As the name might suggest, our next guests are a trio of deep thinkers, who have been actively engaging the connection between music for the mind, body and soul - as the cliché goes.
Based in Melbourne and with varied backgrounds, they’ve come to collectively share an impressive dedication for the deeper and darker shades of house and techno. Over the past two years Sound Of Thought have been making steady moves to forge their musical identity, establishing their place within Melbourne’s house and techno scene with a couple of world class parties, and a few more on the way, which we’re all pretty excited about.
We caught up with Bryce, Scott and Wael to get an idea of what brought them here and where Sound Of Thought might be headed. They’ve also combined to mix up episode 064 in style true to the name, featuring artists like Kassem Mosse, Theo Parrish, Patrice Scott, DJ Qu, Kerri Chandler, Delano Smith and many more!
Who makes up Sound Of Thought and what does the name represent?
Sound of Thought consists of Scott Levy (aka Unfettered), Bryce Lawrence & Wael Najm. The name essentially represents us and all that we stand for and hold dear – namely a nature and approach that is totally unwilling and unable to compromise the art for anything. Each one of us brings multiple attributes to the trio that are simply indispensable, creating a trinity of sorts that is wholly dependent on a profound and absolute mutual respect. We have come together through a love and equally through a dissatisfaction of the same things, and this is what maintains our harmony and motivates us to keep building and to keep pushing these things forward, hopefully for long into the future.
We are driven by a conscious approach to dance music, which by extension entails a no-trend approach to house and techno. In other words we are all of the one opinion when it comes to ignoring fads and keeping to our personal preferences. The name, among other things signifies that commonality between the three of us.
We know you’ve each travelled the world extensively in recent times.. Can you give us an insight into how your experiences abroad have influenced you all musically, any moments that stand out?
Scott & Bryce have spent the majority of their travels in North and South America being taken on private tours of Detroit by Mad Mike while I have spent most of my time in the Middle East, specifically Beirut and Damascus. There aren’t that many record stores there, just a healthy dose of social tension that always places some perspective on club culture and dance music. Yet that perspective seems to create a stronger desire and love for the cathartic nature of dancing for hours on end.
Though after a gig in Beirut, an international replied to a question of mine with “give me an ok system, a crowd with little knowledge and I’ll give you a great set, give me a great system, a house-head crowd and I’ll give you a good set, far harder to please the heads”. An observation which stood out to me.
I spent a week camping with this traveling family of women hippies from Argentina on top of a cliff, over looking the Atlantic Ocean on the mid-east coast of Argentina last year. They couldn’t speak a word of English but they could belt a drum like something else. I fell in love with their Djembe and ended up buying my own in Brazil a couple of months later – it didn’t leave my side for the next 8 months of travel. I met some amazing musicians throughout South America who taught me not just how to play the Djembe, but also the literal magic that emanates from the combination of percussion and rhythm – I really felt like I got schooled on how important root-level, organic elements in music are.
Late one night in the Bolivian Amazon, our guide asked to tocar [play] my Djembe; I heard all the noises that the jungle would usually produce go completely silent from the beat that was flowing out of this drum. When he had finished, the sounds of the Amazon came alive again, but this time the sounds were pulsating with the exact same tempo as what was just being played. It was that fundamental law of rhythm that is ingrained into literally everything, on show in its absolute, natural entirety – I was amidst an orchestra of groovy bugs and animals, it was immense.
The states were a nice contradiction to South America and kind of brought the past and the future harmoniously together for me. The caliber of artists we got to see in just 3 months over there was just absurd, Delano Smith in a warehouse in Brooklyn pretty much cemented my surety that for the next unforeseeable space of time, I want to dedicate as much energy as possible to making people dance, whether that be by throwing parties or spinning records.
My time in Latin America, whilst I could deconstruct how it has influenced me musically, it would be a far more elongated and personal process, and once compared to my time in the states, such processes are made somewhat pointless, as my time there was immense to say the least. From desert wanderings in Nevada, to Decibel madness in Seattle where I finally got to witness Kyle Hall do what he does, and then to the east coast with record shopping and partying in Brooklyn, Chicago and Detroit and actively discovering how small yet welcoming this scene for that real good shit actually is.
Partying in Brooklyn led me to linking up with Amir Alexander, a connection that I will forever savour and foster, as his mix in conjunction with his words for our seventh podcast, and just our interactions in general without ever formally meeting face-to-face, are inspirational happenings that seriously moved me. This also allowed for me to check out some parties and records in Chicago with Hakim Murphy, as it would seem their family runs deep and spreads far, and just a phone call from Amir had Hakim arriving at my doorstep with a more than generous stack of records and seemingly all the time in the world for me.
