The latest installment of the forward-thinking Milwauskweee series is out now. Compiled by Innocuous records boss DJ Puffin, this comp features a bewildering array of top-notch skweee beats that sit comfortably together in far left field. Check the Charles Bronsonesque promo video below and buy Milwauskweee Vol. 16 here.
Finnish skweee producer V.C. shared a preview track off his upcoming album “Invisibility” due out December 6th on the excellent imprint Raha & Tunteet. In a landmark moment for skweee, this news made it to Pitchfork.
The skweee community had this to say about this development:
“HIPSTAH MED1A REPPIN’ SKW3??1 YOLO YOLO YOLO”
Finnish skweee hero Eero Johannes comes up big with the release of the Real Virtuality EP on french label Sound Pellegrino. The title track features his trademark synth warping funk and masterful command of melody and composition. A true gem. More info on where to buy it at the Sound Pellegrino website.
Finland’s Spartan Lover, formerly PJVM has been one of my favorite skweee producers since the gut moving sub bass of Rubarb Dream first hit my stereo in 2007. Early on, Spartan Lover took skweee into funkier, breakier territory while injecting his trademark moving percussion, and always a bit of grit. His profile has risen considerably in the last year with the introduction of the Mässy record label and live concert promotion.
What were you up to musically prior to skweee?
I started producing electronic music in 1997 while I was still in school. The first tracks released in 2001 were a mix of electro & breakbeat. I kept producing that kinda stuff for 5 years as PJVM. I got into ghettotech in 2003 and the Svantröm LP was a mix of breakbeat, ghetto and electro. Exogenic Breaks Records from Helsinki released my album in 2006, but I played live skweee at the release party.
The impression is that you were one of the first producers recruited into the fledgling skweee scene. How did it happen?
I used to share a studio with Imatran Voima and I was chillin’ there in the basement with Randy Barracuda. He was getting bored with the 140+ bpm stuff he had been spinning and producing for ages and wanted to get involved in something different instead. He had just finished one of his first skweee tracks “Rick James” or “Skweee Like a Pig” (it was not called that at that point), I can’t remember which. Some small label had told him to put vocals on it to make it more poppy. I was totally against the idea.
Later, when he asked me to join the new movement, the name Skweee was already invented. I was getting fed up with my own “sound” that I was still struggling with, and the ridiculous breakbeat scene in Finland at the time, which I did not seem to fit with. I thought “why the hell not”. So I went home, switched my mpc1k on and produced my first skweee track, the 93 bpm “Rubarb Dream” in one night, and sent it to Mr. Carlquist (Pavan) at Flogsta Danshall, to see if it would fit the upcoming Museum of Future Sound compilation. It did, and also Skandinavian Skweee on Harmönia. I did that track as PJVM.
I took the Spartan Lover alias in early 2007 as a refreshing start into something deeper, more twisted, injured and rugged. A combination of hip-hop beats and badly imitated sounds of one of my fav late 90′s producers, Jyrkkä Pajulaakso. Randy Barracuda brought Spartan Lover up in a conversation on a plane to New York City asking me if I knew something about this guy in Finland.
What were your first skweee tracks? Were they things you had produced already or were they written with the new sound in mind?
“Sapeli” and “Rubarb Dream” were the first ones released. I did both of those really quick. I had no pre-skweee tracks ready, but I did use some loops that I had made for other projects prior to my enlightenment.
We had Pangea from Hessle Audio in town the other night, and he told me he was perfectly happy that there’s no name for the music he’s putting out on his label. In contrast, skweee artists made a decision to put a label on the music. It’s interesting because I can describe the music on Hessle more easily than skweee. How do you feel about this decision to deliberately attach a name to the sound?
I think it’s better to call our music “Skweee” rather than “Down tempo IDM” or “Beatz”.
The new editor of NME even nominated Skweee as “The New Ridiculous Electronic Music Scene 2010″ or something, in a London Metro interview.
I do not actually care about the name too much. There’s nothing we can do about it. I think it describes the sound at least as well as “wonky”.
The instrumental and abstract sides of hip-hop have influenced a lot of electronic music over the last few years. I’ve noticed that journalists seem keen on attaching these same influences to skweee. So for instance J Dilla and Madlib are name dropped a lot in articles on skweee. Do you think that’s accurate? Who have been the important influences for you personally, and in your opinion for skweee music overall?
Both of those names have apparently been great influences to many in the skweee scene, but not everyone. All the skweee producers I’ve met have varying musical backgrounds and other projects too. Rigas for example.
Personally my biggest influences are Add N to X, Organ, Luke Vibert, Disco D, Pavan and early 80′s electro funk.
You’ve recently started the Mässy record label. You released the V.C. 12″ EP and most recently the Internationalization of Mässy CD compilation. It is in fact the most international skweee comp yet. Was that geographic diversity a goal or just something that happened as you were searching for tracks?
