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Techno Philosophy, Thrift Stores, and Anthracite – A Conversation with Sian

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“It’s tribal. People bullshit on about it being a religious thing, but in a lot of ways it is the most basic idea of celebration” – Sian 

There is a primal rhythm deeply rooted in human nature. Music often brings out these feelings and inhibitions, and if there’s one artist that has tapped into this energy it’s Sian. He’s developed a signature sound of techno through a plethora of releases,while curating his own vision of techno through his imprint, Octopus Recordings. Artists such as Sasha Carassi, Harvey McKay, and Jay Lumen have all signed on helping curate the vibe of Octopus, and Sian continues to host numerous Octopus Recordings showcases around the world from Movement to Sonar. In the wake of his recent EP, Medicine Man, Sian has completed and prepared his forthcoming album, Anthracite, with a release date set for August 3rd.

“This was more of a cinematic trip,” explained Sian. “I actually worked on a bunch of tracks as singles, and then I had about 100 tracks and started honing it down to 50, and so on.” Sian’s approach on music is holistic at times as far as inspiration goes. Honing in on specific sounds, or perhaps a surprising voicemail from a good friend, Sian builds a cohesive foundation around the tracks that allows them to stand alone or coexist as one body of work.

As the process came to a close, Sian eventually ended up with 23 tracks to tell the musical story of his new album. Anthracite embodies the peaks and valleys of techno complete with various cinematic landscapes and tantalizing bass line rhythms from start to finish.

Sian with album titleWith a set up comprised of a few Moog Synths, a Korg MS-20, and an array of outboard effects, Sian had the tools at his disposal to start developing tracks from the resonate hypnotic groover of Gulf Stream to the dubby techno textures of Metaverse, and everything inbetween.

We recently met up with Sian to talk in depth about the making of Anthracite, techno philosophy, and an unforgettable story outside of Johannesburg…among other things.  Listen to the Anthracite LP previews and read the full conversation below for more insight. Read more

Artist Spotlight: Sydney Blu

Sydney BluToronto, Canada has produced some extraordinary talent when it comes to the underground electronic music scene. Sydney Blu is one of the top female DJ’s in the industry and she has solidified herself as one of the heavy hitters who came up in Toronto nightlife scene. Deadmau5, Carlo Lio, Nathan Barato, Kenny Glasgow and Sydney Blu are just a few of the names that have risen the ranks of top DJ’s while calling Toronto their home. Toronto has provided incredible dance floors for local DJ’s to sharpen their skills at clubs like Coda, The Guvernment (RIP), Film Cafe, X-it, System Soundbar and Comfort Zone (CZ).

We caught up with Sydney Blu to chat about her Canadian roots, musical influences and her latest project, Relentless, which is her first full length EP released on Black Hole Recordings. Sydney Blu’s Relentless is set to launch on July 27th with a huge album release party at Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles for Monday Night Social. Read more

Artist Spotlight: Jay Zoney

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Techno has always played an integral role in Canadian nightlife. From the pioneering days in Windsor to the thriving underground scenes in cities like Toronto and Montreal, there is an incredible pool of talent coming from Canada. While Toronto and Montreal are the more widely known nightlife destinations of the country, there is a thriving scene developing in Vancouver.

One of the current people at the forefront of the underground electronic music scene is Jay Zoney. Through his own label, Eternal Drive Records, Jay Zoney has released music from himself and friends such as Black Asteroid, Luis Flores, and Brendon Moeller. Adhering to a strict regiment of no-nonsense techno, Jay Zoney and EDR records play a major role in the development of the underground scene in Vancouver. Jay Zoney has recently recorded an exclusive mix for our Global Vibe Radio podcast, and we’ve had the chance to ask him about his current projects and the ethos of Eternal Drive Records.

