When Traxx is playing in Amsterdam, he usually pops by the store to dig for some records. Not so long ago, just before he played at Doka, a club here in Amsterdam, he ran into this very rare Liquid Liquid copy called Successive Reflexes on 99 RecordsWe are always up for sharing artists their inspiring stories about records on this page, so you can imagine that we really liked to ask mr. Melvin Oliphant III for his. He promised to play it that night and he kept his promise by playing it next to a gazillion other luminous records… What a night!

And the cherry on top… his set was recorded and shared online….

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After the first edition of the RH House Of Music magazine, we really liked the idea of doing a magazine, and that has lead to the second edition in the making!  The upcoming HOM features stories on Invisible City Editions, Awanto 3, Sahel Sounds’ Mamman Sani and more…

To warm up for it, we decided to put Xosar’s feature online that we published in the first edition. Enjoy!

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Very pretty, but far more bright, Sheela Rahman a.k.a. XOSAR picked up producing electronic music after studying neuropsychology. After her first release, not so long ago, she agreed with Rush Hour to put out a few beautiful records. In a short space of time, we got to know her as an interesting lady in her cockpit of electronic musical hardware.

We had a conversation about her releases on Rush Hour, about soundtracking scenes in life and how she conjures magic when she creates music.


Let’s start at the point of your first release. You hadn’t put anything out before your release on L.I.E.S., and then there was this really peculiar, dark but above all super refined EP called ‘Tropical Cruize’. To me this release sounded like you had been producing interesting stuff for a long time. Why didn’t you put out music earlier?

Releasing the tracks wasn’t a huge priority for me, I was more concerned with the feelings associated with making the music, the endorphin rush that each new melody would induce, that satisfaction synchronicity induces when the elements fall into place. I wanted other people to share these feelings, so I posted some tracks on the internet. Eventually people started contacting me saying they were interested in releasing it. They usually thought I was a guy and addressed me as “bro” or “man”, but I was ok with that. For some reason it made me feel powerful.  After flirting with the idea of becoming a faceless producer, I decided to just be myself, so here I am!

In a short time you have released quite a few records. As far as I know each one has got its own peculiar vibe, or story. Can you tell me more about how the releases came to be? Let’s talk about your output on Rush Hour, starting with ‘Ghosthaus’.

I recorded it in San Francisco, right after my room mates and I decided our house was haunted.  This excited me. I imagined that I was starring in a paranormal TV series. In each episode I’d be contacted by the central intelligence agency, they would inform me of my next mission, then I would go onto investigate whatever UFO landing site or haunted house I would need to go to and hopefully solve the mystery. After much time spent fantasizing, I decided I might as well concoct a theme song for the opening credits of this fictitious tv-series: ‘Ghosthaus’.

Haha, nice. How about ‘Nite Jam’?

When I was young, I wasn’t allowed to go out. No parties, no friends. Definitely no boyfriends. I lived in the suburbs, the closest entertainment within a 5 mile radius was a Vietnamese strip mall and a Toyota dealership. In my solitude, my only escape was music and books and I started to idealize this concept of seductive big city life in my head. The city is where all the energy is, where things happen, the jugular. In this vision, I’d descend unto the dusk, foot heavy on the pedal, wind against my cheek, deep and sensual beats blaring. I’d pull up to an underground warehouse party and immerse myself into the music and the atmosphere of the mystical gathering, sharing some sort of transendental experience with the other party goers. I would fantasize about this scenario and city life in general.  When I stayed with my parents for a week in the beginning of last year, I was remembering all these childhood fantasies of mine, trying to capture the imagined scenes, giving them justice by giving them a soundtrack. That was ‘Nite Jam’.

Last but certainly not least: ‘The Calling’.

I produced this in Los Angeles at the end of last year.  This isn’t so much soundtracking a fantasy this time, but more like soundtracking my real LA life. I was living in this wild mansion with seven people, I’d be meeting all sorts of new people every day. I went to the desert nature in palm springs on the weekends, and was working in a warehouse in downtown doing graphic design during the week. It is a colorful song to a colorful upbeat time in my life.

