Sunday, 2 October 2011

Little Thoughts - Different Thinking Album Review



Having seen Little Thoughts play out twice and having being impressed by both his Soundcloud page and his aptly named free download “Free Thinking”. His debut album on Acidic Records was something that I’ve wanted to pick up for a little while. With only a limited number of cd’s available I eventually plugged for the digital download.

Little Thoughts weaves together hip-hop, tribal and spoken vocals mostly over down-tempo electronica with elements of glitch, dub, folk and psychedelic sounds. This young man utilises genres that cross the generations with a tight production and live he only dj’s his own tracks. My verdict this is an album well worth investigation.

Elixir Of Life 1st October 2011 @ Pulse, London






Once again the promoters selected a fantastic line up of artists and dj’s. I began my night in the chill-out room to see the Egg. I didn’t really know too much about them only really being familiar with their Venice Beach track. I’d assumed it was one man rather than a band and their fusion of chill out and shoegaze was pleasant enough.

Next on my agenda was Gaudi and a few people mentioned to me later that they didn’t like the sound quality of the alternative room. For me that wasn’t the problem it was the layout. To get to the chill out room from the main room you had to go through the alternative room. This naturally meant that you were constantly jostled as you danced and I was half relieved when the set finished with a Bob Marley classic.

Next up was System 7 in the main room and luckily managing to get up to the front I could really notice how many sounds are actually created from Steve Hillage’s guitar through fx on the laptop. For me this really was the high point of the night even though it meant missing the Orb and overlapping on Banco De Gaia (who unfortunately I missed completely).

By the time Logic Bomb were on in the main room I felt like chilling out and caught the end of Lemon Tree a lovely blend of chill out with additional tribal percussion from Sean Spindrift after which the main room was the only option for more full-on psy-trance.

Whirl-Y-Gig with Transglobal Underground Sept 2011 Crucfix Lane




Having seen T.G.U. on many occasions between 93 and 95 I was intrigued to hear there newer material and see their amazing stage show. For the latter I was disappointed. Admittedly, I knew Natacha Atlas had long left but even with her belly dancing aside, gone are the tribal masks and the energy of their live performance. The music mostly slow, tribal and dubby was interesting enough but the older numbers like “Templehead” stole the show.
I was gutted to have missed the 30th Birthday the previous month but Monkey Pilot still produced a blinding eclectic set moving your mood up and down with the tempo and stretching the listening experience into various genre directions. Ade Laugee’s chill out set was a wonderful blend of the old and new with plenty of tribal elements and on the whole a wonderful night was had.


Red Seal Interview

1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

It’s my pleasure. Well, I am a producer and artist currently living in Brighton, in the last few years i have been doing quite a few remix projects, but am now at work completing the next Red Seal album.

I’m also am working with Gerry Conlon (one of the Guildford 4, wrongly imprisoned for the IRA bombing at guildford) and John MCManus (head of Miscarriages of Justice Org) to produce and arrange a Dvd and big benefit concert to raise funds to build treatment centers for innocent prisoners on their release and to aid in their rehabilitation. These people receive no help from the system in any way on their release, even though they have had their lives ruined by miscarriages of justice. The Alabama 3 also do a great deal to help this organization as well.

I think that the Danish band Laid Back are definitely one of the biggest reasons that I started making music, after seeing their amazing video for “Bakerman” directed by Lars von Trier, a great treat was going to produce some material for them at their studio in Denmark.

2) The “Black Ops” album for me pulls together a wonderful combination of organic and synthetic sounds drawing on soulful horn accompanied reggae, dubby hip-hop breakz and ambient styles. Several years later and you’re working on a new album. Will this be a continuation of the “Black Ops” sound are you expanding into new territories?

There will be flavours of Black Ops in the new one, but more in the vibe than the actual sounds etc, since making the last album, I have teamed up with Richie Stevens, one of the best drummers in the world and several other great players, so I think the new one will have more of a live band sound, though most definitely with the Red Seal production sound and dub flavour.

3) The album heavily featured Cheshire Cat on vocals and also included prestigious guests such as Nightmares On Wax and Zion Train. Going by the Red Seal album teasers on Soundcloud Cheshire Cat’s vocal input remains what guests could listeners expect on the new album?

I have some awesome guests coming onto this one, Cheshire Cat is most certainly going to feature a lot again, as will the awesome David Fullwood (Zion Train) on trumpet, Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and hopefully Horace Andy, Dennis Bovell will feature on it, with Richie Stevens on drums.

The list goes on a lot longer, with some amazing names, but I want to keep the rest as a surprise. I will just say are all great talents and I am extremely grateful for the contribution coming from them.

4) When do you expect the new album to be released and what formats will it be released on?

I am hoping that late spring/early summer 2012 for release, which will definitely be available on both CD and digital download.

5) Which artists currently impress you?

The Stone Roses just reformed!!! Yeaaaah! That’s the best news in the music world for a decade!! Alabama 3 are a great band and Roachford live was the warmest and light-hearted gig that I’ve seen for ages (with a top band alongside him too) and Seeed watch them live! Theirs is the best Reggae show I’ve ever seen. It’s fucking dooope!

6) Are there any plans for a live tour?

Oh yes! I will be touring to promote the album and I’m looking forward to it!

Miquette Giraudy interview





1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

I started my musical career with the invention of the synthesiser! Those machines with knobs and noises were the right media for my easily bored mind and body, I got bewitched and from the 1st VCS3 to all these plug in’s today I am still under their spell.


I remember trying to do one chord on Malcolm Cecil's Tonto, which was a whole room where every space was covered with mini-moog’s, you had to link them all together to make one chord! That was pioneer time ... the 1st synthesiser cowboys.


We were banned from the musician Union for stealing the work of real musicians!

2) Technology has changed quite dramatically since the 70’s when you joined Gong.  Production wise what are the major improvements for you and is their anything you miss about the old technology?


Technology changed but for me for the better and for the smaller ... what a pleasure not to have to carry 200kg of gear at every gig. I am not stuck in the analog-digital barrier, for me any means are good as long as it is good. 

Sometimes I regret the time when we were a whole bunch, mixing a track on a mixing desk and each one of us had a couple of faders and effects and the mix was like a live concert, but this now balanced by the fact that there is nearly no more mix, it is done at the time little by little as the track is taking shape it is more part of the creative writing process.

3) After so many albums since the self-titled debut album from System 7 in 1991 what approach did you use to keep the new album “UP” sounding fresh?

Sounding fresh .... well I guess this is a frame of mind, what I certainly don't want to do is to do again what i was doing 20 years ago, as Steve love to say "Forwards and Upwards".


4) Which artists currently impress you?



In this moment of time the guy that really inspires me is this piano player from Luxemburg called Francesco Tristano http://www.francescotristano.com/, he can play "The Bells" by Jeff Mills or Derrick May's "Strings of Life" at the grand piano and it sounds awesome. He plays with Carl Craig there is a fab remix done by Ben Klock as well, all this really vibes me.


5) Outside of the dance music scene what music do you listen to at home?



I mostly listen to dance music ... there is so much and so little time.

6) The festival season in Europe is in full swing where can people catch a live set in the coming months?


Well we will be playing 3 times (Steve 4) in Glastonbury festival as System 7 and Mirror System, Beautiful Days, Sonica in  Montenegro is going to be fun, Fuji Rock in Japan and Womb in Tokyo ...this is what i remember for now.



7) If you could play anywhere, where would be your ultimate venue for a live set?



Where I like to play the most are islands or seafronts of exotic places. Where the sun is hot, the sea is warm and the people are happy. Or on top of the mountains, somewhere the view is breathtaking while I am playing ... I love music and life.


