Category Archives: Interviews
Ichisan, aka Igor Skafar, is a man of many melodies. The last winter months saw his official live breach into the US and over the recent weeks, followers here got an answer to a once unimaginable question: How does he do on stage? From the club infested Burroughs of New York City, to the smokey streets of Denver and back again, fans across the country finally got a proper introduction to our guest of honor, and the reviews are phenomenal. Last night you see, time was officially split into two parts for both he and his fans alike: The part before the moment happens, when anticipation is governing your nerves and all is unknown, and the part after, when the moment transcends into memory. We know our readers show their true colors in the moonlight, in a dedicated pursuit of the beats that bump in the shadows. We know all too well the endless search for the perfect note, and the perfect moment. We know what it is like to roll the dice on a musician you’ve never seen live before, but patrons hit a streak of fortune with Ichisan’s recent performances. House of Acid_Reviews founder Cody Bates got to catch up with him for an exclusive interview while he was in Boston last week, check it out below>
1. So, we gotta start with the name. Where did it come from? It doesn’t sound very-
Ichisan: ” -Slovenian? Haha yes I know. It all started with my co-workers at this photography job I had. “Ichi” is short for Igor in Slovenia, and one day I came in and one of them just yelled it: “Hey Ichisan!” Then I thought it could be a good moniker for me.”
2. Before, you juggled doing both professional photography and recording music, with occasional live performances as well. With this tour and the upcoming releases, do you still juggle the two?
Ichisan: “Oh yeah I still do photography. Lately it’s been a slow switch to doing the music thing full time, but I love photography. I will always do it no matter what.”
3. Do you see any future with Eskimo Recordings?
Ichisan: “I’ve been planning a solo album. I started it last year. I’ve been talking to Justin, my manger, and I decided I liked Eskimo for maybe doing the release. I’m good friends with the guy in charge over there. So yeah, the solo album possibly on Eskimo next year.”
4. I was able to meet Tensnake at his performance in Brooklyn the other week. He had mentioned you two were corresponding. Should we be expecting a possible collaboration or perhaps a shared live bill in the future?
Ichisan: “I don’t know, we didn’t talk about that we just met. We met before another time in Croatia at some festival and we became friends, and I don’t know, maybe. He’s here for three months he’s doing this huge tour. So I don’t know, hopefully yes, that’s all I can say I guess.”
5. Yeah he’s a blast to see. Are there any notable differences between playing clubs here versus Europe?
Ichisan: “Um, the United States is much bigger than Europe, and the venues are much bigger than Europe’s. US has a lot more people coming to the show, and, it looks like I have much more fans here than in Europe haha. I have bigger shows here, and that’s the main difference really.”
6. A lot of Americans idolize the European club scene, places like Ibiza, We Love.., Social Club, Ministry of Sound, etc. Do you find that sort of fascination where you come from for our “scene”? Such as the jam culture, like Phish, or The Disco Bicuits?
Ichisan: “I can’t really answer this question. In my view, I say yes, but I can’t really speak for everyone.”
7. Tell us a little about your performances. Do your sets differ from night to night? Do you improvise at all based on the vibe of the crowd?
Ichisan: “Yes, of course. I’m not the guy who is playing beginning to end the same tracks every venue. Actually I prepare 5 tracks, but the not the same as say last night. That’s how I start, and then I just go through the set and jam. I’m always watching the crowd. When I see what kind of music they’re hooked to, then I just go that way. On the second half of the tour with these guys [Boombox], I like to start off slow, maybe 110 bpms, slowly going up with the tempo. You know, you can’t open the show with a banger.”
8. Yeah I hear you. Well congratulations on a sold out show! I’ve never seen this place sell out before. Boombox brought a lot in, but you had a lock on that crowd second set, and don’t you forget it! Speaking of the live aspect, tell us about the synthesizer collection you record with? Do you use any analogue?
Ichisan: “Yeah for sure. I have the Oberhiem 0B8, um I have a couple synths actually. I have the Juno 106, everybody has that synth and a small Roland SH9 which is a base actually. Um, I played some new tracks I recently made which are gonna be released later this year, and I used that small synth a lot. It’s a good synth for those lead and bass sounds. Let’s see, I have a Moog prodigy, and Fender guitars, uh a stratocaster and jazz bass.”
9. Yeah, you record with live instruments mostly, correct?
Ichisan: “I try to record as much as I can with as much live instruments. So I record with a lot of guitars and bass, and the snyths. Especially on the new record.”
