[TMN Interview] How to be Hard Headed: GANZ on his Vision and Path to Success

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The ever shifting musical landscape of today lends itself to short memories and drastic overstatements. Albums are placed in the upper echelons shortly after their debuts, and claims of dominance fly constantly, portraying musicians as the literal godfathers of their respective genres. Part of the blame is shouldered by writers; an over reactive bunch who tend to go a bit overboard in backing their favorite artists. “Godfather” might be a bit of an embellishment, but in the case of Dutch producer Jordy Saamena, it would not be entirely hyperbolic to claim that he spawned an entirely new production style two years ago – one that has sparked a new wave of artists emulating his early success.

Saamena, who has situated himself as a internationally known producer under his stage name GANZ (pronounced gans), took the attention of the electronic music world through the release of his unique remixes – coined as “flips” – dating back to February of last year. While at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco on the first of an 8-stop North American tour, Jordy and manager Dennis Saamena (his older brother) were gracious enough to take some time after his performance and give The Music Ninja a run down on what the past two years have been like, the release of his label, and what he sees for the future of GANZ.

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[Indie-Pop] Memoryy – Feeling Sinister [TMN Premiere]

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Memoryy
Feeling Sinister

Last landing on our pages in February with effervescent synth-pop single “Eternal Sunshine”, Brooklyn based Memoryy has once again set his wings down behind another slice of indie-tinged alt-pop. “Feeling Sinister” is the latest from Memoryy, and just one listen to the 80’s dipped synth work, subdued horn section and fleeting hooks had us falling all over again. Memoryy effortlessly rolls on midtempo pop structures injected with a contemporary blast of tasteful shoegaze and dream-pop; which has us dialing up comparisons to artists as current as Tanlines & Twin Shadow to as far back as New Order and even Peter Gabriel’s art-housiest expressions. “Feeling Sinister” doesn’t end just instrumentally either, featuring a soaring refrain played off of subtle pop backing harmonies, acting as the glue drawing all of “Feeling Sinister” together as a single movement. With Summer temperatures rising stateside, Memoryy’s dropped a perfect addition to all of our roof, pool and beachside parties, and it’s be more than wise to follow suit.

About the tune, Memoryy shared with us: Feeling Sinister is a song that just reminds me of hot summer nights. It’s also the first Memoryy song to have a horn section on it – an inspiration I’m not ashamed to chalk up to one of my fave guilty pleasure pop songs, Go West’s ‘The King of Wishful Thinking’…. Although they used synth horns & co-producer Brothertiger got his trumpeter buddy Dave Levy from Bombrasstico to come into the studio…  Every time I hear the song now I’m transported back to the feeling of hearing that solo for the first time – breathless & magical.” It certainly is. Stream “Feeling Sinister” above ahead of an official August 14th digital release through iTunes (preorder link here) and before anyone else in the form of a shiny ‘TMN Premiere’.

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Cazzette Talk the EDM Movement, Finding Artistic Freedom and their Upcoming EP [TMN Exclusive Interview + BTS Video Premiere]

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Cazzette
Together (Till The Morning) Feat. Newtimers

I can still remember vividly hearing my first Skrillex song in a hazy dorm room about five years ago–it was around the same time that “EDM,” to some people’s chagrin, became an unstoppable force in mainstream music. For the college kids of that generation, like myself, it was an exciting moment hearing a completely new genre of mind-altering compositions. While frantically looking for all the EDM I could find, I stumbled across a Swedish duo by the name of Cazzette, who created an enormous dubstep remix of one of my favorite songs at the time, “Monster” by Kanye West.

As Cazzette rose to popularity, they signed with legendary manager Ash Pournouri, who’s best known for helping launch Avicii‘s career, and ended up supporting Avicii on his world tour when “Levels” was making him a household name. Just as with every new wave of music, though, EDM eventually hit a pinnacle of commercialization that began taking away from the artistry and originality that once made it so enticing. In the last five years or so, the term has become tied to a negative stigma–some detracting rationales more valid than others. Meanwhile, a number of the popular artists at the time’s music started sounding the same, with only few emerging from the EDM bubble with a distinguishable style.

