It’s spring, the Parisian quays are brimming with people, riverboat sterns bang together, flowers are in bloom, and street vendors sell their roses on the downlow…. And then there’s also the EP, Die Weiße Rose, from SHDW & Obscure Shape, founders of the label From Another Mind. Since last April, the fresh, young German duo have been hovering like a UFO over DJ sets and in heads. After their two critically acclaimed EPs, Nachtblende then Wenn die Masken fallen, to be counted amongst the best releases of 2015, this third EP has cemented their musical identity somewhere between a mental journey and the sounds of the dancefloor.
The musical palette is varied and precise, with meticulous textural work at play. The two friends have woven a refined yet tough digital tapestry, both surreal and dramatic. A distant echo of the current industrial trend with its heavy kicks, the aesthetic here is smoother, more polished, soaring out of a weighty ambiance. It seems to oscillate between land and sky, night and day. And then somewhere in the distance, as if by force of destiny, a red glimmer appears – the sun? No. It’s a beacon beckoning us forward. And so we meander towards it, following this light amidst the stars. And then, upon the rippling water, we arrive at our destination: the Batofar. We are swallowed up into cavern, a total immersion into a voyage through time, accompanied by the label invitees of Class as Fuck: this Saturday 14 May, midnight.
But who are they? Marco Blaesi SHDW) and Luigi Urbano (Obscure Shape) are the four prodigious hands and ears, hailing from Stuttgart where they launched their career in April 2014 at the prolific From Another Mind (FAM) nights at the Romy S club. Barely a year later, the night went on to lend its name to the label, a vinyl synthesis of the energy surrounding the club night. They promote their favourite artists there, including no less than Inigo Kennedy, Randomer and even Function – performing their own albums, created in a perfect osmosis. Such emerging artists are breathing new life into the techno landscape, ever-popular in Berghain and more recently, pretty much everywhere in Europe. Here, we will lay all bare for you.
Hi Luigi Urban, Hi Marco Blaesi, thank you for giving us this interview. You are the young rising stars of the current techno but we don’t know a lot about you yet. Could you introduce yourselves, for those who would like to learn more about your route until you became the studio partners SHDW & Obscure Shape ?
Luigi: Hi, thank you. We already know each other since more than six years as we played several times together across the years. It wasn’t planned to become studio partners although we shared almost the same taste of music. After I’ve played my first show as „Obscure Shape“ in Stuttgart, Marco and myself decided to meet up for a studio session in my apartment. It was a really intense night with a lot of great jams which lead to all the other following sessions. Even our track „Nur Die Sonne War Zeuge“, released on our first record, result from that very first session.
You began by launching the parties From Another Mind in April 2014 in Stuttgart (your hometown, if I am not mistaken). While Berlin seems to polarize the main part of techno events, was it hard to get a position here ? What was your motivation ?
Marco: Yes, you are totally right. But it is still hard promoting parties in Southern Germany with „less known“ artists. We don’t care about the popularity of the musician, but his productions and DJ-Sets have to inspire us. It’s our aim to get people inside the club due to the party itself. A lot of familiar faces are joining our parties recently as they love the kind of music at our parties which motivates us quite a lot to keep up the work we are doing in both cities – Stuttgart & Munich – so far.
Rather naturally, the label arose from it. Which musical line aim you to promote ?
Luigi: Our sound is inspired by a lot of old records we love to play from the early nineties. Melodic, dramatic, powerful, groovy, hypnotic, trancy. All tracks do have almost a similar mood but at the same time a different statement. It’s our aim that people are recognizing our tracks and assigning them to a specific sound.
To better identify your universe, could you tell us what are your musical influences ? And your tracks of the moment ?
Marco: As already Luigi mentioned it before, the early nineties influence our productions quite a lot. But also acts like Function, Answer Code Request, James Ruskin, Shed and many more great musicians influence us, too. At the moment we’re really into the music of Antigone, François X, Shlømo, Ryan James Ford etc. – the French guys are on fire!
We can qualify your music as « intelligent techno », mental but all the same centred on the dancefloor. At least this is the way we can feel it in your 3 EPs! We recently heard Die Weiße Rose in some sets. The enthusiasm generated many track ID requests in techno communities. It was like a UFO fell out of the sky. Your sound pallet is indeed varied and precise, you seem to work carefully on textures. From a technical point of view, could you describe a little bit your creation process for this EP (if you use machines, software, both) ?
Marco: At the moment we are working with Ableton Live, several Plug-Ins and a Midi-Keyboard. We do own a couple of hardware instruments but we didn’t use them in the recordings so far. As we want to start doing live shows in 2017 we want to use them in our next sessions and for the gigs at least.
There is something transcendent and surrealist in your productions, something that plays with our minds. We also find it in your rather poetic titles, but also in the characteristic illustrations of your EPs. We’ve been wondering, who is the artist ?
Luigi: Celine Bischoff from Paris is responsible for all our drawings. She’s super talented and represents our view of art. Nicolai Bähr is taking of the layout and design! Regarding the titles, we always use movie titles for our track names, spelled in german. It’s a fixed concept we want to use for each track.
This year, we will hear you for the first time in European cities like Turin, Amsterdam, Glasgow… and of course very soon Paris in the Batofar for Classic As Fuck, a rather intimate place. We are very excited! What made you decide to export From Another Mind in other countries and clubs?
Marco: To be honest, we didn’t expect that any promoter would be interested in to host a „From Another Mind – Label Night“. So we’re really happy to have the opportunity to represent our label in different cities and countries. It makes us proud to see that so many people believe in us, the label and our music.
With your growing success, how do you see the future? Do you have specific projects for the next year (like maybe…a 4th EP) ?
Luigi: We’re really looking forward to the next months as we have some really nice upcoming shows. Moreover we’ll be really busy in the studio, a lot of things have to be fixed. Our fourth record is almost finished. It’s a „FAM001-FAM003 Versions EP“ with eight remixers. In addition to this, Marco and myself will contribute a track to a VA which will be released in June.
To finish with, we have a traditional question at Le Limonadier (which means ‘’bottle opener’’) : if you were a cocktail, which one would you be ?
Luigi: Captain Morgan
Marco: Mojito without Alcohol as I don’t drink it haha.
A thank you to Luigi and Marco, as well as the Classic as Fuck, for inviting the label From Another Mind for a night with SHDW, Obscure Shape, Somewhen and resident Maïkel. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this treat!