On The Records: Rizky Argadipraja/Greybox

 

“Keluarga saya tidak berlatar musisi jadi saya tidak bisa bilang jika mereka menginfluens saya untuk membuat musik. Tapi saat saya umur 12 tahun, ayah saya mengoleksi piringan hitam dari UK rock scenes, jazz, classical dan memainkannya di record player tua miliknya. Hal itu membuat saya tertarik untuk mendengarkan berbagai genre tersebut tapi dia tidak mengizinkan saya untuk menyentuh record player miliknya, until one day, I tried to mess with it myself. I honestly had no idea what I was doing but that actually made me more curious,” kenang Rizky Argadipraja tentang awal ketertarikannya pada musik. Curiouser and curiouser, rasa penasaran pria kelahiran Jakarta, 23 tahun lalu ini terbayar manis saat dirinya menjadi music producer dan sounds engineer yang dikenal dengan nama alias Greybox.

Sempat bergabung di jazz band, pengaruh jazz yang smooth menjadi salah satu elemen dari produksi musiknya saat ini yang merupakan paduan eklektik dari electronic, Hip Hop, house, RnB, soul dengan influens meliputi J Dilla, DJ Krush, dan Theo Parrish. Setelah merilis beberapa volume kompilasi dengan judul Crusted Swing dan begabung di roster dua label US, Ninetofive Records dan Mellow Orange, di tahun 2015 lalu, pria yang berkuliah di New York ini merilis debut EP bertajuk Elevate yang berisi 4 track dengan genre beragam, namun tetap mengusung vibes yang slick and chilled andalannya.

 Membangun karier di negeri orang, tak lantas membuatnya melupakan scene lokal begitu saja, whether collaborating with local talents atau membagikan pengalamannya. “Apa yang saya sukai dari New York adalah state of appreciation yang dimiliki para New Yorkers. Appreciation is what I learned the most after being a few years there. But you know, there is nothing feels better than home. Banyak yang saya rindukan dari Jakarta. Nomor satu yang jelas adalah makanan. The spicy Indonesian food and the price. Food in New York is mad expensive. Tapi pada akhirnya saya akan pulang ke Jakarta anyways, so I’m hyped for that and everything in the future to come!

 

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Apa yang mendorongmu untuk membuat musik sendiri?

 

Back in 2012, saya menemukan software Ableton di Mac lama saya. It was intimidating at first, but got hooked after a few tries. Awalnya saya tidak tahu mau buat apa, jadi saya menghabiskan setahun untuk mempelajari software itu. Lalu saya pergi ke New York di akhir 2012 dan untuk pertamakalinya dikenalkan ke Hip Hop oleh sepupu saya yang tinggal di sana. And not just Hip Hop the genre but the culture itself. Saya mulai nyaman dengan NY Hip Hop scene dan mulai membuat Trip-hop pada awalnya. Dari situ, saya mulai mengeksplor genre lain seperti House, Soul, RnB, dan sejenisnya. Dan menggabungkan semua genre tersebut menjadi satu, into my own sound.

What’s the story behind Greybox moniker?

 

It goes way back when I was in middle school, I made a production house called Greybox Production. Had a small team, and we used to make short films. Long story short, we end up going our own ways.

 

After I made my first track in 2013 called “Simplicity”, I was so excited to upload it on Soundcloud but haven’t think of an alias yet, so I end up using Greybox just for a temporal account name. But then people started to recognize me with that moniker, so I decided to stick with the name until now. It took me a while to finally accept that name, and to really find a meaning behind it. But after awhile, I realized that the tracks that I made compile a meaning of my alias.

 

To describe it in a quick yet casual way, Grey as a neutral color that comes from a mixture of many colors combined into one, being open minded towards any type of sounds. Covered by a box that will keep the groove stable.

Who are your musical influences that really shape your taste and works?

 

Lots of great artist from the Hip-Hop divisions, House, and also old school RnB cats. I found influences not just from one source but a chain of sources. I always try to learn something new from producers that I look up to also from producers that are on the same boat as I am. I want to broaden my style so I would just look at other artists that have a completely different taste as mine and just try to learn their style. I target myself to at least stumble one new artist/producer every each day.

 

Individually, I would always credit J-Dilla as my main influence. I appreciate his work cause he combine different genres but always have that one element that keeps it in motion, it could be the drums, or maybe the bass.

How would you describe your sounds?

I would describe my sound as a spacey yet soulful tones wrapped in repetitive swing. I love loops. I express my sound in a few bars, and keeping it unique. Fitting a complete message in that few bars, repeating, and still achieve a new motion every each repetition. Basically, making loops that don’t sound like a loop.

elevate

Berapa lama kamu mengerjakan Elevate EP?

Saya mengerjakannya kurang dari seminggu. Yang menarik adalah saya mengerjakan track “Discrete” dan “Enigmatic” di Starbucks sambil memakai headphone di NY. Ide tidak selalu datang di studio musik, it’s crazy how you can just sit at Starbucks with your coffee and then just build an idea of a new track. Sejak itu saya lebih open-minded di setiap tempat yang saya kunjungi, bahkan kamar mandi sekalipun. Saat mengerjakan sebuah track, saya tidak pernah menghabiskan lebih dari dua menit karena saya cepat bosan. Setelah Elevate EP, saya jadi semakin serius and step up my game dengan membuat track lebih dari dua menit… And also go to Starbucks more often.

Kamu di New York kuliah Sinematografi, apa korelasi antara sounds dan visual di musik menurut kamu sendiri?

 I find that cinematography is a thing that I love to switch activities to. Saya merasa belajar soal film bisa membantu musik saya juga. And it turned out good. In cases like shortage on a film budget, hiring a sound recordist in New York cost you an arm and a leg. So it really helped me many ways by being able to do sound and visual.

So far, pengalaman main paling seru di mana dan kenapa?

 

I don’t do gigs that often, tapi kalau pengalaman paling seru so far when I did a show in Brooklyn, NY di sebuah private rooftop party. The vibe was great, people were dancing and they really felt the music. Pengalaman itu sangat berkesan karena ada this one afro-latino girl came all the way up to the DJ booth and just start pulling up dance move right away and just vibin’ all night. It excites me looking at people appreciating my music.

What’s your dream collaboration?

 

A producer named IAMNOBODI. It’s just something about his drums that always give me the chills.

