April 25, 2011

BASICS Podcast 006 - Alien Pimp

Daca ultimele doua-trei editii s-au invartit in zona ceva mai low-bpm, Disco sau House a muzicilor electronice de dans care conteaza in 2011, de la editia a 6-a - asa cum v-am avertizat - facem un mic switch de directie spre zona in care ne simtim cel mai confortabil: peste 128 bpm, fara granite din punct de vedere al genurilor abordate.

Din motive pe care speram ca nu mai e cazul sa le explicam articolul va fi de aceasta data publicat aproape integral in limba engleza.

So, we're now proud to say our sixth installment for the series wears the signature of one of the most prolific and active producers Romania ever saw: Alien Pimp representing DubKraft and False Flag Operation.

For the young ones, Alien Pimp builds tracks for well over fifteen years now and currently owns two labels: DubKraft - which is best known for succesfully experimenting, over the last four-five years, with a rather large palette of dance sounds ranging from House and Techno to Dubstep and Drum&Bass and for discovering amazing fresh talents such as Asusu, Furreshu or HxdB to name just a few of our favourites - and its newly born sister: False Flag Operation - which is also set to stir some big waves in the open-minded circles out there. You'll see what we mean by that.

The mix you're about to hear acts both as a label showcase for these two music factories and as a producer showcase featuring some (seriously good) unreleased Alien Pimp material. Also there are a couple of unsigned / unlabeled inserts which we like to think of as some of his big favourites as a DJ at the moment plus a very interesting track surfacing from a very interesting producer. See if you can spot it.

To sum it up, probably one of the most complex recordings we're ever gonna host. You're in for some serious style juggling this time.

Also there's a rather large, highly recommended and self-explanatory interview with Silviu that can be read lower on this page!

Even though this time we could easily write a novel, we will stop here because we truly believe that both the audio and lecture materials speak for themselves. Get to know!


01. Edoc - Losing My Emotion [False Flag Operation]
02. Alien Pimp + Terry Artovsky - Schoe [False Flag Operation]
03. Vlad Onu - Patterns [forthc. DubKraft]
04. Adam Kroll - Days At Night [forthc. DubKraft]
05. Kelle - Siberia [DubKraft]
06. Alien Pimp - Dynautics [N/A]
07. Alien Pimp - Destroit [N/A]
08. Datacode - Upstream [DubKraft]
09. Hector Villanueva - Estamos Bien (Latino-Glitch Treatment by SubJazz) [DubKraft]
10. Robot Koch vs. Graciela Maria - Brujeria [N/A]
11. HxdB & Self Evident - Hoof Hearted [forthc. Palms Out Sound]
12. Alien Pimp - Can't Push A Wave (Can Only Surf It) [forthc. Gradient Audio]
13. Volatil - Parallel Worlds [DubKraft]
14. Alien Pimp - Another Sunny Day In Barcelona [Subdepth]

DOWNLOAD (via Sendspace - available for 30 days)

Knowing Alien Pimp:Link

BASICS: First of all cheers and thanks for taking some of your very little available time to do this whole thing! We know you’ve been busy as hell. How are you holding up?

Alien Pimp: Cheers! Not easily, this world makes huge efforts to marginalize anyone more concerned with mental and spiritual (in a non-religious sense) development than with profitability.

B: It’s useless to try and paint your portrait as an artist / producer / label owner etc. again. Anyone fairly in touch with the contemporary Bass Music scene knows who you are and what you do. So, our favorite intro question: what is it that Alien Pimp doesn’t do?

A.P.: Ha! I don't do a lot of nice things I wish I did but I don't have the time or the resources for. Provided those, I'd be happy to contribute the world more beauty and quality entertainment. And maybe some reason too; that's missing more than anything.

B: Ok, let’s get serious. It’s a rough time for labels at the moment with the economy collapsing all over, with issues like piracy and with huge amounts of music (some good, most of it awful) in stores everywhere. Still, DubKraft seems to be rolling smoothly out there and you’ve just launched a subsidiary to it: False Flag Operation. Tell us a bit about the concepts of / differences between these two. How do they manage to stay on the market independently from one another? Is FFO actually DubKraft under a false flag or does it have anything to do with secret military operations?

A.P.: I actually took things seriously from the beginning of this.

It's simple: DubKraft never had a standard label approach, but it still fits some standards and requirements of the market, obeys some rules, we basically put on a suit to get the job and some acceptance so we can spread a message of change and evolution from inside. And things changed these first five years, that approach became standard business attitude for many other labels, it became an establishment in itself, and we're comfortable there, we don't need a fix now.

BUT that doesn't mean there is no next next level (repetition intended). And the new sublabel will be taking care of that. It's like with any serious company: it has its own secretive lab where it cooks the future. Everything we do is a seed but very very few people know how our mature plants will look like. We're capitalizing on the trust we've gained so far to plant these seeds.

