18 Dec 2014

Touched 2: An interview with the man behind it all.


Martin Boulton aka Min Y Llan has had a busy couple of months in run up to the release of Touched 2, a massive collection of electronic music from some of the finest producers around in the experimental electronic field. All proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer support and over 20k was raised in the first couple of days of release on the Touched Bandcamp. In amongst the releases are several electronic music producers from Wales including Martin himself. We caught up with the man to talk about Touched. 


EMW: Hello and welcome to EMWblog. You are currently working on the second release of Touched. Could you tell us a little bit about this amazing project and how it came about?

M: Hi, nice to chat with you again..

Yes last year I put together an album called Touched. It started of in my mind as a small album that I could put together with a few friends and label mates, maybe making £500 to help Macmillan cancer support as my mother was told she had cancer in the summer of 2013.

I was friends online with a few of my music heroes so I just thought I’d ask them too, telling them what it was all about and its just kicked off from that really. I had a few bigger named artists so that helped me to email a few others and with that I soon had over 100 artists helping out.

Touched one in the first few months had raised over £5.000 and the album was only £6 and over, some people gave amazing amounts of cash for it, so I knew people were behind the project.

EMW: It’s great to have you hear.  It’s obvious that this project has very personal significance to you but also resonates with a lot of people around the world. How difficult was it to curate over 100 artists into a single release? Were there many major setbacks?

M: To be honest it was without any setbacks, I did email and even tried calling some artists managers but things just didn’t work out but in the end I was happy with the 123 artists that it had.

I went through all of my records cd’s and hardrive and emailed all of the artists I wanted to be on Touched, so that would have been over 1000 different artists.

I did have to remind some of the artists every few weeks that the deadline was coming up.



EMW: Touched 2 is now released with over 200 tracks available. It’s been getting some great publicity. Are you solely behind the promo and marketing of Touched 2 or are you getting help from others?

M: I’ve been a fan of Logreybeam’s music for many years so having him on board was great and it turns out that his wife runs a PR company called pitchblend
(Big Thanks to El Ea & Candise)

They have been a massive help on this project, and I messaged all 200+ artists to share the info cover and little video all made for Touched 2 a month before release to start to get it into peoples psyche.



EMW: You have been posting some great promo shots of the ‘beautiful’ Touched art work. Was this your idea?

M: Yes that was my idea, using some photoshop and other apps they turned out great and really had a good response, some of the followers of Touched started making their own, like man on the moon with touched flag.





EMW: Who is behind the art work?

M: That would be Victor Ferreira aka Sun Glitters, the girl in the touched two cover and video is his daughter. I was looking for the right cover for some time and had lots of ideas, I was out at dinner with my mum of all people when I was sent this cover so it all felt right and I loved it from the start.

EMW: This is probably a very difficult question to answer but I’ll ask. Who are you most excited about having on Touched 2?

M: It’s hard to say as I’m happy to have every single artist on the album, I’m a fan of them all and even more so now. I’ve made some great friends and some really good contacts.

With a lot of the artists I had to get over people to ask them, so record labels would email out to its rosta of artists and if I saw a poster or flyer that some artists were playing in the same place I  would try and get them to ask the others, it’s handy as most musicians know other musicians.

Some were hard to track down and needed a lot of emails to make it happen but it all came good in the end.

Min Y Llan’s Top 10 tracks of 2014.

Plaid - Wallet
Robin Saville - Bryophyte Society Annual Picnic
Buspin Jieber - Night Drive
Scanner - Muster
Asonat - Rather Interesting
A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos VII
Jon Hopkins - Immunity (with King Creosote)
Murya - Triplicity
Elbow - New York Morning
Christina Vantzou - And Instantly Take Effect (Loscil Remix)

M: I didn't pick any of my top 10 from touched two as I couldn't just name 10.

But if I had to pick my top 255 tracks of the year...

Kayla Painter releases a free Remix EP and talks about the process.



Kayla Painter is an electronic music artist currently residing in Bristol and tutoring at the University of South Wales. Her work has been covered in a previous interview which you can read here - 

On 16th December Kayla Painter released a 3 track remix EP on her Bandcamp for free and I would recommend that you go take a listen. Here is a little background on the EP from Kayla herself. 