10. One of the most notable characteristics of your mixes is the fluidity and mystery to your tracks. You hear some of these other chart mixes, and lot of the songs tend to bleed over. What is your tracklist process like?
Ichisan: “I’m really glad to hear that man! Actually I didn’t know that about these tracks. All the tracks, well a lot of the tracks, are like European producers or maybe English guys, or producers in the Norwegian scene. I love the Norwegian sound right now. It’s funny like Todd Terje is not so big here, well he is here a little, but Prins Thomas not so much. He is HUGE is Europe!”
11. Yeah I know it’s crazy! Todd Terje is starting to make his mark over here. Prins Thomas though, no, and it’s so weird because he’s playing like 11 hour sets over in Europe and doing all this great stuff.
Ichisan: “Yeah it’s funny to me that I’m here, but Prins Thomas is not. It’s ridiculous actually.”
12. We really enjoy the spacey side to your music, but we’ve noticed you get really heavy on the disco vibe as well. Which is your favorite to play? You have a very good blend of both.
Ichisan: “Yeah actually, when I’m doing clubs I usually do more disco stuff, more disco-house stuff. When I’m recording these mixes, I’m recording them more for listening and less for the dancey stuff. I mean I also like mixing them, from space sounds, to these disco sounds, to techno, and stuff I play live.”
13. That makes sense. I’ve met fans who go to bed and rise in the morning to your music. What do you like to wake up to?
Ichisan: “That’s a really hard question. I listen to so many kinds of music, so many genres, that’s really hard. Usually I’m not listening to electronic music when I’m home doing something. I like this Balearic stuff, spacey stuff you know?”
14. David Byrne presented his “Reverse Creation Theory” in his recent book on the analysis of music. This theory basically states that the common idea of a composer sitting alone in a room, getting a sudden rush of inspiration and furiously scribbling a masterpiece onto a piece of paper, is a false interpretation of writing music works. The theory contradicts that notion, arguing that music is product of environmental factors. What do you think are some the environmental factors in making the music you do?
Ichisan: “A hard question as well. That’s correct. Probably the music I’m listening to you know? The biggest influence. I don’t know, maybe also the country I’m coming from, formerly Yugoslavia, where I was born actually. You familiar with the story our country? Slovenia, where I live, is a former republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugo Tempo album I made with Nakova a while back, was inspired by our childhood. A lot of the tracks come from Yugoslavia country stuff. Maybe there’s some Yugoslavian funk in my music haha.”
15. The internet, social media, and places like Soundcloud have changed the face of music in it’s entirety. The free trade of music has subsequently changed the recording industry. What advice do you have for upcoming producers/musicians trying to make music professionally?
Ichisan: “The music trade is great. I would just say just don’t quit, just do it. Go for it. Upload music, put music up for people to hear. You need to have to some, I don’t know, luck as well, but just do it. Don’t stop, just go for it and it will happen.”
16. Where do you see your career a year from now?
Ichisan: “Oh that’s another hard question to answer! Uh, it’s this, yeah it really is. What I’m doing right now, playing in clubs and venues like this for you guys, just having a good time. I love it.”
Amphitheater and stadium shows have their merits, but in those situations the experience is limited to the music, and the individual listener perceiving it. In the end it is about what you endured, the musicians themselves might as well be silhouettes in the big arena context. Their emotional tie to the music being played is irrelevant on some level, because you don’t get to really see it. This also leaves the performer(s) in complete control of the situation. Sure this is always true; it is up to them to command your indulgence, but in a big arena you’re taking the human connection out of the equation. In that context, connection only occurs in the audience. With these smaller club shows, the playing field is much different. The musician is on your turf as much as you are on theirs, and they are forced to connect and take responsibility for your intrinsic reactions. The eyes of the fans and of the artist playing are much, much closer, and when they meet it is on a deeper level. In this context, if the musician gets a lock on you, it has a significant emotional payoff that you just can’t get in the bigger venues. Ichisan apparently has this concept down, as this was the case in his performances.
Having just culminated his North American tour with Boombox last night in the beautiful white mountains of Vermont, Ichisan will be heading home for now. His next EP is scheduled to be released on the Prins Thomas label, Internasjonal, this summer. Add that to the success he has had with multiple sold out shows over his stretch here, and we’re sure he can find an excuse to come back. Yes, the journey is far from over. Deathwaltz Media Group has their hands on him, and they’ve built a solid reputation for hearing the demands of the fans. You just might see him here in the States sooner than you think.
