Grab a nice pair of headphones and sink into Marcus Marr‘s 9 minute disco epic, “The Music”.
The fact that this one’s been out for about six months and is just now surfacing kind of adds to the whole understated mystery of this dude. He’s from the UK and he’s DFA but that’s about all we know about him so far.
There’s a lot going on in this track — a weird sitar intro, call and response basslines, rhythmic guitars, a trancey vocal breakdown — it all comes together to make a fucking brilliant single that’s definitely worth a few bucks on beatport.
If there was a fighting game based on the characters of today’s record labels — someone please make this — Sammy Bananans would be in the Fool’s Gold column next to A-trak and Catchdubs and his finishing move would definitely have something to do with his midi-sax.
His latest production, a bootleg of JT’s “Let the Groove Get In” off The 20/20 Experience, has restored my faith in 120bpm.
Listen below and head over to Sammy’s Facebook page to grab the free download.
The upcoming Major Lazer album, Free the Universe has been delayed — or more specifically, “kidnapped by General Rubbish”. In the meantime we’re getting three volumes of unreleased material leading up to the album’s release, starting with Lazer Strikes Back Vol 1.
Vol 1 features the gorgeous extended version of Lazer’s big ravey rework of Hot Chip‘s “Look At Where We Are”, a trap-meets-dancehall mix of “Get Free” from up-and-coming Amsterdam trio Yellow Claw, a dramatic-step remix of “Original Don” from mystery producer DGRC and a confetti-exploding-hands-in-the-air remix of “Jah No Partial” from the London dons, Jack Beats.
Keep an eye out for Lazer’s next single “Watch Out for This (Bumaye)”; a free download for those who pre-order Free the Universe next tuesday, 2/26.
Grab the free EP below and check Lazer’s current US Tour dates (Nashville March 5th!).
1. Major Lazer & Flux Pavilion – Jah No Partial (Jack Beats Remix)
2. Major Lazer – Get Free (Yellow Claw Get Free Money Remix)
3. Major Lazer – Original Don feat. The Partysquad (DGRC Remix)
4. Hot Chip – Look At Where We Are (Major Lazer Extended Remix)
Bonus Yellow Claw remix of “Jah No Partial” *thumbs up emoji*
Over the years, Cody “Codes” of Slow Roast records has built up a reputation as one of the hardest working producers and turntablists in the dance music game; as seen through a number of singles, collaborations and mixtapes regularly surfacing on his soundcloud page.
His sound pulls from a wide variety of styles ranging from hip hop and moombahton to disco house and electro.
I had the pleasure of meeting Codes in his NY hometown last year before he jumped on the decks at AM Only‘s CMJ showcase at Drom.
Shortly after, we reconnected online for a quick Q&A.
Check the conversation below and be sure to grab Codes’ latest freebies, “In Your Brain” and “World Rulin’” as you read along.
Joseph: How would you describe yourself to someone who’s not familiar with you and your work?
Codes: I’m a DJ/Producer that makes and plays music I like.
When and how did you get into turntablism?
I think my first exposure to scratching was the movie “Juice”. Then I actually started trying to learn cuts after I got a cheap American dj mixer and pair of Gemini PT 2000 turntables when I was 15.
I met my friend George at a house party and I started practicing with him a lot. He was a bit older and could do a lot more advance scratches than me. I learned a lot from him.
Did you have any musical mentors when you were getting into production?
I have been sending my music to Kill The Noise since I first started producing. I used to DJ with him before Serato and Traktor when we both went under different names a long time ago. He has definitely been a mentor to me as a producer.
What do you think are some of the most important elements needed to make a great track?
I think to make a great track everything has to be on point. From the production and engineering to arrangement and song writing.
What does your audio production setup look like?
Right now I’m on old Mackie 824′s, a G5, Logic and a midi keyboard. As for DJing I’m on Traktor, 2 Technic 1200s and pioneer 909 mixer.
What do you think makes a good DJ these days?
There is nothing better to me then seeing a DJ kill it on a pair of turn tables. I don’t enjoy watching people use ableton — seems a bit of an easy way out but in the end the most important thing is to move the crowd.
Where do you go to find new music?
The usual — Beatport, my email and homies.
Do you think soundcloud, twitter and facebook have made music blogs pretty much irrelevant?
Nah, I don’t think they are irrelevant but it definitely had an impact on how blogs work and what their roll is today in the music world.
Do you think new genres of dance music will continue to surface or will artists just keep switching up what’s already been established?