I have remixed three other musicians from Bristol, all good friends.  Previous to this I haven't really been big on remixes as I've always found it difficult to retain the quality of the track whilst putting my own spin on it.  With these three tracks I decided to be as experimental as I wanted to, and fully engage with the sounds I had to work with, just as sounds, not as a the original song.  This made it a lot easier to work with the stems, I was more able to do this as I have a good friendship with each of the artists so I knew they wouldn't be disappointed with any interpretation.

I deconstructed the tracks so much that none of them really resemble the originals by the artists. The order of the tracks on the EP are in the order I made them, as I wanted to retain the process I went through, and keep it as true to life as possible.

The first remix, for 'The Crisis Project' turned out really well, and this was for their double A side release, so I was really impressed with how this turned out and it spurred me on to do a couple of others.  I'd never worked with rap vocals previous so this, so I really enjoyed making a new narrative for the piece, which I think works well.

Original

Remix
 

I then went on to remix Jilk's 'Come in Spiders', where I used a lot of found sounds to create a world of noises before introducing the percussive element.  With this track I only used a few elements of the original song to start with and added more and more of my own stuff as it grew towards a fuller sound.

Original



Listen to the remix on Kayla Painter Bandcamp.

Finally, and most interestingly the remix I did for T-toe - 'Kick It', was a really unexpected outcome. First of all, T-toe writes wonderful upbeat but also melancholic music, and 'Kick It' was one of my favourites to see live and dance to. I wondered how this would work in terms of remixing one of my favourite tracks of his, and it actually turned out incredibly minimal, more towards the style of Murcof than wonky ambient dance. I was really pleased with this one because I used a lot of the sounds from T-Toes original, but stretched and treated them to create eerie single notes.  It is the sort of thing i'd hope people would listen to in the dark.

Original


Listen to the remix on Kayla Painter Bandcamp.

I have three releases planned for next year,  which will all be original stuff so it was nice to get my head into remixing for a bit, it has been an enjoyable process and I will definitely do more in the future.

The project was a nice way to end the year and have something to give away, and a good way to keep my creativity going in these cold dark months!

17 Dec 2014

Kaikrea are Welsh electronic.


"..it’s important to give something back to the language and possibly do some stuff in music that has not been done with the language before."

This year is ending on a very positive note for the Welsh language and electronic music with artists like CarcharorionGwenno, Mr Phormula and Ifan Dafydd making and releasing inspiring work. Another exciting group who are taking full advantage of the beautiful language is Kaikrea, an electronic group who are blending contemporary electronic music production techniques and technology alongside some of the most beautiful folk music and soulful vocals. I caught up with Sam Shamoniks who is behind the beats to find out more.

EMW: Hello and welcome to EMW. How long have you been playing together as Kaikrea?


K: We’ve been making music together for about 2 years (I think). It all started from where me and Angharad Jenkins (fiddle player) were jamming some stuff combing Beats and Bass I had got together on Reason 5 with traditional Welsh melodys on the fiddle. We play together in a Welsh folk group called Calan. I’d heard about and listened to Kizzy Crawford, so I then tracked her down, got her involved and it’s just carried on expanding from there adding live Double Bass, Viola and Cello and making various styles of electronic music such as Garage, D&B, House, Dubstep, Ambient etc.

EMW: Your background is based in electronic music?


K: Not really, I’ve been playing guitar in bands of various genre’s since the age of 12 and still do which takes up a lot of my time touring and gigging around the UK, Europe and the U.S.
 I got into electronic music when I started college at 18 so I’ve been at it for around 6-7 years so not that long really. I’ve been producing all kinds of stuff in loads of different genres as well as a lot of band recordings for personal and professional projects. I graduated from the Atrium (now renamed the University of South Wales) 2 years ago with a Music Technology degree. I’ve been producing my own electronic music on the side for a while under the name ‘Shamoniks’, having a couple releases of some DNB tunes on labels Mindstorm Records and DNBB Recordings and had a fair amount of Radio 1 support from a handful of tracks.



The rest of the band also come from a background of playing ‘real’ music and they are all amazing musicians in their own right, I feel very lucky to be working with them all.
 Kizzy is a superb singer/songwriter and has been taking the country by storm playing her own material over the past couple years.
 Angharad and Patrick are very experienced folk musicians and have massive knowledge in Welsh melodies. Patrick Rimes is also a talented classical music musician and conductor. Aeddan Williams is a great Jazz musician who also has classical music background.

 The project is really a product of me trying to reverse engineer electronic music in a way to make it communicate the same ideas of a computer sequencer or a synthesiser and give it the ‘human’ feel and dynamic that is not possible to achieve from machines but still trying to sonically match the power of computer in the mix for the general electronic music listener.



