Mamiko Motto is never idle. Between Hepcat Radio, her weekly show for NTS, her regular DJ gigs and her full-time university studies, she’s constantly busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s just about to drop Amada, a 14-track compilation full of exclusive material for Dublin’s All City Records, and we caught up the Lithuanian-born, London-based DJ to talk Eurovision, ballet, how she connects the dots between Total Recall and Björk and much more…
So what have you been up to recently? “I am studying full time audio engineering. It’s an intense course without any holidays, so I pretty much have exams all through out the year. In the meantime trying to finish up all the small details for the compilation that I have coming up on All City Records.” How long have you been on the course? “I’m nearly done with the first year. I still got one more to go.” Has it been hard to fit things like the compilation and the radio show around it? “It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t want it the other way around. I love pressure. It makes me more creative. I somehow noticed that for a while now. Even if I have three months deadline to do a mix or something I will end up recording it in the last eight hours and it will turn out just as good or even better as if I would be doing in ‘relaxed’ mode. I like to call myself last minute baby when I’m stressed … but all that stress somehow turns my creative engine on to the maximum so it suits me.”
Can you tell us how you first linked up with All City? “I met Olan quite a few years ago when I was touring with Hudson Mohawke and was hanging with Mike Slott. I think first we met in 2008 or 2009 when Mike Slott, Hudmo and I had a gig in Twisted Pepper. I really enjoyed that weekend. I remember I made everyone watch Eurovision before the gig. I LOVE Eurovision.” I can’t imagine they enjoyed that. “It was very funny, cause we all were waiting for the Lithuanian band to come up, cause I’m Lithuanian, but unfortunately we turned the TV six minutes past the programme start and Lithuanians came first, so eventually we watched like other 20 countries, and never got to see the Lithuanian song. Put it that way… Everybody felt a big relief when Olan said ‘We have to go to the club now’. I was bit gutted. But it was an amazing party and I have very good memories about Dublin. Mike Slott also had a talking parrot, who’s called McLaud or Mcloud. I spent the rest of the weekend trying to tame him but he wasn’t having it. I’m really looking forward to return to Ireland. I really enjoyed my stay in Dublin every time I was there.”
Getting back to the compilation – how did you go about choosing the artists to feature on it? I know you’ve been championing Mweslee and Dorian Concept for a long time, but the other artists? “I’m just constantly looking out for something new , something different. Hosting a radio show for 10 years kind of trained me to I think. On weekly basis I try to surprise my listener and play a set of music that they wouldn’t come across themselves but would still love the sound of it. It somehow always was important for me to feel and make others feel too. This compilation is really based on feelings. It has 13 of my current and all-time favorite producers who I respect for their quality or originality. And a few very young artists like SCNTST or Silkersoft who are barely 19 years old and already developing original sound. I started working in the music industry being really young and now as I am older I really want to support young talents. It’s very important to me.” That’s cool. Since you mention him, I really love that SCNTST track, he’s got such a unique sound. “Yes. I am very happy I’ve met him. He is now signed to Boys Noize records, and has an incredible debut album coming out on 22nd of November, its called Self Therapy. It’s really mature in sound for someone so young. Bryan or SCNTST sends me three new tracks a day via Skype. He’s like a machine and I’m happy to notice that he’s just getting better and better in his skills. He will go very far if he’ll keep his ambition.”
The compilation has been in the making for a while now – what’s it been like putting it together, and why has it taken so long? “It’s a number of things. First of all it’s an exclusive compilation. Tracks have been deliberately made for this project. That takes time. It was a bit like conducting an orchestra. After producers made those tracks I still had to like them and accept them then I had to present them to Olan and get the pass too. Being perfectionist as I am is really tough on the job too. I had to find many perfect solutions for many not perfect situations which always pays in time. Finally we are here and the feedback and demand is incredible so far so I can not wait to share this compilation with everyone.” I’ve really enjoyed listening to it the past few days. It’s got a great diversity to it. “It definitely is very diverse. I was never sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. But eventually I decided to go with it as my aim was to create more of a listening experience than a selection of tracks for DJs to play in clubs if you know what I mean.”
The artwork is incredible – do you think it ties in with the music? “The artwork is incredible indeed. I definitely think it ties with me. Everyone who knows me says, ‘Oh Mamiko this artwork is you on paper’. It’s so true. I think it’s young, vibrant, inspiring and uplifting, and it gives you freedom to think for yourself just as I believe this compilation gives you freedom to your own thoughts and feelings.”
