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Alexis Tyrel Premieres Track Off Forthcoming “Return To Planet Alpha” EP

 

Lessismore record label, founded in 2003 by the Dutch DJ and producer Alexis Tyrel together with MBC, has been home for mostly his own releases under all his monikers and ‘various artist’ compilations.

Return To Planet Alpha continues in this tradition, being a second long-player of Alexis Tyrel after his debut Newtradition from 2011. Return To Planet Alpha is a collection of elegant techno tracks which instead of following the now so popular dark and destructive path focuses on daily moods and airy atmosphere, which is closer to open air and lounge than to sweaty pits of contemporary rave. But that doesn’t mean that the twelve tracks are just indistinctive background music.

For one thing, Tyrel is a master of slick and tight beat foundations of kick drums and bass, often smoothed out with cool synth pads, onto which he layers all kinds of rhythmical chains, subtle melodic ideas and sounds ranging from vintage synths and industrial bits to organic textures and even field recordings. Another distinctive feature of Alexis Tyrel (and his alter ego Gideon, which appears as a remixer on the LP) is diversity and playfulness. The sound environment of the LP, which is obvious from the album and track titles, inclines to a space theme, mainly thanks to the synthesizers recalling the 1980s. But instead of just recreating that.

We are honored to be premiering “Right Side Of The Sun” off of the forthcoming EP, and to have had the time to chat with Alexis ahead of the release. The twelve-track LP Return To Planet Alpha will be released March 17th on digital and vinyl via Lessismore and available for purchase here.

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Q&A: Edit Select Releases ‘Visitors – Projections’ Album with Antonio Ruscito

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This coming November 25th, Scottish techno producer Tony Scott, aka Edit Select, is releasing a collaboration album alongside Antonio Ruscito on his own Edit Select Records imprint. The album will be available via Juno, Decks and Deejay.

While both the Scottish and Italian artists are fantastic in the studio in their own right, Visitors – Projections combines their prowess as producers to form a transcendental techno journey filled with haunting atmosphere, emotive structures and spatial ambience.

We caught up with Tony ahead of the ten-track release to discuss his collaboration with Antonio, Scotland’s techno scene, the influence of technology on the production of techno over the last few decades and more. Read the interview below but first enjoy this exclusive premiere of ‘Projection 2″ right off of the forthcoming LP:

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Gorje Hewek & Izhevski Discuss Their Involvement With All Day I Dream

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All Day I Dream‘s vision is one that transcends the mere scope of your run-of-the-mill party series. Founded by Lee Burridge on a hot Brooklyn rooftop back in 2011, the brand has gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon, spurred on by the promise of a dreamy journey through music no matter the city and the venue.

It was clear from the beginning that Lee’s Burning Man influences and prowess in the studio combined to provide an escape party unlike others in the United States, attracting thousands of “Dreamers” in Los Angeles, New York City and other cities who flocked to All Day I Dream in search of a transcendental foray into a magic and unparalleled world.

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Coyu on Donald Trump, Suara’s New Fashion Store, His Favorite Genre and Playing in Los Angeles

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It’s ADE and Amsterdam is buzzing. The mid-October air is crisp cold yet everyone is still biking as if it’s summer out. I am rushing and weaving through late-morning traffic as, admittedly, I am running late for my interview with Iván Ramos, artist name Coyu, due to some unforeseen complications I ran into that morning.

Walking into the Miracle Management hub for ADE week I am greeted warmly by both Coyu and Bruno, who was kind enough to set up the interview during one of the craziest weeks of the year. I know Coyu doesn’t have much time — he is running a label and has a Suara showcase in Amsterdam that night, is opening a fashion store in Barcelona, oversees the Suara Foundation which benefits cats and of course is a successful producer and DJ in his own right. Literally just over a week following the interview (this weekend) he is scheduled to play Suara showcases in San Francisco first and then in Los Angeles for Underrated Presents’ Minimal Effort Halloween — a one-day festival in the heart of the city’s downtown area.

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Humble Beginnings with Butane

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Sometimes we get so engrossed by our favorite DJs that we forget to even think about the person behind the persona on stage. Where did they come from? Who are they outside of the club? What do they do when they are not performing on weekends? How did they even begin on this strange career path that led them to be where they are now, spinning in front of thousands of revelers until the early hours of the morning?

Andrew Rasse is nothing short of an interesting man. Known to underground dance music aficionados as Butane, Rasse boasts an impressive list of hobbies, passions and experience that far transcends his work in the studio or in front of a weekend crowd. Yet, he maintains as busy as ever as a producer with a heavy schedule of releases planned for the coming months. He begins with a landmark 250th outing on his own Little Helpers imprint, a collaboration between label bosses Rasse and Sean O’Neal aka Someone Else. Scheduled for exclusive Beatport release on October 25th and general release on November 8th, Little Helpers 250 contains two collaborative tracks as well as two individual cuts from each producer, all of which perfectly underscore the label’s penchant for quality thriving techno and house.