Cazzette have seen EDM from its inception to its current, somewhat stagnant, state working to push their music forward exploring various soundscapes along the way. EDM’s legacy resonates, at least to some degree, in almost all genres today and electronic music, in general, is in an absolutely fantastic place thanks to the path it paved. In recent years, Cazzette have shown a determination to break free from classification and their upcoming EP, Desserts, sees the two escaping the constraints of EDM, instead focusing on pure grooves across sub-genres of electronic music. Artists are often at their best when they abandon genre restrictions and that’s exactly the crossroads where Cazzette stand now.

We were lucky enough to chat with Alex and Seb of Cazzette and it’s a fascinating, candid retrospective on the EDM movement as well as a powerful story about the artistic freedom displayed on their EP. Enjoy the interview below as well as the premiere of a behind the scenes video about the making of the track “State of Bliss” from the forthcoming project, which drops on August 14th on Spotify and August 28th on iTunes.

TMN: Can you tell us a bit about your first experiences with music—whether it be your parents playing you a record or the first time you tried an instrument.

Alex:  So for me, I’ve always been around music. I never played anything–like I never went to school for piano or anything like that but I think one of my earliest memories of music was being in the car with my dad and I remember we arrived to where we were going and I had to stay in the car because I had to keep listening to that Michael Jackson song “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” I think that’s like, well that wasn’t necessarily electronic music but that’s like one of my first memories of feeling like, music is so amazing, you know?

And then for electronic music I think, I must have been in high school and I went to this super lame disco and some techno song was playing and there were lasers and stuff. I was just really, like, hypnotized by that and after that I started DJ’ing and producing.

Seb: Yeah I think Michael Jackson was for everybody–for many kids in our generation, that was the shit. So that’s my first memory, but then how I got into electronic music was through my dad who always played me house music, trance music, like psych-trance, all this kind of weird stuff. And I think that’s how I got my interest in electronic music. it’s pretty much the same story for me as Alex, my dad introduced me to everything when it came to electronic music. And my mom also had really good taste–she listened more to like Prince and stuff like that.

TMN: When you guys first linked up, it was online, right? What drew you to each other’s styles?

Alex: Yeah, I think we found interest in each other’s music pretty early. We just started talking and sending demos back and forth. We’re a lot alike in the way that we didn’t really think about “Oh I do this genre, you do this genre”–you know like 2 separate genres. And then we started being influenced by each other. But this was more casual, you know, we were both like let’s just make music.

TMN: Can you talk a bit bout the landscape of electronic music back then? Because it was so different with EDM not quite being a full-blown movement yet.

Alex:  Yeah, it was very different. I mean now it feels like you know, every third person you meet is a DJ, right. And it’s a little bit different–I mean I remember watching videos of Axwell and Ingrosso and those guys, they were playing these shows and there were maybe 600 people there or something. Everyone was just going nuts and it was a completely different atmosphere. I’m not saying that it’s worse now, not at all. I think it’s great that it’s available for all these people because I think music should be available for everyone. So it’s awesome. But it’s just different, it was just more underground in a way.

Seb: For me it was very different at that time. I think electronic music was really more interesting back then. Everything was very new, changing all the time, always evolving. Now I don’t think it is as interesting any more, but it’s still good.

Alex: You know what differs the most? I think the arrangement of the songs, actually. Continue reading

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[Ambient/Dubstep] Allies For Everyone – All Gone (Kodomo Remix)

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Allies For Everyone
All Gone (Kodomo Remix)

Sometimes with the copious amounts of music being released digitally nowadays through an exponential number of online retailers and publications -maybe even all too often- a sonically textured soundscape which may require a bit more active listening gets passed over for a quick and catchy melody highlighting whichever genre-du-jour may be the hippest to write about at the moment. However, some tunes break through the mold and command attention through their own set of aural rules. The latest from  genre-skirting electronic producer Kodomo falls into such a category, finding the New York based artist taking Allies For Everyone‘s (who premiered his own remix of his single “Bunker” with us last month) latest single “All Gone” into his own realm of silky, two-step melodica. From the careful droning of delicate drums to precisely pinned piano, and the reverb laden use of AFE’s original vocal track; Kodomo’s crafted a completely alternate view into “All Gone”. Deep and rich t extures are both built and torn down all at once by Kodomo, encasing a hermetic heart at its his revision’s core. For our seasoned electronic listeners, and fans of Boards of Canada, early Emancipator and Baths we’re highly recommending Kodomo’s remix to cut right through the Summer heat. Get more of Allies For Everyone from his busy Soundcloud here, and check out Kodomo’s “All Gone” remix above.

