MUSIC SHARE THIS PAGE GITTA DE RIDDERS EVEN IF

09/24/16
Akil Wingate @akilwingate
 

Gitta de Ridder returns with a new sweet folksy record called Even If. The Anglo-Dutch singer-songwriter first burst upon the scene in 2014. Fast forward to today and shes got a lovely new tune tucked under her arm. Even If is a joyful, optimistic and even sentimental turn, with its intimate guitars and charming backing vocals.

I wouldnt let you down
Even If
And so it goes. She runs through a list of possible scenarios that might dog an ordinary friend and cause them not to be there for someone. But de Ridder is not an ordinary friend. As she displays through a charming level of poetry and song structure, she wont let anyone down…even if.
Whats puzzling is what happens next? When Gitta de Ridder reaches stardom with her intimate take on storytelling and songwriting, how will that intimacy and the growing crowds of adoring fans coexist? Peacefully I imagine. This is a sentimental sort of tune and the video just as charming as the melody.
When do you play this? Now. Check out Gitta de Ridders Even If here first.

SOFIA HÄRDIG HITS THE STREETS WITH NEW SINGLE

Sofia Härdig has undone the nicely tied bow on her new single Streets. It opens with distorted guitars and her voice that pouts and purrs in spurts, then coos and roars in others. Streets is a midtempo passionate rock burner. Drums tumble. Guitar shred. But the star of this track is Hârdigs vocal performance.

There are moments when she submits herself to subdued, intimate phrases; gentle confessions like “To the day, we are…” And then in others she hollows out long pained notes that reach deep into her gut to pull out honest emotion. And the opening riffs of the guitar are like the garnish to this plate she serves scorching hot.

What are the streets? “Sky above. Streets below. Echo in your name…Leave it to the other girls.” The streets are heartbreak and disappointment. And when the drums pick up and a series of backing vocals haunting support Härdigs lead, theres no denying the streets are memories of some foolish lover.
Sofia Härdig is yet another brilliant export from the flock of Scandinavian gems. Her 2-part EP The Streetlight That Leads To The Sea releases later this year. Hear The Streets here first.

THE ACTIONS RESOUNDING ECHO

Maybe you’ve seen them. The Actions: London based alternative band supporting iconic US band Green Day while on tour. Yeah maybe you’ve seen them. And even if you haven’t, now’s the perfect time to get hip to something fresh from the duo. They’ve teamed up with producer 3dtorus for their new single Echo.

The result is a cinematic soundscape brimming with crashes and rushing waves, airy synths, dynamic percussive sounds, and a haunting voice that seems to float over it all like an out of body experience. It’s not rock. It’s not alternative. It’s hypnotic electronic music. It’s 2 remixes from the rock star of a producer/remixer 3dtorus that has given the duo some electronic street cred if I ever did hear of some.

Silty and Mo went back to the drawing board and fleshed out what is certainly a new sound. The single is proof of that. The Driving Straight remix is lush with hypnotic synths and Silty’s ethereal vocals. The beat is understated but cinematic enough that it just might creep up on you when you least expect it. The overall ambience is nothing short of otherworldly.

Then there is the Moving Slow Edit. It’s dark. It plays at half the speed. It coos with wind sounds, synths that wax in and wane out, and 808s built for busting the speakers on any dodgy home stereo. It’s a crusty, crunchy sound that is so sexy you won’t know what to do with yourself when you hear it.

The contrast between the two mixes is night and day. One is a glass of red and a strong Cuban cigar. The other is a double vodka martini and a Marlboro cigarette. And both are just what the music doctor ordered.

BELLERUCHE – GOING WITH THE FLOW

Today Rough has a soulful surprise in store for yall. Weve got DJ Modest from the three piece electronica slash soul outfit, Belleruche giving us the gooses on their humble beginnings, new album releases, and all things arty and a little bit weird.

For those not in the loop, Belleruche formed back in 05 and have been blessing our cochleas with a wide range of musical leanings ever since – showcasing at festivals from electronic through to jazz.

Theyve had a very notable progression toward the well-rounded feel of their latest album, having sold an all-time record number of sales for the label “Tru Thoughts with their debut album Turntable Soul Music, and garnering a decent following across Europe along the way. Whats best about this band is the ease with which they adapt and embrace new forms of expression – they certainly know how to go with the flow!

So, without further ado, we bring you the inner workings of the creative talent that is Belleruche.-

Hi guys, great to meet you, hope 2012 is treating you well. 
You recently had quite a long tour across the UK, has this been your most prolific excursion in regards to touring, and how did it go?

Modest – Hi, likewise, thanks for asking us questions. The album tour was the longest weve done to date, we had 30 dates in just over a month, so it kept us moving. Its a bit of a blur really, there were some stand out shows, Berlin and Newcastle were really good crowds. Every night is different, its a bit of cliche but you never know what the nights going to be like until you get onstage.

Tell Rough a little bit about the history of the band and how you guys came to be.

Modest – We started about 6 years ago, with just Ricky and I making strange guitar, bass, turntable and sampler noises in a pub in North London, someone offered us a gig, so we had to think of a name. We then met Kathrin, who started coming to these interminable jam sessions we were having, she somehow found a way of seeing through the 10 minute riffs we were playing and we started writing songs.

We did this for a bit, playing every Sunday in the pub, and then started getting offered gigs elsewhere. Then, mainly because Id wanted to since I was 13, we pressed a 7″ record. Thankfully we managed to sell them, and more quickly than we imagined, which meant we did another two 7″s on our own label, before Tru Thoughts bought us a coffee and promised the moon on a stick.

