From Norway with love.
Saving the very best till last this year with a heartfelt selection from our favourite Norwegian, the telemetrical vibe master Telephones. After a couple of years of careful badgering, we finally managed to catch the world hopping Running Back producer back in Norway ahead of his annual New Years jaunt down under, and he’s shared some great insight while taking us on a feel-heavy 90s house journey for the ages.
Hey mate! How’s things? I see you’ve been getting some nice down time in sunny Mexico.. what have been some of the highlights over there?
Hey man! Things are good thanks, though it’s been a rollercoaster-year, with some of the biggest ups and downs in my life so far. But I’m feeling excited and positive for 2018, new beginnings and new chapters. I’ve been spending quite some time in Mexico since the last two years yes. The highlight undoubtedly was asking my beautiful Mexican future wife to marry me and she saying yes!
Off the back of 2016 and your wonderfully dreamy debut album Vibe Telemetry, this year has seen you keep a lower profile on the release front.. have you still been creating as much new music as in previous years, and what kind of direction are some of the newer projects headed in?
Thanks! I have been doing a lot of music actually, probably more than ever. The reason for the quietness is that I’ve done a lot of remixes, and those things are always out of your control in terms of release-dates. Some of them had deadlines last year and are still not out.. but there are quite a few just around the corner. Two mixes for my mate Chmmr coming on Full Pupp, one for Seb Wildblood on Omena Records and one for some lovely Aussie mates over in Perth.. There’s also a special split-project 12″ with a good Berlin-friend due out over the new year. The last half of the year has been quite a mess due to tragic events in my family, but I have lots of material that’s almost done. So 2018 will be exciting. After doing the album I’ve been really into going back to proper 12″ club material. Lot’s of uptempo and dj-friendly stuff I’m really excited about.
I read somewhere that you often take a field recorder with you when you travel to find new inspiration… what kind of sounds do you find you’re drawn to the most, and what role have they played in your productions over the years?
Field-recorder, or most often it’s just my telephone actually.. haha! Sound-recordings of places help me remember feelings, or ideas I had at that time. And layering and playing around with those things often give me inspiration in the production and composition phase. Unexpected things happen or correlate, and I like to put stories or memories in the music, at least for personal pleasure. Also I guess it’s a way of saying fuck off to all the generic, clinically empty and soulless music out there. Often I’m mostly drawn to natural sounds, but it can be anything really. In Mexico I recorded some stone-carvers knocking out stone sculptures with a nail and hammer, sounding really cool and rhythmically interesting as it slides in and out of phase between them. And in Vietnam my girlfriend and I were motorbiking up a mountain to see some monkeys, and suddenly I heard and recorded a real-life loon bird (you know that classic ubiquitous loon sample..) hahaha!
Your own dance focussed productions have for the most part been laced with numerous layers of tropical percussion… Do you have a background as a percussionist/drummer or is it something you just picked up? And what kind of weird and wonderful percussion instruments are you currently getting the most use out of?
I’ve been playing drums since my early teens, so I’ve always liked to bang on stuff that makes sound. It can be anything, really. Sometimes the most fresh percussion-sound can be an empty plastic bucket, a beer-can or my studio keys, if processed right. Usually in my studio I also use congas, bongos, cowbells, african talking-drum etc, but I have quite a bit of everything that makes sound. My latest percussion fetish is some cheap tiny mini-bongos. I’d really like to get into some tablas or clay drums in the future. I also bought some bamboo-sticks I need to do something smart with.
I also see you’ve also recorded the odd bit of percussion for your fellow Norwegian friends Fett Burger and DJ Sotofett in recent times.. How do those sessions typically take place, will you arrive at their studios with a cowbell and some drinks and just see where things go from there?
Fett Burger is one of my best friends here, so he swings by my studio every now and then and we just record a bunch of stuff with no plan really. Just play around. With Sotofett I’ve gone to his house/studio with some percussion and drums or playing whatever things he has lying around. With a plan, or no plan, which is often the best. Last time we drank tea and ate dried reindeer heart.
You’ve spoken before about being drawn to the early, or proto sounds of genres which have become more clearly defined as the years have gone on.. I’m curious as to who are some of the early house and balearic artists that have had the most influence on your music over the years?
In that department it’s more about certain records or tracks than artists, some favourite ones are often amidst other stuff I’m not so into. I like music that bridges gaps, it could be techno, house, disco, italo or balearic, or all at once, just working together because of atmosphere or vibe. And I feel this was more prevalent in the infancy of electronic music styles. At least as a DJ I find it more easy to find that crossover-vibe within the earlier sounds of the different genres. Obviously I’m into a fair portion of early italian house, Claudio Rispoli (Moz-Art) has had his fingers in lots of stuff I like and Andrea Gemolotto (Cutmaster G) in some too, and of course Don Carlos and a handful of the UMM and DFC releases, Sueno Latino and Morenas being the obvious ones.
Some of the early releases on Underground Level Recordings too (not the hardcore stuff), like Mr Monday or the Juan Atkins EP I really like. Gatto Fritto just showed me the Black Dog Productions EP on Rising High which is amazing also. Reel By Real’s records are supercool too, “Distance” sounds like wonky Italo Disco from Detroit.. Larry Heard’s “Scenes Not Songs Vol. 1” has unbeatable vibes and compositions. But you know, I could also say Planetary Assault Systems (even if 97 isn’t considered early) only because of “The Return”, but then again it wouldn’t be accurate to mention PAS as an artist here as most of his stuff is way out of my intensity-chart.. so it’s more about picking stuff here and there, trying to have an open mind and pick stuff that fits in your own universe and style. Off the back, other early things I’ve been obsessed with the sound and vibe of is Dance Reaction “Disco Train”, James Mason “Nightgruv”, UR’s Nation 2 Nation EP, Joe Smooth, Ron Trent, Dream 2 Science.. blabla, guess most of this is in the house-department, but balearic is a state of mind haha! Or just me imagining the music being played in the Balearic Islands when I was still in kindergarten.
What can you tell us about this mix you’ve put together for us? Any tracks in there that you feel need a special mention?
I was actually planning something different, but then decided to play from the heart, follow the mood and vibe I had that day, which always works out best. And since it’s a deeeeeepcast, I figured I’d play some deep, emotional and soulful party vibes that mean a lot to me. It’s kind of a love letter actually.. summing up my recent times in different ways. It’s got quite a few records traded or gifted between friends, so for the intro and two others I wanna give a huge shout out to Roberto in Toronto for selling me those records and serving up a delicious BBQ! Also big shouts to Gary Abugan over there, and shouts to Till at Oldie’s Records in Bern for the Sunday-dig from which some are in this mix, and thanks to Jose Padilla for gifting me the Elements Of Life 12″ a few years back and to Tristan Jong for the «Whispers»!
You’re heading back down to our big island again over the New Year’s period, what do you have planned this time around, and what else is coming up in the new year?
Yeah, can’t wait to be back! I’m staying a month this time, starting with NYE in Sydney along with Beautiful Swimmers, then we onto Melbourne for NYD and the Animals Dancing party with more friends and good vibes. Then one in Perth, a gig in Auckland, and some other Melbourne appearances. After that I’m off to Mexico to get married! I’ll probably do a few gigs there, before heading back to EU around middle of March. See you down there mate!