Techno has always garnered a reputation as a soulless, emotionless genre in the electronic music world (unless it's Detroit techno, of course), especially in regards to the minimal variety. However, stemming from this seemingly dark and monotonous genre is a rather ethereal techno/tech house which was once described in an Under the Sound article as usually having a very chunky house beat with very "techy" or electronically advanced type of sound.
Aside from blending techno and house beats, artists such as Damian Lazarus, Coyu, Joris Voorn & Francesca Lombardo, to name a few, have been known to blend techno's drum kicks and claps with various styles - ranging from tribal and disco to jungle and atmospheric. It's a revitalization of the genre, but this time with elements that evoke emotion and create a special sensation in the energy on the dance floor.
French producer and DJ Melokolektiv does just that with his versatile production skills and ability to create an atmosphere that is a combination of cosmic vibes and elevated energy. Having had his first release on Tenampa Recordings supported by Blond:ish at Burning Man nearly a decade ago, Melokolektiv has come a long way under the radar of the underground music world. After various releases on infamous labels such as Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical, Kindisch and OFF Recordings. He joined the OFF Recordings family in 2015. Working alongside Andre Crom, it was not more than a year later that he became OFF Recordings label manager.
Today, we get to hear a Melokolektiv exclusive guest mix on Magnetic Magazine:
Melokolektiv, whose given name is, Guillaume Heredia, also took the time to sit down and talk to Magnetic Magazine so we can learn more about this relatively unheard maestro.
Who is Melokolektiv?
Originally, Melokolektiv was a duo project, but I'm now the only captain onboard.
What is the story behind the Melokoletiv's origins?
Melokolektiv: The project had been co-founded around 2010 by my cousin Hugo and I. We had the same taste in electronic music, the same objectives, and our skills were complementary. We had worked together for four years until about a year ago, we have started to have differences in perspectives so we dissolved our collaboration. However, I kept the project and continued it solo.
What is your background in music, how did you get to the atmospheric and elemental style of electronic music that you play today?
Melokolektiv: I have listened to a lot of music in my childhood, from hip-hop to salsa, but I have always been attracted to music that creates feelings. What I mean by that is that a dance track is not enough for me, I expect more. This is why one of my all time heroes is Laurent Garnier. He always blends the dance floor and melancholic tracks perfectly. In my own productions, I try to create a perfect balance, as well. I want people to dance but also feel something special on the dance floor. I want them to remember my track alongside the others. To have the melody play in their heads after the party is over - that's my goal!
What goes into your production? What gear to you use?
I don't use a lot of gear. I just have a laptop, a midi keyboard, and a mic to record drums, percussion or vocals. I have tried many different types of gear (Roland TR, Spark [Creative] Drum Machine, etc.) but these instruments tend to restrict my creativity. I like to be able to express my ideas directly without any intermediary.
What were some of your best-received releases?
My releases on Kindisch Label were among the most important to me. The tracks were audacious and represented very well, like what I used to play in my DJ sets. One of the tracks, "Laya," had been produced with EZG, a talented sitar player. I know that many notable DJs have played the track at Burning Man. Currently, I'm working hard on the launch of my label, AZZUR, but during the summer I have to take care of my theater in Avignon, and it eats into the amount of production time I can commit.
Which of your own work do you believe represents Melokolektiv the strongest?
I would say "Stranger in My Bath". As I said previously, I always try to find the right balance between the dance floor and atmospheric elements. In order to achieve this, I'm now working with a sound engineer called Rodeol, who's also working with my friend Konvex & the Shadow. Thanks to his help, I think that I found excellent equilibrium.
What is like working with Crosstown Rebels and Get Physical to release your music?
It was great, but OFF Recordings gave me a larger learning experience. Andre Crom had welcomed me as his core artist and A&R rep almost two years ago. That experience had permitted me to learn a lot about the music industry and how to run a record label. He was one the first people, who trusted my skills and I'm thankful for that. In my small experience, I can say that working long term with a smaller label that trusts in your music is more important than doing a one-shot release with a big one.
Do you have any new releases in the works?
Yes, I have a lot of new music coming out soon. I'm launching my label AZZUR with Konvex & the Shadow and Nandu. The first release will be a collaborative EP, Blooming, with Konvex & the Shadow and Craig Walker on vocals. Then, we are gonna release an EP with various artists which will include one of my tracks titled "Emerge" and two other wonderful tracks from Konvex and Nandu. I also have an EP coming out on OFF Recordings and a track on Akbal Music.