Your main role is as DJ, but you’ve done some production work – is there any more of that on the horizon? “Yes. I had to focus on my studies this year. I had a lot of physics, acoustics, decibel and all sort of theory lessons that I had to study hard, and working on the compilation and radio shows, DJ gigs, I ended up barely ever having any time to make music. Now as I’m pretty much done with the hardest stage of university and my future plans are kind of clear for 2014 I am really looking forward to finally finish my debut EP myself. I even have several labels who are interested in releasing it, but I just have to finish it.” Can you talk about what it’s going to be like yet? “You know it is difficult for me to describe it. It’s definitely electronic music. I would probably call it TOTAL RECALL genre. But a lot of friends of mine who heard it say it sounds like Björk a lot. So I guess somewhere between Arnold Schwartzneger and Björk … Ahhh I’m talking crazy again. You will just have to wait and hear it yourself.” Do you sing on it? Or is it instrumental? “I sing a lot… lately even more and more, but i am not sure I will end up using any of my demos with my voice on it. Total Recall is my favorite film in the world, I know it by heart. One of my favorite things about it is the sets. I’m really fascinated by all sorts of trucks and those big monster lookalike gadgets. None of superior graphics would ever change that for me.” Like the Björk ‘Army of Me‘ video? “Oh yeah that video is great too. See, maybe at the end there is a connection there!”
The way you DJ is, as far as I know, deliberately haphazard. Have you faced much conflict over that? “It depends you know. I definitely do that at the radio. Radio feels a bit like my home where I just play music I want to hear and let my friends hear too. As for clubs. It depends. If it’s a cosy capacity and If my spiritual animal feels good inside then we go for it. But if I play in front big audience I have to deliver energy which I have to say I more and more enjoy doing. I probably would call my sets organised confusion. Even if I mix 100 genres in 30 minutes set I still know what I’m doing in my head. (Or at least I hope I do). I just want people to hear something fresh and new rather than same 50 tracks that knock about your regular digital record stores.”
I know you haven’t lived there for a while, but do you keep up with music from Vilnius? Could you recommend any Lithuanian artists for us? “Yes. I don’t live there for a long time and I don’t visit Lithuania as much as I should, but I still got very warm feelings for my homies. I recommend producers called Marriage Proposal or Boyfriend. Mondayjazz are always doing good things and all my Satta Festival crew are putting Lithuania on the electronic music map. We have a strong Jazz & Classical music culture as well as Ballet which I am particularly proud of.” Did you do ballet as a child? “Yes. It was my first dream to be a ballet dancer. I started going to classes since I was three but eventually my father had to teach economics in Russia or Germany and there was no one to take me there. At the same time the ballet standards in eastern Europe were really particular, and it always seemed like I was too chubby as a child. But my heart still bleeds a bit remembering how sad I was to be forced to quit my first life dream ever, lol. I couldn’t ever pronounce it. I used to say I want to be ‘baralina’, cause I couldn’t pronounce L, and would replace it with R. Lithuania is a nice little country. It would be difficult for me to say it otherwise. Vilnius is really pretty and looks a bit like mini Vienna. We also have seaside and loads of forest, nature. It’s cute.”
When was the last time you danced? “This morning. I have a dancing routine every morning unless I’m really late. But I start my day with the shower, coffee and nice fake karaoke/dance/getting dressed kind of performance for myself in the mirror. Usually to some 80s jams. It always puts me in the good mood to start the day and face the world.”
What’s your drink of choice? “Vodka. I drink vodka lime soda. LOL. Not gonna say anything else.” What brand of vodka? “Grey Goose is fantastic brand. But I also love Lithuanian Vodka a lot. I think they really do a very good job at it. I always try to bring back some bottles when I travel there. Otherwise on a no special occasion kind of night I drink Russian Standard or Stolichnaya.”
Mamiko Motto presents Amada is out on November 8 on All City Records.
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 21 October 2013. Leave a comment
Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 is spectacularly late. Originally slated for a July 4th release, Cam’ron’s first mixtape in nearly a year and a half opens with a peanut gallery of voicemail grievances bemoaning the lack of new material from the Harlem rapper. The messages complain about being “tired of listening to “soft ass rap…I woke up crying the other day for no damn reason” and “more n*ggas out here wearing skirts than b*tches” (slightly ironic, given Cam’ron’s pink jacket-wearing and Range Rover-driving past). The only voicemail that Cam actually takes the time to answer is from Halle Berry’s assistant Denise, who turns out to be yet another dude yelling at him about how the tape better come out October 1st, or else. Despite the three-month delay, impostor-Denise is probably pleased because Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 did end up dropping by the new deadline—and it’s a strong indication of Cam’ron’s signature sound, for better or for worse.
Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 is messy, but not necessarily the mid-00s style of messy that gives Cam’ron mixtapes their classic charm. Gone are the days of redlined Hitmakerz beats and DJ Kay Slay yelling over the beginning, middle, and end of every track; instead, there are samples from the Lion King, the Golden Girls theme, and Cults, to name the more colorful choices. Cam’ron is no stranger to interesting samples (he’s rapped over Carmina Burana and Cyndi Lauper on the same album), and these borderline-goofy selections are just a different method of challenging the expectations of his audience. It’s doubtful that a Golden Girls sample is what that angry voicemail caller had in mind as an alternative to “soft ass rap,” but Cam’ron’s ability to juggle unconventional samples with gritty verses is part of what propels him beyond the herd of mediocre New York rappers. What’s stuck around from the idealized Cam’ron of a decade past, thankfully, is his outstanding gift for wordplay. Lines like “still moving weight, I-95/ a I-80 hoe, 95 pies/ fuck a 9 to 5, air max ’95/ watch flew in from Germany, that’s how time flies” from “Think You Need Love” indicate his often (poorly) imitated mastery of internal rhyme, while “ten hoes/ three O’s/ two homies and an orchestra” from “Dat All” bears the classic patterning of his sparse but sharp delivery. There are few rappers who command attention as effectively as Cam’ron does while using so few syllables. His bars are short, lethal, and memorable, which makes them perfect for Tweeting: likely another reason his popularity has endured despite his thinning output.
His sense of humor hasn’t gone anywhere either, and so we get hilarious lines like “the Lenox Ave Forrest Gump, I’m on a long run” and “not Jamaican but I gave her my jerk sauce.” In the eternal quest to stay relevant, Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 has plenty of bits about social media as well: there’s a track called “Instagram Catfish,” and “I’m an OG/ emoji mad face” might best encapsulate the fusion of old Cam’ron with 2013. You’ve probably already seen Tweets quoting Tiff the Gift’s “Instagram Skit,” where she cusses a girl out for “liking [her] mans pics on Instagram.” Despite his absence on the track, it’s impossible not to imagine him cracking up in the studio at this scenario. Recorded telephone conversations are another classic instrument in Cam’ron’s rap toolbox, an additional display of his talent for adaptation. Not only is Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 cognizant of the Internet-addled, shifting rap landscape, but it successfully embraces it as well.
Cam’ron’s Ghetto Heaven Volume 1 is out now. Download via DatPiff.
The swell is important to Ryan Lee, aka Rival Consoles. “I realised that hardly anyone has done that in electronic music,” he says. While that may not necessarily be true – Throwing Snow, Stellar OM Source and Jon Hopkins have all used it to great effect in recent times – he’s certainly on course to making it his own. ‘Philip‘, the standout track from Odyssey, his latest release for Erased Tapes, ebbs and flows with the power of truly great emotion. The opening moments see the delicate push-pull of rubato quavers, crescendo and dimmenuendo, crescendo and dimmenuendo. This swell carries on throughout the track, even as harsh plucks and feather-light percussion floats around this main theme. Three minutes into the track a sudden stop and a sharp intake of breath seem to indicate closure, instead leading into another minute of more frantic push and pull. On an entirely different tip, ‘Voyager’ takes a bright, almost tropical melody and pitches it against squelching effects and, again, swelling, sliding synths. It’s even clear from the eponymous opening number that warm, sumptuous chords are Lee’s stock-in-trade. An ever-rising phrase that begs for resolution sings over a plodding, one-note bassline, while crisp percussion holds it all together masterfully. It’s dancefloor ready, but exudes a lustre that sets it outside the realm of simple club fodder.
‘Rebecca’ is a buzzy, playful number, switching between virtuosic melodies and obtuse layering at will. A short vignette, it displays a touch of frivolity compared with the angst-ridden ‘Philip’. ‘Soul’, featuring Erased Tapes label-mate Peter Broderick, is a reworking of the vocalist’s ‘Proposed Solution To The Mystery Of The Soul’, featured on last year’s These Walls of Mine. A funky, stomping number, it takes Broderick’s brooding vocal and injects it with power and pace, closing the release with an even more, dare we say it, soulful palette than one might have thought possible. All told Odyssey is a successfully diverse collection of tracks, with enough consistency of sound to negate any sense of waywardness, as well as fitting in perfectly alongside the more classically minded releases on Erased Tapes.