Apa kamu sedang mengerjakan sesuatu saat ini?

 

Ya, saya sedang mengerjakan sebuah proyek bernama Ocean EP dengan seorang musisi dari major label. Karena masih sedang dalam proses, saya tidak bisa membocorkan lebih banyak, but yeah you’ll be expecting a fresh material coming up soon.

Greybox’s Fave Records:

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Trouvaille

Freddie Joachim

Album ini baru keluar bulan ini, terlepas dari kami ada di label yang sama, dia hanya merilis album ini dalam format vinyl. Owning the vinyl version and all tracks from Trouvaille album is top notch.

drum-library

Drum Library Volume 12

This one is a collection of drum samples/loops both sides. A hip-hop drum breaks from Super Break Records. Since I do sampling alot, this record has always been a foundation to my drum chops.  Always have this record with me wherever I travel.

quincy

Walking In Space

Quincy Jones

An all time favorite, saya dikenalkan album ini oleh ayah saya dan menjadi inspirasi ever since. All the elements on this album influence the sounds of my releases. Also lots of chops I use for my track from this piece.

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https://soundcloud.com/greybox

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Midnite Cruise, An Interview With Neon Indian

Lewat album Vega Intl. Night School, Alan Palomo dari Neon Indian menawarkan kelas ekstra untuk sesi berdansa tengah malam. Sign us up, pretty please.

Saat tiba di sebuah restoran di daerah Panglima Polim pada suatu Senin malam, saya sebetulnya tidak sadar jika pria berambut ikal yang sedang asik menikmati makan malamnya di salah satu meja adalah Alan Palomo, not before dia membalikkan tubuh dan mengulurkan tangannya untuk menyapa saya. Produser dan multi-instrumentalist berumur 27 tahun tersebut adalah sosok utama di balik Neon Indian, sebuah unit indietronica asal Texas yang berawal dari bedroom project sebelum berkembang menjadi full band seperti sekarang. Lewat album debut bertajuk Psychic Chasms (2009) yang melahirkan beberapa hits seperti “Deadbeat Summer” dan “Should Have Taken Acid With You”, Neon Indian dengan racikan synthesizer yang terdengar dreamy dan summer-ish dianggap sebagai salah satu pencetus lahirnya demam chillwave di awal 2010-an, sebuah genre musik yang meskipun tidak bertahan lama tapi menjadi pengantar bagi berkembangnya musik-musik chill out a la Majestic Casual, sehingga rasanya agak surreal melihat sosoknya ada di depan mata.

            Empat tahun telah berlalu sejak perilisan Era Extraña, album kedua yang menginjeksikan bunyi shoegaze dan new wave yang lebih eksperimental dan gelap ke dalam musik Neon Indian, dan kini mereka datang ke Jakarta hanya sebulan setelah perilisan album ketiga yang berjudul VEGA INTL. Night School. Keesokan harinya, Alan dan rekannya akan tampil dalam konser besutan Prasvana yang menjadi show perdana Neon Indian di Indonesia sebagai bagian dari tur Asia promosi album tersebut. “Setelah hiatus yang cukup lama, saya sudah agak lebih tua dari sebelumnya dan setelah merilis album ini saya langsung pergi tur, tapi saya bisa bilang jika mungkin kurang dari sebulan lalu kami baru bisa mendapatkan groove-nya kembali. Selalu ada satu titik dalam sebuah tur di mana semuanya akhirnya terasa make sense, semua orang bahagia, and we’re just having fun dan itu juga yang menjadi tujuan utama dari tur Asia ini, untuk bisa menikmati waktu. Jadi kami selalu menyempatkan waktu untuk melihat-lihat saat tiba di sebuah tempat baru,” jelas Alan saat saya bertanya bagaimana rasanya kembali tur.

Bila Psychic Chasms adalah soundtrack senja musim panas yang riang dan Era Extrana adalah pengiring malam musim panas yang kontemplatif, maka VEGA INTL. Night School bisa dibilang mengambil inti sari terbaik dari kedua album sebelumnya tersebut dan membawanya ke level yang baru. Judul albumnya sendiri cukup menjelaskan tentang apa yang menjadi benang merah 14 lagu di dalamnya dengan kata “VEGA” yang merujuk pada proyek musik dance Alan sebelum Neon Indian terbentuk. “Pada awalnya saya berniat untuk merilis album untuk proyek VEGA, tapi kemudian saya menyadari jika saya tidak harus terpaku pada apa materi yang bisa dikategorikan demo untuk VEGA atau demo untuk Neon Indian karena pada akhirnya komponen produksi keduanya saling bersinggungan dan menjadi katarsis tersendiri. Adalah hal yang lebih konstruktif untuk terus berkarya dan baru memikirkan mau disebut apa musik itu setelah selesai. Jadi saya terus merekam dan walaupun judul album ini terinspirasi dari proyek saya sebelumnya, tapi album ini bergerak ke arah yang benar-benar baru. Saya memiliki ide untuk membuat sebuah rekaman yang terdengar seperti kolase dari macam-macam genre dan dekade dalam musik dance, namun tetap memiliki benang merah. Referensi nama VEGA di judulnya adalah sebuah perayaan dari merger kedua proyek ini sekaligus merujuk bagaimana Neon Indian akhirnya mengkanibal Vega dan menyerapnya menjadi kesatuan,” papar Alan soal ide tercetusnya album tersebut.

            Clue selanjutnya adalah kata “International” di judul. Sebagai sebuah album berkonsep kolase, album ini memang berisi referensi musikal dari musik dance berbagai negara selama empat dekade terakhir, dari mulai disco, funk, R&B, hingga reggae. “Annie” yang menjadi single pertama adalah homage untuk lagu pop 80-an dengan lirik naratif berisi nama perempuan dan nomor telepon dengan elemen reggae yang kental. “Adalah hal yang menarik ketika ‘Annie’ pertama kali keluar dan pendengar Amerika merasa lagu itu mirip lagu Ace of Base. Jika sebuah lagu terdengar upbeat dan agak ‘etnik’, mayoritas pendengar Amerika akan langsung menyebut sesuatu yang sangat pop untuk menjadi referensi mereka, yang bagi saya sangat aneh karena lagu ini sama sekali tidak terdengar ‘Eropa’, its a lot of calypso, cumbia, dan komponen dari musik Latin Amerika lainnya. Saya berasal dari Meksiko dan walaupun saya tidak secara aktif dan sadar mendengarkan genre tersebut saat beranjak dewasa, tapi baru ketika lagu itu jadi, saya baru berpikir ‘Holy shit, it’s like early 90’s cumbia’. Bagian menyenangkan dari jalan-jalan keliling dunia adalah menyerap sensibilitas musik setempat dan menyadari jika semua genre bisa hidup di universe yang sama. Saya rasa hal itu yang agak hilang di musik indie dan saya ingin membawanya kembali.”