Links

Indidginus Interview

1 ) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

No problem Martin. I had to reschedule my Eastern Seaboard tour for you to be here, but it’s all in a day’s work.

A bit about myself – well, my name is Michael, I live on the second floor. Actually I don’t, I live in a one-storey cottage. Kills my Suzanne Vega impression stone dead. I’m from the UK, but have lived in Cape Town for the last 8 years or so. I was born in Iceland during a snow storm and I’ve had more jobs than I have years in my age. I no longer need to worry about the cutting my hair part of the real job equation as most of it has disappeared over the years of its own accord. My favourite colour is burnt orange and I enjoy drinking tea.

In terms of musical career - I started out by playing didg with various DJs and live acts in the trance and drum and bass scenes. Then I moved on to writing my own tracks and incorporating my didg into the live performance of those.

2) Your new album “Sofa Surfer” features a host of collaborations with artists from both the UK and South Africa. Could you tell us a little about the concept of the album?

I was in the UK last summer to gig, and I thought it would be a great idea to make full use of my time there to write an album (or at least start to write an album). I chose to involve various musical friends (old and new) in the project to add interest and variation. It’s also a brilliant learning experience to work with others – both from a technical and personal point of view. The album is called “Sofa Surfer” as a lot of time was spent surfing sofas when visiting said friends all around the UK to do the recordings. Riddim also plays a big part in the album.

3) Are there any live shows planned and will they feature any of the collaborators from the album?

I am super busy finalizing digital distribution for the album and doing promotion at the moment, but yes there will be live shows in the near future. There will be a Sofa Surfer album launch part at Rubadub here in Cape Town on 9th July 2011. The album release date is 23rd July 2011 - Hailie Selassie I's birthday :)

4) Which artists currently impress you?

Rusko, Burial, Various, Boxcutter, Liquid Stranger, Kode 9, Pinch, Scuba and Chase & Status are recently cropping up in my Winamp playlist a lot since my head is fully in dubstep mode – very varied, very talented, very inspiring…

5) Are there any club nights or festivals you would recommend to readers travelling to South Africa?

Rubadub is a brilliant dubstep night here in Cape Town run by James Matthes - http://rubadub.co.za. He’s doing good things for the scene. Highly recommended…

6) Which artist you haven't already worked with would you like to and why?

Oh there’s loads… Rusko because he has tapped into a massive market, which would help me on the promo side of things just a little ;) Burial because he has a very inventive sound. Liquid Stranger because I dig his tunes. On the local front, I’d like to work with Mix and Blend, Richard the Third and SFR as they are all very talented dubstep/drum and bass producers.

Sofa Surfer is available to pre-order now at the special price of $8.

This includes immediate download of 3 tracks - Lost Coast featuring legendary electronica pioneer Colin Angus of The Shamen, Madam Blerta's Carnival featuring stalwarts of the psychedelic dance scene OOOD and a free download of Sunrise over Sapporo featuring mainstay of UK downtempo Tripswitch. There's even a couple of bonus items thrown in for good measure.

http://indidginus.bandcamp.com/album/sofa-surfer

http://www.indidginus.com
http://indidginus.bandcamp.com/album/sofa-surfer
http://soundcloud.com/indidginus/sets/sofa-surfer-album-mashup-mix
http://www.facebook.com/indidginus.music

Drumspyder Interview


Scott Sterling emerged out of San Francisco's dance and indie-circus scene and first came to my attention under his Drumspyder monikor on Dakini Records compilation Tribal Matrix 2. Not long after I downloaded his digital release the Nekyia e.p. which had a far funkier feel. We also featured his debut album "Kytheria" in our 2010 best of the year round up.

1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

I started out playing drum set in rock bands, most with a post-punk or indie flavor, but I was from the beginning somewhat curious and experimental with rhythms, drum setups, and sounds. I did a fair amount of industrial-style banging on oil drums and scraping on scrap metal, as well as exploring odd and arcane rhythms. Later I became involved with dance groups which combined acrobatic dance, aerials, fire, and music, and I then branched out into electronic beats and sounds. Working with these groups introduced me to the intimate relation of drumming to dance, which has been central to my music ever since.

It was the drum/dance connection that got me interested in the doumbek (arabic tabla) and bellydance, which led me to Arabic music and the whole family of Mediterranean musical styles.

My formative project in the realm of bellydance fusion was the Nekyia dance ensemble, directed by Kristina Canizares http://www.nekyiadance.com/ The choreography fused bellydance, latin, jazz with burlesque influences. The two Nekyia CDs are the music I produced for the ensemble and individual solos. There were some interesting side projects and offshoots happening then - Kristina and I were really into combining middle eastern rhythms with samba and afro-cuban styles; the whole group had a theatrical and circus side as well, and we took part in some crazy pyrotechnical theater productions at Oakland's Crucible…good times! At the same time a started playing with Jef Stott http://jefstott.com/, who took me on board to tour Canada and Japan, which is how I met Gio (Makyo) of Dakini Records http://www.dakinirecords.com/.

2) The internet has certainly expanded my mind if I’d have looked at an album cover in the early 90’s I’d have recognised bongo’s, congo’s, tablas etc but I wouldn’t have known the darbuka was a drum or a sarangi was a string instrument. How did you discover and compile your drum set up?

I think that being a drummer very commonly leads one to be curious about the wealth of rhythmic traditions around the world, and early I had some acquintance with african and asian drumming styles, being particularly inspired by Japanese Taiko drumming.

But by the time I got into Arabic percussion the internet and DVDs were there and they helped immensely. I've taken a few lessons from master percussionists in the SF Bay area but most of what I know is self-taught. I've gleaned a lot from internet, recordings and videos (In particular I'm into David Kuckhermann's http://www.framedrums.net/ framedrum series, and I highly recommend Faisal Zedan's http://faisalzedan.com/ derbakki DVD), but I think that experience is the ultimate teacher - playing live, working with dancers and other musicians, experimenting in the studio - seeing what works and what doesn't.

3) In the UK we had the likes of Natacha Atlas doing belly dance routines with Trans-Global Underground in the early 90’s and I guess belly dance classes have become popular in recent years. However, we don’t seem to have the belly dance breakz scene that San Francisco and Tokyo have. Is your music warmly accepted in the dance class community and do you plan to tour abroad?

Yes - although I'm not exactly in the mainstream of either the tribal or cabaret styles in the US, my music has made a good number of appearances in dance classes, videos, and performances. (At my YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/drumspyder I've collected a sampling of these) As for touring plans, I've lately only been doing West coast US gigs, have a new collaboration in the early stages which is shaping up to be a touring ensemble. You'll be hearing more from us soon!

4) My first experience of the Drumspyder sound was on Dakini Records Tribal Matrix 2. The track “Dunawi” had a real old skool electro bass sound to it and was a refreshing take on world fusion. Deeper exploration into the “Nekyia” e.p. and I discovered a lot of elements of funk and the debut album “Kytheria” had a deep house vibe. Are you just fusing the sounds you listen to or was this a conscious effort to be different?

My first tracks with the Nekyia were inspired a great deal by broken beat (you can hear it especially on "Pure Catnip") a bit of funky house and downtempo, and afro-cuban rhythms. Mainly it resulted from what I was listening to at the time - I was an avid follower of Bugz in the Attic and the like at the same time that I was learning the doumbek - a somewhat odd combination!

