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[Interview] A Short Chat with M.A.N.D.Y.

The fortunate and rare opportunity presented itself to ask Philipp David Jung a few questions about the life and career of M.A.N.D.Y. Here's what he had to say.

What’s the story behind the acronym M.A.N.D.Y?

A very long one actually. Many different stories are floating around. But we think the very solution and explanation is Me AND You. Which stands for Patrick and me, or the party people and us, or the universe and us here.

Many describe your sound as minimalistic. What draws you to it?

You know as someone who creates music, you can’t really refer to something like this. But of course, the outside world has to label it to describe it and that is super fine. But you can call it anything you like, and it won’t change our approach in the studio. We don’t go and say today we’ll do a minimal song, or maximal, or this or that. You just sit there and you hope something nice will happen.

Outside of the world of dance music, who are your biggest influences?

There are so many. I am very lucky to have amazing friends who always give me shit in the right moment. {Like} when things get too loose, or you get lost in your DJ world. I talk to my Dad very regularly which is always very calming and soothing. And of course, there are so many artists out there in the world. Just listen to the new Radiohead album and this should give you inspiration for a couples of months. We do love art a lot as well, but sometimes it’s in the lil' things. You just walk around with open eyes every day, you listen to people talk, you sit in a bar and actually look at people, all this might be my biggest influence. Life as such.

You have worked intimately with Booka Shade. Tell us about the evolution of that relationship.

We are childhood friends, so it’s a very special relationship we have. We were, and are always in contact. It’s a friendship for life. And whenever we find some time, we’ll go in the studio together. But unfortunately due to our schedules, that happens only once a month.

How has the Get Physical Radio show been going? What is your ultimate goal with this project?

There is no ultimate goal in a way. We are based in the heart of Berlin. And there are so many talented artists passing through, so we just wanna capture their mood when they are over. The booth (we call it Glory Hole) is so tiny and right in our office, so its always funny to see the people squeezed into to this lil' shoe box.

You and Patrick Bodmer are childhood friends, how has your relationship evolved over the years? 

I think like anything in life, our relationship changes and changed a lot over the years. It’s an amazing journey and we learned a lot from each other. Through constant observation and communication we are doing quite well actually! Pretty proud of what we have achieved. And the main thing is really that you always and still can laugh about and with each other.

Where is your favorite place to play when you are back home in Germany?

Everywhere where my friends are I guess. If you have your loved ones around, you’ll always have a good time. There are millions of places I love or like. Sometimes it’s even the living room with two buddies. Back in Germany in June. Let’s see for how long.

Do you have any recently completed projects you can share with us?

We are finally working on the album for real. Looking pretty good so far. I guess we will even release the first stuff this year. Fingers and toes are crossed.

M.A.N.D.Y. is set to play in Atlanta on 5/14 at Jungle Warehouse. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. 

[Interview| Jonny Cruz talks about traveling the world and his diverse approach to music.

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By Frank Duke

Jonny Cruz is a multi-faceted Dj and producer who explores many styles of electronic music to keep ahead of the curve.

Jonny will be playing at Alley Cat Music Club this Saturday alongside Atlanta party guru, Tocayo.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. How has the start of spring been treating you thus far?

It's been pretty good, can't complain. Been in my birthplace Puerto Rico since getting back from Berlin in December. I've literally just been locked in the studio working on remixes and new material.

You just had a release on Gold Records. How did the EP come into life?

At first Namito hit me up with the idea to do a vocal for a track of his, I felt like I could send him more than just a vocal so I also did some musical arrangement and send it to him, it worked out and the track has had a very good response.

 

Last I heard, you were in NYC, but now you are in Berlin. What inspired the move and how did it transpire?

Berlin in the summer is just a lovely place to be. I've been on and off living in Berlin since 2010 I have a lot of friends there. I really enjoy the inspiration it brings to my music when I'm there. Also, the nightlife is second to none. I'm actually moving to LA after a few gigs in South America in May.

How many places have you lived after you were born in Puerto Rico?

I was born in Puerto Rico but I grew up most of my childhood in San Diego, CA. I've also lived in Venezuela, Taiwan, Miami, Orlando, London, New York, and Berlin.

What are two bucket list items for you?

Haven't done Burning Man yet. I also really want to go surfing in Indonesia.

When you approach a DJ set or a new track, what are some of the main elements you consider?

Above all, good sound. Usually If it sounds good, chances are it's good.

