Where are you based?Bucharest, Romania.
Is this your hometown?Yes.
What is your first musical memory?It would be something around classical music as my parents were and still are passionate about it, together with some ’60s hits also from their records.
What was the first record you bought?Apart from buying some pirate cassettes in the really early nineties I guess the first “original”, from the west, album I bought was The Cure`s “Faith / Carnage Visors” on cassette.
What was the last record you bought?Cem Karaca`s “Ölümsüzler” LP
What is it that you like about this record? Where did you find it?I was in Istanbul for an exhibition / performance with the Postspectacle crew and accomplices and I was hoping for some in depth digging, unfortunately I had little time for searching, factoring in the Gezi Park protests, but still in one of the records stores near Taksim I found this re-issue of this great master of the Outernational. It’s a vinyl manufactured in Turkey.
How do you go about digging for vinyl in Romania?Digging in Romania, and in the Outernational zones in general, is done quite differently to the West, as there are no records stores. You have the local e-bay type of platforms, okazii.ro, mercador.ro, and then trashy flea-markets or local collectors with old collections before the 89 revolution. Apart from Youtube excavation there is also trilulilu.ro, a RO platform dedicated to music, one can find anything there.
Camil and I then try to find the records on Discogs market place. From Melodya, Balkanton, Amiga, Supraphone, Yugoton… scanning behind the iron curtain.
What inspired you to start DJing / making music?My first idea was to put together a band. From adolescence onwards I had several attempts. The first was with my brother and some of mine and his school / neighborhood friends, putting pick-ups on our acoustic guitars, sampling from cassettes, different juvenile try-outs. The first regular band came in 2003, SecondHand Band, by that time I also got interested in playing music at parties, not very knowledgeable and not fully aware of the DJ culture. Gradually as we had more concerts with the band I thought we should start to record something, to make our own studio, since the local recording infrastructure was almost nonexistent, but by the time the studio was ready we split as I became more and involved with electronics under the influence this time of the club/dancefloor culture around 2007. I remained by myself in the studio from then on deciphering music production on the computer and buying more and more synths and analog gear.
What brought about your interest in electronic music and club and dancefloor culture? Mainly through friends and future DJ pals and a progressive exposure to the electronic dimension and club culture, which for me happened quite late and slow.
How long have you been DJing / making music?DJing for about approximately 9 years. Making music, production, progressively in the past 5-6 years.
Can you remember your first DJ gigs and what kind of music you were playing?Yes I do, I started playing, in 2003 / 2004, Funk breaks and Hip-Hop, but with many Psychedelic Rock deviations, Garage and Nuggets from the first era. With Camil for example we had several nights entitled “Cool Jerk”!
Do the Future Nuggets collective perform live as a band?Yes we do, but not under this name, although it has happened once. First of all Steaua de Mare has become a genuine old-school five member band; we already played a few times in Bucharest. Concentration Band also appears sometimes for intense live hybridizations. Other live configurations will follow…
Which instruments do you play?Guitar, Bass, Drums, percussions and bit of keys.
How would you describe your sound?Not an easy task first because in a way I hope it’s not easy to strictly define the mix of all these different genres I am flirting with and secondly because I tend to describe how I would like to be described. From Rock to Manele or Proto-Manele, through Dub, Prog, Disco, Giallo soundtracks, Techno, Bulgarian odd-time signatures and Halay-Trance flavours, and whatever other hybrids I am inclined, together with the Future Nuggets crew, to forge.
How did the Future Nuggets crew meet and form? First me and Camil had the idea to make a pseudo-label, a local obscure platform around my studio, N-am Studios, to function under different nicknames and release in a DIY style. Then around the same time, 2008-2009, I met Andrei Dinescu, Horatiu Șerbănescu and Piti (Eugen Imecs) who were jamming a lot in Andrei’s studio outside of Bucharest. They had many guests and there was always a constant febrility and enthusiasm. Little by little I became a regular and I proposed to them to join the Future Nuggets frame.
How did come to be working with Stevie Kotey and Ambassador`s Reception?Somewhere in 2007 or 2008 Stevie came in Bucharest for a gig. My accomplice, Camil, was opening as a DJ, so we met at that point. Stevie told me to send him our productions. It took many years and but at some point I sent him a Disco track, I think in 2011. He really liked it and asked me to send some more. Together we decided we should make an EP for his label, Valley Sound, which I did but meanwhile the first Future Nuggets compilation was done and I showed it to him. Stevie was so in to it that the Disco EP for Valley Sound become second as a priority and Future Nuggets came first, which pleased me as well. The Valley Sound EP is still waiting to be released.