Stream: Rival Consoles – Voyager (Erased Tapes) (via XLR8R)
Words by Aidan Hanratty, 17 October 2013. Leave a comment
Voiski might not be a name you’re necessarily familiar with off the bat but we’re certain you’ve heard his music out on dance floors in the last year. Based in Paris his most recognisable track to most will likely be “Ad Infinitum” which was released on Construct Re-Form last year as part of the first release of a trilogy of EPs called the Unforeseen Alliance. Arguably one of the biggest techno sleeper hits of 2012 it was featured in Joy Orbison’s now revered Resident Advisor podcast and by Ame in their equally as impressive Tsugi mix. Striking the perfect balance between melodic hypnosis and repetition done right, the track builds its way up to a beautiful crescendo that works the peak time club moments like no other.
With the second Unforeseen Alliance release dropping last month along with another EP on Parisian label Syncrophone, Voiski still manages to fit in being one of the minds behind innovative net label Silicate Musique as well as working on a series of other aliases and regular collaborations. One of these takes form as Kartei with Crysta Patterson (Donna Renka) with whom he released a record with on the excellent W.T Records. With a blossoming music scene starting to happen in Paris and people starting to see it for the creative hive mind it is for young producers we caught up with Voiski, one of the many people responsible, for a small chat whilst he kindly provided our eighty second Truancy Volume. With his music having caught our ears for a while and recently having caught the ears of a certain label owner from New York, the mix is an elegant outlook and representation of the music that makes Voiski tick and we’re extremely proud to be sharing it.
For those who might not have heard of you before can you start by giving us an introduction to who you are, where you are from and how you initially got into producing and Djing? “I’m a French electronic producer from Paris. I grew up here and discovered electronic music in the nineties thanks to a very generous and older Italian cousin ha Ofcourse he was Italian as at the time that sound wasn’t very easy to find here. I was mainly listening to techno and electro very early on and I got into Djing at around the age of sixteen. Producing came one year later and I eventually started some side projects and collaborations. One of these is Kartei, which is a form of techno-cyberpop performing band which I work on with Crysta Patterson (Donna Renka). There’s also some other projects but I won’t go into detail on them here.”
You are one of the minds behind the Silicate Musique imprint, which we’ve been following and loving for some time now. Can you tell us a bit about the ideas that went about starting the label and the music you release on it? “I started the label together with Thomas Bethmont and Boris Dlutowski in 2008. Since the start it has always been a non profit DIY label ran in a micro-economy. We started as a free download net label just releasing some music from local artists in Paris, but after two years we decided to stop releasing ‘music for music’ and instead focus on more conceptual projects which we submit to the artist. We like to call it ‘protocol music’. We basically propose them an idea to work on such as a movie, a science fiction novel etc. and then the artist is free to do whatever he wants, be it even choosing the release format. Our last release for example by Rkob was released on VHS video tape and we even did some releases on flopping disks. We’re adamant that it has to make sense with the nature of the project however.”
I also wanted to ask about the Silicate workshops. How do these usually go about happening. Is it in a similar vein? “Yes, it works in nearly the same way. We propose a work protocol to a small group of artists which is usually constituted by free open internet submission. It is more about practising than technical learning. Sometimes we’ll make noise with different objects people bring and sometimes we’ll make noise using old video games, effect pedals and even data found on our hard drives. After a sound research during the workshop we propose a public live performance at the end of the day. We record the sessions and whenever something special comes out, we do the editing and propose it as a new release for the label.”
Moving on, Resident Advisor recently did a video on Paris as part of their Real Scenes documentaries which featured quite a few of your tracks. RA did a brilliant job in showcasing a part of Paris people might not have heard of before but we’re keen to ask about your own take on the city and if there’s anything you’d like to add on from that video. What keeps yourself based in Paris? “The RA documentary wasn’t really talking about the music made in the city. To put it simply Paris is full of artists, labels and exciting creations in electronic music and that’s the huge reason why it keeps me here. Being surrounded by a sincere and passionate community is something really important for a music scene. There’s people like Zadig, Dscrd, Antigone and the Dement3d guys and then there’s Ligovskoi, Nox Factio if you’re looking for something more on the noise ground. They are all responsible for the sudden blast here in Paris.”