You’ve done a lot of work with My Favorite Robot Records in your career. What about this imprint draws you to continue to release and work with them?

I haven't released on MFR in two years, I think it's time for a new EP. I came in contact with the label back in 2011. I liked the music they were releasing because it was a big fuck you to everything else I was hearing coming out at the time. I've always had that same kind of, "I don't give a shit about trends" kind of style. I think they liked that about me as well.

If at all possible, could you tell us a bit about your other aliases and some of the styles that they revolve around?

I have the Discern alias with Silky which I think is more of a melodic, techno kind of sound.

Ominous with R.A.D. (Ricardo a. Dominguez). This is my live act, it's more an electronica live band kind of thing.

And little ol' me. I don't really pigeonhole into one style I do all kinds of different stuff.

What are you most looking forward to about playing in Atlanta?

Making booty's shake!

Do you have any news that you can tell us about for projects in the rest of 2016?

The relaunch of Discern. Silky and I took almost two years off of making music together now we're back full force. More music with Ominous and performances together. And a lot of new solo material.

Buy tickets for the event HERE.

Find more information HERE.

[Interview] Time Traveling with Clarian at Alley Cat

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By Kristin Gray

Photos by Sara Vogt

I return to Alley Cat after a stint of time, and the changes this venue has made in those few weeks are completely transformative. The DJ booth now sports their feline logo, giving it a legitimate, tasteful look. Ramzi opens up the night, his set begins with a transcendent mixture of desert vibes and instrumental tracks that set a beautiful scene for us early birds. As the set transitions, we begin to hear nice bassy notes that get our heads bobbing and feet tapping. The beat picks up, the bass drops. The enthusiastic little crowd swells, enjoying this wonderful beginning to such a fine night.

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Tocayo steps up to the decks, ready to keep the party going strong. He keeps up a steady beat and the crowd remains pumped. As the venue packs out, I escape the crowd for a bit to have a chat with Clarian, our headliner for the night. His intelligence, desire to find the deeper meaning in things, and love for sci-fi make this conversation a special experience.

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Welcome back to Atlanta! How do you tend to handle the cold winters of snowy Montreal versus your summer getaway city of Berlin?

I think I handle it pretty well (laughs). I’m actually going next week to Berlin. It depends on shows. I try to travel as much as I can to play shows. The world is a big place out there, so it’s hard to jump around all over the place randomly so you try to organize it a bit. But generally speaking, you’re right. I spend most of my summers in Berlin. I like the cold winters though, getting to wear my snow suits.

As a lover of sci-fi, would you say this is a big influence in your music, or is it the other way around?

I like that question. Techno music is like this future dystopian thought of machines, and the sounds of industrialization. I think that they’re intrinsically locked together. I’m really interested in finding the link between the future of sound communication that electronic music seems to have as a platform. Other forms don’t really have as much liberty or freedom to explore future sounds. In my view, and from my experiments, from what’s exciting me in finding the music that I’m finding, a musical sequence can actually open up a portal into another gateway that can create space travel. And as ridiculous and absurd as it sounds, looking for patterns of unlocking the universe, maybe there are connections that we haven't even discovered between music and sound. I like to think about stuff like that.

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What first got you into producing your own music, and how did that effect your life at the time?

I started producing music when I was a teenager. My brother had a studio and I used to steal myself into it when he wasn't around. He had a mixer and guitars, I grew up on instruments. I was just trying to figure it out, and I loved recording so I tried to write songs on the guitar and piano and then take it to the studio. Without formal training, I intuitively would notice that if I took a vocal take, and then I doubled it, and took another one, then I played with the timing, I could create interesting phasing. I was doing all these things not knowing that the hell that I was doing. That whole world of producing is its own universe. That’s generally where I'm most happy, when I'm in the studio.

There is an interesting story to your EP Mission to Bars involving an Astronaut, his voyages, and his longing for whiskey. Can you tell us what inspired it?