Which production / release / remix are you most proud of?In terms of production I am very happy with the first two releases of Future Nuggets via Ambassador’s Reception label, “Future Nuggets presents Sounds of the unheard from Romania” and “Steaua de Mare” eponymous LP. In terms of release I am truly proud of Rodion G.A.’s first ever full LP “The Lost Tapes”, released in conjunction with Strut Records and Ambassadors Reception. I think this one qualifies as a historical moment, at least for Romania and the outernational sphere.
Was Rodion`s music well-known in Romania? How did you go about getting in touch?Together with Rodion G.A. he had a brief period of exposure, from 1979 to 1984 (they split in 1987). Their tracks were aired on radio, reaching nr. 1 in local youth charts, appearing on national television, the youtube clip is a testimony, etc. Myself and Camil knew a few tracks from this mysterious band Rodion G.A. that released only two tracks on an Electrecord compilation in 1980. At some point in 2006 there was another attempt to release an album of him by Roadrunner label from Romania, but for yet other obscure reasons and a crazy label manager the project was aborted. It felt like destiny for Rodion Roșca to be condemned to invisibility. Then, in 2010, a few unknown tracks, digitalized from his tapes, appeared on a Romanian blog, called Transilmania, with no names, no indications. These fragments really struck me, I thought I have to dig out this guy and his tapes and, with help from a few friends, I managed to get his phone number.
The sleeve notes for the Rodion release on Strut go some way to describe conditions in Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu, can you explain personally the difference in your country post-revolution?There are lot of things to be said. In the first years after the revolution little changed. In Romania’s case 1989 was a sort of perestroika that went out of control, a military coup with following mass protest engulfing the country. Until 1996 a sort of second division of the former communist party ruled us. In terms of music, there was a depletion, the national Electrecord label rapidly stopped releasing new stuff, their warehouse with numerous treasures was emptied randomly by individual collectors while the rest of the vinyl were carried by the tip lorry at the dump. Good stuff was lost; nobody cared because everyone was concerned with the bright future that ostensibly awaited us, the past seemed at that time all wrong and without value.
Are there “solo” albums planned by the other artists represented on the “Sounds Of Unheard Romania” compilation?Yes, Concentration Band, and Australopitecus Oltensis but with our next compilation planned for the end of the year new projects will surface.
Which production / release / remix would you most like to have done?There are so many. In a way, because the history of music is so rich and there are constantly good projects coming out while from the past we still surface incredible artists and productions, but on the other hand I think we have to resist a bit the fetishization of the “release” as in the Outernational realm this was never too reliable, with very few advantages and a lot of disadvantages.
Can you explain what you mean by the “Outernational realm”?I just wrote a longer article about this. Here is a short take. Outernational sphere is comprised of the artistic expressions outside of the Western / Northern market and industry. Sounds and visions from the outskirts of the “International” with fragmented histories, long periods of amnesia and lack of archival consciousness. In terms of music even today there are parallel industries with music genres that never appear on Beatport, Juno, Resident Advisor or other Western based networks, not even Soundcloud or Mixcloud. There are whole music scenes of which the west is oblivious, wedding industries like Romanian Manele or Bulgarian Chalga, Kurdish Halay, Palestinian or Syrian Dabke. Omar Souleyman being an exception as he solely penetrated the International in force. I have put up a mixcloud account for Outernational mixes .
Do you see yourself as part of any scene?In Romania the music scenes are not so conventionally distinct or visible, I would say typical features of the non-western industries. Future Nuggets started precisely from the idea of inventing a scene, fictitious and real in the same time. I wanted to create a multitude of projects and “names”, ephemeral or not, to work in different formations, building new amalgams of sounds from international and outernational influences.
Of course there is a pop-mainstream scene in Romania, quite evolved, typified, but very rigid and toxic, also a small house-tech niche that has breached internationally with great success and also a Manele wedding industry / scene, which is very powerful underground and upperground, but for now they are parallel to us, although with the Manele scene we try to interact more and more.
