And so, it is with a heavy heart that we bring our Binary Week to a close.
Over the last seven days you’ve been able to get to know the seven members of the Binary family a little better and hopefully you’ve heard some rad music you’d not previously been exposed to. If you were already a Binary fan I hope you’ve been entertained and interested over the week. If you weren’t a Binary fan before I hope you are now!
I also hope we have been able to inspire you to go and track down some more music from the leaders of California’s ElectroPop scene. Seriously, go and buy the ‘Binary Presents: LA Lights’ compilation, or LexiconDon’s ‘Pink + Blue’ album, or NightWaves’ ‘Sweet Carrie’ single, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I’d also like to say a massive thanks to Binary’s Josh who helped us get this week organised, he’s been a busy man promoting these last few months but has still taken the time to round up the Binary clan (which must be like hoarding cats!) for interviews.
Right, on to the good stuff! Binary Entertainment have been kinds enough to let us give away an awesome Binary T-shirt to three, yes three!, lucky winners of our Binary giveaway!
You can see the shirt below, I’ve got two of these bad boys personally. Comfy as hell!
All you need to do to win one of these badass shirts is follow these steps:
I doubt NightWaves need much introduction to readers of electronic rumors, they are the heart and soul of the Binary family.
As NightWaves Josh Legg and Kyle Petersen, besides founding Binary Entertainment and inventing the term ‘Dreamwave’, make the kind of music that epitomises everything that Dreamwave should be. Optimistic and aspirational, their songs conjure up memories of loves and losses, heartbreaks and sunsets, the best times in your life revisited, the times when nothing else mattered.
From their first single ‘She’s Electric’, through compilation appearances, to last years ‘Sweet Carrie’, NightWaves are evolving at a rapid rate, yet keeping this evolution organic sounding. The duo’s début offerings were pretty straight ElectroPop. Their 80’s inspired melodies and vocals stood-out amongst the emerging retro synth scene as being particularly true to the classic SynthPop sound. Their most recent single ‘Sweet Carrie’, though, was a dreamy Indie-Electro summer soundtrack that came a both a shock and a gift. I will admit that I’m always a bit weary of synth bands who start using guitar (in an ‘another one bites the dust’ kinda’ way, but that’s my problem, I’ll deal with it!) but within seconds of ‘Sweet Carrie’ opening you could tell that this was such a natural progression for NightWaves, it sounded so right. The track blew up online, and rightly so. Synth and guitar blended in to a whole that was so much bigger than the sum of it’s parts. ‘Sweet Carrie’ encapsulates, I think, the Dreamwave philosophy, good times and a summer that never ends.
While working on their début album NightWaves has kept their fans happy with remix after blog destroying remix that have gained them DJ support and radio play all over the world.
NightWaves, ambassadors of Dreamwave, here’s what they had to say:
ER: So how did you guys get together, where you in other bands previously?
J: Yeah Kyle and I have both been musical our whole lives. I played cello for a number of years and Kyle can play the trumpet quite well. We both dove into being in rock bands in our teens. I was a bit of an acoustic singer songwriter in the early 2000’s, as was Kyle (and a hell of a lot of other young males). Its a bit corny to listen back on, but I do believe it broke our songwriting chops to be stripped down to just a guitar and voice. I think it gives NightWaves a big leg up to have written so many songs that way while a lot of other electronic producers are just starting to learn how to construct a song well.
ER: And what came first, NightWaves or Binary?
K: Binary came first, but not by much. Josh and I started Binary in early 2008, and then by mid-2008 we were moved into our office with Binary being our main priority. Since we had some space in our office, we thought it would be a cool place to bring our music gear and have a little space dedicated to being creative and making music. So within the first few weeks of the full launch of Binary, NightWaves was born in some early moments of free time. It was a pretty spontaneous beginning that started with some pretty amateur sounding early demos, haha.
ER: Who are your heroes and influences, both musically and otherwise?
K: Hmm, well that can probably be split into a few groups. There are a ton of musical influences that shape the music I try to make, ranging from pop punk groups like Saves the Day, to Phoenix, Daft Punk of course for their amazing ability to create a spectacle, Miike Snow is influencing how I want to make music now…there are a ton of random past influences. My heroes in music relative to my life are people like Busy P and James Murphy that have built very unique entities and had the resilience to stay at the top of their game and make a lot of the right moves to build their own brand of sound and scene in their towns. And I’d have to say my parents…both are very musical and always supported me in music and inspired a lot of my taste in music and I wouldn’t be able to do this now without them.