The hospitality both of these guys extended toward me is something that I will forever be seeking to return. And then finally to the 313, where a visit to Submerge on my last day in the states had me meeting Mike Banks and even getting a short (only due to my own time restraints) yet personal tour of the city by the man himself – the mind really does boggle, and then some….
So whilst coherent analysis is just simply too difficult a task because of the nature of these events and all the emotion involved, what I have taken away is a fervent and optimistic desire to continue my musical exploits personally, and to give my absolute all to Sound of Thought when I finally do return; always keeping in mind and respecting the organic manner in which these events have transpired dating all the way back to the discovery of the feeling at that very instance.
You guys received some great exposure last year after hosting an amazing party with Fred P. at Killing Time in Melbourne. What was it that made that party so special?
It was quite unexpected really. For us Fred encompassed everything we loved and admired about electronic music. We had been trying to get him down to Australia for over 2 years, but we didn’t have a clue how to run a show, let alone a tour, so time and time again the whole thing fell through. Finally when I was in Peru mid 2011, we got our act together and really started to plan the tour for November.
I was a little stressed about the show to be honest, not just because it was our first party, but due to both Wael and Scott being overseas (thanks be to my mates that were in Melbourne who settled them nerves!) – but anyway, to cut a long story short, the party was nothing like I’ve ever seen. Considering Killing Time can hold only what, 100 people or something, I’ve never experienced a crowd so electric in all my life. People were literally climbing the walls. Fred played for just over 5 hours and had to stop only because he had played almost all his records, oh and he was about to drop from exhaustion. I think I left the dance floor for a total of 10 minutes for the entire 5 hours – we were all utterly hypnotized.
I had really put my heart and soul into this party and I think Fred and everyone there felt it. Still to this day I’ve never felt anything like it – I even heard a radio interview with Fred in Israel a month or two ago where he says that it was one of the most special experiences he’s ever been apart of. Again, I want to seriously thank everyone who came and made that what it was… whatever it was.
Tell us about the new Out Of Focus events brand that you’re also involved with, what do you guys have coming up this year with OOF that you can tell us about, or at least hint to…?
Out of Focus consists of the collective minds of Sound of Thought, Freeform Collective and Knee Deep. Most of us were all in the states together late last year and after just attending Burning Man were in San Francisco, spirits were high and many things were being discussed with that airy sense of idealism that so very often attaches itself to one whilst travelling – though in this instance it was offset by a seriously high intake of quality dance music and parties.
From these discussions it was decided that there had been too many momentous experiences shared and already were too many pre-existing similarities between the three respective crews to not attempt to combine our powers and see what would come of it. Then late one night in Seattle at the Decibel Festival after Mike Huckaby and Chateau Flight had finished up in sublime fashion, we found ourselves at an after party with Cajmere and Huckaby again, the name struck Bryce for some odd unknown reason and it has stuck ever since…
Sound of Thought parties will still continue, but only surface a few times a year. Out of Focus will serve as another outlet with more of an open playing field where we can draw on the creative resources of three crews and see what comes of it.
OOF just threw its first party with Efdemin and we were all pretty shocked with the energy of it, again, none of us could have expected the party to go that way. I guess we will just continue heading in whatever direction it is we’re heading in and hopefully the parties, music and vibe will continue with us. In terms of what’s coming up, we are just finalizing our plans for the second OOF party that will be coming mid July and showcasing two incredibly talented musicians, one from Canada and one from Germany. [OOF-002 w/ Sven Weisemann and Basic Soul Unit LIVE in July]
What can you tell us about this unique mix, how and where was it all recorded and put together, and is there a particular theme running through it all?
We decided to split the mix up into three parts, all consecutively placed, with a constant progression always in mind. Scott mixed the first hour or so, Bryce mixed the middle hour and Wael brings it home.
My mix was recorded deep amidst the humid haze that is Habana, Cuba. I have been to many different cities all across the word, though that just may well be the craziest, and definitely the sexiest. The people there move differently, live differently and from learning to salsa to being hustled on every single street corner, how such factors impacted on my mix really is hard to say… I just went ahead and did my thing and implicitly trust Bryce and Wael to do theirs and to do it right, and whilst we do have eerily similar preferences, we still each come with a distinct style that invariably compliments the other in a pleasing manner.