You have studied neuropsychology and you are a graphic designer. And, it can’t be ignored, you are a woman. What inspired you to start producing electronic music?

I started producing music on my mint green Kermit the Frog Casio EP-10 in the east side of San Jose when I was 5 years old. I took some time off to fulfill my trivial earthly requirements such as school, then I picked up where I left off about 4 or 5 years ago. I just had this unshakable desire to recreate certain vibes that I’ve either imagined or experienced but have always clung to because of the unexplainable mysterious magic they conjure.

I reckon you were the only girl around being into it?

Only girl? Hmm more like only person! After I took an interest in both electronic music and producing, it took several years for me to find like-minded people.  Where I grew up, everyone listened to hip hop and rap, and freestyle which was cool. When I finally went to audio engineering school there were only 4 people in the class. I was the only girl though, yes, along with a dubstep producer, a hardcore speedcore freak, and a 73-year-old one-armed medieval new age producer.

How did you pick up producing music? What were your first electronic musical instruments and why?

After many failed attempts at learning software myself and just not knowing where to start, I consulted with my close friend Adeptus to help me figure it out. He sat for many hours, explaining to me the intricacies of programming the Electribe using the EA-1. There’s something incredibly special about the Electribe. It enables you to glide through time and space with impeccable finesse, you never have to disrupt your creative flow with some decision about which Ableton preset patch to select. I practiced every day, recording bits and pieces into garage band.

This wasn’t good enough though. I wanted a more robust understanding of production and sound, I wanted a solid fountation based in fact and precision. After swooning over this audio engineering school for several months, I saved just enough money to afford it. I had a full time job and after work at 6 every day I would ride my bike 10 minutes to my audio engineering classes. When I was there, I finally got that foundation I was looking for, they taught me all about everything from how to program a synthesizer to music theory to breaking down the production merits of Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’.

You moved to De Hague, how do you like it so far? From your point of view, how is San Francisco different from De Hague? 

Both are very beautiful, different places with a lot of personality. San Francisco has the big city vibes, the Netherlands has the old world energy. There isn’t a whole lot of raw nature in San Francisco as accessible as it is in the Netherlands. That’s one of the reasons I love the Netherlands for the time being, because I like to have easy access to nature, the beach, the dunes, the forest.

Xamiga and Trackman Lafonte & BonQuiQui are your collaborations with Legowelt. In what way do you find each other while making music and how do you approach the process of making music completely different?

Lately Danny (Wolfers, Legowelt) likes to sequence all his melodies in Ableton and I love to play them by hand. I like the idea of sequencing the melodies with a computer, and it’s probably more precise that way, but I feel like I can access and channel certain parts of your body and soul when I play live that you can’t attain quite as well when you are doing it through machine-like programming. Although you can achieve some pretty freaky intense results that way at least. Everyone is different and thrives under different conditions though. Danny has been producing for 10 years more than me, so he probably has advanced further into a level that I don’t yet understand fully.

You know that Kermit Casio I was talking about earlier? Well I still have it and I use it on Xamiga songs sometimes. For ‘Kermit’s day out’, I threw down some melodies onto a kick then Danny supplemented with additional percussive sounds then we kept sending the file back and forth until we got bored then we called it done.

I know Legowelt has a thing for his Amiga 1200. I was wondering… Is Xamiga a combined name, Xosar + Amiga?

It’s actually the name of a baby tiger we met in Las Vegas at Siegfried and Roy’s tiger refuge.

At this point you are working on your first album, it will be put out on Rush Hour. What can we expect? Or is it all still a big blur?

I’d prefer to let the music speak for itself, I’m more curious to see what kinds of worlds and fantasies the music conjures in the minds of the listeners!

Of course you still have dreams of things you’d like to do or that could happen. Can you give an example? 

You know what the biggest room in the world is? The room for improvement! I really hope to improve my production skillset and I guess my life skillset in general. I hope to jam with my friends more, and hopefully star in a paranormal tv series. ;)

 

Text: Mijke Hurkx
Translation and editing: Max Cole

 

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When the legendary Ron Trent enters our store on a Wednesday afternoon, we have to ask him the stories behind a few of his memorable records. Especially because we got a few classic titles in-store, one of the first Ron & Chez D records (early nineties style deepness) and another one that Ron Trent produced in the eighties: ERB – ‘The Weekend’. “I made this one in my bed room”, the house pioneer recalls. When we ask him to pick out one of his Chicago treasures, he finds another oldie by Melodious Miles and Bo…. Enjoy the video!

