‘I never said I was making an album,’ Skrillex expounds on plans for new music

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‘I never said I was making an album,’ Skrillex expounds on plans for new musicSkrille Studio Footage Boys Noize Dog Blood

With the end of 2018 came the end of a much-deserved year off for Skrillex. While the “Buckets” producer maintained an active studio presence and a relatively busy itinerary, 2018 came and went without the release of a major project. The anticipation that has drummed up since Skrillex’s last solo release has reached an all-time high, and while the public is aware something new is coming, hopes of a full-length album may have just been dashed by the man himself.

It’s no secret Skrillex has a trove of new music under the hood. Social media is ablaze with clips of new tracks and fellow top-tier producers hyping yet-to-be-heard instant classics underway. Though in a recent interview with Billboard on the production behind Skrillex’s new Kingdom Hearts III theme, the OWSLA-helmer was ambiguous in his wording about a new project underway. Says Skrillex,

“You know, people have been asking me about when I have a new album coming out, and it’s a little strange, because I never said I was making an album.”

Having reached his thirties and an obviously new chapter in his career, Skrillex reflects on his time off, and the need to “be human for a little bit.” He does assure fans,

“I’ll release some new music soon, but I’m just trying to do it organically. At the same time, I still love to make music, and I’m obviously working.”

While a proper follow up studio album to Recess may not actually be what Skrillex has in store for fans, he’s definitely got new material up his sleeve, and it be seeing the light of day very soon.

Via: Billboard

ZEDD breaks down the 10 things he can’t live without in new interview [Watch]

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ZEDD breaks down the 10 things he can’t live without in new interview [Watch]Zedd Rukes

The unrelenting travel schedule of a world famous DJ like ZEDD seems to refuse to slow down, never mind stop. Whether “The Middle” producer is flying to Vegas to play a residency show at Omnia, or pulling out his passport on his way to the decks in international territory, there are some items that ZEDD simply can’t live without. From comfortable shoes—which by the way, fill a closet entirely of their own in the hit maker’s jaw-dropping California home—to sweatpants with zippers, to custom made earplugs to protect his eardrums, ZEDD breaks down a list of his top 10 travel essentials in a new GQ video interview.

While the list includes some unsurprising items, like a backpack to carry his nine other necessities, and the license keys that correspond with the software that he uses to produce music, ZEDD also acquaints viewers with the idiosyncratic nature of some of his personal must-haves. The DJ articulates his penchant for portable battery packs, admitting he sometimes carries as many as eight of the portable chargers, while also naming his favorite cologne, and more. See ZEDD’s full packing list in the video below.

Featured Image: Rukes

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]

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Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Bradford Watkins

With 2019’s festival circuit taking shape, we’re starting to see a shift in the landscape that largely began last year, where middle-of-the-pack festivals began to drop by the wayside. The events pool reached a point of dilution where there weren’t enough ticket buyers to go around, and this year, what remains are the established power players like Coachella and Lollapalooza and smaller, curated boutique experiences that rely on setting, intimacy, aesthetics, and talent to draw in a calculated crowd of a much more manageable scale. Envision Festival, now preparing for its ninth edition, takes place the heart of Costa Rica’s jungle paradise each year — and at a critical point in the aging process of a festival, amid an otherwise tenuous and unsustainable atmosphere stateside, Envision’s roots seem firmer than ever.

The key ingredient that differentiates Envision isn’t just a focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness — its the way in which Envision’s Co-founder and Production Director Josh Wendel and CEO Reuben Walker weave those characteristics into every granular aspect of the event. The attendee essentially gets to choose their own adventure. Ahead of Envision Festival’s ninth weekend, running from February 28 – March 3, Wendel and Walker sat down with Dancing Astronaut to delve into the how the brains and braun behind a continually growing and evolving boutique festival experience in Costa Rica manage to stand out in new ways each year.

“Envision is not about a specific concept. It is about you, the festival goer,” emphasizes Wendel. The Envision co-founder continues, “It is about you discovering what you ‘Envision;’ for your life, for your business, for health and making sure that you are following your own highest path. We implore our audience to come to Envision with an open mind and experience something new, whether it be music, performance, workshops, yoga, diet or just walking around nature barefoot.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]ManuelPinto.Sunset

“We aim to create an environment that sheds the ego and opens each person up to true connection and self discovery.”

The type of sustainable outlook that fuels Envision’s longevity hasn’t just been on a weekend-by-weekend basis once a year for the last decade. The thought process runs much deeper than that, and ultimately it only works as well as is does when paired with a genuine year-round care for the festival’s host community. Reuben Walker elaborates on Wendel’s thought, clarifying, “Sustainability is a process. It isn’t as if a festival is sustainable or not, It is a journey of figuring out what things can be done better and taking the steps to put those concepts into practice. Now, with a new operating baseline, the event can re-assess and identify even more conscious goals than before. It is a practice that is embodied in the Calling, or Mission Statement, of Envision: Awaken the self to a higher consciousness in alignment with the natural harmony.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Envision EricAllenPhoto Beach Sunset 35

It has been nearly a decade of trial and error, planning, and building a year-over-year effort to harmoniously provide a moment of breathtaking escapism to festival goers while also lifting up the community where the event takes place. Walker continues, “It sounds like this grand and massive challenge but really it is a slow and gradual process that requires taking one step at a time. Sometimes the strides aren’t as long as we like, but the important thing is to keep moving forward. Personally, I’m focused on supporting our internal team to be as synced up as possible so that they’re able to deliver an event that is as curated, minute-to-minute, as can be.” 