Youve been quoted describing your sound as “Turntable soul” which was also the name of your first release, what is this?

Modest – Weve always struggled with the taxi driver question – when you are getting into the cab, carrying some case of other you get “so youre in a band eh, what sort of music is it?” We thought inventing our own genre was a way of answering the question  without answering it really. I think if you can really specifically define what it is you do, musically, then it must be quite boring, Im always interested in music that sounds a bit different, and hopefully weve tried to make some too.

What were the trials, joys and tribulations involved in getting your first release into the light of day?

Modest – a high, or low, light would be hand screen printing 1000 7″ sleeves for our second release we did ourselves. In my kitchen. We recorded most of the early songs on my old PC too, which only allowed you to listen to around 40 seconds of a track at a time whilst working on it, which certainly helps hone your arrangement skills.

Which artists, musical or otherwise, do you glean inspiration from?

Modest – too many to mention, Ive been buying records since I was 12 and have been continually discovering new things since. Currently Id say Brother Ali – on Rhymesayers records, just because his new album has just arrived in the post, and James Yorkston, because Ive been listening to the 10th anniversary of Moving up country a lot recently.

Since your first release Youve released three more albums, your fourth Rollerchain is out now, its a very soulful experience to say the least! Tell Rough about your influences and thinking behind this latest project. How does it differ from your previous releases?

Modest – Its the one we had the best studio for, certainly. Id say we spent more time crafting the sound of this record, taking time to mix and master it properly – we had our own schedule for this album, and I think the time taken in the way we built the songs shows. I think it sounds very different from quite a lot of other stuff, but thats probably a feature of most of our music, in that it sounds different from the rest of it,

Ive seen the video for Stormbird, the track is very cool! Explain the creative process behind making the video and the message you wanted to convey here..

Modest – Basically its a longwinded advert for matches, or a in depth critique of modern politics through the medium of contemporary dance. Or it could have been that the director said “Ive got a good camera that we can edit backwards, and two mates who can fence, whaddya say…” It looks nice though.

Whats the chronology to your creative process when making an album: is there a magic formula in regards to the vocals influencing the melodies and  vice versa?

Modest – Not really, most of our ideas come from difference starting points, whether its a guitar line, or vocal refrain, or sampled loop – normally what starts something isnt what finishes up in the recording, but thats the only part of the process that could be described as a formula. Were not really good on planning to be honest

How do you function together when recording material and playing live? 

Modest – Live = beer. Recording = tea and coffee.

Im sure youve heard the whole Portishead reference in regards to yourselves, no doubt youll hear it again! How do you feel about this comparison, does it hold any water in regards to your musical style?

Modest – Whilst its very flattering, they wrote some amazing tracks, and sold a lot of music, I dont think there is that much in the comparison beyond that some of our music has scratching on it and we have a female vocalist. I think its a little bit lazy, but music journalism is basically creating little boxes to write about, and I guess wed fit in to a box with that sort of sound in those terms.

Your music is quite engagingly eclectic, from electronic to blues to hip hop to jazz. is there any correlation between those different genres or do you just go with whatever feels right?

Modest –  Feels right is about it really, as I said were not good at planning, weve never said we want to make something that sounds like this or that. I think to do so is a bit dis honest really, and whenever I have tried to make a sound that is in one direction or another, it always goes off in a completely different track. I guess Im more interested in sounds than genres, I think Ive given up trying to understand genres.

How do you keep your style fresh and relevant, morning prayers to the gods of innovation, perhaps?

Modest – I think if it doesnt feel fresh and interesting, you dont do it. Music making should be fun, interesting and novel, otherwise youre just working, and there are far more lucrative ways of working if its money you want to create, rather than ideas. So go to a charity shop, buy three old records, cut them into thirds, stick together, play backwards, sample and play glockenspiel over the top….

What would you say have been your career highlights thus far?

Modest – mastering the last album with Transition studios in London was great, to hear what wed spent so long worrying on making sense in their studio, and then cutting it to vinyl was really quite an experience.

If 2012 does herald the apocalypse, what are you aspirations for 2013, have you a new project in the works?

Modest – Apocalypse permitting, Im building a new studio in my new house by the sea, which is quite exciting. Just try and make new things I guess, no plans beyond that.

Now a few random questions Im sure your fans are just itching to hear.. Whats your Favourite fictional protagonist and antagonist from any movie or novel?

Modest – Harry Palmer, in The Ipcress file.

Favourite non-fictional protagonist and antagonist from the planet Earth?

Modest – Three, if allowed, Peter Sellers, Hunter S Thompson and Buck 65.

Best loved band in your teens?

Modest – Not a band but a record label, Rawkus, in that short golden period of independent New York hip hop that came about in the late 90s.

Most remembered teenage heartthrob, famous or otherwise

Modest – not a usual question!… dunno, hard to recall really, probably the girl singer from Veruca Salt – around the time they released Seether.

Thanks for the honest answers guys, its been a pleasure, and Rough would like to wish you all the best for the future!

You can catch Belleruches latest gig here. In the meantime why  not stream  Stormbird  above..

ROUGH UK EXCLUSIVE ONE-ON-ONE WITH ANDE BISHOP

Ande Bishop has been steadily gaining recognition from some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. The producer turned rapper has managed to create a buzz around his name with his debut EP ‘Ocean$’. Through the underground success of the EP, Ande Bishop has been a guest on one of the most oldest and illustrious Hip Hop radio stations in the States, Hot 97, and has seen the likes of Rick Ross show his music some love via social media. We sat down with the Southern rapper, to see what he makes of his musical journey so far and his plans for the future.

