interview

gramatik

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Finals week may be upon us, but that didn’t stop the kids from dancing last Monday. Gramatik, Michal Menert and SuperVision put the Velvet Jones’ sound system to the test as they laid down a bombardment of glitch hop, funk and dubstep. Good vibes and good beats in the perfectly intimate venue, it was one of the best shows I’ve been to in a while. To top it all off, I had the pleasure to share a few words with some of the boys backstage. Check it out after the jump

Listen while you read!
Gramatik & Break Science – Boogie Down

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treasurefingers

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It’s been about a year since I discovered that Disco has made its big return to dancefloors across the nation. The man who led my ears to this discovery is Ashley Jones, better known as Treasure Fingers and one third of Evol Intent. His extensive library of remixes infiltrate your limbs with groove and his original tracks automatically categorize themselves under the ‘feel-good’ genre in iTunes. This year he’s made his way around the globe, showcasing his skills in Europe, Australia, Asia, and opened up shows for A-Trak here in the U.S. We got the opportunity to share a few words before he took the stage at Avalon in Hollywood last Friday, hit the jump to see what he had to say.

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Starfucker

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Josh Hodges (Middle)

Portland-based synth-pop trio Starfucker is one of those bands you develop a relationship with just listening to over the years. They’re one of those rare bands on the indie scene that you could live off of if their music was converted into a food stuff. And everything they’ve made up this point has been absolutely delicious. Initially formed as frontman Josh Hodges’ solo project, their self-titled debut was released in 2008, with a follow-up Reptilians that was officially released in March of this year. Reptilians remains one of C+A+D’s favorite albums of the year so naturally we jumped at opportunity to interview them. See what Josh had to say:

C+A+D: I’ve noticed a lot of great indie comes from Portland. Is there something in the water or what?
Josh: It rains a lot. So there is a lot of time to spend indoors making music.

C+A+D: I know Ryan Dobrowski of Blind Pilot used to play with you in Sexton Blake. Do you know a lot of other Portland bands? How do you learn from each other?
Josh: Ya, it’s pretty incestuous here. I feel like everybody kind of knows everybody.

C+A+D: How did you guys meet? What music/bands do you usually listen to or get inspiration from?
Josh: We all met different ways. Some of us through what we were just talking about, seeing each other in our different bands and deciding to make music together. We listen to the southern hip hop station on pandora for that motivational vibe.

C+A+D:Your music has a very unique, dreamlike quality. How have you developed your sound over the years?
Josh: I have no idea. I just keep striving to make an album I’m totally happy with. I think I’m getting closer with each one…maybe.

C+A+D: You’ve changed your title several times over the past three years. Who came up with “Starfucker” and what made you settle on that as your official title?
Josh: We didn’t really change it. It’s always been starfucker. That other shit was a prank. I was on tour with another band and some weird LA music “biz” girl who was doing something or other on the tour, with much pride, called herself a starfucker for fucking some old ass famous dude, and it just really stuck with me. It’s impressive what people do to be associated with fame.

C+A+D: You generated a lot of buzz in the press for having an explicative in your title. What do your parents think about the name of your band?
Josh: My mom loves it, but she is a hippy.

C+A+D: You’ve been known to occasionally wear women’s clothing at shows. Is there a particular reason for this or are you simply trying to see how far you can push the envelope?
Josh: we all grew up around it. my uncle is a liza minnelli impersonator at Darcelle’s XV, the longest running female impersonator club in the universe.

C+A+D: What’s your reaction to comparisons made between you and bands like MGMT and Passion Pit?
Josh: I’d rather be compared to my little pony-boy, but what can you do…i like MGMT a lot.

C+A+D: Whose idea was it to include Alan Watts’ philosophical quotes throughout the album? Is there a particular philosophy that drives your music?
Josh: A few years ago I started having these weird reoccurring dreams where Alan Watts was like a guide or friend, trying to free me from the shackles of this strange existence. Every time I’d get close he’d be there encouraging me, saying all I needed to do was let go of everything and basically let my ego die. At the last second, I’d see an ex of mine who I was particularly sexually attached to. I couldn’t help my self, I’d just go there and end up staying in this form. Even though I’m not ready to let go I appreciate his effort.

C+A+D: You guys have been pretty busy touring recently. What’s the best part about being on tour? The worst? Is there a particular show that stands out in your mind as particularly awesome?
Josh: The best part for me is that it feels like recess, like I don’t have to think about the rest of my life. Just music- simple.