Jay Zoney: Facebook | Soundcloud | Beatport
Eternal Drive Records: Facebook | Soundcloud | Beatport

Jay Zoney – Tracklisting 

  1. The Automatic Message & Measure Divide – Crawl Space [Brood Audio]
  2. Brian Sanhaji – Pending Errors [Blank Code]
  3. Reeko – Recharger [PoleGroup]
  4. Inigo Kennedy – Arcing [Token]
  5. Mark Broom & Gary Beck – Borders [Bek Audio]
  6. Secluded – Remember [Soma]
  7. Brian Sanhaji – Panic [Blank Code]
  8. Jay Zoney – Workhorse (Audio Injection Remix) [Eternal Drive Recordings – forthcoming]
  9. Virulent – Ancient Empire (The Automatic Message Remix) [From 0-1]
  10. Brian Sanhaji – Gyre [CLR]
  11. Subjected – Krupp 5 [Electric Deluxe]
  12. Owen Sands – Planar Shift [Ill Bomb Records]
  13. Drumcell – Departing Comfort (Planetary Assault Systems Remix) [CLR]
  14. David Meiser – Pressure
  15. Plane Shifter – Hammerhead (Obstruct Remix) [Eternal Drive Recordings – forthcoming]
  16. Neil Landstrumm – April Acid (Audio Injection Remix) [Sienna Obscure]
  17. Jay Zoney – Mr. ED [Eternal Drive Recordings – forthcoming]
  18. Meat Beat Manifesto – She’s Unreal [Interscope]

Tell us about your roots in electronic music and how it all started for you? At what point in your life did you realize that techno was the music you will live and breathe by?

I remember hearing bands like Pink Floyd, The Human League, and The Eurythmics back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, using synthesizers to create these amazing futuristic, robotic sounds, and instantly loved them. It was in the late 80’s and early 90’s that I started to buy early techno and acid house. I started collecting vinyl, mainly hip-hop, and got my hands on some hip-house, such as Simon Harris “Bass”.  Also, my pal DJ Zach played me The Prodigy “Experience” and I loved it. I would say though, that a few records really sealed the deal for me.

Another good friend of mine, Tyler Newton, had been mixing techno/house/trance for a while, and in 1993 he gave me a mix-tape that had some real classics on it such as, Transform – “Transformation”, Delta Lady – “Anything You Want” and Robert Armani – “Circus Bells (Hardfloor Remix)“. It was then that I jumped in with both feet, started to stack up the vinyl collection, and bought 2 Technic 1200 turntables and a Realistic 2 channel mixer. I’ve never looked back.

When most people think of underground electronic music in Canada, cities such as Montreal (Stereo) and Toronto (Footprint, Coda) often come to mind first. What can you personally tell us about Vancouver’s underground scene that seems to be often overshadowed by the two cities mentioned?

Well first off, both Toronto and Montreal are considerably larger than Vancouver. Toronto is more than twice the size of Vancouver, and Montreal is a third larger. This allows for more underground event goers. Montreal is well known for it’s rich music culture and nightlife, and seems to have the support of the city. I’ve lived in Vancouver my entire life, and it has never really had that “rich music culture” feel. Another challenge we face in Vancouver is lack of support from the city. Venues are continuously being shut down, and seem to be disappearing rapidly.

I’ve been around long enough to see about three waves of underground enthusiasts come and go. I remember back in the mid to late 90’s to what felt like a much more thriving “scene”. Currently, Vancouver’s underground community is relatively small, but seems to be growing. Techno has made a strong leap forward from even two or three years ago.

EDR Banner

Can you tell us a bit about your label, Eternal Drive, and what was the main purpose and goal behind launching this label? What can we expect in this coming year as far as releases go?

Eternal Drive is a focused collection of peak-time, dark and driving, techno. I launched the label to showcase many of my talented friends from the global techno community, and of course, as an avenue for me to release my own material as I see fit. With the help of Subspec Music Label Boss, JGarrett, EDR launched in March 2014 with a single of mine titled “Bulldozer”, which includes remixes by Black Asteroid, Freaky Chakra, and an alias of mine Plane Shifter. So far it was been a blast running EDR, and in a little over a year we’ve had 7 releases. It’s been a pleasure working with everyone so far. Coming up this year are some releases I’m very excited about. Look for originals and remixes by names such as: Brett Relish, Daya, Subjected, Obstruct, Audio Injection, Luis Flores, Uun, Monix, and of course myself.

Through your vast experience in the industry what do you think needs to happen consistently for Vancouver to have a more thriving underground electronic music culture and scene? And more importantly what is it going to take to grow and sustain it?

In a word, consistency. Consistently bringing new artists to town, showcasing the deep talent pool here in Vancouver, and exposing new people to how awesome this music is. With consistency though, support is also needed. Our underground community is quite small as aforementioned, and it’s important for local promoters to coordinate dates to ensure the crowds aren’t spread to thin. It’s not a perfect system, but overall I feel that this is being accomplished.

