Recently, longtime friends Vander and Saudade released a joint EP, titled Deliverance, on A Tribe Called Kotori. Opening with ‘Binha’ those afro rhythms Vander loves are front and center playfully intermixed with floaty sonics and summery piano. A real treat for the ears. On ‘Freedom’ snappy percussion and a broken beat create an electro vibe Detroit would be proud of. Melodics adds a touch of class and a real cinematic feel. Finally, going back to the roots of electronic music, the title track ‘Deliverance’ gets a ‘90s rave makeover complete with soaring pads, Amen break, and an overall feeling of joy and hopefulness.
Words by Vander and Saudade
Vander: How is your creative process, do you prefer working during the day or night and how are your sessions?
Saudade: Personally, I prefer to make music during the night. There is a distinct shift in my auditory perception usually after having spent 3-4 hours in the studio where my mind empties itself of thought and I flow uninhibited with music. This is the phase when I am most creative, and my mind starts to almost hallucinate in an auditory way. However, Deliverance EP was almost always made during the daytime, which was a big learning for me. I learnt the importance of a studio ritual from you (Vander) – getting proper rest the night before, getting up early, and starting the studio session with meditation and breathwork. It was a paradigm shift for me.
Vander: Definitely, is funny how our workflows are sort of like ying-yang. I used to work at night, but I’ve learned the importance of having strict “workdays” or “routines” in the studio.
What was the biggest challenge you faced with this project?
Saudade: One of the biggest challenges was streamlining a workflow for collaboration. Being together in the studio facilitates this energy flow which is challenging while collaborating remotely (with Dropbox, Zoom, etc.). However, after I moved to Belgium last year it wasn’t always possible for me to visit your studio in Amsterdam.
Vander: 100% - I totally agree with you on that one. Maintaining ourselves in the same energy flow while working remotely was the biggest challenge, but I think that we made a good job on it. We’ve had a zoom studio meeting at 5-6 AM haha. What I liked though is that we trust each other so it makes the whole process easier.
During the process of this EP was there something that surprised you about me?
Saudade: Your persistence. Watching you jam jumping around from one instrument to other in your natural habitat (aka music studio) is always inspiring. Your workflow inspired me to continue experimenting till a solid idea comes up. For example, for our track ‘Binah’ (which means a deep understanding), I remember distinctly hearing the piano riff while jamming with percussions. The moment was magical, and we instantly knew this was it. Watching you jam for hours till the melody came out taught me the importance of persistence.
Vander: Thank you for pointing that out. Indeed, I think is important to keep on going till you find that element that sparks your soul. From my end, what surprised me about you is your patience and tranquility not only during the studio sessions but also in life. I loved how you always find ways to keep the space in peace and in a positive environment. Conversations during the creative process are very pure and I think we manage to transmit this well on this EP. Fun Fact: I was also surprised to see how big of a fan you were of Linkin Park as I was haha. We banged that Encore concert with Jay Z very hard that day we created our track “Freedom” hahaha.
What was the most special moment we shared during this creative process? Anything that comes to mind?
Saudade: The piano melody for Binah: ‘Binah’ is definitely one of the most special projects I have worked on. The track embodies the story of my friendship with you and all that I have learnt from you. From our times playing long b2b sets in Delft to making music together in your Amsterdam studio, the journey felt like a dream.
Listening to you on the grand piano for hours before the final melody came out was a very special moment. The melody perfectly embodies our journey together as artists and brothers.
Vander: I couldn’t agree more with you. That was also a very special moment for me. Not only I was playing the piano but also having you in the room as an “orchestrator” of what I was playing was very key. Your words of encouragement and watching you enjoying that simple combination of notes I was playing made it possible and very magical. I’m very happy and grateful for your friendship and collaboration.
I’m sure we had a lot of learning during this process that a lot of people can learn something. What do you think is the key to a good collaboration?
