out there. No one should be ever discriminated and art should always stay free.
 
After this political issue let’s get back to music. Please tell us something about some of your favourite records/tracks. Which 10 records/tracks you love and why?

01. Trance Wax 5 (NTBR Edit) by Trance Wax

02. Ehre by Parallx feat. Chris Tnebris

03. Hello Planet Earth by Ellen Alien

04. Kobald M by JANEIN

05. Picture Perfect Smile by Cosma

06. Street Smarts by Narcisss

07. Steady Raving by WAST

08. Sutton Hoo Artefacts by Mayeul & JKS

09. Ruined by Somewhen

10. Move In Circles Walk On Lines by Hector Oaks

 


(stream of “Ruined” by Somewhen)

 
There are hard times for artists, labels and clubs due to the corona virus and the lockdown. But nevertheless we would like to ask you about your future plans at the end of our small interview. What’s coming next? Records? Remixes? Already new gigs planned for the end of the year/next year?

Currently I’m working a lot on my productions, but of course I’m also thrilled for everything that’s coming up next. Everything that had to be canceled is just postponed and I really can’t wait for things to move on. As well as I’m looking forward to share all of it with you by time.
 

Recommendations:
all releases on Seelen Records

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Verschwender – Face of Silent
02. Narcissss – Vandale und Liebe
03. Fiedel – Troll Bait
04. Escape To Mars – How Far Is It To Nowhere
05. Arnaud Le Texier – Decryptage
06. JANEIN – Alien Speak To Me
07. Verschwender – Luzifers Mob
08. Inhalt der Nacht – Trieb
09. Shaleen – Deconstruction
10. JANEIN – Apollo
11. Narcissss – Move Your Body
12. Stigmatique – Virus
13. Shaleen – Consolidation (Cadency’s Make Them Punk Remix)

 

Booking:
Seelen Booking for Shaleen

 

Websites:
Shaleen
Surd
Seelen Records

 

[Music & Interview]: Phara

 

Music & Interview
Phara

 

Introduction:
Belgium’s Phara

 

Interview:

hello Robin. nice to have you for our small interview which is accompanied with an exclusive mix. Let‘s start with your childhood and youth. Where were you born and grew up? When did you get in touch with music the first time? What kind of music did you enjoy being a teenage boy? When did you discover techno?

I grew up in a very small village on the outskirts of Brussels. I was literally surrounded by cows, fields and had one bus a day to go to the nearest city. That was until I hit the age of 15 and both my grandfathers died in the same summer. My parents decided to move near Aalst in order to take care of their mothers who were left all by themselves. You could say I spent the bigger part of my adolescent years in Aalst. I had an amazing and careless youth on which I reflect in a melancholic way. Music has always been a pretty big part of my life. I remember my dad playing the piano for me and my sister when we were kids. He also owned a collection of “strange” synthesizer music which he played during weekends. I didn’t get that kind of music back then and laughed at him. Nowadays the bigger part of this collection is at my place. At the age of about 7 years old I started to take music theory classes and learned how to play xylophone, marimba, timpani, drums and so on for the following 8 years. It was my dream to become a professional percussionist. All of this determined my taste in music in a very wide variety, but it would be a shame not to mention the tons of skate videos I watched when I was a teenager. I got to know the best rock, metal, rnb, hip hop, electronic music etc. through those videos. From The Strokes to Jedi Mind tricks, my 250MB mp3 was something else. My interest for techno is something that evolved along my interest for electronic music in general. Later on I noticed there are a lot of drummers/percussionists who got into techno and it makes kind of sense because you basically do the same thing on another level. By experimenting with rhythms, sounds and textures you create a certain kind of groove and this why I love the genre so much.
 

