Have You Met.. Dampé

Joe Munday, a musician, producer and DJ from South London. Dampe brings a wealth of infleunce from across the world. Living in a richly diverse culture such as London, Dampe has never been short of ideas with his eclectic track selection on Rinse FM. He took some time to join our Q&A series:

Where did you grow up? What’s the creative culture like in your city?

I moved around the midlands as a kid, spent the teenage ‘growing up’ years in the South West/Devon but have lived in London longer than anywhere else now. Devon is a sick place to be a teenager, close to Bristol and Plymouth for music and going out but also lots of country and beaches to fuck about on. 

Usually i’d say that London’s creative culture is immense, forever shifting and makes the fight that it is to live here 100% worthwhile. Its just like they say, there’s a million overlapping communities, scenes and lots to get excited about and overwhelmed by. 

Covid is stifling all that at the moment and it’s bleak to see venues and communities on their knees. I think you learn a bit of resilience living here so hopefully it will bounce back although sadly there are people and places going under without support. Those first responsible dances back will be so, so good and hopefully make everyone appreciate and explore London’s culture, as well as support independent creative endeavour more.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you which influenced you?

My mum made me pick up an instrument because she was gutted she couldn’t play anything. Then getting to school you meet people who lend you music or turn you on to different sounds. It was pre-streaming, burning CDs and playing them in the car era. My friend Sami El-Enany burnt me a copy of Hail To The Thief and some Venetian  Snares I think – we actually released an album together this year. So those formative friendships are still really influential for me, who you party with, who you create with. 

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments?

Yeah, started with guitar – Spanish fingerstyle, traditional folk tunes. Then played in questionable bands for years before taking music tech at college and spending all my time in the studio they had there. My parents were never musicians but they always had music on in their houses. 

What made you decide to release music with Darker Than Wax?

I was programming a venue and we started doing a couple parties with the 4 To The Floor crew (s/o Kengo) who booked the DTW guys when they were over here one summer. We got to talking and bouncing some music back and forth. I hooked up with Marco when I was in NY last year and the rest just worked out slowly really. The label, crew and everyone involved is just great. I’m hugely grateful for the support and to be part of the family. 

Describe your show on Rinse FM

I’ve been hosting a monthly show on Rinse for two years now. It’s mostly new, upfront dance music, house, techno, garage and everything in between. Ive done a couple downtempo and ambient shows during peak lockdown when my head just isn’t up for two hours of dance music. This year i want to switch it up a bit and start getting guests in for mixes as well as play older finds too. I think now I’ve made myself part of the furniture i can branch out a bit. Stoked to be on the station though – banging place and people.

Have a listen to his previous show from Decemeber:

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing? 

I literally have no idea. Music and sound design is the day job at the moment so i guess life would look very different. I like taking pictures on 35mm – is that a viable career?

Are there any artists in the UK we should be paying attention to?

Of course! Far too many to mention. Off the top of my head though:

2020 was Pa Salieu’s year for me, Coventry’s finest rapper – every project is so cold expecting massive things from him this year.

Ghetts continues to be the UK’s best MC imo

Been listening to an album from a London based cellist called Oliver Coates who released an album last year called skins n slime which is insanely beautiful and the production is close and intense  

I always look out for Sheffield based Yak’s productions, deep, percussive club tracks on a couple great labels

Bristol’s Livity Sound just put out a great EP from a producer called surgeons girl i really like – Lush new UK Techno.

Couple UK stalwart labels and crews i follow who always are pushing great dance music but I’m sure won’t be news to you guys: Apron, Hessle, Livity, Wisdom Teeth, Time Capsule, WOLF, AOTN, Faith and Industry, Rhythm Section, Co Op, Touching Bass etc 

How have you tried to change your approach going into your most recent record, in comparison to your previous EPs?

From the outside looking in I think the process and approach would appear very similar (me sitting at my synths for months on end, sometimes frustrated and sometimes serne) but to me they do all feel different and mark distinct people, moments in time, spaces and/or gear used. 

More interestingly and importantly, this EP specifically had me questioning/thinking about sample culture a lot, the massive imbalance in the dance music industry/the world and appropriation in general – lessons i’ll be taking forward.

Describe your EP in three words

Colourful, hopefully engaging 

Make sure you check out his latest EP through singnapore based record label, Darker Than Wax. Titled, ‘Oil’, Dampé doesnt hold back in showing you his extensive sound design skills, you can purchase here.

Have You Met.. Nana Adjoa

Describe the creative culture in the city you grew up in?

When I was young and my parents were still together, their music collection often blasted pretty loud through our home. They listen to Funk, soul, 90’s R&B, reggae, Ghanaian highlife. Also when we went to birthdays or parties on my Ghanaian side of the family, there was always LOUD music. Other than listening and dancing to the music at home, there wasn’t anything especially creative in my upbringing. We moved out of Amsterdam, when I was around the age of 5, to a small town not far from the city, I don’t really remember it as a creative or cultural place.  