It’s always a little bit of both. Now there are so many it’s almost impossible not to pull influence from another already established genre.
Do you think a producer’s environment or location still plays a role in his sound in the current age of internet music distribution?
Where you work, your surroundings, how you live etc. will always play a role in your sound.
Why do you think there’s such a strong crossover between hip hop and house music?
They come from the same place — drum machines, samplers, synths and people.
Which producers do you think are pushing things forward right now?
I dig the direction Brillz is going right now. He has an ill sound of his own and writes really cool music. I really love the house joints GTA have been putting out as well.
Any advice for young producers and djs just starting to get on their grind?
There aren’t enough hours in the day as it is so take advantage of every hour you have on this god damned planet.
When did you really start getting into music and which scenes were you a part of growing up?
I was brought up with lots of different kinds of music being played all the time at my parents. Everything from the Beatles to Stevie Ray Vaughn to Al Dimeola. My babysitter gave me a Mamma Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J) and an Another Bad Creation tape when I was about 8. After that I found the Rap City Top 10 and would watch it religiously everyday. That’s actually probably where my first exposure to DJing was now that I think about it.
I started playing guitar when I was about 12 and started getting into older rock and blues music. When I was 14, my older cousin Woody took me to a rave and that was the first time I saw a DJ mixing electronic music in person. I saw some dude mix Wu Tang’s “Ain’t Nutthin’ To Fuck With” over some jungle beat and fell in love.
After that I saved up money for turntables and started buying vinyl records. First, all hip hop, scratch records and jungle/dnb. Then I got into breaks and eventually house — then just about every other kind of music you can think of.
What do you have planned for us next?
I have a new EP coming out on Slow Roast Records February 12th and will also be giving out a handful of new stuff. Also I’m remixing a few choice disco classics out of the Salsoul catalog that will be out on Ultra sometime this year. Check djcodes.com for updates, shows and new music!
Preview the Get Down EP teaser, mixed by Craze, below:
For a dj, vocalist, and producer who has put together sound pieces for major clothing brands, hosted her own radio show, released works on labels like Fool’s Gold and Future Classic, and headlined shows in some of the world’s largest cities, Anna Lunoe is a surprisingly down-to-earth person.
She’s a pleasure to be around with a relaxed demeanor, infectious smile and charming Australian accent.
Focussed on the personal journey toward artistic fulfillment, Lunoe approaches music production as if it were a muscle needing regular exercise; which helps explain the abundance of work she’s been releasing over the past couple years, including a collaboration with Van She keyboardist and producer Touch Sensitive on “Real Talk,” which became Beatport‘s 4th highest selling indie/nu disco track of 2012.
Our interview takes place in a stairwell above Nashville’s High Watt club where she’s about to perform. There we sit, geeking out about dance music and sweating from the rising heat, occasionally pausing to enjoy one of the songs being played bellow.
Joseph: Having grown up in Sydney, why do you think Australia is such a safe haven for dance music?
Anna: That’s a great perception people have on Australian dance music. I think it’s because Australia’s largely a really positive country. We’re not talking about Berlin’s underground late night minimal techno sound, we’re talking music made for open-air bars and festivals with positive with hooks and synths. For the most part it sounds like summertime.
There are a lot of Australians like yourself who’ve migrated to LA. Do you have a group of friends out there?
The first time I saw your name was on “Love Ting” with Wax Motif and then I kept seeing you popping up on various collaborations throughout the year. What does the back-end look like when you’re working with someone?
Every time it’s different. Sometimes we’ll sit down in front of a blank Ableton session and work it out from scratch. We might intellectualize it before or we might not.
Sometimes it starts with one of us making a sketch or someone will come to me with an almost finished track and ask if I want to write a top-line for it.
What’s a top-line?
So a top-line is a vocal line. When you see a Swedish House Mafia song with a girl singing on it, they’ll send that out to a bunch of different vocalists, get them to write lines for it and then they’ll pick the one they think is the catchiest.
It’s good to hear though. I know it’s sexist but I’m always skeptical of whether some of these girl dj/producers are actually making their own tracks.
Well yeah, It could be any producer, not just girls. I could tell you a bunch of guy producers who have ghost writers working on their stuff. People you’d never think. It’s very common.
I’ll be the first to tell you though, a lot of people get help. I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, but I do think it’s not so great when no one talks honestly about it.
Well I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “help,” but it’s not always transparent as to whether somebody’s name on a track means they did it, you know?