ROUGH UK:  How did it feel to see your latest single ‘Old Jay Z Videos’ get such a positive response from an artist like Rick Ross?

ANDE BISHOP: It was really dope, Ross is one of my favourite rappers ever, and to get his attention was one of the most gratifying moments of my career so far.  Ive had people from his label reach out to me before, so it wasnt super shocking, but still fulfilling nonetheless.

R.U :  What made you decide to start rapping rather than just stick to producing?

A.B: I felt like I had to test myself, production is cool, but I wasnt feeling challenged by it anymore, and I had a plethora of good ideas Id been sitting on, so I decided to release a few loosies, and the reaction was genuinely surprising, so I decided to go full steam.

R.U: Which artists would you compare your sound to?

A.B: Its so early in its hard for me to say.  Ive heard I sound similar to Big Boi from Outkast, Isaiah Rashad, Falolous, even T.I.  But I dont hear any of them, but they all influenced me at some point.

R.U: How did it feel to get invited on to Hot97? Did you feel validated as a rapper?

A.B: It was amazing, my labelmate Londn Blue made Hot97 last summer during his False Hope campaign, so I knew it could be done.  But to make it myself was crazy, and theyve reached back out again for my next single, so Im excited.
Ande Bishop – ‘Old Jay Z videos’

R.U: We hear the Ocean$ EP was recorded in a really short space of time. Tell us about the process.

A.B: 

It was a long 3 days, I really just got the urge to compile the EP and make it cohesive as possible.  It turned out good, based off of the reception and new fans Ive gained, but with my next release Im going to really take my time, probably take about a month and really think it out.

R.U: They have attracted a lot of public attention to all the various releases including your own. Is the fanbase mainly in the South, or does it appear to be wider than that?

A.B: Yeah its spreading faster than we imagined, we have a nice sized European fanbase as well.  Id say the cities we seem to have the most fans in would be Houston, Atlanta, and London.  Ive had several people from the Carolinas start to follow me as well.

R.U:  Any other artists to look out for?

A.B: Yeah, the other 3 guys on the roster (Play, Tajee, and Londn).  All 4 of us have a release planned for the summer, so were praying for a real breakthrough to who our sound reaches.

R.U:  Any plans on releasing an album at some point?

A.B: Oh yeah, of course.  Not this year, just EPs and Mixtapes, I dont feel like Ive found my sound enough to put an “Official LP” onto shelves yet.  But I do know itll be titled “BISHOPIZM”, which is an ode to Erykah Badus “BADUIZM”.  I know for a fact thatll be the title of my first full-length LP.
Ocean$ is available on iTunes.  Make sure to follow Ande Bishop on Twitter @Ande_Bishop.

MS. HENRIK – 1994

I’m a sucker for a synth-pop song, so when I listened to Ms. Henrik’s new single, 1994, I knew I would enjoy it on some level. However, I didn’t expect to enjoy it quite as much as I did.

Following the trend of successful and talented Swedish pop-stars, Ms. Henrik delivers. 1994 is an electro-pop fest, with a strong message behind it.

The support for LGBT has risen in the past couple of years, and only recently America legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states. So it’s only natural that songwriters show their support and involvement with the LGBT community.

1994 was inspired by a 75 year old man Ms. Henrik met. This man had a wife and kids before coming out as gay. As well as that, Ms. Henrik has appeared at Stockholm Pride, and 1994 features on Songs With Pride.

The song is full of summery fun, with a 90s pop feel. It’s an enjoyable listen and a good sing-a-long song.

ROUGH UK EXCLUSIVE WITH UP & COMING AMERICAN RAPPER BUGGS

ROUGH UK sat down with up and coming American rapper,Buggs, to talk about his new project amongst other things. Buggs has been on stage with the likes of Hip Hop heavy weights such as Talib Kweli and Hi Tek. He has also received recognition from Pharrel Williams and a host of other Hip Hop superstars.

Hailing straight out of Ohio, Buggs has been making waves in the underground scene in the States which has caught the attention of many in the industry. He has been on tour in Europe and has even collaborated with UK artists, however little is known about him over here in the UK. I gave Buggs a chance to introduce himself and his body of work.

“With my first mixtape I got a lot of national exposure, it was called “Hip Hop Supa Hero” with DJ Mick Boogie. Hes now known as MICK and is a Roc Nation DJ but is also from Ohio.’”

He added: “I then dropped mixtapes  primarily until “Mutant Level 5” which featured Little Brother, Sa-Ra, Freeway, Londons SAS and more. The Lost Luggage mixtape and then Wrath of Zeus in 2013 both with DJ Clockwork got a lot of national attention as well. Now its time for the new upcoming project “Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet” releasing on December 10th” His latest project was released this month, Buggs gave us a quick synopsis about the project and what were some of his motivations behind the new album.

“Its literally just my scattered thoughts and bringing people up to speed on what I been on since my last project. Its also showcasing who I am as an artist and person to the new audience. I wanted to show my depth in music and give variety while staying true to who I am and I did that with this project.”

The album showcases his creative side as he blends spoken word with Hip Hop. Buggs’ creativity has also garnered him recognition from his home town of Cincinnati. The city awarded him the best Hip Hop act of 2014 a feat very few artists can boast of and goes to show the wide appeal Buggs has. The mid west rapper had this to say about the award.