That idea was then expanded upon by adding original and traditional melodies played on traditional instruments on top of the tracks that are influenced by popular modern electronic dance music styles and structures. Adding Kizzy's own writing and vocal style put another dimension into the tracks and brought everything together nicely.

 Me, Angharad and Kizzy had all ready put ‘Ble Mae’r Golau’ together before I met Aeddan (Bass Player). It was when I was playing a gig on guitar with Kizzy for her EP Launch in Clwb Ifor Bach, I heard Aeddan sound checking his double bass using the bow through the subs when I thought ‘This would be amazing for the band’. It sounded so fat I had to get him in on the project, he also plays Cello too which came in really useful to for extra textures. Also adding that extra human feel and movement to bass.






Kaikrea - Ble Mae'r Golau ft. O Femi


EMW: Kizzy has a great solo act also. It’s rare to find such soulful vocals in fluent Welsh. It’s also really exciting to hear electronic music with the Welsh language. Was it a conscious decision to involve the Welsh language?


K: Yeah. We all were very keen on the idea making this kind of stuff in the medium of Welsh when we started out. We’re all fluent speakers so it was a very natural decision really. We also think it’s important to give something back to the language and possibly do some stuff in music that has not been done with the language before. Something for people to carry on into the future or something to bring outside attention in on the language. We’ve also played around with bi-lingual tracks (‘Ble Mae’r Golau’ was one of them) as well as some English tracks which we’re yet to released.

Take a listen to the track 'Ling Acco' that Kaikrea have very kindly given to us as an exclusive.





EMW: What’s it like for a young person wanting to make music living in Wales? is there a strong community for collaboration and sharing ideas?


K: It’s great. Wales is definitely small enough for you to be able to get a sense of musical community. I lived in North Wales all my life before moving down to Cardiff and up there you pretty much have to make your own scene and community if you want anything good to happen. Not a lot goes on except for the hard effort of a small handful of bands artists and promoters which is what I tried to do.
 It took me a little while to find my feet in the scene in South Wales after moving down for Uni but after a while you start seeing the same faces around the gigging circuit so after a while you do feel a nice community of people who you can share ideas/information/interests for possible collaborations.

There’s also a wide range of great venues and promoters here that are into looking for good music so it’s creates a nice friendly vibe for everyone involved. 
I personally feel just very lucky to have met the people around me, mostly by chance and feel as if a lot of my needs are here around me in the people I know that are willing to help, work and collaborate. 
I know where and who to go if I need something for musical venture such as venues, which musicians to use, studio’s to hire, people to talk to about any worries I have in the business side of thing etc. Wales is full of great people, it’s just a matter of looking around you.

EMW: Are you working on much at the moment as Kaikrea?


K: There’s plenty of tracks that are currently being finished off. Everybody’s really busy with their own musical ventures to it’s been pretty difficult to get everybody together at the same time but I get together with Kizzy, Aeddan and Angharad whenever possible to work on stuff so there’s always something on the go.

EMW: You seem to be presenting this as live project. Do you plan on taking this project on the road?

K: Oh yes. Since the project begun we’ve always intended of doing it live. We’ve just been building up material so that we have enough stuff to be able to do a proper show. More of a musical journey than just a band playing a bunch of tracks as we’ll be approaching the sets with more of a seamless DJ mix approach. Very excited about hitting the rehearsal rooms of Cardiff in January to get all the material ready for gigging so keep an eye out for a launch show soon! 



EMW: Have you heard much Welsh language electronic music?


K: Not a lot of Welsh language stuff that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m well aware that there’s a large amount of very talented electronic music producers either living or from Wales such as Ifan Dafydd, Switch Fusion, Rezaloot, Whattsun, Mr Phormula (to name just a few, sorry if I’ve forgotten any). I’m glad we can contribute something a little bit different to Welsh electronic music as well as do something different with some traditional Welsh melodies to carry them on too. Letting people hear the melodies and language in a way they may never have heard before.



EMW: Any listening suggestions for Christmas holidays?

K: I don’t really get into the Christmas vibe when it comes to listening to Christmas music but I guess if it the holidays you’ll have time your hands to listen to plenty of music.
 I’d recommend watching all of BINKBEATS videos on YouTube as they are all seriously amazing of haven’t already seen them. Even if you have, just watch them again. He’s probably one of my favourite producers/musicians. I love the way he can recreate electronic tracks using all kinds of crazy s**t and often making them sounding better than the originals. What a guy!



