How have you been? What are you currently up to? Anything upcoming for you and the label in the near future?
Hey Max, all is seemingly well. I am currently in tropical paradise (Goa) making music and throwing crazy parties at Cirrus in Anjuna as well as crashing parties with our mobile vinyl PA setup. We are planning Gandu003 now and should hopefully have an idea of what we are doing for the rest of the year in the next week or two. It's season time here so everything the Goa Underground tribe is doing is full power.
What is Gandu Records? Can you explain the record company's organization, team and philosophy?
Gandu Records is a joint collaboration between Ignatius Camilo and myself. We aim to showcase the talents of our close friends and family - the Goa Underground Tribe. Our music is aesthetic is UNDEFINED. As for the meaning... You can look it up online.
What has it been like running the label after now your second release? What have been some highlights of your time so far? I know Seth Troxler was playing your first record.
It's got ups and downs for sure. Naturally it's very exciting to put out records from people you respect and break new talent. There are however a ton of complications like the massive record store day pressing queues. We also need to sort out pressing in Europe as it's less of a headache to ship domestically. Both records have got nice reactions and they are in the bags of some really awesome artists so let's see how it goes in the future.
Who are the artists on the newest Gandu release? Where did you meet them and what attracted you to them and their music?
On the newest one we have a track from Lifecoach - I met him through my homie Paddy in Chicago. He sent me a Youtube link to the track, I dug it so we decided to put it out. The A2 and B2 feature Fiend, my buddy from university. We always saw eye to eye in much of our music taste and also approach to making music so it was only fitting to work with him. Finally, there's m50/Area. He has been a mentor on my musical journey for the past 6 years or so during my tenure at WNUR 89.3 Streetbeat. He is the one that really encouraged me to get the vinyl label going so it was a no-brainer to invite him to contribute.
It's pretty amazing to be that you've been able to experience a great deal of the Chicago, Berlin, Goa electronic music scenes. What are the similarities and differences you see between them? Do you prefer one more than any of the others?
Berlin is interesting because it's non-stop full power. There is something interesting going on 5 days a week at least. Chicago definitely brings great artists through, but I find the actual restrictions of clubs too imposing. Additionally the short hours really prevent most DJs from stretching out as you have to share a bill with at least 1-2 other people. Goa is like a happy mix. It's full power when the cops aren't around and the parties are free to run, but sometimes we still stop early anyway. And when the cops are there... Well it goes exactly like it does in Chicago.
Has your philosophy towards music creation changed over the years? What's your studio look like nowadays? Do you have any necessary gear that comes with you when you're on the road?
If anything I'm more workflow oriented. Find a dope sample, make a dope beat, print some cool synths or noises to audio and arrange ASAP. The MPC2000XL taught me this. In Berlin I have a pair of Genelec 1030A, Virus B Classic, Moog Mother 32, Jomox Mbase11, MPC 2kxl and a Strymon Big Sky. I left my Nord IIN the states cause I have to fix the voltage for Europe, and I left my Technics and Xone 62 for the time being as well.
What's the trick to making a great house/techno track?
I suppose knowing what it is that gets you off about good house and techno. In the past few months I've really paid attention to nuance... Having different decay and velocity on hihats, changing the rhythmic patterns ever so subtly, creating movement through automation, etc. As they say, the devil is in the detail.
Why do you prefer vinyl over digital?
Why pay for 0s and 1s? If someone makes a request I tell them to search my bag. If a vinyl is no longer playable i can make a paper weight or clock or plate or decoration out of it. I can whack someone with it or huck it like a frisbee too... The inherent benefits to the vinyl format are clear...!
Do you have any fun stories from your musical journey of the past couple years?
2 nights back I played an amazing b2b with Iggy. The floor was totally ours and it was beautiful. People kept asking us to turn the volume up even though it was election week in Goa making what we were doing quite prohibited... Iggy shut the sound and said if y'all would stop talking the music would be loud enough lmao... This happened a few times until finally he went full power on some jazz and then the cops came. It was exactly the underground bootleg vibes India needs to experience.
Do you have any advice for artists/music curators?
Don't buy the record if you don't love it. You only have so much space in your bag and if you always flick past the record, maybe it doesn't deserve that space.
Do you collaborate a lot? Who have been your favorite artists to work with over the years?
I collaborate quite a bit just for fun. When people come to my apartment there isn't much to do cause I don't have turntables or a tv. It's easier for me to entertain people with my MPC than with catch up conversation in my uncomfortable / desolate room. I work a ton with Jakob Seidensticker (Wareika and Silky Raven) as well as Boronas (Square Room Heroes). These guys are too easy to work with. Every time we sit down in the studio, I can't help but wonder if this is going to be the day we are finally out of ideas. Jakob is a wizard behind the mixing board and we all know our way around logic 9 making it pure unadulterated fun. We just make a load of tea and lock ourselves with the machines. With 3 people it's dead simple to agree on what stays and goes. Although we are quick, I think our attention to detail and overall quality is uncompromising. That said, we have a ton of forthcoming EPs and splits coming out with some really awesome vinyl imprints this year such as Minibar, Abartik and Bodyparts... So as usual... Keep ur ears 2 tha streetz.