Modern music wizard, Kalabrese is back with a new EP "Let Me Be Your Princess"
Kalabrese is back this year with a new EP "Let Me Be Your Princess" released by Zukunft Records . This was the perfect opportunity to review the highlights of the above-mentioned man's career, who offers us as a bonus an exclusive mix of nearly 2 hours.
A true Swiss knife, producer, DJ, promoter and even owner of the Zukunft club in Switzerland, Sacha Winkler aka Kalabrese is a modern music wizard and certainly one of the best rated Swiss producers.
It's quiet difficult to classify the native of Zurich in a hut, his music skilfully oscillates between Electronica, House, Indie and Funk with influences ranging from blues to afro beat and jazz. An explosive mix at the borders of experimental with an undeniable groove. Kalabrese made his mark in the early 2000s with highly respected releases on Perlon Records or Zurich's label Stattmusik Records with whom he signed his first album "Rumpelzirkus" in 2007.
A first album halfway between electronica and minimalist House, bordered by the sweet and casual voice of the Swiss, revealing a unique sound signature. Recognized as an artist apart from the European electronic scene, he continues his path and repeats in 2013, with a second album "Independant Dancer" more funk signed by the Munich heavyweight Compost Records followed by a series of releases on Rumpelmusig Records with "All Tomorrow's Parties" in 2014 and on Muting the Noise in 2017 with "Bananenräuber" .
Meet the boys behind Hambourg's hottest Deep House Label: Smallville Records
Since 2005, Julius Steinoff , Lawrence & Just Von Ahllefeld aka Dionne are rising high Hambourg’s Deep House flag with “Smallville” . A recordshop first, followed by a label the year later, Smallville is now one of the hottest Deep House label with 54 12“ releases & 12 albums so far counting a bunch of big wheels among their ranks including Moove D, Moomin, Christopher Rau, STL, Benjamin Brunn, Thomas Melchior or Steven Tang .
Julius & Dionne are also producing as a duo ‘Smallpeople’. With a first LP “Salty Days” back in 2012, they are back 7 years later with a new album “Afterglow’. Despite a busy schedule Julius & Dionne took a little break to answer a couple of our questions:
1/ Hey Julius & Dionne, can you first present yourself and tell us about the genesis of Smallpeople and the development of your business since 2006 ?
Hello, we are Smallpeople. The Smallville Recordstore was established in 2005 in Hamburg St Pauli, a year later the Smallville label came to life with a compilation 12“.
Since then we released 54 12“ releases and 12 albums so far. Our recordstore moved locations 2 years ago, we have a slightly bigger space now, still selling records, making beats and trying to keep up the vinyl flag.
2/ You have been running Smallville Records for 13 years now, with a bunch of highly respected releases on the path. What are the ones you guys feel most proud of ?
Looking back, we believe we somewhat achieved to make our music last, which was always important to us. Of course we are influenced by many things- life in general, our journeys to a lot of good places, club nights, our store and the music around us- but we always try to follow our own vision of a sound and not the current trends. We are still proud to have the chance to put out our own music on vinyl- but "proud" is not the right word- for us it’s just a good feeling to know that our tunes- and also the ones of friends that we chose to release on one of our labels- make people dance all over the world.
3/ To sum it up a little , you guys are running a label Smallville Records, a record shop, a sub label called « Fuck reality », you are producing and touring with your duo « Smallpeople » and you are also producing with your solo projects as well. How do you guys manage your schedule, can you describe a typical day of work ?
There is daily work in the record store, which is selling and listening to records, checking news lists and ordering new records for the store, meeting people from all over the world, making new beats and listening to potential new music for our label. Besides we are doing the production side for the labels including self-distributing Fuck Reality and Down By The Lake . So there will be regular shipments to record stores but also to customers of our online store worldwide. And yes, we are also touring and visiting nice places and playing clubs around the globe. This is something special still, as you not only visit places but often also get to know them through the perspective of our host, who can show you the good places.
