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

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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

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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…..

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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:

 

 

Q&A: Have You Met.. Deyah

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Photo credit: Will Beech

Berkshire based lyricist, Deyah is slowly starting to make a name for herself. A dynamic lyricist opposing a blend of rousing narration behind lethargic, lo-fi beats, she excavates her deepest insecurities, probing and scrutinising the essence of her innermost vulnerabilities. Her honest lyrics and intriguing video style for her single ‘Venthouse Suite’ caught our attention and, so we asked her 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 wales in the capital city of Cardiff.. the creative culture there was unique and still is but it didn’t really accommodate the RnB & Hip Hop movement, so i struggled at times to find my feet within the culture.

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

My pops played music constantly and consistently in the yard when i was growing up. It was like a 24hr / 7 day a week event. I loved the sounds, rhythms, word play, lyricism and the way the melodies made me feel.

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

Kenneth English is one of my favourite producers. We haven’t actually met but every beat he makes is actually mad and i connect with each one.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or express yourself through spoken word and singing?

I played the guitar, the Cajon drum and the piano from early whilst writing and performing spoken word. I didn’t start singing until a couple years ago.

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Photo credit: Will Beech

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

I’m not signed to a label and that’s for sure out of choice. I don’t see myself wanting to be signed either. I appreciate the freedom.

Have have you changed your approach from your previous album, ‘Lover Loner EP’, to your recent album, ‘Care City’ EP ?

Lover/Loner was an experimental project for me.. it was a kind of trial and error situation. Care City seemed to come together with ease and my approach was totally different.. I created the project without fear and created what i wanted not what was expected of me.

Your single titled ‘Venthouse Suite’ has a really cool video. Why did you choose that particular style?

Thank you. I wanted something simplistic but still wanted the visuals to stand out. I wanted to explore different videography methods and hope to continue on that path.

Finally, can you share any more details on the album in terms of possible features?

This project is just me ft me. I decided not to have any features on this as the subject matter was very personal and i didn’t feel it needed another perspective. However, my next project will be a collaboration EP.

Be sure to have a look for Deyah’s EP titled, Care City on all digital platforms, Check the videos to Deyah’s single, Okoposire:

You can listen to the full EP here:

Q&A: Have You Met.. Karmasound

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Where are you from ?

I was born in Buenos Aires, grew up in Lugo, Galicia and am based in Barcelona since 2012.

Describe the kind of creative culture within your city?
Barcelona is a multicultural and hectic place. You can find really good record stores like Paradiso, Rhythm Control, Wah wah Records. There are nice clubs like Curtis Audiophile Cafe, Laut, Freedonia and Jamboree with really good music programs. Nice festivals like Artenou or MIRA fest. Various collective program music nights like Canela en Surco, Tombolo, Wok Musi and many radio stations like Dublab or Radio CC, just to give a few examples. I also stay in contact with other creative people like graffiti artists, art toy creators and illustrators, like my friend Deru or Twee Muizen. It’s a sunny nice place with a huge cultural offer.

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

I have been in a relationship with music since my early days in Argentina. During family parties, my uncle (RIP) had a Cumbia band and he would always play the guitar and sing funny songs.
My father, for example, always played Argentinian folk music, like Jorge Cafrune and also tango, like Roberto Goyenche.
My brother and sister always played music at home. They played Argentinian rock and ska, like Los Fabulosos Cadillacs or Los Pericos, and 80’s music like Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, etc. These are my first memories of music.More recently, in the early/mid-’90s, in Galicia, I discovered breakdance and Hip Hop culture and I met my musical soulmate, Oliver. With him and many other friends, I discovered a lot of music, ranging from jazz-funk and soul to electronic music, all of them through hip hop. I think this is the main reason why I make beats and music today.

