I know you’re full, but surely there’s room for one more morsel of Viceroy and Chela’s frankly amazing Dream Of Bombay? Of course there is! Especially when it comes from Binary O.G. and moustache aficionado Alfa. There’s always time for Alfa!
Taking a different route with the track than the other mixes, from Bit Funk, Wax Motif and Bufi, Alfa creates on a head on collision between classic Daft Punk and Moog Funk. Pulsating, relentless synth bass and vocals transformed into groove laden melodies dominate the track. Big, sweeping synths take the track to the next level, giving the funky little licks a Cosmic vibe. It;s probably the most rough ‘n’ ready version of Dream of Bombay, and one that eschews the originals song structure, but it’s also a guaranteed floor filler. This’ll keep ‘em dancing!
♫ Viceroy (Feat. Chela) – Dream Of Bombay (Alfa reMix)
Viceroy (Feat. Chella)’s Dream Of Bombay is out now.
It’s another of Binary boy Alfa few and far between tracks. A tune that serves as a reminder why we’d love to hear more from this guy. This time his LA funk is applied to DCup’s recent single, I’m Corrupt. Watch Alfa get breezy, beach party, all over this tune.
Showing exactly why the Binary crew are still the kings of Dreamwave, Alfa take the funkier end of the genre and hits the ground running with a body moving digital bass and squelchy Moogs strait out of a 70s Funk record. Slick, buzzing synths and a little Disco lick underpin the kiddy vocals of the original and the whole thing end up great fun. Pure good times Nu-Disco with that particular LA groove. Oi, Alfa! More please!
We don’t get to hear nearly enough from Binary crew member Alfa. New tracks are few and far between, but when they do come along it just reminds us why we need to hear more form him. This latest track to surface is titled Final Project, we’re hoping that’s just a title, and not a description.
Final Project is probably the smoothest track Alfa has delivered. From the retro beats and low-down bump of the bassline in the tracks initial bars you know this is going to be a slick ride. The track is laced with warm synths and a groove that’s just right for late night dancefloors. It’s one of those carefree, get lost in it, tunes. The kind that, whist you;re getting down to it, you forget about the world. Sprinkled with little vocal and guitar flourishes, Final Project takes us back to those exciting days of Dreamwave’s formation. Just let it soar.
The finale of today’s Alfa trilogy is his brand new reMix of fellow Binary artists Flashlights’ ‘Holidays’.
Taking the track from their EP, ‘Hidden behind Trees’, Alfa creates something truly epic. A head on collision between deep synth-Funk and wailing 80’s guitar, Alfa’s production skills are pushed into overdrive as a stream of different elements are effortlessly merged into an ass-shaking whole. The Indie-Electro vocals sound as if they’ve always been emoting over bouncy LA funk, retro synth stabs and the kind of axe work that inspires greatness,
The first of our Alfa triple-threat today come in the form of an older track, but one that gives us an excuse to post some Little Boots, and it’s been a while.
Alfa’s take on ‘Earthquake’ bring a whole new bassline and lead to the proceedings. Layering Ms. Hesketh’s bubbly Pop with a coating of smooth LA Electro Funk shows the song in a whole new light. Less urgent than the original, Alfa takes his time to build a tune that doesn’t have a care in the world. Sink into the lush synth lines.
Zak Aldridge, better known to you as Alfa, is Binary’s go-to guy for heavy Electro.
Keeping the sweeping lead lines and melodies of Dreamwave and infusing them with the chainsaw synths of French Electro, Alfa makes music for when you are in the middle of the dancefloor with your hands in the air and your brain not available right now.
An LA native, Zak is the Electro-House Powerhouse of the Binary stable, but don’t think for a moment that means his tunes are unsubtle. Meticulously produced, each Alfa track is not the noisy mess many heavy Electro tracks end up. Clean and crisp, with each gritty synth sound cutting through the mix Zak keeps it hard but never gets lost.
Alfa hooked up with the newly formed Binary crew after receiving some attention for winning The Cryptonites’ ‘Can’t Give You Up’ reMix competition and releasing his own ‘LA Passion’ EP and since the hasn’t looked back.
Here’s what he had to say:
ER: First off, many thanks Zak for chatting with us.
Z: Your welcome :)
ER: How did you get into music production?