Records:
1. ERB – The Weekend
The official reissue of ERB, a collaboration between Braxton Holmes and Ron Trent on Clubhouse Records from Chicago.

2. Ron & Chez D – Same Titled
Superb Ron Trent & Chez Damier house!

3. Melodious Myles and Bo – Odyssey Love
Produced in 1986, Chicago 12″ – delightful string work on top of a bassline and choice drum programming.

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This Saturday in Brooklyn NYC
First of all, on the Rush Hour night in Halcyon, Brooklyn, Hunee and Tom Trago will join Los Hermanos Network Detroit!

SXSW
We like to invite all of you who is heading SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, to join us at The Madison! We  do a little showcase there! ft. Hunee and Tom Trago. For more info, pls click on the artist names, and you will be directed to the SXSW page.

Rus Hour label night in London
Apart from that … We are so excited that Xosar will be playing live in London for the first time!! At the Rush Hour label night at Studio Who, ft. Antal and San Proper wo will be DJing, click here for more details.

See you when you are around!

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We already know that Antal met Vincent Floyd in Chicago last March. Since he is a longtime fan of Floyd’s work, he asked for unreleased music.  It turned out that Floyd had enough material, and he selected some of the finest to compile an EP.

Of course Antal wanted to find out more about the man behind the music, so he asked him some questions. This is just a tease, the complete interview will be published in our next House Of Music magazine.

How would you describe Chicago in the 80ties and 90ties? And how did that influence you musically?
During the 80′s, rap and house music were both growing in popularity.  There seemed to be more of a house scene in Chicago during the 80′s, rap caught up in the 90′s.  I was sort of a low key house head so that was my thing. I spent a great deal of time working in promotions;  going to clubs and interacting with different people influenced my music.

Who are the artists in Chicago that you felt closely related to?
I grew up with Armando Gallop, he lived across the street when I was a child, and we were together a lot until he passed in 1996 from leukemia. He was a DJ, I learned most things about house music, house music artists, and event promotion from him. I was inspired musically by Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers. I played keyboard with Larry on some of his tour dates when he was signed to MCA; his recordings are classic. And Chan, who did the vocals for ‘Your Eyes’, is Dwayne Chandler. like Armando, is a childhood friend who lived next door to me when we grew up. He is an awesome singer.

How did your first house productions come about?
Armando was a house producer as well. When we were in high school, he bought a Roland TB-303 groove machine and a TR-707 drum machine. We programmed a lot of tracks in his basement.  I later purchased Roland and Yamaha drum machines and keyboards and started to recording songs. I had been recording R&B songs as well as dance music. Armando had released “Land of Confusion” and introduced me to Ray Barney at Dance Mania.

 

Vincent Floyd – ‘Your Eyes/I’m So Deep’ (RH RSS 10) is available at our store and distribution

Purchase via the store
Purchase via distribution

 

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On March 1st we are is going to hear and see Actress his first life set in Amsterdam after releasing his latest album ‘Ghettoville’. If that isn’t enough; on that same night we are also going to enjoy Moiré’s music. He is going to take us on a thrilling  journey, as he will be playing some unreleased material too – we will be his test dummies. In advance of this huge treat we spoke to Moiré, and apparently he is looking forward to it. We could say… quite as much as we do.

1. You released your first 12” on Actress his label, Werk Discs. How did you two meet and how did you find out that you could be (musical) soul mates?
It was abstract destiny, haha. My friend Lessons, who actually worked with me on this release, introduced me to Actress his ‘Hazyville’ album when it just came out, and I loved it. I had been massively into techno and house and also sort of other stuff  for years, buying records and going to raves. But I was also interested in some kind of ‘new’ attitude and sound – more abstract and uneven rhythmically. Something that would be challenging the ‘classic sound’ and Actress was the answer. His early records were quite inspiring. So when I finally got my ideas thogether and finished some of my own music, I felt that passing it to Werk Discs would be a cool idea. Then we all met , played some shows together etc. And the story continues!