Kaikrea

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/kaikrea
Facebook: Kaikrea
Google+: +Kaikrea
Twitter: Kaikrea



15 Dec 2014

An introduction to SnowSkull.


"The growth of the art scene and new venues pushing art in Cardiff at the moment is definitely an exciting prospect for the city."

In terms of creative minds in the capital it would be fair to say that this guy is definitely one to keep an eye on. His artwork can be found on many great music releases including the rising house duo Bodhi (who are getting 100k plus plays on their Soundcloud) and more recently the excellent collaboration with Snowpoet for their Butterfly EP. As well as having art exhibited in galleries he has also produced and released several beautiful pieces of music and curated the release of others through his dynamic website. 2015 looks like it's going to be an interesting year with new projects on the horizon and many collaborations already taking place. EMW would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the multi medium artist that is SnowSkull.


EMW: Hello and welcome to EMW. Please could you introduce yourself for those that might not know your work?

SS: Hi, I am Matthew Evans, a self-taught visual artist that works under the name of SnowSkull. My work lives across a variety of mediums including painting, digital, video and music production.

EMW: As a visual artist you are known as SnowSkull but I am also aware that you have quite a bit of involvement within the music community also?

SS: Correct. Music plays a very big part in my life and work. I try to stay involved with music and all that surrounds it as much as I can.

 I have had a long-term involvement with Kaptin & Chrome Kids, hosting a radio show that champions upcoming producers. More recently Daniel Avery and Moomin came to Cardiff to play the launch events for a project that I was working on: A host of local talent was brought together to release a collaborative EP (All Great Thoughts Are Conceived By Walking) and a subsequent remix album (All Great Re-thoughts). We wanted to inform people  of the vast amount of talent on our own doorstep. 

Currently, I help run a live stream / podcast named Boxcast and early into 2015 I am launching a new project named ‘Sleep/Walk/Listen’, a project centred around trying to create even stronger links between music and visual arts.

EMW:  On the SnowSkull website you sight dreams and lucid states as influences which comes across well in your work. How did you come to realise this phenomena as an influence?

SS: I have always been romanced by the concept of dreams, and the idea that anything is possible in your dreams. As I have said previously, and I truly believe, imagination is more powerful than knowledge, I like to create my own realities and in dreams we are the architects of these realities.

I am also fascinated with aspirations, conscience and the sub-conscious. I like to explore what forces drive us to be better people and how happiness differs between each person. Colour plays a huge part in communicating these influences through my work… using bright, vivid colours to represent the lucid states I wish to expose.





EMW: As a visual artist do you prioritise art over your other work, such as music making, working on radio or putting on events?

SS: Yes, I believe so... I think with the music, radio, and event work it's more planning ahead and working towards something but with SnowSkull (Art) it's a day to day thing and I’m always working on ways to progress

EMW: You’ve worked on some great album covers also. Who is on your radar at the moment?

SS: At the moment a large amount of my time is taken up with working on the creation of Sleep/Walk/Listen. I am also working on a project with good friends Bodhi, Next Door Films and Marc Wijers (INDO). A collaboration of ‘live Music’ and ‘Art in motion’ 

In terms of music release artwork, I have been commissioned to work with Attlaes, creating artwork for his forthcoming releases. Attlaes was one of the artists that featured on the All Great Re-thoughts remix album and has been a long term friend of mine.

 Plans are also being hatched to work with Richey Beckett, which I am very excited about as I am a big fan of his work.

Take a look at Sleep Walk Art Collective - sleepwalkartcollective.com/

EMW: You mentioned that a new project Sleep Walk Listen is on the horizon. Could you talk a little bit about this please?

SS: Sleep Walk Listen is a celebration of music and visual arts, our aim is to bring these two art-forms closer together through our work. Each month we will celebrate a DJ/producer through a partnership. A DJ mix will be available to stream and download from our digital spaces.

A unique artwork will be created to promote the partnership, as well as using this imagery to promote our partnership we also plan to sell a limited amount of these artworks in the form of screen prints. The artwork will be designed by visual artists that we partner with, which for the launch will be Jack Hardwicke and myself.

Longer term plans are to work even closer with the DJ’s and producers that we partner with. Our plans are to create a clothing range, promote live events, create music/arts installations and eventually create a label for artist releases… but this will come in time, once we have a very strong basis to work from.

