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Steffie Timanti looks back over a year of growth
Steffie Timanti looks back over a year of growth

Steffie Timanti embodies the notion of independence, stepping away from the music industry and its norms to create her own small, but perfectly formed movement of her own. Her music is deep, tribal in places and emotive, inspired by artists like Damian Lazarus and his ilk, incorporating a myriad sounds from around the globe to nurture a sound that inspires and uplifts in equal measure. It’s been a year of growth and experimentation for Timanti, so we thought she’d be a great subject for our 2017 Issue – below you’ll find an exclusive mix and a brief chat about 2017…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?

A lot has happened this year! It’s really hard to pick one highlight as I’ve been blessed with some amazing projects! I took a risk and decided that the music industry was too oversaturated. That led to me launching my own project to take my musical career down a completely different angle in a whole other industry, focusing on community, adventure, experience, wellness and mind expansion in the form of ‘Tribelife’ & ‘TIMANTI and The Tribe’. This in turn has opened me up to several out of this world opportunities including collaborations with other likeminded tribes, including a festival called Colors of Love, in Italy, with my sisters Wild Sirenda and Beyond Archipelago; which was a self-guided festival experience held on a bunch of uninhabited islands in Sweden.  I’m now a part of the Beyond Adventures team, curating the next adventure festival experience in March 2018 – Beyond Sahara – where I will be celebrating 30 years on planet Earth.

My radio shows have been a lot of fun this year too! Huge thanks to all the guests that have joined me on Pyro Radio and all the listeners, too! I was also recently invited to join the Radar Radio family too, so now I have two monthly shows, giving me the privilege to share even more exciting music from around the globe and beyond!

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?

There seems to be a constant stream of negative news, which has really in effect made me even more grateful to wake up each morning. If you’re reading this you are a fortunate person, you are alive.  I try to remember this every time I am presented with sorrow.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.

Earlier this year I journeyed deep into the jungles of Mexico after I spent some time at BPM Festival. Whilst I was there and managed to persuade one of my best mates, Freddie Fiers (she’s also a DJ/Producer – check her out), to fly over from San Francisco and come on this fantasy quest with me to discover Las Pozas, a surrealist castle in the beautiful Magic Town of Xilitla. The whole experience felt like a dream! We saw elves, a clown, climbed staircases to nowhere and more. I have the imagination of a child and find places like this most inspiring. It’s now my favourite place in the whole world; in fact the opening track of the mix is called ‘Xilitla’ which I made after my trip there!

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?

I try to keep my goals as flexible as possible to allow room for adjustments and flow. This way I’m free to adapt with the ever-changing landscape of the path I’ve chosen. I have been very lucky through doing this, it has honestly led to the opening of doors that I hadn’t even imaged could be possible.

TIMANTI in action
TIMANTI in action

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?

I’m really sensitive and used to see this as a bad thing, however I’m now learning to embrace it and channel it into my creativity. This enables me to connect on a deeper emotion level with people through everything I do, especially through my art, music and events! It also means I’m quite tuned into energies so need to spend quite a lot of time recharging and taking care of myself. Love, health and happiness are the most important things in life, if you find beauty in the simplest things, keep focusing on the present the rest will follow!

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?

I’ve learnt a huge amount this year! It has had it’s fall backs but I’ve chosen to use all these moments as time for growth and adaptation. Especially on a personal level having been reminded multiple times of my own morality and how precious life really is. I’ve really honed in on the fact that health and happiness are the key to a fulfilled life. I’ve spent more time with my loved ones and been blessed with some amazing opportunities which I’m very excited about. Truly, I am grateful. ‘When we turn our faces to the sun the shadows fall behind you.‘ (Slightly adapted Maori proverb).

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?

I have a lot of new projects coming up which I’m really looking forward to sharing with DLTM first!