I can disclose the final target though: self-sustainable total creative freedom for the artists at affordable costs for the impoverished masses. Provided support from a bit more audience than we already have now, I know now we definitely can get there, even in the current context. It's just we need a bit more love than a label of our type gets usually and we gonna earn it!

B: DubKraft just released the second volume of Adult Bass Music, a compilation which I personally find to be damn interesting from many points of view. It also got ridiculously good feedback from many guys considered to be living legends on the scene. Let’s talk about the artist choices for this compilation and the split between bpm ranges, into up and midtempo. Who and respectively why? Why the name? And last but not least, where’s the downtempo edition?

A.P.: The label/release strategy is like a very flexible and adaptive grid with serious criteria. If a track fits in and pushes things the right direction - it gets in. I don't care who the artist is and his pedigree, I only care about the music and the development. After 5 years of growth, DubKraft is now a pedigree in itself.

The split between the bpm ranges is a marketing thing mixed up with my view that genres are irrelevant today, and the tracks should be described only by mood plus bpm plus the predominance of some sounds/techniques (techy, dubby, organic, breakbeat, straight beat etc...). I don't think there's gonna be much downtempo stuff on DubKraft though, for reasons I won't get into because that would mean another page of text. But there will be enough of it on FFO, there are almost no restrictions there.

Ah, about the name: it caught your attention, didn't it? Now tell me you're not one of those who forgot the original meaning of the word and you don't read only XXX when "adult" is printed on the paper (n.r. we at BASICS do not acknowledge the existence of porn).
Because if you do, and then you listen and you still don't hear "grown up" instead of XXX, then you're not ready for us, sorry. We have to be very selective, a lot of bad audience might feed us more but it's ballast for the good developments. We're very democratic in some ways, but history proved progress came from the best and regress from the rest. Cope with that, I didn't make that rule!

And I know It might sound self-contradictory: we need love but we don't take it from everyone. What most people don't realize is that some love can be toxic, people often die from love. I prefer a slower but healthier growth if that's what it takes.

B: DubKraft also started out as a Dubstep label and it slowly became what it is today: a house to all great music, no matter the genre and bpm. Also Alien Pimp (and I’m talking about this moniker only and about the after-2000 era) used to produce mostly Drum&Bass and Dubstep and lately has put out some brilliant Techno and House-ish beats on FFO, DubKraft, Micropuncto or Subdepth. Were these transitions something natural, that came along with experimenting, or a logical step in the general scene direction of 2010-2011?

A.P.: A bit of a correction: DubKraft has some limitations, it puts out anything good, but stuff that's bassy enough and DJ-able for those who play in the ranges of 120-145 bpm and 170+ bpm. That's it. We made occasional but rare exceptions.

As for the transitions: I'm just making tracks like I need to listen at the moment or just trying a new idea. And I have moods, or I get bored with some things for a while, then maybe I come back to them... I just follow the inspiration and the energy of the moment... What comes out afterwards, how people split them into genres and all; that is another story, not the most interesting for me. Today it appears I'm on a Techno spree, but I write everything. Just worked with guys in Indie Rock (The Mono Jacks) or Nu-Jazz (Alain de Laniere). Many of these tracks you hear today were started 2-3-10 years ago and came out today because that was their fate. Due to the market conditions, my work is not exactly synced with the releases and my public perception. Good thing I have these labels, otherwise some of my best and most successful tracks would've never seen the shelves and people would've had an even more distorted image about what I do. Sometimes I think my best material got the most rejections from other labels. Their loss...

B: Since we are in the labels area, I have a last curiosity and I hope it doesn’t push the wrong buttons or anything: What ever happened to SoundKraft? It had some brilliant releases. Did it get assimilated into DubKraft or...?

A.P.: There's no secret, I've explained that in some interviews before, I think, but if you don't know that means more people don't.

SoundKraft's main objective was promoting the new wave of Eastern-European Drum&Bass. (n.r. if you don’t know what we’re talking about please Google: „Eastern Sound Architects”) It took very few years before our artists (Sunchase, Cooh, Dissident, Prode to mention but a few) stepped up to a level of biz SoundKraft couldn't provide and Eastern Europe became acknowledged for what it is: one of the main providers of fresh blood (wink at Hospital) for the worldwide scene. Basically the big labels picked up on that pretty fast and made SoundKraft pointless. Then I tried to find a new place for SoundKraft by opening its gates to everyone, but that coincided with those few years when standardization almost killed Drum&Bass and the ideas I had (some of them successfully revamped in Marginal production many years after) found no place and not much support at the moment, so I simply shut it down. But it's all good now and I'm proud to say some of the SoundKraft tunes are for me among the best in Drum&Bass ever, regardless recognition.

