Newly sign-ed to Cascine, D.C.’s pop group Brett is releasing their new LP in May 20. Their ambitious new track, “Chalon” is possibly the biggest pop track the label has to offer. They explore the sound that runs somewhere in between Coldplay and the Balearic touches of Air France. Can’t get enough of its chorus as well.
Ireland’s electro duo Ryan Vail is up to something new and interesting. They are releasing their new EP Grow via Champion Sound in May, and here’s their new track, “Grow”. It’s soulful and minimal production burns slowly, but surely lit the long-lasting sparkling fire that is truly beautiful. Check out the Focus interview we did with them here.
We’ve been following the steps of Tokyo’s masked electro-pop unit, LLLL. They are performing their first show at the event Meishi Smile’s Zoom Lense is holding in Tokyo. Check out for more details here。More and moreover, they are releasing the limited 10″ EP via Germany’s Modular Field. Apparently it comes with a pearl white vinyl with a hand-printed cover artwork. Stream the whole thing below.
Meanwhile, make sure to check out the interview we did with LLLL here
“Tokyorkshire”‘s leftfield electro producer Kidnevil spent some time in Tokyo and came up with a very inspired album, My Little Ghost. You can now listen to the teaser of its entire album from the widget below. Make sure to tune in to some wonderful collaborations with Japanese artists, namely, Cuushe, Submerse, and Daisuke Tanabe. For more insights and backbones of this album, see Flau’s release page.
We have an update from our favourite Aussie producer Super Magic Hats. He has a new 7″ single More Than Words out and now you can freely download the title track from his Bandcamp page. This track is a sparkly post-chillwave affair that takes you to a place where you relax and be free. Make sure to check out the Focus interview we did last year with Super Magic Hats.
Stockholme’s experimental pop duo Ditt Inre has a new remix out from their latest album “Värd mer än guld. It’s as refreshing as the smell of citrus fruit, inviting you to dance under cherry blossoms.
Eric Berglund seems to thrive off transformation. One minute he’s a baseball bat swinging, glassy eyed hooligan in Swedish pop group The Tough Alliance, the next he’s the secretive, tight-lipped label-runner for Gothenburg based indie imprint Sincerely Yours (whose catalogue has included things like selling $300 t-shirts with marijuana leafs emblazoned on them), and the next he’s a cashmere sweater-clad, rosary-wearing protagonist of CEO’s “Come With Me” music video – clutching a Totoro doll in the grip of some sweat-drenched fever dream.
But as continually perplexing, and sometimes problematic as Berglund’s music can be (in 2007, he sampled a Muslim call to prayer for TTA’s A New Chance EP, a decision that the Islamic community wasn’t thrilled about), his passion for the stuff he creates is undeniable. I spoke to Eric via email and talked about masculinity, embracing contradiction, and why worrying about the future is “so fucking stupid”.
Interview by Brendan Arnott Mar. 28, 2014
How are you feeling as of this second?
Quite elated. Excited and a bit nervous. Very free and still not free at all. Feel like running!
In contemporary English, the word “ceo” evokes a very masculine power dynamic, but the video for “Whorehouse” has you wearing floral headdresses, short shorts and blowing kisses to the camera. How do you navigate the images of masculinity you present? What does masculinity mean to you?
Well, I don’t think much about things like that. I mean stereotypes are around us all our lives and I’m affected and feel things and naturally transform with what I feel. But I believe theories about general things won’t change this world to a better place. Someone else asked me about the video and if I play with sexual stereotypes and I thought a little and felt the only thing I play with is myself. I just wanted to let go and do everything I felt like and saw inside, without questioning why. I just wanted to express it all, without censoring. That is kinda my navigation system in general, to trust the gut feeling. Art becomes utrue when you ask yourself why you do what you do cause it’s inevitable that it affects what you do.
Masculinity to me is being manly without being insensitive. A man can be awesome, believe it or not. I’ve realized I’ve always been very attracted by contrasts. Sometimes I feel a bit like I don’t belong anywhere cause I can relate to so many, seemingly opposite, things. Isn’t that strange? Do I belong nowhere or everywhere?
The track “OMG” pulls some samples that are reminiscent of gospel – something that might sound at home in a Moodymann album. Spirituality seems to be a recurring theme throughout, but what denomination do you pull influence from?
All. The essence is the same. I don’t believe in deciding who you are what you stand for. I don’t believe in dividing things, I don’t believe in boundaries. I believe in being free and flowing. In wonderland all is one.
Back in 2010, you mentioned that the world used to be “scary chaos… a whore house…” – 4 years later, the phrase “Whorehouse” makes a prominent return to your new work. Why?
Cause I wanted to express all the aspects of being ceo. And I’m still lost inside a whorehouse sometimes. I still feel like my ego sells and buys myself and others sometimes. And others buy me sometimes. And we fuck each other over. Sometimes. In 2010 I was so stunned by spiritual revelations that I thought I’d never feel lost again but it’s not that simple. It takes a lot of time to be able to realize what you believe in all the way.