I’ll be throwing my last dance of 2017 at my favourite London venue, Grow in Hackney Wick on Friday 8th December. I’m really looking forward to playing all night long with some big surprises in store. The TIMANTI and The Tribe/Tribelife parties I’ve held at Grow this year have been some of my best nights of 2017 (THANK YOU to everyone who’s been involved – these parties are so epic because of each of you coming together to create this beautiful community which has expanded way beyond the dance floor). If you’re reading this, you’re invited! Come down and celebrate life with your tribe. It’s a free party and will be my last show in the UK before heading off to play my debut gig in Kenya, Africa at the Kilifi New Year, which I’m super excited about!

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?

There are so many so I’m going to pick one of each! Album: Dhafer Youssef – Divine Shadows [2006] a spiritual infusion of Arabic, Jazz and Electronica, huge thanks to Rob Simpson for introducing me to this album when I was in Sweden!

Musician: I already knew about him prior to this year but Laolu has once again blown my mind with his remix of XOA – Diaspora! Watch out for this future star! Also O’Flynn! I’ve been supporting his records on my shows on Pyro & Radar Radio, another one to keep your eyes on.

Visual artist: Again not a new discovery but he’s part of the Tribelife family and continues to impress me with his expanding talents and skills – Bless Elska. Such a blessing to have him on the team… He’ll be joining me at Grow on 8th December for the final dance of 2017.

 

 

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Bryan Chapman
Bryan Chapman

We first came across Bryan Chapman earlier this year through his Ekanta Vasa EP released on his own label Monotony. The music and the titles he used resonated with us, it had meaning, substance and felt as though it was linked to a higher purpose. Through the wonder of social media we got in touch with Bryan and found out he also channels his creative energy into creating abstract photographs, some of which are displayed within this article. We spoke with Bryan about the past year, asking him the same set of questions we’ve asked everyone this issue and he’s also taken time to record a very special mix for us, full of songs that inspired him as a youngster. So click play on the embed below, immerse yourself in Bryan’s amazing photographs and read all about his 2017 experiences…

Firstly, tell us about the concept behind your art please.
The appeal of nature to me is simply: “Nature is the truest form of creation and its beautifully sobering that mankind isn’t natures architect”. Edward Witten conjectured about the existence a unified version of superstring theory which he called ‘M Theory’. M Theory would require 11 dimensions be needed to fully comprehend the entirety of our universe from beginning to middle and its end.

What the universe would look like and how it would be viewed in 7 dimensions more than we currently have is something that no one can fully comprehend or ever start to and is an impossibly massive idea to ponder. But to think on an question knowing full well there is no answer is massively appealing to me. In that thought there are no boundaries or limitations and this is where creative freedom can be like setting a wild horse free to run endlessly forever and the results can be hugely intriguing to explore. This is where I came up with the concept of trying to create art that would show what nature would look like when viewed from a higher dimension. My vision for these pieces (all original nature photos in origin) are not what nature would look like from 11 dimensions but merely 1 dimension up from where we currently exist, how would nature as we currently view it look like if viewed by a four dimensional being living in five dimensions?…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?
As an artist it’s been a year of growth for sure, launching my own label and writing music only for the purpose of self-release has given me a level of creative freedom that I’ve never had before. All boundaries and restrictions evaporated when I removed the pressure of ever needing to get those tracks signed.

Another highlight was Vice wrote an article about my art which was pretty special. I’m on the Vice website most days and have been following them for years, so to have a publication as massive and respected as them want to write about my art was crazy.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?
There are very few places I check for news: Vice, The Verge and phys.org being the main ones, so it’s mostly tech and science orientated. Vice always throws in some mad stuff too, they have a good balance. What Elon Musk is doing is intriguing. Using his skills and wealth to try and encourage humanity to live fully sustainably and think about living beyond this planet stands out. Plus anything that highlights inequality across the board is much needed.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.
North Wales, driving with a view from maybe 20 miles away with the sun breaking through the clouds and hitting Snowdonia was like something out of Lord of the Rings. A truly beautiful part of the world with a huge amount of it still relatively untouched by mankind. The nature there is something else, it’s the perfect place for some downtime.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?
My only goal for 2017 was to launch my label, Monotony. That happened in April and the only plan for the label at its launch was a concept that bound the first four releases together. The first three are out and the fourth is due early 2018. The support and feedback has been phenomenal so far, from having Luke Slater and Blawan playing tracks to Mixmag reviewing the releases, running the label has been a joy.