C+A+D: What happened at that show where Shawn broke his teeth on the cymbal? Hahah How did you go about taking care of that?
Josh: It was the last show of a really long tour and Shawn and Keil were kicking over all the drums during our last song and a cymbal basically just sliced through his teeth. He was able to find some cheap local place to fix it up for him. his new teeth are better than his old ones.

owowowowwww

C+A+D: Do you guys have any big plans or desires for the future? Anywhere you want to be?
Josh: We have the same desire we had when we started out: to travel and play music. So, we hope to be getting over to Europe this fall and anywhere else that will have us. We’d really love to head to South America, Columbia, Brazil.

C+A+D: If you weren’t musicians what would be your career of choice?
Josh: Keil would be a high school teacher, Shawn would probably still be doing something in music, I’d probably be homeless.

C+A+D: If you could only play one of your songs for the rest of your career which would it be and why?
Josh: Haha, wow. Sounds like a torture scenario..like “no exit” or something. That would be really hard to answer. Maybe “Hard smart beta” cause I get to play drums on that one and it’s instrumental so would take longer to induce suicide.

Here’s a video we got of “Hard Smart Beta” from Outside Lands:

C+A+D: Finally: you’re stranded on an island with only one album and one bottle of alcohol. What would you guys choose?
Josh: I’d choose red wine, a big ass box of it if i only get 1, and this awesome mix cd a friend made for me. I know the mix is kind of cheating, but it’s honest.
Thanks!!!!

rac

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RAC finally made their way to Orange County this past Wednesday night, and my friends and I weren’t about to miss the occasion. If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to them, check out all their tracks here. They played at this small club in Costa Mesa, aptly named MESA. The name makes it a little harder than it should be to Google, but the place makes up for it in more ways than one. 1) On nice nights they pull up the retractable ceiling so the party goers can smoke and dance in peace while the artists perform. 2) The bathrooms. A unisex waiting room for individual bathrooms tell you when one is open with red and green lights. It’s the little things like these (that actually aren’t that little at all) that set clubs apart. After their epic throw down of my favorite indie tracks remixed to perfection, I got to sit down with the brains behind the collective, and here’s how it went:

C+A+D: okay SO! Standard operating procedure: tell me a little bit about RAC. Who you guys are. What you do.

RAC: (André) Let’s see RAC (laughs), is an ever changing thing. We actually talked about that for an hour today. I started in 2007 when I was in college. Didn’t really have any job prospects. So, with the extra time I was doing a lot of remixes for fun and thought, “Why don’t I give this a try, you know? I really enjoy it. Let’s see how it goes.” The first one we got was The Shins…got super lucky with that. Cold called their manager, he showed some interest and said he’d get back to me later. Few days pass, I’m in class and I get a call from the Shin’s manager. First thought: Can’t stay in this class. I ducked out and they said they wanted the remix! James Mercer said he really liked it, and after that it just got a lot easier to get remixes. It’s been snowballing ever since to what it is today. But we’re doing some stuff with film and advertising, so the remixes are just a piece of the whole thing.

C+A+D: When you started, were you planning on make it a remix thing? Or did you have any plans of producing and making your own music?

RAC: (André) I had absolutely no plan when I started this whole thing. I had initially wanted it to be a collab with a bunch of people, but the logistics of that was kind of a nightmare. So eventually it turned into me, Karl, and Andrew having our own projects under the RAC name. We work with each other in a sense that we critique each other, but it’s not like we’re sitting in a studio pumping remixes away. They’re all done individually.

C+A+D: I’m pretty big on remixes myself. I love when someone can take a song and change it into something it could have been, and your guys’ sound is really unique. It’s really approachable and I haven’t seen many replicate it. Are there some artists that influence where you guys try and go with a given remix?

RAC: (André) I listen to a lot of different music, and I feel like that really influences me in a way. I feel like what sets us apart is that we use real instruments.
(Karl) As far as influences go…I feel like the stuff we play in our DJ sets are pretty good examples, as far as the dance-side of it goes at least.
(André) Some of our songs just don’t belong in the club, so we’re not going to try and force anything. A lot of people request our Edward Sharpe remix, and I just don’t know how I’d play it in a club setting.

C+A+D: So Karl, you’re the latest addition to the collective, as far as your websites concerned. What were you doing in the years that you were helping but you weren’t fully a part of the crew yet?