Walker speaks passionately about Envision’s inextricable tie to Uvita and how an event that draws an international crowd with the likes of GRiZ, Tycho, Lee Burridge and more, manages to bring such a concerted, localized effort to uplift its community. “We are constantly looking for ways to support the local community. [One] group we try and support each year are local farmers. We go directly to these hard working local people and submit very large orders that provide secured work for the next few months allowing for them to have the security of those large purchases and we benefit from having such well cared for food and happy relationships. We have a full roll out of beach clean ups up and down the coast which has become more important than ever as more trash is finding its way ashore,” says Walker. 

“We put a lot of attention into listening to the local community to understand how they want to be supported, not just rolling in with what we think is best for them.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Reuben Time Photo By Jess Bernstein

Other events are starting to place a heavier emphasis on the where, the how, and the why — so to speak. Creating a truly impactful event experience has outgrown the confines of a decent talent roster and carnival rides in a big open field, or worse, some parking lot. Wendel, who directs the annual four-day production, posits, “I am always the most excited to see how fast our dreams become a reality; from spreadsheets and pencil marks on paper, to elaborate fire breathing structures with world class sound. Every year amazes me more than the last, as we turn fantasies into reality.” Wendel and Walker can create this escapism for their attendees because ultimately, they’ve found the best way to rise above the noise, enveloping themselves in Costa Rican culture between iterations of Envision. “We have the unique advantage of being based in one of the most lush places in the world, with an abundance of natural resources. It’s easier to build a stage out of natural materials in Costa Rica, we don’t have to ship water in and we even have a wealth of food growing right on the land. Most other festivals don’t have that advantage.  That’s also why we live here. It makes it easy to speak about the message of sustainability, permaculture and natural building in a place where you can thrive in the natural environment.”

“It feels good to be a human in Costa Rica. It just feels right. Locals call it ‘Pura Vida’ and it’s one of the most important awakenings people have when they come here.”  Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Josh And Jules Photo By Shaun Hunter 1

Fans want more, and festivals’ survival depends on intentional, thoughtful programming and ultimately its committal to safety and accountability. “I certainly hope that Envision can inspire other event producers to implement more sustainable practices and stick closer to their ethos and values. That is the beauty of when you view profitability not just in terms of financial, but environmental and social impacts as well. We are happy to share that wealth and are always looking to other like minded events for inspiration on how we can do our job better,” says Wendel. 

Now, that’s not to say that a lineup isn’t important to the average festival goer nowadays. It just means that the overall festival experience relies more heavily on atmosphere than it may have before. Wendel’s admiration for the programming side of the festival is clear in the way he talks about billing this year’s lineup — one of Envision’s most diverse, and ambitious billings to date. This year’s lineup includes some risks, and even potentially some unknown curveballs, according to Wendel. Envision’s 2019 lineup also places a special emphasis on Latin American sounds, representing the festival’s hosting region in with a blend of bass, techno, electro, and more. Wendel explains, “There are so many factors to consider when booking a lineup, but we always prioritize the experience.  It has to fit into the story that we are trying to tell. We obviously consider headliners that turn heads but the most exciting [thing] to me is how we introduce new artists or sounds to an audience that doesn’t know them. There are a lot of different styles of music that we bring, including a lot of genres that are relatively unknown. The fun part is how do we present them to our audience.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]JessBernstein.Luna .TroyBoi Envision2018 JBPhoto150 Copy

This year’s billing includes acts like CloZee, The Floozies, Electric Mantis, Bedouin, and more. Walker, the festival’s CEO gushes, “Many of these artists are coming to Envision for their first time and seeing these favorites of mine out here in the jungle is going to be a highlight of my year.” Bottom line, in terms of event programming the pair seem to genuinely view the festival’s music offerings as merely the vehicle for human interaction on the beaches of Uvita. Walker expresses,

“Festivals have far greater potential as cultural cultivators than we’re currently seeing and as events continue to explore these frontiers we’ll find that we’ve only just begun to benefit from these celebrations of art, creativity, and the human spirit.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]386 Envision EricAllenPhoto Luna

As the final weeks of preparation begin ahead of Envision’s early spring kickoff and fans plot their returns to Uvita come early March, Walker and Wendel are primed for what they believe will be Envision’s most vibrant and impactful iteration yet. When asked for a word of advice to the incoming festival goer this year, each responded in kind with messages of open mindedness and compassion. “More than just a sustainable experience at a festival, let’s be a bit more ambitious than that. Be conscious in each action you take. Whether that is packing your bag and thinking about what goes into it or deciding how you’ll make that final leg of the journey. Are you creating a lot of waste in your wake? What steps can you take to whittle away at that? Are you being efficient with the resources that you’re using to accomplish your journey? Do I do this all the time? Absolutely not,” concedes Walker, “but it’s a process and the more we work at it, like all things, the better we get.” Wendel completes his counterpart’s thought, emphasizing the idea of sustainability outside of just travel or festival practices. “I’d say, make an effort to implement small things you can do everyday. Whether it’s water or trash or another resource, I’ve found keeping a practice of considering the lifelong journey of waste in the ecosystem and who it impacts along the way to be a sort of compass at festivals as well as in life.” 

Envision brings the party to paradise with real intention and purpose, without having to compromise in any direction. See the full lineup and purchase your tickets to Envision Festival here.

 

Beyond the Booth 018: Talking natural remedies and keeping the brain and the environment healthy with Blond:ish

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Beyond the Booth 018: Talking natural remedies and keeping the brain and the environment healthy with Blond:ishCredit Aneta Pruszynska 01

Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.

