Monday, 11 October 2010
INTERVIEW: Sentel [Concrete Cut]
Casting our ears back to the first dalliances with Polish outfits like BBQ (their blog, parties, promo mixes and giveaways) and labels like Concrete Cut we're completely in agreement with the recent XLR8R penned notion that, Poland is on fire in terms of fresh and interesting bass music of late. With artists like Zeppy Zep, The Phantom and now Sentel littering our inbox, conversations and radio show tracklists we're totally assured that Poland is doing it about now.
The duo of Sentel, aka Sylwia Kopys and Bartek Baran, hail from Krakow - a town you might have heard referenced in a tale of debauchery or a last ditch effort to lose a mind before committing to someone in matrimony. Keeping their four four kick drums prominent, together they make music that sits as easily between the flummoxing styles of producers like Brackles, Untold and the extended Night Slugs family. Enriched by the erratic, almost scattergun synth lines that incline up into themselves on 'Chapel 20' their style is encapsulated beautifully on their debut release, 'Chapel 20' b/w 'Widow' on the Concrete Cut imprint. Their sound is thick, almost toxic in its luminesence, with the stabbing leads pulling and nagging at your ear drums. In a similar way to the recent work of Egyptrixx: if a producer like Ikonika's world is plagued by hyperbolic shades of neon, Sentel's is swamped by woozy, pixel patterned shades; colliding in flashes.
Grabbing our 56th Sonic Router mix as we did it, we caught up with the duo, asking them to learn us a few things we could tell the wider world in return...
Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Sentel: We are Sylvia and Bart. We live in Krakow where we try to get by making beats, playing out, and spending too much time in clubs.
Outside of music who are you guys? What do you do on the daily?
Bartek is attempting to figure out his life after an unsuccessful stint at uni, and Sylvia has just started hers at an old, respected university. In his free time Bartek works in computer graphics and Sylvia spins disco every night in a Ukrainian club.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do so?
From the beginning, when we first started playing house parties in our hometown (Kielce) we were sure that we wanted to, at some point, start making our own music. At the time we didn't really have any idea of how it would turn out in terms of style.
Bartek: I remember the first tune I finished. It was in 2008 and it was a remix of Blur's 'Boys & Girls'. It was so bad it was barely listenable...
How does the partnership work between you when making tunes?
Everything happens fairly naturally. One of us starts a project and then we work together with each others' ideas. Sometimes one of us stays up later at night and when we wake up the next day we work on the project together. You could say that we split the work 50/50 (Bart makes the beats, Sylvia buys the beer).
Whats your production set up like? What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?
To be honest we only use a laptop with Ableton live. We do have a Akai mpk49 midi keyboard and an apc40 controller, but we use those pretty rarely. Until now we haven't even been able to get a hold of studio monitors or even a single fully functional pair of headphones. That might be partially responsible for the sound on our debut... haha.
Where do you take inspiration from when making music? I mean it’s easy to hear the influence of people like Scratcha DVA and Ikonika in your tunes but what do you think influences the music you make? I mean your myspace quotes black metal as an influence...
Of course you can't directly hear the influence of black metal in our music but I think that there is a certain aura and a kind of straightforwardness to our melodies that we can attribute to the sounds of Burzum, Xasthur or Bathory. You certainly shouldn't take that too seriously. In the same way we could say that the board game Magia i Miecz (Talisman in English) from our childhood is an inspiration, or the kids cartoon He-man.
What is truly inspirational for us is stuff from Werk Discs, Night Slugs, old deep house, acid house, Detroit techno, and rave tracks that you can find all over the internet.
Sentel – Chapel 20 [Concrete Cut]
What’s the scene like in your native Poland? There seems to be some really good producers putting out records at the moment... is the club side of it blossoming?
The scene isn't particularly big, but there are a few really great producers in it. We have to mention Zeppy Zep and The Phantom (check out the last track in our mix), Tomek Urbanowicz from Supra1, Vanatoski from Gangsteppaz, Tom Encore, Liquid Molly, the Concrete Cut crew, Sekta, DJ Spox, and the whole PL Funky crew. The scene is quite good now and we have a feeling that more and more good new producers appear in time. Keep your eyes on Poland, it might surprise you yet.
How did you link with the Concrete Cut crew for you first 12”? What can people expect from it if they’ve heard it? I mean RA commented on the frenetic energy of the thing... do you feel that’s a good description?
We had a few tracks up on the internet that Concrete Cut liked and they asked us if we'd like release something on their label. Simple story really. As for the single, we wanted it to be weird and aggressive, and totally different from the standard approach to UK funky. I think we achieved our goal.
The artwork for it is incredibly strong, kind of bleak but a throwback to the primitive platform games of the past... was that a conscious thing for you? To give it such an arcade feel...
Of course, it was intentional. Bartek was the proud owner of a Commodore 64, and he also played NES. Games like Contra, ShadowGate, Last Ninja left their mark in their own way and Bartek used that as a guide when he designed the artwork. Apparently you can hear the echoes of this kind of visual style in our music. Maybe it's a little cheesy, but it's certainly sincere.
What other projects have you got in the pipeline?
We plan to release our first vinyl this year, with Concrete Cut of course. We haven't DJed a lot recently and we'd like to change that. We're open for bookings! haha
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
We wanted the mix to be a little different. We didn't keep a steady tempo and the energy is spread out in an usual way. We wanted to tell some sort of story rather than it just being a standard selection of tunes. That's why we used a song from an old Polish children's film, Akademia Pana Kleska (Mr. Kleks' Academy), after some serious modifications of course. In general the majority of the tracks we used we edited in some way specifically for the mix. There's also a new track of ours there with a working title of 'Bones' and a second untitled track which will likely never be released, but we decided to use it here as a sort of exclusive.
Any words of wisdom, for our readers?
We're the last people who should be giving out any sort of wisdom. Hahaha
DOWNLOAD: Sentel – Sonic Router Mix #56
01. Velour - Booty Slammer
02. Mele - Bombay
03. Marcus Price & Carli - Var E Näääken (Girl UNIT Remix)
04. Claude VonStroke - Who's Afraid of Detroit (Edited by Sentel)
05. Revenge of Philip Golarz - Theme From Ms.Kleks Academy (Edited by Sentel)
06. Aiku - Just Can't Sleep (Egyptrixx Remix)
07. Sentel - Untitled
08. Hanuman Feat Kanji Kinetic - Bola (Kanji Kinetic Remix)
09. Kanji Kinetic - Thrill Seeka (Kingdom Remix)
10. Sentel - Bones
11. Pirate Soundsystem - Dub N U (Bare Noize Remix)
12. Nightmare Feat Skepta & Lil Nasty - Badness (Edited By Sentel)
13. DVA - New World Order
14. Redinho - Boy Racer
15. Modeselektor - Art and Cash (Phono Remix)
16. Zinc - Nexx
17. Jam City - Let Me Bang Refix (Edited by Sentel)
18. Makongo - Angolan Kung Fu (Double Dutch Remix)
19. Zander Hardy - Signalling
20. Sentel - Widow
21. Style Of Eye & Slagsmålsklubben - Homeless (Canblaster Remix) (Edited By Sentel)
22. Micky Slim & Nom De Strip - Do It (Original Mix)
23. Bobmo - Bring It (Hot City Remix) (Edited by Sentel)
24. The Phantom - Nightgame (Zeppy Zep Remix)