Phara 1
(promo pic of Phara)

 
Your career started with the release of “Next Of Kin” on Black Sun Records in 2016, an album. Usually young artists have to release several EPs before they find a label that “risks” an album release. How came it up to this? Did you try to release EPs before it or was it your wish to start with the album? How did you get in touch with the label? Afterwards you also released EPs e.g. on labels like Planet Rhythm, Stockholm Ltd. and Sonntag Morgen. Is your process for producing an album different from the one for EPs? How does it look like? With which elements do you start the production and what are your inspirations?
I didn’t approach it as an album really, so I consider it more like a kind of “double EP” personally. It’s a compilation of my first steps into making techno. Literally the first techno tracks I ever made using the old faithful Korg Electribe EMX-1 and a MicroKorg alongside Ableton. I sent my demo tracks to a handful of labels including Black Sun and got immediate response, resulting in “the album”. I was super excited because Black Sun is a label that kickstarted a lot of careers (e.g. Sunil Sharpe, Blawan, AnD,…) and it matched my envision for what I had in mind with “Phara”. The labelmanager and head of Ready Made Distribution, Tony, who is pretty known in the Berlin scene appeared to be a very nice guy and gave me the opportunity to get an unknown person’s music out in the form of “an album”. I didn’t know, but later on he told me that Silent Servant took care of the artwork which was the icing on the cake.
 

(snippets of “Next Of Kin”, BSRLP01)

 
Apropos productions. You just delivered a remix for Border One‘s EP on Escapism. Do you enjoy working on stuff initially created by someone else? How do you start with remixing? Is/are there any artist/s you would like to make a remix for? Any specific things about the one for BO?
Remixing is one of the hardest things to do for me, that’s why I don’t remix everything. I have to hear in which direction my remix would be going when listening to it from the first time. The main goal is to have fun in the studio and not to force out a “product” that frustrated you most of the time. I generally work a lot longer on a remix than I do on my “own tracks”. I’ve always loved Steven’s productions and even collaborated with him in the past for Rapid Eye Movement so I knew chances were pretty high I was going to like it.
 

(full stream of Border One’s “Restive” remixed by Phara, ESCAPISM006)

 
You perform under the moniker Phara. What does it mean? How did you find it?
Named after the most hideous sweatshirt I ever bought in my life. A gold Pharaoh, that was printed all over the sleaves and body. Really gangsta. It was laying on the floor when Black Sun reminded me for the 5th time they needed a name to put on the record. Still don’t know what came to mind when I ordered it, but luckily never wore it.
 
Above I already mentioned Border One. Since recently you both were announced to join the Voltage Festival agency. I guess you weren’t a stranger to the Voltage family? What is your connection with the festival and what can we expect from it?
Parallel Circuit who started Voltage Festival was the first to contact me and to guide me into the scene. It came to Steven’s (PC) ears I was going to release on Black Sun, so he approached me with the question to join the project as an artist. Voltage already existed before I started to make music under the Phara moniker, but you can say they were there from day 1 for me. All of the artists at Voltage grew alongside each other with a different sound, different methods, styles and identities, though still with a like-minded attitude and vision on music. With the Voltage record label, which launched last summer, it took things to another level. If everything goes well, I’ll be having an appearance on it with a full EP to be released this year of which I’m very excited.
 


(after movie of the Voltage Festival 2019)