I was in South Korea for a week, I was touring in Asia. I was by myself and I was pretty broke. I couldn't afford whiskey at one point at this bar and I was trying to write, I write sci-fi stories as a hobby. I was writing this story and then I got into this idea about this space man, and he was in his space suit. He could be on some strange planet but he could also be a delusional regular schizophrenic dude walking around downtown with a space helmet on, you don’t know. But the whole thing with this character is, he's an alcoholic obviously, and he wants to have a whiskey but he can’t have it. He orders it but he can’t drink it, so he doesn't know what to do with it. He can’t take his helmet off because that’s what is keeping him alive in his mind. So he just pours whiskey over his helmet in this sad attempt. It was so ridiculous and pathetic and amazing. I was laughing about it to myself like an idiot in this bar in Korea. Since then, I have been writing more stories about this space man. I have another story I finished recently where he's in a hydrogen depository, or that could all be in his mind, he could just be at a gas station. He's thinking about whiskey and meanwhile holding up the line. He's just pissing off all these strange creatures because he's so lost. The tracks that go with it are very dreamy and trippy. It’s called Ankh.

 
 

You gifted us with a special mix, NOCTURAMA, a few months back. What was it like bringing to the surface unreleased productions and collaborations from the past eight years?

Oh yes. It was good (laughs). It’s like digging through your journals or diaries, going through old essays from school. I have tons of that stuff in hard drives and disks, on recorded tapes, on floppy disks. Weird recordings and experiments that I try my best to keep track of because I travel so much and things get lost. I think most producers have tons of music that are these gems but for whatever reason the pieces get lost. Maybe they resurface years later or people find the outtakes, or even the demos but the demos are so good that they become hits. So you're always treasure hunting and I was putting all these together to make a mix. It was kind of cool for me, it tells a story, like sketches. If someone wants to see where my heads at and what I’ve been up to and trying different things and ideas. The last track on there I wrote eight years ago, it’s a ballad I made on a synth in this studio. It was the first track I wrote after Utopia. Each track signifies a point in time, they’re like the shadows of my music.

 
 

Your music seeks to explore the edges of space and time in an imaginative way. What have been your biggest challenges and joy with this exploration?

I’m trying to find connections with music as I get older. You know you get into all these scenes when your younger to find yourself, when you have the liberty and freedom to exist in these communities that don't ask to invade upon who you are. That’s what I think is beautiful about electronic music, about the culture of it. This movement that we do, that we've created. It’s a revolution in itself. At my point now as I'm getting a bit older I'm wondering where I'm going with my whole life. If I want to try to keep doing music and traveling, which I like and am so thankful for. Either I have to take some time off and try to make more of a contribution to the world beyond just the fun stuff, or find a way to do something a bit more original that I can provide to this community. It’s a hard question, but it’s a fun question. It’s the shit. I love coming here!

What can we expect from you for 2016?

I made another synth pop album, it’s very spacey. It’s more of a celebration of the style of music that I've been very obsessed with over the past ten years. I've realized it’s kind of like NOCTURAMA. The sound kind of evolves in my mind so when I did this album I did it last summer in Berlin. It’s a lot of Footprintz stuff that I've been doing and it has a lot of newer sounds that I've been patching and working on and creating. It’s very celebratory. Like an ending. Hopefully, I can get it out in a presentable way. That’s what I've been working on to find the right label and find the right way to put it out and make it special. That hasn't been easy yet but hopefully that will come together. Then I have the other Ankh EPs and Tiga’s album, which drops in March. I had the honor and privilege to work for such an amazing legend. That was maybe the most challenging and rewarding experience in the past few years. Working with people on that level. It’s awesome to work with guys like him. His album is called No Fantasy Required and it’s really sick. It’s really amazing.

And as a fellow sci-fi lover, I have to ask - what is your favorite show or movie?

Recently I've been really into the Expanse. I particularly love it because the character’s name is James Holden. I also love Logan’s Run. I love the old classic ones.

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We return to the foray and Clarian takes his place behind the booth setting up his Mac and prepping. Tocayo finishes out his set and welcomes our guest of the night. As Clarian begins, the crowd pauses unsure at first what to do. This music is dark and heavy, a complete mind trip in all the good ways. The dancing becomes vigorous, the crowd is humming with energy - bouncing together in a frenzied wave of movement.

Clarian’s music sends us on a galactic journey through the darkest folds of space, time seems to stop. The sound from his deep notes and other worldly synth create a frenzy in the patrons as we seek to entrance ourselves in this exploration. For a moment I completely forget about the world outside. This is a type of music not often heard in Atlanta and I look around to smiling faces of glee and disbelief that music can have such a guttural affect.

This set was as much of a physical experience as it was a mind experience and we relished in it. Though more of an experimental sound. I witnessed tonight that Atlanta is more than ready for this addition of musical pleasure.