            Alih-alih menjadi stadium banger seperti mayoritas dance music saat ini, album ini adalah tribute bagi kehidupan club malam yang sempit dan penuh keringat. There’s a sense of humidity di lagu-lagu seperti “61 Cygni Ave” dan “Smut!” yang sensual dan intim, sesuatu yang tercetus dari New York sebagai latar belakang. “Saya pikir New York adalah latar yang menarik karena kota itu selalu bermutasi,” cetus Alan sebelum melanjutkan, “Saya tinggal di New York baru sekitar enam tahun tapi saya merasa kota itu adalah city of transplant. Selalu ada orang yang pindah ke sana. Saya ingat ketika pergi makan malam di salah satu restoran lokal favorit saya di Williamsburg, saya menyadari jika semua orang berbicara dalam bahasa-bahasa Eropa asing, semua yang ada di sana adalah turis, tidak ada orang lokal. Banyak anak muda pindah ke New York setelah lulus SMA dan kita bisa merasakan bagaimana mereka berusaha keras untuk dilihat seperti apa yang mereka inginkan instead of bagaimana diri mereka sebenarnya. They’re full of drugs and booze, dan apa lagi sih yang dicari orang saat larut malam selain drugs, booze, and getting laid? Ada kejujuran yang datang dari lingkungan itu, people are just acting like animal and they’re lacking experience, atau sekadar perasaan kamu tiba di New York untuk pertama kalinya dalam hidupmu. Itu hal yang menarik untuk menjadi latar dari sebuah album,” ungkapnya tentang album yang lahir dari apartemennya di Brooklyn namun dibesarkan di atas kapal pesiar.

Saudara kandungnya, Jorge Palomo, yang menjadi drummer Neon Indian terikat kontrak dengan kapal pesiar yang mengharuskannya berlayar selama enam bulan dan terancam meninggalkan Alan untuk menunda produksi selama setengah tahun. Apa yang Alan lakukan? Well, mengepak pakaian serta peralatan rekamannya dan memesan tiket pesiar bersama seorang engineer-nya. “Saya langsung mabuk laut,” cetusnya sebelum menenggak birnya sambil terkekeh. “Waktu itu adalah bulan Desember, bukan bulan yang bagus untuk berlayar karena ombaknya kencang. Ada dua cara untuk mengatasi hal itu, yang pertama kita bisa meminum obat yang disediakan di kapal dengan beberapa efek samping atau cara kedua yang banyak dipilh orang: mabuk. Jadi Jorge akan pergi ke toko duty free dan membawa beberapa botol alkohol ke kabin dan saya berusaha untuk menghindar dari rasa mual itu tapi juga tidak terlalu wasted karena saya berusaha menjadi seorang produser yang baik dan menginstruksikan arahan, its very frantic,” simpulnya.

Seolah pelayaran di atas kapal pesiar saja tidak cukup untuk menekankan rasa “internasional” di dalamnya, cover art album ini turut dihiasi kanji yang membuatnya terlihat seperti album rilisan Jepang, yang terinspirasi dari kegemaran Alan berburu plat rekaman di tempat yang ia datangi. “Salah satu favorit saya adalah Dessinee Shop di Shibuya. Mereka punya koleksi lengkap diskografi Yellow Magic Orchestra, semua album solo personelnya, Yukihiro Takahashi, Haru Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, dan semua album yang mereka produseri seperti Akiko Yano, Sandii & the Sunsetz dan semua album Jepang itu dilengkapi obi strip di sampulnya dan saya ingin album ini memiliki rasa yang sama dengan album yang mungkin bisa kamu temukan tanpa sengaja di sebuah record store di negara asing,” jelasnya. Sama fasihnya ketika ia berbicara soal musisi-musisi Jepang favoritnya, ia pun menyebut film-film Seijun Suzuki, Sion Sono, serta anime seperti Akira dan Perfect Blue sebagai bagian dari referensi sinematik yang menginspirasinya. Minatnya pada film juga disalurkan dengan menyutradarai beberapa video untuk album ini dan ia pun mengungkapkan rencananya untuk membuat sebuah film pendek. Tapi untuk sekarang, Alan masih akan berkonsentrasi menyelesaikan tur internasionalnya. “Saat kamu merilis album, kamu harus siap untuk berada di jalan selama 18 bulan lebih, so we’re still doing that,” pungkasnya dengan tegukan bir terakhir. Masih terlalu dini untuk pulang dan kelas malam besutannya masih terbuka lebar, kamu belum terlambat.

 

On The Records: Emir Hermono

What I learn from being far from home is that you appreciate your own country more,” ungkap Emir Hermono, seorang musisi dan produser R&B dan Hip Hop berdarah Indonesia yang berdomisili di Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Memulai karier bermusiknya sebagai rapper dengan nama The Shakes, pria kelahiran Semarang 25 tahun lalu yang dibesarkan di Papua ini mulai membuat beats sejak umur 17 tahun lewat eksperimennya dengan software FL Studio saat ia pindah ke KL. “It feels the same tho, like good music is good music. Honestly though, I love being an outcast here sometimes. At times I feel I got more love from Malaysia than in Indo, haha. I look up to DJ CZA a lot here cause he’s an Indonesian that’s been doing big out here in Malaysia and Singapore with his group, Ahli Fiqir,” ungkap Emir menyoal rasanya menjadi seorang musisi Indonesia di negeri orang. “Gue merasa Hip Hop scene di Malaysia lebih manageable as in like it’s a small circle of Hip Hop like everyone knows everyone here and they’re so advance on a production level and the whole style tuh up to date banget. The reason why I kinda stop rapping when I was in Malaysia sebenarnya juga karena minder, man they are so good! Haha!” tandasnya.

