For a couple of years we shared quite a lot of fun moments with Sublee when he was member of our small team at Misbits Record Shop. We spent time chatting about what electronic music has best to offer, as he continuously sharpened his record selector skills. Sublee is Stefan’s producer alter ego, who made memorable appearances at labels like Metereze, PlayedBy, Introspections or Meander and more recently on his bandcamp page, where you can find a handful of extremely underrated gems. Last but not least, We Meet Again, a record that saw light at RAWAX, marks his coming to maturity as an artist, with his unmistakable blend of classic house music and insanely looped deep chords.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say. Well, you might heard this one applied for vinyl records also: you don’t need an artwork to sell the record. Opting for a dull cardboard sleeve will make you focus only on the music, right? Because it is the music that counts bla bla bla. Actually, and you may or may not share our opinion on this, a vinyl record is more like an experience. A good artwork will give you the proper mindset for the music inside. It may give you the cultural context for the music, it may even get you closer to the artist. And, in our house & techno underground context, it may transform the sometimes abstract sounds into amazing visual trips.
Here is where we met Juliana, a visual artist from Lithuania who loves to search for organic shapes in straight lines and harsh angles . Now based in Berlin, Juli Jah expresses her feelings through mural art or paintings and she sometimes narrates complex visual stories on record covers. You can easily recognize her uniqe style on records released by Subtil, UNIC, Memoria, Berg Audio or ROWLE.
Juli Jah accepted our challenge to reveal a bit of her complex inner world of colors and sounds with a short track selection, backed by a few of her works. Like choosing the right music for her amazing drawings… or is it the other way around? 🤔 For every question we had for her, she answered with one illustration and one track and this is how we have the most visual interview of all. Enjoy!
Living in Berlin as a visual artist
Educating your own shadows.
The state of mind you’ve experienced during the lockdown.
It’s when you think but you think too much.
The most persistent childhood memory.
Albert Hoffman without Albert Hoffman – a colourful ride.
Winter in your hometown.
Freezing but keeping the balance.
One sleepless week at Sunwaves.
That’s one hell of a long story!
Monday mornings after a weekend on the dancefloor.
Still on the dance floor, still trying to not forget to go home.
The clicks and pops of a vinyl record.
Pinching your body and soul.
The world as it is right now.
Closed airport becomes a vaccination centre – it is as it is.
Is it possible to listen to some Romanian flavoured electronic music while diving on the Great Barrier Reef? Well, not really sure about that, but you can get as close as Sydney for this type of experience (some minimal house parties, that is :D). Anthony and Jared became friends almost 8 years ago when they met in Sydney at some small underground parties. But it wasn’t until 2017 when they launched Unic, a platform that acts both as podcast and record label. UNIC explores the diversity of house & techno with a minimalistic touch, bringing together local artists as well as established international ones. Through intimate gatherings and amazing vinyl releases, the platform became an important outpost for promoting this particular sound we’re all in love with, even if it is so far away from its birthplace.
Curious about the context and keen to find out what sort of invisible connection is linking Bucharest to Sydney, we invited Anthony and Jared for a quick chat about the Romanian electronic music, Sydney’s underground, wombats and surf. Check it out below 👇
How did Sydney’s underground look like before this pandemic madness striked?
Things were really starting to develop. There were regular, wildly enjoyable warehouse parties, open air events on rooftops, and club nights were getting back to a semblance of normality given the lockouts we’ve been under for several years. International performers were touring regularly also. In comparison to Europe the scene here is much smaller, so it wasn’t as thriving but things were popping along and growing, a culture was definitely being established.
What was your very first experience with electronic music coming out of Romania? (party, record, DJ set….).
We both started in the minimal house world, discovering artists such as IO Mullen, Diego Krause, Tagir (SLOWDANCE), and as we dug deeper we discovered more of the minimalist world. We connected with music from artists such as Cristi Cons, Barac, Dubtil, Arpiar, expanding our musical tastes and becoming incredibly inspired by their work. It was then around 2017 we decided to build a brand around this style. Of course we realised those prominent artists aren’t easily approached, so we started to discover younger artists who were making music within the Romanian sound such as Dragutesku, RQZ, Bryz, etc and we began to build a rapport with these artists.
Romanian names for your sublabels, Romanian producers releasing music at Unic Records, Romanian DJs playing for your parties… Why? 🤔
They aren’t all exactly Romanian (Silat Beksi) 😉 but their influence is huge on us. It’s obvious to everyone within the minimal community worldwide that the Romanians are at the forefront of the scene right now. They’ve developed it in a new direction and it’s quite incredible. We wanted to share that with the underground culture here in Australian and educate ears within the Southern Hemisphere. Australia is a young scene so inspiration through art and music certainly comes from abroad. In developing the brand it was important to communicate the shared inspiration from the Romanians, so thus you find us using Romanian expressions.
The closest you’ve been, geographically speaking, to Romania until now.
We’ve both been to Europe and travelled in countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Czech, Switzerland, but still have not visited your beautiful place! It’s a dream that will come true one day.
Should we expect 2 new sublabels for Unic Records, foc and aer, besides the 2 already launched, apă and pământ?
Haha, thanks for the ideas! We’ve definitely considered it, but at the moment we’re working with a lot of incredible artists that embody the styles of these two sub labels. There are no plans for any more sub labels at this time, but people can expect a stack of amazing new music from us. We are always striving to develop younger artists as well as showcase established ones in a new light. Consistent growth with the music we release is important so we always strive for new sounds and ideas.
What are the differences in curating music for Unic Records, as opposed to your sublabels?
Unic is more focused on an artist revealing their true UNIC selves… we don’t really have an agenda of style, we just select an artist that we are truly admiring and have developed some sort of rapport with, and we give them creative freedom to express their true selves. The sub labels are similar this way but shaped through the theme of apă and pământ. So the artist can dive deep in to silky smooth, watery sounds or raw, rocking earthy beats. The sub labels are also our vehicle for shinning a light on upcoming artists, giving them a prime opportunity to reach a wide audience. It’s important for us to invest in younger artists so the scene keeps developing.
You are in a constant process of digging for quality music, for your website as well as for your labels. So we can say that you are a fine observer of the phenomenon. Why do you think there are still so many people who become loyal followers of this so called Romanian sound? Was it just a hype of the mid to late 2000s’? Can we still talk about a subgenre / a genuine sound? Some may say it has diluted in some other already established sounds.
We think it still has a big influence right now, but in that respect this influence has inspired a new generation of producers in different countries. Over time things evolve but given the quality of Romanian artist and their constant creativity people are still very much enthralled by the scene over there. The community is very special and the sound brings out energies in us that allows us to connect on different frequencies. The music has this magic to it that touches something deep inside us. Music has always been an incredibly transformative medium and the Romanian’s have captured an essence of that transformative magic that still holds true.
Guy From Downstairs has his own label, GFD, yet he released his amazing debut LP with Unic Records. Give us the story behind this one 🙂
Victor has been an artist we’ve admired for some time. His approach to music, his ear for detail and insane work ethic. This is what’s sets him apart from the myriad of artist out there. We were introduced to him via our very special friend Vlad Arapasu, who had just finished UNIC004 and a special tour of Australia with us. Vlad recommended us and we just flowed with Victor. It was funny when we both were discussing artists on our hit list for UNIC005 we both mentioned GFD so it was meant to be. On occasion it can be a bit of a process to sign the right tracks for Unic, but on this occasion Victor send us a stack and we basically wanted to signed 6 of them straight up. It wasn’t difficult considering the quality of music your given. What was interesting about this release was the idea of doing an LP. It was too hard to cut the tracks down to 3 or 4 for an Ep, so we thought, why not an album? And honestly we almost fell off our chairs when we realized no one had done this with Victor yet. He deserved a showcase like this. And because it hadn’t been done yet, this was unic 😉
Best record shop in Sydney when it comes to quality house & techno?
Definitely ‘Something Else Records’ There are quite a few record shops in Sydney but until these guys opened we didn’t have a dedicated store for minimal house and techno. Dave and Alex who run the store have thrown amazing parties over the years so it seemed like a natural progression for them. Jared actually works there, so it’s the perfect hub to connect like-minded people over this music.
Let’s say I’m an amateur surfer who also loves to party. Make me an off-the-beaten-path tour in Sydney for a weekend (place to eat, surf, party, chill, but not the usual touristic stuff 😀 )
There are a lot of great surf spots on the Northern beaches up the coast from Sydney. Newport Beach, Narrabeen, Avalon etc.. that being said we aren’t avid surfers ourselves but we know plenty of people who could provide the scoop. We’d stop into Marrickville to hit some micro brewery’s like The Batch, Philter and Poor Tom’s gin distillery, and a cheeky warehouse rave. Cruise through Newtown for a burger at Mary’s and vegan pizza at Gigi’s. Stop in a Something Else Records to dig some vinyl. Head into the city for some harbour side views on some cool walking trails. Rent some BEAM electric bikes and riding around Bondi, and definitely hit S*A*S*H for a Sunday dance service
You are put to choose between a pet kangaroo and a pet wombat! Which one?
Definitely a wombat… kangaroos are too cliché 💁🏽♂️
What’s on your to-do list for 2021?
Releases, releases and some more releases. Were fortunate enough to have three labels to experiment with, so there’s a ton of music in the pipes for this year. UNIC006 is signed and in the works, and UNIC007 not far behind. But we don’t rush these processes, as everything has to be just right. The intersection of art, music and the written word is what the main label is all about so expect timeless music from artists of a high caliber. For apă and pământ there are 2 -3 releases in the works for both labels, featuring some unic artists people may or may not have heard of before. It’s a very exciting time for us, so even though events are on the back burner at the moment, we have creative work to immerse ourselves in. Aside from this we are enjoying our beautiful country with hikes and weekends away in nature.
A few days ago we took a virtual trip down Lisbon’s thriving electronic underground with the help of the amazing crew behind Collect concept: a burger place, record shop, online radio and record label. As we share the same passion of record digging, a record selection coming from them was the most natural thing to follow. So we asked each Collect member to pick one record that has sparked this passion, a record that fits perfectly into a home listening environment. Without further introduction, here it is 🙂
João:Biosphere – N-Plants. Geir Jenssen can do no wrong and this album is one of my favorites. Perfect for home listening or to start a special mix. It was reissued last year, so if you like ambient music you should have this!
Deep down into our primitive brains, we’re still hunters-gatherers. And this may translate into the need to hunt for the best places from where we can gather those records that satifsfy us. Well, we went all the way to Lisbon, Portugal, to check this unique spot that satisfies both the physiological hunger as well as the spiritual one. Collect is a burger place, record shop, record label and radio that pictures the ultra diverse electronic underground from Lisbon. Jumping from downtempo to that mellow minimal house we all love, Lisbon has it all. And so does Collect.
We sat down with Joao, the owner, and Telma, in-house DJ and Collect’s digital communication specialist, and talked about what Lisbon means in terms of electronic music, what’s cooking (literally) under Collect’s roof and many other nice things. We found many common values we share, even if we are a few thousand miles apart. And above all, we share the same pasion for the grooves etched on vinyl records. A super nice read! Be sure to follow Collect on instagram, facebook, youtube and show some support for the Collect record label on bandcamp
What came first: the passion for burgers or the hunger for good records? Give us a small bite of Collect’s history: who is behind the record shop and how did you come up with the idea of opening one?
Records came first! Me and Mariana (n.r. Mariana Barosa) have been in the music scene for more than 20 years: buying, collecting and playing records since the 90’s. That kicked-off a long journey further on the music industry. From radio shows, other record stores, artist bookings, events and record labels. Pretty much anything involved with electronic music. My brother Bernardo loves music ever since he was a kid. He had also been working in restaurant/bar management for over a decade (even had his own bar called Cabaret in Faro, south of Portugal).
The 3 of us had the desire to create a new project, while doing what we love most. We are very close friends since forever, and we were always discussing ideas for new things to come for the past couple of years. We decided to all join our efforts and do what we know best, all in one place. So Collect was born: burgers, drinks, radio and record shop, in July 2019.
The record shop was always part of the concept. Maybe because I was involved in a record shop before, Carpet & Snares, which I co-founded and left some years ago to pursue other projects in music. But I’ve always loved the experience.
Records shops are very important to any city’s music scene. You contribute with what the local Djs play around the clubs and bars, but also for collectors digging endeavors.
Also, a lot happens creatively and organically inside a record store, when artists meet up and exchange ideas, music and thoughts about the scene.
How does Lisbon’s house & techno underground look like from Collect?
Lisbon has a lot of amazing producers and Djs. I’ve been around for over 20 years and I feel that now, thanks to our place and the online radio, I’m acknowledging way more talent than before. And that’s because of all the artists that hang around and about.
In a music perspective, we feel very happy and lucky with this project. For so long, I didn’t feel such energy and motivation. Now I feel like a young kid, full on and ready to get going!
We’ve been watching your streams quite frequently for the past few months, and we were impressed by the number of excellent selectors who took over Collect’s decks on a daily basis and also by the variety of good electronic music they come with. Is this a reflection of the city’s electronic underground?
Yes, we know a lot of great artists and now that we opened Collect we meet great, new talent every day. It’s been amazing!
As a live radio show, we are open to anyone who takes music selection seriously. We have various DJ sets from Jazz and Hip-Hop, to Drum n’ Bass, Trip-Hop, Disco, Soul, Funk and Ambient, House, Electro and Techno. Because bars and clubs are now closed (in the current pandemic situation), selectors are listening and searching for music differently. They’re more focused, they have a bit more time to spend, and when they prepare sets they want to explore different angles and experiment around. You don’t feel the slight pressure you get when on the DJ booth or dance floor. Also, there’s a lot of old school DJs that have been spending so much time at home because of Covid, that they can go through their old collections and re-discover a lot of gems!
A lot of DJs and producers relocated to Portugal, especially Lisbon. What’s so attractive about Lisbon, from this point of view?
There’s a growing community spirit. Small, independent places where kick-starting DJs and producers can showcase their skills and productions. It’s easy to meet up, gather and exchange stuff. There’s a bubbling scene in the electronic music field.
We all learn with and from each other. And for the youngsters it’s great to be in this environment. Lisbon also has awesome record stores for diggers: Amor Records, Carpet & Snares, Flur, Peekaboo, Groovie Records, Sound Club… the list goes on.
You have a large collection of second hand records in your shop. How many do you have at this moment and who does the selection?
We have roughly 2000 second-hand records at the shop. We are always searching for new collections, and we keep a lot of records on a warehouse ready to be moved to the shop weekly. I do all the selection at the moment.
Are there any criteria you follow when selecting records that are available in the shop?
We are mainly a second-hand shop specialized in House and Techno, Electro, Ambient, Downtempo, Drum n’ Bass, Trip-Hop and Breaks. Besides that, we buy new records, mostly old-school reissues, represses and future classics. We have a Discogs profile, but we don’t put everything there. Always like to have some records exclusively in-store for visitors.
Can you make a quick profile of a usual Collect customer?
Someone that most of the time knows what he’s looking for or simply wants to search for old records of a certain genre that we have. Normally he can’t spend money, but he does anyway (laughs). We sell a lot to DJs but also collectors.
Any Romanian releases in your record crates?
We have a crate where you can find a lot of A:rpia:r, Yojik ConCon, Understand, Amphia, Zimbru and other great Romanian labels.
Collect is also a digital record label. How do you choose the music you release? Is it only about local producers?
Collect music is a label that reflects everything we do and the diversity within the shop and the radio. We are open to all kinds of music. If it’s good, it’s good! Our first two releases (past one and upcoming) are both from locals. However, we want to extend to internationals in future ones too. The first one, released in October last year, was from Narciso: an instrumental 4-track EP around Jazz and Indie Pop (you can check it here). The second release will be from Datahunter (Pedro Andrade), a 5-track EP, electronic oriented, that takes inspirations from the world of Aphex Twin. This one is almost out!
Any plans for vinyl releases?
All the Collect Music records that came out on the digital platforms will also have a limited 7” vinyl release. We also have 2 vinyl only releases scheduled for the next couple of months. One is from Slope (old school project from Daniel Paul and Hans Schlaf aka Dj Honesty). We will reissue old tracks from them. The second release is a V.A. EP with 90’s tracks from Kumquat Kids (Old project of Julian Phethean and Steve O ́Sullivan), Synchrojack and Freddy Fresh. Very exciting!
Let’s say I am a tourist in a non-pandemic Lisbon, looking to enjoy a full weekend there, but not on the usual tourist guide tour. Give us a few tips (a club for a proper after-party, a place to with a traditional Portuguese breakfast to eat on a Sunday morning after a sleepless night on the dancefloor, a terrace where we can enjoy some nice music and a good glass of wine etc.)
You can start your late-afternoon at Collect, with a live DJ Set on our radio streaming, with some great cocktails, bio wines or simply a very good local beer. Then grab dinner at Vicente restaurant just next to us. After that, you must have a drink at Lounge (one of the oldest bars in town, with excellent music every day – concerts, Djs and live-acts).
Around 1am you go straight to 5A – the best micro-club in Lisbon with an amazing sound system and the best curation you can get if you look for a House and Techno night. Then you can go to Ministerium or Lux if you want to extend the night until 7am.
Finally, you go home for a quick nap and then take your car or an Uber to Praia Grande and enjoy an amazing meal at Bar do Fundo. Just over the beach, with the best view you can ask for.
This would be an amazing weekend experience for sure!
The star burger from your food menu…
You can’t go wrong with a classic: the Crispy Bacon. It has it all: cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, lettuce and a nice runny fried egg. What else?
We do also offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options!
Why do you think people keep coming back to your shop?
Because we are an extremely versatile space, with a comfortable and friendly environment. People can come over and enjoy music, drinks, food, buy and listen to records, get together with friends, dates, family. Even work or meet in the early afternoon when the place is quiet!
Regarding the music selection, we’re very focused in what we do and try our best to keep the record selection as good and fresh as it can get!
Anything nice cooking for 2021 at Collect?
The world is going through very difficult times and Portugal is no different. We are doing our best to keep our brand alive and to bring the best music to people’s lives. Either with the live radio streams, the records online at Discogs and releasing more music and good online contents.
We’re not making any long-terms plans though. As things are still very much uncertain, we are surely living in the present and slowly build-up as we go!
Oh, boy, 2020 was a bumpy ride for most of us! Yet Misbits managed to survive it, also thanks to your support throughout the whole year 🤗 We managed to keep the spirit alive with our usual in-store live sessions, with our crates hosting a neat selection of records and with the same friendly vibe you’re already used to. So yeah, good bye 2020, we learned a lot from you, but now it’s time to get ready for the exciting things to come in 2021! Peace & Love 😘😘😘 To round up this year, we made a list with this year’s highlights, hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did while compiling it at Misbits Record Shop! Click on the EP links, as you might be in luck to find it still in stock.