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or into producing with a DWL?

Once at primary school, when I was really young, we learned over a course of a week, this classical choir piece we would perform together with a proper choir. I don’t know remember why or for what occasion, but I think it was Verdi’s Dies irae, Lacrimosa. I enjoyed practicing the words I didn’t understand, and I enjoyed the sound of people singing together. I also briefly had keyboard lessons, which I disliked very much, so I quit pretty soon. And then at the end of primary school, I started playing bass, which felt awesome right away. 

What made you get into music, who were the people around you which influenced you?

Me and my friends wanted to start a band when we were at the age of 10/11, and I picked up the bass for that purpose. We were initially inspired by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. And then we also played songs by Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc.

I read that your Mother was in a Ghanaian highlife band, how influential was she in deciding to start music as a career?

We’ll not so much starting a career. It wasn’t until after me and my friends came up with the idea of starting a band, which meant me picking up the bass, that I found out my mom had this while history. She did give me my first lessons and has been very supportive from the start. She let us use the basement/cellar as our rehearsal space, and she was very encouraging when I tried to go and eventually went to the conservatory.

How close are you to your Ghanaian heritage, will you look to incorporate Ghanaian highlife in the music?

I’m still learning a lot about my Ghanaian heritage and the Ghanaian music history. I grew up with listening to that music, but after my parents got divorced, I was raised by my Dutch mom. It’s been a while (10 years) since I went to Ghana, so I would love to go there again and learn more about the culture while being there, as a oppose to just reading about it. 

How have you tried to change approach going into your most recent album, in comparison to your previous EPs

The writing and recording went more simultaneously, which resulted in a lot of the demo material to end up on the record. I started out alone, and a producer joined in halfway. Also, the approach in recording my voice was a little less shy and more sure than previous works. 

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing? 

So many possibilities! It’s really hard to imagine myself doing anything else now. I probably would have gone to university to study either History or Psychology, but I don’t know where those paths would have brought me, though. When I was 18 I went to those introduction days (open days?) at the UvA, but I auditioned at the conservatory and got accepted and went along with it. 

Are there any producers/artists/instrumentalist you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

For this record, I worked together with Wannes Salomé for the first time. But I loved working with him. He’s technically very skilled, we have a similar and broad taste, so when I or he had an idea, we could try it out very fast and didn’t need to talk much about it. I love it when you work with someone and you don’t have to talk a lot about the music, but just play and try stuff out. 

Are there any artists in the Netherlands we should be paying attention to?

There are definitely some very cool artists over here. LUWTEN, Zeeland, Jo Goes Hunting, Sofie Winterson, and Feng Suave.

What’s your relationship like with your label, and why did you decide to release with them?

I’m with Bloomer Records, which me and my managers basically set up to release my music ourselves. So at the base, we have a small and super dedicated team I’m working with, and then we work together with a lot of different people and parties from all over the place. 

Describe your album in three words

Contemplating, contemporary, dreaming. 

Have You Met.. Cable Street Collective

London-based 7-piece Cable Street Collective took some time to join our Q&A series following the release of their new single, ‘Speaking In Tongue’, featuring Gregg Kofi Brown. Check it out below and let us know what you think below:

How did the band form? 

Three of us – Ash, Tris and Fi – went to Nottingham University together and used to play the occasional open mic, usually doing covers. But it wasn’t until later, when we were living in London, that we started to make music more seriously, and started playing the summer festival circuit – Secret Garden Party and Boomtown and so on.


Aaron and Sam joined in 2017, and we put out a second EP which got picked up by BBC 6Music, and various other places – and it just kept growing from there. Matt & Dom on the horns were regular “special guests,” and in the end we just thought “let’s get trumpet & sax in all the time” ‘cos they made it sound so good, and really got the crowd going. 

What’s the story behind your name Cable Street Collective?  

It’s taken from the Battle of Cable Street, an anti-fascist protest in 1936. The people of the East End banded together to stop Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts from staging a march down Cable Street – he’d chosen the site as a deliberate act of provocation, because it was a working class Jewish area at the time. Danny Dyer does a pretty good job of explaining it succinctly.

We used to rehearse on Cable Street. Two of our members actually lived in a warehouse space in Cable Street Studios, and the first show we played together was at an open mic night they ran in their living room. So it all kind of made sense. 

What made you get into music, who were the people around you which influenced you?

There’s so many of us it’s hard to pick just a few, but Sam’s story is great. He grew up on the Shetland Islands and was basically a child fiddle prodigy – by the time he was a teenager he was making pocket money playing on the overnight boats back-and-forth to the mainland. So he has that trad folk influence as a base, and then got really into percussion, and particularly West African percussion, later on.