Tits and Acid Reviews would like to say Happy 2014 to all of our readers! We’re back, and this year is already overflowing with live music, new albums, releases, and stories, which means we have a LOT of work to do here. The time for Review-lution is upon us. Don’t forget folks, we do have our very own Soundcloud, which you can visit here. Very soon we’ll have an updated Twitter account, and that way we can keep you posted on everything T&A related. We don’t fancy time-wasting, so for indulging our menial little greeting here, we’ve got a surprise for you:
In the spirit of new beginnings, here’s a brief interview Marc Brownstein did with the Denver-based blog Westword regarding the latest Disco Biscuits shows! Marc talks up the band’s latest performances and recent quality of playing, as well as addresses some voiced concerns from his followers. A lot of his commentary shows a lot of positivity about the band’s future, so their fans have a bone to chew on for the time being. Check it out!
The moon is as high as the night is long. As you drive past the endless green signs hovering above the rolling freeway, the sensation of a warm calm breaks through the walls of the everyday, hindering all vexations. This is the feeling you get when you listen to the new Motion in Space EP from 4mplify. This Belgian producer is newer to the charts and slowly creeping his way to the top of them, earning him a reputation for classy style and pushing the envelope of disco-house. His Midas touch ranges from affable cosmic disco to funk blitzkriegs like his “Cosmico” track. This week T&A caught up with 4mplify to discuss his new EP and views on music, technique, and production…
How long have you been a musician?
Well, I’m not really sure I would call myself a musician. I have no music schooling whatsoever and am more of a self adept artist who uses his ears for identifying what sounds ‘right’ rather than falling back on theoretical background knowledge. I do wish I was a virtuous guitar or keys player though, that would make it easier to transfer ideas into practice sometimes.
It’s that ear for detail that makes you a musician though. How long have you been producing electronic music for?
I have been experimenting with digital music production over a period of 10 years now, but – being a self adept – It took me a lot of experimenting and time in order to get where I am now. And I still feel like I have a lot to learn and that there is room for progression in my music productions. About a year ago I had some more time available which meant I could focus a bit more on improving my music production skills and techniques. A short time afterward I had my first EP ‘Discosmology’ released, launching the newly established label Madison Square Records (Greece) and a couple of months later I released my 2nd EP ‘Future Sky’ on Disco Soul Records (Ukrain).
Belgium seems to be a melting pot for the modern European disco scene, do you think this has had an effect on your music?
Despite being a small country, Belgium is indeed represented well in the ‘modern European disco scene’, with artists like The Magician, Aeroplane, A.N.D.Y., Moonlight Matters, Mickey, etc… and labels like e.g. Eskimo Recordings. The internet remains my most important resource for discovering new artists, keeping up to date with new releases and getting in touch with like-minded producers and even fans of my productions. It isn’t really important to me though where these people are from. Both music and the internet have no boundaries and I get my influences from around the globe as well from close by.
I’m not a fan of the term “Nu-Disco”, but it is clear that disco-influenced music is becoming relevant again. Being a musician yourself, Do you have any views or theories behind this?
To me disco-influenced music always has been relevant of course, I’ve always been a fan of the genre and the music that got influenced by it, especially modern electronica and house or dance music. I associate the genre ‘Disco’ with positive and uplifting feel good music on which people can dance to, and then ‘Nu Disco’ would be the present day variant of this positive feel good dance music.
What do you think sets you apart from other artists in the electronic music genre?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I mainly just do what I feel in regards to music production, and I might have my own ‘typical style of sounds’ other artists don’t have. Perhaps a mixture of older and newer instruments and sounds ranging from disco influenced electronic deep house to more indie dance music.
What software/equipment do you use when producing a song?
I now use Ableton Live on my digital audio workstation mainly because the ease of use in translating ideas to a computer. Next to that I have a 2nd hand Roland Fantom S which I use for sounds as well as a midi keyboard, an old Korg N1R sound module, some D.I.’s and a mixing table to hook up the guitars, bass and pedals when I have friends over in the studio. Next to that it’s all software synths and effects.
Do you record using any live instruments?