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Q&A: Detlef on his Do Not Sleep ADE Gig, Playing Paradise and Warriors in Ibiza and more

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If you’ve been to Ibiza this summer it’s highly likely that you’ve seen Detlef at work at either Sankeys or DC-10. The Greek producer and DJ has built himself a career that now sees him deeply entrenched in the underground dance music scene, with a catalogue of releases and remixes on some of the globe’s most respected labels such as Knee Deep In Sound, VIVa Music, Hot Creations, Moon Harbour, and Defected.

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The Art of the Resident DJ: D’Julz

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There are DJs, and then there are DJ’s DJs.

Julien Veniel, artist name D’Julz, is undoubtedly one of the latter – a true craftsman behind the decks whose true strongest skill is his ability to go beyond mere genres and trends, deciding instead to actively shape the ever-changing soundscape of electronic music through his own productions, DJ performances and parties.

Through a career spanning two and a half decades, D’Julz has practically done it all. He began spinning in Paris, often playing his home city’s much-talked-about early 90s raves and legendary clubs, all before moving to New York City in 1993 to further hone his skills and cement his reputation as a true taste-maker in his field. The rest, as they say, is history.

Next week he will embark on the latest North American Tour of his long career, beginning with a special show in Los Angeles at Couture, a night presented by Outspoken, Sacred Grounds and 6AM. Yet, despite finding himself in high demand in every corner of the globe, from the States to Japan and countless countries in between, D’Julz has always remained true to his roots in Paris, where he has been running the now legendary “Bass Culture” night at Rex Club since 1997.

I had the pleasure of talking with him head of his gig in Los Angeles for this first edition of “The Art of the Resident DJ” – an interview series that seeks to explore the quasi-sacred world of club residencies held by international-touring DJs.

You’ve been a resident DJ at Rex Club in Paris since 1997, a total of 20 years by next year! Congratulations, that is quite the feat. How did you first get the opportunity to hold that residency?

Thanks. It doesn’t feel that long to be honest, which is probably why I’m still as excited doing it now as I was in the first year. I actually started playing monthly at Rex in 1995 for a party called ‘Temple’, organised by former Rave promoters. When they stopped doing their party a couple of years later, the Rex management decided to keep their residents on to give them their own nights, et voilà!

Why did you choose to call your monthly party “Bass Culture”?

At this time I was very influenced by dub. I was listening to a lot of King Tubby, Linton Kwesi Johnson. ‘Bass Culture’ is the name of LKJ album and since my sound was way dubbier and more bass focused than most of other Parisian DJs, who at that time had both feet in the french touch (filter disco) sound, I felt it was an appropriate name for my night. After all, both genres of music (reggae and house) shared the same importance in both bass, and a sound system.

How has the club changed in the 19 years you’ve been a resident?

It hasn’t changed that much actually which is probably why I still feel at home. The sound system has only changed twice, and the design of the club only a few times. The staff change, and the management once but luckily the family spirit has always remained. New people who come to work at the club already know and respect its philosophy so don’t try to change things around too radically. The art direction evolves, but stays focused on discovering new talents without cutting out the clubs roots. I share the same vision in my career so it would explain why this marriage is lasting.

What is your selection process in inviting other artists to play Bass Culture?

It’s very simple. It has to be a fucking great DJ or live act, and obviously suit my musical taste. Most of the time I hear about new artists through their productions, but as much as I like his or her music, I would never invite them if I didn’t enjoy them a lot when seeing them DJ. I don’t care how “hype” they are. I’m super picky about this matter, but that doesn’t mean to say I’m not open minded musically, because I am. Even if my night has been mainly House focused, I have still invited techno guys like Rolando and Steve Rachmad in the past. Whether they are big acts or more underground acts doesn’t matter either. Some people might not see the common link between, let’s say, Seth Troxler and Praslea, or Sonja Moonear and Lil Louis. I think they’re all excellent DJs. It doesn’t matter which genre of music they are labeled with because most of them are way more eclectic than people might think they are.

In 2009 you chose to start a label by the same name of your residency, a powerful testament to the importance of Rex and the Bass Culture parties. How has the residency impacted your career over the years?