I've always loved house and uptempo dance music in general, so I put some of that on the Dakini album, and I have a lot of forthcoming projects that are going into electro/tech house and generally uptempo territory. There's a brand new track in the Live mix , "Ahlam Atrash" (forthcoming on Caravan records https://www.hollywoodmusiccenter.com/index.php?1=1&productId=1628&) which represents that direction. But I have downtempo and midtempo (moombahton influenced) tracks in the works as well - as a percussionist I feel the need top work with a balance of different rhythms and tempos.

5) You’ve recently re-mixed for the Desert Dwellers and Spy From Cairo are there any other re-mix projects on the horizon?

Yes - coming up in June I have a track on a compilation called Kundalini Yoga Remixed from the Sprit Voyage label http://www.spiritvoyage.com/?gclid=COjo4v_-76gCFQoTbAodnCjqCg - a remix of kirtan duo Mirabai Ceiba. Also in the works is a remix of Lumin, one of Jef's former groups, for Dakini. Down the road a little further will be some collaboration and remixing with SF bellydancer/disco diva Gypsy Love http://www.gypsytime.com/ and violin virtuoso Kippy Marks http://www.kippymarks.us/.

6) Who in your opinion is the greatest ethnic drummer of all time?

I have so many drumming heroes from different times and cultures, it would be hard to pick an absolute favorite. But in the middle eastern realm I have been particularly inspired by Mahmoud Fadl http://www.piranha.de/english/piranha_musik_verlag/mahmoud_fadl. "The Drummers of the Nile" series were some of my first middle eastern albums and I still love them - stellar percussion work, traditional music with a subtle blend of afro-latin /jazz influences, and all-around funky and soulful fusion. If you want to get introduced to middle eastern percussion I recommend checking out his work.

Drumspyder: http://www.drumspyder.com

Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/drumspyder

Dakini Records: http://www.dakinirecords.com

Trancient Dreams Interview


Trancient Dreams a collective who fuse dub with world grooves, electronica, dub-step, drum & bass etc. In my opinion although if you like a track it doesn't matter how it's made. It's always good to watch a band rather than a laptop set.

So bearing this in mind and the interesting grooves coming out before the album release. Martin Hall-Davis took some time out of his busy schedule to introduce us to the band and their ideology with this interview.

1) Could you tell us a little about how you guys met and the ideas behind Trancient Dreams?

Well Spira and I met through Myspace in 2005. We were into each other’s music and had communicated by email from England to Norway (71 degrees above the Arctic Circle!).

It was in March of 2006, when we actually met. At Tim Brans Launch Party for his new project Subsonar (after he had departed company from Dreadzone). It’s a small world as we had both befriended Tim separately through Myspace and at the same time (unknown to him) we had both been invited separately to his launch party. With this in mind we made a week of it and built up a great friendship in that short time.

We had already decided to try to incorporate Spira’s vocals into Trancient Dreams at that point. It was something I had wanted for the project since I had started it in 2000. Prior to this I was using lots of vocal samples to achieve the desired sound (mainly female Eastern material). After our first meeting in March I decided to go to her Suspira Studios in the Arctic Circle to record our first song together “Time to Unwind”. It was amazingly easy to work with each other, both of us bringing unique and crucial parts to the Trancient Dreams sound. It was like a dream. We spent a week locked away in her Arctic Studios where we created and polished 3 new songs out of the ether. This was the start of many coincidences to come.

Bob Field our bass player has been with us for 2 years, enforcing the bass lines that are a prominent feature of our sound. Bob is a long term friend of Spira from her time living and playing in bands in England in the 90s. David Unlimbo plays guitar and brings his psychedelic style to our sound. David has spent many years developing with bands (the most current is Akahum). I'd also met David through Myspace and we played a lot of gigs separately at the same festivals and events over the last 4 years. It was only natural that he should join us for our live shows. Mark 'Mindflux' Fletcher plays Synths and Percussion with us for live gigs, again we met through Myspace. Mark is also a busy man with music projects such as ZubZub, Dream Machine and Champignon.

We all have a love of the same music. Music that has inspired us all over the years. There are just a few differences between us to make our sound an interesting and exciting addition to that whole underground psychedelic scene that came out of the 90s in England.

2) Your new album is due out next year could you tell us a little about what we can expect?

Well it’s been a huge learning curve but a very natural transformation from the mainly programmed 1st Cd “Into The Ether”. With all the new influences in my life (genres and band members) it is going to be stunning.

The Dub genre always plays a big part in our sound. While the addition of Spira Saxe's silky smooth vocals has enabled us to create songs which I think have a commercial value (in a good way of course and it still has a very cool and underground vibe to it all). The feedback we've got has been great and across a whole spectrum of people and ages. So, all in all I'm pleased that we haven't pigeon holed ourselves too much in terms of genre. We like to blend a lot of genres new and old together in whatever way feels good.

Of course you could say Dub is in there. The interesting thing with that is I have discovered that so many genres fit around Dub and its 3rd beat emphasis. This is the only genre from what I can tell has that much affinity with other genres and yet is so unique. So a great starting place for us and I was always drawn to dub music when I was growing up. So with the new material you get Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Breaks, Jazz and Trance influences all with a smattering of Psychedelica.

The idea behind the album is based on sound therapy and sacred geometry. Information that exists in sound when it’s created. Spira and myself have found an obsession forming from these amazing facts and have been inspired by it. I feel it is the most interesting thing; the universe and all that its mass holds. That and the fact we as humans can play with that and understand it (even if we don’t understand it). A Universal Language we can all understand, it says so much.

3) The album is produced by Merv Pepler (Eat Static, Ozrics etc.) have you managed to learn anything from all his years of experience or is it more a case of sending the tracks over the net and waiting for the final result?

Well I got to say it is an absolute honour to have Merv On-board this project. For me he has been my inspiration for creating music in the electronic world and everyone in the band has been influenced by him in some shape or form. So it seemed natural to ask him to produce tracks from the new album (I never thought he would agree to it, but what you don’t ask for you don’t get).

I think with me and Spira's love of Eat Static there is a definite influence there in our tracks. That and of course Ozric Tentacles (who were another huge influence on us all). So when we sent the tracks in a raw state to Merv we were sure he would hit the nail on the head. However, what has been coming back to our ears has surpassed what we expected.

It seems Merv has got an edge to what we should sound like as a band. We don’t like it, we love it! “Wild Fire Revisited” was the first track we collaborated on and the finished product just goes to show his natural affinity with producing us as a band. He has been amazingly supportive and we can say to him "we are not sure about that bit". He is so interested in what we like about it and makes sure we really do like what he is doing. So yes, we send the tracks and wait for the result. But so far the results have been exciting and excellent. So we are really happy to have someone that cares and respects our sound producing us. It’s the best decision we have made as a band to get him involved.

4) Could you tell us about your set up and if you have any favourite hardware or software?

Yes, well I come from the old school so there is a lot of hardware floating around the studio. We have Korg X3 and Z1 Synths and I borrowed a JD800 for a year or two (I love that Synth). Guitars (Electric, Bass and Acoustic), loads of percussion, the new Korg Wave drum and most recently an Alesis ADAT for recording all our ideas down (and anything weird and unusual that makes a great sound). Analogue Mixers and outboard signal processing.

However, I do love my software. The development in computers and software over the years has been amazing. So I have incorporated the two, hardware and software into the studio set up. I use an Ableton Launchpad which is an amazing interface and have the novation SL Remote and various other usb midi controllers, Evolution UC33 and other keyboard controllers. We mainly use Ableton and Reason 5 for ideas these days. But Cubase 5 to record Spira’s vocals and overdubs from the other band members. We can rewire the other apps if needed to Cubase. My favourite soft synths (well there are at least ten which I think are unique and different). The Korg Legacy collection and most of Native Instruments Vsti’s are amazing. Absynth and Massive are right up my street and I love Tone 2’s Gladiator and Firebird and Uhe’s Zebra 2 and Ace. Novation’s V-Staition and Imp Oscar…And of course I built two Quad core computers for Spira and myself to run all this amazing stuff

5) Are there any plans for a Trancient Dreams live show?