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

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Normally I work alone in my home studio but I have several projects with other artists/producers. I always enjoy making music and tracks with my brother Oliver, of course. We have a rap group named “Kuando Alguien Oculta Sonrisas” from the late ’90s. I enjoy making tracks with my girlfriend, the lovely Sara Bee. We usually make a mix of future/soul and R&B styled music. It’s also really nice going to the studio with my friend from Seattle, Evan. We made an EP years ago titled Evan&Damian. I also really enjoy making music with Pedro Ricardo, we always try to leave the comfort zone and explore more folk music and musical roots. We recorded an LP last year and I hope we will release it during this year. There is also my friend Jedreck, from Poland, also someone with who it is always is very fun to take some time and make music together.
I worked and am still working with other people online, like Emeson (Saturn’s Children) Cyclonix, Alga Rhythms from Manchester, Rui Fradinho and Ruben Estevez. For me one of the best things about music is that it allows you to meet new people and make new friends.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?
I started dancing, DJing and doing turntablism and after that, I started to make beats. First with a computer and with Akai samplers and later I started including other machines. When I started discovering other kinds of music through hip-hop beats, I began to be interested in playing instruments so I started to play the piano on my own. In the last few years, I have taken some piano classes but I have a scattered mind and am not very disciplined so I rather explore on my own.

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Are there any other musicians, and DJs in Argentina we should be paying attention to?
I really love the jazz-fusion scene in Argentina and Uruguay. Names like Pipi Piazzola, Escalandrum, Mati Mormandi, Hernan Jacinto, Fernandez4, Antonino Restuccia, Matador and many more… last month I met Lucien Memi in Barcelona, he is a really great keyboardist and trumpeter and I love his project called Vinilo Tinto, really nice music!

What’s your relationship like with Bristol based label, Phuture Muzik records?
It all started when I uploaded a five-track EP to SoundCloud in 2017. A couple of months after, Josh (the owner of PSM ) emailed me. He listened to my EP on SoundCloud and he liked it so much that he made the proposal to release the album on his label. “Probabilidades” dropped on January of 2018 and at the end of that year, I went to Bristol to play my live set due to the release of my single ‘Can See Thru you” W/ Jedreck Dudek from Poland and some remixes from the amazing producer Sean McCabe. I met Joshia in person there, we have a great relationship through music.

What musical influences outside techno to you have in your music?

I have different music influences for example; Horace Silver, Monk, Hugo Fatorusso, Azymuth, Daniel Maza, Jill Scott, Jorge Drexler, Herbie Hancock, Jazz Messengers, Kaidi Tatham, Dj Premier, Gustavo Santaolalla, La Marraqueta, Curtis Mayfield, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and many many more.

What’s influenced your current album with Phuture Shock Music?

“La Búsqueda” is a concept album I created mainly between 2018 and 2019. But some tracks like “Lo único que quiero” I wrote in 2014. It was like a spiritual exercise for me to find myself and reconnect with my South-American heritage. There is a huge influence from South American traditional rhythms and I tried to experiment with Candombe, chacarera, zamba, cueca, and Brazilian things. All of this mixed with my main passions; jazz, hip hop and broken beat.

When can we expect more music from you, and will we see you DJing around Europe or the UK soon?

At the moment I’m focused on preparing a live set for my album “La Búsqueda”.
Coming up soon, I will be doing a DJ warm-up for a french 70’s jazz-funk band called Cortex in Barcelona on March 14th, the release party of “La búsqueda” on 20th March in Curtis Audiophile Cafe in Barcelona with Phuture Shock Music owner, Joshia. I will come back to Curtis on the 20th of April with my good friend and amazing music selector Laani (Brownswood Rec / WWFm) and I hope to go to UK and EU this summer season!

You can preview and purchase his latest album below:

Q&A: Have You Met.. Maũ

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Where were you born, and raised Maũ?

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and raised in both Nairobi and the UK, specifically Ascot and West London.

What are your earliest memories with music and art, in terms of who encouraged you to express yourself through art and music, or what is just a reactionary process to your environment?

My earliest memories of with music and art were probably school plays as a child and music lessons. My parents always encouraged creative expression but as more of a hobby or extra-curricular thing; I had way too much energy as a child so it made sense they wanted me to get it out aside from school and sport.

I watched you short documentary on vimeo, clean water. What inspired the documentary

Clean Water came about from a lot of racial encounters during my second year of uni in New York that pushed me to question how blackness intersects with my identity and upbringing. At the time things felt super overwhelming so it just became about making sense of this part of myself now being older and experiencing a different kind of racism from people.

Clean Water from Kamau Wainaina on Vimeo.

I really like the recent video you released for your track, Chances, what was your vision for the video. How did you want it to be received?