Menyebut dirinya sebagai emotional guy, pengalaman pribadi seperti heartbreak dan relationship menjadi katalis baginya dalam berkarya, not that different dari sentimental guys seperti Drake atau Ta-ku yang turut menjadi influens baginya. Emosi mentah yang dibalut oleh production yang slick terangkum dalam tiga beat tapes bertajuk Beats & Breakups, Songs About Her, dan Karma Kisses yang menjadi trilogi narasi tiga episode hidupnya yang melibatkan tiga wanita berbeda yang dirilis dalam kurun waktu setahun terakhir ini. Selain merilis Karma Kisses pada Februari lalu, 2016 has been particularly a strong year for him. Mengerjakan sebuah track bersama penyanyi legendaris Malaysia Sheila Majid dan tampil di Good Vibes Festival for the first time dalam sebuah DJ set sebelum Ta-ku (and get to hang out with him) telah dilakoninya, selain terus berkolaborasi dengan para musisi muda di region Asia Tenggara seperti Jonah Sithole, Shelhiel, Leo Ari, FRS, JNARO, Yosugi, serta rapper Ariel Nayaka dalam single terbaru Emir yang berjudul “3AM in Jakarta”, sebuah R&B track sentimental dengan vibes retrospektif yang kinda bittersweet.

Dengan semua pencapaian yang telah ia raih di luar sana, saya merasa sudah saatnya giliran publik Indonesia untuk lebih mengenal sosoknya beserta karya-karyanya. Tak hanya menjawab beberapa pertanyaan, Emir pun menceritakan beberapa album musik yang berpengaruh bagi dirinya.

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Hi Emir, where are you right now and what are you doing before answering this email? Hellooooo! I’m in Kuala Lumpur right now, just finished my dinner. I had this BOMB ass Japanese rice bowl that I’m a sucker for every time #fattylife.

How do you usually introduces yourself? Usually I would start by saying I produce music here and there, a donut eating expert or a professional Hey Arnold! fan – if there’s even such a thing.

So tell me your story, gimana awalnya lo mulai bikin musik? What really prompted you? And why hip-hop/R&B? Okay so I actually started as a rapper (lol I know even I had to laugh at that) this was when I was like 13-ish in middle school. I grew up in Papua for most of my childhood terus langsung pindah ke KL when I was 14. I only started like making beats at 17 – I remember I was still using FL Studio to like mess around with it and since then I’ve always been making tunes. Why hip-hop RnB? Too Phat was definitely the one that kinda got me on hip-hop. Remember when Too Phat was like BIG AS HELL di Indo? Yeah around that time I fell in love with hip-hop, although I’ve been listening to hip-hop since the Iwa K days. Shoutout to Iwa K tho, he’s the real OG.

Where did you grew up and what kind of records you listen to back then? I grew up in Papua since I was like 2 and I was there since 14 – my parents are still there tho so yeah Papua is the home. My first record that I bought was actually AQUA, man! That “Barbie Girl” album. That shit was FIRE fam hahahaha (I’m actually laughing as I type this)

So I read about your rap name, The Shakes, was based on your wish buat bikin burger shop, masih kepikiran untuk itu nggak? Hahahahaha! Goddamn man I forgot about that – gue aja udah lupa when did I say that to be honest. But yeah that’s part of the plan, I love food in general so most definitely. Mungkin nasi padang shakes deh kayaknya hahaha!

So from what I know, Beats & Breakups, Songs About Her, and Karma Kisses are basically three different albums about three different girls in the episodes in your life, would you mind to elaborate more about that? Yesss I’m such an emotional guy man, haha. So basically Beats & Breakups was the one that started it all; I had a relationship with someone that didn’t work out and at that time I was at my lowest point so I just decided to make a tape you know – to ease the pain, turns out it got a pretty good reception from the scene so yeah (she’s probably reading this right now). Songs About Her tape is kinda like me moving on and found a girl that I like and I did this tape to kinda impress her in a way (I know cheesy banget hahaha) so yeah she came to the actual release party and everything we were vibing tapi ya ujung-ujungnya it didn’t kinda work out you know. The last one Karma Kisses is the end of the trilogy – I met someone that I really like and I got married to this one (my current actual wife) so it has this happy undertone but at the same time I still kept it a bit emo-ish if that makes sense.

As musician and producer, ada yang berubah nggak soal musik sejak married? YES of course! I find it harder to kinda make depressing music when you’re in a proper relationship and I even told this to my wife; so whenever I need to like be in a depressing state I just tapped into my old self like remembering the past and it’ll come out naturally. 

What about the story behind “3AM in Jakarta”? Apa inspirasinya dan gimana akhirnya memutuskan collab bareng Ariel Nayaka di single ini? “3AM In Jakarta” was like my final thoughts before I got married – actually a month before. So a month before I got married I was in Jakarta and started writing and making music – and something about 3AM In Jakarta that just brings that mood you know – that Drake depressed state. I hollered at Ariel Nayaka cause first of all he’s so dope – probably THE BEST right now in Indonesian hip hop but that’s just me. And we vibe and gel pretty well together – he’s the future.

Kenapa cover art-nya pakai gambar Chitato rasa Indomie Goreng? Have you taste it, man? YES definitely – udah cobain and enak banget I even brought some back to KL, hehe. Kayaknya it’s so eye catching aja to be the cover, like people will think like the hell is this dude doing. 

Baru-baru ini lo perform di Good Vibes Festival, how was it? Is it your first Good Vibes or not? Kalau di Indonesia sendiri lo udah pernah perform di festival belum? Yeaah that was my first Good Vibes ever – I did a DJ set right before Ta-Ku’s set and got to meet him and hang out with him which was super dope. I regard Ta-Ku as my BIGGEST inspiration in my music. I brough Ariel Nayaka too on my set! I’ve only played a couple of DJ sets in Jakarta but not festival level yet – I need to make more songs I guess. I tried my luck to perform for WTF but didn’t get through, oh well there’s still next year!

What has been the career highlight, so far? Career highlights probably meeting Sheila Majid to work on a track, playing at Good Vibes and having the ability to work with a lot of young producers and acts from the region most definitely like Ariel Nayaka, Jonah Sithole, Shelhiel, Leo Ari, FRS, JNARO, Yosugi, and a bunch more.