Z: My life started in ‘99 when I picked up my first guitar. Then a few months later I played drums for the first time and something clicked. That 8th grade summer my destiny was locked—I had found my passion. From Punk, Ska, and Reggae, to Pop-Punk, Indie Rock and Classic Rock, I was going CRAZY trying to find the most suitable music scene for me. Then age 17 came around and I was infatuated with the Hardcore/Grindcore/Death Metal scene. I also had a great interest in dance music. While in my Death Metal band I would venture to the clubs 3 or 4 nights a week. I was 20 and my best friend at the time introduced me to vinyl and sent Reason 3 my way. It was over—I had lost almost all interest in making death metal. If you know anything about good, epic Death Metal, you would know that it’s very complicated and mathematical. So when I made the complete switch over to electronic music, it came very naturally. I was finally satisfied and content with the capabilities of the sequencing.
ER: Who were your heroes or influences, both musical and otherwise?
Z: As of now my heroes and influences are the 6 other binary artists. Every binary artist influences me in their own unique way. SHORT CIRCUIT is the tech guy. I’m not too big of a reader so when it comes to learning something new about the program I’m using, he’s always the guy to go to; he constantly reads up on how to use the software the right way. FABIAN continues to come out with the freshest, cleanest electro. Super complete and full of life. His music never ceases to amaze me and sends me in the right direction when I’m in need for some inspiration. LEXICONDON is the front man—he gives me the inspiration to stay alive out there and to “get weird” when performing. He is the crowd starter and has grown so much in the past 2 years. NIGHTWAVES, the soul of Binary, always reminds me with their music and posts to bring back the emotion, to bring the feeling back to the music. THE KIDS ARE RADIOACTIVE. He is one in a million. The kid can play saxophone like a god. He brings out the heavy in me. Whenever I see him mix live he compels me to be a better DJ and bring the power to the crowd. The one and only KEENHOUSE—I can truly say that Keenhouse has inspired me more than anyone in my lifetime. His talent has pushed me to be a better producer and musician. Every time I see him play keyboard my jaw drops to the floor. I hope to have him stay with us in LA forever. Aside from Binary guys, Nobuo Uematsu and Minoru Akao are my favorite producers of all time. They produced the entire Final Fantasy VII soundtrack. Current favourites: Siriusmo, Hemingway, lovelife, Aeroplane, Holy Ghost!, The Chase, Kansk, and Jupiter.
ER: When did the Binary crew enter the picture? Were you a fan before you got involved?
Z: I actually never heard of Binary before they asked me to join. I had been producing for about 2 years before I met Josh and Kyle. From what I remember they were a big fan of LA Passion and really liked the fact that I previously won the Cryptonites remix contest. Before KEENHOUSE joined Binary, Josh and Kyle sent me a message via MySpace, showed me all the artists they had recruited, and asked me to join. It’s kind of weird ‘cause at that time I was looking for/wanted to start a crew to DJ and produce and share music with—sort of an Ed Banger, but in LA, and what do you know, they came to me.
ER: How does being part of Binary help you as a musician?
Z: All the Binary artists are always coming out with fresh new material for me to compete with. They make me consistently say to myself, “I need to get better.” I value the feeling of being pushed and pushed to be the best. As long as the Binary family continues to feed off each other, we’ll continue to create better music.
ER: That’s a fine moustache, does it have a backstory?
Z: Ever since I laid my eyes on my booking manager’s blog “Moustache Wars,” I’ve been obsessed with the “stache.” Gotta’ check it out: http://mustachewars.tumblr.com/
ER: What’s in the Alfa studio studio? What are your favorite bits of kit?
Z: My studio is very basic, I use Reason 4 and Ableton 8. I run my audio through an M-Audio Fast track pro and play all my synth on an M-Audio Axiom 49. I have a Banshee Rocktron talk box and a couple random guitar pedals. I have an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and I have 2 phantom powered mics in which I record acoustic guitar, vocals, whistles, claps, snaps and any other random sounds I have the hots for. My favourite drum machines right now are: Oberheim DMX, Roland CompuRhythm 1000, Roland TR-505, Roland D-10 L.A
ER: How does your live set up work?
Z: My new live set consists of my girlfriend and I playing synths, talk box, guitars and drums over a backing track. We also have guest vocalists and guest musicians randomly added to the picture. I’m striving for a complete live band within the next year or so.
Z: At the moment I prefer DJing. I like to express myself with music greater than my own and show the people of LA the amazing new music I constantly discover. I enjoy the fact that i can mix it up between Vinyl, CDJs and Serato. I love collecting records and would prefer to mix straight vinyl any day, but you cant get everything on vinyl these days so I find it fun switching from Vinyl to CDJs in a set.