“Substance” is a word that comes to mind when defining the Blond:ish ethos. The two are far more than a mere DJ duo choosing to be part of the perceived status quo of playing to superficial rooms of people who rave solely for the purpose of debauchery. Instead, they bring intention into the mix, calling attention to the deeply connective and healing properties that dance music hides under its surface. Armed with the knowledge of manifesting reality and relentless optimism fueled by their love for house and playful personalities, Vivie-Ann and Anastascia have more-or-less helped spearhead dance music’s holistic movement since transforming into Blond:ish a decade ago.

They’ve certainly proven the idea that passion and intuition can turn into a career. A few short years after joining forces under the Blond:ish moniker, the pair let their instinct guide them to London to find inspiration, which kicked off their relationship with the Get Physical crew and with other likeminded veterans in the underground space that have included Damian Lazarus,. From there, they continued to capture the hearts of creators and fans alike, promoting a communal bond with each of their performances while using their mysterious sounds to prompt meditation on the dance-floor. They now sit at the top of major billings across a wide range of events, whether traveling with Ibiza institution Circoloco, playing renowned events like Day Zero, BPM, and Sonar Barcelona, or hosting their newly-christened A B R A C A D A B R A nights at various locations across the globe.

Curious to learn more about the Blond:ish ripple effect, we were able to snag Vivie-Ann for an in-depth discussion on universal energy, holistic healing and manifestation, and environmental activism. Talking about the outside forces that drive their narrative is eye opening to say the least, and inspiring. To top off the discussion, both ladies have fashioned a mix that immediately sweeps one off to the jungle, where they will soon be settling down to play in the New Year.


Hi there, Vivie-Ann! We’ve read somewhere that you’d tried out a kambo treatment before. Have you received any other non-traditional treatments of this nature? Did you gain anything out of it or adapt it into your lifestyle?
Depends what you consider traditional!

For kambo, I did it twice. It’s supposed to boost the immune system and start the process on your journey of giving up habits. Like coffee for example. I used to drink coffee but after kambo, I stopped cold turkey and just migrated to matcha, which I love dearly more than my unborn child right now. But it’s really just another caffeine without the spikes and somehow a bit better in its properties, “THEY” say. I’m actually a bit hesitant to do it again because last time I got really brave and did 9 dots on my liver meridian line. I looked more like a frog than a frog does… and it was the hardest process I’ve ever been through. Still not sure if it was an allergic reaction, or just the plant medicine giving me what I needed! Message me if you have the answer…

Ayahuasca — this is something that comes along when the mother plant calls you, it’s not something you just get into by accident. For a long time everyone was doing it and going regularly to ceremonies, so much to a point where the joke was, “hey, wanna go on a date to an Aya ceremony?” Finally it called me, and I made sure to do it nature, in a beautiful ceremony space. It’s a personal process. Just about at the tail end of the ceremony, the entire jungle/forest area and its animals howled in unison with the other musicians singing. It was a moment I will never forget. Its effects last, but all these medicines are just planting seeds to unlocking different doors on your journey; a “choose your own adventure” if you will.

I love sound meditations and receiving gong vibrations around my body. It’s like a portal to your inner workings, also working with different Eastern instruments. These instruments really get into the “space between” — which are the details, the places that matter, where all the work is done.

The thing that was and is still going around which I quite like is sound meditations with psychedelic mushrooms. It’s said to be the gateway to your soul. The one time I did get to do it, the message I was channeling is that language is the lowest form of communication/expression, and that my music can speak so much more. So life is gravitating towards that for me.

Speaking of non-traditional treatment, let’s shift over to natural remedies. Do you take any supplements like these, and which would you recommend/have worked best for you?
This question could be a book! I love mushrooms, remember — I take many mushroom supplements like chaga, reishi, cordyceps, lions mane. It’s super important which mushrooms you are buying, just because it says cordyceps doesn’t mean its good.

You need to check its potency, something GREATER THAN 20-25% Beta D Glucans — and make sure there’s a small percentage of starch — Please read online — “THEY” can explain it much better than me but basically you should always read the fine print.

I also take a lot of spirulina too, but the live frozen kind which is impossible to tour with, but any chance I get I incorporate it into my smoothies — spirulina powder is kinda a gimmick apparently — last week I got some delivered in dry ice to Miami after Art Basel, and I packed it with more dry ice in a cooler so it would last to my flight to Tulum, as it can’t defrost cause it loses its nutritional properties. It was like taking care of a baby to get it into my freezer in Tulum in frozen shape. First world “traveling trying to be healthy DJ” problems, I guess!

**** verify all the facts **** I actually don’t know what of which I’m saying is true! It’s just from my limited research caring about my health. I wish I had a chemist/biologist that I could verify everything with so I actually know.

How do you maintain mindfulness and self care on the road?
Another book! Just some examples of what I do on the plane when it’s going up and down…

I give myself some love, especially cause there are no distractions, I get out my tuning forks, and tune different parts of my body, like sternum, third eye, different parts of my face and legs, ears… I use a Refa roller to roll out the fascia on my face and body. I use doterra essential oils for all sorts of things, like my immune system, clove for cleaning the germs around the airplane seats & tables (yup that’s me). I listen to inscape meditation app and insight timer and all its thousands of guided meditations depending on what I would like to work on, as well as Beatfulness, which is an incredible binaural beats app. I have tuning balls too that I roll around on to loosen up tightness after flights; they work wonders, better than hands.