Yes there are! We are intent on doing a whole bunch of gigs in 2011 to promote the new album. We have been away a long time buried in the studio trying to get the best of the new material we recorded since being a band recorded down and committed.

So Festivals and events are being worked on at present. I now have a little more time to be arranging bookings which I have been trying to concentrate on since we returned to Norway in September after playing Waveform Festival 2010.

So any promoter’s out there looking for interesting bands please contact me

martindavis@hotmail.com

6) If you could play a live set anywhere you wanted where would it be?

Ha! Now that is an interesting question. Hmmmm…I think Sunrise at Angkor Watt Temple in Cambodia (one of the most amazing places I have been too) or Stone Henge at Solstice. Let the stones amplify us to an audience of like-minded people. Yeah!

http.www.myspace.com/trancientdreams
http://www.trancientdreams.co.uk

M&M's Interview

Martim Joao a.k.a. M&M's is a Portuguese d.j. whose down-tempo sets cover a wide range of genres such as neo-classical, idm, ambient, psychedelic and jazz.

I felt this suited our eclectic tastes and asked Martim to submit a mix. As he finds profiles boring we opted for this interview to accompany the mix instead.



1) Could you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to dj in the ambient genre?

Well I've always been a music maniac; I was raised listening to Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Chopin, by my mid teens I discovered the love generation Classics such as Patti Smith, The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix and the Psychedelic Masters Pink Floyd. Different projects followed like Dead Kennedys, Crass, Sonic Youth, Swans, Young Gods, Diamanda Galas, Test Dept, Pixies, Fura del Baus etc. This was in the late 80's and music was rapidly changing. I started compiling my favorite tracks into K7s and playing them everywhere, from private parties with friends to everybody's Walkman. I had to get the right order to make some kind of sense or story.

In 1990 I went to live in South America and started to listen to more ethnic tunes and traditional folk music from around the world, it was only when I got back home in the late 90's that I was introduced to electronic soundscapes, drum'n'bass and psy-trance. The ambient genre was always present but I didn't really looked at it as a genre, but more like a state of mind, a frequency where the tunes are in balance with my true nature, this is probably due to my childhood living in the country side listening to classical music. So for me Ambient is music, all the rest are arms that emerge from ambient, but don't get me wrong I love all those arms. :)

Inspiration is a tricky subject; it happens most of the time in short and subtle moments that are really out of my control, the hard part is the everyday research for tracks between hundreds of artists. The moment that a particular inspiration comes is blissful and I live for that hit, from that moment on I float away until the work is finished. I can't live without it, it’s like that feeling when you find an amazing track and you play it over and over again like there's no tomorrow. That you've found the music and heavens doors are finally opened. Sometimes the true engine is a book or a movie, or just an interesting subject that crossed my mind talking to a friend, or a documentary of science or history, or just a simple and quiet morning observing nature’s simplicity.

2) You played a four hour chillout set at the Boom festival in Portugal, how did you find the experience?

DJ sets at Boom in the ambient area are always 4 hours long and I really dig it. It’s just the right amount of time in order to go into a full journey through different ambient spaces. I've always enjoyed long sessions - once I played a gig in South Africa for 12 hours! :)

The experience was amazing, Boom Festival is the right place and time to move forward in every aspect, it’s a Tribal gathering from all over the planet, lots of friends from many places join to express life and enjoy that awareness. So, yes it was amazing. It was great to have the 5pm/9pm schedule to make the transition from Sun to Moon, people enjoyed it and I was really happy with the outcome.

3) Your currently compiling a compilation cd "Noosphere" could you tell us a little more about the project?

Well I'm still compiling the VA to www.ajnavision.com, hopefully it will come out in early 2011, it is a digital release from a young Portuguese label, check the site for updates and releases.

4) When creating your sets do you prefer hardware, software or a combination of the two?

I’ve always worked with my CDJs-100 and DJM-300 from Pioneer, just recently because one of the CDJ got broken I tried some software and I found it really useful, so nowadays I use both, the software to edit tracks, samples and add effects, and the CDJ to mix all together.

5) Now for the Old Desert Island Disc question. Name three ambient albums you couldn’t live without?

Well that's a hard one really, especially because I really extract my favorite tracks and forget about the other ones...
I can say that presently I'm amazed by the work of Jon Hopkins, Doyeq, Field Rotation and Murcof.

But I have more than a few great albums that I can't live without and some of them are not really ambient:

Bob Holroyd - The Hallow Man
Sandoo - Twilight
Brian Eno & Robert Fripp - Evening Star
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Jon Hopkins - Insides
Doyeq - Eyelashes of lanterns
Murcof & Erik Trufazz - Mexico
Field Rotation - Licht und Schatten
Amon Tobin - Permutation
Asura - life2
Bruno Sanfillippo - Piano Textures 1 and 2

Tripswitch interview



1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

Having trained on the piano and trumpet as a kid, I settled on the guitar
as my instrument of choice at 12. I went up the classical grades through my
teens and taught myself the electric in parallel with that by painstakingly
learning licks from my record / tape collection. Play ... pause ... rewind
... play ... pause ... you get the idea. I played in a lot of bands in my
teens, blues, jazz, goth-rock, metal - we used to play pubs and clubs around
Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. I've always been broad-minded in my
musical tastes, I think it's healthy.

At the beginning of the 90s I started DJing progressive house and
Frankfurt trance, and I had a mate with a serious collection of analog gear
- a couple of 303s, a Juno 60, JX-8P, 808, 909, Korg Mono-Poly - so I used
to spend days and nights there mucking about and learning about midi and cv.
Then I moved onto Protracker on the Amiga, and started to build my own
collection of synths, starting with a Juno 106.

By '96 I was living in London and had immersed myself in the psy-trance
scene. I lived with Chris and Kostas from Magus for a year or two and we
kind of developed in tandem - I moved through Cubase, Cakewalk and finally
onto Logic in '98. By '99 I was co-owner of a studio and rehearsal room in
Kennington, which became a bit of a hub for all sorts of musical activity.
We put on some small trance parties under the name "Club Tiny" and hosted
some of the cream of London's trance DJs - the Transient guys in particular.

A CD of some trance I'd been writing ended up in the hands of Humphrey
Bacchus, who was managing Dragonfly at the time, and it had a couple of
chillout tracks tacked on the end - "Shamanic Tea" and "Deer Park" - and I
got a call saying he wanted to use Deer Park on a new LSD compilation. Then
he changed his mind and plumped for Shamanic Tea, and the comp came out as
"Mana Medicine". The rest, as they say, is history.

2) Your latest album "Geometry" was released in October. Could you tell us a little about we can expect?

Geometry's definitely moved away from "Circuit Breaker" and while it still
holds psychedelic influences, it's perhaps less identifiable as a psy-chill
album ... you can't keep writing the same stuff forever, it's important to
evolve musically or you just stagnate. It's been a bit scary anticipating
how it would be received among fans in the psytrance scene, especially after
so long and given the reputation "Circuit Breaker" has built up over the
years ... it's a relief to see that it's going down pretty well!

