Tuesday, 13 April 2010
INTERVIEW: Simon/off [Haunted Audio]
After a relatively low key release on US label, Haunted Audio, we were taken aback by the intricate drum work of Austrian producer Simon/off. Delving deeper into his world we found fans in the Immerse and Surface Tension imprints and somewhere along the line we located a tough as over cooked lamb recording of one of his live sets that's had repeated spins at SR HQ.
With a new EP for the Haunted label just out and numerous other projects bubbling we felt it was time to reel him in for a pop quiz.
Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Simon/off: My name is Simon, I'm 32 years old, living in Austria/Graz (which is the 2nd biggest city). I've been making music and DJing for quite a while.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
I consider myself as a chilled, down to earth person. I'm working part time in an art association/gallery, so I still have enough time for music...
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do produce?
I started as a young kid experimenting with tape decks, microphones and keyboards together with my younger brothers. There was no certain moment where I decided to start making music... it just came very naturally. There were a few years during high school when I was too stressed to keep on with it. Then I got a tracker program when I was 17 and from that moment on my old passion was back. Around that same time I went to my first rave parties. Jungle hit me hard and I got obsessed with it. I started buying records, DJing, working in a record shop; kind of a that classic way.
What’s your production set up like? What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?
For production I´m using basically an almost 6 year old laptop which crashes like 2 times a day .. haha. No midi keyboard, no nothing, just a mixer and monitors and decks for sampling. Over the years, I've collected some gear though but I'm currently not using it. Maybe the analog days will come back one day.
When playing my live-sets I remix/arrange my tunes with Ableton and some analog guitar fx and an Akai mpd24.
Where do you take inspiration from when making music?
Sometimes it really feels the other way around. Like music is inspiring my life or maybe it is more like a daily routine; but in a good way. And it's also a catalyst of what is happening around me; it helps to transcend daily life and impressions to another level... if that makes sense?
I just could not imagine living without music.
How would you describe your sound? You seem to take a few pointers from the 2562 school of rhythm construction...
I really like what he does, especially with his A Made Up Sound moniker but my influences go back to early broken beat stuff (before it became too jazzy): Nubian Mindz, 2000 Black, Bitasweet, Archive. 70s german pre-electro, 60/70s Jazz, early Rephlex and Warp days and way more... So basically it's a big old mix up.
Simon/off - Something In The Way (Unreleased)
How’s the scene over in Austria? Does the place inspire you musically?
Most of the time it's really good over here, we have some highly motivated promoters with good taste who are trying to push fresh sounds... Good venues with good systems and there are 2 big festivals in my home town alone (Elevate and Spring). The crowd is open-minded, no crews fight against each other etc. I can't say how my environment is directly inspiring my music because that's maybe more an unconscious thing. I have a few lovely people around with whom I can share my musical thoughts and that's important I guess.
You’re in a group Winterstrand right? Tell us a little bit about that if you wish...
Winterstrand is my 2 brothers and me... its melodic listening electronic; sometimes a bit folky sometimes dubby, sometimes dark... We are kinda trying to keep up with the somehow naive approach we had back in our childhood. So it's about not too much thinking, it’s just about playing and about melodies. We made like tons of music, we still have tapes from when I was 8. Around 2004 we started to release on various (Net)labels, mostly free and downloadable.
We did 3 albums and some remixes and compilations in the past years but we've been a bit lazy lately. Check http://winterstrand.net for links and downloads and some info. The whole Netlabel thing also lead me to a solo-release on Martsman's Label Plainaudio and that helped me being more confident with what I'm doing without my brothers.
What music are you feeling right now from inside and outside the scene?
I'm still haunting a lot of Broken Beat/West London stuff. The production level from that era is just awesome and this sound fits just perfectly into my sets right now. Some of the big labels like Hessle, Hyperdub, Immerse, Hemlock, Tectonic and some others are just bringing out a ridiculous amount of good music. The Blunted Robots/Night Slugs/Berkane Sol/strange sort of funky universe is amazing as well. And recently I got this Tek9 double 12" from 94´ called ‘Jus A Likkle Sumting’ – killer!
I’m not mentioning the non-dancefloor stuff… I'm buying King Tubby as always! And lately I checked again the soul/funk section of my record collection: Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scot Herron are true heroes!
You’ve had a couple of releases on the Haunted Audio label from the US. Tell us a little bit about how you linked with them? And can you take us through what you’ve had out to date?
They simply contacted me through the Sub.fm chat and asked if I wanted to do something with them. Altogether, sending tunes, signing and releasing ‘Think for Yourself’ b/w ‘Realize it’ (HAR101) happened within a couple of weeks. It's really a pleasure to work with them as they are open-minded, passionate, supportive and just honest and straight peeps. Out now is the ‘Resist EP’ (HAR110) which contains 3 tracks from my more minimal and techy side to 808 bass driven half-time stuff. Another tune called ‘Dread Control’ should be out soon as well.
Buy people buy!!! The rent is due. Haha :D
What's coming up for you in the rest of 2010?
I have a 12" forthcoming on Immerse, another 12" & a digital release on Surface Tension plus some tunes on Paradise Lost, Laridae and probably more on Haunted Audio. Out now is the second part of the Echodub Loves… compilation with one of my tracks called ‘Trip to Luca.’
After taking a little break from playing live this winter I should be back on track with live gigs in the 2nd half of this year. Meanwhile I'm DJing in and around Austria. Next dates are on the 23rd with Ark and 30th of April with Ben UFO at Disko404 in Graz.
Can you tell us a little bit about your mix... what tracks just had to be in there and how do you think it compares to your club sets?
When DJing in clubs I play vinyl only so this mix is more of a showcase of (digital) stuff I got sent by friends, some of my own stuff and tunes I stumbled across on the web. I’m also pushing some of the Austrians here... especially IZC who with his Dubsquare label is releasing some great music right now. Sound wise its comes quite close to an usual DJ set; some funky influence, some broken beat, some weirdo-style, some minimalistic 2 steppy stuff, some Techno + a few anthems ;)
Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Hahaha... I somehow mistrust wisdom spread on blogs so I’ll keep my mouth shut. Book me, pay me a drink and maybe I will then share some wisdom with you. ;)
DOWNLOAD: Simon/off – Sonic Router Mix
01 Fontarrian - Snow (myspace.com/fontarrian)
02 D.Hafner - Tole Numerique (unreleased)
03 Simon/off - Niger Delta (unreleased)
04 Tri Funk - 689.20 (Anti Social forthcoming)
05 Wahoo - Make Them Shake - HxdB Bootstep Rmx (soundcloud.com/hexadecibel)
06 Simon/off - Exit Space (Surface Tension forthcoming)
07 Pacheko & Pocz - Cohete (Shockout forthcoming)
08 Seiji - Rumpus (seiji.co.uk)
09 Lurka - Cairo (unreleased)
10 Simon/off - No Pills (Immerse forthcoming)
11 Simon/off - Cloudy Dub (unreleased)
12 Luthor - Diamond Cutter (Haunted Audio)
13 Ca.tter - Waiting for the Sun (Unreleased)
14 El Rakkas - Extremly Cheap and Effective (Dubsquare forthcoming)
15 Ca.tter - Babypolitics (Dubsquare forthcoming)
16 Lurka - Robots (unreleased)
17 Simon/off - In Circles (unreleased)
18 Duncan Powell - Pushing (2nd Drop forthcoming)