And I would love to add this to my carry on luggage repertoire — but it’s a bit big, it’s so powerful – check the hyper ice vyper2 roller — wow. I’ve never felt a vibration like that for myofascial release. Not sure if I could bring that out on the plane, but Gordon Weiss from San Francisco introduced me to this one! The company is a friend of his. I LOVE TOYS 🙂

On that note, meditation is of course one of the bigger items of importance in your routines. Can you pass on some tips for fellow busybodies on how to find one’s footing in the practice, and how to incorporate it into their lives?
This is something I can show in person … or on a video, it’s much easier. But it’s just learning the simple concept of what the present actually means. Put your feet on the ground, feel them on the floor, scan your body, how are you feeling? How’s your stomach? Is your jaw clenched? Tune IN!!! Take a deep breath into your heart, take a second deep breath into your solar plexus, take another deep breath, down into your root chakra, grounding you. That is the very start to a meditation, which just means BEING PRESENT. Start with 30 seconds, then do 1 min, 5 min, do some short guided meditations on inscape or insight timer, try not to think for a minute sometimes.

When you’re walking down the street look at the trees, observe the people around you, see how your feet are touching the ground with each step; THAT IS BEING PRESENT. That awareness, that understanding is what will enable you to go down the meditation portal and get you plugged into that world. It’s always there, just a few breaths away. Once you learn that, serendipity will start happening much more… no more coincidences. YOU ARE PLUGGED IN. Remember you don’t learn to speak a language in one day. It’s the same with meditation, it’s a process that is brought about by intention.

You eat a lot of vegan food and follow a flexitarian diet. Would you ever consider converting to full?
I need to do more ayahuasca before that will happen. Or if there is a solution for the “travelling trying to healthy DJ person” and finding good protein on the road then that could be another answer.

Give us some of your favorite vegan dishes that erase the stigma of the cuisine being “boring,” or “rabbit food.”
– Quinoa tagliatelle at Cafe Clover in NYC with Almond Parmesan
– Einkorn Pancakes with Coconut Cream at ABC V in NYC
– The Coconut Bacon (swear it was bacon but no) Flax & Kale in Barcelona

What other things do you try incorporate into your lifestyle to create a positive impact on yourselves and the world around you? Be it buying organic food, using fair trade materials, cruelty-free makeup, etc.
Less plastic. Wherever possible. Practicing and implementing the circular economy wherever possible.

You are also into fashion. Going off the last question, would you ever consider combining your love of the planet and style, and create an eco-friendly clothing line?
That would be a dream. 2019 is about serial collaborations so it’s definitely a possibility! I would love to collaborate with my friend Ali who does incredible things with bamboo. He supports leadership programs and women in rural villages in Nepal who because of the sustainable bamboo project can now train others to create sustainable and scalable projects in their communities. The materials are naturally UV filtered, anti bacterial and sweat proof, it’s pretty awesome. Check out marvaan.com.

It feels like holistic health and spiritualism are on the rise. Why do you think so many are beginning to look at different avenues of finding happiness and fulfillment compared to earlier generations? Could it be the age of social media? Geo-political climate? Realizing money and objects don’t equate to happiness?
We’ve realized the world we have grown up in and have been living in doesn’t give all the answers in a free and flowing way, so we’re gravitating towards that freedom and flowing world. Or trying to create if for ourselves at least. It’s also a trillion dollar business, so you must be careful on all the marketing not to be fooled on what is authentic or not.

You’ve been throwing your successful A B R A C A D A B R A parties for a good minute now. Multiple residencies in Europe, hosting a stage at Tomorrowland in Belgium…so much has happened since the brand was founded on a beach in Tulum! You’re heading back to Tulum for another ABRA in January. What is so special about holding these parties to you, what do you think you achieve with them?
It’s all about planting seeds to creating a new world for ourselves; music being the connector but the seeds being planted through the details. That is why ABRACADABRA is so important. LET’S EVOLVE TOGETHER!

Can you tell us what you’ve got in store in Tulum and Cabo with ABRA in January, who’s joining you for these ones?
We’ve got lots of music friends with us over these two nights in Mexico. BLOEM & BLOND:ISH of course for both events. Then for Cabo we have Marques Wyatt the legend from DEEP-LA, and Maga the rising star, we love him. Then for Tulum we have Kaz James, Emanuel Satie, and a Monality Live sunset set + one more special guest. They’re going to be amazing, come dance with us!

Catch BLOND:ISH at their ABRACADABRA parties at the Viceroy in Cabo on 31st December, and on 3rd January in Tulum (secret location) – tickets here

 

Photo credit: Aneta Pruszynska

Techno Tuesdays: La Fleur on the necessity of being true to oneself

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Techno Tuesdays: La Fleur on the necessity of being true to oneselfTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Destiny can’t be avoided, and La Fleur‘s was to be in dance music. In a moment of clarity during a sabbatical from her pharmacy job, the Swedish export realized her life’s calling was to be on the dance-floor making people move ecstatically along with the music she purveys. Once realizing this was where she meant to be, everything fell into place. Her seminal Flowerhead EP kicked off her label, Power Plant, off on a strong note, and she solidified her stance as a high caliber DJ with a long-term residency at celebrated Berlin club, Watergate.

Years of dedication to her craft have culminated in steep growth in recent times. Since 2017, the burgeoning artist has been signed as a remixer for Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons, made her Essential Mix debut, and played alongside Laurent Garnier. One can’t forget her anthemic collaboration with SashaFörbindelse (download it here) of course; not many producers can say they’ve returned to Last Night On Earth with a cosign from the label owner himself. La Fleur is certainly looking at more good on the horizon.  We had the chance to sit with La Fleur right before the holidays set in to talk to her about profound connection with music, Berlin life, working with Sasha, and what’s ahead.