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?
Space and moments of nothingness. As a person and an artist I’ve learnt the importance of silence, living a mindful existence has become key to an inner calmness. Finding a way to take this knowledge and put this into my music and art has had a big effect. Musically it has helped my sound become (for the lack of a better word) fuller. In using silence and letting frequencies enter that space even momentarily, new possibilities arise.

As for the world, there have been so many negative events happen this year, the positive aspect has been how resilient we are as a species and the compassion, unity and genuine desire to help each other in the aftermath of such bad times. It gives hope.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?
Good, for sure. As I said earlier 2017 has been a massive year of growth. Being creative without boundaries and restrictions has had such a liberating effect on me as an artist, it’s filtered into real life as well. Living with true freedom and waking up to that reality, not much beats that.

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?
I’ve just finished the fourth EP for Monotony which will be out early next year. I started writing my debut album a while ago so the rest of the year will be filled with me writing and finishing the album. It has started to consume everything, so I’ve just gone with it and let it consume.

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?
Sarah Davachi – All My Circles Run. The first time I heard that album I was lost for words, ‘for voice’ had an effect on me  that I’ve never experienced before (and still does), not just from music but from anything. Spellbinding.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

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Roberto main - Don't Lose The Magic: Then and now feature
Roberto main - Don't Lose The Magic: Then and now feature

As a father of two, husband and full-time acoustics engineer, Roberto probably doesn’t fit the techno artist stereotype. The man behind Fossil Archive, a label that he uses to release groovy yet uncompromising techno produced by himself and other equally talented artists, he is enjoying a successful career as a DJ, producer and label owner parallel to his every day life. If we rewind the clock and go back to the early 2000s, Rob’s life was very different – he was in his teens, and just getting into music via school friends who introduced him to jungle. Those early days are where we begin with this feature – a time when his first encounters with music and personal self-discovery were intertwined. The roots. Here DLTM takes a look at Roberto then and Roberto now… and he has kindly provided us with a mix featuring some of the drum’n’bass tracks he was playing back in the early 2000s

Then:

Roberto in his early days as a DJ
Roberto in his early days as a DJ

“When I first discovered that type of music it was friends from school giving me tapes from the jungle times,” says Roberto, who, at 31, has been into electronic music for over 16 years now. “They were from around ‘95/’96 and I loved it. But I didn’t discover the music until 99/2000. Friend told me they’d got tapes from a shop in Leicester called 5HQ, which was affiliated with Formation Records because DJ SS owned both.”

Young Roberto naively went to 5HQ in search of the jungle sounds he’d fallen head over heels with via the tapes lent to him by friends. But the music had progressed by the end of the nineties. In what some attribute to a media whitewash, the name had been changed from jungle to drum’n’bass and the style had evolved. Whatever the reason, or reasons, the music became divided into two distinct styles and, by 1999, the ragga-influenced jungle was quickly fading away as drum’n’bass rose to prominence.

At 5HQ Roberto was confronted with D’n’B, which initially he found difficult to digest. It was a lot more futuristic and minimal than jungle which took a while to adjust to. “I found it a bit weird. But then I realised that the stuff I was listening to was from the bygone jungle era. There was no eBay or Discogs back then, so I didn’t know where to buy that older stuff from. I started to get tape packs from the DnB era, 2000 onwards, and grew to love that stuff as well,” he explains. “It was frustrating at first but I was 15, at that age you don’t analyse things too much.”

Another shot from Roberto's photo album circa 2004/5
Another shot from Roberto’s photo album circa 2004/5

The music became an integral part of his life, the soundtrack to his teens. “I used to do a paper round, and I’d always have my Walkman on playing these tapes,” Rob recalls. “It was an escape from doing this boring job. None of my mates were into it, they didn’t get it. There were a couple of people at school, but I wasn’t really that tight with them. It stayed like that until I went to college.”