Lo masih ngikutin hip-hop Indo nggak sih? Beside Rich Chigga, sekarang yang lagi populer (and quite controversial) is Young Lex, how do you think about that? Yesss I do keep my ears open and eyes open too. I met Young Lex in KL and it was with Joe Flizzow too in the studio. Young Lex was doing some tracks with Kartel records and I was just around to pass him a few beats for his upcoming album. Rich Chigga is on hot fire right now tho everyone knows him – I’ve been dropping Rich Chigga tracks on my DJ sets and everytime I dropped it everyone always goes nuts. Props to him and Young Lex, all love!

Beside music, apa lagi aktivitas sehari-hari lo? Beside music I’m trying to involve myself with a lot of diplomatic groups and youth political movements to strengthen Malaysia and Indonesia’s relationships. What I learn from being far from home is that you appreciate your own country more.

EMIR’S FAVORITE ALBUMS:

aquarium

Aqua

Aquarium

One thing that you need to know about me: I will always love catchy music, haha. This album was FULL of catchy songs – plus when I was in Papua, the school bus driver always plays this album RELIGIOUSLY, dari TK sampai SD denger lagu Aqua tiap pagi. Shout out to Om Nelson, my childhood bus driver for the plug.

too-phat

Too Phat

360

This was the album that got me like love hip hop for real. It’s crazy that I ended up briefly worked for Malique and got to like in talking terms with Joe Flizzow. I used to listen “If I Die Tonight” before going for my Friday prayers.

mad-season-2000-matchbox-twenty

Matchbox Twenty

Mad Season

The world needs to know that I’m like one of the biggest Matchbox Twenty fans ever. I could literally sing the whole songs on this album. I used to wait for “If You’re Gone” and “Bent” music videos on MTV Asia ‘cause we don’t have YouTube back then.

iwa-k

Iwa-K

Kramotak!

Probably my first hip hop album that I bought – well my dad bought it for me so we could listen to “Kramotak!”. Interesting point: I actually shared a stage with Iwa-K when I and he were the opening acts for Sean Kingston when he came down to Jakarta, and yes I was actually rapping on stage and opened for SK, not bad right? Haha.

project_pop_ok

Project Pop

Pop OK

I LOVE PROJECT POP and this album especially. Remember all the classics in this album tho? One of my life goals right now is actually to meet ANY of them in real life.

kanye

Kanye West

Graduation

Always been a fan of ‘Ye since College Dropout but this album got me through my first year of high school abroad in KL di asrama. I bought this album with like the last 300 ribu Rupiah I had for the month.

drake.jpg

Drake

Take Care

Probably my fave album from Drake, like I make beats right now because of this album. This album has inspired me so much musically and till this day is the best body of work to get depressed to, haha.

taku

Ta-Ku

Songs To Break Up To

I love this album cause it was because of this that inspired me to do beats and breakups – and I LOVE TAKU he’s like a GOD in my eyes and I couldn’t believe I played before his set and actually got to hang out with him backstage during Good Vibes.

nelly-sweatsuit

Nelly

Suit

Remember this came out like with Sweat? Like there’s Sweat & Suit, Suit is like more R&B and more “chill get your sexy time with your girl kinda vibe” plus “My Place” is in this album and that track probably is on my top 3 fave songs of all time.

Mixtape: Akira as Astronaughty

Sebetulnya tentu saja Akira as Astronaughty bukanlah astronot betulan, ia adalah electronic solo project dari seorang beatmaker, radio announcer, dan penyanyi bernama Dmust Akira yang memilih nama Akira As Astronaughty karena ketertarikannya pada bintang dan luar angkasa. Project yang dimulai tahun 2008 ini telah merilis satu album berjudul Attracted To The Light berisi lagu-lagu electronic dengan influens Justice, Daft Punk dan Knife Party. Dmust yang sering dinominasikan di electronic music awards dalam negeri ini juga kerap me-remix dan memproduseri musisi lain, mulai dari Goodnight Electric, Sandhy Sondoro, Jimi Multhazam sampai Harvey Malaihollo, “Hmm, sebenarnya gue suka dan tertarik nge-remix lagu itu karena memang awalnya penasaran, kalau gue tweak sedikit jadinya seperti apa ya? Jadi gue coba dan cuma mau bikin sedikit beda aja dari versi aslinya. Yang next rencananya sih lagunya Aditya yang ‘Go Away’,” ungkap cowok kelahiran Jakarta 14 Maret 1983 ini. Dari sekian banyak gig yang telah ia lakukan, termasuk menjadi opening act untuk konser Sean Kingston dan Far East Movement, mana yang paling berkesan? “Event paling memorable pastinya masih di Silent Disco, gue main di sana dan setelah gue buka headphones, asli nggak ada suara apa-apa di luar, mereka dance dari bunyi headphone yang mereka pakai, itu sangat unik banget, susah dijelasin sama kata-kata, harus coba sendiri! Hehe,” jawabnya. Sambil menunggu rilisan selanjutnya berupa EP berjudul Double Dare bersama DJ Echa, bulan ini ia meluncurkan single “You Don’t Know Me” via label barunya bernama Audio Expressions dan membuat mixtape bertema space traveling.

Velvetine – The Great Divide (Seven Lions Remix)

No gravity, just floating around, but watch out for the meteors. Love this!

Zedd – Spectrum

If I’m an astronaut, gue akan pasang lagu ini di soundsystem rocket ship gue waktu take off. Well, itu pun kalau ada soundsystem di rocket ship. Prepare to take off with this track!

Labrinth – Last Time (Knife Party Remix)

Star Trek menurut gue terlalu geeky, coba ganti soundtrack-nya deh pakai lagu ini, mungkin akan lebih keren? Hmm…

Caspa & Mr Hudson – Love Never Dies

Lagu ini bisa bikin lo mengkhayal santai, seperti lagi melayang tanpa gravitasi.

Datsik & Kill The Noise – Lightspeed

Jump into light speed with this tune, that’s what we’re gonna do.

Knife Party – Destroy Them With Lazers

Kalau gue lagi space travelling dan terdampar di planet lain, kebetulan di planet itu ada alien, mungkin gue akan pasang lagu ini di headphone and Destroy Them With Lazers!

Daft Punk – Digital Love

This track and the video is perfection of space electronic.

    

Justice – Audio Video Disco

Genius!

Sigma feat. Ikay Foxrox & Geetox – Night & Day

Time to rush back to earth, let’s jump. Suka banget lagu ini since the first time I hear it, never get bored.