Imagine a car displaying the smooth & subtle lines designed by Romanian creative minds, powered by a super efficient German engine… Well, translated into the electronic underground, it’s like having a German record label releasing music from Romanian producers… Wait, that’s not an utopia, it really exists! 7 years ago, Berlin based Subtil Records started to invest time and money into a sound that many considered it would be just a passing hype, like many other waves born in the house & techno underground. Even if it is rooted deeply into Germany’s minimal house, this sound developed into something unique but it needed imprints like Subtil to receiving its worldwide recognition.
Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz, the team behind Subtil Records, bet on young producers by offering unconditional support. And it paid off right from the start. VRAC, Cosmjn, Iuly B or Mihai Pol are just a few Romanian names featured at Subtil Records, now hitting the 20 releases milestone with Direkt’s EP.
We approached Nils to tell us the story behind the record label, the invisible connection between Berlin and Bucharest and about how to run an underground imprint in 2020. Enjoy!
Do you remember how Subtil Records was born in the first place?
Subtil was established in late 2013 by Nils Weimann and Martin Glowacz. The decision to lead a record label is an extension of a longstanding friendship.. Driven by the passion for electronic music, the lack of vinyl releases as a result of the trend for Traktor DJing has grown the desire to take some action.
Is there a special sound you’re searching for in order to be released on Subtil? What are the key elements you’re searching for in a track?
Since the beginning, we navigate ourselves in two simple aspects: the music should contain something particularly special. Hard to describe it, however we believe that “danceable” can capture it very well. On the other hand, a kind of recognition value might exist. Link up music with memories, whether good or bad, enhanced the half-life of a piece of music.
The vast majority of Subtil releases are signed by Romanian producers. What’s so special about Romania’s house & techno underground?
A few years ago, Romanian producers gave a new boost to minimalism and in fact formed a new sub-culture. Those waves have been spread all over the globe, like in Berlin at the turn of the millennium. Currently, you can watch so many skilled artists, countless new music, and a great variety of nightlife and club culture, that you haven’t found everywhere.
What do you think: is this hype about Romania just a passing trend or has it become an influential sound that’s here to stay?
Romanian producers have increased their influence in recent years and I think it will not stop growing even though we live in uncertain times. As a label, we are here to support this growth and forge our partnership, working towards the same goal. We are convinced that they will stay longer.
How do you find new artists to release at Subtil? Through demos? Do you scout for yourself? Do you work only with selected producers?
Let’s say that it’s a mix of everything that you’ve mentioned over your question, however what we clearly don’t base our values on the fame of the artist. The only thing that matters is the music. This encourages new uprising talents to contact us. We won’t narrow it down to selected producers, everyone is welcome.
What’s the story behind the artwork? How did end up working with July Jah?
It was a random meeting at a party in Berlin through mutual friends. We figured out that we are living near each other and started to collab. Julia is a great artist itself. She’s contributing to the success of Subtil. We gave herself artistic freedom from the first release on, we simply trust each other.
How did this whole corona madness affect Subtil Records? Did you have to change your plans for 2020?
We have released three or four records, as every year. If we overlook our label parties, there were no big changes in our plans. Luckily the record sales haven’t went that much down as afraid.
You’re based in Berlin and work with Black Round Twelve as a distributor. Is BRT the best distributor you could work with when it comes to this particular house & techno sound?
Yes, it is! To find the matching distribution partner is probably one of the most important issues. We particularly appreciate the family-like atmosphere and professional work. BRT is not that big player in the scene, but it isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. This gives us room to increase our quality over the time, without pressure.
There’s a lovely side story. Since we teamed up with BRT, the entire manufacturing is made in Berlin. That makes things easier.
How does 2021 look right now music-wise? Tease us with a few details on what will happen at Subtil Records?
Well, our release schedule is set until summer. The plans are on going but not definite yet!
If you were forced to completely change the musical direction at Subtil Records (no more 4/4 music), what genre will you choose? 🙂
A super-rich person offers you 1 million euros for Subtil Records, but you must stay away from electronic music from now on. What would you do?
It depends on the person who makes that offer. An impossible thought to me, I have no clue…
That one EP that perfectly defines the Subtil sound.
That one EP doesn’t exist. Always the latest one (in addition to the past one). In this case, SBTL020 – Direkt – Path of the most resistance which which by the way, got released last week . 😉
With 2 seminal albums launched at the now defunct 50Weapons, releases signed at Hessle Audio and Rush Hour and a curatorial effort for his own record labels (Sportiv and Fizic), Cosmin TRG can be easily tagged as one of the artists who pushed the definition of techno deep into the uncharted territories of electronic experiments. By all means, Cosmin TRG’s unique perspective on techno required a constant digging on the outskirts of the underground, be it cinematic, visual or sonic. So this why we challenged him to select a handful of records that are really close to his soul. We were blessed with an eclectic selection, sliding from experimental to ambient and back. Enjoy!
The iconic Club Guesthouse has been at the epicenter of Romania’s electronic underground for the past 10 years. Julian‘s residency at Guesthouse came as an epitome of his record selector skills. In perfect sync with the crowd, these selections took us often to various places and states of mind. As remarkable as are his DJing performances, Julian runs also Eliptic Records together with Fengda Carissa.
We kinda got in the mood for those dusty club memories so we asked Julian to dig a bit through his record collection, to serve as an inspiration for our vinyl hungry souls. Enjoy!
Over the years, a few prestigious magazines have tried to unlock the secret lying behind the hype generated by Romania’s electronic underground in the past decade or so. Many of them hurried up into proclaiming that the Romanian wave has long passed over the electronic underground culture and it is now becoming a thing in the past. Just a straw fire in the deep forest of house and techno. Yet observers outside Romania miss that one essential thing you need, in order to understand the movement in its wholeness: they are not Romanians. They lack the culturale heritage, with the good and bad. They didn’t inherit the transgenerational karma of opression all Romanians are fighting to overcome. Believe it or not, the subtle groove you could feel anywhere in this music is born out of the introspective and shy personalities of Romanian artists.
So it came as a big surprise for us when we read the long post made by Yaron Trax, the owner of Tel Aviv’s The Block Club. With a high level of awareness, Yaron has managed to describe a very realistic picture of what lies behind the Romanian groove. A groove he decided to bet on when defining the musical direction for The Block. Priku, Raresh, Petre Inspirescu and Herodot have taken over The Block’s custom mixer, alongside the new generation of producers, from Crihan to Dragutesku. A community was born around The Block and things started to get traction. After all, The Block is an essential outpost when we look at the Middle East house & techno underground.
Long story short, we invited for a nice small talk about Romania’s underground, about The Block and about what lies before us, when we have all passed today’s challenges.
We read the huge post you made about the Romanian electronic underground culture and we are quite impress of your level of knowledge, also on the more technical side of this sound. Where is this knowledge coming from?
I am so happy that my post touched so many people, it reached more than 250,000 people and got shares and comments from people literally all over the world, from all continents. This is how far and wide this music has reached. I wrote it from my heart, and I thought it will be an interesting read for music lovers. The technical knowledge, I guess that’s coming from my tendency to analyse things, I like to understand and I am very curious about art, and I spoke to many many people at The Block, DJs from all over the world. Although I did study sound and music technology in London, almost everything I know about sound is from reading internet forums and from experimenting with sound systems in different rooms. I just change things and listen, and then change again and listen again.
The music is so powerful, you don’t need to know a lot in order to feel it’s message.
You described in plenty of detail a more spiritual side of this music from a dancefloor-centered perspective. Do you think that the crowd needs a higher level of self-awareness to feel the music exactly like you described it?
Not necessarily. I am a strong believer that the spiritual depths of music and the nuances of sound can actually be felt by anyone. Sure, many times it is felt on a subconscious level, but that doesn’t matter, as long as it is felt and experienced. It reminds me of this morning in Sunwaves 2017 I think, we were dancing at the romanian tent and Pedro was playing. Suddenly in the middle of his set, hundreds of young Italians came rushing into the tent, I think Marco Carola set just ended in the other tent, At the beginning they were pretty loud and aggressive and didn’t fit in the beautiful vibe we had on the dancefloor. But after about an hour that they were there, you could gradually see all those aggressive faces turn softer and starting to smile. They got totally into the groove, because it was just impossible to resist it. The music is so powerful, you don’t need to know a lot in order to feel it’s message.
How did you manage to keep the high level of interest of the newly formed crowd coming to The Block during 2020, with all the restrictions applied?
Well, with the club closed since the beginning of March, and with all the lockdowns, people of the community met mostly only in the demonstrations that are being held here in the last few months, in protest against the government. The nightlife played an important role in starting these demonstrations. It may seem strange, but it also makes a lot of sense that the nightlife will be in the forefront of this protest. We have also used social media in order to support the protest, taking a stand and writing some very viral posts about the political situation in Israel. Apart from this, we did a couple of live streams from the club with the local residents, which were cool but ultimately we felt that we don’t really connect with this live stream idea so much, so instead we are now working on a new project that combines our love of sound and of video art – an online channel with exclusive musical and visual content. I am very excited about it. Stay tuned…
Will we still have the scene we had back in 2019, with all these strange times we’re living in?
I don’t know. I hope it will not return exactly the same as it was, because change is inevitable and good. I believe that whatever happens to us in life, we should try to make the best of, so now we have this pandemic, let’s try to find out what good it can bring, how can we change for the best because of it. Could be more time with the family, could be time for ourselves to contemplate, or could be a new project, doing something in a new way because of the changed prespective. We can see this as a great challenge, and challenges bring the best in us.
A few Romanian DJs who played at The Block told me about this amazing experience they had with the custom mixer. From what we’ve heard, the mixer was customized according to your requests…
No, it wasn’t customized according to my request, it was designed by me and built from scratch for The Block by an electronic engineer. That’s why it’s called Traxx1, google it 🙂 It’s one of my babies, I have a few. For the last 10 years I’ve been working on the next one, Traxx2, which I believe is a revolutionary DJ mixer, the next level from the first one (which is the best sounding mixer I’ve heard so far, you can hear it for yourself if you listen to XLR8R Podcast 477: Priku, this is a set recorded on Traxx1 and you can compare it with other sets online recorded on other mixers, you will be quite amazed by the difference). Many DJs have helped me conceptualise and develop the new mixer Traxx2, and Priku stands out as someone I’ve consulted with a lot on this. Unfortunately the new electronic engineer which I work with on this new mixer has disappeared for a few months now and he has the (unfinished) mixer at his studio, so now I just hope my baby will come back to me and finally be born.
Did you change / recalibrate the sound system to better fit the music Romanians are playing at The Block?
Well, I tune the sound systems on all the rooms at The Block on a regular basis and I also do many experiments with speakers placement and acoustics and electronics, always trying to find a better setup for the sound of each room. Of course I use reference music to listen to when I’m doing the experiments, and since I fell in love with the Romanian music(and the Romanian people also!), I’ve been using mainly Rominimal tracks to tune the systems and experiment, so naturally, all the tuning and setting up I did was based on this groove. You can actually say, tuned to this groove.
We had a chance to listen to a few young producers based in Israel and we’ve been impressed by quite a few. How does a cross-cultural concept label, featuring both Romanian and Israeli producers, sound, from your point of view?
Well, the Israeli minimal producers are the resident DJs at The Block. These DJs have heard and have played before, after and together with all the best DJs in the world coming to play at The Block on a regular basis for many years now. They are super talented and super positive and spiritual people. A cross-cultural concept label, featuring both Romanian and Israeli producers, sound amazing from my point of view. A collaboration between Israelis and Romanians in music production is already happening for some time now In fact, we did plan to do a label like this a couple of years ago, and we already collected many great tracks from Romanian and local producers, but back then the Israeli producers were still not at the level they are today, and also I felt that it’s too demanding for me to run a label + manage the club and lineups at the same time + be the father of 3 little kids, and being an obsessive perfectionist, it was all too much. However, I believe it will happen in the future.
Yeah, we are suckers for mysteries. You know, like Scooby Doo die-hard fans ’n stuff. Same thing applies for quality house music, especially when we know little about who’s behind it. And one record label that caught our attention lately is the already infamous QNQN series, with a back catalog filled with groovy edits and obscure bootlegs that have one thing in common: they’re danceable as hell. So, we did our own private investigation to get in contact with the person behind QNQN. Our short but fun interogatory was supposed to shed some light on the mystery surrounding the whole concept but it only gave us a few missing puzzle pieces. Until we solve the whole puzzle, enjoy the music 🥰 – check out here what we (still) have in stockfrom one of our favourite record labels.
What does QNQN acronym mean?
It’s more like mumbo-jumbo than an acronym. They’re the first and last letter from the word “question”. Who is it? Why does it exist? Why does it make your body move? Where have you heard this sound before? So many questions! The mistery game and intriguing the listener in order to start digging more, have always been part of the label’s philosophy.
People say that behind QNQN is Ricardo Villalobos’ step brother. Are the rumours true?
No, the rumors aren’t true. It’s actually his chiropractitioner!
We heard that you played the QNQN numbers at lottery and you won 1 million euros. What did you do with all that money?
I’ve finally bought that 1 million euro extra-rare potato, that looks exactly like Elvis Presley’s face.
Is QNQN all about sampling?
Well, even if the label’s concept was created from the idea of releasing bomb edits built around old-school tracks, for peak-time dancefloor moments, on the way it has evolved into different things. Including releasing original tracks. But generally, at the QNQN headquarters we do like a good illustration of sampling some long-lost songs from the past and giving them a new, fresh flavour.
The most successful QNQN release to date
I guess that’s debatable, but probablyt the first one (QNQN1415), that came out 4 years ago, had the most strong impact and helped jump-starting the label.
Name one Untitled Track from an Unknown Artist you enjoyed this year
Smooch Tha Dog, from our very own home of edits, of course! 🙂
We love electronic music and almost everything related to it! We love it so much to that point where we choose to buy some new records as our top priority 🤩 Alex Puicea knows best. We met Alex back in the days he worked in our shop, spending countless hours of geeky talks about wires, cartridges, modulars and sync clocks. His label, bearing the impossible-to-remember Rackmizar name, reflects his passion for digging out lesser known artists with intriguing sounds. Things changed for Alex, as he decided to leave Bucharest’s fast paced rhythm and return to his hometown, Severin, on the shores of the Danube river.
Eat first, then buy records! With this in mind, Alex Puicea opened a cozy bistro, Abstract, but he never left his passion for music gear behind. Just Jamis a video series with short live sessions from his home studio and well, this is just the beginning. Yeah, we needed to find out the connection between food and electronic music so we sat down for a quick chat with Alex Puicea about techno pizza and records.
You left Bucharest a few years ago, to return to your hometown and start something new… How is you life now, away from the big city’s hustle & bustle?
Moving away form Bucharest was a good thing for me on a personal level, spent more time with my family, opened my own bussines, focused more on making music. Got to know more cool people in Severin involved in art. Bad part about my life now, having a business is really hard work, when I get to have some “me” time, I go hiking or just make music, or make music when hiking :))
Tell us more about the Abstract concept bistro. How was it received and what are your plans?
So, let’s start form the beginning… After me and my wife got married we decided to make a caffee in our home town Drobeta Turnu-Severin. I wasn’t really excited at first but it grew on me. Abstract was a mind bender for Severin at first. Creativity, art, culture… people did not give us a chance. And it was really hard to keep things floating the first year, but things got better, more people started coming, we made more friends, met more people, things were looking up for us. But when things go nice they have to go bad too: our neighbours started complaining about the noise and we had to move our location. That’s when the bistro was born. We decided to make food because I really love food :)) Plans for the future…have more free time to make music :))
Will Abstract at some point involve electronic music also?
It already happened! It was called “Electronic Sunday” and I used to play deep house, people would gather, have a tea, listen to some vinyl. The concept was not about making a party, but just to show underground quality music to high school kids and open minded adults that did not have a chance to listen to the real deal.
What happenned to Cutiuta Muzicala, the club you opened a while ago? Any plans on reviving it?
Well it was good while it lasted, unfortunately it was a club in a club, like Expirat and Other Side was. The main room there did not make enough money to sustain itself, and Cutiuta was not open every week, it sometimes had big breaks between parties. I think often about reopening, but the costs just don’t work right now. So until I find the perfect space and context, it’s just a plan for the future.
You worked at Misbits for a couple of years. Does the love for vinyl still burn inside you? Maybe you’ll consider at some point opening a record shop in your hometown…
I still buy vinyl from time to time not as much as before but still do. At first I wanted to get some records at the old Abstract but now I know there is no market for vinyl in severin, and prefer not try.
If you’d want to make a techno style pizza, what ingredients will it have? 🙂
Hmm… Flour, yeast, salt, tomato, sauce with garlic and wine, mozzarella, chilly, fresh rosemary.
Talking about electronic music, you launched the JustJam series. What’s this all about?
I made a lot of music that I did not release or pubish in any way, so it just died. Either I got bad feedback from my DJ friends, or just forgot about it, the music just did not make it further than that. And that got my hopes down as a producer. So I decided to ”Just Jam”! I love making music, with no more pressure from labels or people. Just me and my machines. There is nothing cooler than hiking to a location and making music there for a hour or two. Then just record what you did .
2 years since the last Rackmizar release, your own record label you started in 2016. Not enough free time to plan new stuff?
Well to be honest the last two records were really good, but did not sell enough to get back even the master fees. And don’t have time to manage it well so, no record on Rackmizar for now.
3 records you’d play as background music for your bistro.
Face it: you are that kind of person who appreciates a quality slipmat, as reliable and durable as a Moodymann track dropped on a Sunday evening outdoor party.
But have you ever thought of making those fractions of seconds between changing records a bit trippy? We have quite an interesting selection down below and yeah, make sure you check our custom slipmats collection, available here (you have a small preview below, a Misbits collab with Victor Balutiu).
This slipmate, tho’ looking completely inoffensive, might put you in hunger mood quite fast.
A glimpse from the near future
Everybody loves bears! Including these creepy teddybears spiraling themselves into acid colors.
Look right into the center!!! And listen to this: Take me to your leader!
A galaxy at the tip of our needle? Seems cool
Is there any vinyl release for the PacMan soundtrack?
I really, really want to meet the person who bought a Nosferatu slipmat 😳
We present you the first gun hidden into a slipmat
We felt the need to put also a movie reference, so a stencil like Stormtrooper was the perfect choice!