The Chances video came about through a lot of conversations with the director. Originally it wasn’t a song I had a clear visual for – [which is strange given that from my background is mostly in film]. Coby and I met to brainstorm some ideas after he approached me wanting to do a video as part of his class project. I had an idea about exploring a space where I interact with different objects and Coby took that and adapted it to Chances, where we conceived a dark kind of nether-space that represented the scary uncertainty of being an artist and how that fear is fueled by my personal background and culture.

In spite not living in Kenya, how do you try to maintain a certain closeness and awareness to your Kenyan roots through your art?

I think I just try and be aware of that side of myself and let it come out naturally when it wants to. I’ve realized more and more that if I try and force elements of my “Kenyanness” or culture into my music in ways that I’ve observed I may end up overthinking it and being disingenuous.

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Which musicians and lyricist have inspired your music?

Right now I really love Saba, and how he plays with words and cadence. I’ve also always loved Loyle Carner and how honest he is in his music as well as his flow and delivery. Other influences include Little Simz, Murkage Dave, Noname and recently Obonjayar.
From a cultural standpoint, how does living in London compare to living in New York?

I saw a tweet the other day that said New York and London are cousins and I kinda feel that, like there are similarities and differences. I feel like New York is a lot more urgent, people move a lot faster and in general there’s a restlessness which is great for being proactive and productive but can be really overwhelming. It’s been a long time since I lived in London, but I definitely felt like it was more calm – still energetic but you could still find peace when in very built up spaces. I’m likely moving back soon so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like living there after 5 years of New York.

Check out our soundcloud playlist of Maũ latest tracks:

Q&A: Have You Met.. Misha

Promotional pictures for producer Misha. Shot in Summer 2019.
Misha. Photo Credit: Pirita Männikkö

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

Actually I was originally born in Moscow, but grew up in a small town called Joensuu in Eastern Finland, where nothing much was happening. I found the local music scene pretty dull and introvert. It used to be heavy metal and rock driven community, where hip-hop wasn’t even considered as real music. I never really felt being a part of it. Luckily there was a small group of like-minded people and together we were able to do our own thing, ignoring the surroundings. My biggest respect goes to the event organizers, who truly supported the culture by arranging economically unprofitable events, just to bring creatives together. One of the best memories I have was me opening the night for Slum Village. Imagine that in a small town of Eastern Finland, hah.

Finnish Music is often associated with dark and melancholic vibes. I guess due to lack of sun and warmth. But personally I don’t think that music and environment should speak the same language at all. For me music is a perfect get-away. Soundwise I’m tripping somewhere in LA, while looking into the cold and dark emptiness. Through music I can imagine what the rest of the world looks like – some sort of fantasy.

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

As I described the local music scene, there was not much of interesting stuff going on for me. But without my mom I would probably never have got into music in the first place. She took me to children’s choir, piano lessons and so on. Besides my mom, the most important musical influences I got from MTV, especially Yo! MTV Raps. That program teleported me a million miles away from my surroundings and gave me so much inspiration.

Before MTV, my true passion for hip-hop kicked in when my friend played me ”Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan. We were 12 years old. I was like: this is the vibe and attitude, fuck all the rules. Finnish Hip-Hop scene was elevating fast at the time and soon I found some dope local rap acts as well.

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

There are many of them, but Monma, Cocabona and Jussi Halme to name a few. Me, Monma and cocabona made a collaborative album Aura for Chillhop Music last year. Me and Monma used to be in the same Finnish rap group for many years and we’ve always shared pretty mutual taste in music. Cocabona is a great Finnish producer and bass player. We’ve been making lot of stuff together and he has also been playing bass in my rap live set. Both are really good friends of mine. I think a trustworthy friendship is a rock solid foundation for musical collaboration as well. I can say the exact same things about Jussi Halme.


How did you develop your relationship with Halme?

Oh, it’s quite a long story. I’ll try to keep it short 🙂

Jussi Halme is a 58-year-old Finnish keyboard player, composer, arranger and producer. His musical style varies between boogie, disco, jazz and funk. There was almost zero demand for these genres in Finland in the early 1980s. To me his music represents an unyielding vision and an alternative to traditional Finnish popular and rock music. It reminds me of Bob James, George Duke and Bobby Caldwell. His first private pressing 7″ single (Funny Funk and Autumn Gold) was released in 1983 and it has become a sort of Holy Grail for DJ’s playing Finnish groove music. It was not made with a huge emphasis on commercial success, which allowed the music to be in the center of attention. This 7” single has outlived many trends and it still lives on and keeps finding new generations.