 
Belgium. For me it is one of the countries were Electronic Body Music was born (Front 242 etc) that had a big influence on the European techno. But there is also a nice “modern” techno scene. What do you think about the New Beat /EBM scene and its influence? How would you describe the scene and situation of electronic music in Belgium nowadays?
Those were the days where Belgium flourished I guess. Our country had its own musical identity and people from all over Europe came here to party 5 days straight in subwoofered Volkswagen Golf cars. Sadly enough I can’t talk from experience, but I must have watched every documentary concerning New Beat and early 90’s Belgian rave by now. The musical relevance and influence Belgium has/had on electronic is incredible. For such a small country you can state we delivered a sure amount of musical heritage throughout the years. In the end a lot of clubs lost the fight with police and the epic era of Belgian nightlife came to an end. Something we recognize nowadays with the pretty recent “temporary” closing of Kompass in Ghent because of a drug casualty. It’s kind of sad how Belgian politics approach these kinds of issues when you compare it to other countries or progressive cities like Amsterdam or Berlin who acknowledge these kinds of subjects and don’t want to hide them by running away or closing them down like it never happened. Nonetheless our shitty nightlife politics, there are a lot of good things happening in Belgium. Everyone knows the big female techno giants, but there’s a lot of fresh talent, ready to be discovered in here. It may sound a little patriotic, but I genuinely hope Belgium will once again get a sound and color of its own but we’re heading for the right direction. In terms of clubbing or festivals there are C12 in Brussels and Voltage Festival who in my opinion don’t follow the herd, but try to book new refreshing things with a strong focus on quality and not quantity. Something we don’t take for granted anymore here.
 

Phara 2
(promo pic of Phara)

 
Talking about old and influential music. Please name 10 tracks/records (of any genre) that had a big impact on your music taste. Why are they important for you?
In random order. …

01. Murders by John Frusciante
Catching rails and grinding curbs with an invisible deck. Legendary ‘Girl – Yeah right’ intro.

02. Disco Rout by Legowelt
One of my first loves and all time hero producer.

03. Asphyx by Sterac
Couldn’t have a favourites list without including anything from Steve Rachmad.

04. Idioteque by Radio Head
Classic that still give me the shivers everytime.

05. Narc by Interpol
15 years old and one of my first discoveries as a picky teenager.

06. Turbine by Clarence G
Those drums

07. Clouds by Gaussian Curve
If I would marry someday, one of these tracks would be the first dance. Amazing (and probably my favorite) album in this world.

08. Flesh by A Split Second
Considered to be the first new beat record ever made by slowing it down by playing it at 33 RPM. Classic.

09. Our Darkness by Anne Clark
There has to be passion.

10. All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
Almost – Greg Lutzka. Used to bingewatch skatevideos at that time.

 


(stream of “Our Darkness” by Anne Clark)

 
We met at Arena last year. How do you prepare your set for a night? Do you follow strictly an idea while playing or do you let it flow? What is important at a club for you to have a good night?
I’m a “let it flow” type of guy. I don’t prepare much, but I make sure I know my music when I play and in which kind of situations it can be used. With nowadays technology it’s very easy for dj’s to download a bunch of tracks and play them all along without any feeling. If you know your tracks and when to make a move throughout the entire set, magical things can happen. That’s what I like about playing records instead of CDJ’s; they make me lazy without wanting or knowing it. Record players keep me connected and focused. I’m sure possibilities are endless with CDJ’s and I saw people like Setaoc Mass really juggling with it, but I don’t feel attracted to it that much. I could name a few criteria to have a good gig like a nice sound system, great lighting and so on, but one of the things I like the most is a booth close to the crowd and not on a silly stage with flashy lights on top of you. I don’t look up at the crowd that often, because it makes me a little bit uncomfortable, but I can assure you that one of the best feelings you can experience as a dj is to feel the atmosphere from an energetic crowd crawling on top of you. You connect in a different way.
 

Phara 3
(promo pic of Phara)