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[Interview] Project B. Wins Our Hearts with yokoO

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By Frank Duke & Kristin Gray

Photos by Kayode Lowo

Ah yes, to be back at the beloved Studio No. 7 on a lovely Sunday afternoon. The perfect place for a fun, day party fix. While this event is historically outdoors, today it was all indoors, it is winter after all.

Adam Hagen is warming the crowd with gentle house melodics that are contrasted with an ever-evolving opaque groove. There is a unique dub tonality in his set that is a standalone staple to Adam’s style.

The crowd is sitting around in the minimal and chic lounge couches, chairs, and ottomans. Having a lazy start to their warm and cloudy Sunday afternoon. We are discussing our experiences of whatever party we went to last night, what we are thinking for lunch, talking about artistic exploration, and sipping on a hangover induced mimosa.

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Once our headliner yokoO arrived, the crowd had already begun to stand and get their feet moving. Julien (yokoO) made his way behind the decks, and a lush projection of clouds is illuminated on the brick wall far behind him. The sun was beginning to fall behind the horizon of the earth. A table holding fragrant candles, lanterns, cloth, garlands, and a goat for good measure, brought the unique atmosphere of “All Day I Dream” together.

yokoO situated himself behind the CDJs and synced his iPad to his computer so that he could have control over multiple effect routings. He began his opening statement. The floors, walls, and speakers were already vibrating, one could not help but move with these grooves. His sound perfectly accentuated the exotic smooth sounds of the All Day I Dream imprint, but the music had evolved much beyond that. Mixed into these dreamy, lush tones, was a bouncy, yet darker energy that was yet to fully reveal itself.

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Then the kick dropped. This was the moment yokoO’s music swayed from energetic and smooth, to a nice night-time bounce. The transition was beautiful, exciting, and seamless. The whole crowd felt this moment, and responded with “woohoos” and “ali-li-lis” heard from every corner of the dance floor. The energy picked up in pace and everyone was found together as these majestic vibes took us all away.

yokoO stepped down from his 3-hour set as Bobi stepped up to continue elaborating the energy with his bass heavy, middle-eastern, ethic and funky tracks. I danced for a moment over by the booth. As I see Bobi and Julien cheers each other, I smile to myself, happy to see camaraderie between these two inspiring men.

After Julien (aka yokoO) finished his set, he took a short break to chat with us. We walked outside the venue, stood on the curb with a small group of friends, smoked cigarettes, laughed, and got to know one another.

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You just finished up on the decks for your show in Atlanta. What steps do you take for your pre-performance process? 

I just go through say about 500 tracks and put about 100 aside. Then I just go from there.

You have been releasing a lot of records recently. Tell us a bit about your newest release on Berlin based label, Save Us, and working with the vocalist Seabourne.

That was done a couple years ago actually. I met Larissa aka Seabourne at Kater Holzig in Berlin. She sent me some of her work and I completely fell in love with what she was doing. From there, we started collaborating. We’ve released two tracks on Musik Gewinnt Freunde, which is Kollektiv Turmstrasse’s label. This one on Save Us is our third single and will be released mid-February.

 
 

I recently heard that you have been working in the studio with Bedouin while stuck in NY during the snowstorm. How did cabin fever connect you three musically and what has the process been like?

We’re pretty good friends and we were staying together while I was New York. We had been talking about working in the studio for quite some time. I guess the fact that we were all stuck in the snowstorm made it easier. We started two tracks together, which are well on their way. I imagine we could work remotely from here on but am hoping to come back to NYC soon so we can continue jamming together.

You are known to have a producer first mindset. What inspires you to make such unique music? How does this mindset coincide with your DJing techniques?

Really?! That’s interesting. Life in general I suppose. My experiences and the emotions they trigger. I don’t ever have anything in mind when I write music. My feelings and emotions direct the way I compose. My music is a true expression of the way I feel at a given time. Some producers will write for the dance floor, I honestly never try to please anyone with my tracks. I only work for myself. As a result, it doesn’t coincide with the way I DJ at all.

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Tell us about the moment that you knew you wanted to make electronic music. Was it a party you went to? An artist you listened to? Or was it the technology that resonated with you?

The very first track I wrote was for my girlfriend at the time. We had just met, and she was going off for a three-week trip to the States. We had just got together, so everything was really fresh between us. I said to her, “Well what am I going to do?" And she said to me, “Well, why don’t you write a track for me.” And this is how it all begun. I wrote a track for her and it turned into an addiction.

