Annie Clark, better known as the Oklahoma-born, Texas-raised guitarist and pop landscapist St. Vincent —who’s penned indie dance crossover tracks such as “Cruel,” “Cheerleader,” “The Strangers” and more — has a new album out Oct. 13. Dubbed Masseduction, the full-length marks Clark’s fifth studio album.
Prior to embarking on her “Fear the Future Tour,” the artist stopped at Hollywood’s Paramount studios for an exclusive Red Bull Music Academy performance and debuted an assemblage of new tracks off the record. Dazzling in her decorum, Clark sang in the first-person, “Hang on Me,” “Pills” and more, lyrically delving into modern romance, sexual power, loneliness, isolation, media saturation and the search for eternal youth throughout the night.
Recently, in the latest issue of Nylon, Clark discussed her recording process.
“The point is for the song to mean whatever it means to somebody else,” she said. “Some people have a real hang-up about being misunderstood. I don’t care. I would be concerned if someone was like, ‘Wow, she seems like a Holocaust denier.’ But racism, sexism or homophobia aside? I’m happy to be misunderstood. The record is full of sorrow, but the visual aspect of it is really absurd. I take the piss out of myself. The last tour I sat atop a pink throne, looking very imperious. This one will let people see that I have a sense of humor.”
Watch an array of videos from St Vincent’s dazzling performance below. Masseduction is out now via Loma Vista Recordings.
The name “Black Coffee” has been one of high interest as of late on the house circuit. Cutting his teeth in the South African underground during his youth, the beloved icon — born Nkosinathi (Nathi) Maphumulo — initially broke into the scene in the early 2000s and worked his way into becoming a household name around just a decade later in 2015 as the “Breakthrough DJ of the Year” at the DJ Awards. A year later, he became the first South African to win a BET award.
Nathi’s continued success comes a large part from his keen talent at dismantling preconceived notions of what himself or others from his region sound like. Instead, his ultimate and unwavering vision is to paint worldly, class imagery with his carefully-crafted sets while also moving people with original productions that he hopes will be carried far into the future. His unrelenting humility and passion also set him apart from the fact, as fans feed off his infection energy worldwide.
The past summer season has been yet another monumental one for Black Coffee, who was chosen to lead one of Hï Ibiza’s first residencies. While one might feel a certain pressure playing a venue that was once the iconic space, Nathi navigated his residency with poise and distinction, enchanting each crowd with his blend of memorable hooks, subdued rhythms, and creative melodic manipulation. Additionally, he curated a caliber roster of artists joining him for his residency which represented the best of fellow South African talent.
Ahead of his next round of tour dates, one of which includes an October 21 show at Brooklyn’s Output (tickets here), Black Coffee took some time to talk more about these artists he nurtures, the South African dance scene, new bodies of work, and more.
You’re wrapping up your first season at Hï right now! How is playing that club? Do you think it can fill the void that Space left?
It’s been such an amazing experience. As a DJ I’ve always envisioned a residency in Ibiza, and to have a club to play at for the city. I never expected it to be on this level. Hï is the ultimate for me. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my career. I’ve learned so much from it!
Do you think it can fill the void that Space left?
Definitely, definitely. The very big room was something that we are always very much aware of. Normally I have my reservations and fears about making it work and every night it would be at full capacity. And between those nights I would do shows outside on the island and because of that now I’ve started seeing the difference and the impact that the residency has because of all these places I go to. Now, most people go to Hï in Ibiza and it has somehow grown my audience as well.
You mentioned fears and reservations, does playing big rooms normally make you nervous?
I get nervous everywhere, because I consider all I do a little bit differently. I always walk into a room to educate people on a different sound. Education is good, but it’s not a pleasant thing at times and I always get nervous at that fact. Whoever’s playing before me, no matter how underground the music is, it’s definitely a sound people in Europe are accustomed to, or anywhere for that matter, and here comes me who’s gonna come with a different sound, blend it with different things. I never take anything for granted or think they [the audience] will know who I am. It’s just going to happen. Whether the venues big or small, it’s the same for me.
Tell us more about the artists you chose to play alongside you? What made them stand out?
These are artists I really respect and most of these guys have been doing it for awhile on the island. The entire idea was when we mold this night we tried to create a certain vibe or sound in the room. For everyone who was chosen they were chosen on what they’re bringing in the room. It was all based on a preset we had. Ok, this is what we’re doing, this is what we want to achieve because Hï is a very big club. We wanted artists that are related musically to what I am doing.
How has the South African scene grown and developed over the years? What do you think is needed to make it into a dance music mecca, or is it already in your opinion?
