Lando & Xavier ‘Power House Rhythm Unit’ interview
I spoke to Lando & Xavier about ‘Power House Rhythm Unit’ on FaceToFace.
DB: Would you mind giving me a rundown of your recent history and how you teamed up on this release?
Xavier/Tim: I moved to Berlin almost eight years ago from Brooklyn New York where I was running my mastering cutting room and managing my Limited 400 label.
Circa 2012 I started FaceToFace Recordings and met Antaeus aka Lando at our local “Techno Cheers”, John Muir Bar.
Naturally we became friends and eventually started sketching tunes after hours.
It was always so easy for us to eventually ditch John Muir Bar and head to the studio. From day one I became a fan of Antaeus’s funk and ‘jacked up beats’ approach to production and could most definitely relate.
Upon our first production session we were cracking out magical sequences and decided to slot our four track ep on FaceToFace.
DB: What different streams of influence, culture and ideas did you each bring to the project?
Antaeus: I have been known to dig deep into the world of vocal chopped techno and house, reminiscent of early Detroit flavors and techniques which is where some of that influence comes from, along with an everlasting love of old funk and R&B music.
I’ve also recently been really interested in a kind of ‘tribal not tribal’ rolling percussion sound, where the percussion is actually analogue synth work that has similarities in acoustic percussion hits but with an obvious electronic tinge to it.
Tim’s got raw drum hits and patterns down and I think we’ve both had a knack for raw dusty distortion on various elements throughout the production process.
This of course has always been a common characteristic in Techno music, which is the meeting point of all our ideas and influences.
DB: Where do you physically create music? Is it MMM?
Tim: Connected to MMM studio is a smaller production room, ‘Studio B’. Studio B is equipped with a 32 Channel Mixing console, some synths and gear and a fully-loaded production machine.
We produced most of the tunes there.
The perk is when we finished a new track we could simply slip into the mastering room next door and hear the new tracks on a pair of super audiophile ATC-SCM50 monitors, plus touch up with all of the outboard analog mastering tools, such as Gyraf Valve EQ, ElysiaNvelope, Crane Song HEDD w/ onboard Tape Saturation and so on.
However we did produce the title track ‘Power House Rhythm Unit’ in Studio A!
After mastering all the tracks Antaeus and I cut/transferred the mastered tracks to Dubplate/acetate via MMM’s Neumann VMS-70 cutting lathe and then recorded the tunes back to disk.
Essentially when you buy the digital files online, you’re buying vinylized files.
DB: This must be sensational to play out…
Tim: The drum & percussion structures of ‘Power House’ are so not the norm, and when the vocal comes in people flip.
We also really wanted open high hats to cut through like scissors slicing.
I love all the tunes on this project; the other track that wows me is ‘Wander’.
Lando had the bright idea to drop an eerie melodic selection that only happens once directly into the breakdown. I hope this is getting Panorama bar play in the months to come!
Antaeus: Yeah big club, late hour, body music is what we naturally gravitate towards when writing tracks I’d say.
We mainly think of what movements and standouts in a track would catch our ear if we were on the floor and in that type of experience.
Something to keep the groove going if not enhance further. Improve the groove.
DB: What are some broad strokes you would use to define some influences… could be: places, vocalists, moods, times of day, anything, feel free and be abstract/brutal.
Antaeus: I’d say cavernous spaces, air and static, the feeling of anticipation, drum machines, grey and rainy Berlin weather, Diana Ross, surgical tools, night time, and pure body shaking are all things that influence the sound and add to the building blocks of our productions.
Overall, we like to keep things scratchy and rolling/sequenced, yet always have this underlying soul or funk intertwined. Even if you can’t immediately hear the soul, it’s there in the bassline or the choice of patterns or melodies.
DB: How is the demand for the music changing? While some may wish for the old days back, I don’t. It’s a different DNA now, demand and love of music.
Tim: I think the simple answer is the industry is saturated with so many releases every week and anyone can produce electronic music now.
All of this is fine, but for us we are simply putting in the hours on our production and hoping that our special stylistic touch connects with likeminded people.
DB: Any parting comments, thoughts or dates?
Tim: At the moment Antaeus and I have been back in the studio producing a new set of tracks. Same business as before but with sharper teeth.
I really love how when Lando and I have a session, every time things get done! We always walk away from the console with new sketches we are both happy with. Be on the lookout for L&X works on FaceToFace over the summer!