I heard this rare single from my DJ friend, who used to play Finnish grooves from the 70’s and 80’s. However, it took many years for me to actually reach out to Jussi. Over a year ago I posted a comment on one of his YouTube uploads. It was a song called ‘Early Evening in Brazil’, that me and Monma ended up sampling and recreating into a song called Brazil which was later released by Chillhop Music. That’s where we started.
Since Brazil, me and Jussi have also collaborated on Funny Funk ’18 and my latest single ‘Luv Pact’. We love the same chord progressions and same vibes. Besides making music, we’ve become really good friends, which is even more important. He’s sort of a mentor figure to me now. The one I never had before.

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

I used to play piano and clarinet in an orchestra when I was a teenager. However it was during my puberty, when I found hip-hop and suddenly quit playing piano and clarinet. I’ve been making rap (in Finnish) for quite a while. Started making beats about 10 years ago. After a long hiatus with piano, I’ve got back in to it recently. I guess I never liked playing classical pieces like a robot, so now I approach it through Neo-Soul, RnB and Jazz and I love it.
Are there any other musicians, and DJs in Finland we should be paying attention to?

In my opinion there are lot of very talented musicians in Finland, but most of them are limited to an extremely small target audience because of the language. There is only 5,5 million people living in Finland and our native language is being spoken only inside this country.

Unfortunately this geographical and mathematical fact put local musicians in a challenging situation, where you have to choose between making music for the masses or for a very small group of people. I mean that’s if you want to make a living out of it. I’ve been telling everyone to start making music in English or get some international collabos going on. Thanks to the Internet, the community is where you want it to be.

Anyway I’d like to present both producers and artists here. The complete list would be very long, but here’s a short version 😉

Vocalists/Bands:
Jesse Markin
Alma
Heini
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators
KaksOne
Kube
Hassan Maikal

Producers:
Monma
cocabona
Kupla
Tomorrow
Palmroth (produced by Palmroth, performed by Yeboyah)
Pianomies (produced by Pianomies, performed by Pianomies and Kube)
MD$ and Ruuben (produced by MD$ and Ruuben, performed by Gettomasa)

What musical influences outside hip hop do you have?

Generally speaking, I love RnB, Soul, Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova, Disco, Boogie, Funk, Progressive & Psychedelic Rock. It tends to go in seasons.

I also have a weak spot for different kinds of obscure grooves, but especially the ones from Soviet Union and funky Bollywood soundtracks. Music like this here . I’ve been even running a club dedicated to Soviet Grooves. I just love when different cultures and vibes get mixed. That’s when it all comes together – no borders in music and art.

When can we expect more music from you, and will we see you DJing around Europe or the UK soon?

My next single drops on February 19th!

On March 3rd me, Monmaand Cocabona will be playing live at the Beat Geeks club in Berlin. Really looking forward to that and would be very excited to play more shows after releasing my debut EP through Melting Pot Music at the end of March.

Q&A: Have You Met.. Tina Edwards

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Tina Edwards has been at the forefront of the emerging Jazz scene for five years, living and breathing it in its epicentre, South London as a DJ, broadcaster, writer and promoter. As the first host of WW Daily, the morning show on Gilles Peterson’s award-winning Worldwide FM, Tina returns after a short break with Universal Sanctuary, a new show that explores the junction between Jazz, electronic music and DJ culture.

Tina will be teaming up with fellow DJ, broadcaster and promoter, Charles Vaughan. Who also has a number of ventures bubbling in London’s underground electronic music scene, from his  Resolution Birdland Kissa, and A Place of Love. The duo will be in Manchester for the penultimate show of their Universal Sanctuary tour, you can buy tickets, here

Tina took some time to join our Q&A series:

Tell us about your new show on Worldwide FM, What defines universal sanctuary?

We want Universal Sanctuary to feel like a venue; somewhere you can enter for a couple of hours, where you can listen to music and react with no inhibitions. We’re exploring an area between live Jazz, electronic music and club culture. We’re gonna have some really great features too, where we’ll call on our friends living around the world.