It still has a very long way to go. Music there is a big thing. Dance music is a huge thing. You go to different parts of Europe and dance music doesn’t exist in communities, only in the night, in the dark, in the clubs. Obviously at the festivals too, which is a seasonal thing, but the difference with South Africa is that it’s constantly there. On the radio, house music is constantly in people’s lives, which is cool, but then there’s no control or there’s no culture. For instance, mostly when people go to South Africa they will send me a message: ‘Hi, I’m in South Africa where do you think I can go for a great night out?’ And I never have that answer. Because we don’t have much of the house music clubbing scene. There’s no structure in that sense. Music is there. It’s everywhere. There are clubs but clubs are just for entertainment. On nights you’ll get a hip-hop DJ or a house DJ or the live act or a live house singer. All of that is there but there’s nothing for the house music scene at all, and I think it starts there — with creating a home. When there’s a home there’s also education and then we can start bringing the same lineup I was having here at Hï, so that the locals will start to get educated on what’s happening internationally. For now, we’re just small and local. We love our local sound and it’s cool but we’re not growing on a bigger scale. We’re still like homegrown so I just feel like we need more clubs that will specialize on the scene and we can start interacting with the world and bringing different people vice versa and local artists will start going out as well. We need to create that cultural exchange of some sort.
Do you feel that a house club would be a good means of cultural exchange or do you feel it could possibly diminish the integrity of music South Africa’s established?
Yeah, I think it will add value. What’s been established there is there. It’s not going anywhere.
We need a place where you wanna go and just listen to house music., you know? A place where you get to hear of new local DJs that you didn’t know existed, along with some international DJs you didn’t know existed as well. In that sense, everyone is growing also. Young kids who DJ, maybe even aren’t producing music at all, they’re just DJs and at this point and there’s no place like that here because the venues are booking established acts for business. So there’s no home for house, but I want to change that.
Would you say then that as a successful DJ, it’s more important than ever to show off budding local talent from the homeland if the chance is given?
Extremely, extremely. This is all I do all the time. The music that I play most of it is music from directly unknown DJs. Some of them have no recording deals or anything. So I’m always looking for stuff to play. Actually, one of the DJs were bringing for the closing, his name is Enoo Napa. He’s like one of those DJs who has been releasing music with no record deal yet, but has literally been dominating my sets this summer. Then I proposed let’s bring him and this is his first trip overseas.
Along the way, I’ve wanted to pick up those young ones that I feel like have potential. But it mustn’t only end with Hï. I was in Berlin playing at Watergate and they have this party called Rise. And it’s literally about playing Afro-House music and they will have South African DJs playing with the locals from Berlin and I was saying to them, ‘I want to be able to take that party to South Africa so we can start doing the same exchange. ‘This month we bring two Germans the following month we take two South Africans to Germany.’
An exchange residency, in a sense.
Yeah! This is how I feel it’s going to go! If we can do it with Rise, we can do it with Djoon in Paris, and someone else in Japan and start doing collaborations. Bringing a Japanese DJ in Angola on Friday, he goes to South Africa on Saturday. For me, I think this is how we can grow the culture. This is how we can expose people to what’s happening in the world. And those elements will grow our city locally as well.
What are three tracks that have played large roles in your rotation at Hï, and what do you think makes them work particularly well on the dance floor?
One has to be a song called “Zow Music” it’s a remix by Lalou, an African producer who lives in Geneva. It’s a European-inspired song with an Afro beat. It works so well with what I do, because that is what I try and look for in my sets. My sets are not pure African tribal,you know. I try and borrow from both European and African worlds to keep it very unique. Because of the sets I’m starting to play with these elements, even back home, the producers are starting to understand the sound that crosses over. Some producers are young and they only know South Africa, their dream is to eventually grow and start doing shows outside and being recognized outside as well. I try and play music that connects those two worlds. This song is one of those songs.
Another one that’s been very strong is by Da Capo called “Resistance,” featuring Renee Thompson. I can’t really explain this one. I think it’s in the vocal approach and how it’s produced, how Da Capo worked his magic on the rhythm of this one.
A third one I can think of is, its a South African song, by Styx & Bones that is remixed by Manu. The song is called “Amasoon?.” The song is also on another level. Manu is originally from South Africa but he lives in France so he understands you know that bridge I was talking about also. Most of the music he creates, its a reflection of who he is, an African man who lives in France. These are the songs that I can say have been very strong on the sets at Hï.
What sorts of things are in line for Black Coffee for end of year/next year?
Because of the tour I’ve been really, really struggling on production work. I think that’s one thing I would like to establish, not given a single, but be to be able to get back into the groove. It’s always a complex thing for me to work in production. But once I start I get into that loop you know. So I’m expected to release a single on Ultra by the end of the year. But first, I mean the goal for me is to get back into production work and start working.
