Category: MUSIC


Hands Sandunes 5elect5 EssentialsMumbai-native Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes is a music activist. As a producer, composer and musician known for her diverse blend of electronica which combines eclectic sensibilities with progressive electronic elements, she recently released a digital album on Bandcamp and a track for Red Bull 20 Before 17. As a certified Ableton trainer, she advocates accessibility and exposure around music-making by giving workshops and lectures about music production and performance. As a founding member of DASTA – an Indian artist collective, Sanaya challenges the thinking behind music making norms by hosting community platforms to connect music makers and artists. Last but not least, as a resident of the Border Movement, an initiative by the Goethe Institute, she is spending this summer in Berlin to help bridge and raise awareness for South Asian music. What keeps her going? The answer lies probably in the selection of her essentials: a perfect balance of creativity, energy and health.

Essentials Sandunes 5elect5

1. DARK CHOCOLATE (VIVANI, BUY HERE): Perhaps very dark chocolate is an acquired taste, so let’s just say I’ve acquired it. It’s a bit of a ritual for me, one I need to engage with at least everyday, and I think it helps me feel like I’m at home even when I’m in a foreign country or in a hotel for a gig or a project. It’s usually the first thing I’d buy when I’m in a new place too. Over the years I’ve been moving up the scale of …darkness and 92% is my new sweet-spot.

2. BAG OF NUTS (LOCAL MARKETS): I do this always – it’s my hangry-hack and also makes me feel secure over long flights and airport pitstops because I’m sort of always hungry. Honestly though – you’re as likely to find me out and about without my phone or wallet as you are without a bag of nuts. I try and find a local supermarket that let’s you pick-n-mix your own. Good spots have been Regal Plus in Bombay (Bandra) -my local. Holland & barrets in London, Whole Foods in New York and in Berlin, the local Turkish supermarkets have been the best.

3. FIELD RECORDER (ZOOM, BUY HERE): I’m not making music anymore that doesn’t include field recordings, and this is my tool. I worked on a project last year called ‘Searching for Sound’ and spent about 6 days with a field recorder plugged into my ears all over Bombay. What I came away with was the thought that you really never know when the opportunity to collect awesome sounds is going to spring itself upon you – so these days I’m always sort of prepared.
The H5n is an amazing size, and has a great function of recording a double backup file at a lower gain level so *in case* anything’s distorting in real time, your field recorder’s really got your back.

4. YOGA MAT (MANDUKA, BUY HERE): Yoga goes everywhere I go, and so does this mat. It’s a really special mat – the only one I know of that folds up like a towel – super convenient to pack in my suitcase and take all over the world, especially when you need to travel light because .. synthesisers.

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Hands Ali Demirel 5elect5 EssentialsIf you know Richie Hawtin, you are most likely familiar with Ali Demirel’s work. As the creative director, visual architect and engineer, Ali is the man behind all the visual aspects on and around the stage for Plastikman, M-nus, Enter and other collaborations with Richie Hawtin. Together they have created identities and experiences that are not only entertaining for the audience but also applies innovative and cutting-edge technology. Ali’s stage designs and live visuals have true revolutionized the music industry. It was no surprise to us that he had a degree in nuclear engineering and architecture as his work seems to always incorporate scientific imagery and structural compositions with a clever twist that makes his work speak more “art” than simply “background visuals”. His selection of essentials might be proof that it does not need much to come up with creative concepts: ideas, positive energy and comfort. The only wall between the ideas and the breakthrough is the artist him/ herself and only patience, persistence and curiosity allows for the idea to grow.

Essentials Ali Demirel 5elect5

1. PENCIL (NO BRAND): I think by drawing. A good pencil is crucial for me. Whenever I have an idea, I sketch it, and as I’m sketching, the idea becomes clear and develops. Sometimes I do not even have an idea but start sketching random things, then an idea comes.

2. BRACELET (FAMILY GIFT): Reminds me to be patient, and that life is an endless loop. This is a special one from my father. Made from amber, has some positive effects by touching.

3. SNEAKERS (CONVERSE, BUY HERE): A comfortable, practical and well designed leather sneaker.

Writing Illustration Quote Ali Demirel 5elect5

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Hands Marc Houle 5elect5 EssentialsMarc Houle: live act, producer, musician and label owner from Canada. Raised in Windsor, Ontario, his musical influences came from his trips across the river to Detroit discovering the sound of analog synths, drum machines and Techno. While most live acts started to play DJ sets, Marc stayed true to his craft of shaping the sound and performing live which might be the secret to his long successful career and high reputation in the industry. He started his career as a key member of Richie Hawtin’s Minus label family and gained a strong following to then pursue a new home to start his own family of music: Items & Things. With his latest release Sinister Mind, the first part of a trilogy LP, he found a new format to assess his musical journey and to reflect on his sound he has developed over the past 10 years. He calls it an “autobiographical studio project”.

