Cleveland-born producer and DJ Dan Curtin is one of the key figures shaping the Midwest Techno scene. He founded the label Metamorphic to mainly give new talents an outlet for their music. While continuing to support this scene and over 70 singles and 9 albums later, Curtin follows his passion for hip hop, funk and soul releases new music under one of his his many aliases such as Purveyors of Fine Funk. His refusal to lock himself into one style as well as his ability to collaborate with artists from a variety of genres has helped him to maintain his status as a legend.
Currently based in Berlin, his essentials are a genuine selection of items that portray his roots and source of inspiration to keep going – “When the music stops your mind and body return to the world of the sentient but you never forget your Origins.” said the press release of his “Origins” EP which was released under his alias Planetary 25 years ago. The re-mastered reissue was just released on Metamorphic.
1. SUNGLASSES (MYKITA, CHECK HERE): Sunglasses. Needed when there is light. Not sun, but light. Can’t leave home without them.
2. CRAFT BEER (STONE BREWING BERLIN , CHECK HERE):Really good, small run, independently run breweries producing excellent beer. Beer is one of my 4 vices and one of the two that I can mention socially.
3. LIFTING BELT (MY PROTEIN, CHECK HERE): Protects and supports the lower back. Heavy lifting and the gym in general is a daily must. It’s the one hour a day that I can truly escape and not think about anything at all.
4. SAMPLER AND SEQUENCER (OCTATRACK, CHECK HERE): It’s become my main sampler and the heart and brains of my live show. The possibilities for live sample mangling are endless and it works in a really intuitive way once you’ve finished banging your head against the desk for a year trying to understand it!
5. VINTAGE RECORDS (MY COLLECTION): It’s where I go to for pure listening, where I go to for sampling and all of my favorite music is to be found there. It’s travelled the world with me and it’s a life long project – the digging never stops.
French musical multi-talent Akemi Fujimori started her career as a singer and pianist writing songs. After she gathered further experience as a live performer and studio musician, touring with bands all around the world, she is now busy producing and performing as the electronic duo dismaze along with musician friend Léa Moreau. Their latest release and video for “Human Sense” is a beautiful invitation to experience Fujimori’s musical world.
1. KEYBOARD (DAVE SMITH INSTRUMENTS, BUY HERE): I discovered that synth playing with La Féline a couple years ago, I now use it on stage and in the studio, for my music as well as with other artists, it’s become my faithful musical companion.
2. CAMERA (LOMOGRAPHY, BUY HERE):I love instant cameras because they’re all about the now. No retouching or picking the best picture, there’s just that moment you shot and it is what you get. These days I find this feeling very precious. At RBMA, I’ve made a portrait of every participant so that I’d always remember these great times.
3. CROSSWORDS (FIND AT YOUR SHOP): On tour, in the metro or in a plane, you can do crosswords anytime. It reminds me of my grandpa, he would do crosswords everyday. Also makes me remember the existence of some pretty cool French words I never use!
4. AVOCADOS (BUY AT YOUR LOCAL MARKET): I have to admit, I’m an avo addict. On toast, in a guacamole, in salads or simply as is, it is always amazing. It’s not always easy to find good ones, but at least that helps me keeping my consumption rate at reasonable levels.
5. T-SHIRT (THE VILLAGE COFFEE, CHECK HERE): This t-shirt is from a coffee shop in Utrecht called The Village Coffee. Because I love a good coffee. And the design is great. Somehow to me this phrase represents a good part of the vibe at the academy. A bunch of music nerds embracing together their special uniqueness!
For New Zealand born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Noah Slee had a busy year and it will get even busier in 2018. Releasing the debut album “Otherland” on Majestic Casual Records and playing at major festivals around the world was a big step in his career. Based in Berlin 6 months out of the year, Noah has found two place he can call “home”. The life between two countries seem to reflect his character and music well: genre-bending, respectful and open. His take on soul and RnB is fresh but accessible and so is his approach to writing the lyrics which are about the depth of communication, love and honesty.
When photographing his essentials, it seemed to be an easy task for Noah to gather the items because they were simply his favorite things. Especially the collection of Converse sneakers was quite impressive. He owned the same model in multiple colors, various editions, and several worn states. Even the hummus he brought out of the fridge came in several flavors because he loved them all.
1. JOURNAL (NO BRAND): Always keep me accountable in its own weird way, which is weird cos its just a journal but I guess the therapy and outlet it gives me its more than a just a journal. Mainly concepts, ideas, poems and of course lyrics. I’m too lazy to do the everyday dear diary thing .
2. HUMMUS (CHECK YOUR LOCAL STORE):Is my new favourite food since moving to Berlin. In NZ I didn’t really try hummus but some of my besties in the city have treated me to traditional Arabic food in their homes and I seriously almost have it with everything now its ridiculous. haha
3. SNEAKERS (CONVERSE, CHECKHERE):Past few years I’ve mainly been rocking chucks, proud member of the ‘Taylor Gang’ and it goes easily with all my clothes.