Its always a great thing to be recognized for your hard work and talent, especially as its the people of the city who voted for me and they felt it was deserved.” On his use of poetry in his work the Ohio native had this to say:

“Most rappers dont appreciate connecting with souls through words, they are mostly concerned with making a dance tune or pop tune that can produce money for them and their bosses at the label. Its not about connecting with the people or affecting people in a way to change the world. Most people in the rap realm treat this like a hustle, another quick lick to make some fast money, but not me. Music is a passion of mine. I would do this regardless, its my therapy, my everything!”

The production on some of the tracks is perfect as he makes use of some great soulful samples which help to set the mood; ‘Against me’ highlights this best. Unlike many Hip Hop artists it doesn’t seem like Buggs allows for the beat to take centre stage on the track as he actually has lyrical content. In a time where it seems the catchiest beats make or break a Hip Hop song I asked Buggs his opinion on whether or not he thinks there is a balance coming back to Hip Hop as more lyrical artists such as J Cole and Kendrick Lamar are gaining mainstream recognition. He said:

“I love this question, honestly I feel more needs to be done not only on the artist side of things, but the consumer plays a large roll in correcting the issue as well. If you let the record labels feed you bullshit they will keep giving it to you. The machine is only concerned about what is making dollar signs! “He added,

“I think personally the overall problem in rap music is that theres not enough balance on mainstream radio and tv. Its hard to hear the artist providing hip hop lyricism because the labels are trying to keep the underground music down.  Its a constant battle since the rise of indies, they have been trying to make it even harder for indies to blow up as thats cutting the labels money out. Of course everything is a business at the end of the day.”

Ohio has always had a rich history of iconic rappers, from Bone Thugs n Harmony to more recent acts like Kid Cudi. However it doesnt seem to share the same level of success as its other Midwest neighbours such as Chi- town and Detroit. I posed this question to Buggs so he could give some insight into this anomaly.     

“Ohio isnt a place with very many outlets to be successful. Most of the people…well scratch that….all of the people who were successful from Ohio had to leave to do so. I dont fault them for that. And if the OGs and others  before me had felt a responsibility to showcase and shine light on Ohio, we would be successful as Chi-town or the D. Unfortunately we havent been as lucky in that aspect, but if I have the opportunity I will change that and show them all what they should have done. “

It is this need to be different, to be a trend setter, that really separates Buggs from a lot of up and coming artists. You get a sense of someone who is trying to change the rules of the game from the inside and doesn’t use the lack of radio play or label backing as a crutch. It was this energy I believe that appealed to mega stars such as Pharrel and Talib Kweli, the latter being one of the gate keepers of Hip Hop culture.  Buggs speaks on the chance to work with a Hip Hop icon like Talib Kweli.

“Its amazing to work with Talib in any capacity. He is a legend and one of the greatest lyricist that hip hop has ever seen. To be co-signed by him and share the stage with him is a surreal feeling, its something epic. But we linked up as Donte from MOOD and I opened up for him,  we already had a few mutual people between us, and I think it was just one of those things where I was making noise and people were telling him about me.“  He added:

“So he finally gave me a listen or two, saw a live show and then he reached out to me. He gave me a call and we linked up in Cincinnati at this lounge weve been rocking ever since. “

Not just content with having some of Hip Hop’s biggest stars wanting to work with him, Buggs has also ventured overseas to pursue his music and linked up with London’s very own SAS. While he was in the country he had time to experience our brand of Hip Hop and had this to say about it,
“I love the UK the scene. Its amazing and I feel the appreciation of lyricism in hip hop over there way more, even in your mainstream, thats the energy I get. I like a lot of different kinds of artists over there, but Ella Eyre and Sam Smith are two I would love to collaborate with!”

Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet is out now on iTunes and make sure to follow Buggs on twitter @BuggsThaRocka and Facebook BuggsThaRockaMusic.

HORS SENTIERS BATTUS IS AN OFF THE BEATEN TRACK SOUNDTRACK

Guillaume Ravau, French filmmaker and composer, has unveiled the soundtrack to the first season of his adventure series HSB (Hors Sentiers Battus). Much like the series which sees Ravau traverse the most exotic points of the globe from the cushioned seat of a 4-wheeler, the soundtrack is hypnotic escapist fare. Imagine cool jazz impressarios like Dave Koz or even pop instrumentalist Kenny G venture on a camping trip… in the middle of Almeria. This is what it sounds like.
The melodies are light, upbeat and conservative piano compositions which see Ravau demonstrate his virtuosity in crafting an image visually and audibly. HSB is a feast for the senses.
The series itself is riddled with majestic images of all the bucket list places any traveler worth his or her weight in customs stamps would salivate over. It bursts with colors and wide sweeping angles that give the viewer an uncommon perspective on some equally uncommon destinations.
To get a taste of what the series is like, check out the trailers here

ROUGH MIX 001: MILES SIMPSON/ THUNDER

The basement clubs of Dalston are ablaze with essential small clubnights right now: quality bookings and residents, late hours with tiny entrance fees. In the thick of this is underground house night Thunder. As they warm up for May’s party with Patrice Scott, resident Miles Simpson talks us through what makes him tick and hands us an exclusive ROUGH Mix. 

Who or what are your influences?

I guess there are loads of them. I’m a nerdy fan of the history of DJing and I like to think I’m always learning, taking a little bit of inspiration from everyone good I hear, be that pure technique, how a set is knitted together or the injection a bit of raw drama. But my biggest influences were probably two friends, Ipen and Dave Otzen, Danny Rampling and Tony Humphries.