From what I understand, South Africa has so much value in albums themselves, are you still planning to continue creating albums as your body of work?
Yeah! Yeah, I’m working on an album to release possibly February or March next year. So lazily I have I been having ideas down. I think of this one song I did with an artist from London called Tom Misch. Very young, very, very talented kid. We were talking about working and so we went to the studio last month and did something. So far that’s the only song that has direction!
Even last night I was working on it so the whole idea by the end of February or March I release an album.
Sounds like something we can look towards that’ll be intersecting various styles with South Africa.
Yes, but also the world. My idea with this album is I wanna go across all genres. I’ve done a song with Burna Boy from Nigeria and a song with Swizz Beats and that’s the kind of album I want, someone you wouldn’t expect on a Black Coffee album. *Laughs* You know. Like guys from the world, have a Pharrell… if I can find a Pharrell. That’s the kind of an album I want, it’s not just, you know, more, more dance and techno based it’s everything that I’m inspired to do at the moment. Slow-tempo, mid-tempo, up-tempo, doesn’t matter.
International superstar Robin Schulz has finally released his long awaited ‘Uncovered’ album, which is out now via Atlantic Records. Spanning a massive 18-tracks, ‘Uncovered’ is the German phenomenon’s most cinematic and complete work to date. Setting the tone for the 18-track journey, ‘Intro’ is an epic orchestral composition, with tension building strings and a staccato piano
German musician Christian Löffler has made quite a name for himself in Europe’s underground circuit over the past decade, releasing two albums in the process. His latest album Mare — released in 2016— typifies the reason behind his longevity and success, as it beautifully fuses the crispness and refinement of electronic music with the serenity and fragility of analog sampled sounds, delivering a memorable and unique auditory experience in the process.
Fast forward to 2017 and the producer has shown no sign of letting up, as he just dropped an equally tranquil reworked version of the original album, which features a plethora of talented underground artists’ take on each song of the gorgeous original LP. The compilation boasts names like Superpoze, Max Cooper, and even contains an emotive remix from Löffler himself.
“Birds of a feather flock together” — so goes the proverbial phrase for those whose indistinguishable interests, ideas, and characteristics converge.
In the pantheon of propelling tech and bass house to unforeseen heights lies the nest of a rather zany flock of birds. The Dirtybird nest — overseen by the venerable Claude VonStroke — hosts all kinds of crudeness, lewdness, depth, and darkness. For those unfamiliar, it helps to think of this crew as an eccentric ostentation of peacocks, really, over a stark flock of birds. The label cultivates a truly idiosyncratic array of artistry, whose ethos is exemplified in its artist’s stylistic differences. Indeed, Dirtybird soars in its artist’s abilities to create outside of the box material, seize a moment, a feeling, or fill a room with insatiably booty-clapping tunes.
Exemplifying the Dirtybird ethos is none other than the rising Brooklyn-based tech house duo Walker & Royce, comprised of Samuel Walker and Gavin Royce.
“I think what works is that our sound fits in with Dirtybird, but it’s not what people think of when they think of Dirtybird. I think that’s what Dirtybird and Claude VonStroke likes about us,” Sam Walker articulates of the duo’s unique output.
Together, the two operate like a well-oiled machine: relaxed and respectful in each other’s presence, interrupting one another when they speak only to double down on a point, get a laugh, or finish one’s sentence. It’s safe to say they’re most definitely birds of a feather.
Naturally, Gavin Royce continues on Walker’s sonic comment:
“We do try to bring in a little bit of disco, or a little bit of techno, or a little bit of other things from time to time so it’s not just straight up bass house. And a lot of times the breakdowns are these little things which happen to come together accidentally so a lot of this stuff is accidentally put together…. Happy Accidents. “
Happy accidents are something the two know quite well.
Walker & Royce got started in the DJ circuit in 2011, gaining attention for their unique track structure from a vast array of talent. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, the outfit has bridged the sonic gap in tech house in-between outwardness on the dance-floor and inner contemplation at home. Their tunes additionally explore an altruistic and diversely passionate style of production known by few others, manifested through penning songs through a creative process normally utilized by vocalists.
Among their very first of releases as an entity was when Crosstown Rebels’ boss Damian Lazarus noticed their remix of SAARID’s “Future Lately,” on Nervous Records. The two were then recruited to the famed label with their EP You’re Not Welcome, and with that, launched into the dance music spotlight.
