Sunday, 2 October 2011

Abakus Interview

1. Being the son of the Kinks founder Dave Davies you obviously were raised in a musical background and found many influences with in the family home. Which artists or music scenes outside of that circle first attracted your attention?

Well I grew up as a teenager in London and it was the techno/trance scene from 1993 onwards which was my main influence, I loved it. I was never really a record collector in those days, I listened more to compilations and mix tapes. There were some keys albums though that definitely stood out as my soundtrack to my youth. A compilation called Reactive 10 (1995) - I loved this album so much and probably listened to it a million times back them. Journey by DJ mixed by Paul Oakenfold (1994) was also pretty sweet - and it has one of my favourite musical moments of all time -The eerie 'Possible Worlds' by The Shaman, which appears near the end of the mix. Also The Future Sound of London album Lifeforms, which was an magical masterpiece - no-one has come close since.

2. Where can people hear your music and do you have any live dates planned?

With the previous album I toured the world quite a bit playing at festivals and parties, around Europe, Japan, Russia, Australia... So now I've released the second album I'll be doing the same again. At this very moment I'm organizing a tour of America for spring 2009.

3. You had a new album "We Share The Same Dreams" out early last month. Which seems more uptempo than the previous albums blend of down-tempo, ambient, dub & acoustic styles are you expanding into new territories?

The sound of the new album is different, but it's still the same spirit - It's just created in a different period of time. The album is all upbeat dance and is influenced mostly from all the cool music that has been coming out of house/minimal/electro in the last four years, such as people like Dusty Kid, Shonky, Lindstrom, Bookshade/Mandy, Alden Tyrell, Loco Dice, Tiefschwarz, Andomat3000 and so on.. I think really these scenes have by far been the most forward thinking and progressive and there is now this really cool hybrid zeitgeist techno sound. So I guess the new album is influenced mostly by this movement in music but definitely with my own sound in there - of course it's important to keep your own personal touch.

4. Which artists are currently impressing you?

I have really eclectic taste and am not into a style of music purely because I'm into the 'culture'. In whatever genre I'm listening I just look for something really fresh and original. I'm really not into bandwagon music, and probably 99.9% of all producers today are bandwagon producers. But occasionally someone comes along and does something really fresh. I listed some artists in the preview question which fulfil this category for sure. I'm also really into the French electro producers at the moment - I really love their no nonsense approach. Most of the stuff on Edbanger Records and Recordmakers Records is pretty sweet.. And German labels like Boxer Sport and Bpitch are great for modern techno. I also love all the disco related productions on labels Environ, Clone, Eskimo.

5. What venues/clubs have inspired you over the years?

My teenage years throughout the 90's we're spent in clubs around London, and it was the electronic scene of that period which was my real influence. So it was the early trance/techno being played in places like Tyson Street, The Fridge, Battersea Power station. I think my first pivotal club was in 1994 at Megatripolis @ Heaven on the Thursday - although that meant bunking school the next day.

6. What's the best advice you've ever been given regarding writing music?

Don't be a bandwagon producer. Longevity is the key.

7. What direction do you see electronic music heading in the future?

That's pretty hard to say. Technology will always effect electronic music - and who knows what wonderful technological developments wait for us round the corner. And with it musical ideas will continue to sprout in infinite different directions, as it currently is. But although musical creativity is wild and infinite, human culture moves at a much more sluggish pace. And electronic music is very much defined by current culture, so this is the most defining aspect I think. Occasionally some new 'thing' comes along that will root a musical creative concept into a scene. Then all the bandwagon producers jump on and create enough similar sounding music to play for a whole night. And there you have a new culture of music and people and ideals, and after the initial explosion of creativity and freshness comes the mind numbing and gruelling process of watching the late adopters and laggards encroach on the scene who begin stripping it of any dignity and class it once had. Either way though change does happen and when it does it a wonderful thing. If we're talking purely from a musical perspective a common trend in electronic music is the fusion of old ideas and modern ideas, the oscillating to-and-fro from futuristic to retro and back again. And as the history of electronic music grows and expands into the future so does the possibility for fusion. Producers will keep on referencing difference eras of music whilst fusing it with the latest sound and technology. So in the future for electronic music I guess we'll just see a greater and broader oscillation between past and future ideas, some great new technology and techniques, and a whole plethora of youth cultures sprouting accordingly to changes in music to declare their status as devout followers of this new 'sound' and hence, in their eyes, the coolest people around.

Russ Davies a.k.a. Abakus

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