Ipen and Dave are old school friends, who got into DJing in the 1980s through hip hop, entering DMC and stuff like that. They were and probably still are the most technically gifted DJs I’ve ever met, with that natural flair that you can’t learn. I’ve collected records since I was a kid but the idea of playing them to other people came from them. Ipen still plays down in Brighton, where he lives, but Dave has packed it in, and is now Brad Pitt’s dresser!

When I graduated from acid house raves to Soho clubs in the early 90s, Danny Rampling was the DJ I drew most inspiration from. People talk about there being less genre pigeon-holing back then but that’s mainly crap – DJs were generally associated with particular niche genres. Rampling really did play from a broad palette, happily chucking New Jersey garage in with Belgium techno and Spanish acid, with Chicago house and Balearic pop chucked in for good measure.  It rubbed off a lot and led to my mish-mash nature of record collection, which is definitely more mongrel rather then purist.

Through Rampling I first heard Tony Humphries play and he really turned me onto US house, which previously I had associated with the like of CJ Macintosh, i.e. slickly produced and dull. Humphries had a rougher style that struck a chime with me and really injected energy into his sets with his mixing. I still feel that’s important – music is important but mixing should add something to what you’re doing, even if it’s not so neat and technically perfect. I won’t name names but some of the smoothest beat mixers are also the dullest – give me Humphries chucking records he bought that day together and then working them hard on his Kiss Mastermix show everytime. He’s my all time favourite DJ, for sure.

More recently, people like Neville Watson, Dan Beaumont, Legendary Children and the other two thirds of Thunder, Rick Hopkins and Joe Apted, keep my enthusiasm levels up with their energy and appetite for house music in all its forms. That is probably inspiration rather than influence though.

Best DJ gig

One of the more memorable was Bam Bam in Birmingham – partly because it could have been the worst. I traveled up one bank holiday weekend with Bill Brewster, Jolyon Green and Toby Tobias and big bunch of various mates, so the pressure was on to be fairly decent. I was on before Bill in what was really the first ‘peak time’ slot, so an expectant crowd waited. Bam Bam had a bit of reputation for slo-mo house (Mark E played there quite a bit), so I planned to take it down in a slo-mo style to start with, a plan I stuck with.

Suffice to say the Bank Holiday party crowd weren’t up for the slo-mo shuffle and buggered off en mass next door to the pub to listen some bloke playing disco re-edits, leaving me with a handful of dancers. But the people that stayed were into it – one almost having a fit because I played a DJ Rush at 33rpm, making it sound fairly demented – and slowly it built back up, record by record, dancer by dancer, until 45 minutes in, it was packed, people hollering and screaming, dancing on top of things, Sylvester records causing mayhem, and the transformation was complete.

I like to think that the early part of that set was a palette cleansing exercise but in reality I almost emptied the venue… something I’m sure my mates wouldn’t have let me forget if I hadn’t have turned it round.

And worst

I quite enjoy most places I DJ, so I’d nominate the time I played Disco Bloodbath not because it was a bad gig – it wasn’t, it was fantastic – but because of my, err, unprofessional approach. It was another Bank Holiday, I’d been to the Notting Hill Carnival and then played at a post-Carnival party in Kensal Rise before heading over to Hoxton for Bloodbath. By the time I got there it had been a long day and I was, to coin a phrase, ‘tired and emotional’. Dan welcomed me, showed me round the larger than I expected venue and it was bloody packed with people dancing. He then suggested that I DJ straight away. I was unsure. When I got into the booth I was even more unsure because I was struggling to see the mixer properly and as you can imagine, the DJing that followed was less than perfect. All was not lost though – I sobered up as my set wore on, people were into the music and eventually played for about an hour longer then scheduled. Lesson learned though – being a lightweight and DJing dont mix, literally.

What are you currently listening to?

Old house, new house, in-between house. I’ve got quite a few records and I like to ensure that there’s a good range of ears in every set. Nothing worse than a well worn classics set but equally, someone who’s just gone into Phonica and bought 20 ‘on trend’ records off the wall then cobbled them together is pretty boring too. I guess depth and authenticity is what you’re after from a DJ set, so I’m constantly listening records to makes sure I play stuff that isn’t obvious, that I didnt play the last time they heard me and that will make people dance. I’m also playing Semtek’s UKG influenced night, Special Request, soon, so I’ve been digging through loads of proto-UKG records – Mentalintrum, Zach Toms, Todd Terry, Marc Kinchen, Booker T, Ricky Morrison and that sort of thing. I know Todd Edwards is missing from the list – but I can’t bear his stuff. Actually, don’t tell Semtek that.

Describe a typical night at Thunder.

A proper party! I know that’s pretty clichéd but that’s what it is. A bunch of mates, many of whom we’ve met since we started, cool Dalston club kids, older heads, and maybe a few random stragglers, like the bloke in the blazer and his girlfriend who came by chance, stayed all night and we ended up leaving on the dancefloor of a Caribbean drinking den at 7am the next morning. We’ll make sure the music is spot on –  we’ve been booking DJs like Sven Weisemann and Patrice Scott, who you simply would not expect to hear play in a venue the size of ours, supported by the three residents, then we stick it all in a East London basement, shake it up and see what happens. It does tend to get a bit messy and guess if you don’t like that, dancing or staying up till the following day, it probably isn’t for you. Luckily lots of people do like it.