For the photo shoot, we visited Marc at his modern and spacious apartment in Berlin. Greeted by a Totoro door mat and his dog named Kitty, we already felt like seeing a different side of the artist Marc Houle who usually is portrayed as the dark, untouchable and mysterious Techno veteran. We were equally impressed to find a wide selection of essentials already prepared and laid out for us to choose from. Each item came with a great story and we noticed immediately that Marc is not just a music enthusiast but also an amazing host and storyteller. His essentials represent his current passions in life and what inspires him most: music, cooking, and his dog Kitty.

Essentials Marc Houle 5elect5

1. DOG COLLAR (NO BRAND): The collar actually belongs to my dog not me but she’s amazing and makes me so damn happy.  (hi Kitty!)

2. MUSIC PLAYER (FIIO, BUY HERE): The ipod looking thing is a Fiio X1.  It’s less than 100 bucks and you can throw an SD card in full of wav, flac, mp3, ape etc. The D/A converter is better than a regular phone and stuff sounds great on it.  Plus after a long plane ride i dont end up with a dead phone battery.

3. TR-8 (ROLAND, BUY HERE): The TR-8 is skinned with a custom Commodore 64 template my brother Dave made for me.  It’s the most important thing i have on stage and as beat up as it looks, it sounds great.

4. KNIVES (MAC, CHECK HERE): I cook almost every meal I eat and a sharp knife is my best tool.  The MAC knife was a Christmas gift from my sister so it’s very special while the Shun was a gift to myself so not as special.  Keep em sharp and cutting is a blast.

Writing Illustration Quote Marc Houle 5elect5

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Hands Ekali 5elect5 Vancouver born and raised Ekali, aka Nathan Shaw, started his musical career playing bass in the award-winning band Said the Whale. When his solo project got selected to participate the renown Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo in 2014, a new chapter opened for him personally and musically. It didn’t take long until he was contacted by Drake’s team to sample one of his tracks he had uploaded on Soundcloud for the Canadian rapper’s mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”. Nathan doesn’t only know how to produce and remix top chart hits to add that recognizable “Ekali” flavor, a mixture of soulful catchy bass and smooth R&B, but has also figured out how to heat up the stage at small and big venues worldwide.

On the night of the photo shoot, Nathan had just flown in from his previous gig and mentioned that he has not been home in almost 3 months. What caught our attention was to see how attentive he was with all the fans that came up to him for a chat, to share demos on USB sticks, a photo or simply a hand shake. Despite the success he has gained in less than 2 years and the fast-paced life on the road, Nathan appears to have found the balance and selection of items that keeps him focused and level-headed.  His essentials are pragmatic, yet romantic in a sense of being the one constant that fuels his inspiration and energy wherever he tours and is away from home.

Essentials Ekali 5elect5

1. ADAPTER (APPLE, CHECK HERE): I always make sure to pack this adaptor when I travel internationally, that way I can charge my mac and other devices whenever.

2. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE (WESTERN DIGITAL, CHECK HERE): I always make sure to pack this external as well. With all the traveling I do, I need to be able to work from a plane, train, hotel, or even a car.

3. CANDY (JELLY BEANS, CHECK HERE): Jelly beans are definitely my favorite candy. I try to find these wherever I can.

4. T-SHIRT (ACAPULCO GOLD, CHECK HERE): This is my favorite baseball jersey T-shirt to wear. I’m sure my fans have seen it on me a million times by now!

Writing Illustration Quote Ekali 5elect5

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Hands Alinka 5elect5 Chicago native Alinka started off her career playing alongside Justin Long at the city’s infamous Smartbar. Picking her battles wisely, releasing on Crosstown Rebels and Classic Records, she then teamed up with DJ and vocalist Shaun J Wright (previously part of Hercules & Love Affair) to start Twirl, a monthly party in Chicago. Their focus always stayed on the music and artists that inspire them, so it was inevitable that they expanded the Twirl empire with its own imprint: Twirl Recordings, a platform to support and manifest the music she loves. Living and working between Chicago, Berlin and New York, Shaun and Alinka just finished their latest collaborative EP “Time for Action” which was picked up by Heidi on her Jackathon Jams imprint last month.

We met Alinka at her new flat / studio in Berlin and go a warm welcome by her flatmate – a black cat named “Acid”. The reason why Alinka had chosen a flat with a garden, which is a rare find on the Berlin housing market, was that “Acid” could go outside and play. She also shared the story of cat “Acid” breaking her favorite toy bear by the artist “Acid” with the biggest smile and laugh. As it turns out, Alinka is not only a music lover but also a big cat lover – especially “Acid”. Each of Alinka’s essentials came with a unique story, a collection describing her past, present and future desires. The high quality of Twirl’s merchandising is proof of her professionalism and passion behind the project.

Essentials Alinka 5elect5

1. JACKET (TWIRL ORIGINAL, CREATE YOUR OWN HERE): I got this custom-made varsity coat as a parting gift for myself before leaving Chicago and it’s still the only one in existence. It’s by far my favorite clothing item I own, and luckily Berlin is cold enough for me to wear this a lot of the year.

2. TOYS (BEAR QUEE, CHECK HERE): I’ve been collecting designer toys for years! They’re great additions to any flat, make you feel a little less like a grown up, and hunting for the rare designs is quite fun. This Acid bear was the first of my collection and he’s still my favorite. Check out and, both have a great selection!