Alin Crihan has made a habit of thrilling us in a nice way, when is comes to fine music. He built a constant flow of releases for the past 5 years, creating essential landmarks for imprints like Catren, UVAR, Stomping Grounds or Ruere.
Yet, as we all know it, the real thrill dwells on the dancefloor, where Crihan delivers his soft minimal house cuts. So we asked him to come up with short list of records he’s very fond of. Here they are, in no particular order, but all connected with that special vibe we all love to find on the dancefloor. Enjoy!
If you’ve ever wanted to taste that proverbial Romanian hospitality, wrapped in a warm & cozy atmosphere, then you need to visit Iași, an old city located in the Eastern side of Romania. No, not like a regular tourist who goes sightseeing the beautiful architecture and the breathtaking landscapes surrounding the city. We mean more like the clubhead who lives inside you and needs to be fed with fine music and long lasting dancefloor memories from time to time. Because going clubbing in Iași feels a bit more special than everywhere else in Romania. You don’t have to take our word for it, you just need to attend one of the Dubla events, whenever this whole madness ends and things will go back to normal.
Started more than 4 years ago, Dubla has quickly become a standard for the house & techno scene in this part of the country. Although focused on building lineups with Romanian artists only, Dubla has managed to bring some interesting names into the spotlight, from Janeret and S. Moreira to Ion Ludwig. With a critical eye on the young blood, Dubla has always promoted local DJs, so names like Haokah, Iuly B or Cosmjn are constantly present regardless the context or the location of the party.
Curious about how did they manage to keep that special vibe intact from that very first party up to this date, we had a nice chat with the team behind Dubla, just as we expected to be. Watch out for the tips about Iași, they’re really priceless 😉
Is there a story behind the Dubla name?
The truth is we have searched for the perfect name for quite a while before going with “Dubla”. I remember that we have already planned and booked the first edition without having chosen a name yet. :)) We were getting closer and closer to the event and I think that put a certain positive pressure on us regarding this aspect. “Dubla” was therefore the result of a brainstorm between close friends and we loved it since the moment we first heard it. We felt it’s highly suitable and we just went with it.
It reflects the repetitive feature of the brand, it’s easy to pronounce in any international language, it’s concise and it simply sticks.
What does Dubla have that we cannot find anywhere else?
That’s easy. And don’t just take my word for it. It’s something that everyone we worked with so far has noticed and appreciated. The Dubla team really knows how to have fun, how to entertain everyone present and how to create a friendly vibe – in fewer words, we know how to show everyone a great time: from the artists we book, the staff and to the entire crowd.
We put a lot of emphasis on creating memories that last instead of just organising a musical event. It’s easy to just throw another party throughout the month. What takes time, effort and dedication is building brand awareness and most of all, brand fidelity.
Do you remember the first time you set a Dubla party? Any funny stories?
Yes, of course we do remember our first Dubla. You never forget your firsts. But unfortunately, as far as I remember, no funny or worth telling stories about that one. 🙂
The location you love using the most for the Dubla parties. Why?
Well, it’s not only a matter of love or preferences in general. It’s also a matter of availability or the limited-to-small number of compliant venues. Then of course, we take into consideration the size of the event, its schedule (daytime, nighttime), side activities and so on.
The resident DJs concept is slowly returning. Are there any local selectors who are usually present in the Dubla lineups?
I don’t reckon it’s “slowly returning”. I think it has always been a common format for an event, especially when you are trying to promote certain names and you want to be an active part in their development as artists.
This was also our case. Since the very beginning, one of our constant long-term objectives was to promote the local artists (Cosmjn, Haokah or Iuly.B). We consider that this is the natural course of action when it comes to supporting young talents. It’s our duty as promoters to give them the best shots we can and if possible, to create a proper environment for their evolution. Because if not us, then who else?
With so many restrictions affecting the party scene worldwide, promoters are forced to limit the gatherings, both in size and location wise. How does Dubla fit in this new context?
Well, just like anybody else, either if we are talking about venue owners, artists, promoters, booking agents or tour managers, we adapt. We stopped and we waited for a change of scenery. When things got a little better, we started again with baby steps and a lot of caution.
We all need to keep up with the latest government restrictions, limitations or recommendations, this being the only way in which we can provide a safe musical experience for everyone involved. We are just trying to play our role as good as we can, hoping that things will soon go back to some sort of normality.
You have an unlimited budget for artists booking. Build a lineup for your dream Dubla party.
Wow, that’s a tough one. :)) I think I would love to tick as many genres as possible: from tasteful dub, to old school garage, anything. But in order to keep our focus more or less on the same scene we activate on, top of my head would be: Zip, Pan-Pot, r-hitect, Derek Carr, Palms Trax, Traumer and many many others.
Take us on a virtual one day trip in Iași: breakfast, sightseeing, lunch, outdoor chill location, dinner, underground after party.
Sightseeing: The Palace of Culture, The Copou Park, The Botanical Garden
Lunch: somewhere in The Palas area – there are plenty of options
Outdoor chill: The Old Centre
Dinner: Cuib Restaurant
After party: Dubla
The biggest number of free drinks one DJ ever had at a Dubla party.
Here, in Moldova, we tend to be over generous by nature with our guests, so this is not something we keep track of. But I think there was someone who had a memorable number of at least 5 or 6 bottles of Ierbas.
Your next Dubla location is a 30 square meters studio. What lineup would you put there and what sound system would you choose?
Definitely Funktion-One but obviously a setup suitable for medium-to-small spaces. Regarding the lineup – this time I can only assume I don’t have un unlimited budget anymore :)). And I am also guessing that the safety restrictions are still on, which means this venue can only host up to 30 people… Therefore, we need a cozy atmosphere for our very selective private party. I think I would go with Suciu to be honest. Or Cap. Or both. I don’t know, it’s kinda of a tricky question. :))
Thousands of miles set us apart from what’s happenning on the other side of our Blue Planet, when it comes to our beloved house & techno world. So it’s up to the artists to export the groove from South America to Europe, through timeless tracks and legendary mixes. Back more than 15 years ago, Jernan Cattaneo brought Argentina closer to Romania with his immensely emotional take on progressive house. Nowadays, the virtual bridge between these two countries is built by a wave of artists who designed a new sound, deeper and with a groove so specific for Argentina. One of these artists is Jorge Savoretti. We may say he’s already a veteran, as he is part of this culture for more than 25 years, yet his productions, released on Raum… Musik, Atipic, Visionquest, Telegraph or his own record labels (Savor Music, Aurea, Musica Lunar), are a breath of fresh air, regardless the release moment. It was about time to tell his story, through the lens of his intimate relationship with Romania’s underground.
Misbits: Born in Argentina, yet spent quite some time in Europe touring. How is it like for a South American to live in Europe?
Jorge Savoretti: I currently live in Buenos Aires but as you’ve said summing up I’ve spent some years of my life touring Europe. I like when I’m living there, things are more organized and everything is more laid back. Here it’s crazier and more intense, which I also like but could be a little bit stressful sometimes. In terms of music access, I also enjoy being able to visit different record stores which is not so common down here in South America.
Misbits: Some really interesting studio collaborations with Guti, as well as Franco Cinelli and Alexis Cabrera, yet just singular EPs. Should we expect more of these in the near future?
Jorge Savoretti: For sure, I love to collaborate with friends. I’m doing it all the time and I feel that from the mixture, new interesting things are born and you can get a holistic result. I’ll be releasing an EP with Djebali within the next month, and I also made stuff with Franco Cinelli and Mariano as Fluss, Alexis Cabrera, Felipe Valenzuela, Priku, Nico Forster and remixed a nice Guti piano project. I’m not certain when all this material will see the light tho.
Misbits: You play often in Romania and released a couple of EPs’ on Priku’s Atipic record label, so you know the Romanian underground scene pretty well. From your point of view, how did its sound evolve from 10-15 years ago to nowadays?
Jorge Savoretti: What I like about the ‘Romanian Sound’ is that it’s constantly changing and merging different things. I think its long club nights favour this kind of experimentation and new things are popping up every time. When I hear people calling it minimal I feel it’s an understatement, I can see different artists taking influences from house, techno, minimal, chicago, detroit, electro, funk, dub, even pop or progressive house (that was big there back in the days and can be noticed in some of the emotional ro-trax). I like the way a lot of the artists are making these elements converge in a harmonic way.
Misbits: As we share the same Latin origins, do you feel there are similarities between Romania’s clubbing scene and the Argentinian one? In terms of crowd, dancefloor vibe, sound…
Jorge Savoretti: Of course there are. Not only in the scene but in general life also. I think being countries that have been under dictatorships and other kinds of limitations made people really creative in terms of how to overcome them. Also the Latin roots connect us in the way we are deeply in touch with our emotions and that’s reflected in music. We live music passionately. In terms of sound, both scenes pay attention to aesthetics and details but probably argentinians are a little bit more ‘forward’ which happens because as i’ve told before our club/party nights are shorter, so the crowd are usually going for it in a shorter period of time which makes it a little bit more intense and allow less room for deepness and experimentation. So for us it’s always about finding the balance on keeping things interesting but super groovy.
Misbits: Can you name a few Romanian producers who are a perfect match for Savor Music or Aurea?
Jorge Savoretti: Of course great producers who released already with us like Priku, Iuly.B and Marcman. And if I had to pick a new one for each would be Lisiere Collectif on Savor and Lizz on Aurea. I’m a big fan of them.
Misbits: What’s the story behind Musica Lunar and the yearly compilations, 100% Argentianian electronic music?
Jorge Savoretti: I like to dig as much as possible and at some point I’ve started to play out tracks from a lot of unknown producers which later on I’ve found out they were made by argentinians. So I’ve started speaking with my partner Mariano about this situation of so many artists popping out of nowhere that were flying under our radar. That led to the idea of consolidating this already existing scene of established producers with these upcoming artists and show to the world what’s going on in our musical scene. There’s also the fact that Argentina is somehow a mystery because people can’t take a plane from any country and be here in 2 hours. So since you can’t visit our clubs easily, Musica Lunar is a good way to show the world what’s going on down here.
Misbits: One under-the-radar club in Buenos Aires I will feel like home, if I want to party properly for a weekend.
Jorge Savoretti: Avant Garten, great place to hang out.
Misbits: Your favourite record shops when you feel like digging for vinyl. One in South America, one in Europe
Jorge Savoretti: Haus Record Store in Argentina and in Europe I have so many. Misbits is definitely one of them.
Although nurturing a musical universe expanded far beyond electronic music, Cristi Tudorache aka Melodie is much more than a record selector. You only need to take a look at his recent livestreams, where his passion about music has translated into insightful Q&A sessions and juicy livesets.
Yeah, he’s one of our favourite producers, from his early releases on Metereze or RORA to the ones that have shaped the sound for his own record label, Cinetic Art.
And speaking of sounds shaping his personality, we asked Melodie to build up a quick list of tracks, both inspirational as well as influential 😀
First of all, I am a big fan of roots reggae, a bit more old skool reggae. The perfect example is the concert below, gathering the biggest reggae legends
I am also a big fan of ambient, even if I didn’t listen to it lately
People say this is one of the best produced albums ever. It’s actually one of the few romantic pop albums that I enjoy
If I had to pick up only one reggae artist, I would go for Peter Tosh, maybe together with Sly & Robbie (check the concert above). Tosh’ messages are both motivational as well as inspirational.
There’s something magical about the cloudy skies. Evasive shapes letting your imagination run wild, smooth formations blending with each other seamlessly, colors sliding along to form unseen nuances. I guess you all know that feeling.
NOR (Romanian for cloud) does exactly this: translates cloud feelings into music for quite a few years. You don’t have to take our word for it, just hit the play button on her most recent set, built for our cute little Girls Love Vinyl series. The mix is accompanied by an interview, placed on a different note than you’re used with.
Enjoy it as much as we did!
The Netflix / HBO series you have binged on longer than your longest afterparty. For how many hours?
Afterparties can be long and i don’t binge that much. I could say i had a Star Trek phase a few years ago, but nothing worth mentioning ever since.
Supposing you believe in reincarnation, who were you in the Middle Ages?
The Middle Ages seem like a dark, scary time to be alive. If reincarnation is a thing, i sure hope i skipped the Middle Ages.
The detox meal that worked best for you
Unprocessed and diverse meals, as many raw veggies and fruits as possible, preferably locally grown and in season. Nothing fancy.
You have to choose between running a record shop in Alaska and working in a cubicle in the Bahamas. What offer do you accept? Why?
Giving that i don’t tolerate cold very well and I’m more into buying records than selling them, i would go for Bahamas, for sure!
Your favourite Powerpuff Girl
After completing an online survey from a trustworthy website, turns out i’m 50% Buttercup, 30% Blossom and 20% Bubbles. Not so sure about that.
How does the music makes you feel? Also when you play
It can make me feel happy or sad or anything in between, depending on the music. When i play i feel loved and rewarded, but also quite nervous in the beginning.
The spring season can’t start with just one flower (yeah, that’s an old Romanian saying, but you got the point :D). Yet, you can jumpstart an amazing underground scene with only one club. Its name is Supermarket and in its 20 years of existence it put Zurich West on Europe’s clubbing map, shaping a unique culture and vibe.
It’s all about the sound, quality and moments!
It’s also about the people who supported the house & techno scene, especially the sound that suit the club environment, away from the huge techno festivals. under the tree, the crew behind the party series with the same name introduced Zurich’s technoheads into the minimal house sound with carefully selected lineups, balanced between established artists and young blood and spiced up with a lot of Romanian selectors.
The Art Of is their newest concept, where only one guest DJs is invited to play all night long, thus offering the crowd the chance to enjoy a longer sonic trip. We had a super nice chat with Arthur from Under The Tree, about the Zurich nightlife, the whole grey situation we’re living in right now and many more. This is what it came out of it 😉 Enjoy!
You’re already in your third year with “under the tree” events, that have featured many Romanian DJs. Does the Supermarket crowd start to enjoy this kind of music?
Hello Ioana, first of all thank you for having us here. Yes, that’s true. slowly people understand it, but it was not always so and it was a long way until we found acceptance and it will be a long way to keep it up.
How did you come up with the idea?
We already had some years of experience with parties and have developed musically in this process. When we reached a certain point and realized that our concept did not match our musical taste anymore, we unstructured and under the tree was born.
What does it take for a DJ to play all night long, in your opinion?
It takes everything. Nowadays many DJs are driven in a certain direction and specialize in one segment, be it for opening, main-time or closing sets. In other words a DJ has to have everything to be able to play an all-night-long session.
Let’s say there will be an artist who would like to play a set longer than 6 hours. What would you do? Can you extend the party?
Yeah, sure. He just needs to feel like it, and so does the crowd, and we’re ready to roll!
As we all know Romanians like to play super long sets, do you think this events series is tailored for them?
Super long sets can be played by many DJs out there, but I have to say that maybe more of those who are good at it are from Romania 🙂
How did the crowd respond to this new concept?
As for the under the tree series, the initially more reserved crowd is now coming out of themselves and responding well to the events. Whether the same happens at Art of … we will see after a few editions, but the launch of the series with you behind the decks was a full success 🙂
Can we call Supermarket as an iconic landmark for Zurich’s clubscene?
Supermarket is one of the oldest clubs in Switzerland and is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year. The club has been through thick and thin, has experienced hard times and has proven itself time and again. Some of the guests have come once and never left again. The Supermarket now mixes old and new generations from all walks of life, also thanks to us. Under the leadership of Sandro, the club has been steadily progressing and always had the goal to present an absolutely high quality sound. Today the club has become an intra-generational institution in Switzerland to promote a high-quality music experience for its guests. In other words, yes, the club is an iconic landmark of Switzerland and since the refurbishment even far beyond its national borders.
Talking about Zurich: if we want to do a bit of crate digging, where would you recommend us to go?
Super simple question. There’s only one place to go in Zürich : Sihl Records from our good friend Andreas Ramos!
What do you think it’s going to happen on the European clubscene with this critical situation we live these days?
This is a question that has been occupying us and the whole scene for a long time. We already had to cancel two parties and it will surely become even more. One of the main things that this crisis has shown us is certainly the instability of the whole event industry. My biggest concern is not that we won’t be able to throw parties anymore, but more about the many people who depend on them. As a result of the federal government’s decision, around 160 companies with more than 2,000 full-time jobs in the city of Zurich are affected. By the end of April, a loss of income of 20 million Swiss francs, the cancellation of 2,000 cultural events and over 4,000 bookings from artists are expected.
These are of course only the actual figures, behind most of the employees is a whole family, which gives us food for thought. But we are very lucky and are supported by our government. Nevertheless, it shows just how unstable this market, on which so much depends, is. To this one should add that Zurich is the city with the highest club density in the world and every Zuricher stick to his party culture, which even in Switzerland is considered an UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Predicting the future in such turbulent times is almost impossible. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the clever minds of our country will quickly find a solution, Zurich without nightclubs is almost like Venice without canals…
Is it hope it will come back at some point?
To a certain extent I hope that the situation will normalize, but if you look at the development of our scene since the beginning you will realize very quickly that our music and music in general has often been created out of crises and used as a means of revolution. In the last years there was no more reason to rebel or to survive a crisis. This is reflected in the commercialization of electronic music. Maybe our scene needed this pandemic as a wake-up call, maybe the whole world needed it… I don’t think we’ll come back to the same point, but we’ll get to a whole new one 🙂
3 records that could define an Art Of clubnight
caLLy – Illusion Of The Self
Sahau (Dan Andrei, Kozo, Paul Agripa) – El Senor De Los Cielos [ZIMBRV04]
Visullucid – SW
Tell us a crazy story from a party 😀
Our label launch at Christmas 2017 was probably the craziest party ever. we had planned a 33 hour long, 3-day label launch for under the tree with several international acts like Ferro, Jan Krueger and many more. On day X when the party started everything was good, the first night was great, everybody had fun. The next morning most of the international acts arrived, but during the day the people left the club, and nobody was at our party anymore because it was just too much for the people to party for so long. They just weren’t used to it. All day long we had no guest and at some point, in the afternoon Sandro (the manager of the club) said we would close the second night. For Romano and me a world collapsed. All the artists arrived, and we told it to them. Of course, the mood was devastated because everybody was really looking forward to this party.
So, we all went out to dinner together when suddenly Sandro jumped up and said: “We’re not going to let this happen! Arthur write to all your people, Romano write to you and I’ll call a doorman and go behind the bar myself”. So, we jumped up from the table and without hesitation directly into the club. We started the party again and suddenly word got around and people came from everywhere. That was surreal! I can still remember how I made a “we are open” sign with Jan Krueger from old posters and tape to put it in front of the door (I still have that at home). In the end Ferro, Jan Krueger, Reiss and Frank Haag played an all night long b2b that I will never forget again. The whole 33 hours were an emotional rollercoaster ride that laid the foundation for today’s series. In retrospect I could not have wished for a different start and at this point I wanted to thank all the people which supported us in every single move we did. Without you there would be no us! See you under the tree…
Residencies for DC10 Ibiza and Rex Club Paris? Checked!
