Point Blank were joined by Danish DJ and Producer Faustix for another tutorial video, this time looking at how to make a punchy psytrance drop. Faustix is a force to be reckoned with in the dance music scene, with his ground-shaking releases on labels like Mad Decent, Monstercat, EPIC Records, Atlantic Records and more. Real name Morten Brangstrup Olsen Hansen, he has worked with the likes of Diplo and Major Lazor and shows no signs of slowing down.
Deft is the alias of Yip Wong. Born in Croydon, he has a talent for loping, sophisticated beats which, if you didn’t know otherwise, might trick you into lumping him in with his fellow Croydon-based, dubstep pioneers. In reality, he tells DJ Mag that he “grew up listening to pop-punk and commercial hip-hop” and, when played some early Digital Mystikz by his brother-in-law, he “just didn’t really understand it”.
‘I make a bunch of different kinds of music’ reads the description on Doctor Jeep’s SoundCloud page, and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Real name: Andre Lira, the New Yorker works within the bassier end of the club music spectrum, but is hard to pin down to a particular sound.
Attilio Pugliese is one of the music industry’s leading managers, with artists such as Latmun, Detlef, Lee Foss, Carlo Lio, Nathan Barato on his roster. He’s the man behind Forward Motion Artists’, a company focused on cultivating authentic identities for musicians as well as working with leading event series and labels including All Day I Dream, Hot Creations, Paradise, Rawthentic, Repopulate Mars and Saga.
DJ Fresh still vividly remembers where he was the moment he knew his health was in trouble. “I was sitting in traffic on the Hammersmith flyover, driving home from the airport after a weekend of gigs,” he says. “I woke up on the bridge — I’d just passed out at the wheel. When I came round, my first thought was relief that I hadn’t driven over the side. Then there were sirens, and the police turned up. Luckily, somehow, and I don’t remember how, I’d broken my clutch.
DIGGING FOR GOLD
He relocated to a small village on the edge of Oxford, and set up a studio in his new house with a view to moving into producing other acts, the kind of space where artists could stay for a few days and really throw themselves into making music. Setting up a ‘production camp’, as he calls it, took off immediately.
“We're like a bomb made out of different materials, ready to explode at every show.” Hailing from Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo and the third most populous city in Africa, KOKOKO! radiate a raw and explosive energy. Inspired by the bustling sounds of their home — “a loud city inhabited by brave, energetic people who favour eccentricity” — KOKOKO! make percussive, psychedelic music with a gritty post-punk aesthetic.
“I never looked at music as a business,” nods IAMDDB, the part-Portuguese, part-Angolan and ALL Mancunian breakthrough star. “Music is my therapy. It’s my place to express myself however I feel. I never aspired to be anything like a pop star, it just isn’t my sweg. I’m here to make you feel something. I’m here to ignite the fire within and make you realise you’ve gotta wake the fuck up and grab life by the balls same way I am. With music, I want whoever listens to feel like it’s a space of healing and power, self-worth and self-love.
Monstercat wonderboy Gammer joined Point Blank to breakdown his epic club track, ‘Out With The Old’. The “spiritual follow-up” to his previous hit, ‘The Drop’, ‘Out With The Old’ continues to embrace the producer and DJ’s trance roots and packs one hell of a punch. Crammed with euphoric strings, heavy-weight bass lines, screeching melodies and more, it’s everything you could want from a Gammer track. ‘Out With The Old’ is available now via DJ Snake’s new Premiere Classe imprint and continues the producer’s winning streak.
Despite austerity hitting all but the most affluent, charity giving continues to rise.
“The bohemian soul of the scene makes for fertile ground when people come together and fight for what they think is right” — Bobby Connolly
Bobby Connolly agrees, citing the “liberal mentality” that has been at the heart of dance music culture ever since the early days of disco in New York, and which famously came to the fore during the UK acid house explosion and its subsequent high-profile battles with government and authority figures.
“If you’re smart and do things well, you can raise a lot of money for charity through music releases,” McIvor says. “Artists are much more likely to get involved and help out if they know that you’re doing it for a good cause, and not trying to make money for yourself. It’s an effective way of reaching people. Plus, people who are buying dance music releases would generally tend to be more politically aware and conscientious.”