RAC: Well André and I started a band about a year after RAC started called The Pragmatic. I think through that process and learning how to make songs with that band, I became more involved. André and I were DJing a lot during college, so it seemed appropriate to combine forces.

C+A+D: I was gonna ask actually, what’s the deal with The Pragmatic? Are you guys going to take that anywhere?

RAC: (André) We’ve got an album in the works actually. It’s always perpetually being worked on. Or perpetually in progress! (laughs)
(Karl) I think it’s going to turn into a series of singles while we’re working on RAC. We put out an EP a couple years ago that had a very specific sound, and we ventured pretty far from that as far as our aesthetic. We’re still working on it.

Here’s their SoundCloud because their FaceBook doesn’t load their songs for some reason.

C+A+D: On your guys’ SoundCloud player you’ve got a whoppin’ 109 songs, but your volumes don’t have all of them. So I guess, how do you choose what goes on the volumes and on the player?

RAC: (André) Well for the volumes, all the tracks are recorded specifically for that. Like with Volume 2, I approached all the artists. “Hey I’ll do a remix for you if you don’t tell anyone and let me release it on my own.” So every remix on their was very intentional and meant for that album. The other ones were pretty much promotional. A band has a single. Want some extra exposure. They get me to do a remix and everyone wins. The volumes are sorta my project.

C+A+D: I always want to ask artists this, but before you got big, were you going to a lot of shows? Who were your favorites?

RAC: (Karl) I never really went to see DJs. But in the last year I went to see The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco…don’t think anyone will ever beat that LCD show.
(André) This is sort of a long time ago, but couple years back we went to see Peter Bjorn and John. Incredible. It was Beach House, Peter Bjorn and John, and Grizzly Bear at SXSW. Peter Bjorn and John blew everyone out of the water.
(Karl) They put on such a rock show! Which was surprising to me, I don’t know about other people. But to me they’re a lot more of just easier listening, and the live show was just so much more abrasive than I was expecting..in a good way!

C+A+D: Last question, I always gotta ask: you’re stranded on an island. you can have one album and one bottle of alcohol. What would it be?

RAC: (laughs)
(Karl) [without hesitiation] LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver and Evan Williams.
(André) Uh I’m try to not gonna give this much thought [gives it thought] … I’m gonna have to go with Third Eye Blind’s Blue album.
(Karl) BLUE!? You’re gonna choose Blue over their self titled?? We’re gonna argue about this…(André) (laughs) and for bottle of alcohol. I.Just.Don’t.Know. Pretty non-picky.

There you have it ladies and gents. Be sure to go see them if you like their remixes. They pick and choose the most fun energy filled songs of the lot. Real stand up guys. Check my post on them for all their songs by clicking here. Check back on our facebook for some videos I got of the performance.

felixcartal

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In a scene congested with mundane electro music, one mans been producing in a more intricate and abstract way. Chunky basslines, adamant distortion and relentless drops, Vancouver based Felix Cartal has been busy pioneering new strains of attention-grabbing house. Just last month, Felix dropped his newest EP, ‘Solar/Lunar,’ on Dim Mak Records and wow; I can vouch that it’s some of his best work yet. I had the pleasure of catching Felix Cartal, in all his glory, at 8Eighty8 a couple weeks ago as he dropped a stupefying barrage of musical ingenious. I caught a word with him after his set and told him my readers would roll over on their keyboards for a quick interview.

C+A+D and Felix Cartal

C+A+D: How did you get started?

Felix: Started out creating a few electronic interludes for my old band’s albums, from there I got more into the software I was using — particularly Reason, and started creating full tracks. Other DJ’s showed support for my music, and then it just sort of snowballed from there.

 

C+A+D: Which came first, DJing or producing?

Felix: Producing for sure. Never thought of myself as a DJ until recently.

 

C+A+D: What was it like touring with Wolfgang Gartner?

Felix: It was great! He’s one of the few producers who puts out amazing music consistently with every release. Really respect his work ethic, so for him to choose me as an opener for some of the dates was nothing but flattering.

 

C+A+D: Word on the street is you like Mario Kart 64, who’s your favorite racer?

Felix: Luigi. He’s such an asshole.

 

C+A+D: I noticed your hometown is Vancouver. What’s the EDM scene like there?

Felix: It’s doing really well. Blueprint is the company running things down here, and they consistently bring through amazing events. My local friends Expendable Youth are doing great things too, with a release coming out on Mad Decent soon.