Unforgetable memories imprinted in dancefloors all over the world, from Panorama Bar Berlin, Concrete Paris or Robert Johnson Frankfurt to Fabric London or Womb Tokyo? Checked!
Dyed Soundoromhas always been a breath of fresh air in the house & techno underground, solo or as part of the allmighty Apollonia, alongside Dan Ghenacia and Shonky. As for his producer’s alter ego, the now Lisbon based Frenchman got us all by surprise with a different sound than we were used to. You have to check Dyed Soundorom latest releases for DDS, still available in our shop.
We also had a nice little chat about music and his household role in Apollonia 😉
A bit of electro, a bit of chiptune on top of the industrial x minimal sound we’ve met before in your productions. What’s the story behind the release?
I used to work with samples, but i started to buy more analogue gear around 4 years ago and haven’t stopped since! I feel much more creative working with hardware, it’s given me a whole new energy in the studio. The process to build and feel comfortable with this new set up was long, but now I’m really happy with it. There isn’t any particular story behind the release but the main idea was to change the way I produce. Now I just jam, record and see what happens, which is much more inspiring!
Is it all about experimenting when it comes to releasing at your own imprint?
The good thing about having your own label is you can release whatever you want, so for sure you can experiment. I’m making a lot of new music these days, trying different things and most of all enjoying the process. I’m excited to see what happens!
Let’s suppose you’re isolated at home together with Shonky and Dan Ghenacia. How do you organize the living? Who’s cleaning the house? Who’s cooking? Who’s taking the dog outside?
Shonky would take care of the dog because he loves to be outside. Dan in the kitchen, he is by far the best cook! I would have to clean the house because they are too messy!
What happens when your passion for vinyl records goes beyond the regular crate digging as a weekend activity, to slowly transform into a lifestyle? By all means, you get yourself a job at a record shop. This is probably the reason why we had the pleasure of working with Dragoș Ilici for a couple of years at Misbits Record Shop, right after his return in Bucharest from a long period spent into the Scandinavian lands. Dragoș was like the fish in the ocean at our place, talking with the same contagious enthusiasm about minimal house records as well as downtempo, dub or pure electro ones. Mix this with a strong presence behind the decks, always connected with the dance floor in front of him, and you’ll understand why he is now one of Club Guesthouse resident DJs.
He recently teamed up with Jay Bliss on a V.A. released at Stomping Grounds, to show some great potential when it comes to production. Until we’ll get our hands on Dragoș Ilici’s first solo record, we had a quick chat with him about what it means to have a love affair with your record collection.
What is your daily routine as a record digger?
Mainly going through the ever-growing number of discogs tabs open in my browser, and also all other shops and platforms I check music on.
Do you “hunt” only for what falls into the house & techno genre or do you go beyond?
Beyond. I want to listen to and experience music regardless of any rational aspect that tries to define it. It’s a form of self-expression, which I prefer to feel rather than rationalize, hence genres are not so important to me when discovering music.
What do you prefer: searching through used records crates at flea markets around Europe or going for the fresh releases section in your favourite shops?
I prefer searching through used records, wherever I go, but also the new stuff. Even though i usually find the new releases online, with the amount of records coming out nowadays it’s impossible for me to keep track of everything, so there can always be a surprise.
Speaking of which, make us a super short list of record shops you plan to visit in the near future, shops you haven’t visited yet.
Amoeba Records, Technique Tokyo
If you were to pick an artist and buy all the discography on vinyl, who would that artist be?
Meat Beat Manifesto
Are there any records you carry in your DJ bag at every single gig you’re playing?
Yes, some tools like acapellas, beatless stuff, spoken word, locked grooves.
Is it any different a warmup set as a resident DJ as opposed to an opening set at some random party?
Yes, every gig, every single situation is different, but there’s lots of advantages a residency should bring: being part of a team, trust and familiarity, knowledge of the soundsystem, the dj booth, the room, the crowd, the dynamics of the party. All these aspects, along others, impact the way I play.
What’s so special about Misbits Record Shop, that people keep returning, again and again?
I return because it’s the only record shop in Bucharest where I can always find at least one record that I like, and because it’s a welcoming and cozy place which I want to support.
Last record you spent quite a lot of money on
I never really buy expensive records, but I spent around 100 euros on this box set comprising of 3 double 12” each with unique artwork, a small booklet and some stickers, which is a very good price for what you get
Even if the climate changes brought milder winters, at least in some parts of the Northern hemisphere, we’re still predisposed for slight depressions, mainly to the lack of sunshine. We are, after all, solar creatures, although many of us like the dark, sweaty environments of some underground afterparties 🙂 All we have to do in these long winter nights is to retire into a close-to-hibernation state, wrapped in a soft blanket and waiting for the first signs of spring to knock on our windows. Yet, we need the perfect soundtrack for these moments, so we decided to list a few of our favourite podcasts and mix series, focused on ambient sounds and electronic experiments. Sit back, grab a cup of hot tea and let yourself covered with these amazing sounds
Silent Season is a record label based in Vancouver, Canada, and focused on the ethereal electronica. The Campfire Stories is a mix series where artists close to the Canadian imprint practice the art of storytelling through music. You’ll love it!
A Strangely Isolated Place
Started as a blog that curates ambient electronica, the Los Angeles based A Strangely Isolated Place has a 12 years long history of supporting this musical genre. Big names as well as newcomers, from Loscil and Minilogue to Akuai, have contributed to their podcast, that goes by the IsolatedMix name
Pluie/Noir is an artist collective born in Berlin, that puts together forward thinking musicians and visual artists to promote cultural diversity through amazing collaborative efforts. While there is also a record label branch, the focus is on Pluie /Noir podcast series, where we discovered artists like Petre Inspirescu, Pheek, Vlad Caia or Fumiya Tanaka. Take some time to explore their huge collection of mixes
Willem van der Ploeg aka Will Oirson hosts The Something Something radio show at Amsterdam’s Red Light Radio. This radio show is not for everyone, as it goes deep into the drone & soundtrack territories, getting weirder and weirder with every mix you’ll listen. Nevertheless, you’ll be struck with some deep house accents from Leif or beatdown techno from Analogue Attic Recordings
You may say you don’t like charts, hierarchies, tags and points but, boy, you can’t wait to get your hands deep into the year-end reviews, to check at least if your favourite 2019 music has made it into these charts.
So we thought of doing this round up for 2019, remembering the best moments we had at Misbits Record Shop. And we had quite a few amazing ones: smoothy afternoons spent with some of our favourite record selectors, fizzly lemonades and lots of funky quirky records played on Misbits’ cozy terrace, weirdly amazing pieces of art on T shirts, vinyl records and canvas and, of course, lots and lots of records filled with good music. Heck, we even had a classical music evening 🙂
We now have our own clothing line, boasting a super comfy hoodie and a bunch of utility T shirts, designed for the record selectors who love to keep their records in tip top shape. Feel free to browse our wear collection here, here and here
So, long story short, here is a few of the best moments we had this year, turned into memories by a recording, an excellent release or just the smell of a hot cup o tea while digging for some cool music on wax.
Adnana’s set at A Vinyl Afternoon, August 2019
A Vinyl Afternoon series at Misbits Record Shop was all about records & friends, with a few visual delights here and there, as we hosted art showcases and live painting sessions. Music was spread from minimal house all the way to old skool hip hop and jazz. Back in August, Adnana delivered one of the best selections we had on our terrace, get a taste of that afternoon with this 2 hours cut below.
Profet’s takeover at Misbits’ 6th anniversary
6 years! SIX! Time flies fast when you’re surrounded with good music. What do we mean by good music? Profet’s set, recorded in March, is the perfect definition: you’ll enjoy every beat, be it garage, break beat, jungle or house beat 🙂
Amorf, the Romanian avantgarde trio, pursued their mission in 2019, also. Ancient Future, released at Amphia, was one of the most sought after records this year. Maybe it was the hypnotising piano sequences imagined by Mischa Blanos, maybe it was the endless loops of magic kicks drawn by Vlad Caia & Cristi Cons. It surely is one of this year’s highlights.
Amphia was on fire in 2019, with Dan Andrei contributing to the label’s notoriety with Loose Dots, a masterpiece of electronic weirdness, created to make you dance. This one was a keeper for anyone of us interested in exploring the subtle tones of Romania’s underground scene.
Thank you all for this amazing year we had, see you with a looooot of surprises in 20 20 😉
Somewhere 500 miles east of Moscow, at the confluence of Kazanka and Volga rivers, lies Kazan, Russia’s 6th city in terms of population. Once an important trading center, Kazan is now coming back as a vibrant mix of Oriental and Russian cultures. Within this context, a group of enthusiastic people is setting up the foundations of a house & techno underground.
An idea nested by 2 friends (Farid Akhmadiev aka F-Tek and Shamil OM), Private Sound was born 5 years ago, as a response to the omnipresent commercial music and events in Kazan. With no venues or communities focused on electronic music, this sounded more like an impossible mission. Yet, as stubborn as they are, these guys managed to attract a handful of like-minded people around Private Sound, eager to raise awareness when it comes to house & techno, with a touch of minimal. They reinvented locations to host parties and invited selectors like Piticu, Miss I, Christopher Ledger, Anrilov, building hype and interest for a young crowd.
So, we sat down and chatted with Farid, one of the founding members of Private Sound, about Kazan (known as Russia’s thrid capital), electronic music and also the echoes that Romania’s underground has sent in this remote place.
How does the electronic underground look like in Kazan in 2019?
Nowadays there are several active communities worth mentioning (about 8 or even 10) in Kazan and Tatarstan Republic in common, who are engaged into the underground electronic music scene development. They include Djs, VJs, producers and event organizers. Each community has its own signature and style depending on the music tastes. You can listen to mainly house / techno / minimal / deep / electro / progressive / acid / melody techno / breaks & drum’n’bass / electronica / experimental noise & ambient sounds. As you can see, there is a wide range of musical genres. Events are not happenning so often, since the venues availability problem still exists. There are no actual clubs in the city, only several bars that from time to time are able to host underground or electronic music related events. Only two big venues are available in Kazan: Alafuzov Loft (former old textile manufacture from XVIII century) & Werk, founded by Izolenta community and Watch Me Visuals Vj’s team (brand new space and former furniture manufacture opened in July and located closer to the city center). Besides these options, promoters are in a constant search for new locations, in order to find out proper ones for the planned events.
Where does Private Sound stand in this landscape?
Private Sound community was founded in May of 2014 by two friends DJs: Farid Akhmadiev aka F-Tek and the more experienced Shamil OM (veteran DJ & the Night Market DJ school owner). It is a creative team of like-minded people and the name of the eponymous series of parties dedicated to acquaintance with various music schools and interesting (in our opinion) representatives of the electronic scene. It was created at the time of widespread commercial format in the city, with almost no places and parties with quality electronic music. From here comes the name of our community. Another resident DJs in our community: Toshie, Darych, monsieurrr, Aykhu and one more guy who is going to join us soon. We promote and develop mostly an underground music scene in Kazan (Russia) focusing on the minimalistic waves of house and techno in the city, including Romanian, French house, techno and electro, acid as well.
Do you feel like things are starting to change in the last 5 years, as you started to get involved in organizing parties in Kazan?
Of course, when we started to be involved in these processes in 2014, electronic music events were close to disappearing and happenned very seldom, as the commercial music was very popular in the city. Not many happenings were available, except the Re:forms parties, that was and still promotes basic techno sound and gave a start to another BNF community appear as well. One more events seriesI would like to mention at that time is an after-party format, called Techno-breakfasts built by Toshie & Alexey Vakhterov, where you could listen to tech-house, progressive music and some deep & minimal. Lenin Club also, ran by the guys from Teknowave and reopened for the 3rd time in 3 years at the new and, as we now know it now, it’s final location (now it is closed), where we, as Private Sound, started our events with Riccardo BHI from Dude Club Milano in May 2014. So, as you can see, our tastes started to change from year to year. Now it is a different situation.
How did you discover the Romanian house & techno scene and what made you fall in love with it?
Honestly, it started while getting closer & familiar with Toshie and his new project, NouVal, now known as minimalbeats. he was the first one who started this type of musical education in the city. I remember events w/ Denis Korablev, Sancho & D.Core. There were also a few parties in Moscow, including Arma 17, and one 24 hour presence at Gazgolder, where many Romanian artists were present in the lineup (Rhadoo, Mihigh, Kid Chris etc), the year when Outline festival was cancelled. And Sunwaves 21 festival visit as well in 2017. All these gave an impulse and created a particular interest to this scene.
Any favourite Romanian artists / record labels?
Not the easiest question, since there is a plenty of cool romanian artists, that we like. Raresh, Rhadoo, Herodot, Vlad Caia, Priku, Charlie, caLLy, Barac, Faster, Sepp, Petre Inspirescu, Cosmjn, Dubtil, Piticu and this list could never end.. As for the record labels: [a:rpia:r], Atipic, Amphia, Quanticman Records, Tzinah Records, Uvar, Tupiar Records, Midi Records.
Apart from planning events and making them real, do you have any other projects or plans related to the house & techno underground in Kazan?
For the moment, we are having just the same plans for the further developing of things we are doing right now. Also sometimes we are having some collaborations with our communities – and this is the most interesting one since, this means that some happenings can appear in any unpredictable form. No one from our residents, except Shamil OM, is engaged in music production right now, maybe this will come a bit later. As a wish, it would be good to organize and create our own cozy & conceptual space: Residency for Private Sound.
Name 3 DJs you would book at a Private Sound party, if you would have an unlimited budget 🙂
Ricardo Villalobos, Raresh, ZIP.
If a clubhead wants to spend a weekend in Kazan, apart from going to a Private Sound party, what would you recommend?
Firstly I would say that the best period for Kazan visit is the summer, since it gives you the opportunity to feel the city in full, the city that is situated by the Volga river. Kazan (capital of Tatarstan Republic) nowadays is one of popular touristic destinations in our country, also is known as third capital of Russia with it’s millennial history. During the last 10 years, it had become the point of attraction of both internal & external tourists, and had seen many changes in the city environment. There many historical points of interest, buildings, monuments and new modern spaces including parks had opened. At the same time, the historical part of the city is compact enough, so even the weekend should be enough to see the main important places in Kazan. You should be visiting Kazan Kremlin of course and the walking around by foot or w/ bicycle is the best way to explore the city. Walk along the waterfront and enjoy the perfect views and sunsets. In between this city walk you can run into a bar or cafe for a snack, but of the best way to get to know Tatarstan is through the local cuisine and of course you should be trying Tatar national cuisine that is represented at several cafesrestaurants. The most famous positions I would recommend are these 3: baked foods w savory filling like Bäleş & Öçpoçmaq and sweet baked item that usually served with tea Çäkçäk. So, this part of our culture can be experienced mainly in Kazan / Tatarstan only, and not in other regions .
The local record shop you’d recommend for a nice session of crate digging.
Actually, we still don’t have a special place or vinyl shop that is dedicated for electronic music. I think this also indicates a present situation in the city demand on such place (at the end of 90-s beginning of 2000-s, we had several mini shops and the places where you could find out something for your soul: CDs or tapes). But of course this was also caused by the wide spread of the music in network and the possibility for buying and listening both at well know online shops etc.
Anyway I would name here «Siyaniye shop», located in center for contemporary culture «Smena», next door to a bookstore, where you are able to find out something for your collection. The store offers new and second-hand records of all genres. These are popular albums of ” big ” artists and records of small independent labels. Here are the releases from such Russian labels as Arma, ГОСТ Звук / GOST Zvuk, Spasibo Rec, Сияние / Siyaniye, NEN Records, ZBS Records and others. Besides for vinyl in the Siyaniye shop you could buy CDs and tapes with recordings of Kazan musicians and some merch by local designers.
3 tracks that could define the Private Sound vibe.
It is not easy to name just the 3 tracks that could define our vibe, since even we are very close with sound to each other in our community, at the same time we are versatile. But let’s try with 4 tracks 🙂
We have to admit, sometimes there is a blatant boring visual experience when it comes to the record artwork from the electronic underground. Plain cardboard / white / black usually, or, if you are lucky, some distorted black & white graphics to suit the infinite loops inside.
It almost feels like the vinyl record is loosing part of its soul when it gets stripped of its artwork. No matter how much emphasize we put on the quality of music released on vinyl, a memorable record has to have a strong visual appearance. And, trust us on this one, it’s easier to catch the diggers’ attention 🙂
So, in order to define what a strong visual means for us, we selected five of the creepiest album covers out of our personal record collection. The records stick into the wider spectrum of electronic music, each of them being iconic in its own way. Oh, and one more thing: it doesn’t have to be Halloween to play these records, they will set up a nice mood anyway 😉
The Canadian duo used Sigur Ros voice samples and pretty scary tape recordings to give the grey tones to this masterpiece that combine synth pop with electronica and indie rock. So, a picture with a lonely girl in a grave yard seemed like the perfect artwork
We stay in Canada for this one: a combination of breakcore, acid, jazz, noise and jungle, as we got used to receive from Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares. Sick music, sick cover: a naked centaurus in a horse-themed Medieval room.
Freaky image to suit the grime sound and fast paced African rooted percussions: this is The Antwoord, the totally unconventional South African duo. Ten$ion’s disturbant sound goes beyond the vinyl grooves and straight on the album cover, featuring the lead singer chewing on a real heart
If you really want something to haunt your dreams, stare for more than a minute at the Richard D James cover. It really feels like he would start to crawl under your skin and eat you from inside out. The album stands out as one of the most influential electronic experiments.
As we know you have the same urge of sticking your nose into your favourite selectors’ record bags, the Crate Digging series is now officially back, with a (hopefully) monthly frequency on Misbits’ blog.
Now let’s get down to the business of wax hunting: our guest for this month is Andrey Kharitonov. Andrey is now cooking a new release for OutOfStock, disguised behind the HurryUp moniker (be sure to keep an eye on his Soundcloud page here and here).
You may also have a handful of releases made under his strict supervision, as he’s the guy behind the Anakronik and OutOfStock record labels. Or you may have lost the sense of time during one of his gigs, be it in Bucharest, Moscow, Odessa or some underground spot in Western Europe. You surely remember the sound of Audioteque, the music project he launched together with Timofti back a few years ago.