 
Following the question above: do you have some favorite clubs? Some where you wanna play? Please tell us some funny or extreme experiences during your tours?
I still am at the beginning of my career, but I’ve already met so many great people and visited great places because of what I love to do. And for that I am super grateful. We’ll see which places or people I encounter along the road. I don’t know if I can already laugh at the situation that you’re about to hear, but in some kind of way I think it was funny. Murphy’s law at its best. I was invited by the Oecus guys to play at About Blank in Berlin last year. For starters I overslept, missed my flight and had to book an 8 hour train ride to Berlin next to some crying baby. With a slightly negative mindset and a head ache, I arrived in sunny Berlin and met up with some friends. About a week before my girlfriend decided to join us because we hadn’t seen our friends in Berlin for a long time now. She booked a flight, but since it was this last minute she had to get a connection flight in Stuttgart. In the meanwhile I joined my friends for dinner on a terrace, was having a drink and a laugh until my girlfriend called with the message her connection flight got cancelled because of a bad storm. She got stuck in Stuttgart for the night, crying over the phone because she was looking so much forward to see everyone and to have a good time. (Note: she barely cries, but when she does, my heart always shatters in 10 000 pieces, it’s the worst). Slightly depressed, but dazed by my friends’ comforting wines I arrived at About Blank. Didn’t play very well which fed my negative spiral, so I called it a night right after my set. The day after I was planning on meeting up with some friends at Tempelhofer so I took a shower and prepared to leave. All set, I took my bag, looked for my wallet, kept on looking, but eventually never found it. I realized that I had lost it or it got stolen, which meant I got stuck in Berlin without any money, passport, etc. Belgian embassy was closed during the weekend so I couldn’t get a passport to fly back to Belgium. Fed up with everything I decided to buy another train ticket from Berlin to Belgium to leave the next day. The same evening I went out for a drink, got some shots because wine didn’t do the job anymore and walked into a very intimate concert of a wave performance by Laura Krieg. I bought her cassette instantly and it still is one of my current favorites one year later. She appeared to be completely unknown, but she could easily be on a Minimal Wave compilation. After another 8 hour train ride I arrived back home the next day.
 

(full stream of Phara’s “Velvet V.”, PRRUKBLK044)

 
Producing & DJing.. for many artists it is difficult to make a living from the money earn that way. Are you a full-time artist or do you also work in a “normal” profession? What was your dream job while being a little kid?
I always dreamt about a career in music when I was a kid. Back then my main focus was to be a professional percussionist, but along the way the dream about making a career in electronic music surfaced from time to time as well. To this day it still is a dream, but I don’t always dare to say it out loud. I keep on doing what I do with more passion and devotion than ever. I just let it happen. I believe that when you’re chasing a career or money in a subject like music you could get into a loop, full of pressure and forced ideas which aren’t fruitful for any creative mindset.
 


(full stream of Phara’s “Bells” which was released by Voltage)

 
Already coming to an end. Let us know some of your future plans. What’s coming next? Any nice releases scheduled? Or special performances?
2019 was a pretty calm year when it came to releases. I released the Velvet V. EP on Planet Rhythm which did quite a lot for me frankly. I received so many great reactions to that EP. 2020 will look a little bit busier, starting with my debut on Eartoground February 1st and lots will follow after that. I’m very much looking forward to what this year is going to bring.
 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
soon

 

Recommendations:
Phara’s “Road To Manilla EP” on EarToGround Records
Phara’s “Velvet V. EP” on Planet Rhythm
Phara’s “Rosemany EP” on Projekts
Phara’s “Mind Inside EP” on Planet Rhythm
Border One’s EP “Restive” w/ Phara remix on Escapism
sampler “Zener Diode” w/ Phara track on Voltage

 

Booking:
Voltage Agency

 

Websites:
Phara

 

[Music & Interview]: Nico Hoech & Kandy K

 

Music & Interview
Nico Hoech & Kandy K

 

Introduction:
Something different this time… We talked with the founder of the Durch party series and the mix was provided by his resident Kandy K

 

Interview:

hi Nico, very cool to have you for this short interview. Let’s start with a little introduction by yourself. Where were you born and raised? How was your childhood and youth? When did you discover your love for music and which kind of music did you listen to when you were a teenager/tween?
Thx for having me. I will turn this year 40 years old and was born and raised in the former GDR. In a small city next to the Baltic Sea. My family was a typical socialist family – there was no time for music. It was all about work and work for community. In the end of the 90thies I discovered punk and skin music. Counterculture by itself. And the same time techno reached my heart – time of MAYDAY and underground raves.
 