Saudade: Communication, honesty, trust, evolution: In my opinion, a good artistic collaboration stems from a good friendship, which is based on communication, trust, and honesty. We communicate a lot in the studio both through sounds and words and are open about what we like/dislike. I believe this is an essential part of working together and improving.
Vander: So true! I also believe that being able to say what you like as soon as you like it and what you don’t like as soon as you don’t like it is very key. Don’t be shy about communicating what you don’t like, those are the most important. Also, trust and listen to the ideas of the other person in the room because if you don’t then why are you even collaborating in the first place!
I’ve loved to see your evolution as an artist, from a hard party goer to one of my favorite producers. You’ve become very good, not only making electronic dance music but also you have the ability to create genres that I don’t even believe exist. It’s something that has always inspired me, every track I can see the evolution, and the best thing is that it only gets better with time.
Saudade: Thank you, bro. I love your ability to reinvent yourself and consistently surprise your listeners with your ever-evolving musical repertoire. The evolution from afro-Latin grooves to indie/electronica inspires me to do what feels right at any given moment instead of sticking too strictly to a ‘grand plan’. Your track ‘Cienlunares’ is one of my favorites and takes me on a journey through sandy beaches, pine trees, and endless ocean waters (the good life).
Vander: Thank you :) - I’ve always been curious, what inspires you outside music?
Saudade: Art for me is the exploration of oneself. It is the quest to know myself and my place in the universe which inspires me to make music. Nature is another source of inspiration. I find myself trying to recreate moments from my time alone in nature – either being lost in a jungle along on a hike or driving through the Himalayas (the mountain range in India).
Vander: Beautiful! Nature is the mother of all inspiration for me as well. Either the Jungle or the beach. A good source of inspiration is a good book, a run, or a good meal haha. I also started enjoying other people’s success and happiness in life. Being happy for them has been giving me fuel to keep on going and believing that we can do it as well.
Let’s talk about our performances. What was the best and worst moment on stage?
My best was closing the main stage The Monastery Festival in 2019 right after Viken Arman- the energy in that stage was something impossible to explain in words. Out of this world! My worst moment was one time in Belgium, I believe in 2017. A friend of mine gave me a cheesecake before going on stage, little did I know is that I couldn’t digest it properly, so I started puking in the DJ booth. Haha, thanks to everyone around we made it very smooth and the people in the front were passing me gas water, and stuff to clean myself and keep ongoing. Hahaha.
Saudade: Best moment – playing a spontaneous 6-hour b2b set with you at an Alpaca farm in the south of Belgium. I remember looking around me at the scenic hills in a forest at sunrise with people lost in the music. It was an overwhelming sense of gratitude and connectedness.
Worst – having ejected the wrong USB at a party in Delft. What a nightmare! :P
Vander: Oh no that’s horrible haha. Well, I disconnected a mixer once while transitioning to the next act (Parallels and Sam Shure) in a festival once. Ups!
What made you decide to go agree with this production partnership we have?
Saudade: Our friendship which developed into organizing events together and playing long b2b sets. It was clear that our musical influences were similar, which called for spending time together in the studio.
Also, I appreciate your positivity, work ethic, and can-do attitude. Your journey has inspired me to believe ever so firmly in my dreams and pursue them. You are relentless when it comes to pursuing music – his purpose, calling.
You’ve also supported me since the beginning of my musical journey with constructive feedback and giving me the opportunity to play at your events. I will forever remember a quote from you – "Believe in the power of your dreams – it’s not a matter of if, it’s only a matter of when".
Vander: It’s a journey of us brother. I would like to end this interview by giving a shout out of appreciation and gratitude to Oliver Koletzki for believing in us and giving us the chance to release Deliverance EP on his label A Tribe Called Kotori. I couldn’t be happier on the way this turned out to be and I am very grateful to Saudade as well for making this with me. Can’t wait for our future collaborations!
Grab your copy here.