What do you have coming up next in the horizon as far as being a Producer, DJ, and Label Boss? 

I have some releases coming up that I’m really pumped about!

EDR009 as Plane Shifter – “Hammerhead”, with remixes by Subjected and Obstruct.
EDR011 as Jay Zoney – “Workhorse” with remixes by Audio Injection and Daya.

For DJ-ing I have some excellent local outdoor events that are going to be a blast. June 27th in Victoria, BC at an outdoor venue hosted by DJ Zach and Cataphonic. And August 15th here in Vancouver I’m part of a summer series called “Sunwave”, featuring a great list of Vancouver locals, and hosted by K.A.S.H. for the second year in a row.

For the label I’m amped for the next several releases that will take EDR though the rest of the year. I’m also working on Eternal Drive’s first vinyl release which is very exciting.

Artist Spotlight and Interview: Groovesh

Kristal Glam Club Romania

“The Romanian scene has so many great artists and this inspired me to express myself musically too. It’s a great place to be right now.” – Groovesh

Every country has their pioneers that helped shape the original scene and musical environment. Over time, however, it is the dedication and passion of the next generation that will continue to expand on the work of those before them. One such artist is the rising Romanian DJ/producer, Groovesh.

At the tender age of 17, Groovesh is well on his way to making a name for himself on the global circuit. He’s released on a variety of tech and minimal labels receiving support from Tini, Hector, Enzo Siragusa, amongst others, and has played alongside groove masters such as Ada Kaleh, Praslea, and Valentino Kanzyani. It’s clear that the Romanian scene is exploding at the moment, and with artists like Groovesh at the forefront of a new generation there is much to look forward to for the scene.

We’ve recently caught up with the budding Romanian artist to discuss his upcoming releases, his nightlife experiences, as well as what his parents think of the journey he has embarked on.

Groovesh: Facebook | Soundcloud | Beatport | Juno Download

When did you start DJ-ing? And what was your inspiration to begin this journey?

My first DJ-ing attempt was sometime in 2010, and my inspiration to begin this journey was the amazing way a Dj can make people feel good through music.

In our emails we jokingly talked about how you wouldn’t be able to go to any techno or minimal clubs here in the USA for a few more years! What has it been like growing up in Romania where the scene is so vibrant?

The Romanian scene has so many great artists and this inspired me to express myself musically too. It’s a great place to be right now and there are so many nice parties every week.

Answer BirdseyeWhat is your favorite part of a club night?

I love quality club nights, especially when the club is packed with people that understand the music that is being played, regardless of the hour.

 

 

Who are some artists you enjoy listening to?

I’ve been obsessed lately with Floating Points, his production skills are amazing and there’s always that analog feel in every track he creates. I’m also really into the music produced by friends like Silat Beksi, Alan Castro and Amin Ravelle.

You’ve had many major artists support your tracks. Tini, Hector, Enzo Siragusa, and Einzelkind to name a few! Can you tell us some of the tracks they’ve played out?

Both Tini and Hector played my track Midnight Depths, released with Early Morning Records, while Enzo Siragusa has been a fan of my Dope Love remix for iQude.

Can you take us through your production process, as well as the gear and your overall studio setup?

My production process just happens when inspiration strikes. The gear I use at the moment is nothing more than a Macbook with Ableton on it and two Yamaha HS80s in a nice studio room. However, I do have plans to invest some money this year and start making music only on analog gear.

What equipment are you interested in? And what is the motivation behind an analog set-up? 

My main interest is buying drum machines. I’m in love with the fact that you can tweak sounds by twisting real knobs. You can’t compare that with making music digitally. It’s…analog 🙂

What has been your favorite memory since you started DJ-ing and releasing music?

There are definitely a lot of great moments from the parties I’ve played. I have a lot of fun seeing people positively react when I play my own produced tracks.

Groovesh Vinyl ArtCan you tell us about your upcoming vinyl release, Slowset?

It’s a vinyl EP I’ve been planning with Steve from FarFromNormal for a little while. It all started with the remix proposal for Jamie Haus’ “Meiose”, and we later decided I should make an EP myself for them too. There are four tracks featured, 3 originals from myself and a Silat Beksi remix. It got some very good reactions from the people that already had the chance to listen it in clubs, and it is also early supported by Tini.