What is your life mantra?

Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.

What can we expect from you in 2016?

Lots of touring! Besides that, I’ll be releasing a few remixes and EPs throughout the year. Oh, there’s a couple of albums in the making - not sure they will see the light of day in 2016 though. I started collaborating with a vocalist from Australia. We’re working on a side project that’s quite different to what I normally do - a lot less club oriented and more concert vibes. The idea is to maybe release on a major label and then work on a live performance for it. Then in addition to that an album on All Day I Dream as well. But honestly, it’s all a bit early to talk about it.

Thanks for spending time with us Julien, we are all very happy to have you in Atlanta and hearing you do your thing!

Actually, I was having so much fun, I’m going to jump back on the decks with Bobi for a bit!

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His love for the crowd shone through as Julien stepped back into the booth to finish the night B2B with the beloved Bobi. The intense, immense energy these two put together was indescribable. Dancing became more energetic, faces changed into gleeful expression seeking out every nook and cranny of these sounds.

The crowd drawn by Studio No. 7 is a special one. It’s made-up of those most loyal and dedicated to Project B. and the work they put into bringing us musical talent. We all know each other and revel in the time we have to catch up, share hugs, and dance together in shameless passion. It is a family reunion, this is what Project B.runch is all about…and we can’t wait for the next one.

 
 

[Interview] Randall M on producing, vinyl and his family.

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By Clara Goode

Photos by Sara Vogt

My initial impression of the Alley Cat Music Club was one of trepidation. It shares a well-lit street corner with several boarded up buildings and what appears to be a convenience store. I cross paths with a group of young people who are laughing and chatting animatedly and I follow them through the doors. An underlit bar with a green flow immediately to my right, while an open path to my left leads to an outdoor patio.

I walk straight back toward the main room I am struck by how cozy the space is. The room is filled with dry ice which envelopes everyone in a glowing haze and, at times, obscures the DJs themselves completely. There is no stage, which sets the tone for a more intimate show, decreasing the distance between the performer and their fans. The club is still under construction, the hall to the restrooms glows with an eerie red light that highlights the broken concrete and dingy bathrooms, but somehow the grunginess of the exposed beams and unpainted walls adds to the allure of tonight’s show.

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The crowd here is different than what I have previously experienced. The majority of conversations taking place around me are in Spanish and people are more interested in interacting with their companions than they are getting lost in the music. The openers are setting the scene however, with simple, catchy rhythms and people are definitely feeling the music.

There is a very strong sense of community among the patrons of this club. At other shows the crowd has consisted of numerous small groups who seem to isolate themselves and rarely interact through the course of the evening except to fumble past each other as they make their way around the venue. Tonight the place is filled with large groups of people who seem to interact freely and comfortably, even with complete strangers. Each person seems entirely at ease both with the crowd and with the artists playing.

I sat down with Randall M. before his set. A polite young man, very easy to talk to.

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You were classically trained in piano and violin. Was there one instrument you preferred over the other?

I took lessons (as a child), but was not classically trained. Probably piano. I stopped violin lessons when I was four. Really, I prefer drums over anything.

What kind of influence does that training have over the music you produce?

It definitely helps with my ear, mixing things in key and choosing certain songs to go with others, I think it all comes back to that.

Is your family proud of you and your accomplishments?

They’re very supportive of it. I’ve been DJing for twelve years. It’s really all I’ve done and in the beginning they were very supportive. Actually, they’ve been supportive the whole time. There came a point where, you know, they were kind of questioning if I was going to be able to make a sustainable career out of it, but the last three or four years I’ve been able to do that and they’re very proud and supportive of it. I feel really lucky about that.

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Your love for your pups on your IG page is pretty apparent. Tell us about your fur babies.

I have three dogs, two are ten and eleven that I’ve had since the beginning of college. They live with my ex-girlfriend, but I still see them when I come back home and stuff. Then I have like, not a puppy anymore cause she just turned two, but a Cocker Spaniel as well. I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve love animals. I grew up with a Labrador and I just really love dogs. I wish I could have at home in Berlin but with the touring schedule and stuff it's just not practical. But someday I would like to have a little farm and have like five or six dogs on it.

What are some of your favorite albums you own on vinyl?