EMW: Do you believe that bringing a visual aspect to events with live streams can draw more interest and participation from an audience?

SS: Yes I do believe It can make the audience feel that they are receiving a more personalised experience from the event, creating a stronger bond between themselves and the performance.
This will also help the promoters differentiate their event from other events

EMW: There is an exciting movement happening of space re-appropriation in Cardiff, turning galleries in to dance floors and warehouses in to one off dance events and mini food festivals. Is the traditional club environment still as important for the music lover in the capital?

SS: I think it's becoming less and less important. Factors such as the prices that the high street charge for their rates and city centre noise restrictions are forcing people to explore and work within new spaces. I don’t think that this is a bad thing, it forces creativity and mirrors Berlin’s model of re-appropriating and re-imagining buildings and spaces.

We live in recycled times and its clear that the 90s are being relived. People are choosing to go to house parties and warehouse parties rather than clubs, especially amongst the rave scene.

I have recently been involved in a few events at The Abacus in central Cardiff (A hub for the growing art scene) venues like this get you thinking about how best to promote your art, whether it be visual, musical or both working in tandem. The growth of the art scene and new venues pushing art in Cardiff at the moment is definitely an exciting prospect for the city.


An artwork from the 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' series that featured at SnowSkull's recent exhibition for The Art Hotel at The Abacus, Cardiff.


Jauge and SnowSkull's 'I Cannot Move But I Feel Everything' played throughout the exhibition space, accompanying the 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' pieces, that were effected and manipulated by light triggers. Listen below. 




A piece from SnowSkull's 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' series.


EMW: You also have produced your own music that is just as lucid as your art. It seems that house and techno seem to be huge influences?

SS: For me there’s only two different types of music – good and bad – so my interest in different styles and genres is always evolving. Sometimes you can get tired of, or outgrow, even really good music, but if you’ve spent time with it, you’ve learnt from it. And sometimes the reason certain types of music seem bad is because you don’t understand them or the conventions and history behind the genre.

I don't think the BPM of the music you make or the time signature you use should define who you are as a person or as an artist, but techno/house and electronica is where I am at right now in terms of output, and what inspires me.

I try to carry my influences through everything I do, and blend different styles from past & present. But in terms of creating electronic music, I feel like I’m miles away from where I want to be ability wise – I’ve only just started the learning process (baby steps!). I feel that music is a beautiful thing shared between friends and loved ones, it's tied to emotions and the way we feel at present. It's our friends that influence us the most, and I enjoy making music and learning from one of my best friends 'Jauge'.

Music needs time! The more you listen the more you learn.

EMW: Who else should we know about involved in making visual and/or musical art?

SS: I have to mention my partner in crime, Jack Hardwicke (One of my favorite artists).
Jack is involved with both of the Sleep/Walk & Sleep/Walk/Listen projects.

Ian Francis  who I am continually in awe of his work. 

Other names that you should definitely check out if you don’t already know are Richey Beckett and Aidan Myers, Alex Sullivan & Wil Stewart. Also Colour Doomed and Helen Bur who are the artistic driving force behind The Abacus.

All apart from Ian Francis are local to Cardiff.

SnowSkull

Facebook: SnowSkullArtist
Soundcloud: Snowskull
Twitter: snowskullartist 
Website: snowskullart.com/

Jauge

Facebook: jaugemusicuk
Soundcloud: jauge




11 Dec 2014

Loftmind video Yffyfw Vale is here!

As promised Loftmind has delivered an excellent piece of visual art verging on mash up culture but really upping the level in terms of music production. A heavy 808 led drum rhythm and techno aesthetics play the soundtrack to a cut up and heavily manipulated journey through an 80s dating video acquired from the web and some epic 3D graphic design. Here's the video -

And just for some laughs here's the original 80s dating video -


A Parliament of Wolves: The Making of "I Am A Knife With Legs EP"

Over the last few months I have been working with the electronic hardware duo APOfW helping to record and mix their debut ep 'I Am A Knife With Legs'. An all instrumental piece with Electribe drums, synths and bass courtesy of the "Babestation" and a Casio alongside lots of guitar. The duo consist of Simon Gore on drum machine and synths and Oli Montez on guitars. It's been a great experience and lots of fun working with these two. The EP drops on Monday 15th December and will be available as ltd edition hand printed CD.  Each hand painted cover constitutes a part of the whole art piece. Watch the short video below to see the making of and here a sneak preview of the track 'Shetland Phoney'.