“In a perfect world, the corporations and festivals reaping most of the financial benefits in the scene would be convinced or pressured to contribute more to charitable causes” — Jordan Czamanski
From the start, the pair found it hard to get established producers to release on the label and, even more surprisingly, found that some within the dance music industry were strangely cynical about their motives. “At the beginning it was very hard for us,” Lucas says. “When we were trying to explain what we were trying to do, a lot of people were sceptical. They would say things like, ‘Nobody does this kind of thing for free’.
“I first got involved because Andy Turner from Plaid had mentioned it to me,” he says. “The cause is important, and it is something that has affected people dear to me, but above all, Martin puts out great music. Touched is a great label, Martin is a great person and regardless of the cause, I would have worked with him.”
CAUSES WIN PRIZES
“In the case of Joe Goddard, he passionately wanted to support what we’re doing, but his manager was encouraging him to do it, too,” McIvor says. “Most managers or agents would tell their artists to shy away from anything that may in some way be controversial or divide opinion.” Most wouldn’t think that speaking out against fascism and racism would be controversial, but the Optimo Music founder has been surprised how divisive his new label venture has been.
Shape-shifting DJ/producer Daniel Avery has a longstanding relationship with Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound; it’s home to many of his EPs, including 2012’s ‘Need Electric’ and his debut album ‘Drone Logic’, which explored all corners of his dark, acid-laced dancefloor-centric productions in 2013. Last year’s follow-up LP ‘Song For Alpha’ took on a slightly different trajectory, accentuating melodic structures with downtempo, melancholy moments like ‘Slow Fade’.
02. HAAi ‘It’s Something We Can All Learn From’
“HAAi is the coolest new character on the scene with a truly magnetic presence about her, dancing hard to the beat of her own drum. She takes her love of psychedelic music from around the world and throws it into her own unique universe, turning heads at every corner. From newcomer to Essential Mix Of The Year in under two years, she’s a new superstar in full flight.”
03. Clay Wilson ‘E4 (Patrick Russell Remix)’
04. Manni Dee ‘Drips’
“Brutalist techno with a social conscience and a raging fire in its stomach, Manni is on unstoppable form at the moment. Go and check out his album ‘The Residue’ on Tresor, then his stuff on Perc Trax. Then go and watch him play live or witness him DJ and tell me your life hasn’t been made better in some way.”
05. Mor Elian ‘Move Like Atoms’
“Mor is the new queen of the broken drum-beat in my eyes. Everything she makes sounds like it’s been discovered on an alien planet but there is still a distinctly human pulse underpinning it all — her stuff reminds me of early Warp records fed through a modern techno filter. She’s also an incredible DJ and one of the coolest people you’ll meet.”
06. PSSU ‘307309’
“I wasn’t going to pick one of my own but fuck it, I’m incredibly proud of this collaboration with friend and studio neighbour Richard Fearless — released on his own label, Drone. I was always drawn more to the electronic sides of Death In Vegas, given what an amazing club DJ Fearless is, so it’s exciting to see him push this side of himself further in recent years. He’s an inspiring character who has never stayed still and never stopped creating.”
07. Planetary Assault Systems ‘Strange Attractor’
“No one needs me to tell them how incredibly important Luke Slater is to the world of techno. I picked this track out of a hat as one of about twenty records of his I play on a regular basis. To have a remix by Luke on my new collection is such a rush for me — particularly one that sounds like the sky is falling in.”
08. Inga Mauer & Hellboii ‘Space Trac Two’
“Inga is easily one of my favourite artists around. Her style is raw and uncompromising, completely unaffected by outside trends and forces. There’s a darkness that bleeds to the edges of her sound but she’s also a funny little shit who couldn’t care less what people think of her, as long as they are listening.”
09. SHDW & Obscure Shape ‘Verlorene Seelen’
“This pair make basement rave music that translates onto huge stages without ever being overblown or self-indulgent — an almost impossible task. Their tracks lift an entire crowd and I play something by them in practically every set. Simplicity is one of the hardest things to do well in club music but these guys consistently offer a masterclass.”
10. Anastasia Kristensen ‘Ascetic’
“Anastasia is one of the most exciting new DJ names around, destroying every club she enters, but it’s in her productions where I feel her light will shine the strongest. There’s a certain poise to everything she makes; the drums in her tracks glide across a room even when they are aggressive. A room lights up to her music.”