Around this time, the boys also went on to release a track on OFF Recordings that went on to become the house anthem “Connected.” The song was played in heavy rotation and even went on to become a mainstay in Solomun‘s performances. Thinking back on the sonic differences between their early releases, it’s easy to see that Walker & Royce was setting the stage for their diverse range of sounds that would follow. Their debut EP on Moda Black entitled Sister, released in 2014, was even picked up by tastemaker Pete Tong as his Essential New Tune, in turn becoming a staple festival track. Walker & Royce’s remix of Baunz’ “Out the Window” on Pets Recordings garnered support from many of the biggest artists in electronic music, further building off the success of Sister.
The duo have since found themselves in Claude VonStroke’s seminal Dirtybird Records’ nest, with a series of multiple releases under their belt. Tracks like “Boy,” “Hit Dem Draws,” and more, have continued to cement their standing as a strong force within the next generation of tech house greats. While the two admit they’re too close to their music to see it, their unconventional take exemplifies exactly what a subgenre that can at times sound all-too-similar needs. Walker & Royce’s output consistently surprises their fans as they come into their own sonically, but such is what they’ve come to know and love about the two. Fans are ensured that their creative process is cyclical.
Recent times have seen the two have buckled down forging an brand new body of work, a debut album, that is for both the dance-floor and home listening.“We want artists to challenge themselves to do a body of work like this, and I feel like it made us write music that’s a little bit different than what we usually do,” advised Royce.
Self Help is thus a career-defining moment for the two. The immensely clever project is sure to lure in listeners with its club-ready grooves, only to leave them in the numbers of sly contemplation. Take even just the project’s lead singles for example: “Take Me To Your Leader,” featuring Dances With White Girls, dominated the festival circuits late this summer. Meanwhile, a Green Velvet-assisted “Rub Anotha Dub” featuring Green Velvet is also on its way to anthemhood.
On Self Help, Walker & Royce invite music aficionados of all genres to get lost in the flowing constructs of their imaginationwhile they search for the constantly evolving remedy of what it means to help one’s self and others in an ever-evolving musical world that’s always in need of some companionship.
“Our goal was to have people that aren’t just dance music fans listen to this album. Dirtybird has such a huge fanbase and they’re so amazing, but we wanted to push them a little bit to listen to some different music and we also wanted to bring people in who didn’t necessarily listen to Dirtybird music in to listen to ours….” – Royce
Dancing Astronaut got together with Walker & Royce prior to the two embarking on their Self Help tour to discuss the new work, the art of the album, its place in an industry driven by singles and EPs, happy accidents, and of course— the Dirtybird Campout.
Read our full interview with Walker & Royce below.
Congratulations, first, to you two on your latest single, the earworm-inducing “Rub Anotha Dub, ”which has admittedly been stuck in my head since its early September release. What was the process like passing along your unconventional track structure to Green Velvet?
[Walker] It was kind of like making a recipe without all of the ingredients, and then to finish it later. We sent him [Green Velvet] a bed, he sang over it, and we totally reworked it. It was one of the last tracks we finished for the album and of course, it was a lot of pressure. We didn’t want to let him down, to be honest.
He’s got to be a tech house hero of yours.
[Royce] Yeah. But with Curtis, or Velvet, it was a little hard for us to get him off the celebrity, DJ thing. I mean I grew up listening to him. He had a track in 1991 that I grew up listening to, or like when I went to the Junior High Dance. I used to breakdance to him. He’s somebody we’ve looked up to forever. Before we even started making music.
Had you thought of reaching out to anyone else for the track?
He [Green Velvet] was definitely the first person we reached out to for the album and he was definitely the last guy to turn in a vocal for the album.
What was the collaboration process like?
At first he was really into doing the collab but then things come up and it really looked like it wasn’t going to happen. But we played a festival with him in Mexico and Sam had gone back with him to the hotel after the gig and I had hung out with him for a bit and he said, “Look I really want to get on the album.” I said, “I’m going to text you three times a day until you send us a vocal.” He said, “ok do it.” And I did and we had a vocal a week later. It was a lifelong dream to collab with him, a career-long dream I guess you could say.
I noticed on the cover of the single as well as the forthcoming Self Help there’s a peace sign, a yin-yang, as well as an Om from the teachings of Hinduism— and that the two of you despite what some may gather from your track titles— have long incorporated elements of introspection into your music. Is this cover an outward testament to those beliefs in any way?
[Walker] The yin-yang perfectly encompasses our relationship. Gavin and I have this very complementary relationship where all the things I suck at he’s good at and vice versa. We need each other and fill in all the gaps that the other person is missing. As for some of the other things and coming from being DJs, our idea with production was to write music we thought was missing. This is our Self Help, we’re writing the music that we can’t find. No one’s writing this music so we’re going to have to write it ourselves. I go back to when progressive house got really stale and I was still into it but I felt like I ran out of records to buy. Of course, though, it’s a little bit open to interpretation.