Elements of traditional musics and instruments run through Future Nuggets and Steaua De Mare in particular. Why is tradition so important?Apart from Steaua de Mare’s striking violin, actually a Zetta, an electric one, there are no Romanian “traditional” instruments. We also collaborated with a sax player, Marian Vâzgă, who can truly produce sounds of Turkish Zurna. In general I don’t follow any tradition that is fixed. I prefer “becoming” traditions, constantly mutating. We are more in to the very recent, the last twenty years, Manele phenomenon, the Eurostar label and the early proto-Manele bands. We love also the already traditional odd time signatures (9/8) of Bulgarian Chalga and the transformation it is undergoing today transformation spurred by technology and increased virtuosity.
Are a visual identity and artwork important?Visual identity is inevitable in the age of video, constant exposure to videos in whatever format, whether one is aware or not, we are carrying our visual identity on the net in form of nicknames. Everyone has become an expert in being in public, constantly moulding live our digital avatars. On social networks we are all semi-public.
I believe that the concept should generate the visual aesthetics, you need a bundle of ideas around what you are doing that would define technically and structurally the way you are producing / making, the sonic realms you are traversing, the multitude of ingredients you are putting in the work. So yeah the artwork is definitely important but should come from within the process somehow as an inevitability.
Where did the “gun” logo come from? It looks like a subverted Giallo poster image.Ha, I like your association, in fact I dug the idea from the Internet somewhere and then I cooked it.
Which visual artists would you cite as a source of personal inspiration / influence?I tend to look more to the ones that have also dwelled into performance such as Dan Graham, Isidor Isou, Chris Burden, Andrei Cădere, Slaven Tolj, the Vienna actionists, Sanja Iveković and many others from Fluxus, such as Ben Vautier or George Brecht.
Which artists are you currently working with?In the performance art field I work with different Bucharest based groups, I am the co-initiator of Postspectacle together with Florin Flueras. I just had a performance and exhibition at Depo gallery in Istanbul with The Bureau of Melodramatic Reasearch, Alina Popa & Irina Gheorghe, and ParadisGaraj, Stefan Tiron and Claudiu Cobilanschi.
Future Nuggets is already a collective of musicians and producers comprised of Andrei Dinescu, Horatiu Serbanescu, Camil Dumitrescu, Eugen Imecs, Bogdan Stoian. I work with them in different configurations.
Can you tell me more about Postspectacle and your performance work?Postspectacle was co-initiated together with Florin Flueraș in an attempt to go beyond the territory of theatre, a black box, as our background is contemporary dance. Our argument was quite simple, if todays politicians are so much into performance, scenography and they full employ all others elements of theatre, adding that we live in saturated media spectacle-environment, then what is left for those in the dance or theatre field to do. What is left to be done, so our practice was concerned to bring spectacles / events from outside into the theatre and with our performance skills to break into the “big” stage, TV and politics. In this frame one of the ramifications is “The Presidential Candidacy”, a genuine campaign for presidency using all our twisted methods, to reclaim, discuss, divert and invert daily politics and propaganda.
Who would you most like to work with?There is a young Manele singer, Renato, with whom I would like to collaborate. He hasn’t played yet professionally but he is an immense talent.
Does playing and making music pay the rent?Not for now.
What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?Technically I think http://meciuri-live.info but also www.okazii.ro is a recurrent destination
What was the last book you read?“Cyclonopedia” by Reza Negarestani
Was it a difficult read?Well… yes, a theory-fiction monster hybrid that is demanding and stimulative in the same time. Negarestani is one of the main protagonists of speculative realism.
What is your favourite book?Not an easy one but let’s say from the Proustian series, “Le Temps Retrouvé”.
What was the last film you saw?“Simon Of The Desert” by Bunuel
What is your favourite film?I am unable to decide, not even my favorite director.
Have you, do you watch a lot of films? Has film been an influence on your work?Yes, I do watch a lot but not nearly as many as I would like, trying to keep up.
What is your favourite piece of music? If that`s too difficult, what`s your current favourite piece of music?Recently I started exploring the whole legacy of Kourush Yaghmaei, I’ve been listening a lot of his albums. One of my favorite tracks is the reinterpretation of a traditional Persian song “Mastom Mastom” from the “Arayeshe Khorsheed” LP.
Can you name 3 records for sunset / sunrise?Not really. Though I take circumstances very much in account, location, time, etc., but then it becomes relative. In this sense there are many types of sunsets and sunrises.
Can you name 3 records to start a party?It depends on the party.
Azur / Fata De Pe Plajă
Sponooch / Laserdance
Zazou/Bikaye/Cy1 / Lamuka