Dream guest?

Tony Humphries. But we’d need a time machine because the 2012 Tony Humphries doesn’t float my boat at all. That rawness, that energy, that edge he had is gone. I want the Tony Humphries who was at the epicentre of New York house explosion, the Zanzibar resident, the Mastermix king, the man who broke records for every producer in the Big Apple, the man with the hottest tunes, the sweetest skills – the DJ Tony was 20 years ago.

The time machine is still work in progress though, so until that’s sorted, DJ Nature, which is the recording alias of the now New York based DJ formerly known as Milo from the Wild Bunch. He’s taken that Humphries style and progressed it to where I think it should be right now – German techy house mixed with vocals mixed with stuff like Portable, chopped up disco breaks and World Unknown releases. He’s absolutely brilliant. Actually, I need to talk to Joe and Rick and sort that dream out…

Listen to ROUGH Mix 001:  Miles Simpson-Mixx For Someone A Little Faster below.

CHIRPINGS BIRDSONG: A WARNING OF SORTS

Four piece outfit Chirping emerges with a lovely birdsong of sorts- “A Warning of Sorts” to be precise. It pulses at the vibrant speed of light with the uber uptempo drums and those crazily bright guitars.
Chirping’s new song hits us optimistically with a catchy refrain that asks “Wouldn’t you like to go, go, go?” It the top’s down on the convertible, the wind’s blowing through our hair and this lovely number is pumping from the radio– the answer is emphatically yes.

We’d love to go anywhere this band is serving up scrumptious musical dishes like this. In fact they have a few UK dates on tap. So there’s no time like the present to see what they’ve got brewing under the hood live in concert.
Seeing them live will confirm in your mind that they are every bit the breath of fresh air we heard beaming from our speakers in the office. They’re certainly a nod to 1975, Bastille and in my personal opinion the crazy good wave of cool UK indie bands that exploded in the early 2000s. They’re gentle, then they’re raucous. They’re friendly, and yet there’s some edge and spice to this catchy track. Simply put: we like them lots.
“A Warning of sorts” becomes available everywhere April 20th.

ROUGH UK EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CONSTANT DEVIANTS

With a career spanning almost 20 years rap duo, Constant Deviants have recently released their   fourth album in five years. Hailing from the east coast of America, the collective consists of M.I and DJ CUTT.  The pair came together in the mid nighties, an era many see as the golden age of Hip Hop. Since that time they have set up their own record label, Six2Six records, as well as continuing to work with other established artists.

ROUGH UK: Youve released your fourth album in 6 years.  What was the motivation behind “Avant Garde” and how do you feel it differs from your previous releases?

M.I. – The definition of Avant Garde is experimental art. We spent a lot of time last year in French Switzerland and France so thats where the French influence came from. This project was us combining our Golden Era sound with the newer sound bridging the gaps. If anyone knows about both audiences they know that can be a tricky task

CUTT – Since our roots are in the 90s our sound gets categorized as “boom bap”.  With this album we wanted to expand that typical sound. Through the concepts, to the samples we used, to the attention to the sonics.
ROUGH UK: How has the industry changed in their treatment of hip hop artists since you first got into the music industry compared to now?

M.I. – I think the biggest change is the internet. Its not just Hip Hop. I would say the music game is all messed up and you have to expand past selling music

CUTT – The “industry” was always about marketing and making a dollar. The problem now is that there is no cultivating or support for the artistry. There is no time spent perfecting your craft. They eat up and spit out one hit wonders.
ROUGH UK: Sadat X recently did an interview with Jack Thrilla stating he does ‘grown man’ hip hop in which he makes music for people of a certain age or experience in life. Would you say your music is also tailored to this crowd/audience or do you think your sound is more universal and can appeal to today’s young hip hop fan?

M.I. – Nah, I feel we can appeal to every audience. Thats the whole point. We definitely keep to our original sound because we have a base there, but any true artist wants to be ahead of whats going on and not stuck 20 years ago

CUTT – We really dont think about who our music is for. We do what feels natural to us. I think our music is relatable on all levels.
ROUGH UK: Side B shows a more introspective side of you, what was your intended message for the song?

M.I. – We have so many different sounds. Thats just one of them. People may not have heard some of our other stuff but we dont limit ourselves at all. Side B was just a small representation of our diversity
ROUGH UK: Do you agree that we’re seeing a resurgence of golden era hip hop, due to the rise of more lyrical artists like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole?

M.I. – If all you listen to is mainstream, then I guess you could say that. But there has always been lyrical rappers. That never stopped. Personally I dont feel they are a representation of the golden era. Most of their music sounds pretty much like everything else out to me.

CUTT – There are a few guys out there that may focus more on lyrics, but I wouldnt consider it a resurgence. I would like to hear more diversity in the beats as well.
ROUGH UK:  Would you agree that your style of rapping is boom bap, if not what would you describe it as?

M.I. – I would describe my rap style as Timeless.
ROUGH UK: What other genres of music have influenced you?

M.I. – I guess I would have to say what ones havent ?! I love music and I listen to all types. I grew up on Jazz, my father was a jazz musician. Im influenced by peoples creativity. Any form.

CUTT – I definitely was influenced early by 70s jazz and rock. Those were the records my dad played in the house. It has carried on into the beat making for sure.
ROUGH UK:  What do you hope to achieve with “Avant Garde”?