One thing is for sure: he likes to get his hands dirty when it comes to crate digging frenzy, so we asked Andrey Kharitonov to tip us with 5 records he bought recently, even if they were found at the bottom of some second hand records box. Expect slow dub, raw electro, old skool rap and everything between.
You’ll be amazed by the striking similarities between the Romanian and Portuguese languages, both sharing the same Latin roots. And even at opposites edges on this so called cradle of civilization we call Europe, both countries share also cultural values. Same feelings encapsulated in smooth waves of deep house, following raw basslines that could keep the groove steady & neat for countless hours. Sounds familiar, right?
Carpet & Snares is a record shop and label based in Lisbon. Focused mainly on electronic music, Carpet & Snares grew up as Jorge Caiado’s most complete project, slowly becoming of the hottest spots in Lisbon’s electronic underground. On the label side, Jorge has commited into promoting young Portuguese blood but not only, and at the same time coming with an amazing selection of records, to feed the local community’s passion for good music. Just to check what drives all the hard work around Carpet & Snares, we talked with Jorge Caiado about the Portuguese electronic underground, the business behind the record shop and the nuts & bolts of running a label
What’s your background when we talk about electronic music and its underground, especially?
JC: I started listening to house music, more specifically Deep and north american soulful house, when I was around 14/15, and I was lucky enough to grow up in a city (Póvoa de Varzim) with a good clubbing culture for the time, where the resident DJs still had an important role to play and fortunately were good. That was a great starting point for my relationship with dance music that ended up being indispensable in my life. At 18 I went to live and study in Porto where I studied sound engineering, and at 21, I moved to Lisbon to learn jazz (piano) and to try and strengthen my career as a dj and producer. In Lisbon I got a couple of residencies early on, like Frágil and Estado Líquido, and began to play in Portugal’s main clubs and festivals like Lux Frágil, Musicbox, Indústria Porto, Gare Porto, Neo-Pop, Waking Life, Nos Alive, SBSR, etc.)
After the move to Lisbon in 2010 I slowly began releasing music, making my debut on Chez Damier’s Balance imprint, where some years later I would have my own sub-label, Inner Balance. In Portugal I have Groovement as my “motherlabel”, and most recently Carpet & Snares Records, my main project which I’ll explain more about in a bit. During this time period I had the chance to remix some works from artists like Chez Damier, Terrence Parker, Orlando Voorn, Secretsundaze, and some more. In 2011 I was selected to be a part of RBMA’s international edition which happened in Madrid, where I had the chance to make music with Mathew Jonson and play before Frankie Knuckles. Two years ago I started my own radio show in the most influential electronic music fm radio station in Lisbon, Oxigenio. During all these years I was also involved with the creation of several events and festivals in Lisbon such as Lisboa Dance Festival and Lisboa Electronica. As Carpet & Snares Records we’ve also got a monthly residency at Europa, one of the main underground clubs in Lisbon, and it has been running non-stop for over 3 years. The idea with this night is to give a chance for a new generation of local djs (sometimes internationals) to gain some experience by playing for a proper crowd.
An interesting name for a record shop. How did you come with the idea of a record shop and what inspired the name?
JC: The idea came from one of our friends who suggested the name because the shop had just been carpeted and snares are pretty much ubiquitous in dance music. That’s where it came from.
Is it all about house & techno at Carpet & Snares? Are you focused on a particular genre?
JC: Well, I’d say 90% of the stock in the shop is House, Techno and Electro indeed. Those are the genres that we’re more into (and of course their sub-genres like Minimal, Deep House, Breakbeat, Dub Techno, etc) and where we invest most of our time digging and buying. We also have small sections for other dance and electronic music genres like disco, hip-hop, bass music and more abstract/leftfield records.
Who’s involved in Carpet & Snares shop / record label?
JC: Well, at the moment we’re 5 in total working in the shop, labels, distribution and agency. I’m a bit in every corner, also Rui Ferreira (aka Roy) that is my right arm in everything we’re developing here. In the shop Miguel Melo is our man behind the counter every afternoon and Hélio (from Pandilla LTD crew) is my man taking care of the logistics of the Distribution service. The fifth element is my sister – Adília Lima – and our art director taking care of the label’s design and also the artworks for the parties and all our events. Besides these people working on a daily basis we have some more help from Fábio Santos in the digital domain (websites, etc), from Rubén Jose in the video / films / documentaries extension we’re building slowly and from Joe Delon, who’s been helping us with the interviews for our mix-series.
Who’s doing the record selection for the shop? Are there any criterias you follow for the records available in store?
JC: I’m doing most of the buying by myself, Roy takes care of some smaller distributors and of course everyone give their tips about releases they think are important to have.
Are there any second hand records crates for the avid diggers?
JC: Yes, sure, more and more. We always bought collections when opportunities appeared in the past but more recently we’ve been able to buy more and more, so basically every week we update our crates with more new 2nd hand entries that spans from early 90’s obscure house and techno to 2000’s and more recent releases as well.
What are DJs digging for when they step into Carpet & Snares shop?
JC: Well, it depends the type of client we’re talking about. The frequent client (mostly Portuguese) comes mainly for the new entries, so basically every week they come to check what’s new. The tourist/international digger usually comes for exclusive material that we might have or distribute and to get a better idea about the Portuguese scene, artists, labels, etc. We’re receiving more and more people also looking to dig into our 2nd hand section.
After 5 years, I suppose you can already make a profile for a regular C&S customer… 🙂
JC: Yes and no. Our list of regular clients is not that huge and they are all different in their own way. I’d say that biggest slice of that list comes mainly for minimal and house, unfortunately techno djs here don’t play much often with vinyl and electro and other subgenres (UK oriented or more experimental) are still really a niche here.
Any chance we can find some Romanian releases to buy?
JC: Definitely!! As I said before, Minimal / Micro House / Romanian oriented house sounds are one of the main dishes in our shop. Records from Arpiar, Metereze, Moment, Amphia, Liniar, to name a few, always have space in our shelves. We actually just started distributing a new Romanian release this week through Carpet Distribution. You should definitely check Stoi’s release for the new Swedish label Continue Records.
Carpets & Snares is also a record label with a few variations. What’s the story behind the label and all the sublabels?
JC: Well, the main catalogue started in 2017 and the focus (that remains) was to push for the local artists always with a strong reference in the remix duties. Last year we decided to expand and start other series directly connected to the main catalogue but from other international artists and from other genres that were not being covered in the main catalogue. So that way we started the Patterns series (more minimal, stripped down house grooves), the Steps series (for UKG and all the breaks variations), the Steam series (our techno outlet), the Circuits series (for more detroit-ish and analogue jams that can goes from techno to more ambient and abstract). Roy kicked his own Dream Ticket last year and its mainly focused into electro and techno-ish/acid sounds. We also did already our exclusive Record Store Day release that want to maintain for the next years. Besides all this we have some new ideas in the pipeline to come out soon!
Do you release only Portuguese artists?
JC: No. In the main catalogue thats the key criteria, but since we have been receiving so much good music from friends from other countries and really good demos we decided to open the gates to everyone.
What’s cooking hot right now in Lisbon’s house & techno underground? Give us some tips about producers and record labels from the local scene. Also, some venue we can enjoy some quality deep house with a touch of minimal 🙂
JC: Regarding new artists/producers I’d highlight: Luhk, Temudo, VIL, Berllioz, Zenner, Pandilla LTD, Norbak, Relapso, VOX99, Rompante, Caroline Lethô, Tiago Marques as some of the most exciting and hardworking players in our scene.
About labels I’d recommend to check Groovement, Inner Balance, Helena, Light Channel Recordings, Discos Extendes, Hayes, Micronesia among others.
On the clubs field I’d highlight Europa (where we do our monthly party), Village Underground Lisbon, 5A club (the new micro club in town) and of course Lux-Frágil (for being one of the best clubs in the world and opened for more than 20 years).
Many of us weren’t even in plan when these pieces of analog Hi Tech were ruling the world of music. Some of us might had an encounter with these machines when visiting their grandparents. One thing is for sure: as much as we love vinyl records and turntables, there is a small yet passionate community that is still keeping this old music technology alive.
Reel to reel tapes have been around us for over 100 years. This fragile & bulky analog format sparkled passions and conquered the world of music aficionados until the early 60s’, when Philips developed the compact casette. Maybe this was a crucial moment for reel to reel tapes mass extinction, yet we’re not here to talk about its glorious history but more about the people that had managed to keep the passion for tape recorders alive, against all odds of finding spare parts and new tapes to play.
Razvan Balus, one of Romania’s few remaining tape recorder collectors, came in contact with music via his grandpa’s Philips old tube radio. Metronom, the radioshow produced by the late Cornel Chiriac at Radio Europa Liberă, brought the music of Led Zeppelin, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Janis Joplin to his ears. With these names came the desire to listen to their music without any constraints, so reel to reel machines were the obvious choice at that moment. We sat down and chatted about music on tapes, records, tape recorder collections and real collectors, as they are feeding their passion in a digital world that has started to find time for music on analog formats, too.
Do you remember your first tape recorder?
Yes, I remember it: it was an Unitra ZK-145, a mono tape recorder with vacuum tubes. This is where the passion for electronics and audio HiFi started. I managed to push this passion to that moment of building my own 3-track tape recorder, around 1978-79, based on an Unitra ZK-246 frame, where I put electronic parts inspired by UHER and SABA stereo tape recorders. After 1990 I sold and donated all my audio HiFi, keeping a Kenwood 3 chanel amplifier and 2 speakers for home listening. I transfered all the music on VHS tapes as HiFi audio, using a Grundig recorder. I was also buying CDs from Bulgaria.
How did you aquire music in the communist times?
I used to buy all my tapes from a music store located in downtown Bucharest (Academiei Street). Nicu, the shop manager and a true electronics expert on every device he sold, was calling me every time he had new music. Stocks were selling fast, rergdless the music or the tape brand: ORWO, AGFA, BASF. There were also some underground channels, like the vinyl records brought by airplane pilots from Karachi or Abu Dabhi. We were renting these records overnight, brought pickups and tape recorders and spent hours building playlists, exchanging music on tapes and doing selections.
How did this passion transform into a collection?
Around 2007, when Romania became a EU member, I got access to ebay where I found 3 AKAI X-201 tape recorders. I bought them, hoping to rebuild at least one functional recorder. I managed to make 2, the last one is still waiting its turn to be repaired. I started buying various AKAI tape recorders, while drive testing other brands like Pioneer, TEAC, Tascam, Technics, Dokorder (Onkyo), Sony or Revox.
How many reel to reel tape recorders do you have right now?
My house is full of devices, I think I have around 30, give or take 😃
The best story behind one of your tape recorders
It’s the same story repeating itself for the majority of them: I find a machine while browsing the interwebs, fall in love with it and the rest is easy: pay, delivery from the most remote corners of this world, custom taxes and voila, part of my collection. The law of attraction is really working in my case!
Are all your tape recorders still functioning?
Most of them, yes. The secret is to use them for at least two hours per month. Yet, some of my machines are in the same state I bought them years ago, just some amazing pieces of technology I will restore at some point in the future.
I assume you need to be a technical guru to maintain them…
Yes, you need some special skills, a lot of experience based on previous repairing sessions, patience and a bit of detective work, as sometimes there are multiple flaws that could give you a real headache.
Can you still find spare parts for old models?
At least for the most valuable tape recorders, they are still selling new wheels and belts. The mechanical and electronic parts are coming from disassembled machines.
Is there a marketplace where you can buy reel to reel music tapes?
There is actually a growing demand for quality copyrighted tapes, but mainly in Netherlands, UK.
Do you need to store your tapes in a controled environment?
No need for special conditions, just keep the tape recorders with their lid closed. Same thing goes for the tapes, also: keep them in their plastic or cardboard packaging.
Is there a collection piece you’re most attached to?
Hard question! I’m very fond of every tape recorder, amp, speaker or cassette deck I own. Attachments can be hurtful, so I let them go sometimes, as they find another home in some different family, to please other people. I get to meet them again for an upgrade or restoration, and this makes me really happy.
How does you music listening habits sound?
I listen to a lot of tapes three times at most, before putting it aside and rediscovering it after a few years. I also have around 400 records, but I never had the chance of listening to all of them from start to finish
Gone are the days when Romania’s house & techno underground was only revolving around Sunwaves Festival, a few selected clubs in Bucharest and some record labels and crews based also in the capital city. Now, if you look to the East, you can feel the groove steaming up in Iași. If you turn your eyes towards West, you’ll be amazed of the cool things happenning in Arad, Timișoara and Oradea.
Fueled by their common passion for electronic music, a small group of friends started to organize intimate parties more than 10 years ago in Arad. Fast forward to 2019 and ABC has transformed into a full fledged agency, renting their amazing Void sound systems around the country and at the same time throwing spectacular parties in Arad. ABC quickly gained respect from the local underground community, supporting local artists as well as continuing to activate even in hard times, when the local scene was really small.
So, we decided to have a quick chat with Mihai Moldovan, founding member of ABC Events, about Arad’s underground and about what does ABC have to do with it 🙂 Enjoy it, along with a quick track selection at the end, made by Mihai.
Next ABC party will take place on the 13th of September, at a secret location and will feature Cezar, Priku, Sedee and Crihan, among others 😉
What’s cooking in Arad’s undergrounds lately? How was your summer?
There’s a new wave of young people right now in Arad, that go out constantly. They have the opportunity of attending some of the biggest festivals in Romania, they know what to expect from certain artists when they go out partying, and this is making us happy. There’s a huge difference between the main group of people that attend ABC nowadays and the crowd back three of four years ago.
We had a super busy summer. The ABC Sound Machine – Void Acoustics Rental & Distribution project took us much of the time, as we provided the sound for some of the most important festivals around the country: Electric Castle, Untold, Citadela, Revolution, the Sunwaves 26 backline (together with Sound Barn)…
How did you end up organizing parties?
Everyone was feeling the need for a solid underground scene in Arad, where people can express themselves freely. We found inspiration from friends around us, we added our personal touch and we created our own brand.
Do you remember your first party, where you were involved in the organizing crew?
Yes, this was sometime around 2007 when I used to work with Hiero: we gathered all our friends into a small pub in the city and we just played music. We messed up all the record covers, but it didn’t matter, as long as the music was still playing. It was a night full of world music, hip hop, funk and we had such a good time.
What are the biggest challenges in setting up house & techno events in a small city like Arad?
TIME is our biggest enemy right now, as we have to split between different jobs, all kept at high standards. No other obstacles for us 🙂
Every ABC event is supported by a handful of local artists as resident DJs. Is it something you had from the beginning?
Herck is definatelly the most popular artist from the ABC family, where we also have Somesan, Timirash, Bread & Butter. This is something we did all the time: finding local talents and give them a shot. The most recent example is Stoik, music enthusiast: he gathered an impressive collection of record in just a few months, with quite an interesting musical selection.
Talking about the local community, how do you feel ABC has contributed until now for nurturing the electronic music scene in Arad? Is it still space for growing?
There will always be space for growing, to polish the scene and guide it further into the underground. Small steps leed to big things. This was our tagline from the start: grow together with our crowd, build a solid foundation with any hurry.
You have a thing for inventing party locations, from railway stations to airports or parks. What’s your plan for the next season?
Every time we pass through an interesting “spot” in the city, we try to imagine how would a party look and sound like in that spot. Then there is this huge paperwork for obtaining all the approvals and after that we start to put thing together to make that vision real. We have some big plans for the next season as we want to expand ABC in cities close to us: Timișoara, Cluj etc
Do you feel the need for a small club, dedicated to the ind of music you’re promoting?
We like small parties, where the proper crowd can produce the perfect vibe. I actually opened a place like this in a basement downtown, back in 2015, yet we had to close it due to some financial issues.
Is there a place to buy records in Arad?
We don’t have any record shops in Arad. Rumours say that a coffee shop / record store will open in Timișoara in the coming future, so we need to wait for that moment. Closest record shop right now is in Budapest.
From organizing raves in the late 90s’ in his hometown, Sibiu, and holding a long residency at Chill Out club to running his own record shop and two record labels, Iulian Cazan aka Jay Bliss has been around the Romanian house & techno scene for almost 20 years. His producer alter ego is linked to labels like Fear Of Flying, 20:20 Vision, Autoreply and All Inn. Jay Bliss released his first LP under his own imprint, Stomping Grounds.
Until then, we got our hands full with a few record label details, plans and graphics with Iulian, just to reveal a bit more from the story surrounding Stomping Grounds and its sub-label, Vade Mecum.
In the crowded world of vinyl releases focused on the electronic underground, where is Stomping Grounds placed? Give us a few details about the concept and the Stomping Grounds sound.
Jay Bliss: Indeed, in the past few years a lot of new labels emerged and it has become a very crowded world. Vinyl sales have risen overall with the resurrection of vinyl, but because there are so many new players in the game, they have also dropped significantly per label, and i’m saying this based on the discussions with my peers. With Stomping Grounds i’m trying not to follow trends, and even if it is a cliche, i’m trying to find and release timeless music. I think it recently came as a confirmation, because i’ve just repressed the full backcatalogue a few months ago and all releases sold quite fast.
Only a handful of releases in 6 years. Are you a picky label manager when it comes to pressing a new EP?
Jay Bliss: Yes, I am very picky, but I’ve also focused in the past two years on the other project, Vade Mecum, which has now developed very nice.
What do you search in a track, in order to release it on Stomping Grounds?
Jay Bliss: I think I’m just looking for classy music, which means simple and effective music, but definitely not dull. Easy, right? 🙂
New names as well as established ones on the latest SG EP. Who’s new in the game and how did you find them?
Jay Bliss: Tommy Vicary, Dragos Ilici and Stav are new on the last release. I’m following Tommy for a long time and even though he is a very prolific producer, he is also very diverse, so i could easily pick a track from him after we got in contact. With Dragos I did last year a few jams in my studio, with no specific style in mind. He told me that one day he was playing the tracks at Misbits, and Rhadoo asked about this one, but it wasn’t 100% finished. We did finish it and then I also decided it would go well on this VA. Stav is actually the producer behind the InHere label. He kept this secret with the first releases, so i have to do a bit of detective work to get in touch with him, but once we did, it clicked right away. I think he’s a fantastic producer and i hope we’ll have a long collaboration.
Who’s the artist behind the trippy Stomping Grounds artwork?
Jay Bliss: It’s Max Binski. His real name is Brunos Santos, but I think you might know him better by his musical alias, Cleymoore. You can check more of his works on his website: http://www.maxbinski.com
Vade Mecum is your other vinyl project, on the more deeper side of electronic music. What’s the story behind it?