3. HEADPHONES (V-MODA, CHECK HERE): I find myself working more and more in headphones these days so a comfortable pair to travel with is vital. These V-Moda headphones are the first wireless headphones I’ve owned and I’m hooked! It’s really great to not be tangled in cables when you’re on the move and they’re really comfortable so you can wear them for long periods of time when needed. ( They’re also customizable, I have a Crosstown Rebels pair the label gave us which I’m always proud to pull out of my bag.

4. PERFUME (LE LABO, CHECK HERE): When you spend a lot of times at smoky clubs it’s vital to have a little travel scent to always keep you fresh! No one wants to be that person that smells like last night’s party on a crowded airplane. My friend works at Le Labo and made me this personalized scent. It says Alinka and Chicago on the bottle so I’m a bit obsessed with it. They have a lot of great products I highly recommend.

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Hands Mr Statik 5elect5

Mr. Statik, aka Stathis Kalatzis, is a tall man of many faces: an international DJ with a popular monthly residency at Athen’s “Six D.O.G.S“, a producer, an illustrator and a full-time program manager at Red Bull Music Academy. As one of the pioneers of the Greek electronic music scene, he stays true to his roots and seems to always support and push the local scene even though he is now based in Berlin for the past 4 years. The fact that he was one of the first Red Bull Music Academy graduates from the 2003 edition in Cape Town proves his talent as well as his wide international network of artists and friends.

When we visited his studio / apartment in Berlin, we were impressed by Stathis’ studio set up as well as his book and art collection. He seems to particularly enjoy graphic novels focusing on beautiful but dark subject matters.  This became very visible when he started successfully merging his passion for music and art by drawing his own cover art such as the “A Boy Named Crow” record on Amam. The selection of his essentials capture the secret to his career: find the balance in life that keep you going while staying inspired.

Essentials Mr Statik 5elect5

1. MEDICINE (PRONTALGINE, BUY IN FRANCE): It’s actually sad that Prontalgine is among my essentials these days but it’s my definite go-to hangover remedy when you’ve had one too many, particularly when traveling.

2. BOOKS (TWIN PEAKS, BUY HERE): This is one damn good book! Like all loyal Twin Peaks fans I’m counting days for the iconic show’s return after 25 years. In the meantime this wonderfully curated edition is ticking all the surreal boxes thus being my favorite winter bed time story companion.

3. INK PENS (VARIOUS BRANDS): Sketching and comic book culture has always been a huge love for me, one that I cheated on with music at some point in my life. I’ve slowly created the space to start drawing again, whether it’s been for lil’ design / editorial purposes or just for the kicks of it. This is my current inks collection and I only plan to expand it in the coming year.

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Hands Eric Cloutier 5elect5

From Detroit via New York to Berlin, Eric Cloutier seems to have made all the right city choices for his musical career to succeed. Describing himself as a “record digging psychopath” in one of the interviews with Resident Advisor, it shows that he turned his obsession into a profession while staying level-headed and keeping a healthy sense of humor. Being a resident DJ of the influential club The Bunker in New York for a long time, Eric’s Techno mixes are musical journeys through his massive collection of rare vinyls that you wished was yours. His highly polished mixing technique as well as his constant effort to refine his unique “Cloutier” sound are what sets him apart from plain crate diggers. With his newly launched label “Palinoia”, which is a Greek term for “the obsessive repetition of an act until it is perfect or mastered”, he doesn’t only set the quality standard for the releases but also shares his character strength. Furthermore, his selection of essentials seem to narrate this very well: Eric appreciates and stays loyal to the things he trusts and loves.

Essentials Eric Cloutier 5elect5

1. RECORD CLEANING CLOTH (HARDWAX, BUY HERE): As someone that still drags vinyl around the globe to make people dance, a proper way to clean my little circular friends while playing is important. Fortunately Hardwax here in Berlin sells their own record cleaning cloths that work absolutely fantastic – not only are they good at keeping the grooves clean, they’re antistatic AND they can be thrown in the wash to refresh them. Best 8€ you can spend in that store for sure!

2. CONTACT LENSE SOLUTION (JAPANESE BOTTLE):  One of the perils of wearing contacts while flying and gigging is the eye fatigue from wearing them for a bit too long and smokey rooms. My little bottle of contact solution, though not filled with anything unusual, is one of the first things I make sure is full when I’m about to embark upon worldly travels, and I always keep it in my carry-on in case I need to get my peepers wet after passing out on long-haul journeys. Fun fact – this bottle pictured I purchased in Japan in 2009 when I played Labyrinth and have been carrying it with me ever since.

3. HEADPHONES (RHA, BUY HERE): A good set of earbuds are crucial for moving about the planet and surviving airports, and these RHA T20i’s are the best I’ve found. Most people fawn over noise cancellation ones but I find those mildly disorienting, but this pair, besides not only being massively comfortable for hours on end (literally, I’ve worn them for an entire 30hr journey to Australia and not been in pain), they sound glorious – I’ve discovered nuances to albums I never knew existed before because of these gems.

Writing Illustration Quote Eric Cloutier 5elect5

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