First of all it’s the best way to progress, so in that sense it really helps me define who I am as a DJ. Secondly, through this residency, I have met so many amazing artists. I have learned or shared something with all of them. I have also been able to meet some heroes of mine in the flesh, and most importantly I have even developed strong friendships with a lot of them. I think this residency has grown organically and it’s respected and appreciated by all the artists who have come to play over the years. That’s the biggest satisfaction for me.

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Does your DJ/musical approach change when playing at Rex versus being a guest at another club on tour?

Yes it does. Firstly, I usually play the warm up set at Rex, which I usually never do, and this means I can play my deepest music. Also it’s a laboratory for me, I know the room so well that I can try things out, try new music, and take more risks than I would do in clubs where I play for the first time. Finally going b2b with my guest like I often do at the end of the night is a very exciting, interesting, sometimes challenging exercise that I don’t necessarily like doing in a different environment. That has to be the cherry on the cake.

Touring has its ups and downs. What would some of those be for a resident DJ?

Here we need to define the term ‘residency’. Yes it’s my own night, and I have played in the same club every month, (now every other month) for almost 20 years, but for me a resident DJ in the true sense of the word is someone who plays weekly (sometimes more) in the same club and most of the time, all night long. It can be amazing when it’s the right club and the right crowd, or very demanding and frustrating if you cannot do what you want. It can also become boring like a regular job in a company that doesn’t suit you anymore. With the kind of residency I’m doing, there are honestly no lows. Because it’s every second month, I can come up with something fresh every time, but I can still build or educate my crowd on the long run. I can also play other good clubs in Paris as a guest because there is no exclusivity to Rex. That for me, is the perfect compromise between a real residency and touring.

Do you have any personal tips to give other aspiring resident DJs or those already holding down a residency?

It’s a very lucky position to be in, so learn everything you can from it. It’s the best DJ school you can find so respect it and don’t’ be afraid to experiment. Also, treat your guests like you would if you had invited them to your dinner table.

 

RSVP/ticket information for  D’Julz at Couture Los Angeles presented by Outspoken, Sacred Grounds and 6AM can be found here.

Connect with D’Julz: Online | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloudResident Advisor

All photos by Vito Fernicola

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Interview: The Role of Invert Music Group and Diversion in Los Angeles’ Techno Scene

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Late last year, I took my first tour of Los Angeles’ underground scene after moving from Chicago, and proceeded to proclaim that LA’s techno scene is alive and well. Earlier in 2016, Resident Advisor cemented that statement with a brilliant Real Scenes feature that dug deep into the city’s warehouse scene and some of the various key players that keep the party going. Read more

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Humble Beginnings: An Interview with Julius Jetson

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In February 2015 I took my first and only trip to Washington D.C. to visit a close friend. While there, he took me around to check out the city’s vibrant house and techno scene, including two visits to Flash nightclub.

On the first night at the intimate venue I had the pleasure of meeting Julian Ragland, a friend of his and one of the minds behind D.C.’s music community and promoters Nu Androids. It so happens that Nu Androids were hosting Dirtybird artist Kill Frenzy that night and the place was jam packed – an impressive feat for a Wednesday. I have since come to grow tremendous respect for Julian’s work in the D.C. electronic music scene as both an artist and event curator, constantly seeing him push the boundaries from both platforms. Although I never had the chance to see him play live (he produces and spins under the alias Julius Jetson), I have seen the tremendous success and support his productions and performances have received in the electronic music industry.

I recently had the chance to talk with Julian and discuss his past, present and future going forward as both an artist and at the helm of Nu Androids.

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Humble Beginnings with Yoshitoshi’s Sharam

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Sharam is a citizen of the world, both by upbringing and by profession. One-half of the iconic duo Deep Dish, and equally as successful as a solo producer and founder/owner of his label Yoshitoshi, Sharam was born in Iran, later emigrating with his family to Washington D.C.. It was in the nation’s capital that Sharam’s love for music had the chance to grow and expand, allowing his prowess as a producer and skills as a DJ to become a full time job as a musician.

 

Over the years, Sharam has continued to make D.C. his home, while simultaneously touring the world alongside Ali (Dubfire) as part of Deep Dish, and as a solo artist and head of his own imprint. Although he took a hiatus with Deep Deep for a few years, in 2015 he reunited with Ali for a  number of dates that saw the duo play at Ultra Miami, in Ibiza, at ADE, three separate Creamfields festivals in South America and more.