Techno Tuesdays: La Fleur on the necessity of being true to oneselfPatricebrylla Lafleur 2429 Sw Highres

Photo Credit: Patryce Brylla

You’ve been living in Berlin for around a decade or so, correct? How has the scene there changed or stayed the same?

Yes, time flies when you’re having fun! The scene definitely has changed a lot during the 12 years I’ve been in Berlin. When I arrived in 2007 the minimal techno scene was still very strong and that was what most were playing in the clubs. Then in time with more and more tourists coming to the city, things have changed. I would put this down to a few factors including the wave of ‘housier’ sounds around 2011, more people moving to the city, many of whom arriving to pursue a musical dream. All these things have contributed to the city becoming more varied sound-wise I would say. There are so many clubs in Berlin now, and there are a lot of them which I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. The scene has become bigger and more varied I would say.

Would you consider living in a city other than Berlin with a strong club scene, such as Buenos Aires, Barcelona, London, etc? Or, is Berlin the best match for your personality and music?

I’d definitely consider this — Barcelona and London are both cities I’ve thought about living in. I want to feel in love with and be inspired by the city in live in, which was part of the reason I moved to Berlin. The choice of city doesn’t necessarily have to do with the music scene there. I come from Sweden, and lived in Stockholm before I moved to Berlin. A lot of good music is coming from Sweden, but the scene is not big. I am actually thinking about moving back to Sweden, although the scene isn’t as big as the cities you mentioned, I still would feel inspired there, and that’s the most important for me.

We’ve heard that bad music makes you feel sick – can you expand on this? What makes a song “bad” for you? Do you get nauseous when you hear it? And, does this extra sense help your own music in a way, ie you get the sick feeling if you feel your own production is subpar?

I am very sensitive to sounds and I feel a lot when it comes to music. I wouldn’t necessarily define it as bad music, just music that maybe I don’t fancy or don’t connect to it. First of all, it’s hard for me to work to music (unless I’m the one playing it in a DJ set of course, haha) because I have trouble focusing on the other tasks at hand, as it’s always calling my attention.

I have this very strong memory when I was playing an Open Air a few years ago. There was this certain style of house and techno that was really popular at the time, which I could enjoy when other DJs were playing it. I decided to buy a few of those tracks and play them out to try them in my sets. Although the crowd enjoyed them, I didn’t feel good playing them as I wasn’t staying true to myself and that never feels good. Afterwards hearing those tracks gave me this feeling of illness in my body. It might sound dramatic, but I think it’s just a normal reaction to when we do things that aren’t true to us – both creatively and in life generally.

So maybe it’s not the music itself, but the experience of not believing in yourself and backing your own instinct – whether it be a few tunes at an Open Air or doing things that compromise who you are and harm your creative soul.

I am also very sensitive when music I don’t like is played in confined spaces like a shop or taxi. It makes me uncomfortable and I need to leave the store or ask the drive to turn it off.

Music has always been a big part of my life and for as long as I can remember, I have always connected a lot of feelings to music. When I love a track, I want to play it on repeat a million times. Music gets underneath my skin mostly in a good way. That’s why I started recording mixtapes for my friends, why I sat next to the stereo and chose the music at house parties and why later on, I wanted to become a DJ, so I could choose the music I like.

Prior to making house/techno, you played the flute and the piano. Do you feel your classical training has influenced the type of dance music you’re into, or your methodology? How so, if so?

Yes, I think part of it, playing melodic and melodies on the piano and flute. I really appreciate and dig good basslines and nice synth lines in productions. I think it also comes from my many dance classes in classical ballet, the softness and the flow in the music and dance, but still with a lot of power. So yes, definitely it somehow has shaped my taste, at least the love of a four-to-the-floor beat. I love to dance, and when I discovered dance music, I knew it would be special to me.

You’ve been working really hard on developing and growing your label Power Plant over the years. What are some of the proudest accomplishments you’ve seen for your brand?

First of all, I am proud of starting the label in the first place although most of my colleagues recommended me not to, due to all the work I’d need to put in for no return. But that didn’t put me off, I wasn’t afraid of hard work and wasn’t going to do the label to earn money, rather I wanted it solely to have the creative freedom and a breeding ground for different creative projects I wanted to pursue.

The first EP Flowerhead was a key moment! I really liked the tracks for that first vinyl-only release and since no other label were interested in releasing them, I decided it was a good time for me to start my own label. The amazing artworks I secured for the cover slicks is something that has a lot of meaning to me. They were done by painters and illustrators such as Olaf Hajek, Hans Arnold and Dan Hillier. Another special moment was when I helped curate and exhibit Hans Arnold’s work at a gallery in Stockholm as part of the release party. And of course, the fashion capsule collection Power Plant Elements. Now I’m hoping to start a new era for the label in 2019, with a fresh look and focus.

Outside of music, you also help in fashion design for your Power Plant Elements capsules, and you’re raising your daughter! How do you balance family life with all of your different work projects? Any tips for time management to others who might be in similar positions?

I love my work and it is a big part of my life, so I think that makes it easier. Becoming a mother, I wanted in a way, to work even harder for her and for her future. I would recommend you to be organised, ask for help when you need it and build a team around you for support. I have big support from my partner, without him I wouldn’t been able to do it like I do, so I am very thankful for that. Also, to be able to take time off and spend it with your loved ones is the most important thing and will keep you sane.