Yeah. It’s something that trickles down from pop music. Obviously Rihanna and Beyonce aren’t writing or producing their own music and their name’s all over it. They are the brand.
It’s a very grey area but If I wrote it with someone, I’ll tell you.
So do you have some tracks you’ve made on your own from start-to-finish?
Ya! The track “Up and Down” off of the Fool’s Gold release was me start-to-finish. And plenty more coming out next year.
What kind of sounds are inspiring you right now?
Right now I’m really going against the loudness of everything. All the songs I want to make are really stripped back, or maybe just not so heavy.
I feel like a lot of Australian music is headed that way as artists continue to change and grow. But I feel like there’s something missing between the super pumping “EDM” and all the casual disco and deep house out there right now.
What happened to the fun, gritty, vocally-driven dance sound that surfaced around 2007 when all of this was just taking off? Is there just not as much good indie-pop to make awesome remixes? As an Australian, what do you think about all of this? [laughter]
I have so much to talk about on this!
So basically, 2007 was when I first gatewayed into this type of music as well, so I can personally vouch that it was really exciting.
And then the EDM thing started to build and we all got channeled into this huge beast and it all kinda just blew out.
I think a lot of people feel the same way, like “hold up, we’ve lost something here.”
The other problem is, since no one’s buying music anymore the labels are pretty much only going for short-term pop turnover to pay the bills and not focusing on developing artists.
In this climate, one bad album gets you dropped. Think about what that would mean if a band like Radiohead got signed today — we mightn’t have Ok Computer, Kid A or The Bends because their first album only had one crossover hit on it.
In the long term, this might be costing us albums that unite a generation. I’m not saying, ‘things were better before,’ because there were problems with the old system too. My point is, the way we consume music has changed.
Some things about that are really exciting though, like seeing underground producers getting big pop opportunities — like Diplo working with Usher and Lil Wayne or Santigold being sampled by Jay Z.
I love the access it gives artists. You can make something, upload it and if it’s good, people will spread it. That’s cool.
I guess the downside of having more listening platforms is that our attention is more divided. It’s rarer for an alternative artist to make a really big impact — like a generationally uniting impact. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but it is rare.
photo: Justin Vague & Studio Das Monk
As an artist in this generation of music business, how do you keep from getting jaded?
At the end of the day, I’m just fortunate to get to do the thing that makes me happiest right now, which is making music in as many different situations as possible.
I had a few years before I really started working on music where I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t know how to action it and found myself getting pretty frustrated — especially because I wanted to do everything myself and not ask for help.
I think a lot of people considering music production go through this process, and end up kicking themselves for not starting earlier.
All these kids…
Are there no more normal, late-20’s producers? Do they all have to be 15?
Ya, if you’re not 15 forget about it! [laughter]
Don’t let all these young producers scare you.
When you think about all of the sounds your brain has been consuming over the years — whether you’re a blogger or a DJ — that gives you a unique view to bring to the table.
I met this awesome 60-year-old parks and recreation guy once and I’ve never met anyone so empowered with dance music in my life!
He was making techno! He was making house music! He was making disco! He knew everything about every software. If you can keep learning as you move through life and continue to move forward artistically, that’s the journey right?
Good on you young producers, you’re very inspiring but you’re also scaring everybody! So the message here is, if you’re over the age of 21, you’re not dead!
Don’t worry about it, just fuckin’ work!
This’ll be the last one because I know you have to go. Have you ever considered yourself something of a role model to aspiring girl producers?
I don’t think anyone thinks of themselves as a role model but I’ve always looked up to the strong, idealistic women of the music industry. I still love Bjork, Fiona Apple, Annie Lennox, Robyn, Sheila E, Ladybug from Digable Planet — any woman who’s doing something different. People who go with the grain and do things that are already there and do it well, that’s cool too but for me it’s all about contributing something. That’s what inspires me. I don’t know if I’m executing that just yet but that’s the goal I am working towards.
Jersey based producer Memory Tapes lends his blend of bright synth textures and reverb-soaked guitar riffs to Aussie psych-rock outfit Tame Impala with this new remix of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.”
The Feels Like We Only Go Backwards single package is out Dec. 14 through the always-on-point Modular Records.
Listen bellow and check the amazing video accompaniment for the original track.
Sasha‘s understated tech rework of Hot Chip‘s standout single, “Flutes” has been on heavy rotation over here at the Nash house. Taking all the best parts of the original – the deep basslines, the hypnotic vocals and overall lengthiness – he remolds the track into nine minutes of slow-burning, vocoder-heavy dance floor bliss.