2. In an interview you said that you don’t like to rush into things when in comes to releasing music. We haven’t seen a release for a while, what have you been up to lately?
The process of making and playing music is what I love the most. The actual time in the studio, and how it evolves to the moment I play in the club and release the idea to the crowd is what drives me forward. Pretty much on every gig, I play something unique I have just made, but is not out. Releasing music is the last step. I  just wanna make sure people get the best stuff. So in the terms of my music I like to take my time and write ’till its done. I’m in the process of releasing some tracks right now. There are a few tracks coming out, one is called Solar Signs and its gonna be out on Phonica Records’ 10 years release. Also I’ve been working on bunch of remixes too, which should be out soon.

3. What we can be on the lookout for is a next 12” on Rush Hour. Can you already tell us something about it?
Yeah for sure, but i don’t  know the details yet. I have loads of ideas that needs finishing and road testing, then we will decide what’s best and if there is something perfectly suitable we can put it out.

4. I also read that environments have an influence on the esthetics of your sound. You have been at Club Trouw before… what can we expect from you there?
Trouw is  special, I feel mega lucky to be able to play there. Of all the clubs I’ve ever been to, it is probably one of my favorites in terms of environment. Architecture is my background, so I do appreciate nice spaces. It just feels nice to play in an interesting building, it helps the music being heard. And vice versa;  music helps architecture to say something to people, then it’s not just a concrete building anymore.

Come join us at Trouw Amsterdam – 1st of March, check out the full line-up on the event’s Facebook page

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Next to Kid Sublime, Aardvarck, Tom Trago, San Proper and Young Marco, Steven van Hulle has been a key figure in the Amsterdam electronic music scene for quite some time. Since a few year he creates music under his Awanto 3 guise. Music for the dancefloor. And again, with ‘Opel Mantra’, he has proven his immense potential. The album twists house music into intoxicating new shapes, blending influences into one thrilling, surprising whole. We asked Van Hulle for a slight introduction.

1. Before your album, you mostly collaborated with other artists. What was it like for you to create so much solo material at once?
I’ve traded the city of Amsterdam for a spot in the country side tow years ago. Thanks to my long stay at Bali, Indonesia and thanks to the lonely winter at my new place, I was blessed with some free space in my mind. I suddenly had lots of time, focus and inspiration to work on the basics for my debut solo album. A huge amount of my tropical energy reserves got out. I couldn’t stop making love to my MPC and nobody was there to stop me. So probably it was just the right time and space for me to create this piece of noise. Collaborating with a few of my favorite musicians was the cherry on top. Without those collaborations ‘Opel Mantra’ would not sound as it does now!

2. … Opel Mantra?
The name is familiar to a number of car freaks, the people who have had their drivers license for at least 20 years. I understand those Opel Manta freaks. The car is a beautiful piece of art (go to Google Images and search for OPEL MANTA). Apart from this materialistic gibber, this name is just a micro joke that refers to the way I love to produce house and bass music; to make it repeat and rise to another higher level.

3. You have a very diverse repertoire, though your album is musically quite consistent. How did the music for the album arise?
Since I touched an MPC 2000 XL for the first time, I kind of started developing my own style, not really knowing why and how. My music is inspired by Latin, African and mainly soulful contemporary music and it is driven by my appetite for never ending loops. I overdubbed the basis of the tracks with music from my favorite musicians. The album is mixed and mastered mainly trough analog mixing desks (and the one and only half inch tape machine), by a very passionate and dedicated Croatian grandmaster of sounds named Zlaya. He played a very important rol in Opel Mantra’s consistent feel as well I must say.

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Awanto 3 – ‘Opel Mantra’ pt. 1 will be released in the week of February 24th.
www.opelmantra.nl
Via Soundcloud
Via Distribution
Via the Record Store

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Under his Awanto 3 guise, Steven van Hulle has long been considered a producer with immense potential. Now, he’s finally delivered on that promise with Opel Mantra, his stunning debut album.