How do your parents feel about your musical endeavors?

My parents always had a hard time understanding the message I deliver through my music. However, considering I’ve found my life path and I’m happy with what I’m doing, they’re happy too.

What are your goals for the rest of this year?

My goal for the rest of this year is to go fully analog with my productions and continue developing the “Groovesh” signature in my musical works. I will just enjoy life and deliver my message to as many like-minded people as possible 🙂

Artist Spotlight and Interview: Joel Mull

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“I have a soft spot for the underground parties that are held in locations that will only be around for a certain amount of time. It’s a special vibe that I love” – Joel Mull

The international techno community is comprised of many talented artists and visionaries. At the forefront of the current techno movement is Swedish artist, Joel Mull. Amidst a very busy schedule this week at WMC 2015, Joel Mull will be making a stop in Los Angeles on Saturday to play a very intimate rave affair. We recently caught up with him and talked about everything from his dance upbringing in Sweden to his love for the underground. Read more

Dirty Epic to host Speedy J in Denver

Anthology Flyer

Los Angeles based crew, Dirty Epic, had quite a strong finish to 2014 hosting underground events with the likes of Len Faki and Recondite. When it comes to delivering techno in it’s truest form, Dirty Epic consistently provides the West Coast with incredible talent that leads to unforgettable nights. This week they prepare to host Dutch techno legend, Speedy J, except this time they’re taking their vision to Denver, Colorado. A highly anticipated event for the Mile High City that is sure to be a memorable way to get things going here in the beginning of 2015.

Tickets available on: Resident Advisor
Event info: Dirty Epic presents: Anthology w/Speedy J

Speedy J on: Facebook | Soundcloud | Resident Advisor

 

 

Speedy J needs very little introduction. From his early beginnings he has been a dedicated member of the industry and has helped shaped the international scene along with other pioneers such as Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, and Chris Liebing. When Detroit and areas of Europe began sharing music, Speedy J was at the forefront of this soon to be musical sensation and was responsible for influential releases on labels like Plus 8, CLR, Rekids, and is now the chief visionary behind Electric Deluxe Records.

Electric Deluxe: Official Site | Facebook | Soundcloud

His style is eclectic, and you’re just as likely to hear the harder modular techno as you are deep ambient atmospheres when he plays a marathon set. A perfect example of this can be heard in his seven hour set at Trouw in 2013. Setting the tone with about an hour of techno ambiance, the night then took a turn venturing into deep techno textures that had the crowd locked in for the long haul. You can expect similar results in Denver this Friday as he is sure to put on a spectacular performance in the Mile High city.

Denver is an underrated city for electronic music in North America. At times it seems that New York, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles cast a shadow on other city’s that have strong developing scenes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Denver is home to the famous Beta Nightclub which hosts incredible international talent on a weekly basis, and the music lovers in the city are eager for more. When the audience becomes receptive to the music, this opens up many avenues of opportunity for the scene to grow.

Dirty Epic is extending their vision into Denver, and doing it in grand fashion with Speedy J. With a developing nightlife scene centered on dance music, you can be sure events such as Anthology with Speedy J will be a major catalyst to future events in Denver. Speedy J, without argument, is one of the most esteemed legends in the game, and Denver is in for a special treat this Friday. Accompanying him will be Paul Fleetwood, and Dirty Epic’s own Andrew S. We wish all the best to the Dirty Epic team, and can’t wait to hear how the night turns out.

Artist Spotlight: Livio & Roby

6,450 miles. That’s how far Livio & Roby will have traveled from Romania to be here in sunny Los Angeles next Friday, and they’re bringing their iconic style of house and techno with them. Livio & Roby are masters of hypnotic music that encompasses all facets of house, minimal, and techno. To say that their music takes the audience on a journey would be an understatement; it’s much more than just a journey…it’s an experience. Read more

Artist Spotlight: Etai Tarazi

Etai photoshootMany artists work hard. Some work harder. Etai Tarazi falls into the latter category. Making New York his home, Etai has had an incredible year with releases on Nicole Moudaber’s MOOD Records as well as a handful of releases on Octopus Recordings. With a distinct style of driving techno, he has an uncanny ability for making speakers rumble and having dance floors go absolutely insane. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the talented New Yorker.