 

C+A+D: What inspires you these days?

Felix: It’s always changing. But been doing a lot of online crate-digging and listening to the earlier types of electronica. Everything from Raymond Scott  to later stuff like Bernard Estardy. Fuck, I sound pretentious. Getting back into Ratatat again too!

 

C+A+D: What can we expect in the coming months?

Felix: Second EP ‘Animals’ I did with Keatch comes out next month. I did a remix for Wolfgang Gartner’s ‘Forever.’ And also, Style of Eye and I did a track called ‘The End.’ That, and working on album #2.

Felix Cartal – The Joker (Original Mix)
Acidkids – Mitch (Felix Cartal Remix)
Felix Cartal – The Riddler (Original Mix)
Valerna – Look Ma! (Felix Cartal Edit)

12ss

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Full album

 

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to successfully compile C+A+D‘s first exclusive interview with none other than The Twelves. I was a little ecstatic to be given this opportunity because I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent on their essential mix and remixes. It’s such a fulfilling experience to see the faces behind such appreciated talent and, in this case, hear what they have to say. It also made the trip up to SF that much more worth it considering they threw down the funkiest two and a half hour set we could have asked for. Being star-struck aside, I feel like this interview will shed light on a lot of info you all probably didn’t know about this glorious duo.

 

C+A+D: How has touring been so far for you guys?
12s: This was the third show actually, so there is not a lot to tell quite yet. We played Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada and San Fran tonight. So far so good though! Edmonton was a Thursday and there was like 800 people and tonight sold out also so, so far so good.

 

C+A+D: What’s with the lack of LA dates? I know there is a pretty massive fan base waiting for you guys to come back after HARD Summer.
12s: We weren’t able to set dates down there because of Coachella. You’re not supposed to play around the area 2-3 months before and after. It’s the one place we really would play and every tourist wants to play…especially because we’re really tight with the promoter there.

 

C+A+D: Well I was going to ask this later, but how did you guys feel about getting that Coachella spot? Have you ever been? It’s a pretty major accomplishment as far as the music scene goes around America.
12s: No, no..we’ve never been. We only believed it when we saw the poster. Up til then we heard only rumors and were like “Is this gonna happen??” But only when it’s on the poster on the official site, we can say, you know..it IS gonna happen.

 

C+A+D: Yeah that’s what I was waiting for…people are always trying to get everyone hyped with fake posters. It’s frustrating.
12s: We were on the fake poster…and uhh we spread it to everyone haha. We saw the message board and people were all excited about it, and we just thought it was funny. We didn’t want to deny it. But we really didn’t know until it was on the official site.

 

C+A+D: And you guys have never been or heard of the magnitude of the event?
12s: We’ve heard of it ever since we started. When we started, playing at Coachella was like..”the thing.”

 

C+A+D: Exactly! Coachella is where it’s at as far as it goes around here. Congrats on that!
12s: Yeah it’s something you put on your tombstone…”Played at Coachella 2000 whatever.” haha

 

C+A+D: It’s going to be cool. I know you guys said you’re bigger on the club shows but Coachella has its own thing going on. Thousands of people are going to see you guys.
12s: I dunno how many people are going to watch us, but we’re definitely going to watch a lot of people.

 

C+A+D: A couple years ago when I went I saw Fleet Foxes and I noticed you guys like to remix them from your essential mixes and others that are just floating around.
12s: Yeah yeah yeah, some guy really wanted to hear us play it so we put it in this mix..He pretty much demanded it. Not sure if the Fleet Foxes guys would like it though.

 

C+A+D: When did you guys start touring internationally? What’s your favorite place that you’ve toured at so far? Any places you guys want to go that you haven’t been?
12s: 2007. It was a small tour. We were sleeping at promoters houses, going from New York to Chicago but it was good fun. We really love playing here (San Francisco), I know it sounds cliche, but it was the first place we played at in the U.S. And yeah sure! We’re supposed to go to Rome, so we’d love to get that done.