4/ We have the pleasure to discuss with you at the occasion of the highly anticipated release of « Afterglow » out on Smallville records the 22 of March. We are happy to tell you that it’s a blast! Can you tell us about your creation process, the way your own personalities interact and the influences that guide you for this one ?
The album was written by us in the back of the Smallville recordstore, where we got our studio. Some of the tracks from the album where already made more than two years ago, but most of it was done quiet spontaneously within the last 8 months or so. As we have a monthly residency at Golden Pudel Club in Hamburg, we are usually able to play out new tunes directly in the club and Pudel is perfect to get a glimpse of the mood. Both in the old store and the new one, there is the studio right in the back, so its perfect for getting lost with the machines spontaneously.. Our shop is a good spot in St Pauli, you should come and check out the store if you’re close..
5/ Do you have any musical training ?
We both played in bands in our youth, yes. Just was playing the guitar and singing in several shoegaze or hardcore bands, Julius is a drummer, also playing in bands back in the days. In our youth we were both not really focused on House and Techno but got into it at some point. Still we are liking all kinds of music though, Julius released a complete non-electronic album called Elephant Island on Mule in 2016 with his band Tonight Will Be Fine .
6/ Let’s go for a more nerdy one, can you describe your studio and the machines that are making the « Smallpeople » sound ? What is your favorite machine ?
While our first album was pretty much based on the Roland TR 808 and the sounds coming from a Kurzweil K2000 and Korg MS2000 , for the new album we rather focused on Roland TR-909 drums and most of the other sounds coming from a Roland JV-1080 and JV-1010 which both also have really interesting drum sections.
But our favorite machine is probably the Yamaha DX200 , which carries the original DX7 board, but you can tweak all parameters on the fly instead of having to program everything. Also that machine has an amazing 12bit drum section and over all you can get very special sounds that no other synth can do.
7/ What is the place of sampling in your creation process ?
If we do sample, which isnt happening that often, it comes rather spontaneously, using drumsounds from libraries or maybe even also fragments from a Fieldrecording we did with our phones. Most of the sounds you can hear on the Afterglow album are played by synths and drum machines..
8/ What are your future perspectives of development, what do you have in mind for the following years ?
Due to moving with our store, finishing our album and some other projects, we didn’t release that much music as Smallpeople within the last years, but this is something we want to focus again in in the near future. Soundwise this can go in pretty much every direction as we're generally influenced by and open to all kinds of styles in dance music- but of course we're probably gonna stay with the deepness that we are known for.
9/ We really love your visual identity, you seem to have a very tight relation with Stefan Marx.
Yes, he is a friend and we are happy that our music breathes through his artworks. He comes more from a skateboard background originally and run his little shirt label before we started Smallville . Stefan did the logo drawing for the store (the village) back in the days first and when we were planning our first vinyl release on Smallville of course we asked Stefan, too – and he was really happy to provide it as record covers are an amazing art form. We will always do a full cover artwork with the front being just an image of Stefan without the artists and name written on it and Stefan has artistic freedom- he appreciates that and we are very glad to have him.
10/ Thanks for you time guys ! Last question for our audience, what is your current favorite record, in and out of the electronic music?
As we are confronted with so much music every day through working in the store and buying new music, its very very hard to pick a specific artist, especially as everything is mixed up these days also with all the records from the past 40 years that get reissued right now..
Just: if i had to chose one artist it will likely be " Lone ", even though i wouldn’t play every release, i think he can go with his music through almost any genre without getting boring, while having references to the past and never really sound retro or old.
Julius: I am a big fan of Omar S still. The whitelabels on his labels first appeared in Europe around the same time we opened our store and no one had ever heard of him before- yet every record was on point and special.. So FXHE might be the best selling label at Smallville.. Out of the electronic music i really like Sam Prekop , whose band The Sea And Cake is very close to me heart. Actually he also released some interesting modular albums under his own name within the last years.
