Tag Archives: Electronica

Interview with Detroit Techno-Noir Artist, Nej!Las

What attracted you to the techno/electro/house scene?

The ability (and even the requirement) to make, not only harmonic melodies and bass-lines, but to additionally have percussion and drums that could, by themselves, carry a song.  Techno/electro/house pushes the envelope by requiring and allowing for creativity in all areas of a song. It requires one to constantly innovate and come up with new, original, creations and techniques applied to the production.

What is your local music scene like? How do you think you fit in?

The Detroit Techno scene is so prominent; it created its own genre. The Detroit Techno Militia shows the attitude of techno producers that reside in Detroit – independent, proud and original. Detroit allows for producers to have creativity, to not necessarily fit inside the box of what “techno” is supposed to be, but to continuously push the boundaries of the genre. Detroit Techno is innovative. The innovative and original style shines through my music.

You’ve got a huge gig lined up – what would be your dream venue?

An intimate venue where I could feed off of the audiences’ energy and they could be up close and personal to my live production. A symbiotic relationship between me and the crowd.

Tell us about how you go about creating your music, from initial idea to completion

I create two different live sets.

The first live set – the “progressive, melodic set” focuses on the harmonic elements. This set, by itself, would be categorized as “progressive” music. I spend days creating and manipulating analogs, wavetables, and filters in order to find a unique synth sound. I tend to favour an almost guitar-like synth – overdriven and raw. I then, likewise, formulate an “opposite” synth that is sweet and melodic – as if it could lead a progressive/chill-out song. This synth tends to be a string or rubber instrument. I then spend additional days writing, re-writing, and rearranging midi data and appreciations. With all the variations of synths and midi, I usually have enough sounds and tracks to form an entire arrangement. This is the next step, to formulate all the melodies into an arrangement of a harmonic song from an intro to an outro.

The second set – the “techno” set focuses solely on drums and percussion. I likewise arrange a very heavy techno arrangement from an intro to an outro. Hardware, like the Alesis SamplePad 4, is very useful to continue to create original midi data, or even audio samples, for percussion.  I want this second set to be able to stand alone as a song without bass or melodies.

In the end, I combine the two sets, which could, by themselves, be sufficient for a song, into one set that has movement and free flowing segments. I arrange the set to make it play as if I were playing it live. I even record all the modulations and envelopes from a MIDI controller (the AKAI MPC40) as if I were performing it live. This “live performance” of the song becomes the final track.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To continue to innovate and bring original music into the traditional “techno” genre. I want to create a niche of original, harmonic, progressive, techno songs that play, and sound, like a live set.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Songs like “Fini” play like a live set, except it allows one to listen to it anywhere. That is the style of my production – to have harmonic synths that could stand by themselves as a progressive song, but on top of the harmonies, to have percussion and drums that could also be sufficient for a song. The music is “alive”, always changing and morphing into something new and creative.

 

 

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Get to know: Vispa

Know Me Better were lucky enough to get in touch with Iranian electronic artist, Vispa, whose retro-synth sounds are making waves in the modern world of electro music.

How did you get your initial start in music?

I’ve had a talent in composing since my childhood. But at the age of 19, I attended my first music class and perfected my skill on playing keyboards and synthesizers. After that, I self-studied harmony, counterpoint and orchestration amongst other things.

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

My ultimate goal in the industry is to attract attention as an electronic musician with different ideas and become famous. And money is also important to me 🙂

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

Since 5 or 6 years ago. But ‘Cosmic Force’ is my first professionally recorded song. I have a whole load of other songs that have not been recorded yet though.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Hans Zimmer.

I think that these three people are unique in that they employ perfect ideas in their work because of their talent. Also, they have the best possible musical influences – you can see it in their arrangements and their style of music.

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

This is just the beginning of my work. These days I’m looking for a sponsor and I decided to record an EP with the same name (Cosmic Force) which contains three different remixes of the song.