Durch 1
(Nico Hoech, founder of Durch)

 
I guess it is not a secret that you are gay as you organize queer parties. So we would like to know a little bit about your personal situation at home with parents and relatives, your hometown, your outing etc. Was it difficult for you? What are your experiences with friends, relatives etc when you came out?
We can make it short – in my hometown was no gay culture or life. There was nothing to discover, so I traveled as often i could to Berlin to express myself. It was amazing. My hometown was a neo-nazi area, my struggle was different. But my parents were very open minded. I had never any problems with them about being gay – I never had a coming out, cause I don’t want to write myself like a stranger. And i will coming out, when my straight friends are coming out as well: so let’s talk about sex and not about my coming out. I become a queer skin.
 

Durch 1
(Nico)

 
As mentioned above you are the promoter of a queer party series. It’s called “DURCH” and the current Berlin editions are taking place at “Zur Klappe”. When did you get the idea of running our own party? Could you please describe the concept of it? Have you changed anything since you started it? Are there any DJs who play regularly / residents? What kind(s) of music do you have at “DURCH”? What are the criterias you use for selecting the venue for a party (I remember that the first instalment took place at Untertage)?
I started this party with Martin 2,5 years ago at SchwuZ. The idea was to bring the music and party there, where the party mostly started – at the toilets. That’s still our concept. Even Martin is not part of this anymore. After SchwuZ we tried Untertage, cause fetish and sex is part of our concept and the venue fits us well. After a break we decided to move to Zur Klappe, cause it’s a old public toilet. A old gay cruising spot. DURCH becomes resident party at Zur Klapoe and we are happy about cause it combines all what we like: dark underground techno sex toilets.

DURCH stands for hard techno and it’s fluids developments – I like elements from ghetto, which and scouse house as well. We are happy about our residential DJs like Kandy K in Tel Aviv, Luca Eck, Sh Se (before TLV now Berlin) and Dj Hobby (Zur Klappe).

 

Durch 1Durch 1 Durch 1
(residents: Luca Eck, Kandy K, SH SE)

 
Berlin has one of the biggest queer communities and also a vital gay nightlife. What makes Berlin so special/interesting regarding nightlife (queer and in general)? How important is the gay scene for the music scene in general? Which queer parties impress you and influenced your own idea?
Berlin is still living from the vibe from the early 90thies. Everything is possible as long as u believing in it and if there some crazy heads around u. Everybody is talking about the dying nightlife, but there are small unique space like KAKE, build up by queer expats. That’s still the Berlin vibe from the 90thies. And for sure every techno party in Berlin is in somehow in queer party, at least a gay party. ??

The former HOMOPATIK – now Buttons Impressed me most. It’s my home, my castle, my love.

 

Durch 1
(Durch logo)

 
After running several instalments in Berlin you brought “DURCH” also to Israel and have more plans. Could you please tell us something about this? How did you come up with this “export” idea? What did you already do and what are your plans? Do you cooperate with other promoters/parties there? Anything different to the Berlin concept?
DURCH is now running events in Berlin und Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv idea came after my uncountable visits there. I having lot of friends there and felling part of this city. We were talking a lot of what is missing there: queer community events and underground parties. Last year in September I moved there for three month and we organized some community events like queer art exhibition or bondage workshop or a queer bdsm show. But still DURCH like to celebrate techno parties we organized a real underground rave and a queer techno show at Alphabet Club. DURCH TLV was born and working now by its own: next underground rave is at the 21.2. w/ Luca Eck, Dj Hyperdrive, Kandy K and Aba Karish – underground location.
 