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Shop: http://www.rushhour.nl/store_detailed.php?item=74433

Distribution: http://www.rushhour.nl/distribution_detailed.php?item=74433

 

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For San Proper it was time to launch his own imprint ‘Proper’s Cult’,  and he has just announced on his website to celebrate his first release with a free track for you to download. On Proper’s Cult we can expect San Proper releases and music by other artists. 

1. Can you tell me a bit more about the idea behind Proper’s Cult?
“The original intention was to release quality music that stays under the radar,wouldn’t be easily released otherwise. But I guess that because the first release is a four-track EP by myself, the label’s focus is now quality music in general. And it will be more an extension of my sound as well as of the sound of other artists that amplify the ‘Cult’ – tracks which feed our curiosity and soothe our troubles.”

2. So after ‘The Culture EP’ we’ll get some more Proper releases on your label. Do we get to see a specific side of your music?
There’s a lot up my sleeve which I really want to express with this label. The sound of ‘The Culture EP’ is quite dark and moody in my opinion. So for instance I could probably save weepy ballads for the album which I’m working on for another destination. I’m also continuously working on collaborations while touring and travelling, tracks that could make sense for “Proper’s Cult”. Let’s see how it’ll turn out, ok?

3. Next to the label you also organize the Proper’s Cult nights at Club Trouw in Amsterdam.  Where else can we expect to run into Proper’s Cult?
Since Trouw only has one year left to give me a home with the label-night (Trouw will close), I’ve decided to keep ‘Proper’s Cult’ special and exclusive at Trouw’s Verdieping for the time being, but this cultural event will pop up sooner or later where you’ll least expect it. We’re here to embrace this life-style. It’s a cult…

Download San Proper – ‘Ibizoo Forests’ here ….

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The year has only just begun and Rush Hour has a bunch of stuff planned already. Antal gives a few sneak previews when it comes to releases and events happening in 2014….

Can you tell us a bit about the releases?
There are many things in the pipeline. We are looking very much forward to the debut album of Xosar. After a couple of 12inches it is time for a full length. She has produced an exciting amount of music, and hopefully it will be presented to you and us in the following months. And there will be Vincent Floyd material. Reissues and unreleased tracks. We have met Vincent Floyd last March in Chicago and since we are longtime fans of his work we asked for unreleased music. Maybe that will be the two scoops for now..but there is so much more to come!

After the big success of the first Weekender in Club Trouw, can we expect more big events?
The idea of organizing a 34-36 hour Rush Hour event at Club Trouw came quite spontaneously, and that resulted in the Weekender last November. I think everybody was really into what happened and so yes, we are speaking about a second edition..Which is already very exciting!

We have  to be absolutely on the lookout for…
Our annual Somewhere In Amsterdam party will take place this weekend. It always takes place on a Sunday afternoon, always with nice people, good food and great music. Pure for the love of it! We have invited Hunee & Boo Williams as our guests for this edition. The S.I.A. parties have been rare in the past. Like only once a year. But in 2014, it might be that there are some more editions coming up…


Xosar – The Calling (RHM-002, 2013)

 

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Tom TragoIn the House Of Music magazine, Tom Trago talked about his mission to put particularly Dutch artists on the map, ‘because there’s enough talent walking around here’.  What will his label Voyage Direct bring these Dutch in 2014? We asked Tom Trago, and a few short answers to a few questions give a slight introduction.

What more can we expect in 2014?
“Next to the Voyage Direct label nights at Trouw in Amsterdam, we are starting some international label nights. Traveling so much and playing all of these parties is a great way to share the music coming from Amsterdam.”

In 2013 you have released Interstellar Funk his debut, can you give a sneak on the releases on the roll for 2014?
“I am very glad we can work with Bear Damen, Boris Werner, Elias Mazian, and San Proper. Also label veterans like Maxi Mill, Overlast, and myself will continue to release on Voyage Direct.”

We have  to be absolutely on the lookout for…
“…the ambient remix that Maxi Mill did for William Kouam Djoko, a beautiful piece of music – out soon on Voyage Direct.”

Voyage Direct website

facebook.com/voyagedirect

 

 

 

 

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