I sometimes have friends over in the studio for jamming and I do use some of the recordings in some of my tracks. The track ‘Sunshine Disco’ on the Discosmology EP contains a bassline sample played by Mr. S., a good friend of mine with whom I enjoy spending time in studio as much as possible. Another track of mine ‘Deep Disco’ featured on the ‘Future Sky EP’ contains guitar riffs and melodies from Millann, also a good friend and a gifted musician who spent some time jamming to the track because it needed a little something extra. I often record myself in midi playing ‘live’ on keys, freestyling or improvising, and then I try to focus on working on the best bits.
Explain the artistic process you go through when making a track. Does it start out as a single idea like a small riff, or do you envision the song as a whole?
I tend to start with searching for some nice chords and chord progressions, a main theme or idea, with a strong focus on finding a convincing and groovy bassline that suits the chords. Then I usually add the main instrument sounds and melodies. I often work out different parts and only afterwards I’ll consider looking at a more ‘bigger picture’ and work out the rest of the structure of the song and also focus more on details like more drums, effects and also the buildups and breaks throughout the track.
You’re working on your third EP in under a year, do you have any plans for touring in the near future?
Not right now. I would first try to get some more studio work done and putting out some more releases while improving my music production skills and discovering what room there is for the live element, hopefully with some of my musician friends. Right now my main focus lies on improving music production skills in studio. I’m curious to see what & where the future will bring me though.
What kind of venues are you or would you be most comfortable playing in, a small club setting, or for a bigger audience such as a music festival?
I’d say I’d be more comfortable playing in a club setting first while getting a bit accustomed to a smaller crowd first before playing in front off a bigger audience.
What kind of equipment do you typically use for live performances? Is there any room for improvising in your setup?
Well for future performances I hope to combine funky guitars and groovy bass guitars together with live drums, effects and synths, with hopefully a lot of room for improvising like we tend to do when jamming or freestyling in studio with friends.
What are your views on performing completely live versus a prerecorded set in the context of DJing?
Well, it’s clear both are quite different in approach. A completely live set would often require a bigger set up, more material, more people & more preparation. A completely live set often focuses more on showcasing the work of 1 artist only. A DJ set or mix is more about a unique & innovative selection of tracks of often different artists, mixing & matching them in the best possible way. Merely playing these (pre)recordings in front of an audience without anything else to it wouldn’t really classify as a live or DJ set in my opinion. It’s just not the real deal.
If you could work with any artist in the modern electronic universe, who would it be?
I wouldn’t mind spending some time in the studio with some of the Eskimo Recordings artists or the guys from Chromeo, and while we are at it ….Daft Punk.
Thanks for the insight, we have one final question: In a flooded market such as EDM, it’s important as an artist to offer something unique like producing a track entirely, such as yourself. What message, if any, would you like to give to the newcomers/aspiring musicians?
With enough practice and love and devotion for music, newcomers can go a long way. And there is a point in time when acquired knowledge and practice will reward itself and make things easier for you to translate your ideas to songs. It might sometimes also be easy for newcomers to get ‘lost in plugin land’ and to be overwhelmed by some of the technical aspects that come with ‘doing a clean mix’ etc. Don’t forget to focus on getting some music production done as well and try to actually finish tracks. Finishing tracks requires you to look at all aspects of song production even more in detail. That means notes, melodies, chords, choice and quality of the chosen sound, effects, song structure, buildups and breaks, the mix, etc…’
4mplify has his new EP available for preview on Soundcloud and will be available for purchase soon. Be sure to check it out and keep your ears out for this upcoming artist, you can find him here on Tits and Acid!
Hot Since 82 is an honest portrayal of a better era of house music, and a successful triumph in keeping it going. This artist does not try appear as anything but himself. Producing all his own tracks, and devoid of obnoxious synths and pop samples, this is house music in its pure, now primitive state. In this interview you’ll hear him speak about his creative process, the components of his live show, and what music is to him. You can also check out his productions below. Enjoy
LCD Soundsystem frontman and co-founder of DFA Records James Murphy filed suit against former label partner Tim Goldsworthy. On March 1st Murphy appeared in the Manhattan Civil Supreme Court along with the interests of DFA Records to seek almost $100,000 from his ex-partner.
Tim Goldsworthy allegedly left the country in a breach of contract three years ago neglecting to inform his business partners of his departure. He is being sued for outstanding debts to the company, deliberate misuse of the company’s funds, as well as the legal costs of the lawsuit in progress. Murphy and third party founder Jonathan Galkin claim that they attempted to resolve the situation on multiple occasions with fruitless results and no cooperation from Goldsworthy. In a statement that Galkin made, they had no word from the defendant and moved on with business in his absence, but Goldworthy still attempted to claim rights as a co-founder of the label.