You’re just coming off a collaboration with Sasha; a seemingly natural path based off your past release on Last Night On Earth. What led you two to work together initially, and how did the collaboration manifest itself?

Back in 2014 I saw that Sasha was supporting my music a lot and it made me very happy as I always viewed him as an iconic artist with very good taste haha. I reached out to him to ask if he would be interested in an EP from me on his newly launched label LNOE and from that came his suggestion we do a collaboration together. So, we started the collaborate, but since it took quite some time, I first released my Orbit EP in 2015. And finally, now life and music has aligned and we could finish the Förbindelse track. It was the first of quite a few tracks sent back and forth that really felt it had something in it for the both of us, and we finished it pretty quickly. Förbindelse” means “connection” in Swedish.

Outside your own label and Last Night On Earth, what other labels are really checking your boxes musically right now?

There are a lot of good labels out there, for me Kompakt always releases good quality music and Crosstown Rebels always delivers as I think Damian has a very good ear. Other interesting labels that I always keep an eye on coming from Sweden are Aniara Recording, BOSS musik, Studio Barnhus and UFO Recordings.

Also, which new artists are you feeling excited about at the moment and why?

Justin Massei and Johanna Knutsson are artists that well deserve attention for being hard working, creative and offering something a bit extra.

Finally, the usual: what’s on the horizon for La Fleur?

I’m super excited to present a new release on my Power Plant label after a little break in 2018 from releasing music on the imprint. I have an original EP of my own work coming in February. I have a remix for Damian Lazarus on Crosstown Rebels coming out, as well as a single on Kompakt in Spring. Next year looks super exciting already, so I’m looking forward to what the future brings.

 

 

Meet the talent of Ocaso Festival: Magdalena

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Meet the talent of Ocaso Festival: MagdalenaOcaso Festival Tamarindo By Pablo Murillo 06 01 2018 0182

Tamarindo, Costa Rica will ring in the new year with another dose of underground dance music with Ocaso‘s arrival on January 2 to the coastal town. The five-day festival has grown over the years into a veritable institution within the Central American house and techno scene, with curious travelers from around the globe visiting each year. 2019’s billing is a strong mixture of veteran and new performers per usual, with notable headliners including Jamie Jones, Damian Lazarus, Loco Dice, and Guy Gerber. Ahead of the festivities, Dancing Astronaut spoke to the artists to get to know them a bit better, and hear what excites them most about Ocaso.

Dance music has been a driving force in Magdalena‘s path for many years now. Like her brother Solomun, she couldn’t deny a life filled with it, taking helm of Diynamic‘s nightclub EGO throughout its Hamburg tenure and eventually getting behind the decks and into the studio herself. Her diverse, yet refined house sets are a nice balance of grooves, melodies, and and invigorating rhythms — a mixture that has captured the attention of clubbers worldwide and her positioning on top of the house realm. It comes as no surprise, given her years spent working behind the scenes, learning how to read the floor and having easy access to the most cutting-edge music bubbling up from the underground.

Magdalena’s aesthetic will fit well into the beachy setting of Ocaso, given her experience as an Ibiza resident DJ since 2016. This past summer, she achieved an island milestone in earning her very own night at the Blue Marlin, which she named SHADOWS. The residency saw her hosting the likes of La Fleur, Nick Curly, and Anja Schneider, and has since turned into an international affair with a namesake residency just announced in Tulum. Her upcoming release on Damian Lazarus’ Rebellion imprint feels like it belongs in the tropics.

The burgeoning talent tells us about her comeup, her Costa Rican expectations, and more in our discussion.

Meet the talent of Ocaso Festival: MagdalenaPress Photo Magdalena Supplied By Team

Supplied by Magdalena’s team

Tell us about the moment/time period where you decided that a full-time music career was the only way to go.
I always loved music and wanted to pursue a career in it, but I don’t think I really realized I could make it until our club EGO was becoming super successful, and I started to get booked to DJ abroad more and more.

What’s your favorite part about the Costa Rican dance scene, if you’ve played there before? If not, what are you most curious about regarding the crowds, club culture, etc.
I’ve never been to Costa Rica but I am really excited to go. There’s so much I’m curious about; the nature, the food, the people, how the crowd will be and the party scene there!

Which of your gigs are you most proud of, and why?
Oh wow what a question… I think the Cercle live stream at the Faculté de Médecine de Montpellier was a really important gig for me, as I knew the stream would go out on their huge channels, the event had sold lots of tickets and of course they usually have huge artists play for them. I almost didn’t make it to the gig; I had multiple last minute flight cancellations so ended up taking a combination of trains and buses, and arrived with just 10 minutes to spare before I was due to start! I had to change super quickly and do my makeup in this small toilet with all my make up all over the floor, before I literally ran to the stage to start playing. It was also a bit of a difficult sound situation at this beautiful and historic venue… but fortunately the gig was a success and I am proud that I was able to keep a calm head through all the stress 😉

What’s in your crate right now that is knocking the dancefloor off its feet?
I am really enjoying playing the tracks off my new EP, “Wildlife,” that’s due to come out on Damian Lazarus’ label Rebellion in December. I made them over the course of a year and have tested them out on a lot of dance floors to make sure I had got them just right. When I got a great reaction at our Diynamic off Sonar showcase I knew it was time to release them!

What are you looking forward to most about Ocaso festival?
Everything: good friends, good people, beautiful nature, exciting food, and I’m expecting good vibes with great music at the festival. These are all the things that make me really happy in life.