I'm now thoroughly in love with the guitar again and it features a lot
more on "Geometry". The ethnic influences have been replaced with more
6-string inspirations like shoegaze, blues and jazz while still maintaining
an primarily electronic thread. If anything it's generally a bit more dancey
than Circuit Breaker, with much of the second half sitting in the 115-120bpm
midtempo range.

Was this diluting of the psychedelia intentional? To some extent, yes.
Don't get me wrong, I love the scene, am still actively involved in terms of
festivals and parties and working with other labels, and I'm eternally
grateful for the support I've received from the psy community. At the same
time, I've been releasing for 10 years and there comes a point where you
have to start to think in commercial terms if you want to justify carrying
on. This scene, lovely and intimate though it is, is limited by its very
nature, and who wants to box themselves into a corner? Hopefully Geometry's
appeal is sufficiently wide to bring new listeners in without alienating the
old ones.

With CD sales in the psy scene all but dead in the water, and even digital
sales seemingly on the decline as fewer and fewer people are prepared to pay
for music, many artists now rely on gigging to make up their income.
Manageable if you're a main stage act gigging a lot, but as a chill producer
in the psy scene, there are very few promoters who consider what we do
merits more than a fraction of a main act's fees. It's understandable on one
level as people go to a dance festival to ... well, dance, so the budgets
are bound to be weighted that way. But on a practical level it makes it
very, very hard to build a sustainable career as a downtempo producer,
especially if you have kids to feed and mortgages to pay. Hence why
Geometry's taken so long to bring out ... you do what's needed to keep food
on the table, and sometimes the music has to take second place.

3) The album is being released on your own label "Section Records" could you give us an insight into the other acts you have on board?

I set Section Records up for 2 reasons - first, to take ownership of my
own music, and secondly to really focus my own musical tastes and provide an
outlet for anything fitting into those parameters. While quality downtempo
music will certainly be a cornerstone of Section, I'm also keen to explore
other, more uptempo styles and get back to my roots, as it were. I grew into
the psy scene after years DJing progressive house, and I'm going back to
that sound in a big way, both in my own productions and in the music I sign
and the remixers I'm bringing on board. I'm a big fan of dubstep and listen
to a lot of glitch too. I'm not ruling anything out at this stage, so be
prepared for some pretty diverse output over the coming years.

I've got a couple of really solid acts coming under the roster at the
moment. The first is Aurtas, a Japanese producer who's relatively unknown
but seriously, seriously talented. His music has an old-school progressive
house sound, Way Out West kinda vibe with delicate but solid production and
bags of skill with his composition. He's done some amazing remixes of my
first 3 singles which you'll hear soon. There needs to be more music like
his out there, so I'm gonna do something about it!

The other act I'm working with are Koan, who you may well know ... they're
a Russian act with a smooth and deep production technique and an ear for
melody that you don't come across very often. They also feature on the
Strange Parallels release and I have some excellent new material from them
to release in the New Year.

I'm also giving my own Codemonkey project some love after parking it up
for a while. Conceived as an outlet for anything more uptempo, it's
developed into two strands, one dark and dubsteppy and the other more
progressive and dancey. I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment and
the New Year will finally see some Codemonkey releases hitting the shelves.

4) Which artists currently impress you?

Within the chill scene, I'd say Ultimae really have the crown right now. I
love everything Magnus (Solar Fields) produces, the new Asura album is
absolutely stunning, and I heard a sneak preview of some of the new Aes Dana
album the other week which really blew me away. Petit Ange is another great
producer under their wing. They're an amazing family down there and have
been super helpful with the set up of Section, and are also handling most of
my distribution.

In other genres - I've been listening to a lot of shoegaze and nu-gaze in
recent years, bands that stand out are Port Royal, Mint, Oceansize and of
course Sigur Ros and Ulrich Schnauss.

Dubstep / Glitch-hop/ IDM: Liquid Stranger, Opiuo, Bass Science / Matt B /
Nalepa, Deru, Tipper and my good friend Gaudi. On a UK dubstep tip, Kode9,
Burial, Benga, Breakage. For me, Burial's probably the most striking
producer overall of the past few years. His sound is so emotive for me, the
broken two-step beats take me right back to the years living in South
London, but he puts those memories in a deep, dark and otherworldly space
which I'd not really visited since Joy Division. Sublime.

Progressive / house / minimal etc: Shiloh, Luke Chable, Tom Glass, Ticon,
Perfect Stranger, Antix / Fiord and Iboga, Hope Recordings, Baroque and of
course Deadmau5.

5) Could you tell us about your set-up and provide a tip for inspiring musicians?

I've just stripped down my studio and rebuilt it ... I've actually gone
very zen this time. From being surrounded by synths, samplers and other gear
a few years ago, I'm now down to a bare minimum and far more efficient as a
result. I have one rack with my beloved Virus C and some mixing / mastering
outboard, a pair of Mackie monitors, Kurzweil K2000 and am still running a
Yamaha 01v mixer which connects to my interface via ADAT. The room is
acoustically treated with a number of products from the excellent Vicoustic
range.

I'm a Logic man through and through and have been using it for 12 years
now. Version 9 is outstanding, you can't beat it for flexibility and the new
Flex-time and Bounce in Place features are a godsend.

I have a couple of guitars at the moment, a Takamine steel-strung acoustic
and a Gibson Les Paul. I also have a bizarre aluminium foldaway Aria travel
guitar that's pretty dodgy really, but it's got a really bright sound that
works well for some things.

Here are my top tips for anyone starting out:

1) In terms of software, less is usually more. Don't be tempted to
overload your computer with every plugin and soft synth you can find,
regardless of how easy they may be to get hold of! Install less and devote
your time to mastering them, you'll be surprised what you can achieve
creatively and the theory you learn along the way. I have maybe 3 or 4
favourite soft synths which I use almost exclusively. Similarly with
plugins ... focus on quality rather than quantity.

2) When it comes to your album. work for the best publishing deal you can.
Find a publisher who will actively work with your music and get a lawyer to
look over the contract. That document could be pivotal to how your career
progresses from that point on.

3) Good quality monitors and a room whose sound you can trust will
probably be your most important investment if you're serious about your
production.

4) Be patient, believe in your music, refine your technique, and enjoy it!
Throw in a bit of luck and hopefully you'll be on your way. Writing music
can be a truly cathartic and enriching process if you do it for the right
reasons and with the right mindset.


Links:

http://sectionrecords.com/
.
.
.
http://www.myspace.com/sectionrecords

*Originally compiled for Chillbase.org (but never featured)

Lemonchill Interview


This is an interview I did for Chillbase around the beginning of the year which for some reason was never published.

Idan Or hails from Haifa and is one among the few artists emerging in the ambient side genre rather than the Goa trance scene more commonly associated with Israel’s electronic musicians. His releases over the last couple of years have combined sounds from trance, synth-pop, jazz and world music into his own unique ambient tapestry.

1) What or who inspired you to create your music within the ambient genre?

Wow good question, well when I first started creating music my "mentor" Yariv Atzion (Stereo Underground) heard my first few demos and he gave me the advice that I should go with the more down tempo style. So I did and I must admit that I really enjoy working with this kind of music genre.

2) You have released material on a few labels over the last two years. Did you embark on a different theme for each release which appealed to each label individually?

No, actually my first album "Sentnat" was almost released on "Cyberset records", but I got the reply from them a few days after I signed with my first label. After a while I noticed that they had made a real bad of job promoting my album so I released it with "Ricochet Dream records". "Cyberset records" are very pleased with my music style and I am also very happy with the promotion and treatment I get from them. Also Ricochet Dream records are cool to work with. Now I have received offers from bigger record labels to sign with them and release my albums. But for now I am very pleased with those two labels.