He used to play (and still does, occasionally) with Musa Mboob and Saidi Kanda. Tristan grew up in Swaziland (now Eswatini) and Malawi, and it was him and his brother (who used to play bass for CSC) persuaded Ash and Fi that this upbeat, Congolese-influenced take on indie was more likely to get the band booked for festivals (and so it proved). Oh, and Gregg Kofi Brown from Osibisa, who features on the new single, is Aaron’s dad.

What’s your relationship like with Gregg Kofi Brown?

A lot of people assume that Gregg’s on the single because Aaron’s in the band, but actually it’s the other way round. Tristan used to play guitar for a Mozambican band in London and Gregg used to dep on bass for them – so it was Gregg who introduced him to Aaron. We were looking for a new bassist at the time, and Aaron obviously had chops for days so it was a perfect match. Gregg’s been a big supporter, as well as an inspiration not just for Aaron, but for the rest of us too.

What was your approach and story behind your latest single, “Speaking in Tongues”

We were messing around with a percussion idea in a rehearsal, and came up with the main guitar riffs and the bass part. Fi had missed that rehearsal for some reason, so it was just an iPhone recording of that idea – a two chord riff. Gregg heard Aaron playing it on his phone, and said: “can you send me that? I’ve got an idea.” He came up with a whole vocal including the chorus line, about speaking in tongues, which was a metaphor for talking at crossed purposes in a relationship. We loved it, but we took it and re-wrote the verse melody and the lyrics to make it a bit more expansive – so it’s not just about personal relationships, it’s about political relationships and the trashing of public trust by politicians too. 

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing? 

Well, most of us have day jobs outside of music – so Tristan’s a journalist, Ash works for a start-up, Fi and Sam are tutors, and so on. We’re appreciating that a lot this year, with the complete shutdown of gigging!
 

Which artist should we be listening out for?

As in other artists? Ah, too many to mention, but we’ve been listening to lots of BCUC, a South African collective, in the past couple of summers, also Rose City Band (by the guy who used to do Wooden Shjips), and loving the stuff that the mysterious group Saults are putting out at the moment. 

What’s your relationship like with your current record label? If you aren’t signed, have you been before? Do prefer being independent or signed?

All our stuff has been self-released so far, and to be honest unless it was a major with massive budget to pump into marketing spend, it’s kind of hard to see what a label would offer you these days? 

Describe your new single in three words

Be sure to check out the music video to theeir single, Speaking In Tongues, and let us know what you think:

Upbeat. Brassy. Pumping. 

Have You Met… Ford.

Grammy-nominated electronic music prodigy ford. took some time to join our Q&A series so we could get to know him a little better. Ford. has just released his new album ‘The Colors of Nothing’, and so we wanted to learn a bit about his journey and what has been his secret to success. Follow the Q&A below:

You have a hugely diverse background, having spent time in different countries – what’s special about where you are currently based? And how has it inspired you creatively?

Since moving to Utah I’ve definitely spent more time outdoors than I have in the past. Nothing interesting really goes on in the more central Utah Valley areas so I feel like being able to head up a canyon and be in the mountains within a 5-10 minute drive is something I try not to take for granted. That side of Utah is something special and it has been inspiring my music heavily in the years I’ve been here so far.

What were you doing when you found out you were nominated for a Grammy?

I was actually panicking in a car on the way to the airport because I was supposed to be flying to Minneapolis for the first show of the Madeon Good Faith Tour, but there was an accident blocking the strip to the departures. I was convinced I was going to miss the flight and throw everything off. As I’m panicking, trying to find any other flights to MN I started getting Twitter notifications from friends about the nomination. Never had so many confusing emotions going on at once. Needless to say, made the flight and everything worked out.

What made you get into music and who were the people around you that influenced you?

Electronic music really sparked my interest in being able to make music when I was like 11 or 12. This idea of having a program on your computer that gave you the resources to make fully developed songs from your room just blew my mind. Going into high school I was exposed to a whole new side of music and that shift in my taste really influenced a similar change in the music I started trying to make. Artists like Tom Misch, Nick Leng, Jon Hopkins, and (funnily enough) ODESZA really helped shape my sound and motivated me to work at my craft.

Having been a couple of years since your previous album, (The) Evening, how did you change your approach for The Color of Nothing?

I wrote most of the first album while I was in high school. I was just learning how to produce, work with other artists, create full songs etc… The fact that all those tracks came together in one uniform package felt pretty serendipitous. The process of writing this album was completely different. All my decisions, influences, and styles were much more thought out and pre-determined. With album one I was just happy to have a group of songs finished whereas with this album process I tried to be purposeful each step of the way. 

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing? 

