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Category Archives: Interview

I decided to get in touch with Henry Maldonado after playing his record “Trial By Fire.” I thought to myself, “I need more from whoever this person is,” so I did an online discogs search and found out the man behind the wax is Henry Maldonado, a house music veteran of over 20 years and one of the first producers on the famous label Strictly Rhythm. I ended up with a lot more than just more music to listen to. I was given the opportunity to pick his brain, and now for those of you curious, you can get an insider’s viewpoint on early house music in the 90’s from one of NYC’s finest!

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Little is known about Tad Wily other than the fact that he is responsible for the Tape Love EP from Smash Hit Music. Habituate had the pleasure of this exclusive interview and mix.

Artwork by Julius Tanag.

1. Isotope 217 – <<
2. Munga – Freak (Munga's Back In The Jungle Baby)
3. Linntronix – Cool Out (Refresh)
4. Christophe – The Force (Lukas mix)
5. Justin Winks vs. Casio Social Club – Rock the Discotheque
6. Albert Cabrera – Ulticut Ups!!! Extreme Cut Up
7. The House Rockers – Everybody Do It
8. The Glimmers – U Rocked My World (Pete Herbert & Tristan Da Cunha Mix)
9. Konk – Your Life (Party Mix)
10. Master Plan – Electric Baile (Commercial Mix)
11. Shep' N Wily – One Night In Puzon
12. Ark – Stoptheball
13. Dimlite – Es Gschänk (Outro)

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Q: What style of music do you produce?

A: “I’m not a big fan of genres… but if I had to choose I’d love it to be Swamp Pop, because it’s the coolest genre name out there, but I’m afraid it rather fits Beatport’s ‘Indie Dance’ description. Or you can think of it as a mess done right.”

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Q: When it comes to music production, what era’s and artists do you look to for inspiration?

A: “No artists in particular, really. I tend to look for single tunes that have something unusual or inspiring in them. There’s plenty of little gems around that don’t have any important artist name written all over it, but have awful loads of character. I’ve got a soft spot for late 70’s Post Punk/No Wave stuff, early 80’s House, or Rap/Boogie tunes and various fusions of these. I’m also a big fan of weird things and small imperfections; vocals out of tune, distorted hi-hats, noisy guitar cables, etc. These things often add up to the uniqueness of stuff, which to some degree gone missing when people started to produce preliminarily on digital setups.”

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Avalon Bar gets treated to some DFU and CANYONS! And I had the opportunity to ask Leo Thomson some questions as well.

Located at:
820 West 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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Avalon Bar hasn’t seen anything along the lines of this in a while. Talented people have been holding down monthly residencies, but as far as bringing in guests it hasn’t happened much. Meanwhile The Double Fisted Underground has been up to a lot, but the Avalon days seemed like they were long gone. So this Friday feels like a revitalization of that OC underground vibe that I have heard so much about but haven’t seen a whole lot of. For me personally it’s such a pleasure to get a chance to dance a night away at a place I consider a home away from home, Avalon Bar, to a guest DJ whose record I picked up and played out so many times. It makes that international dance music community feel oh so cozy!

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Interview with Leo Thomson, DFU’s guest this Friday (July 8th) at Avalon Bar.

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Q: How did you and Ryan (of Canyons) connect?

We were friends in high school first.

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Q: What are your personal influences in music?

My musical influences are really varied – I grew up listening to rock and metal, then got really into hip hop and then through hip hop became more interested in soul and older music in general. Then from soul I started listening to disco and from disco I started listening to house music. So It’s kinda hard to pin point what the influences are, but I guess music from the 60’s through to the late 80’s has definitely been an influence.

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Q: Can you tell me about the scene in Australia?

Australia is unique in that it’s so isolated which I think has negative and positive effects. It’s a good thing if it means people try to make more original music but it’s a bad thing when it means that some kinds of music / bands / artists don’t necessarily get the recognition they deserve until they’re validated by another country first. There is definitely a strong scene for indie / rock bands here but maybe the dance side isn’t as strong, which I think has to do with there being very few venues that support good dance music.

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Q: Have you been djing internationally? What are some gigs that are most memorable?

When we released a 12″ with DFA in 2009 we came out to the US to play a few shows. We did a really fun boat party in NYC and a few other shows there and we also played in LA, SF and did a pool party out in Palm Springs.

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Q: My first exposure to your production was with the “Fire Eyes” EP on DFA. (I have this piece of vinyl!) If you don’t mind disclosing what went into this release can you tell me who is the vocalist and what samples and original instrumentation went into this?

