I first encountered Oracy one morning in Panorama Bar, the house-oriented top floor of everyone's favourite monolithic temple of techno. The first track he dropped was a particularly demanding 90s-sounding rave number, as if to present a challenge: accept it and dance, or disappear. And some did - maybe 30 percent of the floor emptied out, but the brave ones who stayed were subject to something stunning: his set was diverse, soulful and utterly ballsy. Behind the moniker stands German Thomas Wendel, who you may be familiar with as techno connoisseur Don Williams, or the man behind the imprints Mojuba, a.r.t.less and Wandering. On the 25th of October we’ll be bringing this bold Berliner to Jolene Bar, Copenhagen, for our Dunkel Radio party. We decided to catch up with him before his visit, for a chat about where his journey with electronic music started and how he developed his esthetic on DJing. We even managed to uncover some very promising news about a future Convextion release on a.r.t.less...
Picture a guy who graduated university over a decade ago, sitting in the basement of a student dorm. Now picture that guy doing a radio show called Beats in Space. Different image? Thought so. True, Tim Sweeney has America’s longest-running college radio show. But Beats in Space is iconic, so synonymous with the underground dance music scene, it’s easy to forget its humble roots as a student radio show or the fact that every Tuesday you can find the host at WNYU’s studio located below a university dining hall. And when I say every Tuesday, I mean it. BIS recently celebrated 14 years. And Tim has never missed a week. The stuff of legend, perhaps, but urban myth it is not—he once finished the full two-and-a-half hours with a bad case of the flu (I saw it with my very own eyes.) It was then I realized: there are people who love music. And then there is Tim Sweeney. In a rare moment when he wasn’t on the air or in the air, flying to a gig, I had the chance to talk to Tim about upcoming projects and the beloved show listeners keep tuning into, week after week, looking to hear what they know they won’t find anywhere else.
In this series we'll be asking a variety of names from the scene to point out who and what they believe is being overlooked, so they get a chance to big up the stuff that they think deserves more attention. To kick things off, Najaaraq spoke to two of the UK’s most exciting producers right now: techno champions Blawan and Pariah, after their live set as collaborative project Karenn at PHONO Festival last month.
Ever since his childhood, Yosi Horikawa has always been the DIY type. At just thirteen he spent most of his time with his tape recorder, recording and overdubbing different elements onto tape, using his headphones as a microphone. Now, although his setup has changed substantially, the same inventive attitude prevails in his work. Horikawa has more recently been keen on field recording and using organic elements in his music, like creating soundscapes of forest rain to rhythms using the sound of bubbles. We caught up with the Japanese experimental producer after his astonishing performance at PHONO Festival and had a talk about reunion with nature, his home country, and Bento.
The words “atmospheric” and “spacious” aren’t typically used to describe dance music. Neither are comparisons to the ambience of Arthur Russell with accents of Balearic rhythms and drum-machine soul. Good thing Fort Romeau isn’t typical. His music defies categorization, which is paramount to his success. And what success it’s been: since releasing his debut LP Kingdoms on LA record label “100% Silk” last year, Mike Greene, the man behind the moniker, has received widespread acclaim for his seriously fresh take on dance music, marked by smooth hints of old-school Chicago House. 2013 saw the release of singles SW09 on Spectral and Jetée/Desire on Ghostly International, followed by this month’s release of EP Stay True, whose title track is a seven-minute dance odyssey of epic proportions. In a sense, Fort Romeau is bringing house music to the home. He is one of the few artists capable of capturing the raw energy of a long night in a warehouse through your desk speakers, without sacrificing his signature sleek production and dream-like, sophisticated sound. And it’s not just his music that’s provocative: it’s also his opinions. I had the chance to chat with the artist about his upcoming LP, his creative process, and that whole digital vs vinyl debate. He had a lot to say.
"I never really planned this music career, I thought it was impossible..." says Parisian producer, Arnaud Bernard at his Soundcheck. With his unique take on hip-hop, which first ignited his interest in music as a record-collecting ten-year-old, and his ear for unusual samples, Onra has become one of the world’s most sought-after producers. Now signed to Fools Gold Records and after six studio albums, including the game-changing ‘Chinoiseries’ which was crafted from samples of Chinese and Vietnamese records he had discovered whilst travelling, Onra talks Marvin Gaye, playing Budapest, combined with footage from his sell-out second time in Australia.
On the latest episode of Pensado’s Place, the acclaimed online go-to for audio engineering knowledge hosted by grammy-winning engineer, Dave Pensado and music connoisseur Herb Trawick, Young Guru talks about his part in making Empire State of Mind a worldwide hit, ‘matching your skills to the sound’ and how to handle the pressure of the music biz. Mandatory viewing for upcoming and aspiring producers and engineers.
When Steven Warwick, a.k.a. Heatsick, invited me to interview him at his Bella Sky hotel room, I bolted. Arriving in Copenhagen two years ago, I stayed for two weeks at the Danhostel Amager in the shadow of Bella Centre’s strangely askew towers. Rarely since have I had the occasion to revisit this chillingly bland monument to international wealth, tucked away in the back of an island built on the city’s overgrown former floating trash dump. The hotel’s uniquely vertical nature always stuck out in my mind while journeying through Copenhagen’s flat horizontal cityscape.
FACT TV spent last weekend at the very promising Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam where they soaked up the vibes and shone their knowing camera light on one of the most interesting electronic producers of the 21st century. Tune in for a concise dissection of the Dutch electronic music scene as well as a few truth bombs on the state of Ibizan tech-house.
The capable guys and gals at Slices interview the Berghain resident who is arguably one of the most important techno DJs of our generation. Over the course of the in-depth interview, Slices make Marcel spill the beans on his EBM influences, his thoughts on futurism in electronic music - and the ‘basic feeling’ or ‘grundgefühl’ of wearing leather jackets. Go and ahead and watch, you most certainly will not regret it.
Svengalisghost makes dystrophic, acidic techno, comparable to a more distorted Levon Vincent, but his music still manages to be uniquely jaunty, savage and incredibly danceable all at the same time. This is something he certainly managed to prove during his live set at this year’s Distortion Festival. He arrived to an empty floor, but during the hour-long set managed to pack the tent with enthusiastic Copenhagen ravers. Najaaraq sat down with the refreshingly candid producer from the reputable NYC imprint L.I.E.S. for a spacy talk about his risky existence in the underworld of Mexico City and the essentiality of dancing.
Yup, we talked to the sound of the underground, the sound of Scuba, that influential bass music producer turned larger-than-life dance music don who's on a seemingly never-ending ascent. Check within for pointers on vocal samples, running a succesful electronic music label and why the 90s is the best decade for dance music.
- the man behind one of the most important electronic music labels of our time.
I recently caught up with Giles Smith of the legendary London club night secretsundaze to learn about his affection for house music, his friendship and collaboration with Martin Dawson (RIP) and how to keep a club running for more than 12 years.
Calling out all of Copenhagen's techno fans, house fanatics, disco freaks and general vinyl nerds. There's a new record shop in town for us - and it's called Dorma 21!
A brand new interview with disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder has surfaced. The now 72 year old Moroder talks about collaborating with Daft Punk on their much-anticipated new album set to release in May..
Stuart Li has been turning heads all over the globe with his super raw productions as Basic Soul Unit. His techno and acid-inspired house is being released on impressive labels such as Nonplus Records, New Kanada and Ostgut Ton, to name a few. Step inside for the interview.