“Haha honestly no clue. Always loved film and photography but music is what I know and love”

Do you feel any added pressure being only 20 years old, and seeing so much success already in the music career with the popularity of your songs? 

Not necessarily pressure because of my age but definitely can see how expectations of what you’re supposed to sound like can takes its toll. Music is such a therapeutic process for me that I hope I can always feel free to create for myself. 

Who are the people around you who keep you focused and motivated?

I’m lucky to have some great friends and family who are always in my corner ready to help. Definitely owe my ability to keep moving and keep staying motivated to my manager Kyle. We’ll usually hop on a call once a day if not every other day to check in and make sure I’m feeling good about the music or the art or any other aspect of what I’m working on. It’s really reassuring to have people like that ready to back you up.

Are there any producers/artists you work really well with? If so, what makes your relationship work?

I feel like this project really gave me a chance to focus more on my abilities as a solo producer but overall, I definitely have some close friends that I’ve worked well with. Most obvious ones might be Hanz and Sonn. We’ve always just resonated with each other’s melody ideas and percussive rhythms so getting on a song together feels very natural and effortless when we bounce ideas off each other. I think it’s always a great experience to make something with people that you click with both musically and just as people.

What were early experiences in music; did you start with playing instruments or go straight into producing with a DAW?

My mother’s side of the family were all raised classically trained so naturally most of my siblings and I tried to follow suit and take piano lessons when we were younger. I was on and off for a few years but moving around made it difficult to stay consistent with it and I eventually stopped taking lessons and just trying to teach myself and play by ear. Besides that, I took drums for a few years growing up and have always loved percussion, so I think those two instruments were what I gravitated towards when I started working in different DAWs.

What’s your relationship like with your label, Foreign Family Collective, and why did you decide to release with them?

For one, I’ve always been a big fan of ODESZA’s work so naturally I gravitated towards a label that’s founded by them, but the people over at FFC are honestly just the homies. It’s a very transparent relationship and I love how everyone is so unbelievably good at what they do there. Their drive and work ethic is something I really respect and admire. All of that aside though, they’re all just really good people that want you to see you develop and get better as an artist. As surprising as it may be, that’s not often the case with a lot of labels these days so I feel fortunate to be in the situation I am in.

Describe your new album The Color of Nothing in three words

Coming of Age

You can listen to Ford. new album, Colors of Nothing below. Let me know your thoughts:

Have You Met.. Subculture Sage

North London Hip Hop outsiders Subculture Sage ​return to our site following the release of the latest single ‘Tapestry’. This time, we take things a little deeper, as the group join our famous Q&A series, where we learn a little bit more about the artists behind microphone:

Where are you from? Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

SAGE: We’re from London, UK. It’s a cultural melting pot and even though corporations are the big blocks of the city its all us creatives in the cracks that give London its heart and soul. The whole world is in London, you can go to different sides of the city and find different cultures from all over the globe. From music, food, art, its all here.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

SUBCULTURE: I started playing the drums when I was 11 and was busy playing in bands for most of my childhood. I was particularly obsessed with Questlove and Travis Barker and was a huge Timbaland and Neptunes fan growing up. In the band I grew up playing in, we were always obsessed w the idea of working with a producer and I always felt growing up that a producer would be the answer to my band’s problem – that we never sounded as good in the studio as we did live. I was also largely influenced by other bands in the scene and the mainly old Rock and Jazz that my dad used to play round the house when I was a kid.

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

SAGE: We’re a MC/producer duo so we got most of it covered. We love working with our friends though and it’s always the good vibes we share that you hear in our music.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?

SUBCULTURE: Though I was only really playing drums, I was always obsessed with the structures and arrangements in songs. It was only in my later teens that I started producing on my computer, chopping up old funk beats and audio rips from my favourite movies.

Are there any other musicians, and DJs we should be paying attention to? 

SAGE: Rocks FOE is one of the best and most underrated artists in the UK. He’s a beast with the bars and makes all his own beats. Go sesh him NOW!

Are you signed to a label, if so what’s your relationship like, if not, has that been out of choice?

SUBCULTURE: Subculture Sage are unsigned and we self-release our music. Self-releasing for many years can teach some very valuable lessons about running release campaigns, the importance of creative control and the power of money saving. I think at the start we self released due to lack of options, though now with a pretty heavy streamed catalogue with all of our royalties still in our possession  we can really feel the financial benefits of having funded and released everything ourselves. Though it can be tough. Outside of this project, I do also run my own label – Twisted Hearts Records.

How have you changed your approach from your previous single two years ago, to your most recent project

SAGE: Yeah, we don’t really care anymore. We just wanna make our music.

I really like the single ‘Tapestry’ which sees you guys nicely link up with Illaman. What about his ability made you decide he’d be the right fit for the track?