Jay Bliss: In general, I’m quite an organised person and I felt like I needed another output for the deeper and more organic music. Vade Mecum is also separated into two streams: the regular 12″ series where i release deep house and techno, and the limited 10″ series which is dedicated to dub techno.
Will we get more SG releases in the coming future?
Jay Bliss: Yes, I’m already working on a new Various Artists release, which I hope it will be out right before Christmas. There will also be a remix EP for my album that’s almost complete too.
One track that pictures the SG phylosophy in the most accurate way.
Jay Bliss: That’s one tough question, because i’m very fond of all of them, but i think what answers your question best is Crihan’s track “Seara Devreme”.
Ever since Artificial Moves, the first record under his own name, Vlad Arapasu took us by surprise with every cut he released. Same techy grooves, going deep into industrial sounds, have brought Vlad working with labels like Atipic, Eastenderz or Subtil Records. And if you haven’t caught Petre Inspirescu playing most of his tracks, you surely listened to Vlad dropping bombs at a club near you. He recently finished his South American tour, with stops in Brasil, Ecuador and Colombia and he now prepares to take over Australia. As we know he did a bit of a vinyl shopping right before his summer tours, we asked Vlad Arapasu to tip us with five of his most recent vinyl aquisitions.
Every now and then, when I get hit by some blue vocoders, filtered through metallic echo, one name pops into my mind: Basic Channel
Few record labels come close to the status of being both influential and essential. Unless they somehow defined a genre or launched artists that would have turned into legends. Berlin’s Basic Channel falls into both categories.
Releasing only a dozen records during its meteoric life, between 1993 and 1995, Basic Channel has been the perfect nurturing ground from what was labeled as the dub techno subgenre. And this is all thanks to the two artists behind Basic Channel: Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald. Yet, confining these 2 guys into the trivial tag of dub techno is the least we can say about them.
Listen to the Detroit reminiscences of the 1994 Quadrant Dub and you’ll understand from where did Ricardo draw inspiration for his amazin 808 Bass Queen
The sharp techno feel of the Octagon keeps remining us of Jeff Mills’ early works, right before being abducted by aliens and start producing for their own taste
And the Radiance EP is by far one of the trippiest pieces of dub, techno, ambient, experimental, mental… however you want to call it, Radiance demands your whole attention to discover its flow & fragile structure.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Listen to all the Basic Channel releases and you’ll definitely change your perspective on electronic music. Dive into the Basic Channel side projects, like Rhythm & Sound or Chain Reaction, to discover some uncharted and rarely explored sonic territories. You won’ regret it 😉
In the mood for some quality dub techno? Check our handpicked selection here
With its calm pace, friendly inhabitants and the overall bourgeois vibe, Brussells seems like the perfect city from where the EU leaders can watch over the prosperity of our old and sometimes too conservative continent. Yet, as serene as Brussels may be perceived from the outside, the electronic music scene in the underground is alive and kicking: take as an example New Beat of R&S Records. The movement is more intimate when compared with cities like Berlin or Amsterdam but, then again, that’s the beauty of it.
Crevette Records is that kind of place where you can grasp a bit of the electronic Brussels vibe. The small record shop opened its doors 3 years ago, in 2016, in Marollen, an old neighbourhood in the city center where you can find lots of art galleries, antique shops and flea markets. Focused on electronic music, Crevette has managed to create a nice community of people around the shop, sharing the same passion for music as the people working here. The record stock, counting no less than 8,500 vinyl pieces with a backstock double in size in the warehouse , is maintained by Pim, Crevette owner, Jakob, who also deals with the distribution duties, and Walrus (Basic Moves), responsible for the second hand selection. Their record collectors alter egos contribute to this unique blend of various electronic subgenres you can find in the shop, matching even the most pretentious ears when it comes to electronic music on wax.
Crevette also operates as a record label, focused on local artists more than on a specific electronic genre. Crevette’s latest releases comes from Weird Dust and it is expected to hit the record shops’ shelves somewhere at the end of May 2019.
Curious about the things that fuel the Crevette vibe, we sat down and chatted for a bit with Jakob about Brussels’ underground, the shop’s vibe and the people that feed this amazing vibe. At the end you will find a short track selection to get a taste of Crevette Records.
What’s your background when we talk about electronic music and its underground, especially?
Everyone who works in the shop has been involved with music for at least 10 years: collecting records, DJ’ing, organising events, working for recordstores, clubs and festivals, etc.
Do you remember how did you come up with the idea of opening a record shop?
It started with an idea to start a label…this idea exploded and ended up evolving into a recordstore that still exists after two and a half years.
How does Brussels’ house & techno underground look like from Crevette?
Especially the last few years it’s growing in a very qualitative way, becoming more diverse, more inclusive, more alive and more professional, and everyone is working from a positive attitude. There is a very strong group of up and coming residents and local artists in general, and all of this is interconnected beyond just the house and techno categories.
What are the DJs looking for when they step into your shop?
I guess this goes for every shop, but they come to look for the records they didn’t know yet! It’s always rewarding when you can surprise someone with a record they really like but didn’t know about before. We also see more and more people coming to the shop for our large second-hand selection.
In any case we always try to help them find what they were looking for.
What criterias do you follow when you select records to be available in the shop’s stocks?
We buy what we think is good music, music that we would play ourselves. Obviously this means our personal tastes play a big role, but we regularly discuss where we want to go and are very much open to suggestions from our customers to improve.
Can you make a profile of the regular Crevette customer?
Impossible! Our regular customers go from local DJ’s, to kids coming to spend their hard-earned pockey money, to life-long collectors well in their 70’s.
Are you focused on some musical genre?
The focus is on electronic music, within that category we try to offer things that you won’t easily find in every other store.
Are there any second hand records crates for the avid diggers?
About 50% of the crates are filled with second-hand stuff. We get new stuff in every week which is expertly curated by Walrus and we aim for fair prices. We are always actively looking for stocks to add to our 2nd hand crates, and in Belgium you could say we are in the ‘golden triangle’: in between the major hubs and with an extremely rich history of electronic music. Treasures can be found in the strangest places and the most unlikely connections.
Any chance we can find some Romanian releases to buy?
Yes, the scene around that type of music is very much alive in Belgium! If anyone is curious about our take on it, they should check the music on ‘Hoot’, one of the labels in our distribution.
Too slippery and it could ruin your beatmatching. Too adherent and it could ruin your records. From time to time we become aware of the importance slipmats have in our vinyl setup, especially if we’re record selectors. And if we spend a lot of time in front of our turntable, at some point we feel the need to give the slipmat a life of its own, with a bit of personalization.
This is exactly what Myslipmats.com, a Warsaw-based small business, intends to do. For more than a decade they create custom slipmats. We talk about high quality stuff, thermal processing and printing as their custom slipmats have to endure a life of many spins and frictions. So we asked Jakub, founder of Myslipmats.com, to share his story and go in depth with a few technical details on designing, creating and printing custom slipmats.
First of all, let’s reveal a bit more info about your project: when did you start, where are you based and how big is the slipmats market these days? 🙂
Thanks. I started in 2007 as a new records explorer and printing technology student as well. I spent all my money for digging, good samples and directly-driven turntables. After that I wanted a new slipmat for my technics, but all I found was branded. I was looking for some funky style and imagined that Gil Scott Heron’s face would fit perfectly for the records I played. 3 months later I had my first own slipmat.
We’re based in Warsaw Poland to this very day. First I visited my favorite record stores here and showed my slipmats. Fresh designs, great colors, new thickness and nice in touch felt fabric – they liked the mats very much. The market seems to be local, but now I know you have to display your goods worldwide if you really believe in them.
How did you come up with the idea of opening a store for custom slipmats?
I just believed that all record freaks like me deserve a nice slipmat they can create themselves, and I hoped we’ll find each other.
What is the difference between a quality slipmat and a trash one?
First of all the material – it’s similar to clothes. The good quality shirt will look like new until you really dirty or rip it. Slipmats are still working – they are rubbed and scratched all the time, so the felt has to be tough.
Secondly printing. All graphics on our slipmats are an integral part of the slipmat. You can’t feel the print by the touch, so the slipmats are safe for the records and have great slip parameteres. Some mats you get with new turntables are screenprinted and go peeled away after a few days. We quit both methods to produce top quality product.
You said all of the slipmats are handmade. Can you give more details about the manufacturing process, from the materials you use to the final touches.
We use 2 types of high density felt fabric – stiff and soft. We have to impregnate it, cut it, make the thermal processing, proofing and printing. Myslipmats hires many elves and dwarfs and they have their secrets.
Best selling slipmat since the opening of the e-store
Custom slipmat. Your own, individual artwork rules!
The weirdest artwork you’ve printed until now
Blue slipmat with thousands of viagra pills and a dick.
The biggest order you received until now
…should be a regular order each month 🙂
It goes without saying that you’re an avid record collector. How big is your collection? Did you focus on a specific musical genre?
I listen to different kinds of music. I started when I was 7 with Queen and Guns’n’Roses and I went through many genres until now. However, the real music adventure began in 2007 when I bought my first turntable. My collection fills standard Ikea’s “Expedit” shelving 4×4, so several hundred.
3 records you’ve listened again and again without getting bored of them.
24-Carat Black – Ghetto Misfortune’s Wealth
Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You
Alex Puddu – The Golden Age Of Danish Pornography (all volumes)
The biggest amount of money you spent on a single record.
600PLN (about 140€) for the WWO “W Witrynach Odbicia”. This is polish rap from the golden age I listened to on cassette in 1999, and finally could buy on vinyl last year.
Do you like crate digging into a physical shop like Misbits or just browse on discogs?
I buy new relases online, but I love digging into record stores, I like the atmosphere and small talks. I Hope to visit Bukarest and Misbits soon.
There is a strange connection between the loopy minimal house that’s buzzing around in the underground for a few years now and the beatless faded melodies that describe the ambient genre: they both have the power to hide that essence that resonates with your spirit behind flat repetitive frameworks. You need to go beyond these frameworks to grasp the beauty of these genres.
The ambient feelings were perfectly describes long ago by titans like Aphex Twin, Brian Eno or Autechre. Yet, as music tends to melt labels and styles, ambient electronica has mutated also, to reach different states of mind, yet keeping the beatless structure.
So we thought of stepping away from the 4/4 dance floor mood and explore the tip of modern ambient iceberg with four albums that caught our attention lately 🙂
Chi Factory – The Mantra Recordings [Astral Industries]
Jaw dropping artwork described in the audio spectrum by Chi Factory, the Dutch band from the 80s’ that made a glorious return this year. Subtle Afro drums, field recordings and oddball piano strings are just a few elements entangled in the 4 chapters. The Mantra Recordings is available at Misbits Record Shop, click here to add it to your collection
Gas – Narkopop [Kompakt]
Wolfgang Voigt aka Gas is one of the 3 founders of the long lasting german label Kompakt. And Narkopop is the comeback of his ambient alter ego, going from an unsettling Wagner like atmosphere to soothing spiritual experiences. This one is perfect for the grey November Sundays 😉
Terreke – Improvisational Loops [Music From Memory]
We go back to the Netherlands for some Terreke signed calm introspections. Yes, the same artist we fell in love with a while ago through his housey releases on LIES, goes on exploring eerie ambient soundscapes. Improvisational Loops was released at the Amsterdam based Music From Memory and comes with a 19 minutes track that develops slowly into the dark abysses of ambient.
Jonny Nash – Eden [Melody As Truth]
Jonny Nash’s releases were all covered with an esoteric layer created by gentle musical instruments. Eden LP makes no exception. The album was launched at his own Melody As Truth record label in 2017 and brings together in perfect harmony Eastern vibes and Western structures. Probably the music favourited by Zen monks 🙂
Batz and Borac know each other since forever. And their most beloved project, RotoPerCutoR, is nothing more than their common passion for collecting and playing good music on wax. By good music we mean that special groove that transcends genres and labels, be it hip hop, funk, soul, house music or trip hop.
RotoPerCutoR were with Misbits Record Shop since the first day we opened (Batz & Borac were invited to play at our launching party) and they will be joining our 6th anniversary party on March the 14th, 2019, together with Chill D, Alex Puicea and Profet.
To get you right into the mood for an afternoon party, we challenged the guys to hint us with a handful of records so start taking notes for your next crate digging session.
First record you’ve bought from Misbits Record Shop (if you still remember it)
Batz: Chris Simmonds – Controlled Emotions
Borac: Dee Landez – Only You Will Know
The track / record that captures perfectly Misbits’ vibe
Batz: S. Moreira – That Was Just A Dream
Borac: The African Dream – All The Same Family
The record that never left your DJ bag
Batz: The Deep – Love Your Brother
Borac: Vil-N-X – Give Ya Luv Show Ya Luv (Deep Luv Mix)
The record you’d play on a nice March afternoon at a backyard party
Yeah, we know it best: there’s a jungle of record labels that have chosen to release exclusively on vinyl, all of them with amazing music! Yet, the budget to be spent on fresh wax is limited, even if sometimes you prefer a healthy crate digging session and skip some wild weekend parties to save some money 🙂
So, to make your life easy, we made a short list with five Romanian record labels to watch in 2019, labels that have never disappointed us with their releases. So be sure to check what’s fresh from them, there’s always something amazing to be found 😉
Run by Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia, Amphia has become home for their collaborative project as well as personal ones, along with some big names, like Rhadoo, Cezar or Dubtil. Vlad Caia opened up 2019 with Division II, second part of his LP, still available here
You cannot expect anything but good music from Raresh’ record label. Strongly focused on promoting young producers, MTRZ has launched artists like MP, Sublee or Melodie. Latests addition to its catalogue, MP’s Niste Treaba 2.2, is now on presale here
In search for what’s cooking in the house & techno underground? All you need to do is check the releases on Playedby, a fresh independent record label based in Bucharest. Emi and Discret Popescu (Crihan’s alter ego) are here, with a LIZZ EP announced for this year. In the meantime, give Ohm Hourani’s EP a spin to enjoy some nice sounds.
Alex Puicea expanded his record selector skills into the publishing area through Rackmizar. Melodie and Teluric are the names to first step into Rackmizar’s universe, expect something really good from this label in 2019!
Regardless if you talk about some French pop from the 80s’, some obscure 70s’ funk music recorded on 7″ records or mellow jazz made in Russia, the music collected on vinyl by Vlad Oscar has one thing in common: the groove. We tasted his signature groove for quite a few times during our small gatherings at the shop or around Bucharest, as he’s constantly playing lots of vinyl gems from his personal collection.
And, as we’re getting closer to the Valentine’s Day, when we prepared a few surprises for all the vinyl lovers and lovers alike (you can check our event details here), we asked Vlad Oscar to put together a short list of records that spread infinite love. Just make sure you’ll listen to these records in a good company 🙂
Vlad Oscar will spin some records at Misbits Record Shop on February the 14th, alongside Alexincase and Iorga. Click here for more details
The New Rotary Connection – Hey, Love (1971) One of my all time favorite love songs.
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue (1958) I always enjoyed her jazz-soaked love songs
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You (1956) Because love is scary sometimes.
Barry White – Barry White Sings for Someone You Love (1977) Nothing beats a glass of cognac accompanied by Barry White’s music on a romantic night.
Bob Marley and the Wailers – Kaya (1978) Good vibes of love and positivity.
With billions of stream plays and millions of albums sold all over the world, it looks like hip hop is living its best times. Artists like Drake, Niky Minaj or Kendrick Lamar are followed by legions of fans, counting tens of millions and music videos count hundred of milions of views on any digital platform out there. Yet, the recent resurgence of the vinyl format is adding something that was lost somewhere at the beginning of the 2000s’: the soul of hip hop, with all the warmth and emotions only a vinyl record can provide 😉
So we turned our focus to the real hip hop Golden Age from the 90s’, when this genre was delivering a strong message, amidst the creative and sometimes bloody rivalry between the East and West Coast of the USA. Led by names like Notorious BIG, Tupac or Dr Dre, the hip hop was flourishing and was given some musical landmarks that had influenced artists for many decades that follow.
So, in no particular order and from our point of view, here are five hip hop albums from the 90s that could be easily tagged as influential and essential. There are many, many more that deserve to be mentioned so feel free to explore our record crates to find them. Be sure to check Misbits’ Hip Hop section from time to time, for some juicy records.
Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
10 years ago I was caught in the deep house x tech house blend broadcasted on deepmix.ru. At that time, Andrey Pushkarev was the resident DJ of the Russian online radio station, the moment his name started to appear in lineups all over Europe.
Whether sliding towards the dubbier realms of techno or going straight into his comfort zone, an emotional deep house with just enough energy to keep you dancing for hours, one thing is certain: it is not easy to tag Andrey Pushkarev’s DJ sets.
So we asked him to give us 5 tracks he discovered during his extensive crate digging sessions throughout Europe’s record shops, just to make an idea of his musical universe 🙂
Anywhere you look, be it cars, snickers, headphones or notebooks, there is always a legendary product. Put this statement into the turntable world and everyone will point to one iconic device: the famous Technics SL1200! With a history going back to 1972, the SL1200 received a few upgrades until 2010, when the production was ceased. Back by popular demand in 2016 under the SL1200G name, the legendary pickup has now a price tag that rivals a medium sized car: around 4000 euros.
So, as every sane record selector would do, we had to turn our attention towards the second hand market, where we could find a huge amount of offers with prices varying from 300 to 1,000 euros. Apart from the looks, a serious record selector needs a fully functional SL1200, so we asked Alex Puicea, a vinyl purist and a specialist when it comes to turntables, to tell us briefly what to look for when buying a second hand turntable, especially a Technics SL1200).
Pitch: a pitch set to zero requires the biggest dots on the platter edge to look like they’re not moving at all
Anti skating: Take the cartridge out and move the tonearm weight to the farthest end. If the tone arm follows the movement of the antiskate adjustment knob, then you’re all good
Start Stop button: a snappy reaction to the Start Stop button tells us that the drive is in good shape. Any inertial momentum is an indication that something is not right
Tonearm: check for any heavy usage signs or any corrosion signs at the cartridge end. Believe it or not, some people use their own saliva to make the cartridge slide smoothly along the grooves 🙂
After a long, hard working day and a proper meal, time to step into your favourite slippers, enjoy a glass of your usual vice and spend some time with your precious record collection, displayed nicely in your room. At the center of this vinyl universe is your beloved record player, chosen carefully to respect a specific list of criterias, not too expensive and at the same time not falling into the plastic-y toyish side of record players, treasuring sound quality, yet not spending a few thousand euros 🙂
As usual, we come at hand with a short list of record players that would suit your basic home listening needs without breaking your bank account.