I was pretty inspired by what I saw and heard while traveling through the states. We meet up with Jus-Ed and DJ Qu a few times, chatted to them and also got a glimpse of how they like to get down at parties, so my mix is pretty influenced by the music that’s coming out of the NY and Detroit areas. I mixed it in my bedroom a few months ago on two CDJ800s, two Technics 1200s and a DJM600 mixer, no edits or computer jiggs or whatever.
Personally it’s always a pleasure to play after Scott and Bryce, I may be biased, though the boys know how to delve into it while also having an ability to set the appropriate vibe. I had heard their sets and tried to feed off the mixes while including a good amount of vocals, vocals can always add that sensual human element, the sultrier, the better.
What else is on the horizon for Sound Of Thought?
We are very pleased to have just announced the details for Sound of Thought:two which will see Levon Vincent journey on down to our shores for the very first time towards the end of May. He has a full schedule of four shows in four days across the country and will be playing in Melbourne on June 1st at the Liberty Social. Levon is another one of those special kind of DJs that can read and work a room as if it were a science, so we have little doubt that he will deliver another memorable night for our second party. [SOT:TWO w/ Levon Vincent at The Liberty Social]
Aside from that we have our eighth podcast coming up with an Australian deejay who will be very familiar to you all, and are also working on a third party for towards the end of the year, the details of which are very much still to be finalised.
But overall, after a few somewhat tedious yet undoubtedly necessary years, everything is now moving along at a steady and satisfying pace. And with new and exciting connections being made on the regular, the destination is very much unknown at this point, which, in our eyes, can only be a good thing.
Thank you all for your time,
1. Lowtec – Resist // Source Records
2. STL – Foggy Beatz // Something Records
3. Terre’s Neu Wuss Fusion – Thirty Shades Of Grey // Mule Electronic
4. Kassem Mosse – Untitled // Workshop
5. Soulphiction – Reclap // Sonar Kollektiv
6. Theo Parrish – Lost Keys // Sound Signature
7. Rick Wilhite – Ruby Nights // Third Ear Recordings
8. Terry Hunter – Madness (Armando’s House Mix) // Muzique Records
9. Jonsson / Alter – Dvärg // Kontra-Musik
10. Instra:mental – Waterfalls // Nonplus Records
11. Di_Indicator – Catwalk Baby // unGleich
12. Shed – ITHAW // Ostgut Ton
13. Actress – Green Gal // Werk Discs
14. Patrice Scott – Motions (Motions Beats) // Sistrum Recordings
15. Ernie – Humanoide Oxidado // Deep Explorer Music
16. Ike – Cluster Funk // Philpot
17. System 360 – Ph-Optik // Source Records
1. Morthen Kiang – Dubfunk 050 // Meakusma
2. Chez Damier – Soul Minimal // Mojuba
3. Tevo Howard – Out The Projects // Beautiful Granville
4. Anton Zap – Miles & More // Soul People Music
5. John Heckle – The 4th Dimension // Mathematics Recordings
6. System 360 – Deep Forces // Source Records
7. DJ Qu – All Across The Floor // Underground Quality
8. Schatrax – A Question Of Timing // Sister Funk
9. Marvin Dash – Behind The Sun // United States Of Mars
10. Two Armadillos – Ronin // Two Armadillos
11. Stardub – Static Club Mix // Lo-Fi Stereo
12. M. Pittman – There’s Somebody Out There // Unirhythm
13. Dionne – Back On The Planet // Smallville
1. Ekomine – Sirikou // Coton Tige
2. Alland Byallo – Picture Heaven // Nightlight Music
3. James Teej – Seven Day Mend (Spencer Parker’s A Gun For Hire Remix) // Rekids
4. Hamid Ft. Valentina – If I // Murmur Records
5. The Persuader – Stromsbron // Svek
6. Delano Smith – Magic // Undertones
7. Bioground Ft. Karlyn – We Are House // Plastic City
8. Kerri Chandler – Back To The Raw (Ruff Mix) // Deeply Rooted House
9. Malin Genie – Well No.2 // Slapfunk Records
10. Huxley & Russo – Don’t Understand // Leftroom
11. Kris Wadsworth – Machine Sympathy // Morris / Audio
12. Ethyl & Flori – Malmoe // Quintessentials
13. Luca C. & Brigante – Morals (Clockwork Remix) // Southern Fried Records