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favorite venues?

I live in Tehran, Iran. Actually there are not as many venues as you think there might be here. But there are some, like Azadi Tower which I think best suits an open-door concert. There are also two nice indoor venues here which I enjoy going to.

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Actually I don’t listen to Iranian pop music, but simple or traditional Iranian music are among the best which I like and maybe in the future, I will employ a sense of this music in my work. Among Iranian musicians in the international scene of traditional music are Kayhan Kalhor, Homayoon Shajarian and Hossein Alizadeh.

 

Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

My song is now available in 95+ online stores and streamers. But the most important ones are as follows:

Also, you can find me on social media here:

 

Listen to Vispa’s ‘Cosmic Force’ here:

 

Ways & Means

Ways and Means2Bristol based electronic artists Ways & Means have recently signed to Reel Me Records in order to keep up their prolific output – over 70 releases and counting.

1. How did you get your initial start in music?
I was a regular of the illegal rave scene in the south from 1989 and after a few years of soaking up the vibe, I naturally progressed to DJ’ing with the free party sound systems such as Circus Warp, Spiral Tribe and then producing my own music followed.

2. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
To continue to make music and be involved in the music scene in general, to me, success is not about being famous, it is about doing what you love and getting paid for it. I love the fact that nowadays you can make a good living from music and walk down the street without people knowing who you are. All I aim to do is pay my bills, provide for my family and express myself musically but writing music is not something I just want to do, I have to do it, i need to it, to express myself, to get my thoughts and feelings out, it’s like writing poetry to me and I would do it even if I did not have an audience.

3. How long have you been writing your own music?
Since 1992, I have followed the twists and turns of different scenes durng that time too and have loved it, Rave back in the day, Drum & Bass during the early 90’s, Techno and Electronica mid 90’s and since 2000 I have loved writing whatever I feel whenever I feel with no boundaries. I love the previous experience I have had in various styles and scenes as it makes me feel more whole and gives me more inspiration to draw from now

4. Who are your top three influences and why?
One of my best friends and writing partner on many occassions is definately up there for me (Darren Beale). we must have written over 150 releases together since 1992 and he has the midas touch with all he does from Drum & Bass as Decoder, Singer songwriter / dance music with Kosheen to Techno with Dubspeeka. Other influences are diffficult to narrow, there are many from the old school Orb, KLF, Autecre vibe to producers like Worthy, Burial, Flying Locus now, sorry, that is more than 2 but I understandably, it is a frustrating question to ask someone passionate about music, there are so many amazing producers out there, I feel like a kid in a sweet shop!

5. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
The Microphone Fiend EP is a journey that is ‘breaking’ Ways & Means out of just Breaks and able to express other aspects of what I see as a Breakbeat Culture, I am loving working with vocalists and creating my own take on Tech Breaks, Electro, Glitch / Hip Hop and there is plenty more to come with these combinations.

6. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
I have been based in Bristol for many years now and I love it, the people, the vibe, the music, it’s a special place to me that has the right balance of energies to be a happy place with a thumping bass! Venues have changed over the years, places like Lakota, The Thekla, Trinity and Blue Mountain used to all be heaving, guaranteed a top night out but things are changing with smaller venues creating their own scene, The Attic, Mr Wolfs, Start The Bus and the Bank are all great venues currently.

7. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
Urban Reggae heavyweights Laid Blak and rapper Alonestar who are both signed to one of my labels (Reel Me Records), Dub Mafia, Jus Now, Eats Everything, Mr Benn, Komonazmuk are all doing great things a there’s always a new breed of talent always ready to join the party so I look forward to them stepping up and adding to the Bristol Flavour.

8. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.
You can check out Ways & Means on Facebook, Soundcloud (waysandmeansmusic), Twitter (waysandmeansuk) and Youtube (waysandmeansbass) Lots of free tracks, DJ mixes and so on so get involved, it would be great to have your support.