Goldworthy claims that he went back to Britain to be with his family and had no idea of the issues at hand. We’ll see what happens in court I suppose.
Dim Mak Studios presented its weekly dance party tradition “Dim Mak Tuesdays” last night, this time with French Express Label throwing a one night disco marathon of back to back performances from Moon Boots, Perseus, Amtrac, and special guest Penguin Prison! Chris Glover, aka Penguin Prison, has formed quite a large following in the New York disco scene, and this week he spent the last few days leaving his mark in Hollywood.
The set opened with Dim Mak’s resident Bones, followed by Amtrac’s low-key, soul/house mixing, which segued into our man of the hour. Glover opened his set with a transition from Amtrac’s belittled closer into The Magician’s club heater “I Don’t Know What To Do, ft. Jeppe (Erkka Remix)”. He followed with his own collaboration, RAC’s “Hollywood (ft Penguin Prison)”, where he provided live vocals for his section. Typically I’m apprehensive to an act of this nature, MC’s have a stale and tacky attitude that interrupts the listening experience, but Glover has an advantage with his amazing voice, it just added a touch of organic charisma to the performance. Although predominately touring with his band, he can definitely hold it together behind the tables. His cuts were precise and the queues well executed. The set was a great mix of contemporary nu-disco chart hits and that Brooklyn DFA disco sound, rich in his heritage. The actual components of the DJ sets were short of revolutionary, basic Pioneer mixers and CDJ software shared by all the artists performing, but because Glover spins tracks that he can proudly stand behind as a producer, he has a lot more integrity than that of your typical resident jockey. At first the crowd was a frail, sparse gathering of teenagers spread across the club’s vast dance floor, cluelessly watching the resident and Amtrac until just before 11:00, when it evolved into a wall-to-wall assembly of Penguin partiers with their game faces on. His closing “I Wanna Be Your Lover” by the influential predecessor Prince, in which he also did a stellar vocal accompaniment to, threw the crowd into fifth gear. The night was far from culmination, Moon Boots and Perseus were basically given the crowd on a silver platter and they kept Dim Mak’s disco ball shining far beyond his Manhattan stylings.
When considering the turntable’s widespread assimilation into almost every establishment in the world that provides live entertainment, it’s essential to maintain intrinsic creativity and use the technology to exploit original ideas, not the ideas of others. Otherwise you’re just a device used for stimulation. Penguin Prison is a true artist in both the production and live performance aspects. He constantly devotes his time to the studio, and adamantly manifests those creations live. After the performance, I caught up with Chris for a brief interview:
T & A: Which do you prefer more, performing with your band, or doing DJ sets?
Chris: Definitely band. I mean, they’re two different things really. I’m trying to incorporate a live element in my DJ sets, singing while I spin, showing fans a good time.
T & A: Do you change up your sets from show to show on tour?
Chris: Yeah, I never know what I’m going to do. I don’t know, I guess I’m trying to do new things with my set everytime.
T & A: Do you improvise the sets or mixes at all?
Chris: Certain songs I like to play. I want to play my own songs, fans like to hear my tracks, so I try to show them that
T & A: Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost did some of the synths on your latest album, do you have a relationship with James Murphy or DFA as well? Have you ever considerd signing to the label?
Chris: Well I know some DFA artists, I’ve spent time in the studio with DFA artists. I have a lot influence from those guys. Downtown records is my label now, we’ve got artists like Major Lazer, Gnarley Barkley, Santigold, the labels good for the music I’m trying to make.
T & A: I know you’re really into playing the guitar, what kind of guitar do you prefer?
Chris: Fender Stratocaster. I’ve tried others, but I like the strat the best.
T & A: What made you stick with the disco-pop/electronic style? You’re style has ranged from punk to hip-hop over the years, and now this.
Chris: I think what I’m doing now fits my voice well. Talking Heads, Prince, Michael Jackson are all influences. I’m trying to give a modern take on them.
Penguin Prison will headed home for a DJ set September 12th in New York, and back here in L.A. early October for Filter’s Future Collide Festival. Self-titled album is out now, and be sure to check out Dim Mak on Tuesday nights! 1643 Cosmo st Hollywood, CA