Rusko – Hold On (Sub Focus Remix)

Epic track! We safely landed on earth.

https://soundcloud.com/akiraasastronaughty

On The Records: Hazen Mardial

Bicara tentang dubstep, tidak usah jauh-jauh membahas Skrillex atau album baru Muse yang terinfluens genre asal Inggris ini, karena nyatanya Indonesia pun memiliki pengusung dubstep keren tersendiri yang salah satunya adalah Hazen Mardial, seorang beatmaker/producer Electronic Dance Music (EDM) asal Jakarta. Mardial yang awalnya tergabung sebagai vokalis di band modern rock bernama Tales Of Science mulai aktif di forum EDM Indonesia, khususnya Ableton Indo yang bermarkas di Kaskus, saat band tersebut bubar. Dia yang memang sudah tertarik membuat musik elektronik sejak SMA akhirnya mulai memproduksi track sendiri dari kamarnya, yang disebutnya sebagai JKT Bass. Dengan influens meliputi Radiohead yang diakuinya sebagai band favoritnya sepanjang masa, DJ dari Circus Records UK, dan producer dalam negeri seperti Bima G, DTX, Billy Kurniadi, Gizky Hary, musik racikan Mardial mulai dikenal publik, terutama berkat single “Yosohot” yang tergabung dalam album kompilasi Ableton Live Indonesia dan hasil remix-nya untuk Homogenic, C’mon Lennon, Yacko dan banyak lagi.

Hi Mardial! Boleh cerita sedikit tentang diri lo dan apa yang lo kerjakan?

Kalau ditanya gue siapa, gue mahasiswa tingkat akhir, pecandu musik, electronic music producer, aktivis Ableton Indonesia (digital audio workstation/software). Kalau ditanya sekarang gue lagi ngerjain apa,  gue lagi merampungkan beberapa Album EP (digital release) dan performing gigs to gigs. Dan tentunya sedang ingin menyelesaikan kuliah.

Dari sekian banyak cabang electro, kenapa memilih konsen di dubstep?

Jujur gue belum lama mengenal musik ini, gue dengerin berbagai macam musik dan di dubstep ini gue temuin sebuah unsur yang menurut gue bisa mewakili sedikit musikalitas gue yang boleh dibilang memberontak, yang gue bicarakan di sini adalah musik dubstep era 2009 ke atas di mana segala macam unsur EDM mulai bertubrukan secara liar namun tetap kreatif dan enjoyable. Intinya gue sangat suka bereksperimen dengan berbagai macam unsur genre, dan di dubstep ini yang menurut gue tepat buat menyalurkan ide-ide liar gue. Mohon maaf buat pionir dubstep atas kelancangan gue.

Band/album musik apa saja yang paling berpengaruh dalam karier bermusikmu?

Kalau lo tanya ke temen-temen dekat gue, mereka pasti akan menjawab Radiohead. Memang tidak ada hubungannya dengan musik yang gue mainkan, tapi menurut gue Thom Yorke dan kawan-kawan adalah sebuah icon pemberontakan pengotak-kotakkan musik. Dan OK Computer tetap menjadi album Radiohead terbaik sepanjang masa versi gue (They used electronic music too). Kebanyakan gue suka sama band-band Indie seperti The Drums, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes. Gue juga tumbuh dengan musik-musik cadas seperti kebanyakan anak muda Ibu Kota lainnya dan gue juga suka banget sama band lokal Efek Rumah Kaca, The Upstairs, WSATCC, Zeke and the Popo, Homogenic, Seringai dan banyak sekali. Buat dubstep sendiri influence utama gue adalah DJ/producer keluaran Circus Records UK seperti Doctor P, Roksonix, dll. Gue juga dapet banyak pengaruh dari 16bit, Rusko, Caspa, Skream, Dream, Culprate,  Nero,  Delta Heavy, Savant, dan masih banyak lagi

Boleh cerita tentang JKT Bass yang lo usung? 

Hahaha.. JKT Bass adalah sebuah parodi, awal penggunaan kata JKT Bass adalah di saat gue tidak mau menyinggung scene Dubstep yang sudah ada atas karya-karya gue yang sedikit melenceng dari dubstep itu sendiri, mungkin orang mengenal JKT Bass dari label genre di Soundcloud.com/mardial dan gue gak nyangka banyak juga temen-temen producer yang menggunakan label “JKT Bass”.  intinya kalau di UK ada “UK Bass” di Jakarta gue juga pengen ada “JKT Bass” mungkin habis ini gue bakal dicaci sama “Music Genre Police”.

Brazil punya favela, Inggris punya dub yang sifatnya lebih merakyat, tapi kalau di Indonesia, gue melihat kultur musik elektronik sendiri masih milik kalangan menengah ke atas, kalau dilihat dari DJ school yang mahal, charge di club/event yang mahal (dan dresscode overdressed yang sucks), gue pikir sudah seharusnya musik electronic bisa lebih merakyat, kalau menurut lo sendiri gimana?

That’s the point! Kalau lo pecinta musik seharusnya lo datang buat musik, bukan cuma buat gaya-gayaan dengan high heels. Gue punya banyak banget temen yang memang cinta sama musik dan bagusnya di scene Bass Music (Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Dub, Grime, etc) kulturnya memang lebih merakyat dan yang masih menjadi penghalang adalah Club/venue Policy itu sendiri.  Club/Venue jelas mencari pendapatan dan mereka pastinya punya kebijakan agar crowd-nya tidak kebablasan dan dandan seenaknya, jadinya untuk di Indonesia venue harus bisa lebih paham bahwa Electronic Music bukan cuma gemerlap malam dan keglamoran. Namun ada juga scene lain yang lebih “apa adanya”. Big ups for Indonesian Bass Music Label/EO  yang sampai sekarang masih menerapkan event yang tidak menuntut crowd-nya macam-macam.

Siapa beatmaker/DJ/Producer Indonesia idola lo dan kenapa? Skill apa aja yang penting untuk jadi seorang beatmaker?