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The Chill Dojo #144

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We may be well into August but it’s never too late to discover a new summer jam, and the aptly named ‘Summatime Fine’ can be exactly that. The velvety songwriting of Mars Today combined with the masterful beat-making of ESTA make for the smoothest of songs to lay back and chill to. If that weren’t enough, the killer talkbox finale will melt whatever part of you has managed to resist it to this point. With every week that passes we get a little closer to the release of Tom Misch’s Beat Tape 2, but as long as we keep getting this steady feed of blissful tunes, we’re more than happy to wait a little longer. This week we’re served a glorious collaboration with the gorgeous vocals of Carmody, offering rich floating vibes to meld with the sun-kissed handiwork of the talented musician.

Miami Horror know a thing or two about crafting an anthem for the sweltering sun, and their latest single ‘Cellophane’ will remind you just how good they are at bringing the party heat to eager crowds and friendly gatherings alike. Consider this next feature a public service announcement not to sleep on the the newly emerged London-based group PREP. ‘Cheapest Flight’ may be a debut track, but it doesn’t take a discerning ear to realize there would be years of collective experience behind this one. Unbelievably smooth production and infectious brass collide for a pure easy listening experience that is so damn refreshing.

The vocal delights extend well beyond these features though, so take the time to soak up the rest of the magic collated down this week’s list. Peace out.

Mars Today
Summatime Fine (Prod. by esta)
Tom Misch
Wander With Me (feat. Carmody)
Miami Horror
Cellophane (So Cruel) Ft Aaron Miller & Gavin Turek
PREP
Cheapest Flight
Ryan Hemsworth
Afterglow
GRiZ ft. Talib Kweli
For the Love (Autograf Remix)
Alina Baraz & Galimatias
Pretty Thoughts (FKJ Remix)
Lolaby & Cosmic Quest
Affinity
Ember Island
Where are ü now (Minnesota remix)
SoySauce & Saturn
Gravity Waves ft. Charlie Kim
Fareoh
Scream Your Name (feat. Sarah Mount)
KASBO
Again
Skee Lo
I Wish (San Holo Remix)
LUCA LUSH
WEIGHT IN GOLD
GRiZ
For The Love (Naderi Remix) (Ft. Talib Kweli)
salute
Castle (Magic)
Vindata
Wide Awake Ft. Kenzie May
Free n Losh
Rose (ft. Bethea)
Netsky
Rio (Subtropics Remix)
Bees Knees
Old School (Feat. Monogem)
DJ Cassidy
Future Is Mine feat. Chromeo (Fabich Remix)
Full Crate
Special
ØRKA
Tell Me (Village Remix)
Goldroom
Till Sunrise (A.E.M. Remix)
calper
Somebody
Mazde
Pitch Black (feat. LissA)
TÂCHES
Eat Your Friends (Ft. Shoffy)
Moon Boots
Utopia feat. Janelle Kroll
Teen Daze
Along
R I T U A L
JOSEPHINE feat. Lisa Hannigan
Sizzlebird
Will You Be There
Waveless
Numb feat. Mothica (whereisalex Remix)
Gallant
Weight In Gold (MPH Remix)
CVIRO & GXNXVS
Sober
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[Event Review] TMN’s Favorite Sets from HARD Summer 2015

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(Photo by Rukes.com)

If you’re caught up with the news in the EDM world, you’ve probably heard about Jack Ü‘s starfilled performance that featured many special guests, including 2 Chainz, AlunaGeorge, CL and Justin Bieber. Apart from all the craziness that went down last weekend, HARD Summer 2015 was one for the books. Ranging from hip-hop to electronic music, HARD Presents once again outdid themselves to satisfy every single one of their attendees’ musical palate. How do we even begin? The two-day festival in Pomona California was too much epicness to put in words. I think we’ll just end it here.

Just kidding. But there were indeed too many stellar performances to comment on, so we’re going to give our take on some of our favorite sets from Hard Summer. You’re about to relive some of the greatest moments from the annual summertime radness.

