Posted on

Minimal House, Wombats and Surf: An Interview With Unic Records

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.

Posted on

Small Talk With Subtil Records

subtil

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.

subtil

 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? 🙂 

Ambient

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 . 😉

Posted on

Small Talk With Jorge Savoretti

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.


Misbits: One record that never leaves your DJ bag

Jorge Savoretti: This one


Misbits: Imagine you own a beachbar somewhere on the Atlantinc shore. What would be your favourite cocktail to prepare?

Jorge Savoretti: Mango Daiquiris

Misbits: Who would play music on the beach?

Jorge Savoretti: Jason Carich… argentinian legend, can play pretty much any genre with class.

Misbits: River Plate, Boca Juniors or Independiente?

Jorge Savoretti: I’ll answer with a track


Misbits: You’re forced to give up all your studio gear but you can keep only one piece of hardware. What would that be? Why?

Jorge Savoretti: My computer, which is actually the only piece of gear I use. I do all my music, mixing and mastering in the box. So this one wasn’t that hard 🙂


Misbits: One producer we should keep an eye on this year

Jorge Savoretti: Anyone from Musica Lunar

Posted on

A Zurich Story From ‘under the tree’

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

Posted on

Small Talk With Dyed Soundorom

Dyed Soundorom

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 Soundorom has 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!

Posted on

Small Talk With Jay Bliss

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.

Which brings us to this year’s Stomping Grounds milestone: a fresh V.A., released in July 2019, featuring Alin Crihan aka Discret Popescu, Tommy Vicari Jr., Stav and a collaboration with Dragoș Ilici. This good piece of wax asks for a proper celebration, so we throw a release party on Misbits terrace, on Wednesday the 14th of August, starting at 17:00 EET.

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”.

Posted on

How To Express Your Love For Vinyl Records With Custom Slipmats

custom slipmat

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.

Posted on

We Talked With Silat Beksi About The Hot Ukrainian Underground

silat beksi

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.

https://soundcloud.com/halfisenough/introspections-with-silat-beksi

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