Tough Alliance had an element of nihilistic self-destructiveness to it – “Make It Happen” features you in a bathtub at the end, eyes glazed, in another world. Is ceo a different Eric Burgland?
Ha ha, yeah, that kid was a totally different beast. I was very insecure and still very determined. Very senstive and still very destructive. I’m a lot more conscious of what I am doing these days. Sometimes though that little bastard suddenly is back and then you may find me in a jaccuzi, eyes glazed, up to no good. But the show doesn’t last too long anymore.
Does playing and making music pay the rent? Is this something you ever have to worry about?
Yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to live on my music for like ten years now. But still I worry about the future. I don’t wanna make art for the sake of it. I don’t wanna make art cause I dislike having a boss or work hours and shit. I wanna do it because I truly feel like my heart has to do it. So then I worry about how to make a living in the future if my heart doesn’t feel like it has to do it. It’s very vain though since if it doesn’t, it will find other ways to do what it has to. Worrying about the future is so fucking stupid.
Do you find that speaking about emotions and feelings with regard to music means that contradictions ever emerge? Do you embrace contradiction?
YES! People contradict themselves a looooot but they do all they can to hide it. They’re so afraid of it that it seems to me that they make up rules and limits for their worlds and what goes together and shit like that to be able to avoid it. It’s so boring and so fucking untrue. To me expressing contradictions is very beautiful because it is real. Being a human is very contradictory a lot of the time. We are all pretty fucked up but mostly express the things we find nice. How we think, how we feel and how we act rarely go hand in hand. And it’s ok, realizing that and accepting it is the first step towards being more whole, being more pure.
Production wise, did you push yourself to do anything particular with this record that felt challenging, straining, uncomfortable, or unusual? Were the dividends worth the exertion?
Yeah, a lot actually. I decided to do more of the production work myself. I also decided to not work on it when I felt anxious or felt like I wanted something out of it except for just the joy and relief of expressing myself. So a lot of the time I couldn’t work and then I had to look myself in the mirror which can be very hard and also very rewarding. All this was fucking hard but it was so worth it. I am extremely happy that I have done what I have done. That doesn’t mean I’m extremely happy with the record, just that I am proud that I did what I set out to do and about where it has taken me.
After releasing Parapsychology EP from Brighton’s collective, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, an electronic producer Acquaintance recently put out his debut full-length album, Satellite Stream. Producing the infectious beats that combined elements of House, Balearic Disco and Techno, he makes a wide-eyed electro-pop that is colourful, thoughtful and infectious.
We have caught up with Acquaintance to talk about the reason behind his unit name, Anti-Ghost Ray and the concepts running behind the album.
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, Mar. 25, 2014
Can you tell us where the name Acquaintance came from?
It came from me spending ages trying to think of an interesting word that hadn’t already been used! There are lots of long and complicated words left. ‘Acquaintance’ really has too many letters, and it’s difficult to spell, but at least everyone knows how to pronounce it.
Of course it’s nice if your name also means something. I decided on Acquaintance while I was developing some lyrical ideas for the album. The first song on the album is called ‘Making Eye Contact’ and it’s to do with meeting another person for the first time. ‘Acquaintance’ seemed to fit in with that quite well.
You seem pretty confident with your aesthetic. How do you develop your sound? What’s the inspiration?
It’s been a long gradual process. I experimented with different approaches until something distinctively ‘me’ emerged. But it has taken a long time, and lots of mistakes, to get to this point.
Your musical style combines the intimacy of house music and the ecstatic feeling of Balearic disco. What attracts you about electro music?
I just love electronic music. I really enjoy taking inspiration from house, modern R&B, synthpop, techno etc, and just seeing what works together. I suppose it’s similar to a rock musician using elements of country or folk.
Can you describe Anti-Ghost Moon Ray collective for us? How did they actually come together?
We are a group of friends who met in Brighton, and found we had a lot of common musical interests, so we started a blog. When we realized that we wanted to release our music, we just turned the blog into a record label. We do lots of collaborative activities together, and also involve other like-minded Brighton artists. It’s not a clique: we really want to contribute to the wider culture as much as possible.
Why did you title your record as “Satellite Stream”? Is there a certain theme to it as well?
There are a few themes: telepathy, body language, surveillance, secrecy, and fictional characters. In the lyrics I explore some links between them. Of course I’m not expecting people to sit down and analyse every word, and it was important to make the songs work as individual pieces themselves. But there are connections there, for anyone who happens to be interested. ‘Satellite Stream’ describes the flow of information from the devices that orbit the Earth to the people who put them there.
What’s your plan for the rest of 2014 now that the album is coming out?
The main plan is to make and release more music. I’ve got a few tracks nearly finished, and I’m thinking about how to get them out there. I’m working on ideas for a new album, but it’s early days. I’ve also been getting into DJing in a big way recently, so I’m hoping to have some opportunities to play out soon.