(uploads of Durch on Soundcloud)

 
Beside organizing parties you also work(ed) as bouncer etc. in clubs like Berghain, Griessmuehle and ://about blank. When did you start working in clubs? What did/do you do there? How is/was it to work there as a queer? Any negative experience? How important are queer doormen for a club? Why are they necessary (having latest homophobic attacks in Berlin & other cities in mind)?
I started many years ago … doing security for small punk-rock or techno shows. I was studying and needed the money. I did and doing everything: greeting, doing rounds, Awerness, medical help and social work. In the same way having good experience, u get negatives once’s. From seeing/feeling somebody is dying or was raped up to invitations to marriages. It’s crazy.

I would say it’s important to make the marginalized people at door visible. We need more queer people at the door but in the same way more women* or people of color and many more marginalized people as well. I’m very privileged even as a queer person, cause I can choose to show my queerness or not.

 

Durch 1
(Nico)

 
On instagram you have some photo series (https://instagram.com/durch.party). Please tell us something about them. Are these pictures made for DURCH? What‘s the concept? Who are the photographers and models?
We did once this “instagram armpits exhibition” – all pics (90) were sended by Berlin queers or I did them by myself. The idea was: „it’s time to leave the shelter. It’s time to express urself in the way u are. in the way how u showing ur armpits, u open urself for the view and the person in front of u – u starting to get vulnerable. attachable. but u aren’t. cause we are many. and u are beautiful. 1312 – stonewall was a riot.” It’s mostly about to make people visable. And to great a counterculture. It’s not about likes. It’s about us and our bodies, fetish or desire. Mostly all models are friends or know persons. Same with the photographer.
 

Durch 1
(overview of one of theses exhibitions)

 
We on NovaFuture are music freaks and we are always interested to which music other people listen. So could you please name 10 favourite tracks/records (no matter which style) and tell us why they are important for you?
01. Jung Kaputt Spart Altersheime by Bärchen und die Milchbubis
best punk ever

02. Not In Love by Crystal Castles
cause I fall in love

03. ….. by Dritte Wahl
punk rock who socialized me

04. Stumme Menschen by Feine Sahne Fischfilet
Friends running a band

05. Lebkuchenmann by Georgette Dee
it’s deep meaning German Chanson and I like it deep

06. No Regrets by HO99O9
best band ever

07. Navy Blue by John Roberts
best ketamine music, brought stability in my life

08. Subzero by Ben Klock
makes me feel 17 again

09. Mekong Delta by Len Faki
it’s part of my oldschool berghain which was never exciting (only in my mind)

10. Cold Fusion by The Advent & Industrislyzer
that’s my techno background.

 


(video of “Not In Love” by Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith)

 
When we as music lovers interview other music lovers, we often just talk about the music and forget that people perhaps also have other hobbies/interests. So we would like to know if you also do some other stuff in your spare time to relax…beside music related issues.
I’m trying to read as much as I can or to travel around the world. Photography and art is something I’m very into it. And I like the opera and theater.
 

Durch 1
(Nico)

 
It’s already the end of our small interview so let’s talk about your future and what’s coming next. Any special news about “DURCH”?
Friday – 7.2. next DURCH at Zur Klappe. (see our feature). DURCH starts Art and a bigger cooperation in Berlin – but the Rest is top secret right now.
 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
CucumB45 – Dog Bark-1 (Demo Version)
Head Horny’s & DJ Miguel Serna – No More
Max McFerren – Well Tempered Ecstasy
Crystal Energy – You Me Sudoku
DJ Reiz – Good Time With A.
M. TouNu & Sergie – Aristocrate (M.TouNu Indus Edit)
POLHØ & WAST – Sensitive Blaster
M.TouNu – No Money
Fury – Neorave
Mega Lo Mania – Close Your Eyes (Cocooma Remix)
Jan Vercauteren – Hellpass
J. Golo, Peke Albeza – Tha Stand
DJ Jose Vol 3 – Kiss Me Hard Before You Go
Scooter – Nessaja
M.TouNu – L’amour Toujour

 

Websites:
Kandy K
Durch
Durch @ Soundcloud