Rob then fondly recounts his first experience of drum’n’bass in a club environment, chuckling to himself he explains that one of the staff members at 5HQ handed him a flyer for a Formation night and told him to come along. That invite was all he needed to team up with a couple of guys at school and organise his very first night club adventure, which took place in the Student Union at Leicester University where Randall was headlining. “We got our friend’s dad to drop us off, I don’t know how we got away with it!” he laughs. “We got there really early because it said doors opened at 9pm on the flyer. I think we got there at half eight so there were still students milling around at the bar and security were like, ‘It’s not open yet, you’re best off heading down to the shop, getting a bottle of cider and coming back later’.

Rob in full flow, 10 years ago
Rob in full flow, 10 years ago

“We ran around the university grounds for a bit, then came back just as the doors opened. I’ll never forget walking in there, it was like nothing I’d experienced before because I was hearing the music on a big soundsystem for the very first time,” he grins. “That first time was incredible. I thought it was the best thing ever.”

If Roberto was obsessed with the music before that first night out, afterwards it became pretty much everything. Though his mates also had a good time, they faded away after a few more nights out and Rob resided to hitting a few parties on his own before finding a like-minded crew at college.

As can be typical with teenagers, he was a bit of an introvert in those days, much more so than now. As an only child he ended up spending a lot of time alone and was quite content to do so. “My parents were a bit worried when I was younger because I’d just be on my own a lot. I had friends but I was happy being on my own at home,” he says. “I was quiet. Quite shy and introverted. I’d listen to the radio a lot, play computer games though it wasn’t a negative thing at all.”

Going to college to do a Music Technology course, which was an hour away from where he lived, pushed Rob to come out of his shell and, by the time he went to study at Salford University in Manchester any teen awkwardness had all but vanished.

A flyer for Platoon, where Roberto played regularly in the mid-2000s
A flyer for Platoon, where Roberto played regularly in the mid-2000s

Leicester too, was very different in those days. Formation was the dominant force when it came to drum’n’bass, but the small Midlands city had little to offer teenage Roberto outside of a few clubs and shops. “I lived in a village called Broughton Astley, which is actually quite far away from the city. Initially it was cool heading into Leicester, which was half an hour drive from me, because there was quite a lot to explore. But then it got a bit frustrating because there wasn’t much going on,” he explains. “There were places to buy the music I liked, and other quite decent cultural spots, but it was all quite limited.

“I remember hanging out with my uncle, who’d lived in London for a while before moving back to Leicester. We’d go on nights out and get so so drunk because there wasn’t really much else to do!” he laughs. “Most of my friends are still there, I’m the one of the few who broke away from it.”

But what drove him to leave Leicester, when so many of his friends stayed? “Even though I’d got a bit involved with the Formation crew, I felt like there was more to the world than being in Leicester. My college had quite a close relationship with De Montfort University, and the idea was to study there. The college was also aligned with Salford, but our tutors tried to put us off going to study acoustics by saying it was all maths-based. I decided to give it a chance and went to an open day with my dad,” he says. At Salford’s open day Rob was told that the acoustics course had a 100% post-uni employment rate. “I had to decide whether to stay in Leicester and carry on stuck in the same routine, or move to Manchester were there was much more happening.”

Manchester also happened to be home to one of the drum’n’bass producers he was most fond of – “Marcus Intalex had just started putting out stuff on his Soul:r label and I was really into that sound, I was thinking I could get involved with it. The decision was made there and then and I moved up within a few months,” he says. In 2002 he moved to Manchester and revelled in the delights the city had to offer, hitting club nights and DJing on a regular basis, solidifying his love for DnB and eventually graduating from university…

Now:

The techno producer now plays regularly at clubs such as Berghain and fabric
The techno producer now plays regularly at clubs such as Berghain and fabric

“The first few years after uni were very difficult. The job required you to work to a very high level and it was so hard because there were so many things you had to be good at; not just maths and acoustics but writing reports, talking to people and lots of things I’d not considered,” he candidly explains. After a while though, Rob figured out his strengths and weaknesses and learned to live with them. He travels around the UK as an acoustic consultant putting together noise impact assessments for industrial installations like oil refineries.

