Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Back in 1994 Sunday School famously declared that ›House Is A Feeling‹. This is a message that is all but forgotten by the majority of dance music producers today, yet acts such as Adventures In Daydreams keep the original ethos of house music alive. I first came across the duo’s work two years ago through the melodic headrush of their Spirits Of The Forest EP. The record’s lush electronica and hushed beats conjure a swirl of emotion which stays with you long after it has come to an end. From the Sasha-style Sometimes, the loose synths action of Sinking Feeling, the Innervisions-esque swoon of Saw Erect, to the harmonious dance floor thump of Further Information, a love affair was instantly born.
Since then the Berlin-based duo of Richard Fletcher and Alex Brown have released several house EPs on Tact Recordings, (a label Richard runs together with Jordan Bruce) which brim with a sense of warmth and humanity all too rare in the electronic world of today. For instance, last year’s The Man Who Loved Only Numbers was not only immaculately named, its four melody-heavy tracks occasionally touched upon the sublime. Lost In Space, with its laid-back beats and Balearic air is the perfect case in point, it seems to reach right out of the speakers and tickle the soul. In March this year the band continued their stellar run by releasing The World Until Yesterday. With both tracks featuring a breath-taking sense of depth, space and wonder, they recall the likes of Tale Of Us, Ame, or Recondite in their melodic grandeur.
All of which brings us to the duo’s brand new two-track EP, Travel, which should be hitting record store shelves and download sites any day now. The title track will appeal to anyone who likes their house music emotional and deep, as melodic chords and a rich bassline combine perfectly to create a track which utilizes a restrained sense of drama to devastating effect. On the flip, Humboldt investigates a world of immersive electronica, is wondrously relaxed, and will be a highlight of any warm up set.
With Travel on constant repeat on my stereo I was genuinely thrilled when I got the chance to throw some questions Adventures In Daydreams‘ way. In this interview we cover the new EP, how they met, the use of melody in dance music, Tact Recordings, Berlin, and lots more.
Hi there. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thanks for having us. I (Richard) will be writing the answers, whilst Alex chips in from the armchair.
For those who have never had the pleasure of hearing your music before, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
We’re an electronic music duo from Leeds, who are now based in Berlin. We’ve been releasing music together since 2013, having been mates for years. I used to put stuff out under the alias of RJ Fletcher, but when me and Alex discovered we both had a very similar vision for what we wanted to do musically, we started releasing together as Adventures In Daydreams.
Your new EP Travel is out on the 1st of July. Why do we all need this record in our lives?
Who can say?
The title track is gorgeously melodic and emotional. Can you tell us a bit about how it came about?
It came about in the way that most of our tracks do. It’s very rare that we sit down with a plan about what we want to make, we just tend to jam until an idea starts to develop, and then we expand it from there. This was very much the case with Travel, we got a few ideas down and then it just kind of wrote itself.
How important is the element of melody to the music that you make?
Extremely. Occasionally one of us will knock out a bit of a DJ tool or something a bit more static and club-ready, but the general ethos from the beginning has been to make music filled with melody and purpose.
B-side Humboldt is a lush downbeat number which reminds me a bit of the deep electronica created in the mid 90s by the likes of B12. What was the inspiration behind this song?
I’ll happily take that comparison, nice one. Humboldt was actually made within a week of Travel, in a period when we were listening to a lot of stuff in that vein. I guess one of our biggest inspirations is Innervisions, certainly no other label has had such a profound effect on us.
Have you ever considered working on an ambient, or ›home-listening‹ record?
I would say that a lot of our stuff is pretty home-listening anyway, only a handful of our releases have been really club ready. As for doing ambient stuff, it is something we’ve discussed, but we both love drum machines far too much.
Adventures In Daydreams is quite an evocative name for a band. Where did it come from?
Alex: I was staring out of the window with a track I was making on loop, not really thinking about anything, and it just popped into my head. It seemed like a good description of what we were trying to do musically, and after a few months the name stuck and then I told Rich about it.
How did you two first meet?
We’ve been mates for years. We went to high-school together and have been friends ever since. We actually first met in DT class when we were 11, and fell for the same girl. Typical.