4. MASCHINE (NATIVE INSTRUMENTS, BUYHERE):I use this baby live all the time and it’s never let me down.
When you google “Call Super”, the top search results will list links to London-born, Berlin-based producer and DJ Call Super (aka JR Seaton) and a Wikipedia article that explains “Call Super” as a “a code smell or anti-pattern of some object-oriented programming languages”. With his classically trained background in music, it is no surprise that Seaton’s sound is versatile but refined, marked by technical skills and musical influences. He describes the track selection of his upcoming mix CD on “Fabric 92” as “highly personal, a Polaroid of my way of mixing records”. We visited Seaton at his studio in Berlin which was filled with “Call Super” flavor: analogue music gear and colorful objects amongst stylish furniture in a raw space. His choice of essentials is also consistent with his music: unpredictable, honest but fun.
1. STAIRCASE WEAVING (HANNAH WALDRON, CHECKHERE): This was woven by my dear friend Hannah Waldron for me. The first Call Super record was called The Staircase and she sent it to me in celebration. I’m not sure I own anything that I treasure more.
2. PARTY DIP (CUBBS, CHECKHERE):This was in my Berlin studio apartment when I moved in around the beginning of 2010. I think it dates to the late 80s so it has been providing inspiration for nearly 30 years.
3. BIRTHDAY CARD (BYOBJEKT): When we were very small people me and my best friend TJ would draw aeroplanes. Birthdays are a chance to keep that fire burning..
Berlin-based producer, DJ and Aleph Music founder: Aera. After he was signed to Dixon and Âme’s label Innervisions last year, he now releases a four track EP on John Talabot’s Hivern Discs imprint and continues to surprise and impress. He describes his musical career in personal post on his page as “sometimes things just need their time to grow…and in the end, it’s all about timing…which brings us to today.” Aera’s selection of essentials reflect this mind set very well and shows that the simple things in life are the foundation to creativity.
1. AIR (GENERIC SILVER BALLOON FILLED WITH ARTIST’S AIR): Air is one of my main essentials. I need it every minute of my life. I can’t imagine to live without it and I would probably stop breathing if someone took it away from me. I love it.
2. FOOD (ORGANIC ORANGE, CHECK YOUR LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET):Good food is another big part of who I am. I eat food every day. When I can’t have it, I get moody and upset and lose all my energy. I wish everyone on this planet had enough food in their lives.
3. SLEEP (TRAVEL PILLOW BY SANDINI, CHECK HEREAND SLEEPING MASK BY DR.WEIDEMANN, CHECK HERE): Sleep is amazing. Almost every night, I lose consciousness and start hallucinating vividly. Afterwards, I feel refreshed and energetic and ready for the day. I don’t think I’d be alive without it. It’s one of my favorite things to do.
1. LUGGAGE (UDG, BUY HERE): I have been dj’ing since around 2002, and I have always played vinyl, though it was really the only option back then. It has become a pretty big hassle at this point, both from the effort of fighting with airlines to carry them as hand baggage in the cabin and the crapshoot of whether or not the turntables will work when you show up to the venue. I also hear other DJ’s complain that they have bad backs and can’t carry them anymore. Basically, it requires effort. Personally, I keep in mind the back breaking construction jobs I had when I was younger, waking up at 5am to carry 50lb 4’ x 8’ concrete pouring forms on my shoulder. Maybe these other DJ’s have never had a job like that. I don’t particularly care what format DJ’s use, I just don’t buy that it’s too much work as an excuse to not utilize the method you would most like to use. Especially when you are getting paid a fee that is what most people have to go to work for a week or two to earn. Or a year, depending on your RA Poll standings.
2. SARDINES (TRADER JOE’S, CHECKHERE): At some point, after the years roll by and you have been spending most of your life on the road, you start realizing that you have to take care of your health or you won’t be able to carry on. You’re personal life may have been destroyed long ago, but you need to keep the body and the mind in order! Finding decent food becomes a monumental effort at times. I always carry around a couple of these tins of sardines. They won’t spoil and are a nutritional powerhouse, especially loaded with Omega 3’s to help repair that brain that you have been battering with lack of sleep and serotonin depletion. Don’t eat them on the plane, no one will like that.
3. HOODED SWEATSHIRT (WINGS+HORNS, BUYHERE): The black hooded sweatshirt is the central part of my road uniform. I’m usually freezing on airplanes, and in American airports, so I always carry an outer layer. Also, I can pull the hood completely over my face when I get to my seat on the plane and immediately fall asleep. It’s become a sort of safety blanket, I feel lost without it.
1. NEEDLES (ORTOFON, BUY HERE): I’ll never not DJ on turntables. I got this case from my friend That Fucking Sara after I lost mine during a crazy gig in Poland. 2. EGGS (NO BRAND , BUY AT YOUR LOCAL MARKET): I eat eggs every day. I read in a book (Harold Mcgee’s “On Food and Cooking”) that all of life is contained in an egg, hence its nutritional power and versatility. 3. GLASSES (PAUL SMITH, PEACE): I need glasses to see well. I like these Paul Smith jawns because of their funky, semi-ambiguous color and round shape.