3) Do you combine hardware and software in your studio and do you have a preference for any particular synth?

Yes I do, I am in love with the "Korg" sound although it may sound a bit "80s" I still think it create unique sound that appeals to many people ears across many music genres. Regarding the soft synths I like the sound that "Absynth" makes and also "Moog" and "Mini Monster" while the music program I use is "Nuendo". For hardware I also use Adam a6 monitors as I think they are very accurate and have a distinctive sound, and I favour "Sennheiser" earphones.

4) You have a new re-mix album "Sleeping Giants" due for release on Ricochet Dream Records. Could you tell us more about the album?

"Sleeping with giants" will be released soon and I really love this remix project it has some unique re-mixes by Terra Nine, Side Liner, Zero Cult, Limbo, Hol Baumann, Mindwave, Chronos and one from myself too. There will also be another re-mix album released this year this entitled "Room 305" and it will contain progressive house and trance re-mixes by artists such as: Hi Profile, Ramin & Dash, Kay D and many more. In fact this will be a double album since I received so many good re-mixes. It will also include a first time collaboration between me and Kritikos (Feel) from Greece.

5) When you first heard the re-mixes did anyone really surprise you with the direction of their input?

Yes Dennis from "limbo" made a really unique re-mix something like "Shpongle" gone techno I was really amazed by this re-mix also I think "Side Liner" made a really good re-mix one of the best on this new re-mix album.

6) Are there any plans for Lemonchill live sets on the festival circuit this year?

At the moment no, I am really working hard on releasing the album "Sleeping with giants" and finishing the album “Room 305" since there are tracks there that I am involved with I find my self spending so much of my time at the studio. But I hope after the release of these two albums that I can start working on some live shows.

Links

http://www.myspace.com/lemonchill1

http://www.ricochetdream.com/

http://www.cybersetmusic.com/

Simon Lewis of Amanaska Interview

Austrailia's Amanaska (a Sanskrit term for restfullness) combine electronica with music they have encountered on their travels around the globe. If down-tempo, jazzy Balearic sounds fused with Indian, African and Aboriginal vibes appeal to you then you can't go far wrong with Amanaska.

1) Which artists inspired you most in forming your sound?

With regard to the artists that inspired me. They all have a very strong and prominent acoustic and live element to their music. This is something I am passionate about and don't really dig pure electronica so much. Nitin Sawnhey writes great songs and is the master of understatement and space in his music. Karsh Kale is a bit more edgy and heavier, plus a killer tabla player. Pat Methany is and incredible virtuoso and composer and writes gorgeous melodies. As for Peter Gabriel, what can I say............

2) You utilise a variety of instruments the Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, synths, melodica, didgeridoo, accordian and percussive instruments. What appeals to you about electro-acoustic sounds rather than solely synthetic?

The electro acoustic instruments have a unique personality of their own that inspires ways of playing and writing that may not be possible in the synthetic world. I feel a certain kind of 'soul' when I use them that makes me take up half my house and studio with storing them all.

3) A lot of your tracks have been composed on the road collaborating with artists around the globe. Was this something you had planned from day one? Or an idea formed from a collection of spur of the moment jams?

The 'on the road' collaborations were planned but there were many spontaneous events that lead to other collaborations as well.

4) You were involved with the Buddah Bar Ocean DVD which features several tracks composed by yourself. Could you tell us more about this project?

Dj Ravin used my track 'Sleep' from Circles on Volume IX which lead to the label contacting me about being involved with the DVD project. The brief was very simple. The only gave me single phrases as inspiration to write to. Their view was that they wanted me to write tracks inspired by my imagination rather than images or rough cuts they gave me. They then cut the visuals to my music. I ended up spending a week in Paris fine tuning the final edits and working with Alain. One of the tracks they had wasn't working so they asked me to write one for this scene. I did this in my hotel room on the laptop on a two octave keyboard. Great fun!

4) You’re currently working on a new album when do you anticipate this to be released and will there be an accompanying world tour?

The new one is more than half finished but I haven't had the time to put into it to fine tune everything and finish it. I hope to have it ready by March next year and would love to do a world tour with it. I have some serious planning to do!

5) Which artists are currently exciting you?

As I write this I am listening to Shrift - Lost in a Moment which is superb. I saw Seal live in Melbourne last week which was amazing. I would love to get him to sing on one of my tracks. what a voice! Would also love to get Emiliana Torrini. loving John Scofield and Marcin Wasilewski too

6) For people unfamiliar with your music where can they hear your work?

The best place to start is our web-site (click the title to go there). There is plenty of stuff on youtube too. the "Drift' video will give some background into the Indian recording sessions for Circles

Gods Robots Interview


Gods Robots is a collaboration between San Francisco's Janaka Selekta and Taamara from Mumbai. Together they are fusing reggae, dub-step & electronica with classical Indian and soulful western vocals.

1) Being based in two different continents how did the Gods Robot project come about?

Surprisingly fast. The time difference makes it possible to work 24 hours (Shri does not sleep so it makes it even easier :)). Instrumentals that I send to Shri (Taamara) at night San Francisco time makes it to Shri in the morning in Mumbai. She will send back vocals by the time I check my mail in the morning. However, we are both looking forward to working on a song while we are both physically in the same space.

2) Taamara you’ve tended to work within the Asian electronica scene in India. What inspired you to work in this field as opposed to the classical industry?

I’ve been learning classical music for quite some time; attending seminars, lectures, concerts etc. It’s a beautiful form but for me these cross cultural collaborations and this coming together of various styles is equally interesting. To see the purity of classical music taking shape in the ideas of musicians from different backgrounds is a process that gives me as much bliss as the process of learning the art form. It’s more learning for me as well since I grew up listening to all kinds of music. So the distinction between forms doesn’t exist for me now.

3) Janaka your currently living in San Francisco where there seems to be an abundance of world fusion artists. How would you compare the scene there to the UK?

I believe the scenes in both parts of the world have gone through a similar arc as people have become familiar with sound. When I stopped putting on 'Dhamaal' and ' WORLDY' shows in San Francisco in 2007, after a 9 year run of monthly events, we were averaging 1400 attendees. For a big city San Francisco is tiny. On that basis alone it is amazing that such a large scene existed. Much like the UK music scene now 'world music' (for lack of a better word) elements have made their way into all genres of music. The newness has gone in both scenes but it has left a deep imprint.

4) Taamara when freestyling with dj’s are your performances completely impromptu or do you have a selection of prepared lyrics which you drop according to the tempo of the music at the time?

It depends upon the artist actually, who I’m playing with. In some cases the jam-sessions are overwhelming and we decide to just keep it open-ended and impromptu. At other times, the structured, perfect and rehearsed act feels and sounds great. It also depends on the venue; you can’t have an impromptu session at all places. My lyrics move according to the plan. During impromptu I drop things once in a while according to the tempo but most of the time it’s something that I have already prepared.

5) Is the collaboration solely a recording project or are there any plans for live performances?

We will be performing together in a number of India's cities in January! The songs have been parted out in Ableton so that I can trigger scenes or individual patterns using the APC40 midi controller. These elements and Taamara's vocals are then dub-able using the APC40. The level of control of each elements makes it very flexible in terms of creating a dynamic live performance. As Mighty Dub Killaz I have been honing these techniques with Papa Roads on the mic for most of 2009.

6) Janaka although there’s a range of genres fused with Indian percussions and melodies, there’s a strong dub reggae element to your music. Are all the fx created on software nowadays or do you still employ the mixing desk when producing dub?