Well I have to say it’s not an album, but my favorite records, one of my favorite tracks from The Rolling Stones “Miss You” they did like a disco extended edit. It’s quite rare and my dad had it growing up and he bought me a copy a few years ago. So that one is pretty special to me. It’s all pink, it’s like 12 minutes long, and it’s amazing. Then my original hip hop stuff like Tupac’s On Death Row, Outkast, stuff like that. I love my techno records but the others just stick out for me. Also, I guess I’d have to say Efdemin, Chicago as well, one of my favorites.

What are some upcoming projects you have planned for 2016?

I have my own vinyl label called Thirteen. It’s coming out, the first release is in March and it’s something I’ve been working on for about over a year now and it’s like my baby you know? It’s basically my way to really showcase the music I love from people who I’ve come in contact with. Not only making good music, but cool people. It’s kind of like a friend group and we all share music and now I’m finally releasing some.

 
 

As the evening progresses, more and more people are distracted from their socializing and make their way to the dance floor and as Randall takes the stage the main room is packed to overflowing. Randall M uses deep, syncopated rhythms to keep them bouncing then adds a softer, melodic overtone. His lifelong experience with music is made evident by the diversity of sound, multiple instruments can be heard dancing through the layers of percussion in patterns highlighted with timed silences. His underlying rhythm is at a constant tone, not too low to be uncomfortable and not too high to be harsh. The perfect sound for continuous listening.

The ease with which the crowd interacts is evidenced through their relationship with Randall. He is not simply leading them as many DJs do, they are openly connecting with him. Chants spring up during certain sequences, people sing along with repeating melodies, there is a constant interplay between artist and audience. This is an appreciated contrast to many shows in which the DJ seems very separate from the crowd, manipulating them, sometimes in an aggressive way, to feel what they want them to feel.

 
 

 

The number of people on the floor changes constantly. Even with fewer people on the dance floor the ones that are dancing are fully committed. Many stand to the sides, nodding to the music and chatting, but it is not out of boredom. None are eager to leave or disappointed, there is simply an equal desire to socialize as well as dance. He keeps their attention to the very end of the show.

Toward the end of the night, I venture out onto the patio. The air smells sweet with cigars and lighter flames flicker between the faces of those gathered for a cigarette break and small talk. The music is still loud and one must speak loudly to be heard over it. Tomorrow our voices will rasp, and our clothes will smell of smoke and sweat, and we will accept these as fond tokens of an excellent experience.

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[Interview] Carlo Lio talks upcoming releases, kitties and his new label.

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By Frank Duke

Photos by Teddy Williams

Anticipation, hunger, timelessness, power, and restraint. Carlo Lio is known to shred dance floors and bring heat to any city. I have been waiting for this unforgettable moment ever since his last appearance in Atlanta.

I walk down the wooden staircase of The Music Room. Christian Chotro is bringing a warm driving groove that pumps through the speakers. In Atlanta, there is no question that the community of underground electronic music has any unfamiliar faces. We are family. As the crowd socializes, Christian opens up the atmosphere. Showcasing the vastness that is capable for the evening with lush melodics accompanied by ethnic percussions.

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The music evolves into a dense texture. Laughter fills that air. The crowd begins to adhere into one another. Bobi ready’s himself to warm up the room for Carlo. I sense an endearment of passion, culture, and an understanding of the crowd from Bobi. He keeps the groove flowing through the speakers. He begins to warp the tonality and the atmosphere of the music. The bass-lines become more aggressive, the melodies are not so tangible, and the breaks have a strong structure of movement.

The night progresses, the crowd prepares themselves for the man of the hour. Feet are tapping, heads are bobbing, bodies are moving, the music has engulfed the dance floor. Carlo arrives and the crowd awakens with even more excitement. This man carries himself with a humble and sincere demeanor. They start cheering and clapping for him as he sets up. Carlo Lio is no stranger to techno fans from all over the world. He has played some of the most prolific venues, and frequents festivals to the likes of OFFSonar, Lovefest, BPM, Get Wet, and ADE.

I spoke with Carlo Lio briefly before his set. When he arrived to the venue, I greeted him outside with some friends of mine. We walked to an undisclosed location and start talking a bit about his career, music, travels, and personal life.

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How has everything been with the New Year, recent travels, new releases, and with you?

The New Year's been great, I've had a bit of time off. I always take some time off after BPM because it’s just ten days of madness. For the New Year, I just had the release on Suara which is Coyu’s label. I also have an EP release on This and That, which is Davide Squillace's label. Then later, around March, I’ll have an EP on Art Department’s label, No.19. And yeah, that’s it for now.