ER: ‘Sweet Carrie’ introduced us to a slightly more guitar oriented sound, more of a chilled summery indie vibe. Was this a natural progression for you?
J: Absolutely. I think we would’ve incorporated more live instrumentation into our earlier songs if we could have. Its pretty difficult from a technical standpoint to incorporate live instruments into a mainly electronic mix and it took some time for us to get ‘good’ enough to make it work. We grew up on guitar music and I think it was very natural for us to start to include more guitar in the songs. You’ll definitely hear more guitar on our record, although in a lot of cases the style won’t be quite as out there in the mix as the guitars were on “Sweet Carrie”.
ER: The video for ‘Sweet Carrie’ seems to perfectly visually capture the atmosphere of NightWaves, who directed it? How did that vision come about?
K: We discovered this really talented filmmaker named Cody Bralts. At the time I don’t think he’d even graduated high school, but he was shooting these gorgeous little videos of his life. They really captured the innocence that makes Sweet Carrie the song that it is. We approached Cody about shooting some footage for us and he was eager to let us go through his material. Our guitarist, David Urbina is actually a film editor during the daytime, so he took the footage and really turned the video into the perfect story to accompany the song. We’re really proud of the way it turned out!
ER: ‘Sweet Carrie’ kinda’ blew up on the blogs, have you seem that blog hype translate into much in the way of new fans or sales?
K: ‘Sweet Carrie’ definitely did well for us…the sales haven’t been very inspiring but I guess that’s a good picture of the music industry these days. But I think a lot of people took notice of NightWaves because of that song and the beautiful video that Dave and Cody put together. Some labels perked up their ears, and a lot of our musician friends were really into the song. Josh heard some dudes singing the hook at the Empire of the Sun concert that just happened here in LA, haha, so it looks like people took notice a bit. The trick is following that up.
ER: What lies in NightWaves’ studio. Do you have and ‘go to’ bits of kit?
K: Lots of delay, all day.
ER: And how does the NightWaves live set up work?
J: We perform as a four piece actually. Kyle and I play keyboards and electric bass. David plays guitar on pretty much all of the tracks. We’ve had a few different drummers over the last couple of years too. We rotate around a bit on stage depending on the song, since everyone can play a few different instruments. The only thing that stays consistent is that Kyle and I sing the songs.
ER: If money was no object, what synth would you like to get your hands on?
K: A Jupiter 8…Josh and I probably both agree on that one.
ER: What does Dreamwave mean to you?
K: Dreamwave, to me, and this has some personal bias of course, represents a lifestyle more than anything else. The good life…appreciating being comfortable where you are in life, and beautiful weather, and memorable days hanging out having some drinks with your friends at the beach, and a general optimism about life and about the future. It has a very sunny feeling to me, and I know that it sounds very southern Californian, but I think the same principles can apply to anyone in their hometown. It certainly has the influences from 80’s music, but sonically that’s not really the point and it has more to do with youth and nostalgia, as we always mention. The ability to always feel young and carefree and looking forward to the next day. I think America needs (and is already starting to gain) a sense of things being alright and the future looking bright. Whether or not that will be the case is kind of irrelevant, because a positive mind can have a pretty profound effect on how we make our future.
ER: You’ve recently started writing your début full length record, how’s that going, what can we expect from the album?
K: Going out to Boston to record was a great chance for Josh and I to take some time away and really focus on the future of NightWaves and making some new music. I think you can expect hopefully a good mix of some darker atmospheric songs alongside some driving SynthPop anthems with big hooks. I want to get weird with this record, but not like, too weird. A nice eclectic mix of beautiful sounds. That’s my goal.
J: Yeah… I think we’re up to 18 or 19 pretty completed demos. We’re not quite satisfied yet, so I think we’re looking to write another batch of songs (5-10) before we’ll start the process of finalizing things. The response from friends and family has been great so far though. I think we’ve done a good job of maintaining our ‘sound’, but hopefully pushing our songwriting and production skills to another level.
ER: Are NightWaves more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ band? Would that change the night after a show?
K: I never really eat breakfast, unless it’s a weekend brunch after a night out, at which point I’ll have some eggs benedict. That or I’ll have a bacon and egg breakfast burrito from Pete’s Burgers on Hoover and 24th St…best breakfast burrito in the city, nay, on Earth. And they have the best coke in the city too, with crushed ice, which is crucial. Were you looking for a deeper answer?
There’s no mucking about with TKAR, he wants to see you dance ‘til you drop.
I first notice TKAR on the forth volume of the free Masters Of The Universe compilation, back when the Dreamwave scene was a nameless thing that seemed to spend most of it’s life on MySpace. Since then he has always impressed with they way he brings bangin’ Electro-House tunes into the more melodic, musical realms that his Binary peers inhabit.
With a seemingly flawless knack for knowing what works on the dancefloor, as proved by his string of blog teasing reMixes, and as the youngest member of the Binary family, his productions show surprising musical maturity.
Also, Jordan is an internationally renowned Saxophonist, and if you’re going to play an instrument that doesn’t require electricity, the Sax is defiantly the coolest!
Let’s hear what the man has to say:
ER: First off, many thanks Jordan for chatting with us.
J: The pleasure is all mine.
ER: How did you start getting involved with making music?
J: Hmm let’s see.. The first instrument I learned how to play was the saxophone in elementary school. I studied both jazz and classical growing up¼ From there I learned to play several other instruments and I eventually got into recording my own music.
ER: who are your heroes and influences, both musical and otherwise?
J: My heroes list looks something like this: John Coltrane, Quentin Tarantino, Bob Dylan, Michael Crichton, John Lennon, Alex Ridha, John Bonham, George Orwell.
J: I remember when Binary wasn’t anything more than an idea! haha. When they hit me up about starting some kind of music collective in 2007 I was just a junior in high school. Josh and Kyle did an amazing job putting the whole thing into motion, eventually it grew into the sick label and company it is now. Looking back on it I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time!
ER: Your music leans more toward Electro-House than the rest of Binary’s roster, are you flying the French-House flag in the Binary camp?
J: Maybe I was at one point, when I first started out that’s exactly what I was going for. It seems my taste changes every other week now. I just try to make tracks that will make people shake it on the dance floor.
J: A bunch of stuff.. I’ve got a Moog Little Phatty, Studio Electronics SE-1, some guitars and amps, an acoustic jazz bass, a saxophone, a trumpet, some midi controllers, a couple tape recorders, a talk-box that i built out of an old shoe box, some CDJ’s, an electronic drum kit, another real drum kit, and a couch (which is also my bed).
ER: And how much of your studio come out with you when you play live?
J: Usually just the laptop and some controllers.. although I’ve been thinking about starting to play live with more of my analog gear. Actually I’m working on a new live project with a friend of mine who designs lights and visuals.. so maybe more will be coming out soon haha. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes.
ER: If money was no object, what would your dream synth be?
J: It would definitely be a pure analog version of Native Instrument’s plugin “Massive”. That thing is a beast. I use it in pretty much everything.
ER: If money was no object, what synth would you like to get your hands on?
J: It would definitely be a completely custom modular system.. and it definitely would need it’s own room haha.
ER: What does being part of the Binary family mean to you as a musician?
J: To me being part of the Binary family is always being able to go back to LA and call it home, from chilling on the streets in the Cali sunshine to the best parties and people all night. Croosh tunes and chill vibes all day.
ER: What can we expect from The Kids Are Radioactive in the future?
J: You can definitely expect more new music! Actually, I’m working on a new ep right now for a tune I finished a while back called “Sahara”.. it’s gonna’ have
some desert inspired tent music, haha. And hopefully more gigs out on the east coast while I’m finishing up school too.
ER: Is The Kids Are Radioactive more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ act? Would that change the night after a show?
J: Definitely cereal! I’m a creature of habit.. and I have a certain ritual of eating Jack In The Box after every show no matter what. It’s cheap and it gets the job done. I guess I got into the habit from partying in high school.. it was the best restaurant open at 3 am every day!
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 🙂
Not content with being one part of LexiconDon, Fabian Ordorica is also in the business of rocking dancefloors worldwide with his own brand of heavy Nu-Disco tunes.
Big on bass, big on grooves, that’s how you could describe Fabian’s tracks. Huge, pounding rhythm sections and funky Disco riffs guaranteed to keep a crowd dancing are Fabian signatures. His music is, for the most part, feelgood party starters that have earned him a reputation for a kicking live show where his mixes up original productions into a continuous set geared to move your feet.
Over the past couple of years Fabian has dropped a string of blog destroying remixes alongside his original material that have built Fabian up into a name to watch and a mark of top quality Dreamwave.
Mr. Ordorica took some time to give us an insight into his world:
ER: First off, many thanks Fabian for chatting with us.
F: Of course. Anytime.
ER: How did you start getting involved with making music?
F: Well, I started DJing in high school, (house parties, dances etc…). A few years later, I bought FruityLoops and fell in love with production.
ER: Who are your heroes and influences, both musical and otherwise?
F: I draw influences from a lot of places. I started off producing hip hop, and was a big fan of Neptunes, Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, Dark Child and many other producers. I’m a big fan of music with great drum sounds and drum grooves. For me the drums are what really drive my music.
F: We (Josh, Kyle and I) had met before they heard my music. About a year later they heard some tracks that I had been working on for myself and LexiconDon, and they told me that I would fit into a Management company/Label, they were getting started based on local LA producers. So, boom I’m here now.
ER: What came first? Fabian or LexiconDon? Is Fabian to allow you to do things you couldn’t do in the confines of LexiconDon?
F: LexiconDon came first. Alex and I were staying and working out of a place called “Hollywood Sound”. We would mess around with a lot of different stuff, until we formed the sound we have today. That inspired me to start production for myself. Allowing me to find a different style.
ER: Do you have any ‘workhorse’ bits of kit in the studio.
F: My ‘workhorse’ bits are, beating a dead horse. (Haha, you see what I did there), I will beat a drum loop to death with different synths and basses. Then if nothing happens, I move on.
ER: How does Fabian translate to a live situation, do you prefer playing live as Fabian or LexiconDon?
F: I really like performing as a band for LexiconDon. The energy is great between the four of us on stage. I’m preparing to try to match that energy in my live set. that’s my goal. To try to have the same impact, as if I had a full band with me, or to get as close as possible.
ER: When you’re writing a track are they any defining characteristics that suddenly make you think, this is a Fabian track or this is a LexiconDon track?
F: I’ll drive myself nuts before I can decide. I switch up a track so much sometimes, its never the same as what I intended it to be.
ER: What does the near future hold for Fabian and fans?
F: I’m working on some new stuff, as well as finishing up my first EP. Expect a broad spectrum of production. People who ask me what kind of style I have, I always say its not really having one. I just make what feels right to me at the time, and making sure it sounds good. I’m a huge fan of great musicanship, and that is pretty much limitless. You feel me?
ER: Is Fabian more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ act? Would that change the night after a show?
F: Haha. I don’t think I’ve heard that before. If I think I know what you mean, I would say a Las Vegas buffet (like at the Rio, not that 5 dollar shit). I wanna give people a little bit of everything. It keeps things interesting. And no it wouldn’t change after a show, a buffet has everything, why would you change that?
As I mentioned in my post about Futurecop! & Keenhouse’s new single, ‘Dreams’, I think Keenhouse were the first Binary act I encountered.
His ‘Civic Transport’ EP in 2008 was many people’s introduction to what would evolve into Dreamwave, and showed off expertly the incredible talent that is Ken Rangkuty. It’s eight tracks of funky, melodic, beautifully written dance music that seems to perfectly encapsulate the Binary credo. It’s music squarely aimed at the dancefloor, yet still actual songs, and being over three years old it was pretty ahead of it’s time (well, as ahead of it’s time as a retro influences style can be) with it’s styles of keyboard playing still being emulated by Nu-Disco producers today.
Equal part retro and in-the-moment, Keenhouse’s music works just as well on a pair of headphones as it does rocking a crowd as it flows from cerebral SynthPop to body moving Disco. One of the most versatile DiscoPop producers around right now, it’s no surprise that Ken’s productions have been featured in movies and video games and has major label distribution.
I wonder if you search electronic rumors for ‘Deep In The Forest’, how many time I’ve mentioned how much I love that track in the last three years?
Ken was good enough to take some time to law down the Keenhouse law for us:
ER: First off, many thanks Ken for chatting with us.
ER: So, how and when did you start making music? Has it always been electronic?
K: Yeah, it as always been more or less electronically generated music, although I really enjoy playing all kinds of music. I started with piano when I was around ten or eleven and then got into production and midi when I was about fourteen. From there on I just liked to explore a lot of different styles. I guess it was more or less about the content of something than a label people would give to it. I do like playing improvised music and jazz but in the long-term I guess it’s the kind of music that’s in between styles. You can improvise electronically to a certain extend but then there are things only machines can do so there many possibilities how to use it musically.
ER: Who are your heroes or influences, both musical and otherwise? I always get the feeling I hear a little bit of Jean-Michel Jarre in your music.
K: Haha. Thanks. Yes, I like his music but it’s not really an influence. I like the earlier krautrock and fusion stuff more like Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and that school. Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul as keyboard players . Quincy Jones, John Barry, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jobim and his work with Klaus Ogerman, Jazzanova and 4Hero , Laurent Garnier are all-time favorites.
ER: And when did you get involved with the Binary posse?
K: That must have been right in the beginning when most of Binary came together in 2008. It was great that there were those other producers out there not just over in France but literally next door who all had that passion for electronic music. I mean there was always a pretty strong house and club scene around but it was more about looking at electronically influenced music as a format next to, you know, whatever else people would both dance and listen to and start to merge it again with song structures or take it other directions. That’s kind of an exciting time, when things are wide open. Then you either go top of the pops or push the limits of a style but really what’s more important, even though it might be a bit idealistically, is that you give something musically, which I think is what it’s about, you leave something behind.
ER: ‘Deep In The Forest’ is one of my favourite tracks on ‘Valerie And Friends’ (it even made our top 20 of 2009!), what’s the story behind it?
K: It’s kind of a long story that evolved over years. But in short it’s about Peter Pan being alive. Memories are dreams that we kind of collect over time to build little pieces of your world from it. It’s a little bit like a daydream. There are some of those good memories that can just repeatedly pop up at any given moment and I just wondered what is it with this feeling, I can’t really tell what it is. But it’s not as much about the content of a story than the color of it, So to me it’s that certain emotional color of feeling young that I wanted to put into something more tangible.
ER: What’s in Keenhouse’s studio? Any ‘go to’ synths?
K: Yeah, actually I don’t really like to get tons of new equipment all the time unless I really know what’s underneath the hood of a piece I already got. I still really like my V-Synth for certain kinds of programming. Some of the Arturia stuff sounds really good and I like it for a lot of automated things. I mean the thing with the outboard synths is that if you do a lot of automation, I always thought setting up your outboard gear isn’t that intuitive in comparison as far as sending midi messages in different formats. One synth accepts one format, totally different wit the next one. I use some of the Dave Smith stuff and one of my favorites is the MKS-80 Super Jupiter and a Korky Little Fatman. It really can just do one thing it can do it so many different ways. As far as processing, I really love the sound of the mainly for compression on a lot of things and the SSL channelstrips.
ER: And what makes up your live rig?, How does playing live work for you?
K: It’s a mixture between stems, midi and other audio. I prepare a row of stems for the tracks and spread them out over several channels Some of them are triggered while other tracks send midi to my synths. I either play parts of the synths, sing or control the midi. It takes a lot of preparation since there are a lot of individual tracks playing simultaneously but in the end gives more flexibility if things need to be shuffled around. I try to leave myself enough room for improvisation but at the same time it’s good to know that if I play a line a certain way there won’t be a drummer to react to that so I somehow have to consider that too.
ER: If money was no object, what synth would love to own?
K: Either a Yamaha CS 80 and a ARP 2500 system. If some money is left I would probably get a separate room for those and lock the door behind me, haha.
ER: How do you think being part of Binary help musicians?
K: Well, Binary is kind of an all around thing. There are a bunch of artists who all come from a bit of a different background musically. Some are DJs, some are producers, instrumentalists, singers, so it’s a quite eclectic mix. Musically there is a more or less a cohesive sound to it but everyone is really doing their own thing. It’s a certain sound that brought some of the Binary artists together in the first place and and at the same time it’s that sound that some the Binary artists started building upon which helped to give the whole thing more of an identity. I guess that especially with anything dance music related, the whole party scene and also music that tries to cross over, it’s really helpful if there ‘s an outlet for the producers and musicians to try things out , try to stretch the boundaries. Most of the Binary artists get to play to essentially two different crowds, it’s not just 24 hour party people all the time but there are also those who want to hear songs. A little bit of everything.
ER: Does they Binary crew get up to rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans when they get together?
K: If you mean rock ‘n’ roll as in ‘That hotel room looked different when we got here yesterday’. Yes, there is a possibility when certain people get together.
ER: What does the near future hold for Keenhouse?
K: I’m mostly working on new material to go on the next album. Writing, recording different instrumentation besides the synths and programming. At the moment I’m actually revisiting some old tracks that are going to be put out under a different moniker this year and there are some new remixes to be released over the summer/fall. Then there is some production work for a pretty cool new act from Germany and some work for singers.
ER: Is Keenhouse more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ act?
If you’ve been a regular reader of electronic rumors over the past year or so you’ll understand the difficulty I’m having finding something new to say about LexiconDon. Toward the end of last year they released their staggeringly good début album, ‘Pink + Blue’, and about that time we featured them on the site…a lot.
Also, LexiconDon were featured in all three of our Top 20s Of 2010! Albums, Songs and reMixes!
With the success they’ve had in recent months you could consider LexiconDon to be one of Binary’s flagship bands, and they are a band. Whist starting out as a project consisting of just Fabien Ordorica (he of Fabian fame) and energetic frontman Alex Koons, the act is now a four piece incorporating live guitar and bass, and in a scene dominated by DJs and hipsters hunched over Ableton controllers that’s something special.
It also gives the impression that LexiconDon sit at them slightly more rowdy end of the Binary spectrum. The music has a rawness, a live quality, to it. Injecting ElectroPop with the energy of post-punk and a narrative lyrical style that speaks of day-to-day lives and loves that we can all relate to. But LexiconDon are no one trick pony, their début record is one that flows from smooth DiscoPop to pumped up Electro-Punk before you realise it’s happening.
Alex gives us the lowdown on all things LexiconDon:
ER: How did you guys get together? Was is always to make electronic music?
AK: Fabian and I met at a studio in Hollywood appropriately named Hollywood Sound in 2007. I had actually been rapping since I was like 16 and Fabian was producing hip-hop tracks at the time. I don’t remember specifics but we ended up recording a song called “The Secrets Out” and the rest was history. We recorded a full length rap album, but about a year later wrote the song “Staying With My Girl” that would initially change our whole style.
ER: And how did you then get involved with the Binary posse?
AK: Josh and Kyle came to the first show that we played “Staying With My Girl” at. I honestly feel like they saw the potential of what could come if we continued to write songs with that same kind of feeling.
ER: Your sound seems to owe a lot of British SynthPop and Post-Punk artists, in that it feels more raw and live than your average SynthPop, is this where your influence lies?
AK: Personally, I draw a lot of influence in all genres. I love Celine Dion and Yanni songs, just as much as I love The Church and Psychedelic Furs.
ER: Who are your heroes and influences, both musical and otherwise?
AK: My dad is a big hero of mine, and I think a lot of the reason I am so into music. I have been a big Kanye fan since ‘College Drop Out.’ The Talking Heads, Third Eye Blind, and Atmosphere have played a pretty huge roll in the soundtrack for my life as well.
ER: Your songs seem deal with the everyday, lives and loves and losses, are you just making the soundtrack to your own lives?
ER: What’s in LexiconDon’s studio? What are your favourite bits of kit?
AK: Logic, armed with any plugin imaginable, a midi keyboard, an Mbox, an MXL condenser microphone, and a SM 57.
ER: And what makes up your live set up?
AK: Our live set up is like a rainbow with a pot of blow at the end of it. It’s made up of four guys having a lot of fun on stage, sometimes a little too much.
ER: How has the inclusion of live drums and guitar evolved the live sound? And will this be more and more influencing the studio sound?
AK: The drums bring the tracks to life. Fabian’s drums already are so important in his production and when played on a kit there is a certain breath that the live performance takes. Sam’s guitar and bass has added to the energy of the whole show and really makes a difference giving these tracks a totally different feel on stage. I think the studio sound will differently evolve like the live show has.
ER: If money was no object what synth would be your dream purchase?
AK: A Yamaha VSS30 I had one when I was a kid and wish I never sold that bad boy. Its not a synth but it would be really bad ass to have a real Roland 808 too.
ER: How does being part of Binary help you guys as musicians?
AK: You are always surrounded by such amazing musicians and people. In no way is it a competition, but hearing the new stuff everyone is working on all the time just make us want to work harder. It’s like pushing each other to reach our maximum potential. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.
ER: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about, the Student Body video, or how you felt about the reaction to it. Opinion seemed to wildly differ between those who (like us) though it was a harmless, and quite funny, bit of fun satire and those who (and I quote) “couldn’t watch it to the end”. Personally I felt that if the video made someone feel uncomfortable then that said more about the viewer than the video. What did you think?
AK: All I know is that making that video was one of the funniest things we have ever down. It was amazing working with everyone and the video turned out perfectly. I guess we had a different point of view because we got to be on set, and we wrote the song. In the end I don’t think we have much to say to the people who think its super pedo. It deserves a reaction yes, but it should be a light hearted one at best.
ER: Did it even cross your mind that some people would be uncomfortable with the video when you
were making it?
AK: Yeah, I think we knew that it would upset some people. There is always gonna’ be a paradox in anyone’s art. People can look into anything too hard and make something out of nothing. I don’t think we were prepared for some of the reactions from certain people. It was rough having people very close to us not getting it.
ER: How are you feeling now Pink + Blue is out? Proud I’d expect?
AK: Yeah, very proud and it feels good that its out. It took a long time to make that record. I really don’t think its reached its maximum potential, but so far I think we are all pretty happy with where its at.
ER: How do you feel it has been received?
AK: We are happy with the results thus far. Its rough writing SynthPop in a lo-fi, Chillwave saturated forum.
ER: One of the great things about Pink + Blue is that it contains quite a mix of styles, is this just ‘cos it represents the last few years of LexiconDon evolution or can we expect you to mix it up a bit in future?
AK: Its because Fabian & I write in such a sporadic way. We have no formula, we have always just made songs that we like. Every single song we have made has been done in such a different way, and when we try to repeat previous attempts, it never works the same. We hope to have a bit more consistency on the next record but be prepared for a roller coaster of genre crossing.
ER: Can we expect to see you touring Pink + Blue, and sign of you guys crossing the Atlantic?
AK: I am pretty sure we will be hitting the road sometime in late May. As for crossing the Atlantic, which by the way would be a dream come true just playing a show over seas, might be a little while away. In reality we need a higher demand in the states and elsewhere. The next year holds a lot of gold and we intend on grabbing as much as possible to share it with everyone else.
ER: Are LexiconDon more cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ band? Would that change the morning after a show?
We are more like a 4 shots of espresso on ice and a cigarette band. The morning after the show we would probably be a bloody mary.
Short Circuit is the alter ego of one Mr. Andrew Verner. DJ, musician, producer and Vocoder abuser.
A lifelong musician, Andrew turned his attention completely to electronic music around 2008 and has since become an Electro workhorse, producing reMix after reMix as well has his own, acclaimed, single ‘Let Go’. With a sound that owes as much to European dancefloors and Sci-Fi soundtracks as it does to the LA party scene, Short Circuit’s cyborg Funk mixes up hard, pounding, beats and harsh basses with sweet soaring leads and sparkling arpeggios.
Though his music can range from gritty cut-up Electro to borderline EBM stompers to smooth Robotic love songs, Andrew’s experience as a DJ allows him to craft tunes guaranteed to rock a dancefloor regardless of genre. A skill he puts to good use with a live show that blurs the boundaries between performance and DJing.
Check out what Short Circuit in his own words:
ER: How did you start getting into making making music?
A: I’ve been making music as long as I can remember, ever since my dad bought me my first Casio keyboard when I was 4 or 5. All throughout my childhood I would make little home recordings on my tape deck and make my family suffer through listening to them. I was in bands all through high school and a while after playing different instruments. I got into electronic music about 4 years ago and have been making it ever since.
ER: And how would you like your music described?
A: That’s a tough question to answer. Recently, a blog described my music as “Robopop” (that was us! – ER) which I think is pretty cool. Really, I don’t care what people call it as long as they like it.
ER: Who are your heroes and influences, both musical and otherwise?
A: I’d say musically my influences would range anywhere from Depeche Mode to Neil Young. I grew up listening to rock music and it greatly influences my work and I feel that it comes through in my songs. I wouldn’t say that I have any “heroes”, but I greatly admire anyone that can write great songs. Anyone from MJ to Paul McCartney to Prince. If you can keep writing hit after hit, your pretty awesome in my book.
ER: You style seemed a bit harder than the rest of Binary’s roster, I’m thinking of ‘Music Machine’, but seems to be becoming a bit smoother, how would you say your style is evolving?
A: I’m always changing up my style a bit. Its hard to say that my style is getting lighter or smoother because there are some heavier songs I have yet to release. What I’ve released to the public so far is a very small taste of the stuff I’ve been working on. Some of it is rock some of it is disco and some is really dark slow electro.
A: In 2008 I started making remixes and original songs as a side project from my electronic band “Mechanical Hands Electric Heart”. Basically anything I did that wouldn’t fit in the bands style I just started putting out on my own. I did a few remixes that started getting some recognition and according to Josh, it was my post on Missingtoof debuting my remix for Digitalism’s “Magnets” that caught their ear. They emailed me and we set up a meeting with Josh and Kyle (Binary/ NightWaves) and Fabian and Alex (LexiconDon) along with myself and the rest is history I guess.
ER: Is the name a Johnny5 reference?
A: Definitely. A couple years ago I had to change the name I was using due to some legal issues and was racking my brain for a new name. I was thinking of robots and electronics and immediately thought of Johny5. My first idea was actually to use the name Johnny5 but I decided against it for a few reasons. So yeah, Short Circuit was the next obvious choice.
ER: What does Short Circuit have in his studio? How does the writing process work for you?
A: Right now I have my laptop running Reason 4, Logic Pro and Ableton Live. I have an Alesis Micron and a MicroKorg that I use for pounding out ideas but the sounds rarely ever make it to the final song. I also have an array of guitars and other instruments and a pretty decent assortment of mics (mostly AKG’s). Everything runs through my Mackie VLZ3 16 channel mixing board and that gets piped into the computer via a Mackie Onyx 400f interface.
As for the writing process, it varies depending on the song. Sometimes I’ll have a melody or loop in my head and I’ll try to recreate it in the studio. Sometimes Ill get inspired by something I hear and sit down and start working. Some of my best songs though have actually come about while working on a different song. Ill be messing around with the song and all of a sudden come up with something great that will inspire me to start from scratch.
ER: And how does that translate live, both with gear and performance?
A: When I play live I use my Micron and MicroKorg synths along with a small percussion set up. My laptop runs Ableton for the backing tracks and I use a Numark Total Control to control Ableton. I run everything through a small 4 channel mixer so I don’t have to worry about the sound guys not getting the levels right.
I try to do as much as I can live as far as playing synths, singing with the vocoder and doing some percussion. Basically, I try to put on the best show I can as just one person. So far the response has been good but I am always trying to improve what I’m doing. I’ve recently made a few adjustments to my set that I am really excited about and cant wait to try them out in front of a crowd.
ER: If money was no object, what synth would you go after?
A: Its hard to pin down any particular synth, probably an old Moog or a Juno. Anything would be better than what I have right now.
ER: Has being part of Binary helped you as a musician?
A: Yes, immensely. Its great to be surrounded by a group of guys that are great musicians and producers. There is always this level of friendly competition that has improved all of our songs. If you listen to the tracks we were all putting out before Binary and compare them to what we are all doing now, there is no question that we have all helped each other improve.
ER: What does Dreamwave mean to you?
A: Not much really. I think the whole Dreamwave thing has been taken out of context and the term has been applied to many things that are not “Dreamwave”. I really don’t think most of my music fits under that category and the Binary collective as a whole has a lot more to offer than just one type of sound.
ER: When are we going to be hearing your EP?, What should we expect for in?
A: Good question, I’m hoping for sometime this year. All the songs are there, some are just waiting for some minor tweaks and some need a lot more vocal work. But as far as a set date, I cant really give one right now.
As for what to expect, the songs I have lined up are all very different but fit together somehow. I’m really excited to see what people think of the new stuff and also nervous as well since some of it is a bit of a departure from what I normally do. There are also a couple of tracks that I sing on which is the first time I’ve ever done anything like that and it definitely adds to the anxiety of it all.
ER: Is Short Circuit more of a cereal or pile of pancakes for breakfast kinda’ act?
Well I would like to think of it as more of a cereal kind of breakfast. Always good and you can count on it every day to please. In the words of the late great Mitch Hedburg “You don’t want to be like pancakes, all exciting at first then after a while you get sick of them”.
Andrew’s not just a musician, the man is also a DJ, having held residencies at some of LA’s hottest spots. Get your ears round his latest mix:
♫ Short Circuit – Greatest Hits
Just check out that tracklist!
1. Metronomy – Radio Ladio (Micachu reMix)
2. Pink Floyd- Another Brick In The Wall (DJ Agent ‘86 reMix)
3. Tensnake – Need Your Lovin’ (Dub Mix)
4. Yacht – Psychic City (Classixx Remix)
5. Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People (The Golden Filter reMix)
6. Short Circuit – Just Because
7. Flight Facilities (Feat. Giselle) – Crave You (Cassian reMix)
8. JBAG – X-Ray Sex (Kill the Hero reMix)
9. LBCK – Start (Moonchild reMix)
10. Madeon – For You
11. Paul – Together Again
12. Annie – Songs Remind Me Of You (The Swiss reMix)
13. Miami Horror – Holidays (Miami Horror And Cassian reMix)
14. French Horn Rebellion – This Moment
15. ODahl – Hold Me
16. Bag Raiders – Shooting Stars
Short Circuit’s single, ‘Let Go’ is out now with a new EP forthcoming.
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.