A new statement

Trans-atlantic duo Christian Smith and John Selway recorded one of the most stylish electronic albums of the year - "The Coming Storm". How did come to that cooperation? Check our interview with John Selway.

- You met each other for the first time in 1993. What differences do you see between electronic music scene in that time and today?

- The biggest changes I feel are how there are so many different styles and scenes within electronic music. When we started, things were closer together somehow, techno was techno, house was house, etc. It was clearer and the dance music world felt much smaller. But now things have grown so much, so many new styles and sub-genres have developed. And also back then it was easier to stay current, there were much fewer releases, things didn't move as fast. But of course now, the music business has changed completely for many reasons, entering into music production has become easier with computers and software, there are more labels and more artists and producers making new electronic music than ever. It's sometimes a challenge to keep up with the pace but mostly it's really inspiring for me as a creative musician to experience.

- When did you start to think about musical cooperation?

- After we met, Christian approached me about helping him with a remix for a label called Fast Food that the Deep Dish guys did for a very short time, in 1994. Then we did a couple of original tracks that were never released and finally put out our first 12" together on Rotation in 1997.

- Why did you decide to record the common album?

- We'd been talking about doing a proper artist album for years, on and off. The album has actually been in the works for quite a long time, I think we actually started the process 2 or 3 times before we finally got through with it. We wanted to present other musical ideas than just the banging party tracks we were most known for. And also, since we made our major impact in the late 90's and early 2000's and so much has changed in dance music, we wanted to make a new statement about our sound, and come back in to the scene in a strong and definitive way.

- Was there any concept of the record before you start to work on it?

- At first we didn't have a concept, but some ideas grew out of the work and our daily lives. We don't pretend to make some big intellectual statement - the music should speak for itself. However the underlying themes for the album are elemental ones that we feel as modern humans traveling across time zones regularly - the weather, displacement from traveling so often to different places, or just the basic act of moving in space and time from one point to another - and also a not so subtle reference to the tumultuous times we live in and what may come in the future, positive or negative.

- The first part of the album is strongly influenced by Detroit and Chicago techno and house. Why these sounds are still so fresh after 20 years of its invention?

- Both Christian and I have been heavily influenced by house and techno from Chicago and Detroit. Of course we have many other influences but these things come out clearly when we collaborate since it's a musical language we are both very comfortable with, and we really enjoy doing. Such styles of dance music are still fresh because they are really blueprints and archetypes for so much of what has come after. They are what I would call "meta genres" which influence all of modern electronic dance music.

- In the middle of the album there are brilliant electro tracks - is it your homage to tradition of electronic music from 80's?

- Glad you think they are brilliant, thank you!. I wouldn't look at them as "homage" to the 80's though - we both grew up in the 80's and really love those sounds and it's still a very modern and current sound somehow, another kind of archetype that remains fresh and relevant. We just wanted to have fun and make our kind of electro that maintains a connection to the classic style.

- Why did you decide to put some vocals into your music?

- We've always used some vocal clips and samples in the past, but especially for an album we wanted to make a more personal connection. Also, it's quite fun to get a microphone and start recording your own voice, coming up with lyrics, etc. It was also a good way for us to add something new to our sound, another element that's interesting for us to work with.

- The second part of the album is more techno-house oriented. Do you think that this combination of styles is the best thing which happened in last years to club music?

- I can't say if it's the best thing or not, but personally I do enjoy when dance music has a more smooth and musical feel. As just another guy on the dancefloor, I really enjoy moving to more housey rhythms, as well as deeper minimal stuff with very good basslines.

- Why did you decide to release your album on Sino?

- They are friends of ours, and also we feel that they were the best fit for us at the moment, stylistically. I think they have a great reputation for quality techno that does not only rely on following the current trends and they release timeless, musical material, not just only beats for DJs.

- Are you going to perform music from "The Coming Storm" live?

- We already have done a few successful live performances in the last year, in Spain, and we hope to take the show on the road to other countries, especially summer festivals.

Author: Pawel Gzyl
Photo: Sino/Technorient




+ Robag Wruhme - The Lost Archive 1998 - 2007
+ Rick Wade - Nights Tactics
+ Cristian Vogel - The NeverEngine
+ 10 Years Treibstoff - The Compilation
+ The Seasons - Undone
+ Pupkulies & Rebecca - Beyond The Grace
+ A Number Of Small Things
+ Inaqui Marin - 19
+ Lerosa - Design
+ Kiln - Dusker
+ Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Face A L`Est
+ Einmusik - De'Medici
+ Terrence Dixon - Train Of Thoughts
+ Dirt Crew - Raw
+ Best Kept Secrets
+ Deadset - Keys Open Doors
+ Boys Noize - Oi Oi Oi
+ From Antenna To Antenna 1
+ Alter Ego - Why Not?!
+ Clara Hill - All I can provide
+ Ithaca - A Game For All Who Know / White Noise - An Electric Storm
+ Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
+ Damo Suzuki - The Fire of Heaven At the End of Universe. Live at UFO Club
+ Alexandre St-Onge - Mon animal est possible
+ Robert Wyatt - Comicopera

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+ FERRAN FAGES - Cancons Per a un Lent Retard /WILSON / LEE / BENTLEY - Escondido Dreams / PLUMERAI - Without Number / EXTRA GOLDEN - Hera Ma Nono / BELLERUCHE - Turntable Soul Music / MARTIN KUCHEN - Homo Sacer / SAM AMIDON - All is Well / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook - Volume Two & Three / PHON°NOIR - The Objects Don't Need Us / ERIC MALMBERG - Verklighet & Beat / LETTERS LETTERS - Letters Letters / GIUSEPPE IELASI - August / PAUL MOTIAN TRIO 2000 + 2 - Live at the Village Vanguards, Vol. 1 / THE PEARLFISHERS - Up With the Larks / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Latin Jazz / FINDLAY BROWN - Separated by the Sea / HIGH TONE - Underground Wobble / FRED FRITH / CHRIS BROWN - Cutter Heads / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Downtown 81 - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack / SUN ELECTRIC - Lost & Found (1998 - 2000) / CHICA AND THE FOLDER - Under the Balcony / QUIPS - Take Two / JACOB ANDERSKOV - Panta Rhei / PHILIP THOMAS - Comprovisation / TOMAS PHILLIPS - Drink_Deep / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Movement Soul - Volume 2 / NAWAL - Aman / ANDREA CENTAZZO / PERRY ROBINSON / NOBU STOWE - The Soul in the Mist / THE FISH - Live at Olympic Café & Jazz a Mulhouse / THE WATERY GRAVES OF PORTLAND AND/ET GENEVIEVE - The Watery Graves of Portland and/et Genevieve / MARCOS FERNANDES / BILL HORIST - Jerks and Creeps / DESIDERII MARGINIS - Seven Sorrows / ORGANUM - Amen
+ MARIMBA CHAPINLANDIA - Chapinlandia - Marimba Music of Guatemala
+ WILD BILLY CHILDISH AND THE BLACKHANDS - Play Capt'n Calypso's Hoodoo Party
+ SPLATTER 3 + N - Clear the Club
+ CONTINUUM - Continuum 2
+ OREN AMBARCHI - In the Pendulum's Embrace / SUN - I'll Be The Same

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+ Raw'n'dirty - fotorelacja z koncertu SCORNA w Firleju
+ A new statement - wywiad z Johnem Selway'em
+ The disco therapy - wywiad z Christianem Fuchsem i Suzie On The Rocks z Bunny Lake