M.I. – Finishing an album worth listening to is an achievement in itself. We are already working on the next one!
CUTT – Hopefully it has something for the old and new listeners.
Avant Garde is available on iTunes. Make sure to follow  Constant Deviants on Twitter @CNSTN_DVNTS

ROUGH UK EXCLUSIVE: INTRODUCING NICOLAS ARNAUD – A FRENCH COMPOSER LIVING IN UK, MAKING MUSIC FOR AMERICAN FILMS.

Nicolas Arnaud is a young French composer and multi-instrumentalist focusing mainly on music for film, TV shows, advertisements, video games and other audiovisual media. After receiving classical piano and guitar training in France he has moved to London, where he graduated from music technology in 2011. His unique, contemporary cinematic approach has allowed him to cooperate on a variety of film projects; using his versatile skills to embrace different styles and genres.

His music style is characterised by emotional intensity, yet it has a distinctive dreamy quality. Expressive percussions, unusual sounds and unexpected rhythmical changes are all parts of his trade mark. Technically brilliant, Nicolas often uses classical piano and strings, as well as progressive rock guitar and electronic sounds. The mood of his compositions varies from existential sadness, suspense and horror in drama to sheer playful happiness of children’s music.

Why did you choose making music for film and media opposing to e.g. being in a band?

Being in a band is not as varied; most bands usually choose a style and stick to it in order to fulfil the fans’ expectations. What I like to do is experiment – and making music for movies forces you to do just that – to go out of your comfort zone and explore new styles and genres.  I also like to work by myself and make the score as good as it can be

What makes composing music for film special?

I would say it is the unique relationship between the music and what is actually happening on the screen. As a musician, you want your work to be heard, but you have to understand, that the music is only one element of the narrative. The main focus should be on the story. The music is only here to help telling that story – whether it is to express emotions, or suggest something.

Tell us about your work process.

Before I start composing I try to listen to other soundtracks or similar genre to put myself in the right mood. I also record myself whistling any ideas of melody or themes. That’s also the time when I may choose the instruments I will use.  I like the first demo I send to the director to be quite advanced already, so they can get a close idea of the final result.

You made music for the film The Shooting of Barry Miller, which was premiered last year on a film festival Dances with Films in Los Angeles. Do you cooperate with many American filmmakers?

Surprisingly yes. That’s the power of the internet. You don’t need to move to Los Angeles in order to work on an American film. The best is when the director, who already has some kind of idea how the music should sound, contacts me at an early stage. I like to see the script, or the rough cut to get the feel of the movie.

As a composer you must perceive music differently than a laic fan; what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

That can be really varied.  I would like to mention 3 people that I admire.

Alexandre Desplat, a French composer, whose first success was a comic song in the 80ties and is now scoring big budget movies.

Vladimir Cosma, who was classically educated and has scored classic French comedies for decades. He is very gifted in making catchy melodies with grandiose orchestration.

Trent Reznor, who comes from rock music and has recently composed electronic soundtracks to films The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or The Social Network.

What would you like to say to aspiring filmmakers?

Original music score can add a lot of value to your film production, especially if you are not completely satisfied with your visuals – getting the right composer and right music can really make a difference.  Try to think how your favourite movie would look without its score to understand the importance of soundtrack.

For more info visit http://www.nicolasarnaud.com/

 

ROUGH MIX 001: MILES SIMPSON/ THUNDER

The basement clubs of Dalston are ablaze with essential small clubnights right now: quality bookings and residents, late hours with tiny entrance fees. In the thick of this is underground house night Thunder. As they warm up for May’s party with Patrice Scott, resident Miles Simpson talks us through what makes him tick and hands us an exclusive ROUGH Mix. 

Who or what are your influences?

I guess there are loads of them. I’m a nerdy fan of the history of DJing and I like to think I’m always learning, taking a little bit of inspiration from everyone good I hear, be that pure technique, how a set is knitted together or the injection a bit of raw drama. But my biggest influences were probably two friends, Ipen and Dave Otzen, Danny Rampling and Tony Humphries.

Ipen and Dave are old school friends, who got into DJing in the 1980s through hip hop, entering DMC and stuff like that. They were and probably still are the most technically gifted DJs I’ve ever met, with that natural flair that you can’t learn. I’ve collected records since I was a kid but the idea of playing them to other people came from them. Ipen still plays down in Brighton, where he lives, but Dave has packed it in, and is now Brad Pitt’s dresser!

When I graduated from acid house raves to Soho clubs in the early 90s, Danny Rampling was the DJ I drew most inspiration from. People talk about there being less genre pigeon-holing back then but that’s mainly crap – DJs were generally associated with particular niche genres. Rampling really did play from a broad palette, happily chucking New Jersey garage in with Belgium techno and Spanish acid, with Chicago house and Balearic pop chucked in for good measure.  It rubbed off a lot and led to my mish-mash nature of record collection, which is definitely more mongrel rather then purist.

Through Rampling I first heard Tony Humphries play and he really turned me onto US house, which previously I had associated with the like of CJ Macintosh, i.e. slickly produced and dull. Humphries had a rougher style that struck a chime with me and really injected energy into his sets with his mixing. I still feel that’s important – music is important but mixing should add something to what you’re doing, even if it’s not so neat and technically perfect. I won’t name names but some of the smoothest beat mixers are also the dullest – give me Humphries chucking records he bought that day together and then working them hard on his Kiss Mastermix show everytime. He’s my all time favourite DJ, for sure.