ER: What’s the best show you’ve performed to date?
Z: I’m going to have to go with the Holy Ghost/Classixx/LexiconDon/Alfa rooftop pool party Binary and DubFrequency recently threw on June 5th this year. It was an absolutely beautiful day, sunny with a mild breeze. In my opinion the best party of the summer.
ER: If money was no object, what would be your dream synth?
Z: Price wise I would love to get my hands on a Roland Jupiter 8. The synth that I have my eyes on right now is the Yamaha CS 01 with the breath controller. Amazing.. If you type in, “JAPAN SYNTHESIZER BAND COSMOS,” on YouTube and click the first link you can get a little preview of what the breath controller does with the Yamaha CS 01.
ER: What does Dreamwave mean to you?
Z: Three words….”Costa del sol” youtube it!!
ER: Is Alfa more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ act? Would that change the night after a show?
Z: I’m more of an omelette with spinach kinda’ guy, with lots of ketchup… I don’t think it would change the after hours but it would definitely help my hangover the next morning :)
Welcome to Binary week, here on electronic rumors, readers!
Over the next seven days we’ll be dedicating most of our output to Binary Entertainment, that haven for all things ElectroPop, all things Indie-Electro, all things Nu-Disco. That’s right…all things Dreamwave!
A couple of years ago this sound had no name, the Valerie crew had their little corner of the retro, 80s, inspired ElectroPop/Nu-Disco world pretty sorted, but not named, and around the world there were great artists producing music you could only really describe as Valerie-esq. While The Valerie Collative were making music largely inspired by American teen movies of the 80’s their sound still had a strong European quality to it…enter the Binary stable of artists, who took this mixture of melodic retro ElectroPop and contemporary, dancefloor aimed, production and ran with it. Adding a healthy dose of LA-centric Americana, a certain swagger if you will, to the genre and naming it. Dreamwave.
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant about the name when I first heard it being used. ‘I’ve been listening to ElectroPop for over 20 years’ I thought ‘it really doesn’t need a new name’, but credit is due to Josh and Kyle (Binary’s founders) as their vision of Dreamwave has stuck, and makes sense (even to me!) now. In retrospect the guys did a amazing job by giving this scene a name, it’s more than just a style of music (the Binary artists themselves span quite a diverse range of electronica), it’s an attitude, a soft focus outlook on life where loving and dancing are the priority. When you think of Dreamwave, not only do you thing of the perfect smooth ElectroPop/Nu-Disco blend but also of warm summer nights, partying in LA.
Whether it’s the laidback Indie-Electro of NightWaves, the Disco flavours of Keenhouse or LexiconDon’s real world ElectroPop the Binary crew are putting melody back on the dancefloor, or Disco back into songwriting, and the term Dreamwave is becoming so ubiquitous now that January’s print edition of The NME named Dreamwave their ‘D’ in an ‘A to Z for what to watch in 2011’. Let’s hope their readers take note!
Not only did Josh and Kyle pull off the (pretty hard) task of branding a type of ElectroPop, but they also branded a feeling. An aspirational lifestyle that can be yours, even if you can’t get to LA, through the music of the artists who call Binary their home.
J: Well, I suppose it started out of a frustration for doing what people consider to be conventional lives and jobs. Kyle and I both desperately wanted to try doing something special and different before we became tied down by things like a mortgage, a marriage, or kids. We’ve been musical compatriots practically since the day we met (sailing in Long Beach!), so starting a music company was something we felt really excited about trying. We spent a bunch of time thinking long and hard about what we wanted Binary to be, and eventually, near the middle of 2008, we quit our jobs and haven’t looked back since!
ER: Is there a Binary Mission statement?
J: For a long time we were somewhat known for saying that our mission was to “bring the song back to the dancefloor”… In a lot of ways that is definitely still a mission of ours. Most of the music we work with, put out, or write about is expertly produced electronic music that’s made for fans of all music, not just dance junkies. I don’t think that part of the mission has changed. What I’m no so sure about anymore is whether or not you could call Binary a ‘dance music’ music factory. Kyle and I love a lot of different kinds of music and I think Binary will end up being a home for a lot of music that people can’t dance to. I believe our mission is to provide an artist friendly home for great songwriters, be it on the blog, on our label, or as an artist that we manage.
ER: How do you find your roster?