B: As a producer you have an impressive history behind. You’ve also been involved in a lot of projects and had more than one moniker. I for one did not expect to see those two tracks under WeAreNotSure and Sonic Tonic getting reissues on FFO. What triggered the need to bring them back to life, especially since the original releases were on Bucharest Chills & Thrills – one of the best and most original compilations Romania ever saw?

A.P.: They are timeless and very few people know them outside Romania (and even inside). There will be more things coming out from the vault, proving that one day you get some hype, next day it might fade, but eventually that is nothing to worry about when you focus on writing good music, not trendy music, good people will recognize good quality. Those tunes got more appreciation today than back then.

B: Even though you’ve relocated to BCN, you’re still one of the main promoters of young and talented producers. After Dudawles and Archer, both signed on DubKraft, what Romanian names should we look up to in your opinion?

A.P.: These two guys you mentioned, Ion (n.r. the one signed by Local Records as well, not the Dubstep DJ), and a couple more that I will unveil pretty soon but not now. Talking about the new wave only. And I'm sure there's gotta be a few more guys I ignored.

B: Let’s juggle the topics a little more. You seem to be a bit concerned with social and political issues and generally with the big things happening all over the world. How does that energy get transposed into your work as an artist, into your tunes and into your label concepts? Or are they completely separate things?

A.P.: The same way they transpose in everyone's lives and work, I'm just more aware of it than the majority and that makes it more apparent in my work. And if you get attention from people, you have a good message and you don't use the opportunities to make things better and increase awareness, then you deserve your fate. I like to deserve good things before I ask for them. For my self-esteem, deserving is even more important than obtaining, it's the distinction between merit and recognition, recognition is an external thing I can't fully control, but merits are 100% up to me.

Bottom line: the key to a smile and a good sleep is being frustrated with the others not with the self. Cause you can't escape frustration in this world. So I'm doing my part as good as I can and it feels good, I recommend it to everyone.

B: You’re also a DJ. Let’s not forget that. How does a DJ set look and feel when you’re at the decks? Is it Techno? Dubstep? Drum&Bass? Across the board? Is it a label showcase? Is it a journey through your influences?

A.P.: Oh, there is no straight answer to that because each time is different. Most of the times is just about looking at the audience and going with the flow in the most spontaneous way, but sometimes I need to make a point or promote something in particular and then it's more prepared in advance. I can go from 110 bpm to 175 in 2 hours if I have the proper audience for it. Genres matter only for some promoters, I respect the profile of an event I'm booked for, but "Style Is A Cage". (n.r. http://bit.ly/gXjDxN)

B: You’ve spent enough time on both BCN and Bucharest electronic music scenes. Each will probably think that the other is better in some way. Is the truth somewhere in the middle? What are the differences in your opinion?

A.P.: The main difference I found is the ratio good audience/talents. The situation is almost inverse it the two places, seems like the audience in Bucharest is really big, but on the creative side there's a huge hole that needs to fill up. Barcelona is the other way around, but the creative force here is very much "imported" from other countries or cities, and as Spain is fucked up economically some of these forces are starting to leave. Future developments will be very interesting, hopefully an equilibrium will be reached.

B: Can we get 5 all-time favourite tracks of yours? No age limit. No genre borders.

A.P.: Hardly, I always have issues with these charts, because I've listened to everything, from Debussy to Cradle of Filth, Autechre or Pixies. And loads of these stayed with me even if I forget most titles.

So no chart, just some of the classic tracks for me that I never get bored of:

Sisters Of Mercy - Black Planet
Pixies - Where Is My Mind
Goldie - Inner City Life
Joy Division - ... (you fill in the blanks)
The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds

It's frustrating to put these above all the other tracks I love!

B: You are put in the situation of explaining a young teenager, or someone round that perceived age, who Alien Pimp is and most important, what your music is. You can only do this by playing him just one of your tracks. Which is it? And why?

A.P.: I released many dozens of tunes to be reduced to just one? Impossible... Give me the attention I worked for or leave me alone!

B: Finally, tell us a couple of words about the mix you’ve put together for BASICS.

A.P.: Adult bass.

B: And a huge „thank you” once again! Hopefully we’ll hear more and more about you, DubKraft and FFO in the immediate future! Cheers!

A.P.: Thanks for the love you and my supporters provide! I'm doing my best to return it twofolded.

And as I'm a limited human being with limited resources, no love for the politicians of any sort, for money-focused people, for religions, and for the ignorants by will, you are the dark side!

Thus being said...please go to www.dubkraftrecords.com, www.falseflagoperation.org or www.silviucostinescu.info often to get your news and releases feed and if you want any of the tracks they put out, they're all up at very good prices on www.dubkraftrecords.ithinkmusic.com. Show support!

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