Interview: GoldFFinch

Belgian producer duo GoldFFinch have enviably got their defining and favoured in sound on lock. “One of my favourite musical collectives of 2011”, were the words ushered by Mary Anne Hobbs in 2011, and there’s been five accomplished releases (on Numbers and Saigon Recordings among other labels) to date to help back up such a statement. With possibly one of the most minimal and straight forward sites to grace ‘producer and DJ land’, there is relatively no to little information on themselves, so an interview with the pair felt like the logical next step. With an EP on Dutch label Audio Culture out very soon, followed with the exciting news of an in the works remix EP of their own tracks some time in the future, it’s safe to say a vast amount of goldFFinch productions should be taking up people’s mixes and sets in 2012. We spoke to the GoldFFinch duo, consisting of Yoan and Gilles, to find out more about them.

GoldFFinch – EP#2: Tip The Dog / Outer Twigs [SAIGON008]

You’re quite the mysterious duo – could you introduce yourselves? Who is GoldFFinch? “GoldFFinch is composed of two people, Yoann and Gilles. We started the project little over a year ago.” Where does the name GoldFFinch come from? “Goldfinch’ is a bird that we see in Belgium, and to show that there’s two of us we added the double F. We also like the sound of the word. Plus it has a red mask – NMBRS18. Quite different from the American goldfinch though.” So you’ve worked together for about a year, how did you two meet each other? “We’ve known eachother for over 15 years and we did a lot of things together, musically and otherwise, but since a year ago we decided to take music-related things seriously.”

Loefah is one of the earliest supporters of your tracks, having plugged them in early 2011 on his Rinse shows. How did the connection come about, and what did it feel like gaining such great support not only from him but from the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs and Jackmaster so quickly? “It’s been about a year since we finished our first tracks, and we didn’t really know who to send them to. We just chose DJs that we were fans of, like Loefah or Mary Anne Hobbs, and also Boddika and 2562. Although they had never heard of us, they played our songs – we were quite surprised at first but it allowed us to gain credit and to write more songs that we could put out later. This kind of support was really important because it’s through them that DJs like Jackmaster got in touch and we ended up signing with Numbers and Saigon.”

From listening to a lot of Rinse FM shows it seems like your tracks lend themselves quite easily for an MC to work over. Has working with vocalists on a full length track crossed your minds yet, and if so is there anyone in particular you’d like to work with? “As you’ve probably noticed, we add bits of sentences ourselves that are pretty incomprehensible to our songs, and for now we’d like to keep playing with that and continue in that direction. We’ve never really written a beat while thinking about having an MC over it, but all the better if the MCs are comfortable with our songs. We’ll see in the future, but for now we’re not really thinking about doing tracks in that direction.”

You have five releases out that in total consist ten tracks, but you haven’t done any remixes yet. What’s your point of view when it comes to remixes?  “We have had more and more requests, but we do not want to do them at the moment. We like the idea of remixes a lot as long if we’re free to do a personal interpretation. We’re working on our first official remix right now, with more information on that coming very soon. We do however like to hear remixes of our own songs, and Audio Culture will release a 12” with remixes of our tracks in the future. It’s very nice to hear a new version of a song that you wrote.” Speaking of Audio Culture I wanted to ask what was coming out on say label. When will the 12” come out? “The release has got three tracks titled “Model”, “Belle” and “Let Me See”. It should be available on the fourth of June!” 

Stream: GoldFFinch – EP#1: Funky Steppa / Groove Panda [SAIGON007] 

How do you two work together as a pair when it comes to producing? “We write together and separately. We see each other a few times a week in the studio to see how tracks are progressing, what directions they’re taking, and how we should construct it. As we both have our own specializations we work alone frequently too but still in the same studio, so it ends up almost always occupied. Gilles is more the person who mixes and builds the tracks, where Yoann will sample and write ideas of loops that are reworked together. We put in our ideas and work them together so it’s an ideal collaboration.” And what’s your approach when you do a DJ set together? “Tricky question, as we decided that one of us will take care of it and we won’t mix together that often anymore. Let’s say that I’m more in charge of the mix part, although we always review the mix together and Gilles brings tunes to it as well.” Do you have a live set, or is it mostly DJing at this point? “We’re just doing DJ sets for the moment but one day we may go live if we feel the need to do so but we prefer to focus on just writing tunes in the studio at the moment.”

Coming from Belgium, how is the music scene there? “We’re between London and Berlin which is audible in our productions. Belgium is a nice country to live in, but not particularly ideal for music. There’s not many clubs, labels, management and you have to do a lot by yourself here, although there is definitely talent here, like Locked Groove among others.” Are you finding that there are more and more musicians there, or do they all move away to London/Berlin when they have the chance? “For example, Peter Van Hoesen left for Berlin, ARP101 alias Alix Perez left for London. For now, we don’t feel the need to leave Belgium for a city that’s full of musicians, our studio and our friends are here and we’re continuing to work like this. We surely have less opportunity to meet people, but that maybe gives us more independence with what we write. And besides, the internet allows us to do many things anyway.”

Stream: ACLBL003 – GoldFFinch (Preview Mix)

What inspires you? “We’ve always been strongly inspired by the UK scene such as jungle, D&B and garage, but living in Belgium, the techno movement has always had a lot of impact on us too: lots of our friends have incredible collections of techno 12”’s that we can sample. We listen to a lot of styles of music , and we both have a specific background, from rock (Pink Floyd etcetera) to early US hip-hop, which we also love to sample for vocals. It’s probably easiest to say that everything inspires us.” What are you listening to currently, what artists or tracks are most interesting to you? “We listen to a lot of different things. The both of us really like artists like Cosmin TRG, Skudge, Lando Kal, Synkro, Midland, Martyn, Deadboy, Blawan, Jon Swing and they all have a lot of influence on us, without a doubt.”

What can we expect from GoldFFinch in the future? “We’re currently busy working on lots of songs all at once, it’s really a good period! We will continue mixing our influences (techno, house, uk bass, blended with an hiphop groove and vocals). We try to not follow one clear route, and we try to keep on doing whatever we please instead of doing what people want to hear us do. Obviously we’ll never do a track that’s entirely techno or garage, but we don’t place many boundaries.” What about your plans for the Summer?  “We’ve got some gigs abroad (in the United Kingdom and Holland) soon, also some nice festivals (but I can’t name any names right now), but yes.. we’re getting more and more gigs which is awesome as we really like to spread our music in clubs here and there.”

Lastly, when was the last time you danced? “We’re not very dancey people, but last week in Berlin we played alongside Synkro and Phon.O and we might have moved a bit in a way that looked like a dance.”

Written by: Riccardo Villella & Cayley MacArthur.


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