SUBCULTURE: Illaman is a great friend of ours. He featured on one of our older songs ‘Happy Like The Sunking’ and we are both personal friends of his as a person and an artist. We all chopped it up at my Brixton studio a couple years ago and Tapestry was the outcome of that day.

Have you got any plans in the pipeline following lockdown, any future shows?

SAGE: Not really, we’re just making music at the moment. We like doing shows and performing our music live, meeting our fans etc but staying in the now it’s just all about creation.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Tapestry, you can below:

UK Pianist Jake Milliner Teams Up With US Keyboardist Howard McNair For New Release

Last November marked Jake Milliner’s introduction to the world with his debut album “Bernie Says”. Working with the likes of Alfa Mist, Joe Armon-Jones and Bubblerap, with stand out releases such as ‘Reminisce‘, and Subject Seven. Jake entered 2020 with the deeply moving sentimental single, “Morning Matters” with UK singer, Yazmin Lacey leading the vocals.

Now, for his latest single, “Freddie’s Winning Hand” he has teamed up once again with US jazz keyboarder Howard McNair. The pair take you on a splendid wistful journey with a traditional boom bap drum pattern, the pair show off their skills behind the keyboard

Have a listen to the single below, and let us know what you think

Have You Met.. Koki Nakano

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Hailing from Fukuoka Prefecture & trained at Tokyo University of the Arts, Koki Nakano is an extremely talented composer and pianist who has released his second album, Pre-Choreographed through Paris label, No Format. He took some time to join our Q&A series:

Where are you from? Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

I was born in Fukuoka then I moved to Tokyo when I was 15 years old. And now I’ve been living in Paris for the last 5 years. When I was in Tokyo, I felt that creators needed to be linked to commercial projects somehow. After I moved to Paris, I felt more space to cultivate my own stuff, I think it’s thanks to the people around me who I work with.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

The first strong artistically influential person for me was my piano teacher, who I met when I was 16 years old. She tried to share with me her sensations, how she feels for each phrase by drawing movements of the energy for each phrase on the score. She showed me the possibility that any ambiguous feelings could potentially be shared with another person. I have taken much influence from Japanese visual artist Kohei Nawa since I met him. Now, I’m very inspired by great choreographers who I had the chance to observe in their creative process such as Damien Jalet or Sharon Eyal.

What other genres of music outside of classical influence your music?

I mainly listen to Electro or Minimal music. And I also like to listen to some pop music or traditional folk as well. It always shows me the power of simple melodies.

Which musicians in Japan should we listen to?

Marihiko Hara and Cornelius

Are you signed to a record label, if so what’s your relationship like, if not, has that been out of choice?

I signed to Paris based label No Format! When I was 26. I’ve known them through ‘Solo Piano’ of Gonzales when I was 18. Since then I always wanted to work with them. I liked their way of showing instrumental music to be a very present progressive form, while carefully keeping the essence of traditional instruments.

When the owner of No Format, Laurent Bizot, came to my small concert in Maison de La Culture du Japon, I remember that I was very excited.

The album is also accompanied by a series of dance-orientated music videos, created with leading choreographers. Koki recently shared the latest of those clips, to accompany the track ‘Near-Perfect Synchronization’. I really like the choreographed dancing you had for the single ‘Near-Perfect Synchronization’, what was the vision behind it?

Amala Dianor’s piece ‘Quelque part Au Milieu de l’infini’ is one of the pieces that touched me the most in the past 3 years. His dancing seems as though he knows how to devote himself wholly to time’s perpetual motion. It’s incredible that you’ll be left with nothing but ‘warmth’, just like the normal body temperature of a person, after watching the continuance of his exceedingly complicated and yet seamless movements.

For this project, I just wished to collaborate with dancers and choreographers who actually inspired me during the making process of my new album. I purely hoped to shoot them with my music and I wanted to share their greatness with everyone. I feel their ideas, how they deal with the energy flow gives lots of hints for our age. I shared my inspirations with the director but I didn’t have any direction for dancers.

What was the inspiration behind your latest album ‘Pre-Choreographed’?

After I arrived in Paris, I have started to go to see contemporary dances often and many inspirations for this album are found in it. The album ‘Pre-Choreographed’ evokes strong saudade for an era when music and dance were very close to each other, when they used to function congenitally in society.

The title also refers to music in a state of awaiting or even missing choreography. I always have human gestural images in my head when I compose. I like very much the words of Gorge Balanchine, who worked extensively with leading composers of his time like Igor Stravinsky; ‘See the music, hear the dance’.

Have a listen to his latest album, Pre-Choreographed below, and let us know what you think:

Q&A: Have You Met.. MXXWLL

Photographed by Tamara Roxanne

Australian native but LA based music producer, MWXXLL, fresh from the release of his debut album titled – SHEEESH which featuring the likes of SiR, Aloe Blacc, and Guapdad 4000. MWXXLL took some time to join our Q&A series:

Having being born and raised in Sydney, Australia, what made you want to relocate to LA?

