Shitty Names and Techno Beats: An Interview With Soukie & Windish

in Bittles' Magazine/Porträt & Interview

Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world

In the over-saturated world of electronic music it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Yet, this is something Berlin duo Soukie & Windish manage with ease, ably injecting a sense of melody, humour and personality into everything they do. So, if you ever start to feel as if you can’t take another rigid 4/4 beat, faceless techno loop, or by-the-numbers bassline, then the music of Fritz Windish and Nayan Soukie could well be the cure you seek. With releases on labels such as Liebe Detail, Audiomatique and Connaisseur to their name, their signature sound is rich, emotional, groovy and deep. By JOHN BITTLES

Soukie Windish by DavidUlrichThis May Soukie & Windish make a very welcome return with the loose textures, playful melodies, and spacious grooves of their sophomore album Loom. Tracks such as Jaglion, St. Tropitz, Heads Up My Dear and Dexter’s Vertigo seem to, almost, leap out of the speakers, daintily perching themselves on your knee, and singing the type of random nonsense you always wanted to hear. Deep, focused and melodic, the record finds the duo creating nine long, spacious tracks which don’t so much seduce the listener as make a true believer of them. Perfectly mixing the downbeat, the banging, the beautiful and the strange, Loom is one of those rare things, a house album you simply have to listen to from beginning to end.

With the record having been on repeat rotation on my headphones these last few weeks I was curious to know a bit more about the creators of these songs. In the following interview the duo discuss Loom, their record label URSL, how they met, touring and lots more. And, if you desire a funky-assed soundtrack for your reading needs then I  can heartily recommend these snippets of Loom.

 

By way of introduction, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Soukie Windish – Berlin – ursl – techno

Your new album Loom is out on the 13th of May. Why do we all need it in our lives?
I think there is no music that everybody needs, it’s for people who like pads and great spaces. Our album has a really special mood, it’s mysterious, ghostly and warm music. LOOM is really a good soundtrack for a big city street, or Berlin’s‘ dirty subways. It contains deepness and melody without being cheesy at all.

If you had a stall in Camden Market to sell the album what would your pitch be?
The original painting of the artwork Another Fool On The Hill by Michael Conrads in the background, it’s massive and very impressive. Friendly selling people in elegant shabby clothes. Some stations with headphones. A lot of candles.

What part of Loom are you most proud of, and why?
We love the part, when in St. Tropitz the bass starts, it’s perfectly introduced and when it comes it’s exactly how it has to be!

Fitzroy is a lush and evocative opener, its hushed bass pads and mournful strings conjuring vivid mental images. When you were working on it did you always know it was going to be the album’s opening track?
No, we discussed the track listing for a long time. It could have been also St. Tropitz, because it takes a long time to start. Or Dexter’s Vertigo. This tracklist was the first intuitive order and in the end we decided to take it, because it’s the best order for listening to all tracks together in one chain.

One of the early highlights for me is the slow-build synth drama of St. Tropitz. Can you tell us a bit about how this track came about?
That’s a hard question to answer. We always start with an idea, (which we) present to each other, if we both like it we develop it further. After a while we start an arrangement and figure out if the track works and how we have to combine the parts. We started to develop the ideas in Australia, so we had no analog synthesizers there; we tried out the Ableton push controller a lot. The staccato grove of the samplesynth is a typical sound of the controller combined with Ableton, simpler and lfo. The other hornsound is a cheap digital modular synth which is amazing for one typical monophonic sound.

So mostly we work like this: Nayan starts to program the arrangements, while Fritz jams with his stuff to the different parts; if something sounds great on special parts, we record it. If we like the work, we open the project again and again over days and weeks till we are finished. We produce always on different tracks at the same time and switch between them.

Songs such as Jaglion, Cable Gardens and Head Up My Dear are gorgeously deep and will work wonders in any club. What’s the secret to creating depth in your tracks?
The secret is simply one’s taste, ears and experience in sound. We are working together for such a long time and know which atmosphere we want to create. To choose the right synths and samples are very important when you start a track or an idea!

The final mix-down for the album was done at Tobi Neumann’s Riverside Studios in Berlin. In what ways did working in this studio affect your sound?
The super good equipment and a good mixer makes everything sound better. And it helps you so much to decide which sound is really needed and which is not, when you really hear it. Its hard to explain but of course it sounds more organic and bigger, wider. That was our wish: to make the album sound great and not to sound pumpy.