 

This month, Sharam announced and released his latest album called “Retroactive”, a sophomore LP that comes seven years after his debut solo work “Get Wild”. The album, originally announced with the title “A Warehouse” debuted with a spot on the Top 10 iTunes Chart on the release day, a true testament to Sharam’s undeniably strong popularity and quality as a producer. Despite the name change, “Retroactive” remains true to the same message communicated with the album’s prior title: the LP revisits Sharam’s roots with thirteen diverse yet cohesive tracks. Spanning influences that touch upon “early 80’s Giorgio Moroder inspired disco to futuristic, dark and hypnotic clubby affairs with menacing drum and bass inspired sounds”, “Retroactive” is an homage to Sharam’s past and present, as well as the future of house he undeniably continues to shape.

 

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I had the chance to talk to Sharam while in the middle of an extremely busy tour promoting the album. His twenty-three stops in North America alone will keep on the road for the entire months of June and July, all before he jets off to Europe for some dates across the Atlantic. As we talked, he was about to travel to Chicago to play the 8th stop of the tour at the Mid.
In our conversations we took the time to dive a little deeper into his past, and the influences that shaped the production and recording of “Retroactive” – the humble beginnings that led to the Sharam we know today.

 

“Retroactive” is out now and available on iTunes, Beatport and Spotify.

 

With “Retroactive” we are seeing your return to your roots and major musical influences. Can you tell us a little bit about Sharam as a person, before music took over your life as a passion and career? Did you have any other hobbies or interests?
 
Music has always been a cornerstone as far back as I remember. Listening to music was a hobby for me. In post-revolutionary Iran you didn’t have access to a lot of music so I would find it through underground channels. It was TRULY underground because music, especially the western kind, was illegal. I was always fascinated with being able to transfer music between or mix them together through primitive devices that I had access to at the time. I also ruined many cassette players because I would open them up take them apart and could never fully put them back together! (laughs) When I moved to the US I continued with that curiosity, and then found out there is a thing called a mixer that made the mixing much easier and turntables that allowed you to change the speed of music that, together, enabled you to mix music together in a seamless fashion. WOW! That was magical. I was hooked, and that’s how I became a DJ. Soon after, I felt like I could make records and do it a bit differently than what was out there. That led to setting up a production team with Ali Dubfire as Deep Dish. Once we did that, we started to make some noise and were soon able to quit our day jobs and do music and DJ full time. We never looked back.

You’ve been extremely successful both as a musician and entrepreneur in the world of music. If music hadn’t crossed your path as a career however, what would Sharam probably be doing right now?

 
Hard to say. Probably some bob job in a tech firm or something like that? Or something that had to do with cars. i would have been a typical Persian used car salesman. Watch out!
 
In the past, you have talked about your early days in Iran and the lack of access to Western music. You mentioned how you would rent music video tapes on Betamax from underground rental places and record them on tapes to then play or sell to others. In that sense, your roots are truly underground. Did these experiences influence your direction in electronic music once you moved to the States?
 
Indirectly perhaps it did. You see, finding music – from underground sources in Iran, was extremely dangerous and rebellious. Kids in the western world latch on to punk or rock, or nowadays techno seems like the rebellious thing to do. We did that too as kids, but it applied to all western music, mostly pop. I mean, we actually risked getting caught and being punished. Imagine that. So when I came to the US I really appreciated the freedom and open access to find your own thing and explore it as much as your heart desired. The only thing between you and music was money. There was no piracy back then. I recall saving to buy a double cassette Walkman so I could go to a record store that had all their music on tapes in listening stations and record the tapes. I wanted to go listen to a tape that the in-store DJ’s had made and record it simultaneously on the double deck Walkman! Haha. I did buy that double cassette but never used it in that fashion. I just bought records. I basically worked to buy records. We would throw school parties with my friends so that I could DJ and make money to pay for new records, and eventually build up a collection worthy of club sets.

 

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Some of your biggest influences early on include the italo-disco sounds of Giorgio Moroder, but also drum ‘n bass and innovative and progressive late 70’s/early 80’s bands the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, The Cars, etc. We can hear just how profound the sound of all these artists has been in your past work both as one half of Deep Dish and as a solo producer. Do you feel any of these artist played a more influencing role with “Retroactive” than others?
 
My original name for the album was Disco Tech. Disco because of those early italo-disco and Giorgio Moroder sounds I was emulating, and Tech because that’s what I seem to make more often than not. There is a lot of influence from early 80s from all those artists on this album. Stuff like New Order, Depeche Mode, Pink Flyod, Erasure, Cars, it never leaves you. It’s always lurking in the back of your mind and on this album I went full monty with it you could say. A track like Blind sits squarely in that era but it has today’s tech and drum n bass influence in it.
 
Washington D.C. has been your home for years now, so it’s natural for you to have established your Yoshitoshi label here too. How has D.C. as a city influenced you as an artist throughout the years?
 