K: Well our roster hasn’t changed since it was fully in place back in September of 2008. But for that process, it was a mix of musicians we were associating with at the time through a friend and we were really impressed by the material they were putting together (Fabian and Alex from LexiconDon), a couple guys we found on some blog posts (Short Circuit and Alfa), we found The Kids Are Radioactive by scouring through MySpace, which took up a lot of our time in the early days of Binary. And we saw Keenhouse play a show that another one of our friends was promoting. We spent a ton of time just jumping in head first into this community of artists online, on MySpace, that were making original music and showed a certain creative edge rather than just chopping up some songs and making remixes…it was really a great journey to take. So we found what we thought was the best and the guys that showed the most potential, and guys that were in the LA area since we were trying to build a local scene and community here, and that’s how we ended up with the roster we currently have. Nowadays, because of the blog, we get a lot of promo emails, so we’ll find a lot of upcoming talented producers that way, and just staying on top of blogs looking for new artists. I personally really like finding the totally unknown guys that I can just sense have a lot of potential and watching them grow into bigger things, whether that’s due to us or not, but unfortunately that’s getting a lot harder since MySpace has died…which is the only bad part about MySpace dying.
ER: Is LA really as cool and romantic as the music would suggest?
K:Haha, yeah, I think so. LA is as cool and romantic as you make it. LA gets a bad reputation around the world (though I think this is changing a lot) and people think it’s plastic and fake, and yeah, there are certainly big parts of the city that are like that. But it’s a very big place…big enough for all of us to create or live the life we want to live. When I first moved out here from Chicago I actually kinda’ hated this place, but once you settle in and can comfortably call it home, you start to find your own little world that works for you, with the friends you want, going to the places you want to go to, doing the things you want to do. I can’t think of a better place to live in your young 20’s than the east side of LA. We’re just all such like-minded people here, and everyone kinda’ gets each other, and we all know that we’re all kind of out here trying to live the dream. So it all works out, and some days you’ll find yourself on the freeway looking at the big green hills and the blue sky with the sun shining and you take a breath and really appreciate being here right now.
ER: Where the ladies at?
K: My lady’s at home, she’s awesome. Oh you mean where are the ladies on Binary? Haha, man there are a lot of times we wish we had more of a female presence on the label, whether that be having a full fledged Binary female artist, or even just a source to go to for female vocals on some tracks. I really hope that day comes soon, cause we could really use it. The problem is that it just seems harder to find…as I said we haven’t really expanded our roster in any case, but even if we had, I don’t usually come across female producers or singers sending us their music that would fit well with Binary. We try and push our current artists to collaborate with other singers, especially female singers, because a lot of times that is the best thing that could complement a track they may be working on, but it’s tough working on random collaborations like that. I don’t know, I think we’re going to need to start exploring some other channels. But that day will come and it will be a great day.
To get you started on your week long journey down the Binary rabbit-hole here’s NightWaves ‘Binary Hour’ mixtape, showcasing some of the best from the label:
Over the course of this week we will be profiling and interviewing each act on in the Binary stable. We’ll be featuring loads of awesome music, some exclusives, mixes and a competition so make sure you check back daily as we bring you the low-down on some of the finest ElectroPop being produced today.
Binary floorfiller Alfa has dropped three new audio bombs this week, so get ready for some serious synthesizer fallout.
First up is a original track, ‘Sky Patrol’. A pumping Nu-Disco jam with the dancefloor energy turned up to 11. Vocoded vocals are sent through a mangel and spat out the other side over frantic arpeggios…I defy you not to move to this!
The man has also let loose a couple of new official reMixes he’s put together. His reMix for ODahl’s ‘Dance Mama’ show his more chilled Dreamwave (more Binary!) side and the FM slap bass on his mix of ‘Givin’ It Up’ by Vim Cortez is something you’ve got to hear for yourself!
♫ ODahl – Dance Mama (Alfa reMix)
♫ Vim Cortez – Givin’ It Up (Alfa reMix)
While other Binary artists have been getting some fantastic coverage lately it’s defiantly time for Alfa to step into the limelight!
So here we have for you some of the reMixes that come with the single, kicking off with LexiconDon, who keep hold of the chilled summer vibe but pull it in more of a straight ElectoPop direction with stunning results. While everyone else in the world is chilling to this tune in the sun with a beverage, Walter Sobcek heads straight for the dancefloor with his take on the track leaving Alfa to crack out an arpeggio driven Electro reMix. It’s a storming reMix package, well worth a purchase!