By: Sami Sheikh/@TechnOnly
With Formula 3, SCI+TEC revisits our hugely popular V/A series and a collection that has already introduced you to many of the labels brightest and rising talents. Our latest five track instalment mixes youth and experience as we welcome new and established artists, four of which make their SCI+TEC debut.
First of the new school and opening Formula 3 is HUGE with ‘Silicon’. Raw house beats, rasping hats and metallic stabs that slice through like butter make up this grooving opener. Charismatic French producer Florian Gasperini delivers our next component in the form of ‘Sunday 2pm’. A deeper tech affair, its the perfect soundtrack to those afternoon terrace moments.
Active Line Six take us for a ride on their ‘Roller Coaster’ with rippling bass and snapping snares, the understated groover is a great introduction to the SCI+TEC newbies. Israel’s Itamar Sagi steps aboard with the weighty and throbbing vocal number ‘Hipster’, before label regular Refraction closes this winning formula with the pumping drive of ‘Mayans’.
Undrgrnd Sound had the opportunity to pick Active Line Six’s brain from how he got his start, to the tools he uses to play live back at home.
Voices from the Undgrnd:
Undrgrnd Sound: First off, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to speak with us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Active Line Six: Of course, thank you for having me. Well, for starters, I was born and raised in Zagreb, the Croatian capital. I’ve been a DJ for over 20 years now. Music has always intrigued me more than anything else, so I started to sing at the age of 7, when in primary school, and enrolled in a guitar course. Back then, we organized a lot of school parties, most of them being a success. Even then, I knew that was my direction in life.
So how did you transition from playing instruments and throwing parties, to getting involved with producing, spinning records?
My first contact with Techno music was back in 1993 at the popular Aquarius Club in Zagreb. Two DJ’s – Kiki and Frajman – had a night called ‘SABOTAGE’ on Thursday evenings, where you could hear all the latest techno music, being played on vinyls of course. The sound was predominantly German at that time. Shortly after, the same team began a series of techno parties in another club called KULUŠIĆ (1994), which was much closer to my home. I went to the clubs so often, that I got to know both Kiki and Frajman, and started hanging out with them, learning their vinyl collections, buying them, and going to all events which they were a part of. They also hosted a radio show called DEEP FM on Radio 101 every week. I was so mesmerized by the music, I had to sneak out of my house when my parents were asleep to go join them and watch them work their magic. My mother didn’t allow me to go out during the week, and I was only 16 years old at the time. I can confidently say that they are the sole reason as to why I started DJ’ing.
Besides Kiki and Frajman, who were some artists that molded your style early on?
Oh, there’s a ton of artists I could name. The biggest influences on me had to be Kraftwerk, Underworld, Shamen (Mr.C), Derrick May, Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier, Kevin Saunderson, Deep Dish, Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin, just to name a few.
What kind of success have you seen thus far? What got you to this point in your career?
Well, in the last 20 years, I remember a lot of good electronic parties across Croatia. I had the honor of being resident DJ in the two largest clubs in Zagreb and many others across Croatia, so that leaves very few places in Croatia where I have not played, yet. Saturated with a busy gig schedule for all these years, in 2010 I began my own techno & tech house productions, first as a hobby, and now four years later, I am extremely focused on producing electronic music of the highest quality.
Tell us about your live setup.
My DJ setup consists of an Apple Macbook Pro, two (2) Native Instruments Traktor X1 controllers, a Maschine Mk2, Allen & Heath Xone 92 or Pioneer Nexus 900, and a Focusrite Saffire audio interface.
Explain your production software/plug-ins. From a producer’s standpoint, which ones are the most essential/your favorites?
Logic is, in my opinion one of the top five music production softwares out there. There are lots of plug-ins that I like, but would definitely single out ‘Waves’ and ‘Izotope’, as well as soft synths such as ‘Spectrasonics’, ‘Omnisphere’ and ‘Stylus’. Rob Papen’s ‘Blue’, ‘Blade’ and ‘Albino’ also work wonders for me. ‘Reaktor’, ‘Massive’, ‘Arturia Minimoog’, ‘Sylenth’ and ‘Ultrabeat’ are also being used pretty frequently in my studio. I am pretty excited about learning in parallel with Ableton Push now, so that I may be able to create live sets.
What’s been the most exciting gig for you, to date?
Tough question, smaller underground club party have always been my great love. It is difficult to single out one, there were too many excellent parties, and each one was perfect in its own way.
If you had the choice to work with any one producer, or go b2b with any one DJ, who would it be?
Tough question, again! There are many outstanding producers out there. Dubfire, Richie, Loco Dice, Marco Carola, Sven Vath, Villalobos, Carl Craig, Mr.C, those are my choices for the studio. All of them are full of ideas and knowledge, all of us can learn from them a lot. When I heard that Ali and Sharam (Deep Dish) coming back, I was delighted. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what kind of magic they can work in the studio, as well as on stage. That would be a great experience.
Any exciting projects in the works as of right now? EP’s/Albums/Gigs?
Yes, a lot is happening lately. My remix for Andy Slate’s, ”The Joint” is out now. Next is my first release on Dubfire’s SCI +TEC label, which will come out on 3rd of April, 2014 and I’m very excited about this one. I started working on my first album in November of 2013 and I hope that it will be completed by the end of the summer of 2014. In recent days, however, I’m working on a new EP, which includes four tracks to be released on Mr.C’s label SUPERFREQ. A lot is happening and it just goes to show that hard work pays off.
What are your expectations/goals for yourself in the near future?
Keep doing what I’m doing now. Constantly progressing forward, produce as much as possible and the rest will come by itself.
Our website’s name is UndrgrndSound. What’s the first thought that enters your mind when you hear that?
Underground is my favorite phrase and it is everything that is not mainstream and commercial. Stick to the underground and you will encounter a bunch of high-quality stuff.
Grab the Formula III EP on SCI+TEC Digital Audio when it releases, April 3rd, 2014.
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