The least expensive unit from Pro-ject’s turntable lineup, Primary delivers a warm sound in a package that follows this brand minimalistic design. The visible drive belt is a nice design touch and the Ortofon NM cartridge that comes included gets the job done, without pretending to be more than it is. Yet, at 200 euros you don’t expect to fall into the audiophiles category.
Is there a HiFi gear list without a Sony product included? Guess not, as the Japanese giant does literally every electronic thing known to mankind. The PS-HX500 is a nice compromise between the sweet analog feel of playing wax and the need to digitalize your record collection for having it at your disposal while home away. With a rather dull design, this pickup offers a lively and transparent sound. While we’d recommend to use it with a standalone phono stage, you can hook it to your computer via the USB port. And if you watch out for discounts at this time of the year, you can get one for around 350 euros.
The king is back, with a few tweaks to make it wear the crown proudly in 2018, too! Planar 1 2018 edition comes with a revamped tonearm, with precision bearings and bias adjustment that make things even easier to set up and with a greater platter weight for steadier sound. And these would be most probably the best way you can spend 350 euros this Christmas: unrivaled performance at this price range and if you’ll add the 100 euros perfomance pack (upgraded belt, wool slipmat and a moving magnet cartridge) you’ll get yourself a record player that would definatelly stand the test of time for many years to come.
Sometimes you feel like you had enough 4/4 beats bleeding from your turntables. Maybe it’s time for something smooth and silky, that kind of groove only downtempo is capable to bring down on your couch. So we started to dig into our collection to dust off 5 amazing records that we play from time to time, always with the same pleasure like we did the first time.
Don’t forget to check our ambient and downtempo categories for some home listening goodies
#1Telefon Tel Aviv – Map of What Is Effortless 
Beyond the agitated political context that tore Ukraine in many pieces in the last years, electronic music has proven to be a common language that caught our attention when looking to the Eastern part of Europe. The underground electronic scene is thriving, with the likes of Vakula or Nastia leading the way and opening new horizons for the new wave of Ukrainian producers. Silat Beksi is one of them: a signature sound both obscure and extremely danceable, combining elements of tech house with traces of minimal house that send us to right in the middle of the infamous Romanian hype, has made its way on the underground dance floors through releases on Pleasure Zone, Baile Musik or Vivus Records.
So it was about time to explore a bit deeeper into these territories, so we asked Silat Beksi to shed some light on the hot Ukrainian scene, pointing out some new producers, clubs and record labels. You can check Silat’s releases on our record stock here
How did you end up with this passion for electronic music?
Silat Beksi: First of all I had a dream to play vinyl and to create own music. My musical career began back in 2003 with DJing and I was constantly experimenting, discovering and creating music with different software. It took a number of years to learn how everything works and to find my algorithms in production.
Are there any Ukrainian DJs & producers that were a source of inspiration for you?
Silat Beksi: Actually nope.
If we want to taste the electronic underground scene in Ukraine, what clubs should we visit?
Silat Beksi: I’m living at the south of Ukraine near the Black Sea. It’s the most beautiful city with sunny days and a sea breeze. Here in Odessa we have well known club, called Port. On the other hand there is club Closer situated in Kyiv.
Vinyl is part of the electronic music culture since the beginning. Is there a favourite record shop you visit often in your home country that offers you what you need in terms of house & techno records?
Silat Beksi: My favourite store is Wax’N’Talks. The place has a warm atmosphere and very nice people. The owner is my good friend, a DJ with great experience, a digger and simply an amazing person. That’s why it’s a place where I like to spend my time and buy vinyl.
One Ukrainian record label we should keep an eye on
Silat Beksi: Modeight Records
One producer coming from Ukraine that impressed you this year.
Silat Beksi: Vakula is a guy I met this year. We spent some time together and I was impressed with his production skills and passion for music.
Any new releases from you this year?
Silat Beksi: I have a few more EPs out this year. One of them on Pleasure Zone and another one on Curtea Veche
You know it’s going to be a classic when your design changes so little in so many years. Take the VW Beetle, for example: the car that rejuvenated the German post war society has kept its iconic shapes to these years we live in and it’s still a car you turn your head after it.
Same thing goes with the Technics SL-1200. Launched over 45 years ago, this turntable kept its silhouette, adding just a few design corrections, mainly to make it more usable. And, dude, Japan’s craftsmen have an eye for fine details. Everything looks perfect: from the pitch fader to the small light, ending up with that smooth feeling when you speed up or down your record. Yes, that feeling.
So you can imagine the pleasure we had when we discovered this video created by The Vinyl Factory, that showed us the internals of this famous turntable. So, sit back, pop a beer and enjoy this short movie starring the all time favourite: Technics SL-1200
Deep House. Two words that were usually used to tag that type of electronic music with a special groove, impossible to describe in other words yet easy to feel it. Sometimes it is that Rhodes piano giving you shivers down the spine, sometimes it is a clap that puts you straight into a daydreaming mood, sometimes it is just the bassline… From the late 80’s, when the likes of Marshall Jefferson and Larry Heard coined the term with their jazzy house productions bearing the Chicago influences, deep house mutated in all forms and shapes, yet keeping the tempo to a maximum 125BPM, comfortable, hypnotic and relaxing.
Fast forward 30 years, in our times, when deep house mislabels a lot of artists and record labels, but continues to evolve, as hybrid with multiple genres influences. So, as a proof to the diversity that lies behind this tag, we have chosen 3 labels that released some interesting records of what we call a modern take on deep house. Be sure you follow them, click on the link to check the Misbits’ stocks:
Vibraphone: italian label born in the early 90s’, now back with some really interesting releases like Opto Mystics
Red Ember Australia – Australian deep house label based in Perth, active during 2001 and revitalized in 2016
Adam Longman Parker aka Afriqua is that kind of guy you’ll spend hours talking about music, regardless of genres, years or format. Afriqua received an extensive training in classical piano from a young age yet he let his soul driven towards electronic music. Now based in Berlin, Afriqua visited Romania for quite a few times, where he played at Control Club and Skema.
As we know Afriqua as an avid record collector, we asked him to make us a list with a few records he dug lately during his crate digging sessions:
There’s something unexplainable attractive when it comes to the eerie dusty atmosphere created around us every time we listen to dub techno. With thick basslines originated in the dub culture, resonating with our root chakra frequency and melancholic chords echoing through the techno structure, the dub techno sound is the creation of Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, forming Basic Channel somewhere in the early 90’s.
Chain Reaction, their own label, proposed artists like Monolake, Vladislav Delay or Fluxion and at the same time Moritz and Mark maintained the essential contact with the jamaican dub roots through the Rhythm & Sound project.
Fast forward to the 21st century: dub techno kept its undeground framework, creating communities around its murky tones and evolving slowly into a hybrid of dub, ambient and experimental, at the same time reminding us that techno is here to stay.
We handpicked some of our favourite dub techno records, still available at Misbits Record Shop. Click on the title of each release to go directly to the shop’s page. Enjoy! 🙂
At some point in your journey through the realms of electronic music you feel the need to go deeper, to discover what the artists are using as inspiration to create timeless pieces of music, to understand the transformations disco and hip hop took to give birth to house music, to value the history behind DJing, to praise the Detroit influence or appreciate the dub legacy.
Lucky for us, 20 years ago Red Bull Music Academy started the lecture series, featuring more than 400 interviews with musicians, producers and DJs, from the height of big festivals stages to the undergrounds of unknown basements.
So we decided to list our favourite ones, featuring some legends that brought a few revelations when it comes to what music represents:
Living with your increasingly growing passion for records can turn itself into a crowdy business sometimes: records stacked all over your apartment, taking all the free space even in the kitchen, acummulating dust and transforming your living area into a horder’s paradise. Yeah, we know the feeling 🙂
Apart from the standard IKEA furniture that helps you store your precious 12″ collection, there are a few tips & tricks to clear up some space and make you enjoy your records once again. We dug a bit into the craftsman’s heaven, Etsy, and found a few sollutions that won’t break the bank, made in Europe (just to keep the shipping costs at a decent rate).
The Record Shelf – around 50 euros
The walls are usually an unused space so choose your best looking records and display them on these nice looking shelves.
The Record Crate – around 50 euros
Wooden crates are pretty stylish and these UK made ones in particular are stackable and pretty sturdy. They can fit around 100 records each 😉
The Record Holder – around 60 euros
As we’re pretty sure you have some favourites you’d like to keep them close to your pickup, this record holder will do the simple job of stacking them nicely and will also give you space to search through them in no time
With deep connections into Romania’s underground culture and his unique meditative sound patterns entangled into simple and effective percussions, it’s no wonder that Vincentiulian has released on labels like Metereze, Moment or Atipic.
As we were curious about what records are on his wantlist whenever he goes for a crate digging session, we asked the artist to tip us with 5 records close to his electronic heart.
It’s pretty difficult not to fall in love with Andu Simion‘s house textures, with cosmic themed chords engraved into his unique percussions, sometimes uber techy, sometimes deeply minimal. With releases for Atipic or Polen, Andu quickly became that colourful spot into many DJ’s sets so we asked him what records he had bought recently to make an idea of his musical universe.
Ever been down the discogs.com spiral, jumping from record label to record label, from artist to artist and from vendor to vendor, adding a countless number of vinyl pieces to your wantlist and waiting impatiently to pile up a few records from the same seller to justify the shipping costs?
Yeah, we know the feeling, we’ve been there a few times. So, for this year’s Record Store Day we selected 5 vinyl gems from Misbits’ official Discogs account and will make them available into the shop on Saturday, the 21st of April. From Hamid’s bouncy minimal house to Baaz’ signature deep house or weird electro released on Sport Records, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something to suit your taste and discogs addiction 😉 Click on the artworks below for a quick check 😉
Record Store Day will be celebrated at Misbits Record Shop on Saturday the 21st of April: cool music, fresh record stock and a laid back vibe on our terrace 😉 Details here
Every now and then you need to give yourself some time to relax and go into a introspective mood. For this reason we prepared a special ambient & experimental record selection, in our stocks for the Record Store Day, Saturday 21st of April, when we’ll open the terrace for the first time this year for a nice little event to enjoy the sunny spring days in Bucharest. Details here
Hit the artworks below to listen to audio samples.
We thought of bringing a bit of grace and smoothness behind our decks so we started a fresh new series entitled “Girls Love Vinyl”. Obviously, it’s about girls and their passion for records, regardless if they are DJs or just record selectors with a nice collection for their home listening.
The Smoothy Grooves is the perfect playground for this series so we started up in March with Flysh, as she came up mixing a nice selection of mainly deep house cuts, expressing her love for the melodic side of electronic music. Check below the little chat we had with her and, of course, the mix we recorded back then 🙂
How did you start collecting vinyl? Where does this passion come from?
I had a small record collection when I was a child, my father used to play me bedtime stories on a daily basis. This habit faded out with me growing up. In 2014, while I was in Germany, I came across some used electronics shops, where I found an old Sony pick-up that I adopted and then resumed building up my records collection.
What part of the electronic music attracts you the most? Name 3 record labels you love.
I mostly prefer listening to deep house and tech house, but I’m also a big fan of Romanian electronic music. My favorite labels are Smallville, Ourown releases and the Cabaret collection.
3 records you own and you’re most proud of
Hard to say, but I’ll pick:
Flocking behavior – Julius Steinhoff (my favorite LP)
Moment of clarity – Barac (one of my firsts Romanian records)
Be it under his Funk E alias or a variety of weirdly funny monickers, like Marvin Gain, Laurentiu has managed to push his lively take on tech house on the underground dance floors around the world. Apart from appearances on Raum… Musik, Kurbits or The Rabbit Hole, Funk E chose to express himself freely on his own imprint, Great Empty Circle, with a number of amazing releases.
So it was about time to embark on a virtual crate digging tour with him, asking for 5 releases that pleased his ears lately while searching for good music engraved in vinyl.
to reveal some of his favourite vinyl gems. You may know this guy from his amazing releases for labels like Autoreply, BodyParts, Partisan or Project London Raw. Not to mention his frequent appearances behind the decks of some pretty well known clubs like Der Visionaere or Hoppetosse!
Enjoy this selection of ambient records, with a slight touch of techno, drone and electro
When he’s behind the decks playing music, our good friend Kosta has this habit of walking our electronic souls from the sunny highways of house music to the jazzier back alleys. Don’t take our word for it, just hit play to the below track selection, made by Kosta to mark his appearance at Misbits’ terrace for yet another Vinyl Afternoon, together with Pif and Chill D (click here for more details).
Here is one of those rare occasions we were allowed to take a sneak peak onto one of our favourite record collectors that still sticks to his rules of buying vinyl to touch the vastness of the electronic music diversity instead of searching for tunes to please the crowd.
Narcis is enjoying his time, spending countless hours digging the record shops’ crates for gems. He was kind enough to share a few of his latest purchases from Misbits Record Shop, ranging from electro to the purest forms of techno.
E.R.P. – New Road
Smyglyssna – Sight Is Something More Than All Things Seen EP
Yeah, here is that smell of enthusiasm again floating in the air as a whole year of good music is lying in front of our eyes and in this particular case into our ears! 🙂
So let’s buckle up for the 2017 ride and take these 5 checkpoints as references to what we think it would be hot for the coming months. Click on each record label name to check out what we might still have left in the stocks.
At Mule Musiq it is definatelly about the organic part of electronic music, it’s about that human touch. And the japanese record label nailed with some great releases, from Lawrence’s A Day In The Life to DJ Sprinkles’ Midtown 120 Blues. Petre Inspirescu will be back at Mule Musiq with another album somewhere this spring, another reason to follow this record label.
Aku Records, placed somewhere on the border between deep house and its more minimalistic side, amazed us with quite a few quality releases, signed by the likes of Janeret, Varhat and Triptil. We’re pretty sure 2017 will be the same, if not better, for Aku!
Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia started Amphia Records as a place where no rules or genre labels would be applied, a place where creativity would roam free. Our expectations were paid out until now with a bunch of great releases, peaking with SIT’s Sideways trilogy. As for 2017, just expect the unexpected when it comes to Amphia 😉
are when our favourite artists spend countless hours squatting over our record crates and smiling, tired and happy, after they found a few records that would definitely spice up their DJ sets 🙂
That was the case a few weeks ago with Berlin’s
, an artist in love with electronic music but no stranger to neo classical sounds.
As we were curious about his musical taste, we asked him nicely to give us a hint about 5 records he bought from our shop during his last trip to Bucharest.
Here is it!
Baaz – Wisp [ELV005]
Elevate is the deep house label from Daniel Bell that put out a series of influential records in the late 90’s. That’s what pushed me to give a listen to this Baaz record since I wasn’t too familiar with this release in particular to be honest. It’s a very smooth and deep track..could be a secret weapon if used wisely.
Monotix – Wicked Plastic [SOS-003]
The Monotix releases on ‘Sound on Sound’ are great, this record was the only one i was missing in order to finish my collection of the SOS releases. Ace!
Tchaikovsky – The Sleeping Beauty – Ballet Suite – Pas d’action – Adagio
I wasn’t born in a family of musicians but during my childhood my dad used to put some classical records in the living room during the weekends and this was one of those..that’s why i’ve a thing for classical music i guess. I was honestly surprised to have found such piece of music in a record store where you are supposed to go digging mostly for club music.
Kassem Mosse – B1 untitled – [WORKSHOP 12]
It’s no secret that Kassem Mosse has a very eclectic approach when it comes to music and his ability to maintain a distinctive type of sound and style is something i really admire and respect. This haven’t found yet a place in my sets but it’s something i really wanted to add to my record colletion.
Janeret – Rear [JOULE01]
This isn’t a second hand record obviously but i was very happy and pleased to see that Misbits offered me a great selection of music, from new arrivals to second hand records. Hard to not find gems there. Regarding the release, I think it’s quite hard to find people who doesn’t like the music of this French guy. I own most of his physical releases as they work perfectly for different
First and foremost, a true DJ is a an avid record collector. It’s not just about entertaining the crowds, it’s about the hard work (if we can name it work :D) of digging out records from dusty crates stored improperly in flea markets and of spending countless hours jumping from obscure label to obscure label on discogs. It’s about that gut feeling when you play an used, forgotten vinyl and it somehow matches your soul’s frequency.
Mannheim’s Sebastian & David aka
are falling into this category of artists. We saw the sparks in their eyes when they dug out Misbits’ crates a few months ago so we knew they have a record story to share so we challenged them name 5 records they found in the used sections of Misbits Record Shop during their last visit. Here it is 🙂
And don’t forget: spend some time digging and the rest will come easy 😉
James Flavour & Sasse – Who’s In Da House [DIRT 041]
Here we have a big house stomper with a warm, driving baseline, which makes you dance immediately. The vocal snippets in the back create a very nice, forward pushing atmosphere! There is one vocal I don’t like that much but in the end you can do an edit without it 🙂 This track is perfect for peaktime moments!
Studio 01/8 – light pink label
This label is a part of “profan” records cologne. Two very long minimal tracks which are produced on point. One side got this massive baseline and some very nice synth chords in the backround. If you have a proper soundsystem , this one could be played at every night (or day) period. Both tracks are a very intelligent piece of electronic music. The flipside is not that groovy but sometimes it’s good to have it in your bag.
On the long side we have a track with its very own atmosphere. The arrangement is what I love the most. The first minutes are just a drum beat with a powerfull base. The best moment is when this little melody turns in!! It’s very emotional. If you play it at the right moment it develops into a hymn. Full support for these guys!!
Tommi White – Pushin’ [OBL12008]
The A1 track ‘Pushin’ shows the typical UK Tech-House Sound from the early 2000’s. A tribal groove percussive beats which makes a perfect tune for peak time. I prefer the flipside ‘In his ear’ which is a timeless House Bomb! Also good for peak-time moments with a nice melodie and a surprising peak.
Various – Southsiders EP [RWX002]
The main track ‘Marlin'(Broom + Hill) is a groovy Housetrack with deep melodic chords and a warm synth-melodie. Nice for for open air in summertime. My favorite tune on this EP follows on A2.’dislikes'(Broom/Junker) gives me a warm and positive feeling every time I hear it. A groovy Bassline and an epic melodie keeps it in your head and in my recordbag for a long time.
Celebrating the loooong nights spent digging into discogs.com virtual crates we thought it will be nice to show you 3 of our favourite records listed on Misbits’ Discogs account, an account filled with various types of carefully selected music, from some rare romanian folk to classical stuff, jazz sounds, disco tunes and, of course, a cool stock of electronic music. You’ll find hard to find stuff, with prices a bit over the average you’ll find on our shop but not too expensive 😉
Yeah, we know, not everybody buys records to carry them around and spin them in front of techno hungry crowds. Some of us buy vinyl for their home listening pleasures: sitting comfortably in your favourite armchair, sipping from a cold beer and just enjoying the analog pops & clicks from your favourite band album.