Which artists do you recommend most from the lineup, aside from yourself?
Of course Damian Lazarus, as I have him to thank for supporting my new release, as well as my good friend HOSH, who always kills it. There’s lots of upcoming artists on the lineup that I haven’t played with before, so I’ll be looking to check out the new talent as well.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that audiences might not know.
I am a great Balkan dialect imitator!

 

Photo credit: Pablo Murillo

Jean-Michel Jarre embodies his mythical ‘Watchers,’ discusses the human relationship with AI and new album, ‘Equinoxe Infinity’ [Interview]

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Jean-Michel Jarre embodies his mythical ‘Watchers,’ discusses the human relationship with AI and new album, ‘Equinoxe Infinity’ [Interview]Jean Michel Jarre Synth

Jean-Michel Jarre has released Equinoxe Infinity, 40 years after his fourth studio album, Equinoxe. Both albums are about “The Watchers,” creatures that look towards the future, speculating on what they might find. As an influence to Daft Punk, Gesaffelstein, and many more, Jarre is known as a pioneer in the electronic, ambient, and new-age genres. Amid the release of his lauded Equinoxe Infinity LP, the French luminary sat down with Dancing Astronaut to talk about the about the album, his technological ventures, and Jarre’s hypotheses about the future of music and life as we know it.

Jarre has just arrived in New York — we settle in discussing the city and the ongoing press junket for the newly released record. The Grammy nominated composer describes the city’s hectic nature, though he seems at home with New York’s hustle and bustle.

What are you doing in New York?

I’m here promoting my new album, Equinoxe Infinity. I’m also involved in a virtual reality performance for the album on Saturday Dec 8 at [10:00 p.m. with Sutu from Australia who was involved in the special effects of the last Steven Spielberg movie, Ready Player One.

December 12, I have a Q+A in the VR world. Going back to Europe to prepare for that.

Tell us more about the virtual reality performance. How does VR play into the album?

I’m very involved and interested by the possibilities of VR. It’s like Dancing Astronaut was drawn up as a concept for VR because that’s exactly who we are in the VR space. We’re inviting all these DJs to go into the virtual world and do their own remixes of the album. I wanted to explore all different technologies from virtual 3D, to VR, to 3D environments, and being spied on by artificial intelligence, one of the themes of the album.

Do you think a VR world is an easy next step for the entertainment arena?

Have you seen Ready Player One? The most brilliant part was when Stephen Spielberg re-enacted Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining where the main character’s virtual avatar goes into the scene of the Shinning with the twins, and opening the wrong door, and all the blood rushes by him. This is where AI and VR are quite exciting for the future.

The reason why I did the album as a soundtrack of two possible futures with two different covers: one, expressing more peaceful, green, positive mood and the other one is more dystopian because I believe we all have that choice. That’s why the album finished as a question mark, for us to decide.

What made you come out with the sequel to Equinoxe now? 

I’m not linked with the idea of it being a sequel of the first one. Both albums are about these creatures called “The Watchers.” I’ve always been intrigued by the artwork of Michel Granger, who designed the cover of Equinoxe. I’m intrigued by these creatures. What happened to them today, and what will happen to them in the future? The Watchers are whistleblowers both regarding environment and new technology. Technology is also watching us, in order to send us products that we don’t actually need, going deep into our product lives. I wanted to express a future where man and machine are closer and closer in our day-to-day life and how to cope with this. I imagine the soundtrack hitting two distinct futures represented on the album. This is why you have sunny, dynamic-pop moments and darker moments within the same piece of music.

The human voice and vocoder enters into the fifth movement and lasts through the seventh. Was this intentional? What was the idea behind “If The Winds Could Speak?”

We will be able to survive in 21st century only if we can evolve in good intelligence and good faith both within environment and new technology. These two factors are much more interdependent than we think. On “If The Winds Could Speak” my idea was to start with the human voice and processing them with granular synthesis, which is one of the most advanced synthesis we have. I wanted to create sounds that had elements of man and machine, begging the question of their differences.

I love the comment Dancing Astronaut did on “Robots Don’t Cry” because I could have called this track “Robots Don’t Cry, So Far” because I’m quite convinced that in the near future, artificial intelligence will be able to create original content, movies, music, stories, and this is not something we should worry about. Maybe we will re-position ourselves, as the creative person, to use these new parameters in different ways. So this idea of using the granularly synthesized human voice and creating it into something quite human is exactly the idea behind “If The Wind Could Speak,” “Infinity,” and “Machines Are Learning.” These songs are using human vocals, transforming it into granular synthesis, and then using the harmonic content of the sounds while still having that human touch.

You present an optimistic and pessimistic view on the album. Do you think human creativity is no more than just mechanics, or will human creativity be difficult to translate to AI?

Humans are just using 10% of our brains. AI can help us use the 90% left, which could open doors to creativity that we’ve never seen. This doesn’t necessarily have to be frightening. It can also be positive and very interesting. Maybe our brain, in the future, the education system will be different and act like a hard drive to simply access information. Maybe it gets stored in the cloud, using this information to react and making informed decisions. I don’t think AI will stop creation or creators at all, I think it will position us in a totally different context.

It sounds like we’re working in harmony with AI. This is an optimistic view of the future.

We should be optimistic by subversion. It’s very easy to be dark. We could go together in the studio, and in two hours, we could do a dark song. It’s much more difficult not to be dark. To try and be bright, and funny, and positive without being cheesy.