More recently, people like Neville Watson, Dan Beaumont, Legendary Children and the other two thirds of Thunder, Rick Hopkins and Joe Apted, keep my enthusiasm levels up with their energy and appetite for house music in all its forms. That is probably inspiration rather than influence though.

Best DJ gig

One of the more memorable was Bam Bam in Birmingham – partly because it could have been the worst. I traveled up one bank holiday weekend with Bill Brewster, Jolyon Green and Toby Tobias and big bunch of various mates, so the pressure was on to be fairly decent. I was on before Bill in what was really the first ‘peak time’ slot, so an expectant crowd waited. Bam Bam had a bit of reputation for slo-mo house (Mark E played there quite a bit), so I planned to take it down in a slo-mo style to start with, a plan I stuck with.

Suffice to say the Bank Holiday party crowd weren’t up for the slo-mo shuffle and buggered off en mass next door to the pub to listen some bloke playing disco re-edits, leaving me with a handful of dancers. But the people that stayed were into it – one almost having a fit because I played a DJ Rush at 33rpm, making it sound fairly demented – and slowly it built back up, record by record, dancer by dancer, until 45 minutes in, it was packed, people hollering and screaming, dancing on top of things, Sylvester records causing mayhem, and the transformation was complete.

I like to think that the early part of that set was a palette cleansing exercise but in reality I almost emptied the venue… something I’m sure my mates wouldn’t have let me forget if I hadn’t have turned it round.

And worst

I quite enjoy most places I DJ, so I’d nominate the time I played Disco Bloodbath not because it was a bad gig – it wasn’t, it was fantastic – but because of my, err, unprofessional approach. It was another Bank Holiday, I’d been to the Notting Hill Carnival and then played at a post-Carnival party in Kensal Rise before heading over to Hoxton for Bloodbath. By the time I got there it had been a long day and I was, to coin a phrase, ‘tired and emotional’. Dan welcomed me, showed me round the larger than I expected venue and it was bloody packed with people dancing. He then suggested that I DJ straight away. I was unsure. When I got into the booth I was even more unsure because I was struggling to see the mixer properly and as you can imagine, the DJing that followed was less than perfect. All was not lost though – I sobered up as my set wore on, people were into the music and eventually played for about an hour longer then scheduled. Lesson learned though – being a lightweight and DJing dont mix, literally.

What are you currently listening to?

Old house, new house, in-between house. I’ve got quite a few records and I like to ensure that there’s a good range of ears in every set. Nothing worse than a well worn classics set but equally, someone who’s just gone into Phonica and bought 20 ‘on trend’ records off the wall then cobbled them together is pretty boring too. I guess depth and authenticity is what you’re after from a DJ set, so I’m constantly listening records to makes sure I play stuff that isn’t obvious, that I didnt play the last time they heard me and that will make people dance. I’m also playing Semtek’s UKG influenced night, Special Request, soon, so I’ve been digging through loads of proto-UKG records – Mentalintrum, Zach Toms, Todd Terry, Marc Kinchen, Booker T, Ricky Morrison and that sort of thing. I know Todd Edwards is missing from the list – but I can’t bear his stuff. Actually, don’t tell Semtek that.

Describe a typical night at Thunder.

A proper party! I know that’s pretty clichéd but that’s what it is. A bunch of mates, many of whom we’ve met since we started, cool Dalston club kids, older heads, and maybe a few random stragglers, like the bloke in the blazer and his girlfriend who came by chance, stayed all night and we ended up leaving on the dancefloor of a Caribbean drinking den at 7am the next morning. We’ll make sure the music is spot on –  we’ve been booking DJs like Sven Weisemann and Patrice Scott, who you simply would not expect to hear play in a venue the size of ours, supported by the three residents, then we stick it all in a East London basement, shake it up and see what happens. It does tend to get a bit messy and guess if you don’t like that, dancing or staying up till the following day, it probably isn’t for you. Luckily lots of people do like it.

Dream guest?

Tony Humphries. But we’d need a time machine because the 2012 Tony Humphries doesn’t float my boat at all. That rawness, that energy, that edge he had is gone. I want the Tony Humphries who was at the epicentre of New York house explosion, the Zanzibar resident, the Mastermix king, the man who broke records for every producer in the Big Apple, the man with the hottest tunes, the sweetest skills – the DJ Tony was 20 years ago.

The time machine is still work in progress though, so until that’s sorted, DJ Nature, which is the recording alias of the now New York based DJ formerly known as Milo from the Wild Bunch. He’s taken that Humphries style and progressed it to where I think it should be right now – German techy house mixed with vocals mixed with stuff like Portable, chopped up disco breaks and World Unknown releases. He’s absolutely brilliant. Actually, I need to talk to Joe and Rick and sort that dream out…

Listen to ROUGH Mix 001:  Miles Simpson-Mixx For Someone A Little Faster below.

Tracklist

Cartlon – Love Time (Prescription mix)

Ron Trent – Pop, Dip, Spin

Ripperton – Leonors Lanugo (Radio Slave Remix)

STL – Silent State 
Dave Angel – Tokyo Stealth Fighter (Carl Craig mix)

Oasis – #17

I:Cube – Acid Tablet

Patrice Scott – Motions

Prommer and Barack – Lovin (Andre Lodemann Remix)

Orpheus – Waiting For Your Call

Cabin Fever – Blow Smoke Up The Ass

Theo Parrish – Synthetic Flemm

Da Sampla – Over

The next Thunder is at The Waiting Room w/ Patric Scott on 18th May.

Read more from Miles at Beyond The Stars

Thunder illustrations by Neil Edward