The vocalist is a woman from Sydney called Delilah. She moved out to Australia from the US in the the late 70’s I think. She’s definitely a character. The only sample in there is that percussive build up kind of thing which is from a Sylvester tune. We played/programmed all the rest of the music.

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“Fire Eyes” (Jacques Renault’s Living In The Jungle Mix)

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Q: Scotty tells me you two met after he bought the first release on your label Hole in the Sky, he said he loved it and reached out to you and Ryan. Can you tell me about how and when the label started, and what (if anything) is going on with the label, now or in the future?

The label was started by Ryan and I as a way of us releasing the music we were making separately at the time, as well as music by our friends. It’s been pretty quiet for a while because we’ve been finishing off our album but we do have some good things lined up for the next few releases, which we’ll get happening really soon.

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Logo side of the first Hole in the Sky record: The Templates – Daylight

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Q: When you visited Scotty in Long Beach a couple years back, what was your impression of the happenings of SoCal? Did you have any gigs while you were here? Any memorable moments?

It’s going back a way now, it’s hard to remember to be honest. We played a fun gig with Scotty that he organized but I can’t remember the name of the place. Hanging out with Scotty was memorable!

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Q: So you are working on a full length album, how are these coming along, and what challenges or inspirations have you come across in your recent work?

We’ve finished the album now thankfully. It was definitely a challenge for us to write an album. I think a big part of it was that we’ve been used to making individual tunes for 12″s and doing remixes etc but we obviously wanted our album to be a coherent body of work. We are also into so many different types of sounds and music so it was tough to figure out a way to get all the different things we wanted on the record while at the same time have it still hold together as one thing and not sound too disparate.

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You can keep in touch with Canyons here and keep in touch with the Double Fisted Underground on here.

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Forthcoming on Jay Shepheard’s label Retrofit. Also Shepheard and the man behind Retrofit #6 answer a few questions about the release and the label.
Q: Who is Rudy’s Midnight Machine?
Jay Shepheard: “Rudy’s Midnight Machine is the side project from Robin Lee – one half of the Faze Action duo.”

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Q: Who is Ee Ef Ex?
Jay Shepheard: “Ee Ef Ex is a debut side project of mine.”

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Q: Robin, what has influenced your recent work?
Robin Lee: “I suppose it changes all the time. I grew up listening to sounds in the 80’s so it’s easy for me to come from that angle. Coupled with the current trend of stripped down house music which is a joy to play out. I try and keep my influences subliminal. By that I mean, I don’t go out to recreate a track from the past that I might like but I let those influences naturally come out. I think it allows you to make more original stuff. Of course one of my big influences recently has been the Retrofit series, Jay Shep and OOFT amongst others.”

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Q: Can you shed some light on the production of these tracks, what hardware, software, synthesizers, live recording (if any) is used?
Robin Lee: “I’m using Logic 9 on a Mac G5 with Adam A8X monitors. We have a small 16 channel desk that we track things through. For a lot of the synth parts I use an old Sequential Circuits 6trak analogue synth. It’s actually one of the first analogue synths to have midi so it can end up being very hands on when you’re tracking parts down. It seems to cut mixes like a knife through butter as well. For the live bass I either use a Fender Jazz bass (Vintage Japanese Edition) or a Lakland 5 string beast (it’s actually extra long scale to properly accommodate that low bottom end). The guitar is a hand made Heartfield through an old Sound City amp that I mic up with an SM57 and then gate to give it that slightly clipped sound. I have a large sample library that I use with the built in sampler in Logic (EXS24), and I get my samples from loopmasters or sounds to sample.”

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Q: From what I understand Jay, you used to be based in Germany and moved back to the UK, has this change in location influenced your production and the spawning of the retrofit label?
Jay Shepheard: “Yes that’s right. I was living in Berlin for a year or so from 2009… Its a great city and I love it there, I will almost certainly go back for a while at some point. However I grew up in London and had been away for 2 and a half years (I was living in Poland with my fiance before Berlin) so thought it was time to come back home for a while. At that time Juno was just starting their distribution project so I asked if they’d be interested in doing a label with me and its just gone on from there – I have a pretty tight relationship with Juno as before I moved away I was working there for about 7 years. As far as influencing my production I think both cities have pretty broad scenes these days so I don’t think the moving about really changed my styles so much…Especially with how much listening you can do + promo etc all online these days I guess geographic boundaries between musical tastes in different cities have broken down a lot.”

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Look out for the release very soon. To be updated on its release keep in touch with the label on their Facebook Page or on their wordpress blog.

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