How personal is this concept of self help for you two?
[Royce] It means a few different things. Its both us laughing at the idea of self help, but also as we’re getting older it’s also us embracing it. I mean I do yoga now. Years ago things we kind of laughed at we’re into now. It’s also very much an, ‘if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself, you gotta believe in yourself kind of thing.’ In this line of work, you have a lot of people who are like what are you doing with your life and you definitely have got to believe in yourself to get where you want.
[Walker] You have to push through it. Especially if everyone’s telling you it’s wrong, because at the end of the day only you know what’s right.
Sort of a testament to your own career.
[Royce] Yeah definitely
[Walker] The one thing I want to qualify though is that we don’t want to take credit for everything that’s happened. We’ve had a ton of support but at the same time, there has to be something to support, right? Really things have only taken a good turn in the past year or two. We’ve had some successes but nothing’s really caught on. During that whole time when we were ready to give up and throw in the towel before these opportunities started happening, I feel like it was especially important at that point that we believed in ourselves. We felt so isolated. There were people that liked what we did but it didn’t seem to be taking off.
[Royce] We had friends and family members hinting at throwing in the towel and definitely us thinking we should throw in the towel and we pushed through ourselves. It means a lot of different things and of course, the artist interpreted self help. We didn’t demand that any specific symbols be on there, but he incorporated it all in its own right.
Did you have an audience in mind when you were first working on the record?
[Royce] The album is definitely a dance album but it’s us taking a step towards expanding our fan base. Trying to reach different people. We’re not trying to make pop music but we’ere trying to have more vocals and we didn’t want this album to be just club banging tracks, or just like a 10 track EP. We wanted this to be a body of work that worked from beginning to end as something that people listen to in full and at home not just at dance clubs.
Keeping in mind that more and more tech house artists are becoming well known—Dirtybird‘s garnering more fans by the day—and the tunes are reaching more audiences than ever before, how are you two as Walker & Royce maintaining your unique essence as a duo, specifically on the new record?
[Walker] I think what works is that our sound fits in with Dirtybird, but it’s not what people think of when they think of Dirtybird. I think that’s what Dirtybird and Claude VonStroke likes about us.
[Royce] We do try to bring in a little bit of disco, or a little bit of techno, or a little bit of other things from time to time so it’s not just straight up bass house. And a lot of times the breakdowns are these little things which happen to come together accidentally so a lot of this stuff is accidentally put together. Happy accidents. You talk to any producer and they’ll know.
There’s so much beauty in that…Happy accidents.
[Walker] Exactly. Yeah. Even on a side note the last couple weeks I’ve been looking through Beatport trying to find music to round out our set. A lot of our set, especially the shorter sets of ours, we play mostly our own material. So we want to branch out from that and it’s tough to find stuff that fits in with what we’re writing. We’ve got a lot of friends and other producers that occasionally give us tracks and we like them a lot but in general, I feel like this weird disconnect with the stuff that I’m hearing. And I don’t know if that means that there’s sort of a weakness or an opportunity in the scene but I feel like that’s where we fit in…
I think of older tracks of yours like “Sister” on Moda Black or “A Perfect Sound” with Louisahhh that saw out your rise to where you are now and the full attention of Dirtybird. Those early tracks feel much more sonically open, even on your Justin Martin’s “Feels” reworking the tunes feel more instrumental, more indie if you will. You’ve appealed to such a wide spectrum of artists in dance music and your music has stylistically evolved so much. What type of sonic space are you aiming to occupy in your new music?
[Royce] Since this is an album we wanted it to be different. We talked even years ago about it.
[Walker] One of the guys I used to work with Dennis DeSantis said, “I don’t make music. I make machines that create happy accidents for me to make music with.” And so with that in mind, the writing process is not always direct for us. You have to just let yourself write what’s going to happen and if it turns out really well then great. We’re trying to create these moments. We want to create moments on the floor. That’s a guiding principle for us. We’re trying to create a setup and then a moment but how to do that is always shifting. We go in with an idea like here’s the vibe we’re trying to do and when we finally hit it we’re like ok save the project now from here we have to finish it.
And when did you first begin working on Self Help?
[Royce] January. We had one track done when we started.
[Walker] We had some unfinished material that wound up becoming some of the tracks on the album. Once people sang on them. Some of the songs came from the same project although they’re wildly different, where the writing process forks. So yeah the whole thing took about eight months.
Papa Claude [VonStroke] played a role in the record, which has definitely got to be a treat, how specifically was he involved?
