Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Every so often a record will come along which makes you sit up and take notice. Right from the very first bars you know this is the one for you. One such 12” entered my life a few weeks ago in the form of Thought Crime, the sumptuous new EP by Red Pig Flower. Containing a generous helping of deep, melodic house, lush ambiance and smooth techno beats, each of the record’s four tracks are rich with personality and soul. By JOHN BITTLES
With sets at celebrated Berlin joints such as Mensch Meier, Renate, Watergate and Tresor, Red Pig Flower is a name most discerning house music fans will have come across before. Her new EP, is out now on Sound Of Vast and contains an eclectic selection of tracks which will work equally as well on the stereo at home as on the dance floor. Make no mistake, this is the type of music which is as timeless as my love for my cat.
The title track opens proceedings with soft focus drums, lilting piano melodies and some on point spoken word samples to form a deep house gem sure to be the star of any warm up set. Next up, No Fear is trippy and addictive and will sound perfect at that time of night when the dancers just want to get lost in the groove. The introspective ambiance of Since 1984 gets the flip off to a brilliant start, spooky piano and dubbed out atmospherics combining to create three minutes of aural gold. The package is completed by the fabulous Wareika, who add jazz flourishes and some smooth Chicago house swagger to the bones of lead track Thought Crime.
With the record having set up home in my heart I decided to find out more about the creator of these lush house beats. In the following interview Red Pig Flower discusses the new EP, George Orwell’s 1984, that Wareika remix, her label Sound Of Vast, and lots more.
So, prick up those ears, have a listen to the EP here, and let us begin…
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?
Hey, nice to meet you. My name is Red Pig Flower, and I’m a Berlin based DJ/producer/label owner and also visual and sound artist. I consider myself as someone who does time based art, as I think music and DJ performances are also a form of art.
Your new EP Thought Crime came out on the 21st of January. Why do we all need this record in our lives?
Well, I put a lot of work into making this EP unique. On every EP on Sound Of Vast I try to put some new experimental feel into it. For my last EP I was focusing more on sound experimentation, for example I put a vinyl scratch from a jazz record into the composition. For this EP I focused more on concept and editing. This time I attempted to bring the book 1984 into the release, which of course was hard to really form as a concept in 30 minutes as an EP not an album, but it was fun to try and you might be able to understand. Also I tried to make a balance between dance music and listening music, so if you’re a DJ or even just a listener this one shouldn’t let you down.
If someone only had time to listen to one track from the EP which should it be and why?
I’d recommend listening to all the tracks of course, but if they really don’t have 30 minutes in his/her life, I recommend to have a listen to the last ambient track Since 1984. First of all it is the shortest track lol, and it’s actually the track which sums up the whole EP’s concept, describing how society has changed since 1984, and questioning what the difference is between the society we live in and the dystopia George Orwell described.
The press notes suggest that the EP is »conceptually based around George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984«. Where did this idea come from, and why do you think 1984 is so important in today’s world?
I think we all grew up with the novel 1984. This is the novel, I think, that is the most mentioned to us in modern society as a reference. As a digital artist and as a citizen of the internet, I encountered some phenomena via the internet world, the discussion going on about the ebb and the flow of world politics that remind us of 1984, as we already know we’re being watched and controlled by various devices and we cannot get away from them. It got me quite depressed, but also I thought it’s good timing to make an EP about 1984 while I’m having these emotions.
The title track is a deep, driving groove, perfect for dancing to with your eyes closed. Can you talk us through the creative process for this song?
I already decided to make a track named Thought Crime because these words had the strongest impact on me from the whole book. I wanted to make a kinda classic house track without broken beats (which is rare for me), so the beat making part was easy, the challenging part was the melody. For this EP I wanted to practice piano and synth more. I thought piano chords can match well with the melancholy of the EP, then the vocal samples. I am always surfing the internet to find something interesting, normally I listen to various interviews, comedy shows, TED talks or whatever to find interesting concepts or expressions to use as a sample. While going through my DIY sample pack I found this musician interview where the journalist was constantly nagging the artist „So what happened?“ I thought this part was quite suitable with the theme and used it.
Since 1984, with its piano-led atmospherics, is another firm favourite of mine. What was the inspiration for this particular song?