If you look around, the news channels get their views by exploring and exploiting the dark side of the world, where the positive side is not sexy for a lot of us and it’s quite challenging. That is one of the ideas for the project, to try and mix the dark and light side. It’s quite exciting in music when you can have happier positive moments hiding melancholy or the reverse.

Is there a movement on the album that describes your attitude towards technology and the future?

I would say that I think positively as a reaction to the darkness around. I’m not necessarily optimistic about the future, I’m just saying ‘I don’t know.’ It’s not necessarily going to be a Terminator dystopian type of world, but I think it’s interesting from an artistic project to explore that theme. “Robots Don’t Cry,” in one sense, is interesting because I used the Nanotron, one of the first electronic virtual studio technology instruments. I need to make the statement about technology that robots don’t cry so far.

The “If The Winds Could Speak” vocals have you question the sound’s humanity, and through the wind means going throughout time into the future. “Equinox Infinity” the final track, is an illustration about the idea of the journey towards the future with a lot of human sounds, nature sounds, machine sound, but it ends as a mystery. I took quite some time to create this track, which is mostly harmonious with elements that are not necessarily harmonious, and that can be quite disturbing and noisy at the same time.

You’ve been pioneer of new sounds your entire career. What do you think is sonic creation’s next frontier?

My next wish and project would be to establish a collaboration with AI. I wanted to create the “Equinoxe Infinity” track with AI, but it was not ready yet. The collaboration should be ready within the next few months, for my next project. The kind of AI collaboration I experimented with was an algorithm able to imitate a Michael Jackson track or Beatles track, which is not what I was expecting, or to fill the AI with a melody and it returns with variations of that melody, which ends up being quite straight and fairly boring.

Mathematicians love Bach because he had a very mathematical approach to music, so it’s the best for artificial intelligent recreation and variation. Today, in 2018, there are far more concepts that musicians have to add, like a groove to the rhythm. The right software is not there yet, but it’s coming soon. I’d like for us to challenge ourselves to help improve AI and not be scared of it for those reasons.

On the VR side, I very excited by developing alternative possibilities for creators.

Space has been a prominent motif in your work for half a century. Are there space themes in the album that relate to the connection between human and technology?

I’m a big fan of the Dancing Astronaut name. I was jealous because it’s a fantastic title for an album or a movie. At the beginning of my career, NASA asked me to integrate the 25th anniversary of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center into my Houston show celebrating Texas’s 150th anniversary on April 5, 1986. I worked with many Houston-based astronauts, including Ronald McNair, who was suppose to have played the saxophone on “Rendez-Vous VI,” recorded from space into the concert.

McNair unfortunately passed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, but I was urged to proceed in memory of the shuttle’s crew. It was a turning point of exploration as the world all of a sudden stopped exploring space.

Next year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon, and it will be broadcasted on the German French channel, ARTE, to be the guideline of a quite trendy shows called “Winter Moon” that will link everything from people to the moon, and associations with the moon.

It’s very interesting talking about dancing astronauts. Because dancing astronauts is very relevant to what pop culture is about. Astronauts and the explosion of pop culture started at the same time. In the 1960s and 70s we were obsessed by space in music, in passion, in architecture. We were all kind of dancing astronauts, and it seems like that identity was lost a bit, but I think it’s coming back with movies such as Gravity, Interstellar, and all these Mars colonizing talks, so the future belongs to Dancing Astronaut.

Well, shucks. That’s quite the compliment. Thank you, Mr. Jarre. 

With all this new technology making creation easier, it sounds like we have room for more exploration.

So true! Exploring space is not only exploring outer space, but it’s also exploring the virtual space. VR is exactly that. We are like astronauts exploring a virtual world. By the end of the day, putting your foot on another planet is not the same as going into the virtual world. Say hello to all the dancing astronauts.

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.

 

Travis Scott and Skrillex reveal more collaborations are underway

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Travis Scott and Skrillex reveal more collaborations are underwayTravis Scott Live 2

While Skrillex‘s “SICKO MODE” remix is still hot off the press, it appears the OWSLA boss and La Flame are already plotting additional co-ventures together. Travis Scott‘s smash hit is a strong contender for Song of the Year, and with Skrillex stepping in to extend the original’s shelf life with one of his most refreshing remix efforts in years, the chemistry between the two powerhouse artists is undeniable — and the pair are primed to capitalize on it.

In a recent interview with BillboardSkrillex and Scott both reveal that during the process of finalizing the remix together new beats were inevitably shared, and the idea of future original collaborations seemed to develop organically before the “SICKO MODE” remix even landed. Says Skrillex,

“We were kind of hanging out in the studio and I ended up playing him a ton more beats. I like taking in everything organic and making everything natural. Doing something together in the future is definitely on the horizon, you know? It’s a vibe for sure.”

Skrillex has a long history of rap and hip-hop collaborations, including Rick Ross, Ty Dolla $ign, and Vic Mensa — now it seems Astroworld‘s ringleader is set to join those ranks soon too.

Read Skrillex and Travis Scott’s full interview with Billboard here.

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]

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Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]ELDERBROOK Credit FIONA GARDEN

As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.

Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.

The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.

Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.


Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?

The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.

Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?

I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.

This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?

It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

How would you characterize your musical style?

This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.

What were some of your influences for this EP?

I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.

Photo credit: Fiona Garden

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]

This post was originally published on this site

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]ELDERBROOK Credit FIONA GARDEN

As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.

Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.

The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.

Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.


Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?

The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.

Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?

I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.

This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?

It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

How would you characterize your musical style?

This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.

What were some of your influences for this EP?

I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.

Photo credit: Fiona Garden