Di Indonesia banyak sekali producer yang menginspirasi gue seperti Bima G, DTX, Billy Kurniadi, Gizky Hary dll. Bicara soal skill yang sangat dibutuhkan oleh beatmaker/producer adalah musikalitas itu sendiri, perbanyak referensi, dan jangan pernah berhenti untuk belajar. Yang gue perhatikan saat ini banyak sekali producer muda berbakat yang lebih mementingkan teknik ketimbang musikalitas, sedangkan menurut gue setinggi apapun skill producing kita, kalau kita tidak bisa membuat nada yang catchy akan sia-sia, mungkin secara batin producer tersebut akan puas, namun pendengar akan malas untuk mendengarkan karya kita lagi apabila lagu tersebut bersifat egois. Jujur gue bukan pribadi yang idealis, gue lebih dinamis dan sangat menerima masukan. Because life is learning.

https://soundcloud.com/mardial

Mixtape: Adhe Arrio

“Gue tertarik dengan musik elektronik itu pas mulai dengerin Daft Punk terus sekitar tahun 2004, gue dikenalin sama DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) lalu mulai tertarik bikin-bikin lagu,” ujar Adhe Arrio tentang awal mula ketertarikannya membuat musik elektronik. Cowok kelahiran Jakarta 26 tahun lalu yang mengaku sebagai synth lover ini selain dikenal sebagai gitaris/controller di band Backalley memang cukup sering membuat proyek musik elektro pribadi seperti single-single “All I See”, “Pachinko” dan “Tonight” yang baru saja dirilis, serta beberapa remix untuk band-band seperti The Upstairs, Empire of The Sun dan Passion Pit. Adhe yang mendapat influens bermusik dari Beatles, Daft Punk dan Chemical Brothers juga dikenal sebagai produser musik di Kamar Studio. “Kamar Studio awalnya hanya keisengan gue sama Adi (Easy Tiger) dan sesuai namanya memang ini kamar tidur gue, haha, tapi kami suka iseng bikin lagu di sini terus lama-lama banyak yang minta tolong mixing dan recording di Kamar Studio dan karena memang kami suka ya sudah kami mau dan berlanjut sampai sekarang,” cetusnya. Kini, selain album Backalley, Adhe juga sedang menyiapkan EP berisi 5 lagu electro yang mengajak kolaborasi dengan teman-teman musisinya seperti Widi Puradiredja dan Raben serta menyempatkan diri membuatkan mixtape berjudul “Afternoon to Midnight” yang asik didengar di tengah kemacetan Jakarta.

SBTRKT

“Pharoahs”

Album SBTRKT ini mungkin album paling sering diputar di iPod gue. Lagi nyetir pagi, siang, sore, bisa masuk semua, Aaron Jerome has made a great album.

Tiger & Woods

“Don’t Hesitate”

Simple and easy listening, what more can I say?

 

Miike Snow

“Paddling Out”

Pas pertama kali dengar lagu ini, menurut gue ini sesuatu yang fresh dari Miike Snow. Good to listen!

Air

“Parade”

Just enjoy the song dan lo bakal ngerasain masuk ke dalam musiknya AIR yang nggak bisa ditebak.

Azari & III

“Hungry For The Power”

Gue suka banget lagu ini karena banyak banget karakter synth dan drum machine klasik.

Aeroplane

“Save Me Now”

Strong bass line! Another classic disco track from one of my favorite producers, Vito de Luca.

Mustang

“Shooting Love (Fat Club Mix)”

I think this version is better than the original.

Neon Indian

“Polish Girl”

Lagi-lagi banyak suara synth di lagu ini, dan lagunya tetap enak buat dinikmati.

Nicky Romero

“Toulouse”

One of the rising stars in house, this track gonna blow you stereo!

Wolfgang Gartner

“Shrunken Heads”

If you like distortion in electronic music then you gonna love Wolfgang Gartner.

As published in NYLON Indonesia May 2012

http://adhearrio.tumblr.com/

On The Records: Stephen Fasano (The Magician)

Hi Stephen, how are you doing? What are you doing before answering this email?

Hi, very good! I’m on a train to Reims (France). I’m going to Yuksek’s studio to make new Peter (aka Yuksek) & The Magician tracks.

How do you come up with The Magician as your alias?

I was looking for a new alias and my gilfriend came up with The Magician. We made the character live, with a fancy costume, a wand, magic tapes, video teasers, etc.. Since very young, I always liked playing a character, wearing an outfit or simply being different.

Tell me about your childhood, where do you grew up and what kind of music you listening back then?

I’m half Italian, half Belgian. I grew up in the south of Belgium called “Wallonia”. It is quite a poor region with a high % of unemployed people. Very young my dad listened to Supertramp, Queen, Alan Parsons, Michael Jackson, Abba,.. So In general, I would say my childhood was bathed into the 70’s/80’s pop and disco. In the late 80’s I’ve received 2 turntables, a mixer and a record collection full of rare Disco and Italo Disco record from my uncle who stopped his DJ career. I felt in love to mix two records together.

Do you always know that you want to make dance music?

As DJ, I always want to make people dance. But with years, I feel more and more into pop music and especially as producer. I try to inject pop/vocals into dance music.

What are you working on now?

On a second single for The Magician, a second EP for Peter & The Magician, on a special new collaboration with a very talented artist, on a new remix and a visual for the shows. I’m also touring a lot all over the world.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Owner of a wine-bar or taxidriver in New York City.

What’s on your iPod playlist right now?

The Weeknd, SBTRKT, Sebastien Tellier’s new album, New Order from A to Z, Lana Del Rey’s album, M83,..

I’ve been listening your remix for Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers”  for quite some time and really love it. Any particular aspect you looking for in some songs that trigger you to remix it? Do you have any names/bands whose songs you would like to remix?

I would have loved remix Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”. It didn’t happen because of my busy schedule. To remix someone else, the principal aspect are the vocals. I’m actually just keeping them when I remix and then build a new track (my own version) around. So it’s more a personal version than a remix.

What can we expect from your live performance?

You can expect a bearded guy dressed up in a fancy costume beige with a wand in the pocket, playing electronic disco/dance music to make people dance and happy.

This is last and just random: Who’s your fave magician and why?

My favorite Magician is Merlin The Enchanter. He has a great hat and I love his owl friend temperamental and completely insane. Merlin The Enchanter made the most of its magic in music, it makes keeping up with his magic stick. As he moved on and that he is back in a small bag all the furniture and objects in his apartment.