I was a very very otaku kid in my early years and was really into Manga, games, and novels. The imagination I used to get from these still remain as huge influences on my creativity. Whatever I make I am expanding story lines and images first. One of my dreams is to make a VR movie, and I composed this track considering a VR environment. I imagined myself as a little girl, walking down a destroyed street alone under the moonlight, the feeling of loneliness and melancholy but at the same time breathtaking, the beautiful pale colour of moon light. This is what I wanted to express (hopefully I did a good job). I think I was inspired by Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune a lot, I remember listening to him a lot during the period I was making the EP.
The fabulous Wareika remix lead track Thought Crime to round up the EP. How did the remix come about, and how did it feel to have your track reinterpreted in this way?
I’ve been a fan of Wareika for a long time, it was a dream to work with them at some point in my life. When I was searching for a remixer for this EP I pushed myself to ask for a remix from Jakob (one of the members of Wareika) and he loved it. Everything went smoothly with them as they had no ego, they only work with respect and the love of the music. As a result they made an amazing remix that keeps progressing melodically but working on the dance floor perfectly, exactly what I expected from Wareika. It was a big pleasure for me to work with these amazing musicians who are also amazing people.
The EP comes out on your own Sound Of Vast imprint. Is there a specific idea or ethos behind the music that the label releases?
When I met my partner Knock in London in 2011 we started to throw parties together named Vast, but since then we both had to move country several times. When Knock went back to Japan we decided to make a label together to allow us to continue our history, this became Sound Of Vast. I know it sounds grammatically inaccurate if the person doesn’t know our back story but we thought it sounds fun, we really wanted to do something fun and exciting. As the name suggests we wanted to release a vast range of music, as long as it is under the genre of house. We release disco, classic house, minimal house, and ambient also… some of the tracks are more dance floor friendly and some are more for home listening but that’s us, Sound Of Vast.
What have been the key releases for the label so far?
There were many moments, the limited edition Higher became an instant hit, which raised the price up to almost 500 euro on the internet (in the end we had to print them again to match demand), and for sov014 we had the biggest collaboration EP ever with San Proper, The Mole, Tom Trago, and Hreno. It was incredible to see all of these house heroes‘ names on one EP cover.
Apart from Thought Crime, what else can we expect from Sound Of Vast in 2019?
2019 is definitely going to be a special year for us, it’s the label’s 5 year anniversary and we’re planning a special vinyl series of five records. We’ve been collecting and contacting artists since the end of 2017, as a result now we’ve got a very strong line up for anniversary EPs. We have brought some fresh artists into the family too, including Subb-an and Adam Shelton. I’m also planning a female only vinyl as a part of the 5 years project. Many more things will come in 2019 on top of this and the anniversary celebrations. Stay tuned!
As well as producing and co-running your own record label, you have also made a name for yourself with some stunning DJ sets at clubs such as Mensch Meier, Watergate, Tresor, Egg, and Ritter Butzke. What’s the secret to rocking a dance floor?
I really want people to have a special time in the club, I really do. I want them to feel something special. I love them when they challenge me and love to see the faces telling me »Wow, this is amazing, give me more!« So, while digging I imagine myself as a part of the crowd on the dance floor, thinking ‚what makes me want to dance‘, but I also want to feel high. First I choose tracks which have a special atmosphere, trippy synths, sexy vocals and flying percussions…..then I choose tracks with strong bass and kicks, because fundamentally what makes people move is strong bass from the subwoofer. By mixing those 2 fundamentals I am making a kind of story line on the dance floor and this tends to work for me.
What five tracks are working for you in the clubs right now?
Red Pig Flower – No Fear (Sound Of Vast).
Jarau – Another Star (One Records).
Adam Shelton – No Speak (One Records).
Mr Cheeky – Ashwin Khosa (Inmotion Music).
Jus Nowhere – The End Of Times (MyHouse YourHouse).
What does the future hold for yourself?
I’m always trying to focus on being the person I want to be, I always want to travel the world and I always want to spread my art. Sometimes this dream seems so far away and sometimes it seems to be happening already. Well, who knows the future! I was a fortune teller for a few years on the street but what I figured out was in the end, the future can be always changed and we can just try to make the right decisions for the moment.
Do you have any final words for our readers?
Yes…I hope we can meet in real life one day, then we can have a drink and talk more about life and music. Until then take care, have some good food, don’t forget to relax, and sweet dreams.
Thought Crime is available now via Rush Hour and all good record shops and download stores. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a copy today.
| JOHN BITTLES
| Pics: DANIEL FEIER