[Walker] We would send the music almost straight away to him.
[Royce] It was his idea that we did it. I think us as artists if you’d asked us ten months ago, if we were ready to write an album, I would have said no.
[Royce] I would have been like yeah maybe another year. But he was the one that pushed for it and was like no I want you to do this and we were kind of like well I don’t know let’s think about it. He definitely was the one that pushed for it and as we talk about self help he was somebody that believed in us. So that was a huge confidence boost for us.
Did he A&R the album?
[Royce] Yeah. He’d tell us if this was good or if something needed to change. We thought about maybe collabing with him but if you notice on the album all the vocalists are features. That was kind of the line we drew early on. Instead of doing just a bunch of collabs we wanted this album to just be features.
[Walker] On that note too, the album gave us a bit of clout to pull in some really good vocalists. If you’re just doing an EP if you talk to someone that’s a really good singer maybe they won’t want to be interested, but because it was an album we got to tap into that. A lot of these things wouldn’t have happened without the album’s gravity.
But you two were the ones who chose the respective vocalists?
[Walker] Green Velvet definitely, and Dances Gavin goes way back with.
[Royce] We had actually meant to do something together for awhile and he actually was the first person to get vocals back to us.
[Walker] He turned them around in like two days.
[Royce] If you notice there’s two songs with him on the album.
[Royce] He actually wrote another song on the album. It’s his lyrics that we had somebody re-sing. So he really had three songs on the album.
[Walker] That guy is writing machine. If you give him enough beats, beds or demos he wants to get you like ten different songs in a day. “Take Me To Your Leader,” he only did one time through. He did it the first time through. We thought about having him do it again and he said no. *Laughs* He literally sang it that one time through and never sang it again. His voice is so good and it didn’t any reworking or re-singing. Everything was clearly intelligible through the speakers in a club.
What’s the name of the track he wrote?
[Walker] “Pass That” with JPatt on the vocals for it. Dances came up with the concept and JPatt is a really good friend of both of ours and also Dances.’JPatt’s in The Knocks who’re Brooklyn homies of ours. We had talked about collaborating with The Knocks for the album and it didn’t end up happening so I had JPatt sing that song and he was cool to do it.
Collaboration with The Knocks would have been incredible and I’m sure JPatt’s is alone, but that’s a nice direction.
[Royce] There’s a few collabs that didn’t happen that I think are gonna happen in the future. There’s a lot of stuff that’s coming out of this album. We have a couple songs that didn’t get finished the way we wanted that we’re gonna put on some other stuff and we have a couple of collabs that we wanted to make happen before that we’ll make happen here in the future.
[Royce] Yeah yeah a little exciting cause it’s like ok we didn’t get in the studio with those guys but we can still make it happen anyway because everyone wants to do it so that’s kind of cool.
How’s it been working with the entire Dirtybird Crew more recently? They’ve got to be like a family at this point.
[Walker] That’s exactly what it is. It feels right for us. It’s the one home where we fit in really well, we’re friends with everybody, and it really does feel like a family, as cliche as that can be. We’ve been involved in other labels and they just didn’t feel right like this one does. I definitely don’t think that we’re like the typical kind of Dirtybird artists but I think that’s also what makes it better.
Family Reunion, Dirtybird Campout coming up right in the middle of your Self Help Tour. What’s cookin’?
[Royce] We’re kind of debuting the album! We just confirmed, and you can announce this, that Dances With White Girls is “hosting” the set. Not MCing the entire time but he’s gonna perform a couple of the songs live during the set which is going to be really cool. He’s more than welcome to talk whenever he wants we told him during the set. *Laughs* I don’t think it’ll be too much though I don’t think he’ll be like “ok everybody put your hands in your air the whole time. But I think Campout is great because we’re a couple of guys in our thirties and festivals are fun but I can’t stand to be at a festival longer than a few hours even if it’s even a day. *Laughs* I’m old, there’s too much noise. What I love about the Dirtybird Campout is that there are all these other things to do to keep you kind of fresh. You don’t have to be in front of a speaker the entire time. People don’t have to be hammered, intoxicated the entire time. We’re going Thursday, so the night before, and staying until Monday. I’m excited as anything about it. I think it’s going to be fun. It’s the only festival I’ll do that for and I know maybe I’m biased but they create an environment that’s unreal. It’s different.
Anything special planned? To attain as intimate of a performance as you can, sort of akin to the festival ethos… removing the wall from artist and attendee.
[Walker] We’re doing a couple things. We have a couple events lined up, a meet and greet and there’s definitely going to be specific self help stuff lined up at the campout. As for our set, we want to touch everything. I want to get in there and make custom edits of everything. There are a couple tracks that aren’t the same bpm as everything else so maybe what we’ll do is sort of bring them up and make them a bit more energetic so everything works in between.