The dubbing mostly comes at the mix stage of the production cycle so most of it is done using software. However, I like the sound of hardware and have a Virus C, KorgX50, MicroKorg, Soundcraft 24 channel desk and various effects units like the Korg Koaspad, they help to define a richer and heavier sound.

7) Are you planning to release any material for this project in the near future?

The way that people consume music has changed so dramatically over the last 5 years. We have an albums worth of material that has been developed with the intention of performing it live. There will be a point at which selling the album will also be a focus but we are intent on getting the word out via our stage show. We do however have a facebook page (press the title to go there) where you can listen to our songs as they get created, literally. Reminds me of the Metalheadz documentary, they talk about songs being completed in the afternoon, pressed onto acetate and played at night. In the digital world it is rendered to audio and upload.

Terra Nine interview


Terra Nine is Mike Westcot from Auckland, New Zealand. Mike has combined the sound of the electric voila with electronica. The result ranges from orchestral ambience to more beat driven techno and has taken the Terra Nine show worldwide.

1. My first knowledge of an electric violin was in the early 90’s with Ed Alleyene-Johnson’s “Purple Electric Violin Concerto”. Although, if I had read my album covers more closely I would have realised that John Cale used an electric viola on the Velvet Undergrounds “Venus in Furs” and they have been around for longer than that. When did you first come across the instrument and what attracts you to the viola rather than the violin?

My first exposure to the idea of an electric violin was as a 12 y.o., seeing Jimmy Page use a violin bow to play his electric guitar....making these awesome sounds as a result - after that, my violin classical practice time was not quite the same - degenerating as it did from then on (once I’d finished my scales) into a cacaphony of harmonic notes...

Later on I bought my first electric fiddle - a Barcus Berry Vioelectra - a lovely shiny jet black 5-string model, but I found that the strings were too close together and I didn't like the sound of the violin E-string - preferring the more mellow tones of the bottom C-string up to the A-string. So I did some mods to the fingerboard using a file and came up with a 4-string ‘viola’...it’s worked well ever since…

String-based musical influences for me as an impressionable teenager included Robert Fripp and David Cross in King Crimson, L Shankar and Jean Luc Ponty in the Mahavishnu Orchestra, John Cale in The Velvet Underground and Adrian Belew in early Talking Heads ….all of whom did amazing violin work, or played guitar using violin-like styles....

2. Stream of Consciousness is the sixth release by Terra Nina along with many tracks featured on compilation albums. How would you say the music has evolved since the last release in 2007?

The latest album features the inspired vocals of Aviatrix, aka Kerensa Stephens on a number of the tracks and is stylistically more uptempo and song oriented - with influences including breaks, drum n bass dub and a little bit of dubstep. Cath and Al Dragojevic also feature on this new release, perf,orming live bass, didge and percussion, while Damian Verna (Red Eye Express) and Ben Heppel (Stickleback) contribute the rhythm section in the drum n bass track So Human.
This release also features remixes by OTT and Pete Ardron of Orchid Star (and Glow) fame, both of which make this album less chilled and more ‘danceable’

3. Terra Nine as a project also includes a band comprising vocals, didgeridoo, harp and bass guitar. When selecting the band members did you have people in mind or where you more interested in the instruments required?

Both really - all the member of Terra Nine were chosen for their musical excellence and instrumentation, as well as the fact that we are on the same page musically and are all good friends.

4. For those who have not heard your music and are interested where would you recommend they start?

Start with the latest album and work back…;-) you can find links to everything at: www.myspace.com/terra9music
and at: www.terranine.com

5. You’ve taken the live show worldwide before. Which of the countries you’ve played in have you enjoyed the most? Are there any live dates currently?

I have loved playing everywhere really - Germany, Spain, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Australia, NZ and the UK - my festival faves so far would be Hadra and Ambiosonic in France, Al Andalus in Spain, Full Moon in Germany, Bakony in Hungary, Rainbow Serpent in Australia, Canaan Downs in NZ and Waveform in the UK.

The NZ and Australian festivals are always special to me because they are close to home and all my friends are there…

So far, confirmed Terra Nine gigs include Rainbow Serpent 2010 next January in Australia and Waveform 2010 plus Festival of Life next September in the UK… plus there will be a slew of other shows in Europe and the UK…Locally, here in NZ, I may be playing at Splore in February…but it is not as yet confirmed.

6. New Zealand seems to have an abundance of reggae artists. Many of which are exploring electro-acoustic fusions. Are there any less well known artists you would recommend?

Yup …Ecophonic for one, plus Ddub are another good band, although my faves are Pitch Black and Salmonella Dub and thety are pretty well known…

Ashtech Interview

Click the title to go to the artist's web-site

1) Which artists were your biggest inspirations?

I listened to a lot of music genres and countless artists since I was very young. I have been inspired by many artists, but not one in particular.

2) Cheshire Cat (Leftfield/Red Seal) m.c.’d on some of the tracks on Walking Target. Did you work on the vocals together or did he have a free reign?

Cheshire Cat wrote all the lyrics. He is not just a singer or an mc he is a great writer, after all that's his job.


3) Which do prefer playing the bass with Ashtech as a live group or the versatility of Ashtech dj sets?

I like to do both sets and I love the contact with the people. Of course when I play and I see people dancing at my own music, that's always a strong feeling.


4) You have shared the stage with famous artists like Tricky, Groove Armada and The Wailers. Which of the artists you’ve met so far did you most want to meet and why?

I did not have one artist in particular that I wanted to meet, I have been playing live since I was a teenager and It has been an honor to share the stage with each one of the artists I've met.

5) Are there any live shows in the near future?

I just finished my tour and right now I am starting to work on my next album. stay tuned!

6) For those unfamiliar with your music where can they hear your work?

download and physical are available via all major services worldwide, you can visit me at my web-site (see above) or on Myspace http://www.myspace.com/ashtechmusic

Swati Natekar Interview


Press the title to go to Swati's web page.

1. When did you first become involved in music and who were your greatest influences?

To be honest, I didn’t even realize when I got into music. Born & brought up into a musical family, I studied music from my mother Dr. Sushila Pohankar, who herself was a musicologist & PhD in Indian Classical & Folk Music. I remember giving my first stage performance when I was 10. Because of my mother, lots of famous artists used to visit us, stay with us & perform at our place, which influenced me a lot. Also since childhood, I used to listen to lot of old records collected by my parents. Even today, those recording are still fresh in my memory! Without knowing, music became my life.

2. You have worked with many established artists, who did you enjoy working with most?

Really can’t mention one name (sorry, not trying to be politically correct!), as I had the opportunity to work with so many great artists! My first recording in UK was with Ustad Zakir Hussain, one of the greatest Tabla players. As the track was already filmed, to fit in free flowing Indian Classical melody on top of it was a real challenge! But I loved doing that. With Nitin Sawhney, I got to create Nadia & Beyond skin, which was fantastic. After recording the track ‘Miracle’ with Craig Armstrong, I got the opportunity to perform live with him alongside a 60 piece orchestra at the Barbican, as well as in Paris & Brussels. While recording ‘Jakatta – American Dream’, I hardly ever thought that one day this track would reach No#3 in the UK charts.

3. As well as working with Indian Classical music and Spiritual World/Lounge fusions you also perform Ghazals. My understanding is this is a form of Arabic poetry that spread into India. Could you explain more for the readers who are a novice when it comes to forms of Asian music?