1. Big Gigantic 

And the saxiest performance award goes to… Yes, Big Gigantic! The Colorado-based electronic duo absolutely brought down the house with their electrifying set. Coming on after fellow future funk artist GRiZ and headlining the 7-Up (Green) Stage, Big Gigantic gave every bit of their energy to their performance. Fusing dubstep and hardhitting bass with soul and funk, they definitely made their sound one of a kind. Dom the saxophonist held it down for all the live instrument performers and it goes to show how their music was able to reach out to so many different crowds, even at a EDM-filled festival.

2. Porter Robinson

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(Photo by Jake West)

Something magical happens everytime we see Porter Robinson perform. The Worlds producer tweaks his live shows all the time by adding in different edits and transitions of his own songs, and making every set unique. His performance at HARD Summer was stellar to say the least. Filling the HARD Stage with a sea of people was no easy task, but he managed to do just that. It was visually stunning and emotionally provoking; it’s also everything a hardcore Porter fan could ask for. Everybody was already singing along to “Sad Machine” right when he started his set, and was left in tears as he ended it with “Language”. Only a handful artists could do the same to the audience as Porter did. Kudos to the just-turned-23-year-old feels capturer.

3. Jai Wolf

The “Indian Summer” producer managed to pack Purple Stage to over capacity with just 15 minutes into his set. He was among the youngest bunch to perform at this year’s festival. The list goes on… From “Lotus Eater”, remix of Odesza‘s “Say My Name”, remix of Mocki‘s “Weekend”, or ending his set on a high note with his version of Skrillex‘s “Ease My Mind”, Jai Wolf showcased his caliber to the fullest. He also had Mark Johns as his special guest, and the whole crowd just went nuts. Everyone was living in their own world during his set, and left talking about it for the rest of the festival. TMN is very excited to see what new music the yung producer has in store for us in the near future.

4. Die Antwoord

11794292_10153129143988920_3032999222703337445_o(Photo by HARD Presents)

In the midst of their American tour, Die Antwoord stopped by HARD Summer, took over and left everyone in awe. As if the photo above doesn’t speak enough (or too little), the South African alternative hip-hop group represented everything they stand for in the music community and brought down the Harder Stage with their cunningly crafty and one-of-a-kind performance. To everyone’s surprise, actor Jack Black (who was featured in Die Antwoord’s “Ugly Boy” music video) even came out during the set. With that said, if you haven’t seen Ninja or Yolandi perform before, you’re definitely missing out.

5. Jack Ü

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Are you sick of listening to “Where Are U Now” on the radio? We are too, but Jack Ü has undeniably crushed it with their spectacular performance, and was definitely the HARD crowd’s favorite. Let’s start with the special guests. 2 Chainz popped out of nowhere during “Febreze”, Fly Boi Keno came out for “Beats Knockin'”, Aluna from AlunaGeorge performed “To U” and DJ Snake‘s  version of ‘You Know You Like It”, CL from 2NE1 performed Diplo’s “Dirty Vibe” and “Revolution”, and hollywood golden child Justin Bieber closed out the night with “Where Are U Now”. The starpower was incredible and arguably topped Ultra Miami’s earlier this year. It was a party from beginning til end, as Skrillex and Diplo managed to take their bounce-influenced electronic music to the biggest stage. You could see the Skrill and Diplo waving their Jack U flag throughout the night, and many followers rocking their apparel in the crowd. They have successfully started a movement, and to say their performance was epic is an understatement.

And that concludes it with our review for HARD. With the amount of positivity going into the weekend, TMN is proud to say that we had a blast. Like Jauz said during his set, we were all there for one reason and one reason only: music. These artists continued to inspire and entertain all around the world, and HARD offered a great platform for that matter. With that said, we’ll see you all next year for another unforgettable weekend.

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[House] Soma – Uncertain (Action 52 Remix)

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Soma
Uncertain (Action 52 Remix)

We all need some Action 52 every once in a while. After last appearing here on TMN with their G-House remix of Missy Elliot’s “Lose Control”, the Denver house duo stops by once again with a deep club edit of another tune we loved, Soma’s “Uncertain”. Action 52 lays down a thick bassline and thumping groove on top of the original to create a tune which both stays true to the original and is something completely its own. Check it out above and get into that weekend dance mode.

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