Le meilleur des clips de Mars c'est par ici les frelons, avec les français de Papooz , les australos ultras productifs King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard , les ricains Kevin Morby , Toro y Moi et The Mystic Braves , les irlandais de Two Door Cinema Club et plus plus encore ci-dessous.
UNDER COVER: Qui se cache derrière l'irrésistible D.A de Smallville Records ?
Si vous ne connaissez pas Smallville Records , le label hambourgeois fondé par Julius Steinoff et Lawrence , vous devez probablement vivre dans un abris anti-atomique enterré au fin fond du désert Texan. Avec une flopées de sorties adulées depuis 2006, Smallville Records reluit autant par la qualité de ses releases que par son esthétique si atypique.
C’est l’artiste natif de Schwalmstadt, Stefan Marx qui est derrière la direction artistique reconnaissable et ultra catchy du label. De l’épigramme candide aux portraits loufoques et minimalistes, la vision contemporaine unique de Stefan touche juste et illumine les artworks du label. Sur le plan musical, Marx ne fera que quelques exceptions biens choisies à la fidélité qu'il voue à Smallville Records . Des collaborations avec l'incontournable dandy du rock Mac Demarco et quelques autres avec Mule Musiq et Playhouse Records mais pas beaucoup plus.
Son art ne tarde pas à être remarqué et séduit bon nombre de marques et Stefan enchaîne les collaborations de haut standing avec des pointures comme " Converse ", " Comme des Garçons ", " Colette ", " Apartemento Magazine ", " Carhart " ou encore la marque de skate de chez nous " Magenta Skateboard ".
Le vent en poupe, il est désormais un artiste reconnu de ses pères et s’est vu recevoir le prix Lichtwark qui récompense tous les 5 ans à Hambourg un artiste qui a eu un impact sur le monde des arts visuels. Il enseigne également à l’Université du Bauhaus à Weimar et compte bon nombre d’expositions en galeries à travers l’ Europe.
Zombie Zombie, les enfants cachés de John Carpenter
Nous avons eu le grand plaisir de recevoir Zombie Zombie le weekend dernier à Bordeaux à l’occasion de leur passage au Sidéral Psych Fest pour un Fait Maison qui laisse entrevoir l’étendue leur culture musicale aussi fournie qu'aiguisée.
C’est au Studio Main d'Œuvres de Saint Ouen en 2006 que l’alchimie opère entre Étienne Jaumet alors saxophoniste du groupe « The Married Monk » et Cosmic Neman , ancien batteur du groupe folk rock Herman Düne qui décident de former le duo d’origine devenu trio: Zombie Zombie . Proches et fidèles à Gilb’r et Versatile Records , ils comptent pas moins de 5 albums et 2 bandes originales à leur actif.
Leurs références sont aussi qualitatives que variées allant de l’Afro beat de Felu Kuti à la musique de film horrifiques de John Carpenter en passant par les expérimentations d’Igor Wakhevitch , Art Ensemble of Chicago ou encore Craig Leon .
C’est aujourd'hui l’un des groupes les plus fascinant et énigmatique de la scène électronique française, mariant ambiances macabres, rythmes névrosés, bizarreries psychotiques et envolées synthétiques, Zombie Zombie nous plonge sans détour dans un film d’horreur des années 70.
Leur musique puissante et riche touche et pousse à la visualisation et c’est tout naturellement qu’ils collaborent à deux reprises avec le cineaste Sebastien Marnier pour " Irréprochable " en 2006 et " L'Heure de la sortie "tout récemment en 2019.
L’expérience et la technique de ces trois musiciens chevronnés est au service d’une approche résolument expérimentale, qui laisse place à leur créativité et envies du moment. Si bien qu’ils ont l’habitude d’enregistrer à une vitesse folle, « Slow Future » en 4 jours et « Livity » en 7. Avec des faits d’armes comme « Rituels D'un Nouveau Monde » en 2012 ou « A Land For Renegade s » en 2008, Zombie Zombie s’est fait une place à part dans le paysage musicale Français.