Ghazal is a poetry which can be written in Arabic, Persian or Urdu. It has got couplets and each couplet can be based on different subject. It’s a form of Light music. I have been singing Urdu ghazals since the age of 15. I had so much passionate about Ghazals, that although it’s not my language, I learnt to sing by myself. In ghazals, Urdu diction and expression is extremely important. Both my Ghazal albums ‘Dhanak – The Rainbow’ and ‘Anjuman’ are the results of my love for Ghazals.


4. Where can people hear your music and do you have any live shows in the near future?

People can log on to www.myspace.com/swatinatekar, where they can listen to my latest tracks, as well as they can buy my albums there.

Classical listeners can log on to www.myspace.com/swatiraaga

Where as Ghazal lovers can listen to the clips from my albums on www.myspace.com/harmonycreationsltd

Some of my music performances and TV interviews can also be viewed on http://www.youtube.com/ by searching on the term “Swati Natekar”

Currently, I am promoting my latest Fusion album ‘Destiny Chakra’ along with my talented team of musicians & singers. This tour has been supported by the Arts Council of England & Wales and for that, I can not thank them enough! We started this tour by performing at Purcell Room, Southbank for Asian Music Circuit, followed by a performance at London Mela 2009, which was a great success!

Our next concert will be on the 29th September, when we are opening the season at the recently refurbished popula venue ‘Band on the Wall’ in Manchester, where we will be performing tracks live from ‘Destiny Chakra’. http://bandonthewall.org/events/2557/

Also, we have a forthcoming show on the 6th November at Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford, where I will be presenting a show Raga2Destiny – Passage to India, which will be a journey of Indian Music starting from Classical, through Thumree, Ghazals, Bollywood, ending towards Fusion, the latest popular trend in India. http://www.gdspromotions.com/

5. Living in London has obviously broadened your musical outlook and influenced your work to some degree. I guess some traditionalists would see that as a distraction from the study of the classical form. Would you agree?

I strongly feel that first, one needs to be trained properly. Your Guru gives you the vision, which helps you to study further on your own. At that stage, I don’t think it will make much difference by living anywhere in the world. In fact these days, as there are various avenues available to listen to music at your own convenience while sitting at home, if one has determination, one can certainly progress. Probably this is why we don’t value the knowledge available to us the way our previous generation did! Talking about the determination, I must mention about one of my students, who has continued with the music lessons through skype after she had to shift to New York and I am quite proud to say that she is doing very well. In fact, just couple of months ago, when my students held a function where they all had to perform, she gave her first skype performance.

For me, living in London has played a major role in my life and music. All these years, I silently worked on the knowledge passed by my mum and also tried to create my individual musical personality. At the same time, London has given me a wider perspective, a great vision, an opportunity to listen to different styles of music & also to collaborate with them. I owe a lot to this place. Without London being part of my life, you wouldn’t have seen the same Swati Natekar.

6. Which artists are exciting you at the moment?

Every day is different for me. I enjoy listening to different genres all the time. One day, I listen to famous Classical artist Ustad Amir Khan, Rashid Khan or my renowned elder brother Pt. Ajay Pohankar. On another day, I enjoy listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s quawwali. Next day I would listen to Ghazal Maestro Mehdi Hassan or Ghulam Ali. Many times I listen to Fusion albums. Artists like Hariharan, Niladri Kumar, Mekaal Hasan inspire me a lot. I also enjoy listening to Coldplay, Zoe Rahman & Jamie Cullum.

Perpetual Loop Interview


Click the title to go to Perpetual Loops web-site.


Perpetual Loop a.k.a. Charles Massey from Manchester. Charles is an artist who fuses ethnic, balearic, ambient, breakz and soundscapes which have appeared on compiliations and has just completed his second album. You can also catch Perpetual loop live p.a.'s and d.j. sets at various festivals and club chillout areas.


1. You used to run a promotion in Liverpool playing house, progressive & trance. Which artistsinfluenced you to work in the ambient genre?

I've always loved ambient / chill out music, I'm a huge fan of Vangelis. Voices is one of my all time favourite albums. Other people include Simon Posford, his production style is amazing. Shpongle, Celtic Cross, Younger Brother, you can always recognise his work. I love cinematic music as well, Cliff Martinez and Clint Mansell to name a few. I actually stumbled into the ambient genre when sending of 4 track demo to record labels (three upbeat and one slow). It was the slow track that caught the eye of Organic Records.

2. In 2004 along with veterans Michael Dog (Megadog/Pushmipulyu) and Joie Hinton (Ozrics/Eat Static) you appeared on the Rumour Records release “Gateway to the Sun”. What did you learn from this experience?

To be honest I was not involved in compiling the actual release, that was more down to Chris Organic and Om Records. I was just lucky enough to be included in the release with the slow track mentioned above.

3. Where can people hear your music?

Well there's Myspace and SoundSauce. There's links to these sites on my own website http://www.perpetualloop.co.uk/ . I've recently put up on my site some DJ sets I've done, as well as few recent live performances. I'm a resident DJ at Fluid radio so mixes are sometimes played there, as well as Last FM. Of course there is also sunisshiningdubnchill.blogspot.com now. :-) I've had tracks released on Compilations such as Gateway to the Sun, Psymeditation I and Psymeditation II, as well as my own album called "Universal Flow". I've also recently started to play live PA sets and are always on the look out for more places to play. I love playing live! It's a real buzz. I've play downbeat as well as upbeat chilled sets depending on the venue. To date I've played a few festivals (Offworld and waveform) as well as Inspiral Lounge (Camden) and a few times at Tribe of Frog (Bristol). My music is pitched as "psy-chill" but I think it's much wider than that and therefore I'm trying to play at a wider range of venues. I'd love to get out to Ibiza and do a few gigs there, but then again I'm sure alot of people are thinking exactly the same thing.

4. You’re currently working on a new album. Is there any new hardware or software you’re using on the project which excites you?

Well the album (Catching Zinc) is now finished, and should be getting released later this year. I actually made the decision to remove most of the my hardware from my set up. I use to have a 48 track desk, with several effect units, and a Super Bass Station, Emu Orbit and a Supernova (which I loved). Anyway most things these days can be done in Plug-in form like the Novation v-station being a softsynth of the supernova, so I sold it all. That way I have studio at home with a hefty computer, but also I can replicate the same set up on my Laptop and take that with me. What excited me the most was probably the Thor inclusion into Reason. An amazing peace of equipment. Cakewalk's Rapture is also pretty impressive. The first album was very much sample based from Reason, where this one was much more instrument driven and loads and loads of plugins over everything. I got to grip more with the production side things with this release as well and Wavelab has to be my choice for that.

5. You’re classically trained on both the cello and piano and havewritten film soundtracks. Which do you find more challenging playingas part of an orchestra or creating someone’s vision employing thecomputer as your orchestra?

That's a really cool question. Definitely the latter,as you are responsible for all the instruments and how they sit with each other, and not just one. I played the cello when I was younger and one thing that frustrated me at the time about it was that generally to play any peace of music you would need the rest of the orchestra with you. You were part of it which was great, but practicing was a bit isolated. Then I moved to the piano, basically because you can play the whole peace of music on your own with out the dependency being there. Now with computers you have the best of both words. You create the entire peace of music on your own but with the backing of 30 - 40 virtual players. Technology has really opened up the possibilities.

6. Which artists impress you at the moment?

I'm really loving the internet. It opens up your access to artists that the you would never encounter in the conventional music store. I use music-map.com allot of the time to find new artists that sound like artists I already know and like. Currently, I still love Shpongle and younger brother. Other artists are Phutureprimitive, Ted Madison, Ulrich Schnauss, Eat Static, Enoch Prusak , Chime, Snakestyle, OmniMotion and Lunar Sound, to name a view!