 
 

How is it living in Toronto during the winter and in Barcelona during the summer? What’s the best part about it, and the not so good stuff about it?

I mean, I kind of get best of both worlds. I love my city. I’m going to live and die there. People always ask why it’s not the opposite. Obviously, in Europe the parties are always in the summer, so I need to be there. But I travel so much that I kind of boycott the winter. During the winters in Toronto is when I do South America, so that way I get to escape it.

How do you balance making music throughout your touring?

When I first started touring, I used to never make music on the road, I had to be in the studio. Lately as its been getting more busy, I had no choice but to figure out how to feel comfortable on a laptop and headphones, and now the tables are turned. It’s kind of hard for me to get comfortable in the studio now that I’m used to the laptop. It’s good, because you get some inspiration, and then you’re instantly banging out some beats. I like it.

You’re known to have a soft spot for kitties. Tell us a bit about your cats and the part they play in your life.

My first pet was a cat. My parents wouldn’t ever let us have pets. When we first got a cat, it was something very special. I found a huge love for them. Now with all the traveling I do; having cats is very convenient. I have two cats. One is named Treble and the other one is Clefy. Treble is the oldest one, and he's kind of psycho, a bit of a Jykell and Hyde personality. The other one, Celfy, is just the nicest cat in the world.

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You started Rawthentic Music back in 2005, last year was your ten year anniversary! How was the journey of building up the imprint, what does the future hold for it?

Rawthentic has been a staple in my life. It actually wasn’t started by me. It was started by Nathan Barato. We’re best friends and we were a DJ duo at one point. He started it in 2005 and I jumped on board in 2006. Rawthentic is now kind of on the back burner. It’s been ten years and I feel like it's kind of ran its course. I have started a new label called On Edge Society. It's only four releases in, and it’s catered to more stripped down, chunky techno. It was vinyl only and then we moved into digital four or five months later after launching. Check it out when you get a chance.

 
 

Can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to make music, and what steps you took to get to where you are now?

It all stemmed from the Toronto rave scene. I was just a partier. Toronto raves were so big and in a blink of an eye they just shut down. DJing and production were just my way to fill that void. I started messing around with them both at the same time. Playing around with vinyl and messing around with any music software I could find. I kept doing that and I wasn’t really releasing anything. I was just making tracks. My friends were telling me “Oh this is good! You should do something with this." If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have thought to send it out. I was super nervous, and in my head it wasn't good enough. It definitely worked out.

So you like sneakers a lot. What are some of your favorite brands? How many pairs do you have?

I stick to Jordan’s. I’m a Jordan guy. I would probably say I have about 100 pairs of shoes. In terms of other brands, I like what Adidas has recently been putting out. They are on point and have turned a new leaf. But I stick to the Jordans mostly.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions for yourself and career? What can we expect from you in 2016?

This year I have all those releases that I told you that I have coming up. I want to show another side. In this industry. You’re put into a box very fast, there is more to me than just techno. I love all styles of electronic music. I’m planning to show that with certain labels that I’m releasing on, venture into new styles, and keep attacking new labels that I haven’t been on.

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Carlo begins his journey and I make myself comfortable on the dance floor. I am ready to be swept away. I quickly become lost in the finest driving techno known to man. The room sounds pristine and powerful, a perfect match for Carlo’s style. He begins to elaborate on the dark, tech house vibe filling the air. He showcases Latin percussion elements, pounding basslines and saturated techno elements.

His set pays tribute to the theories of first wave techno with a new age flair. Sequenced melodies with atonal qualities that are contrasted with a vibrant low-end. The crowd is filled with joy as his unique and fresh style takes over. I watch his technique from a far as he utilizes Traktor and corresponding controllers. He has such an original use of effects, mixing, and track manipulation. You rarely see his hands stop moving. He is always working to bring in new track elements, while simultaneously using effects in a subtle but prominent fashion.

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As the night begins to close, the crowd stays strong, soaking up as much music as they can. Carlo closes out his final statement and thanks the crowd for such a great time. We all cheer and shout for giving us an indescribable and timeless evening. After his set I thanked him for everything. He replied, “Frank, this city is really starting to catch on.” I couldn’t agree more with him more. Atlanta is my home, and watching it become on the international map for underground electronic music makes me damn proud.