DC is a cosmopolitan city, with many people from all walks of life coming to study, live permanently, or live temporarily through embassies and other international government-related work. So there’s a lot of international influence. Some of the clubs I used to go to, the music was a mish-mash of everything, but mostly European influences. You’d hear Gloria Gaynor next to Bony M next to Ace of Bass and some house records thrown in for good measure, with some Euro dance records added in too. What you would hear in DC clubs was basically what you would hear in San Tropez where music is a mix of big records from all around the world. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. Only when I visited St. Tropez it clicked. The ‘trendy’ clubs in DC and NY were trying to mimic that vibe. Its interesting, because that vibe of playing a lot of big popular records is what influenced Morrillo when he was doing his Ibiza residency at Pacha which influenced a lot of the big EDM DJ’s like the Swedes and Guetta. And they took that concept to the next level. But at its core its St. Tropez style of playing popular music at a club catered to the jetsetters.
 
That was the baseline for DC back then. But we found our ‘underground’ scene through house and techno, and through that we discovered warehouse style parties and later on raves, which sort of went against what DC had to offer. So I was influenced by all of that in some shape or form. Even though I was deep in the underground I never underestimated the value of a good hook or sing along song, and was always looking for cool records with great vocals. At the time it was rare for records to cross over from the house or techno scenes (other than some disco-influenced stuff which had become taboo). We changed that.

 

Is there any specific reason why, as you’ve grown bigger as a producer, DJ and label-head, you decided to remain based in D.C. rather than seek to move to other destinations such as LA, NYC, Chicago, London – cities that other artists seem to flock to at a certain point of their career?
 
DC is home and home is where the heart is. I love DC. Plus I never wanted to go ‘out there’ and make it. I wanted to make it where I was. But truth be told I am now tinkering with the idea of setting up shop in LA, simply because the talent pool for growing an organization is better suited for our kind of business and because I’m tired of losing great people to big cities. Over the years some of the people that started working for me have gone on to have amazing careers in the industry in LA and NY. I’d like to keep some of those talents in house.
 
In the last couple of years, you’ve begun doing shows again with Ali as Deep Dish. In the past, when you were producing together, Ali and yourself fed off of each other in what you have described as the “ying-yang” of a duo project. Do you feel that Deep Dish’s productions and releases had and still have different influences than those of Sharam as a solo producer?
 
Sure. Because you have two people with two distinct set of influences and desires. That holds true to date. That tug of war can create something interesting.

 

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As you’ve documented and discussed, “Retroactive” was initially named and announced as “A Warehouse”. Do you feel you are more of a warehouse artist than a club DJ?
 
I do feel more at home when the lights are dim the place is dark and you have hypnotic minimal visuals. That could be in a warehouse or in a club. I don’t want people to look at me when I’m DJing. I want them to dance. A Warehouse does create that vibe, and that was the reason for the initial name. Music through vantage point of my influences and those early warehouse parties and raves played a great role.
 
I had the pleasure of interviewing Rony Seikaly ahead of his “Sword” EP release on Yoshitoshi. When discussing the role of your label, he mentioned that you – and the label by default – “actually understand music from a broader perspective and are open to different sounds”. To me, it seems very clear: your early influences are both broad yet specific, allowing you to keep an open-mind when it comes to the music Yoshitoshi puts out. Do you feel your approach, as a label-head is different than the one you adopt when producing your own music?
 
No, actually very similar. I don’t discriminate against genres or people. Our industry has turned into a bigot society of self absorbed individuals that fancy themselves as elites. I never subscribed to that mentality and I think its bad for music – as its bad for society. Granted the gap between different kinds of dance music is widening and as such you will have clans dedicated to different scenes, and that’s totally fine and healthy. But when you bring hate and disgust into it, that becomes counter-productive. At Yoshitoshi, we are fans of good music that stays true to our heritage of releasing music from different offshoots and having them played harmoniously together. Our motto is, “It’s a Soul Thing”. Soul shows itself in every style of music.
 
We have talked a lot about your early influences and beginnings. Music has evolved tremendously since the late 80s and is in constant evolution now. Are there any current artists, new or old, that you consider influences both as the chief of Yoshitoshi and a producer?
 
I’ve always found inspiration from the records I play. So if you look at my Beatport charts for example, you will see the records that I’m playing that are having an influence on me. Beyond that, I love Drum N Bass. Spor. Calyx, TeeBee, Wilkinson. I love listening to their records. Maceo Plex releases interesting records on a consistent basis. I love artists like that who are not one trick ponies. My favorite album of last year was Galantis’s Pharmacy. You want to talk about a great dance pop album, that is it – so well produced.

 

Connect with Sharam: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Beatport
Connect with Yoshitoshi Recordings: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Beatport