How did your relationship develop with Charles? 

I got to know Charles after he booked me to play Birdland Kissa, one of his many nights (he’s also behind Resolution and A Place Of Love). We got on super well, nerding out about music. We both know a lot about Jazz and electronic music but have introduced each other to a lot of artists that we weren’t listening to previously. At the time around we met, I was looking for a producer for the then unnamed Universal Sanctuary, and I clicked that Charles would be perfect. I’m very happy that he agreed. We’re now touring Universal Sanctuary around the UK together, leading towards the first broadcast later this year. It’s been great doing it this way around, as we’re working out exactly what US is, before we present it to a wider audience on air.

Has music always been your passion, do you have any other creative pursuits? 

Most of my creative energy is applied to music, whether it’s DJing, radio, writing, workshopping, whatever it may be. Over the last couple years my love for art has grown; I’m regularly in galleries, and do some painting from time to time.

Which emerging artists in the Jazz scene should we be looking out?

I always love this question; Odd Okoddo are an interesting duo from Kenya/Germany, Daniel Maunick is about to release an incredible debut on Far Out Recordings that draws on Brazilian dance and club culture, and on the other end of the spectrum, bassist Junius Paul is just about to release his long awaited debut as a bandleader – he’s a touring member of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. The new record brings together Chicago’s avant-garde black expressionism a la 1960s with the city’s current, edgy and DIY outlook. It’s killer.

Tell me more about the Chicago x London, what was your vision behind the project?

There’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Chicago’s Jazz scene; the city and its musician have a really distinctive way of exploring Jazz; it’s fearless, striking, sometimes political and always outside of the norm. I’d been sharing music with DJ and broadcaster King Hippo for a long while – who has been equally as enamoured with the London Jazz scene – and became increasingly in awe of International Anthem, a label who’re releasing albums by Makaya McCraven, Jaimie Branch, Ben Lamar Gay and more. They’re passionately involved in the live side of things, too. I got to know the co-founder, Scottie McNeice, fairly well over email, chatting back and forth about music, and he was into what I was doing with my platform, EZH (then called Jazz Standard). Scottie realised that a lot of his artists were going to be in Europe later that year, so we thought, why don’t we do a thing? To me, London and Chicago are the world’s most exciting and progressive Jazz scenes right now, and I was excited to form a stronger bridge between them. Since then, there’s been plenty of music written or recorded that bring together talent from the two cities. For me, the CHICAGOxLONDON mixtape – which came together from three nights of live music making in that week of October 2017 – documents the strengthening of that bridge.

You’ve travelled and DJ’ed in various places around the world from USA, to Singapore. Where’s been your most memorable experience DJing?

Not to sound overly obsessed with Chicago here, but I have a soft spot for the night I performed at Ben Lamar Gay’s debut album launch in 2018. It was at a derelict social club in Southside, where the decor hadn’t been touched for at least 50 years. In comes Ben’s band and I, throwing at it all of our creativity. I brought a lot of UK Jazz and club music into my set and the crowd absolutely loved it. When I played ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’, a woman hugged the speaker with all her might then ran over to me and said “what do you CALL this music?!”.

You so much already but have explored producing music, if not, do you see it in your future

No plans, but never say never.

Are there any other artists outside of Jazz that you think we should be listening to 

For sure; Lava La Rue is gonna be big. She’s a West London MC, general creative and mother of NINE 8 Collective. I saw her a couple of years ago at Birthdays when we shared a line-up. It was early, there must have been 15 people in the room, and I remember being blown away by her charisma. She’s got a huge presence and a unique way of documenting culture. As a queer woman of colour too, she’s saying a lot that needs to be said.

 You manage a huge workload from DJing, writing, and curating events, how do you manage that, and what advice would you give to other young creatives in the music industry?

I think having ADHD gives me a productivity super power. But in all honestly, I look at things like this; know what your passions, skills and agenda are, then bring them together in every way that makes sense. Jazz has something to do with most of my activity in the music industry.

Know what you love, and then work out all of the different ways that you would enjoy applying that passion. I’m basically just spreading the word on music I appreciate – using a few different methods – with the confidence that others will appreciate that music, too.