Along with music, we also discovered that art and design is something you are very interested in. When did this interest start and are we right in thinking you might have studied it? “I think my interest in art started at exactly the same time I discovered techno music. The CDs in my cousin’s bag were all very minimally designed and often used metallic blue or grey pantone with very simple graphics in a similar way to Warp’s Designer Republic or !K7 covers. My first real graphic emotion was further amplified by my first musical emotion when I took the record out the sleeve and started playing a certain special record. ‘We have to sterilize the population.’ When I got older and I wondered what to do with my life, I went to a weird art school in a small city north of Paris called Cergy. At the time it was renown for their experimental sound department. Whilst there I learned a lot of things, from computer programing to field recording, but it’s also the place I learned patience, subversion and also developed a certain love for repetition.”
Can you tell us a little bit about ‘Mamali and His Doves In Art’. From what we can understand it was an album of music produced by you for this art exhibition? “Mamali Shafahi is an Iranian artist and a good friend of mine. He was kicked out of our art school for tying and blindfolding his performance teacher to a sport bench whilst walking on him naked and singing a Marilyn Monroe song. Was pretty awkward to watch, but still Iranians stick together, so before going back to Teheran he asked for a soundtrack for his next exhibition and I was really happy to accept. He explained me the ideas behind the exhibition and gave me the titles of his 13 pieces and then asked me for a slow techno mini-album. It was released on Silicate at the same time as the exhibition.”
In a past interview you stated you were working towards finishing a Kartei album. Is this still something that is happening and can you tell us anything about it? “Yes for sure it is definitely happening. We’ve got a couple of tracks finished for it. Most of them actually have come from our latest live performances. Since we got used to creating completely new songs for each live show we found out that we ended up with a load of tracks. So at the moment we are basically re-recording the greatest hits. It’s going to be a wildly colourful and weird album. We might have to find a label to release on it but we are working on that.”
Can you go through some artists that you are currently feeling right now? “At this very moment I am a great supporter of the Spectrum Spools label with guys such as Container and Outer Space doing great things. There’s also the sublabel of Mego which is currently producing some of the most innovate and almost danceable music at the moment in my opinion. There is also Svengalisghost, my dear flatmate and Steve Moore who are both on L.I.E.S and both incredible artists. I’d also like to congratulate Mr Abdulla Rashim for his constant work on Horizontality. Well done dear friend.”
Can you share any information on what else is coming up for you this year release/production wise? “There are two new records to be released pretty soon! The first ‘Spotlight Diktat’ will be released on a young label called Sheik’n’Beik and the second one ‘IAI Movement’ will be released on L.I.E.S on the 15th October.”
Finally, can you tell us about the mix you have recorded for us? “It is a mix made with vinyl on two technics and a very basic mixer. Its content sums up my confusion towards contemporary dance music and the doubts I have when I see where techno is going sometimes. Since sharing my turntables with Svengalisghost I’ve also been watching and leaning towards records on other parts of my shelves. Records which are generally more for listening and not necessarily for djing. It starts with some slow techno but a big emotional upheaval can be expected.”
Words by Riccardo Villella, 16 October 2013. Leave a comment
2013 has been a busy year for Leon Vynehall. Not content solely with working his way through a hectic touring schedule, the Brighton producer has also spent considerable time in the studio with releases on both AUS Music and Well Rounded Housing Projects this year. Coming courtesy of Martyn’s 3024 imprint, the Open EP forms the latest addition to Vynehall’s increasingly impressive discography.
Opener “I Get Mine, You Get Yours” kicks off the four track EP in fine fashion; its’ pounding drum pattern the platform for abrasive synth stabs, morphed horns and an eerie and barely decipherable vocal snip. It’s the second track – “Step or Stone” (Breath or Bone” – which is the star turn here however. A menacing vocal is powered along by stomping percussive strikes while the winding, jarring synth melody is unquestionably infectious. A perfect big room weapon.
The frenetic nature of the A-side is eased somewhat by “I Know Your Face, Heroine”. The EP’s third cut is noticeably calmer, awash with soothing keys and a deep bassline. It only proves to be brief respite however with “XVII (Rox Out)” upping the ante once again. This time clipped vocals accompany a punching percussive beat that is guaranteed to get fists pumping and feet moving. Less conventional than the other tracks, it’s a perfect exhibit of what separates Vynehall from some of his peers as he continues to reinterpret familiar formulas in idiosyncratic yet perfectly club-friendly ways. Vynehall has certainly been on something of a hot streak lately and Open no doubt continues the producer’s upward trajectory.
Stream: Leon Vynehall – Open EP (3024)
Leon Vynehall’s “Open” EP is out now on 3024.
Words by Matt Gibney, 15 October 2013. Leave a comment