Being a producer sometimes creating within the G Funk world, it was really important to me to connect not only sonically but also physically and emotionally. Travelling to LA felt like the next logical step, a place where this music thrived, although G funk is not isolated only to LA, it feels intrinsically connected with the culture there and I wanted to experience and learn and connect with people who also share that love of the sound, which is not too common to find in Sydney. Just as a bucket list tick too, like when I was younger, I’d daydream about being in LA one day driving down palm lined streets in a fly ass car.  I guess it’s always been part of my vision of where I saw myself, even if I didn’t know exactly why at the time.

How has your mindset changed for previous singles, in comparison to bringing out your debut album?

When I’ve made singles, it’s mostly for other people’s projects so although you’re creating within your style and adding your creative elements to the project, ultimately its someone else’s vision you’re creating within. I also think you have a lot of freedom when it’s a standalone track. With this album Sheeesh, It definitely changed my mindset and my approach to creating music. It was about telling a story, finding that through-line something to be listened to as whole and not just picked around the individual tracks. I wanted to find a balance between a beat tape and an album, as a producer with features I knew I wanted to tread carefully so as not to become a “compilation” album, and I still wanted the unpredictability of a beat tape, short tracks that step you through a journey.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your time being in the industry?

One big one is that you yourself have the power to make shit happen, nobody else really, sure someone with a big social media following can post about you, but that won’t happen UNLESS you make the music for that person to wanna talk about and share. Make the best shit you can make and let the universe do the rest.

Photographed by Tamara Roxanne

What is special about Los Angeles, what is the creative culture like?

I love that there’s such a short and sweet approach to organizing sessions, You can be working on some beats one day and a rapper you’ve always wanted to work with can hit u up and say “hey lets cook today”, and then you’re on! The impulsive nature of that side of things definitely keeps you on your feet too having fresh material ready to go and constantly creating and being prepared for when sessions pop up out of the blue.

What do you miss most about living in Sydney?

When I’m in LA I miss the fam and day ones back in Sydney for sure.. But I also really miss the food we got back home, Sydney got some good ishh!

You have had some amazing features on your forthcoming album, when do you feel like you’ve ‘made it’, or do you feel like you have?

I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve “made it”.. It’s just a cool journey to be on and to meet and create with dope likeminded people… Although I will say working with or even just getting props from artists I’ve looked up to for years is as close as I’ve come to having that feeling.

You have worked with countless names in the business ranging from big names to up and comers; are there any producers/artists coming up in LA or Sydney that we should be paying attention to?

LA, Leven Kali and John Givez are crazy with both the vocals as well as production.. Sydney, Bustter, 18yoman and Uno Stereo are all dope.

How has covid-19 affected you, has been mostly positive or negative transition?

This time has been really strange for everyone, I don’t think there’s any person on Earth not feeling the shift in peoples energies, everyone seems to be doing their bit and pulling together and that’s true in music too. I think we’ve all felt the need to step up and keep putting it out, music has always healed and I think there’s almost more music and content coming out because we all feel a need for it.

Prior to Covid, I was working from my home studio so not much had changed in a practical sense and lockdown hasn’t much changed my workflow. A positive thing is that its forced us to adjust to make sessions work over the net which opens up more opportunities for sessions from country to country and will be something positive we can take with us post- covid.

What is one of your go-to pieces of equipment you use to produce your work?

It’s an obvious one but I wanna say my laptop… you can get just about any sound, any instrument, any synth from just using plugins. As a follow up answer, I’d say the moog sub37 is dope and I love making sounds on it but even a lot of those sounds can be made pretty accurately on plugins.

What would you do if you were not making music or in the music industry of some sort, do you have other aspirations?

I’m interested in a bunch of other stuff, I’d love to learn more about graphic design, animation, game development etc. I don’t really have any aspirations to say I “want” to be successful in those fields at this point though.

Finally, describe your debut album in three words?

Sydney. LA. Vibes

You can listen to MXXWL new album, ‘Sheesh!’, let us kno what you think and support:

Q&A: Have You Met… Mr Käfer

Photographed by David Henselder

Austrian born and raised music producer, and composer Mr Kafer steps up to join our Q&A series so we can learn a bit more about him beyond his music,. Having earlier this month released his latest LP, ‘Orientations‘ through German label, Melting Pot.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Salzburg, Austria – a small and quiet town which has a beautiful nature & surroundings. I always appreciated the fact to have so many possibilities to just go out into the nature to find some rest. I think in general it’s a town which offers good circumstances to develop as an artist cause you don’t have a lot of distractions there.

Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

The creative culture has many farcettes there but in general it is best known for Mozart and classical music. Most people go there to consume it („Festspiele“) or to study classical music. But also acting & dancing is a big part of it. Because classical music is such a big focus there, sometimes it seems that everything else is a bit stagnating from time to time – it doesn’t seem really easy to build a constant alternative scene there from my experience. The Hip Hop there is kind of a small scene with stuff going on but not too much happening collectively from my experience so everyone is more like „cooking up his own soup“.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

That’s hard to tell. One of the first things I was listening to at a very young age was a tape from Cheb Khaled, a singer from Oran in Algeria. I’ve played that over and over again. Later when I was about 10/11 years old I got into Hip Hop and from there on was in love with this music. I also visited a music school at that time where I was in the choir and had classes in music theory. I guess things just took their course and I kind of always had a surrounding & people to share this music with. I remember a good friend of mine and me making mixtapes with our favorite rap songs all the time back in the days and exchanging them from time to time. I think first stuff I was listening to was artists like „The Roots“, „The Pharcyde“, „Pete Rock & CL Smooth“, „Eminem“, „Mobb Deep“.

How has your Algerian heritage in music effected your style? From the instruments you choose and how you structure your tracks?

To be honest, I don’t know in which way or if it has affected my own style concretely. I just always could identify with the music from there and liked listening to it. I think maybe I just naturally developed a certain fondness for certain sounds, rhythms & instruments. Besides that it is hard to tell – I think a lot of influences in that sense are more unconscious and subtle.

How does Austrian and Algerian musical styles differ?

When I think about the music culture, my experience is that growing up in Austria doesn’t necessarily mean to be in contact with the traditional music a lot, except you grow up on the countryside. In Algeria I personally always had the feeling that (regional) music somehow is lived out more actively by the people (no matter if they live on the countryside or in the city) and it also feels like it has a different social value somehow. But that’s only my point of view. And of course the obvious such as the use of instruments, music scales, rhythms, style of singing etc. is a big difference.

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

Yeah there are a lot of artists I love to work with. Collaborating is always fun. To name a few – Flitz &S uppe, DDob (the 3 of us also made an album called „Sandals“ last year), Devaloop who is also from Salzburg, Gavin Lord and of course the instrumentalists from the current release „Orientation“, Christian Höll, Makkako and Ruff I. It’s always interesting to collaborate cause everyone hears things differently and brings different skills. I think what makes it work well is just that you get along very well on a personal level. So a friendship is kind of the basis and everything happens quite naturally – you spend some good times together and the music is more like an outcome of it.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?

As I said I visited a music school for four years where I was singing in the choir and had some music theory classes. Music was always around but I never learned playing an instrument during my childhood – always liked to play percussions with friends and just jam. But yeah, I went straight into making beats somewhere around 2012 I think.

Are there any other musicians, and DJs we should be paying attention to?

There are so many great musicians out there and so much nice music is released almost every day. I’d probably be sitting here half a day just writing down names

If you mean the Austrian music scene I can name just a few that come to my mind here:

Mono: Massive Brenk Sinatra Flip Devaloop Moby Stick Raptoar & Windshadow and many more!

Orientations LP Released May 8th

What equipment did you use for your recent produce your forthcoming album?

(Pictures of your set up would be great to include) I used my laptop, keyboard, Mpd to make the beats and we used different mics to record the instruments. Big part of this project was the live recorded instruments saxophone, guitar and double bass which were played by Christian Höll, Makkako and Ruff I.

How did you relationship come about with Melting Pot because you’ve released music with them before this?

I studied audio design in Salzburg. There you have to do an internship in the fourth semester. I did that at MPM in Cologne from September 2018 till December 2018. They searched for interns at that time which was a nice coincidence. During that time I also finished and released a project called „Lost Reflections“, which I made togehter with Gavin Lord who is a saxophone player. „Lost Reflections“ was then released on tape on their sub-label KO-OP and is now part of the split LP „Lost Reflections/Orientation“ which came out May 8th this year.

How have you changed your approach from your previous album, to your recent album, Orientations in June ?

My idea was to incorporate oriental sounds and rhythms into jazz, which always has been a great influence & inspiration for my beats. A new approach was to make a record that sounds more organic. I didn’t really have the ambition to make a beattape in the „conventional sense“. To achieve that, I worked with Christian Höll, who co-produced the EP with me and played saxophone on the project & Makkako and Ruff I who played guitar and bass. Shoutouts to the guys! So I guess what really has changed from my approach was to try to create a project that sounds more organic and to work more concept orientated than I did before.

What was your favourite track to produce on the album and why?

I think „Dawn at the Souk“ just because it felt most different from the songs I’ve made till then. It was fun creating something a bit more uptempo with new rhythms. And I just personally like the mood of the song.

Check out his recently released EP below, and let us know what you think and give him your support:

Q&A: Have You Met.. Number

Number-8

Where are you from? Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

ALI: I was born and raised in Bishops, Stortford about 30 miles north of London – it was a commuter town with very little cultural output.