His music and DJ sets speak for themselves, but as a person, Etai Tarazi is an incredibly humble artist who appears to be determined at fulfilling his own personal goals and dreams. His career is off to a phenomenal start too. With support from industry heavy weights such as Nicole Moudaber, Gregor Tresher, and Adam Beyer, Etai Tarazi is certainly gaining traction in the techno community, and the future is looking very bright.

In between gigs and studio time we asked Etai some questions about his feelings on New York, his relationship with Sian and Octopus Recordings, plans for 2015, and more. Read more

Artist Spotlight: Grass is Greener

Grass is greenerThe Grass is Greener on the other side, as the old saying goes. In this case, the other side is New York City. And the grass? Well, it’s the dynamic duo comprised of SR Serge and EBAR known as Grass is Greener. The two have a knack for producing deep house flavors with tech house grooves, and have become a staple in the ever growing underground scene. They’ll be gracing the decks at Frenzy Afterhours at Avalon Hollywood this Friday, and in preparation we take an in depth look at the duo and their work in the scene.

Both have been heavily involved in the music scene, most notably with their association and involvement with the iconic Sullivan Room in New York. Prior to the clubs abrupt closing it fostered a family style environment that placed an emphasis on the connection between attendees and artists. The club located at 218 Sullivan Street had an excellent run for about 12 years, and took risks while experimenting with bringing new underground talent to the New York scene. With any longstanding event it’s natural to develop a close relationship, and despite the club’s closing they have created an important bond between everyone and the underground sounds.

Esteemed artist Shlomi Aber had nothing but kind words for Sullivan Room saying “even though it’s a great club, Sullivan was not just a club, it was a family, and I am happy to be part of such a great family”. It is these types of comments that prove to be a testament to how great the place was, and how important people like Serge were to this establishment. However, the legacy of the Sullivan Room lives on through the creation of the record label, Sullivan Room Records.

Their hard work and dedication was clearly evident in the Sullivan Room, and that same passion comes through with the record label. There are many visions and goals for record labels, but Sullivan Room Records strives on showcasing and curating home-grown talent from New York. This isn’t to say that it is exclusively New York talent. The label has released tracks and EP’s from the likes of Florian Meindl, Marco Bailey, Zoo Brazil, and others. But it important to recognize the goal to have this as a platform for artists to express their sound, especially one that comes from the vibrant place that is New York City. Take a more extensive look into Sullivan Room’s online catalog on Beatport. As for Grass is Greener, they also are building quite a résumé when it comes to their productions and catalog.

Sullivan Room

Grass is Greener have had a steady string of releases on Nurvous Records as well as their home imprint of Sullivan Room. Namedropper is a monster of a track that is aimed directly at the heart of the dancefloor as a peak hour bomb. Tracks like Namedropper clearly show their techy side with flashes of minimal, but they’re versatile and know exactly how to keep it interesting in all genres and moods within underground music. Having this ability both in the studio and the DJ booth make them a powerful duo that know what the people need to satisfy their dance floor cravings.

In an article from Crossfader.com about DJ’s in demand, Grass is Greener was featured and expressed that they “make sure to deliver a consistent vibration in [their] productions and DJ sets. We don’t want to confuse our listeners. Our sound has to be recognizable as our sound. People need to know that when they come back for seconds, it will be just as good or better than the first time – and in the same flavor”. The duo deliver just that in their DJ sets. Even when sticking to their recognizable sound, they manage to stay innovative and fresh in the industry. In addition to excellent releases on various labels, Grass is Greener also landed a top track on 7 Stars Music Ibiza 2014 compilation.

Clase Azul is absolutely loaded with summer vibes, but can be appreciated at any time of the year. At 115 beats per minute, the track is still loaded with energy with warm leads and organic textures that make this a stand out track on the compilation.

The duo can look back on many successful years both in productions and events, and the future remains bright for Grass is Greener. With more releases on the way, and a busy 2015 in the works you can be sure that they’ll continue to be influential in the scene. This Friday we want to give them a very warm welcome to our favorite afterhour in Hollywood at Frenzy. The dance floor will be in good hands as this amazing duo from New York shares their style with Los Angeles.