Old and new tunes?
[Walker] Well and that’s the other thing, you had mentioned “Sister” earlier and we hadn’t been playing that one in awhile so I want to go in there and throw in special edits of older tracks like that. Some of the older tracks are so far out from what we’re doing right now and not connected. But definitely, the stuff that started this whole thing like some of the Pets material we want to do something special, something memorable, and something where you can’t just go out and buy [it] yourself. The album’s out on October 20th so people won’t have the album by then.
Speaking more generally about the Self Help tour, what are some of the things you’re hoping to emanate?
[Royce] A couple of stops on the tour we have some extended sets so we’re hoping to really flex our DJ skills on the tour. We’ve headlined a lot of clubs are parties but this is also the first time we’re doing an actual tour. Getting into this, we were DJs first, and so for me the longer we have to play the better. I’m really looking forward to be able to play these parties and digging a little deeper. Not just playing the obvious tracks. Definitely showcase the album but also a lot of the music that we’re into, where we’ve come from. I love DJing so much so I’m excited for that.
What track, if you had to pick right now, that’s not your own would you have to throw in your circuit?
[Walker] That Justin Jay Time song. *Uuuuhh in unison* We both love it. We want to do a remix of it. I don’t know if that’s going to happen with all the other modifications of other tracks we want to do before the tour starts but hopefully, we can do something with it.
Looking at the album now in hindsight do you plan to do another down the road?
[Walker] Definitely. I almost prefer the album. In the immediate future we’ll probably put out some EPs and we have remixes that are set to drop but the album process is great. You sort of knuckle down and create a whole bunch of content. You create a lot of material for yourself to rework like we were just talking about. These album tracks can turn into other remixes which we can delve back into. Rework the vocal into a totally different remix and now we’ve got two tracks where one may really work on the dancefloor and the other’s different. It’ll just be a constant cycle. Maybe taking a breather once in awhile but not much…
Anything else you want to share about Self Help, the record or the tour?
[Royce] I have a goal of getting people to listen to Self Help from start to finish. The thing that made us most nervous about doing this is we definitely do not live in an album world. Everything is singles and EPs and I think that was a big risk that we had to decide to take. Like we were talking about earlier if you had asked me ten months ago if we were ready to write an album I would have said no because I don’t think we live in a world that album’s really exist anymore. When I was younger it was all about the album, and it’s really hard to get people to listen to things now that are more than a standout track so I’m hoping people listen to it start to finish because we’ve arranged it and the tracks in a way that make sense, at least to us. I also hope that the album does come back…
[Royce] We want artists to challenge themselves to do a body of work like this, and I feel like it made us write music that’s a little bit different than what we usually do. Like you said before, I think the material now has a different sound than what we’d done before and we didn’t necessarily purposely do that, we wanted to make this album about more vocals, but I think that forced us into a corner we’re releasing a bunch of tracks all at once and it kind of changes things. Our goal was to have people that aren’t just dance music fans listen to this album. Dirtybird has such a huge fanbase and they’re so amazing, but we wanted to push them a little bit to listen to some different music and we also wanted to bring people in who didn’t necessarily listen to Dirtybird music in to listen to ours.
Walker & Royce’s debut album Self Help is out Oct. 20 on Dirtybird. Find them on tour here.
Back then, A-Trak was much more involved in DJing rather than producing music, as he was also Kanye’s tour DJ. In fact, A-Trak takes credit for introducing Kanye to Daft Punk’s original track, ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger,’ which the rapper would then go on to remix and rebrand as his Grammy-winning single.
Initially, A-Trak was “against the idea” as he felt it might come across as “cheap” to sample “such a big international hit.” However, after hearing how much Kanye had “flipped” the track in the process of turning it into a “futuristic Hip-Hop” track, the producer put aside his reservations and acknowledged what would become one of the decade’s most recognizable hip-hop tracks.
The producer further goes on to acknowledge that part that Graduation played in “breaking down the barriers” that genres of the time faced, and how it was a “cross-pollination of genres.”
R3HAB has released his long-awaited debut LP, Trouble. He’s continued to smash the charts leading up to this huge release, including “I Just Can’t” featuring Quintino as a single from the debut LP. Trouble has been released on R3HAB’s own label.
The album combines all of R3HAB’s talents into one beautiful, state-of-the-art, club-ready album that fans and DJs alike have been eagerly awaiting. The producer’s versatility throughout Trouble is more than admirable. His many years of garnered talent, travels and experiences have paid off superbly, and he compiles his emotions and experiences into a beautifully crafted debut album.