What made you decide to start recording as Adventures In Daydreams?
I’d been looking to make a change for a little while. I’d been previously releasing really housey stuff under the alias of RJ Fletcher, but felt like really changing things up. We went to Sonar together in 2012 (this was the point that Alex got really into House/Techno), and we quickly realised that we were very much heading in the same direction musically. We got an apartment together 6 months later, put together a studio in the living room, and that was that!
How do you think your sound has developed since your first EP Spirits Of The Forest?
This is a pretty hard question to answer. Spirits Of The Forest was made entirely in the box, and now we both have a fair bit of hardware, which definitely makes a difference to workflow and the way that tracks end up. I think our sound has become a little more honed and polished, but I often listen back to older stuff and wonder how the hell I made some of the sounds!
When you look back over your previous releases can you think of a thread, idea, or a sound that unites them?
Like I said earlier, I think most of our music is tied together by melody or mood, but I guess the gear that we use also leaves its mark on our productions. For example, the Vermona Perfourmer synthesiser is the centre-piece of our studio, so you’ll always hear plenty of that knocking around in our tracks.
You were both based in Leeds, but have recently relocated to Berlin. How are you finding it so far?
We both love it here. Being in arguably the electronic music capital of the world has been hugely inspiring, although spending big chunks of the weekend in clubs has had an impact on our work rate.
What five places in Berlin would you recommend for visitors to check out?
- It’s a bit of a cliché, but I would definitely recommend a trip to Berghain/Pbar. There really is nowhere else like it on the planet and the atmosphere (especially on Sundays) is truly magical.
- Salon Zur Wilden Renate – it’s an old apartment block that’s been turned into a club. It’s got a really loose, house-party vibe, especially in the Red Room. I’ve whiled away good chunks of the weekend in there, and it never seems to get any less fun.
- Hamy Cafe – Some of the best Vietnamese food you’ll ever eat, all super cheap. It’s the kind of place you only find out about through word of mouth, and if you were walking by it you’d probably not stop and go in. We eat there at least once a week, often much more!
- Weisensee – A small lake near Prenzlauerberg. Floating about in it is one of the best ways you can spend a 32 degree day.
- Mustafa Demir’s – When you’ve had one too many drinks in Friedrichshain and you need to walk back to Neukölln, you’re gonna need fueling-up with one of their cracking kebabs. It has everything the body needs.
Travel is released on Tact Recordings, a label Richard runs together with Jordan Bruce. Is there a specific idea or ethos behind the music that the label releases?
Recently we’ve been using it as a platform for our own releases and close friends of the label. Our next release will be from the very talented Luke Black, who also lives here and has become a good mate. His release will be one of the clubbier releases on Tact in the last few years, and we’ve remixed one of the tracks and put our stamp on it as have Jordan and Larry as Yard One. A big part of the ethos has always been working with artists that make music we find really interesting, and I’d like to think that the bulk of our releases have been pretty different to a lot that’s been coming out at the time. We try not to pigeon-hole the label’s sound too much, if it catches our ear and makes us smile, we’ll put it out.
What have been the key releases for the label so far?
It’s hard to say, but one of my favourites has to be the EP that Duijn & Douglas did for us. It’s just brilliant – one side is great for peak time sets, and the other side is a deep, chugging masterpiece. The Tactics V/A we did was also very significant, I still play the Isherwood track all the time. The most special for me personally is the first release we ever did. It was the first track I ever put out on vinyl, and it features a remix from Rick Wade. I’ve always been a huge fan of his music, so it was a real honour having him remix one of my tracks.
What does the future hold for yourselves?
We’ve got a few releases coming up in the next couple of months. One of them is with a label that we’ve both loved for years, so we’re pretty excited about that. This is our first summer in Berlin, so we’ll be out a lot enjoying some of the amazing open-air parties the city has to offer. Hopefully our productivity won’t suffer too much!
Do you have any final words for our readers?
We hope you’ve found or ramblings vaguely interesting :)
For more information on the band head to Adventures in Daydreams, while a visit to their Soundcloud page will introduce to you a number of subtle house gems. Enjoy!