Are you planning on touring the album at all?
Yes, full on. Here are some dates… UK is still missing 😉

14.05. Sektor Evolution, Dresden
20.05. Rote Sonne, München
28.05. Kater Blau, Berlin
04.06. KB18, Kopenhagen
10.06. tba, Stockholm
11.06. Open Air, Stockholm
17.06. Zukunft, Zürich
18.06. Sonar, Barcelona
30.06. Fusion Festival, Lärz
02.07. Midnight Sun Festival, Lofoten
09.07. Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo
11.07. Jaeger Oslo?
15.07. Dockland, Münster
16.07. Greenwood Festival, Kiekebusch
06.08. Garbicz Festival, Garbicz
12.08. 3000 Grad Festival, Feldberg
13.08. Wilde Möhre Festival, Spreewald
19.08. Dockville Festival, Hamburg
20.08. Bahnwärter Thiel, München
03.09. Hangar 11, Winterthur
17.09. Dr Vogel, Osnabrück

Do you have anything special planned for this?
For this tour we are doing our DJ back 2 back set, with outboard effects and sounds. But we are currently working on our live set and do shows only on special request. No big stages, only venues where we feel very comfortable and where the sound and the crowd fit to us. We want to develop a real live set which we can play over years and develop it constantly. We want to put the best parts of our productions over the last years together and improvise with them, to avoid to get bored after one tour and it must work more like a flexible DJ set.

The album is released on your own label URSL Records. What made you set up your own record label?
Soukie Windish LoomThe first impulse 5 years ago, was that the Bachstelzen from Fusion Festival wanted to start a label and Sebo & Madmotormiquel contacted Fritz, who had already some experience managing the labels from Stephan Bodzin and Oliver Huntemann back in the days. We wanted to give our Artist network a platform to release their music. URSL is constantly changing, we are not a concept label. We are releasing music that we like, it can be slo mo, pop, electronic, or banging techno. We go with the flow of our artists.

What have been the key releases for the label so far?
Of course our first album A Forest which was also the first LP on URSL, then we had last year the debut album from Nico Stojan, Twisted Manners. Our EP series are very diverse, but we are underground music and never had a real hit on our label so far. Everyone should check our back-stock and will find nice stuff from: Schlepp Geist, Krink, Lake People, NU, Mira, Chris Schwarzwälder

What can we expect from URSL Records in 2016?
Right now we have the remix package from Nico Stojan’s album with remixes from, Thugfucker, Adana Twins, Guillaume & Coutu Dumonts for example. Krink is coming up with his new EP Transit. A solo release from Nayan Soukie and our compilation series URSL Superhits…with very special tracks.

Also check out our sub-label URS for some really experimental and more darker techno experience.

Your first EP came out way back in 2008. How did you two first meet and what made you decide to work together to create music?
2001 in a bar in Bremen, where we both studied.

“Hey what is your name?”
“Fritz”
“What is this for a shitty name!”
“So what is yours then?“
“Nayan“
“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones”

Shortly after, Nayan moved into Fritz‘ community student house, Nayan producing Hip Hop, Fritz singing Reggae…but in separate rooms :-). Fritz spent some time in Argentina and experienced his first raves, Nayan did the same in Bremen in illegal warehouse parties. Back together we started off location parties, we got into the music and then played the warm up sets. The next step was our own floor at Fusion Festival. The production started in between in bathrobes and Prosecco in our living room. Slowly and constantly, learning by doing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccQpiSQ0tic

You started out as DJs. What is the secret to rocking a club?
Get there before, feel the dancefloor, have some shots…loads of water. Secret weapons, edits and own productions combined with live delays and reverbs!

What five records are working for you right now?

  1. Konrad BlackScorched Earth (Barac Interpretation)
  2. Orlando VoornGain Upwards (Efdemin Remix)
  3. Kotelett & ZadakNova Zembla (dub version)
  4. KontextGazotron (B Lous Remix)
  5. Dj AromaBeautifooled (Soukie & Windish Remix)

Do you have any final words for our readers?
A party is just a party is just a party. Take good care of each other and love the music not the hype.

Loom is available to buy now in all good download stores and record shops. Trust me, if you haven’t heard it yet, then you are missing a treat.

| JOHN BITTLES
| Photos: DAVID ULRICH