Years spent cutting his teeth on the underground circuit and becoming one of its most prolific new acts in the process have given way to the next chapter of Nic Fanciulli’s career: album writer. My Heart, set to release on October 20, will be the UK native’s most ambitious project to date, where he expands beyond his club-oriented persona to expose the full breadth of his abilities in song production.
That said, he’s not straying entirely from dance-ready records, as evidenced by the second and third singles he’s gifted to fans ahead of his inaugural LP’s release. Both are collaborative efforts that explore the deep, melodic side of house music. “The Perfect Circle,” which features assistance from Guy Gerber, is lush ride through warm, full-bodied plucks and intricate rhythms that conjures imagery of dancing beachside.
“Little L,” the third single off My Heart, takes a slightly tougher direction, coaxing the listener into a trance with futuristic synth work, sharp progressions, and driving percussion. This track sees Fanciulli working with Bedrcock veteran Eagles & Butterflies, and their talents meld perfectly into what finishes out as a subdued club built for the later hours.
If these two singles are any indicator, those who imbibe in My Heart are set to get entrenched in a sweeping soundscape of ethereal melodies.
LA based DJ and producer duo Oliver is known for their futuristic vibe infused with excerpts of classic instrumentation. Their brand new album, Full Circle, is an eclectic mix of styles that still maintains the duo’s signature sound. With an array of classic and novel variations, Oliver keeps listeners on their toes as each song transitions into the next surprising wave of euphoria.
The album opens with “Portrait,” a reverberating introduction that echoes harmonies into an escalation of bliss, delivering a preview of what is to come throughout the album. Along the way, Oliver’s style had evolved from the creation of the album to the finalized product that was released to the public.
The album took two years to finish so a lot can change in that amount of time. The first song “Ottomatic” was made almost three years ago where “Go With It” was made a month ago, in that amount of time of go through so many different phases of inspiration. Most of the more uptempo songs on the record were made early on, I think we just switched gears over the last year and started getting back into soul and R&B music. Over all I think our production choices a engineering kind of bring it all together.
Their sound can best be described as upbeat, high-energy, and incorporates a variety of stylistic elements including funky, jazzy and R&B feels, all amped up by electronic beats. Oliver has also introduced Chromeo, Elohim, Yelle and others into the album, creating entirely unique sentiments within each track. The result is simply stunning.
We’ve always loved collaboration with other artists but in the past it’s mostly been us producing for their records. This time we kind of got to lead the way which was really fun. In the past we were more track driven, meaning we didn’t work with vocalists a lot, so that took a while to adjust to. We have so much love and admiration for everybody we worked with so that made the song writing process easy.
The duo does not hold back when it comes to putting their ideas on the line. Unafraid of the unknown, they venture right into uncharted territory by experimenting with a style so distinct and incomparable that each piece flows effortlessly and is packed with pleasant surprises.
We make honest music that comes from a place of love. This album is us doing exactly what we wanted, just being ourselves and getting to try a lot of different ideas.
One of the most notable tracks on the album is “At Night,” a moving, colorful original that has a simple yet dimensional melody, calming builds, and an overall relaxed feel. They explain the formation of the dynamic piece that happened to be a long process, but was well worth the wait.
No favorites, [on the album] I can’t really be objective about my own music unfortunately. I guess right now I like “At Night,” it was a really simple demo that we did back in 11′ and we always kept coming back to it, I was so happy to finally finish and release it.
Masked mayhem maker and electro punk pioneer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo has officially announced the release of the Bloody Beetroots‘ long-awaited third studio album, The Great Electronic Swindle. The new record will feature a slew of musical talent from outside of the electronic music spectrum, ranging from Aussie rockers JET to Anders Friden of In Flames to most recently, self-proclaimed EDM hater Perry Farrell on the album’s new single “Pirates, Punks, and Politics” released today with the album’s announcement.
Rifo, who is celebrating his masked moniker’s tenth anniversary in 2017, has always maintained a renegade association with electronic music, and his new album, loaded with collaborations, is expected to continue the artistic progression of the Bloody Beetroots’ rebellious relationship with dance music. Regarding the record’s unapologetic title, Rifo explains,
“The title is a tribute to the Sex Pistols and the film ‘The Great Rock and Roll Swindle’ directed by Julian Temple. It was a sign of the end of an era. The end of Punk. I want to reclaim that for electronic music because the business squeezed the genre so much that they delivered the end of electronic music itself. We are living in a great electronic swindle.”
The Great Electronic Swindle is due October 20 via Canadian imprint Last Gang. Stream the Bloody Beetroot’s latest, “Pirates, Punks, and Politics” here.