So, what turntable is right for you? What turntable will best suit your listening needs? As right now you can choose from tens of turntables, we decided to help you decide what is the best pick-up you can buy and install in your living room.
1. The looks
You know you’ll spend a lot of valuable time with your record player so why not enjoy every minute of it? Nowadays you can choose from some really good looking turntables, from an ultra minimal design to some badass futuristic ones. The price is the only limit 😀
2. Preamp / No preamp
Depending on your home audio setup, you’ll need a phono preamp. That’s because the turntables produce a PHONO output signal. You can buy record players with built-in preamp or you’ll have to buy it separately, regardless if you have an amplifier, some active speakers or you just use your computer. Or, if you inherited your father’s amplifier that most likely has PHONO inputs, you can plug your preamp-less turntable directly.
3. Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive
Some turntables feature an independent motor that drives the platter via a rubber belt, some have the motor integrated into the platter. As you want a better sound quality (less noise, less vibrations) and you don’t intend to DJ with your turntable, we suggest you go for the Belt Drive technology 😉
4. Turntable Features
Again, keep in mind that you’ll use it to enjoy your music at home. So you won’t need a pitch control but you’ll definitely need 33 / 45 rpm capable turntable, an anti-skating adjustment and some tonearm adjustments to accomodate a range of cartridges.
5. Cartridge / stylus
Depending on how much money you want to spend on your audiophile vice, the cartridge (the tiny box with a needle / stylus) that touches the vinyl surface in order to produce sounds) quality will vary: from a non replaceable shitty one on super entry level turntables to some impressive stuff in higher end models. The more money you have, the better sound quality you’ll get from your purchase 😀
6. USB Port
If you intend to digitalise your record collection (store it in mp3 format to your computer), look for a turntable with an USB port
As your you’ll get more pretentious over time regarding your home listening habits, it’s wise to buy a turntable that supports replacing the cartridges, at least
Now you’re all set, go buy yourself a cool turntable, lock yourself inside the house and spend some quality time with your records 😉
Vinyl records have a life of their own: they break, warp, wear from playing them a lot or collect dust and dirt. But maybe that’s why we love them so much 🙂
Now it’s time to show them a bit of love and start taking care of them. We put together a few simple steps on how to clean up your records so you can add some years to their life, especially on that rare stuff you’ve always been afraid of damaging it. You can find all the cleaning products and protective accessories on our shop, so feel free to hit this link.
Watch the short tutorial below and start spending a few minutes every day showing some love to your record collection!
Here, at Misbits Record Shop, we like summer. No, wait, actually we LOVE summer! The sheer pleasure of taking plunges into cool pools, the thrills of wakeboard riding, the satisfaction of crawling ourselves on the sun beds, like lizards searching for the sun.
But how does the summer fit our love for electronic music? Oh, yes, it fits big time, as we trade the dark & crowded clubs to beach parties, lake parties, festivals or any kind of outdoor music gatherings.
And, as we know you resonate 100% with our feelings, we have a BIG surprise for your inner sun-loving record collector, just to make these summer months even more enjoyable: we slice the prices with 5 lei from each and every record in stock now exclusively online on www.misbits.ro until the end of August. That’s around EUR 1.1 or USD 1.24.
So, enjoy the sun and our summer sales, start digging and watch this space for more surprises to come! The 60 DAYS OF SUMMER have just begun! Promotion is running up until the end of September so plenty of time to grab those records you’re hunting 😉
How to find your place in the ever expanding electronic music universe than constantly searching for new sounds & visions and trying to understand and accept even the oddest forms of audio trips from the darkest corners of ones and zeros music?
This must be Dragoș Rusu’s mission, materialized into the-attic.net, a project aimed at unraveling abstract tones of music, with no typical boundaries of genre, style, time or space.
Ahead of his involvment into the Outernational Days, the festival touching the most remote cultures, we asked Dragoș to point out 5 albums, weird in their essence yet essential for his huge record collection.
Fresh, uncompromisable and blistering, Mazzocchetti’s new album stands out as a true weapon against the common perception of electronic music and how it should sounds like. Each track feels like beating metal tables with chains in a rebel Vega style. Haunting, hypnotic and confused, this is the kind of album that will help you in your daily routine; yes, this is the perfect companion in nature, cars, nightclubs, bedrooms, long poker nights, any possible sport you could imagine, metros, festivals, news stands, you name it – Mazzocchetti has it.
Shoc Corridor – Experiments In Incest
Shoc Corridor’s amazing work left behind is now celebrated in high class, with the band’s first album repressed by Dark Entries Records. Experiments in Incest is an album that strongly needs to be heard, as it evokes an absolutely fantastic music universe from the past, which seems to be gone, forgotten or simply ignored these days. Emotionally rich, hauntingly beautiful, deep and immersive.
Regis – Manbait
Carl O’Connor is a producer of many names and many different projects, solo or within collaboration with other talents. He started the (now famous) Downwards record label together with his label partner Peter Sutton (aka Female) in 1993 and found it increasingly difficult to find artists to share their vision. To this day, they still work with the same core artists. The new album in discussion, Manbait – freshly released by the Blackest Ever Black imprint – is actually a compilation of different remixes signed by Regis and a handful of original productions made over years. The LP starts off with a solid remix to the track ‘Loss’ of NY based minimal synth/experimental group Ike Yard. This modern reinterpretation of the legendary track – originally released in ’82 – stands out as a perfect piece reflecting the nowadays aesthetics of electronic music and the multiple (say it infinite) ways of expression.
Karamika – Karamika
Combining the forces of Black Merlin (London based producer and DJ, on his real name George Thompson) and Musiccargo (Dusseldorf based Gordon Pohl), Karamika is an outstanding piece of music, a musical journey like no other split between 12 different TONs (as all of the tracks are titled simply TON). I was waiting for a long time for this release to be officially put out and, in terms of what an album should represent for its cultural context and how it should be made in terms of aesthetics and music values, how it should sound and what it should reflect, Karamika is a perfect album. It is THAT album.
This electronic music visual code of rituals, reflected by the D.Å.R.F.D.H.S. mythology is not one to be taken lightly nor too heavily – it is not an inside joke at all but, likely, it’s not your own apocalypse either if you don’t dance to it. Dard Å Ranj Från Det Hebbershålska Samfundet or D.Å.R.F.D.H.S. is a Swedish duo comprising of musicians Michel Isorinne and Jonas Rönnberg (Varg). Apart from Northern Electronics label, that Rönnberg is curating alongside with Abdulla Rashim, D.Å.R.F.D.H.S. have been frequenting record labels such as Opal Tapes, Clandestine Records and Dutch label Field Recordings – paving a pattern of cerebral connections not just between various music entities, but also between rhythms and sonic textures.
Once a year a huge chunk of Arthur Verona street, hidden somewhere downtown Bucharest, between a coquette interbellic park and a dusty boulevard, is taken over by people. From skilful craftsmen, architects and urban warriors to graphers, comic designers, DJs and fashion victims, Street Delivery has become the point were traditional arts & crafts are clashing beautifully with the urban life.
If you’re a searching for the music quality rather than the hype at parties usually go under the radar, chances are you danced to Paul Popa’s selection for a few times. Avid collector and passionate digger, Paul started his DJ career somewhere in Bristol, also organizing parties under the Varme name.
I’ve been hunting this for a while and luckily I managed to buy a cheap copy when someone put it on sale on Discogs. My pick is Sense the Presense (the reason why i purchased it). Great bassline, works well on the dancefloor 🙂
Mesak – Haivenet
What I love (and hate sometimes) about Discogs is that you go on a path looking for new stuff you haven’t heard off and after 1 hour of spending time on it, you realize you have over 30-40 tabs open in your browser and it’s nearly crashing. However, with a lot of patience, you discover releases like Mesak’s on Klakson (Dexter & Steffi’s label). Great spacey electro bits, my favorite being Saturdaynight Teaser, which i play it as much as i can 🙂
DJ E Tones – Detergent For The Soul
Bit of a classic one for me. I always loved to listen to it and managed to buy a copy recently. Bit hard to find a spot for it to play, but it’s a great addition for the collection. Favorite track is Soul Detergent with a great rhythm and amazing jazz samples and vocals.
Etienne – Airmetique
Lately, I’ve been buying less new releases with the exception of couple of producers and labels. One of those producers is Etienne, a French talent that delivers mindblowing sets as a DJ and amazing productions. My pick is Delphus, a darker track with rolling UK Garage drums (reminds me of the early 2000s pre-Dubstep time). Perfect to sneak it in a warmup 🙂
Ever Vivid – Sketches Of My Life
Last pick is a release by Ever Vivid on Open Mind Recordings. I purchased a record by The Echelon Plan a while ago and I looked for his other stuff. I discovered his side project as Ever Vivid alongside Nick Dunton and was blown away by one particular track entitled ‘Lost Love’, which is my favorite on this release. Amazing Electro rhythm and alongside those warm pads and enchanting vocals, in the background, make the perfect track to dance and play during daytime or as a last track in a set. 🙂
To understand the whole beauty of house music you have to embrace its hip hop roots. Borac started exploring electronic music from its ones and zeros, mixing and scratching hip hop tunes since 2000. Grounded on his turntablism know-how, his love with house & techno developed 5 years later. The Rotopercutor project, born from his lifelong friendship with Batz, came to life around 2009. Both of them true vinyl evangelists, they started preaching about various form of electronic music under the AudioLab name.
A Bitch Named Johanna - Sex Is My Bass [Project X Records]
A not so hyped record, still cheap on the market, from the “cheap and super good” category, with an awesome bassline and voice. Its groove has the power of softening up the crowd. Got a few of these ammos in my DJ bag 😉
Florian Kupfer – Lifetrax [L.I.E.S.]
I’m an avid L.I.E.S. fan and this is definately one of my favourite records. The reason? Well, it’s dark & dirty, it grabs you without even noticing. Need another reason? I usually play it as one of the last tracks in my sets… I let you imagine the reason I do this 😉
Steaward – Steaward Vol. 1 [Steaward]
In love with the label sound and its owner, DJ Steaw, both as producer and sound engineer. In love also with the 707 drum machine, felt in all its glory on this EP. This side label redefines the tool releases standard with so much attention given to the sound, mix and mastering! I got all their releases and I love each and every one of them. This record is clearly a dancefloor weapon and a cool crowd lifter. The dirty mix worth a listen, too!
The Bermuda Triangle* – The Bermuda Triangle [Vibraphone Records]
This italian label from the 90’s came back to life last year with 2 represses selected from their most sought after EPs, with prices for the original press that went nuts on discogs. Good move, music wise, just imagine how this body melting ultra saturated percussion will sound on a proper soundsystem! I’ll tel you how: total eargasm!
Romansoff – Infinite Dreams [Mörk]
Tudor Gheorghe aka Romansoff, my neighbour and good friend, killer producer, with a distinctive sound, label owner, DJ, producer, promoter… Soon to release under Creme Organisation. Started up with his own record label, Raw Tools, with an excellent set of releases, built over years. Not to mention a whole bunch of good records released under some pretty respected labels. As a true fan of Lobster Theremin, this record is a must in this short list.
UFe started his love affair with the mixing decks around 15 years ago. Now counting around 2000 12 inches and some 500 7 inches records, you can imagine the amount of funk, jazz, boogie, hip hop or electronic music he managed to collect, from the most remote corners of underground to tunes touching the 70s’ mainstream. A vigorous and exciting experience, that’s how he likes to call his sound, influenced by the likes of Quantic, Cut Chemist or Kid Loco.
As we caught UFe in Misbits’ backyard mixing some fine tunes for the Record Store Day, we asked him to name 5 records from his personal collection, that best reflected his spring mood 😉
Don’t forget to hit the play button to catch just a bit under an hour of UFe’s selection, made on the 16th of April on Misbits’ terrace 😉
16 years from his debut as a DJ at some underground raves in Sibiu, his hometown, we found Jay Bliss launching the third release of his very own record label, Stomping Grounds, and also preparing a new vinyl project called Vade Mecum. We can only expect top notch stuff from an artist that helped building the house & techno underground’s foundations in the heart of Romania.
We asked Jay Bliss for a quick look into his ever-growing vinyl collection, as a small introduction into his musical universe. Can’t wait to catch him playing this Saturday at Misbits Record Shop, when we’ll celebrate Record Store Day with good music, friends and a lot of surprises 😉
Your early DJing days in Sibiu in one record.
[OVM9004LP] Josh Wink – 20 To 20
The first record shop you’ve ever visited.
A record shop in Brasov, forgot the name, but it was the first record shop in Romania. I think it was in 2001 or 2002. I saved money for a few months, spent a whole day there and left with 30-40 records.
The highest price you paid on discogs for one record.
I never buy super expensive records from discogs. I think i paid around 30E on In Sync – Storm.
3 records you bought exlusively for your home listening pleasures
[!K7 Records / K7073] Kruder & Dorfmeister – The K&D Sessions TM
[Warp Records / Wap105] Aphex Twin – Windowlicker
[Delaphine 003] S.A.M. – Delaphine 003
The last 3 records you dug from Misbits’ crates (online or in shop)
Around 1889 this guy named Emile Berliner created these lateral-cut discs that served as a recording medium for sound. Yeah, they had a shitty quality and were mostly used for toys or weird hi tech stuff but this was what we today call the great grandfather of vinyl records.
And these rounded pieces of black plastic wrote history, witnessing some of the biggest events in music, recording famous voices, becoming icons for tens of generations, developing passions and addictions or breaking hearts.
It’s bulky, it needs huge storage spaces, it can break apart easily, it wears off after multiple plays, it even sounds nowhere near perfection. But maybe these are some of the reasons we love it. If there is something in this world that embodies the music into something you can touch, smell, hug or care after, then the vinyl record is exactly that!
Record Store Day was born in 2007 to celebrate the culture of the independently owned records stores. And this small gathering, held every year since then on the third Saturday of April, grew up insanely fast into an international event that Misbits Record Shop is proudly part of.
Not to mention the special deals: all the orders over 10 records, made until the 16th of April, get the chance to win our Mystery 5-Pack: 5 carefully selected records that will blow your mind (did anyone say an [a:rpia:r] release among them? :D). No intention in buying 10 records? No worries! Any order placed on the Record Store Day will give you a chence to win a Misbits T shirt or slipmat!
As we’re celebrating 3 years since we sold the first record at Misbits Record Shop, we thought of finding out a bit more about our friends & customers from different corners of the world so we challenged a few of them to tell us the most precious pieces of vinyl they own.
“Thanks to Misbits i can keep the best connection with what i most love, Romanian club culture and its sounds”. Claudio, who changed the sunny Spain for the grey London, visited Misbits last year on his way home from Sunwaves15. It was the perfect moment to add a few records to his 4000 pieces collection. Maybe some of you know him playing music under the Nacho Campo alias 😉 Last time we saw him dancing was in Denver at Vinyl Club, where Black Madonna was playing.
We asked Claudio to hit us with 3 of his favourite records he bought from Misbits:
Istanbul based Maxi Storrs stepped into our shops a while ago, guided by some of his friends. It was love at first sight: our extended selection of romanian producers is what he was searching to add on top of his 2000 vinyls collection. In love with [a:rpia:r], Maxi places Misbits in top 3 record shops across the globe. Sooo happy to hear this, especially coming from a vinyl lover DJ like this guy!
Last but not least, we thought this was the perfect moment to give some small presents to a few of our loyal customers & friends:
Claudiu Bobinca, our top customer, will receive 1 record along with our hugs & kisses!
Thomas Molnar, Mihai Jurmoni and Alin Dreghiciu are also among our top customers so keep an eye on your inbox as you’ll receive a gift coupon soon 😉
If you own a few pieces of vinyl then you’ve already experienced the mixed feelings in your love affair with records: the joy of finding some rare but a bit damaged records during your prolonged crate digging sessions, the despair when someone spilled beer on your record bag on some hot afterparty or the rage when your grandma stacked some of your records in the dustiest corner of your room.
For you and for those who want to extend the life of their precious wax, here are 3 easy steps to keep your records neat & clean
Here are 3 easy steps to keep your record neat & clean
1. Unless you like you records warped, store the records in a dry place, away from the sunlight. And yeah, I know this is a basic one but please remember to store them vertically and not on ground level as dust will make a permanent home from your sleeves.
2. Techno Sloths tend to have a lot of dust around them so make a habit from cleaning the records on a regular basis, especially before playing them. The basic record cleaning kit should contain a micro fiber cloth and a cleaning brush, tools that would help cleaning the dust off the grooves. A cleaning spray is also a good anti-static protection 😉
3. Fortunately there are methods to prevent dusting. Anti-static sleeves will add a strong protection layer against this enemy. Oh, and you should buy a gun! No, not some lethal weapon to guard your invaluable collection but an anti-static gun to remove every single dust particle!
Andrei Nechifor aka Batz started to develop his vinyl addiction years ago, supporting MCs and B-boys with his scratching and beatjuggling skills.
The RotoPerCutoR project became his means of expressing the passion for quality electronic music, alongside his good old friend Borac. Their truly unique sound made up of scratches, synths and live improvisations put RotoPerCutoR in the same booth with artists like Jazzanova, Bonobo, DJ Cam, Herbaliser, John Talabot, Modeselektor, Jeremy Underground Paris. Not to mention their production skills, expressed in sound design for movies and theatre plays.
As we are aware of his massive records collection (after all they hosted a vinyl only radio show at Grooveon back in 2014), we hit Batz with a pretty hard challenge: to choose 5 of his favourite deep house records, overplayed in 2015, and name his reasons for this selection
Big Moses – The Brighter Days Ep (King Street Sounds 1996)
This record is a must have for those o.g. house heads, real good party starter (A2 Party Time).
The Deep – The Earth Ep (Basenotic Records 1997)
Another classic old school deep house tune, this one is even high on the resellers market. I got mine for way less than what it goes for nowadays
Takeshi Kouzuki – The House Of The Rising Sun Ep (Mathematics Records 2011)
This is a really good ep, I mostly use this record when switching from deep house to a more contemporary techno vibe in my sets, via liquid flavoured acid.
Mandar – Peace Force (Lazare Hoche Records 2015)
By far one of the grooviest records to come out this year, make sure to keep an eye our for these 3 guys behind Mandar.
Brawther – Endless (Balance 2015)
Needless to say more about Brawther, but I got really excited when this release came out, I finally had my favourite songs from Brawther on the same record :))
Did we open the appetite for some good deep house wax? Check out Misbits’ stocks