On The Records: Sunik Kim (Beat Culture)

Hi Sunik, how are you? What you’re doing before reply my email?
Great, just about to go to my last day of class at high school.
When do you start making music?
February of last year.
What’s the story behind your moniker?
Not much to it really, I wanted to think of a name so I sat in a room with a friend and brainstormed for a while, went on chillwave name generators and all of that. Eventually settled on “Beat Connection” until I realized there was a really good band by that name already.
Which musicians and albums are you most inspired by?
Definitely SBTRKT and Gold Panda, as well as James Blake and Balam Acab. Hudson Mohawke is also by far one of my favorite producers, I don’t really produce in his style but I’m still really inspired by him. Top two albums I’m inspired by are SBTRKT and Lucky Shiner.
Do your school friends know you’re making music?
Yeah a lot of kids at my high school know about my music which is cool.
What are you listening to right now?
Rustie’s Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 – insanity.
Do you mind if people labeling your music with terms like glitch pop, post-dub, etc? How would
you describe your own music?
I tend to ignore labels on my music. A lot of people call my music ‘chillwave’ which I think is really false, my music is nothing like that, but again I disregard genre statements like that, I just make whatever I feel like at the moment.
If you could write soundtrack for any movie, which would you choose?
Lost in Translation.
What you like to do in the future?
Pursue music as far as possible without becoming a starving artist.

On The Records: Jennifer Lee (TOKiMONSTA)

Hi Jennifer, how are you doing? Where you are right now and how’s the day so far?

Hello!  I’m doing well.  I am at home in Los Angeles and the day is pretty nice, I think.  I haven’t been outside yet and it’s 3pm.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you were like when you were grew up in South Bay as little girl? Is it shaping your music or influence you in any way?

I grew up in a neighborhood that was very family friendly.  It was a classic family suburb, so it was pretty boring.  I was drawn to different music than the rest of my classmates and was happy with having a different preference than the others listening to top 40s radio songs.  In that way, I still enjoy making music that isn’t like what people are already used to hearing.

What did you last dream about?

Last night I had an interesting dream.  I don’t remember much, but I believe i was somewhere unfamiliar and the pieces of furniture were arguing with each other.

What the first thing attract you to making your own music?

The ability to make something creative and also what you’d like to hear.  It’s self satisfaction.

Tell me the story behind TOKiMONSTA name; honestly I thought you’re Japanese when I heard your name, but it turns out you’re Korean descent, uumm…what your opinion about Korean Wave?

“Toki” is the Korean word for “rabbit,” but I think people associate the word with Tokyo (or the likes of other Japanese sounding words).  The name was something I grew up with and eventually made into my artist name.  I didn’t think too much about it, it just was the first thing I thought of to call myself as a musician.  As for the Korean wave, I think it’s insane!  Too bad I’m not really apart of it.  I’m Korean, but seem to be placed outside of that wave.

What/who your biggest influences?

Most of my influences come from hip hop and electronic producers such as J Dilla, DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Premier, and Aphex Twin.

What do you love most about what you do? And what do you like least?

I love to be able to create something and share that with others.  It’s also quite nice to not have my work and work hours dictated by other people.  The thing I like the least would be some of the petty criticism I come across.

Any particular musician/song you like to remix now?

For fun, I enjoy remixing 90s r&b.  Maybe I’ll try something with Missy Elliot.

What you’re doing beside music?

For leisure, I suppose I enjoy meeting with friends, cooking, drawing, shopping, and watching cartoons.

What do you hope for?

I hope that people will continue to listen to my music as it continues to evolve.

http://www.tokimonsta.com/

On The Records: Mark Dobson (Ambassadeurs)

Hi Mark, how are you? Do you mind to introduce yourself?
Hi, I am an electronic music producer from Brighton, UK.

When do you start making music, especially under the Ambassadeurs moniker?
I started making music quite a long time ago on my first computer (an Amiga 500 using a program called Octamed) and learnt how to play guitar, piano and drums on the way.
The Ambassadeurs moniker started a couple of years ago when I decided to put out a load of tracks I had been working on to see what happened and if people would like them.

What’s the story behind the name?
I don’t really remember where the name came from, probably just from reading something and seeing the word and thinking yeah, that  will be what I’l call my project. Its funny because it confuses most people because of the name being plural, I turn up to gigs and they are like “where are the others” thinking it’s a duo or something.

Which musicians and albums are you most inspired by?
I listen to loads of different types of music but I suppose the artists that have had the biggest effect on me would be…

  • Amon Tobin – Im a fan of all his work and love the way he continues to push boundaries and is never scared to experiment.
  • Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders – This is one of those albums I can always keep going back to and listen to from start to finish. Its one of my favourites.
  • Cinematic Orchestra – Everyday – This album blew me away when I first heard it and still does today, I love the atmosphere it creates and the drumming is incredible.
  • Tame Impala – Innerspeaker  – Discovered this album about a year ago and its still getting played regularly, the great songs mixed with the raw and psychedelic production sound amazing.
  • Clams Casino – Instrumentals – This album is one of my favorites. Again the atmosphere and emotion in the way he samples things is really special.

I could go on all day with these and there are many important ones I have left out but inspiration and influence comes from everywhere.

What’s the typical creative process when you start making a track?
Sometimes I’l start by sequencing a beat, sometimes it will begin playing on the keys, sometimes it’l be chopping up samples on the MPD. I find Its always good to switch up the process of making music in order to keep thing fresh and discover new ways of doing things.
 
How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard it?
I usually just call it electronic and whenever its described by anyone else they call it something different. The boundaries of music genres are so blurred nowadays which is a great thing but it always makes this question difficult.

Do you have any routine before you perform on a gig?
Not really other than having some drinks and watching whoever else is performing that night. That’s one of the best things, getting to see other acts play when Im gigging.

Watching your “M.O.P.E” video while getting high is one of the greatest trip I ever had, how do you see the importance between your music and the accompanying visuals?
Haha, yes a lot of people tell me that and I can understand why, it’s a pretty trippy video and the guys from Feel Good Lost did a great job, I love their work! I think visuals can be important if they are done in the right way and not just done for the sake of putting visuals with a track, listening to music without visuals frees the imagination.

Do you have any subliminal message on your music/video?
No, but that’s a good idea, I might try that haha.

What’s you currently doing beside music?
I’m completely working on music at the moment, apart from that I am doing some other music related work (Mixing and Mastering) for some people.

Next project?
I think I want to work on the Ambassadeurs project and concentrate on that until it is at a point where I will have some time to branch out into another project and try something different… I’l keep you posted on that one!

http://soundcloud.com/ambassadeurs