Since leaving uni Rob’s musical allegiances have moved from drum’n’bass to techno, though he is still allied to many of the things he loved about D’n’B; Detroit pads, minimalism, groove… these core elements lie at the foundation of the music he makes and has led to relationships with highly-regarded labels like Fachwerk and gigs at fabric and Berghain, a world away from his early gigs for events like Platoon and Gutter Funk.

“I remember being at a night called Sonic Boom at The Charlotte, a rock club opposite De Montfort uni watching the resident DJ up on the stage in front of us and thinking, ‘I could never get up in front of everyone and play’ – Even though he had an MC in front of him, I didn’t think I had the balls to do it,” he grins. “I think if you’d have said to 15-year-old me that I’d be playing at Berghain in front of all those people on a Sunday afternoon, I wouldn’t have believed you!”

Roberto in action during a six-hour set at Tresor in Berlin, 2016
Roberto in action during a six-hour set at Tresor in Berlin, 2016

15-year-old probably wouldn’t have believed he’d one day be father to two children either, yet here he is managing to maintain that delicate balance between fatherhood, being a dutiful husband, working full-time and somehow feeding his obsession with music. Though he admits to it being tough at times, Rob is clearly enjoying the challenges presented to him by his lifestyle choices, and the lessons he’s learning, “The family thing has been really amazing, it’s hard work and we’ve got a new arrival to join the one we already have, but it’s so rewarding spending time with your kids. There’s nothing better.”

One of the key lessons he’s learned from becoming a father is to be more selfless, something the young Rob would most likely have struggled with. “I’m still learning and will be for a few years to come. Something will happen with the kids and you get through it, then another thing pops up the very next day. Or the routine you’ve established gets turned upside down,” he says. “You have to be prepared to adapt a bit. The first few months were intense, but our first son started sleeping through the night from around 7 or 8 months onwards, which made things a little easier. It’s a daily challenge though, you’re always learning something new about yourself as well as your child.”

Artwork from Roberto's label, Fossil Archive
Artwork from Roberto’s label, Fossil Archive

On the flipside, Rob’s DJ career has challenged his parents’ views on life. While his mum has been onside from day one, even suggesting she pops in to one of his fabric gigs, his dad has been a little harder to convince. “It’s hard for my dad in particular to take my music stuff seriously. But I think he’s starting to realise it’s not just a silly hobby of mine. They’re both very supportive though,” he says. “It sounds like a bit of a cliché but every time I play something to my mum she really likes it. She’s always had quite eclectic taste in my music, she’d play Jean Michel-Jarre to me when I was really young, lots of electronica. My dad thought it was the weirdest thing ever.”

Having your parents behind you isn’t always necessary, but a supportive spouse is essential to a DJ’s career. The late nights, touring at weekends, days on end spent in the studio and much more can put a strain on a relationship, especially if the said spouse lacks understanding about the ins and outs of the DJ lifestyle. Rob counts his wife as a key support for his musical endeavours, “My wife is really, really supportive. It can’t be fun for her when I’m off traveling somewhere for the weekend, back Sunday night and then back to work Monday. I’m very very lucky”, he smiles. Although his wife not quite up to speed on “Who’s on at Berghain this weekend”, Rob prefers to be with someone whose interest in music is not as strong as his, “If I was with somebody who was completely obsessed with music, too it would be quite boring because all we’d talk about is the same thing all the time.”

Looking to the future, and with the recent arrival of his second son, Roberto is modest in respect of his career ambitions. “I think it’s going to be a mad few months, now our second child is here. I’ve been building up a lot of music over the past few months to prepare for his arrival,” he says. “I guess in years to come I’d like to carry on with my acoustics job, I get a massive buzz out of it. Maybe if I was a bit more successful with the music I’d like to spend more time on that and maintain a balance between the two. I launched my label Fossil Archive last year and that’s going great… I’d like to just to play more, I think everyone wants to do that don’t they?”

RANDOM POSTS

Steffie Timanti looks back over a year of growth

Steffie Timanti embodies the notion of independence, stepping away from the music industry and its norms to create her own small, but perfectly formed movement...