 

C+A+D: And now the question that had to be asked..why The Twelves?
12s: It’s actually a weird coincidence. We were born in the same city, on the same day, same year, same everything…July 12, 1980. [Luciano] He’s my evil twin. haha

 

C+A+D: I was really curious as to how you guys felt about this. But you can’t read any bio, any description, any anything without you guys being referred to as “Brazil’s answer to Daft Punk.” It was even in your essential mix.
12s: Ahhhh we hate that..we hate that. We can’t compare. [Luciano] I did shake Guy Manuel’s hand in Paris and I revere them. But that’s the closest we get. It’s embarrassing..I wonder who came up with it. [João] Pete Tong? In the essential mix? [Luciano] Nahh he’s an announcer he doesn’t come up with marketing slogans..I don’t think so anyway?

 

C+A+D: How is the scene in Brazil? How did you guys start doing what you’re doing given what’s going on down there?
12s: I think we started mainly because of a lack of a scene, in Rio at least. I dunno, there’s a small indie rock scene in Rio, but it’s pretty much people just playing the same tracks every night. So we wanted to try and do better than that. We were in an indie band, but we wanted to try to make tracks for the dance floor setting.

 

C+A+D: What other instruments can you guys play? What made you guys want to do the DJing thing instead?
12s: [Luciano] In the band I played bass and João played guitar, but I feel like I was more of a drummer by trade. I had been playing drums for like 8 years. But yeah we were trying haha it just didn’t really work out. Didn’t go anywhere.

 

C+A+D: Do you guys listen to songs differently now that you’ve been remixing as much as you have? What’s your favorite remix that you’ve done?
12s: [João] I think so, yeah. I think people got scared of the remix scene though, because it kinda got out of hand. [Luciano] Awhile ago it was easier to find vocals for tracks so we could remix with them. Now people don’t really release vocals as much as they used to. Because if you do, you get like 30 remixes in a day and most of them are shit. [Luciano] Favorite remix of ours? I like the Fever Ray one. [João] And I really like The Virgins one we did.

 

Random dude in the hotel lobby: If you were being attacked by a swarm of midget monkeys flinging poo, which one of you would run and which would stay and fight?
12s: [João] ha! I would just laugh probably. [Luciano] I would make a bracelet out of their heads for sure.

 

C+A+D: What about producing? Now that you’ve guys have pretty much mastered the remix thing…are you going to try and make some more originals?
12s: Ehh we haven’t mastered anything. We’re always trying, but we’re always touring. It takes a lot of time to get used to the studio environment again and start being productive. If you’re doing a lot of gigs, it gets tough. [Luciano] I like hearing when you hear a band made an album in the country side, in an abandoned warehouse. I think it’s a good thing. You need to isolate yourself from email..and whatever. You have to focus. [João] I envy artists who can produce while they tour. It’s so hard. Because in my time off, I don’t even want to listen to music, you know? Sometimes, silence really is golden.

 

C+A+D: How about the essential mix? How’d you guys go about pulling that off and laying out the tracks and stuff?
12s: Someone new a guy that new a guy that new a guy, pretty much. [João] We were supposed to go home and do the essential mix for two weeks, and we really wanted to do it that way. And the guy was like, “No you have to do it now!” We were touring at the time too, so it’s actually a live recording from a show in Scotland. [Luciano] We were going to do the London one, but it turned out to be shit. I rented a bass and stuff to do it live, but it didn’t really work. [João] Yeah plus you were really drunk…

 

C+A+D: Is there ever a time you feel like you’ve made it? Like you’re where you want to be? Or are there things you still want to accomplish?
12s: Those moments definitely exists, but they last like 30 seconds, and then after that 30 seconds you’re like “nahh gotta go do it bigger next time.” You forget about it. There are ups and downs to the whole thing. When we go home and we play 5 nights a week, it all feels really good, but when we start traveling you just feel like you could do better. But ultimately, no one is ever satisfied with what they have. We’re happy.

 

C+A+D: Last one. You’re stranded on an island..1 album, 1 bottle of alcohol. What’s it going to be?
12s: [Luciano] Bottle of alcohol, easy: Kettle One. [João] Probably have a 6 pack of Hoegaarden. Album? Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins. [Luciano] I’d take Mozart’s Requiem.

 

C+A+D: That’s it then..Thanks a lot dudes and for the fucking awesome show.
12s: Our pleasure, really. Time for Arizona in the morning..

 

If you want to see videos I got from the stage, check out our YouTube page. It was a massive sold out show, and rightfully so.

Bonus Funk

Fever Ray – Seven (The Twelves Remix) Delightful Choice!
Radiohead – Reckoner (The Twelves Remix)
Daft Punk – Aerodynamic (The Twelves Remix)