Bands played in local pubs or occasionally in the one club there was called Triad – which became the juicy Duck. It was here I saw my first live band when I was about 12; Shakatak, who were just starting and who were from the town.  We followed some local bands around the pubs of the town and local villages as well. There was one record shop in the town which was always full of interesting looking kids; I bought my first ever single in there – No more heroes by The Stranglers. But with not much on offer in the town, me and my brother or mates would take the train into London to see bands.

What made you guys into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

ALI:  My older brother Jez was a big influence in getting me into music. He had a knowledge which I didn’t have and a growing record collection which I started to listen to. A mate of mine called Chris was into punk and new wave and would come round to play me new singles he had bought – that gave me the confidence to go and buy my own. I loved it.

I learnt guitar as a kid but hated it – I ran away from home to avoid a lesson once. Then at school I was picked out to learn double bass because I was tall and because I had a grounding of guitar. Free music lessons then. So I learnt classical double bass but soon started learning bass lines from records and playing along. My bass teacher was great – Mr Jobson –  my parents tried to match make him with my auntie once. It didn’t work out.

We had music in the house a lot but also at Church and my first experience playing with a band came with a group who played choruses and modern hymns regularly at the Sunday services.

Double bass - Big Smoke Studioa

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

RICH:  Working with Dean Thatcher, Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns (The Aloof) , David Holmes and Andrew Weatherall in the 90s had a huge influence on me and how I developed as a musician and producer.

We have worked with many great sound engineers over the years. In the 90s..Tim Holmes (Death in Vegas), Luke Gordon (Spacer), Hugo Nicholson and more recently Shuta Shinoda at Hackney Road studios.

In terms of Number it has been great working with Dan Carney (Astronauts) and Louisa and Heloise from Landshapes, Byron Wallen and John Metcalf…inspiring.

Most importantly for me is having worked with Ali since 1993. he is a really creative musician, patient and open minded. As a rhythm section we work really well together and seem to have our own way of immediately understanding what the other person means. It doesn’t always work but as a musician you learn by making mistakes. Often we hear things differently to the other person that that is often when the really inspired music comes from.

What were your early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments?

ALI: I learnt guitar from an early age and then had double bass lessons and was part of a youth orchestra for a brief moment. There was music in my home and everyone in the family learnt how to play the piano except me…..I still can’t play it. I picked up the electric bass and played in school performances for a while and then at University I was in various bands playing Velvets and Bowie like stuff. I eventually chose P funk as my thing with the Freakin Habit Forms

HackneyRd_Studios_DIGITAL_Use-4287

What equipment did you use to produce your forthcoming album? 

ALI: We had wanted to try new sources for writing music together, and Number allowed us to experiment with sound and process again. The foundations for most tunes were from the Volca Beats and electric bass put through various fx. At my studio I tended to record the acoustic elements of the sound like the gato drum and xylophones etc. using a Protools set up with Neve preamps.

The Moog Taurus pedals and Casio keyboards were also well thumbed. Most of the live drums and some of the bass was recorded in an old industrial incinerator in west London; that gave the sound a particular flavour. Otherwise, a fair amount came from working post-production with Shuta Shinoda in his Hackney Road Studios. He uses some great analogue compressors and puts everything through a 2 inch tape machine and we get to use his old Eventide as well…..

Shuta rack 1

 

Are you signed to a label, if so what’s your relationship like, if not, has that been out of choice?

RICH: We are signed to Sunday Best Recordings, Sarah Bolshi and Stan Watson have done a great job for us, they have been very understanding of our high expectations and are really creative with their limited budget. It is very hard for Independent labels these days, especially when trying to promote a new act.

How have you changed your approach from your previous project to your forthcoming album?

ALI: Number is about Rich and myself plus friends who we have got involved as vocalists or instrumentalists. Dan, Heloise and Luisa gave a lot of themselves and lifted the tracks enormously. John created a beautiful patchwork of his strings and Byron came up with some suitably skewed trumpet for us. We have had to adopt a different approach in that we haven’t been able to work in the same physical space that much, and this, together with financial restrictions has definitely had an impact on the shape of the music.

The sound and focus of the album has shifted as we’ve written and recorded it – its cool to have that going on. I’ve enjoyed playing a lot of other instrumentation on it and feeling in the right mindset to try vocal ideas without fear of being laughed at – I’m over that. Lyrics also allow for another layer of meaning to the music for me.

Rich and I first started recording disco and hip hop drums and bass ideas onto a simple tape recorder in 1993. That spirit of putting things together in a slightly ad hoc way and revelling in the simplicity and experimentation of it has returned to us on this album I would say.

Have a listen to their new album, and purchase through bandcamp: