Thursday, 31 March 2011

Socialeyes presents Robin Ball & the Groove Pleasure Soundsystem

Eye eye party people, please come and join Socialeyes as we travel to West London for a spring warm-up in what is fast becoming West London’s best venue for underground dance music, the Raving Buddha.

Robin Ball, captain chief of the brilliant Socialeyes parties is treating West Londoners to a semi-live performance with his Groove Pleasure Soundsystem.  Debuting at Corsica Studios back in January, he and his skilled crew of tech-house, disco, jamming wizards perform live to the backing of Robin’s deft DJ skills. 

The Raving Buddha, which boasts the favourite sound system of choice, the Funktion One system, is a small new venue, launched recently by London event promoters Proactive, responsible for the recent Drumcode and Cocoon warehouse parties.  With everyone from Luke Solomon to the Freestylers playing there, it provides the perfect spot for Socialeyes and a Saturday evening drink with a backdrop of tech-house grooves.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Maher Daniel - The Montreal man in Stereo

Socialeyes are big fans of rising techouse star Maher Daniel! Here we discuss with him where the Montreal club scene is at, his musical inspirations and how his production process consists of a cup of coffee and a cigarette.

Q: You currently reside in Montreal Canada is that where you were born and grew up?

A:  First off thanks for having me. I was born in San Francisco and then grew up between Dubai and Montreal. I have been in Montreal for the last 12 years.

Q: Does Montreal have a strong music and club scene and what’s your favorite club there and why?

A:  Montreal used to have an amazing scene; we used to be compared to Europe but I believe the city has taken a big hit in the last 5 years. Although I am happy to say that the scene is definitely coming back in full force and it’s starting to flourish once again. We have an amazing outdoor party in the summer known as Piknic Electronik, which is held every Sunday afternoon from 1pm-10pm. The organizers also do a winter festival called Igloofest, which is out of control in the best of ways. Montreal also hosts the Mutek festival, which is incredible and really brings out another side of dance music to Montreal.

As for best club in Montreal…if you ask anyone in Montreal and even around the world, Stereo is the best club in Montreal. World renowned, it’s hailed as a temple for clubbers & the best sound system in North America. The venue, the atmosphere, the people…it’s just brilliant. You just feel like you are at home with a huge pumping sound system.

Q: Would you say Montreal has influenced your musical style?

A:   Montreal has influenced me a lot in the music that I play. It has helped me grow and develop as an artist. There are a couple of really solid, young artists in this city that I’ve had the pleasure of performing with. Notably, Nadir Agha (aka Ostrich), Hakim Guelmi & Matt Brancatella.

Q: How and why did you get into electronic music?

A:  I blame my big brother, hahaha. When he came to Dubai for Christmas break back in 96/97, he picked me up from school and playing in the car was Sasha and John Digweed’s Northern Exposure compilation. At first I was like WTF is this?! But that’s when it snowballed, and here I am…14 years later.

Q: Do you get time to listen to other music and if so what music do you take inspiration from?

A:  I definitely do listen to other music when I’m not listening to dance music. My girlfriend has the best Indie playlist so I’m always listening to that when we’re together.  I also listen to a lot of down tempo electronica, chill out, old school hip hop, soul and funk. All of that is really inspiring to me.

I think every type of genre I listen to has some bit of inspiration, everything is produced and written differently and I think grasping all of that knowledge really helps when I write my music. 

Q: If you were going out to a gig which artist or dj would you most like to hear?

A: That’s a tough one so many great DJs out there that I love listening to and dancing to. It’s really hard to pick just one. Some names that come to mind are Steve Bug, Visionquest, Bill Patrick, Marco Carola & Nicolas Jaar.

Q:  At your gigs do you play records, CDs or are you computer based?

A: I play both records and CDs. I’ve recently started loading up play lists onto hard drives in case the venues I’m playing have CDJ 2000s because that allows me to bring more records with me when I play out. I haven’t launched myself into the whole digital DJ era just yet. Quite frankly, I don’t see myself using such programs as Traktor to mix records.

Q: In a club situation what do you think works better, a live performance or a dj?

A: They both work equally but I think it really comes down to the artist, whether it’s a live performance or a DJ set. Whichever platform you are using if you do not interact with the crowd, it gets a little boring. The whole idea of staring at your laptop the whole time is kind of weird for me.

Q: How does your music production process work?

A: I start off with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and it usually all comes about on its own, depending on how I’m feeling & what I want to write. If I want to go deep/housey/techy, that’s where my mind goes and from there, it just flows.

Q: Do you use any hardware in your production or is it all made on computer?

A:  I do use hardware. I think it’s important to have external hardware. It sounds so different relative to soft synths. I run a Roland JX305 groove synth, a Virus B, a Novation Supernova, a Korg Electribe and occasionally a MS2000…all of these alongside my Protools rig.

Q:  I hear rumors that you’re doing a remix of ‘Strings of Life’ on Defected, tell me more?

A: It’s not a rumor ;) It’s true, I was asked to remix Soul Central’s  - Strings of Life for Defected. This came about after my release on Joris Voorn and Edwin Oosterwal’s Rejected Records.

Q: What other releases and projects are you working on?

A: I have a new single coming out on Tiefschwarz’s new compilation “In The City” as well as an EP to follow up that single. There is a new single coming out on Get Physical Music. I have collaboration with Mathew Dekay coming out on Pier Bucci’s label, Maruca and then a few collaborations with Matt Tolfrey…roughly 4 or 5 records that we have written together.  I’m also in the process of working on my first artist album. I’m really excited about how things have been moving & how fortunate I am to be working with such great talent.

Q: Do you have any exciting gigs coming up?

A: For the moment I’m really keeping it tame as I’m working in the studio and pushing really hard before Miami’s WMC in March. That being said, I maintain my monthly residency at Stereo Afterhours.

Q: What are your ambitions for the future?

A: To really keep pushing hard musically. Spreading my music to my fans and to the people
Who have supported me & put up with me throughout the years is probably what I aspire to most. That, and bringing together a live performance is definitely in my plans.

Interview by Robin Ball