I got sent a lot of tracks when I announced I was putting it out. In the end I had to drop seven tracks that I originally had on the album. I was compiling a CD, to describe what “Mässy” is all about musically. That has little to do with cultural background. Hip-Hop and funk are the biggest influences. I am about to release more music on Mässy, and do not think it’s all gonna be Skweee. It felt natural to start with Skweee though.
When I was in Helsinki you told me the next release will be a Spartan Lover full-length. When is this expected? Will it be all skweee or a mix of styles? What will be the format?
I have about 10 tracks to choose from and I’m not sure yet if it’s gonna be an LP or EP, definitely a 12″. I have also some new tracks, but I think I will make the release from those I already have. I think it is for listener’s to decide whether it is skweee or not.
What other releases do you have planned for Mässy?
Digital and 12″ ‘s from different artists. I’m in talks with a distributor at the moment and it seems to be a good direction. Mässy is a record company so it feels like a natural thing to put out records.
Let’s move on to something that people will be talking about for a long time, Skweee Sunnuntai — the massive 10 hour skweeeathon you organized last May in Helsinki. What was it? How did you get involved?
A friend of mine asked me to put on a skweee show on a Sunday in May. I asked if I could make some bookings and was assured that there would be an incredible 250€ to spend on travelin´ expenses. The date, 19 May was also my homie V.C.’s birthday, so I thought an outdoor skweee concert would be a nice place to party at.
I booked Wankers United from France, and put almost the whole budget in that. Then, something magical happened, and I began to get e-mails asking “is the Sunday fully booked?” so, I ended up having the most wicked skweee’a'thon ever on my hands. We also got to have the Internationalization of Mässy release party on the same weekend at Club Siltanen.
Any good stories from the festival? It must have been rather wacky with virtually every skweee artist in the world flying in for the event. We did a head count and there were 21 performers.
One thing that comes to mind is the crazy diving guy at Siltanen. He was freaking out during Superfönky and then he hit the floor with his face. I hope he has recovered. The other thing is the absence of a single moment of bad music during the whole festival.
I’ve been to a number of all day music festivals before. I find them fatiguing. Towards the end your ears have been bombarded by so much sound you start to zone out and kind of wish it would be over. This was different. The quality level of the performances was so consistent and there was so much variety — the energy kept flowing. People like Daniel Savio and Mesak were saying all the artists had raised their game to new levels. Do you feel proud? Lucky? Can it happen again?
I feel lucky, proud and definitely certain that it will grow much, much bigger. No doubt.
Finally, there have been rumors of a Spartan Lover U.S. tour. Any word on that?
I hope so. Losonofono (Lo Dubs’ sub label in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.) is releasing a Spartan Lover 7″ “Eye Drop / Silk Smooth Skin” sometime soon. I think it will become a hit and ‘Lover will be brought to the U.S.A. instantly. “Bigger than The Beatles” will become a famous quotation.
Two fine upstanding young men from America’s west side have teamed up to bring some skweee summer goodness our way. DJ/Producer KidLogic and MC extraordinaire Pubs P have a new co-release, Average Ordinary EP up for free download at bandcamp. But what’s extra über mega cool is that we have two exclusive remixes from KidLogic right here at skweeelicious! Dig in y’all.
Two new skweee releases drop this week. Harmönia comes out with their twelfth record, this one a 12″ by Randy Barracuda. On The Low features three originals by Randy and a remix by Tes La Rok (whose credits include Dubstep Allstars Vol.05). The digital release includes a bonus remix by Sonig artist DJ Elephant Power. Over on Titched, the digipak of Stickem’s This Thing Is On single touches down with remixes by skweee pioneer Beem, dødpop mainman Beatbully, Lofi Funk’s Hybakusha, glitch-hop maven De Novo Creation, and a vocal treatment by Pubs P.
Twenty-seven of your favorite songs performed by Pubs P, with music by many of the finest skweee producers from around the globe. Mixed into a delightful package for you to enjoy by the world famous Kid Logic!
Get it here:
1- Body Blows ----------- w/ Boyz of Caligula 2- New Lies ----------- w/ Mrs. Qeada 3- Point 1 ----------- w/ Joxaren 4- Rap, What's That? ---- w/ Wankers United, Spinobi 5- We Call it Skweee ---- w/ Daniel Savio, Da Gents 6- Skweeeaholik --------- W/ Claws Costeau 7- Been Thru it All ----- w/ Limonious 8- Bread Winner --------- w/ Mesak 9- 2nd Player ----------- w/ Mesak, Dopamine Rush, Spinobi 10- No Idea ------------ w/ Miramichi 11- Pubs vs the Bully ---- w/ Beatbully 12- Pressing Charges ----- w/ Rigas Den Andre 13- Enjoyer -------------- w/ Wankers United 14- HomoCidal ------------ w/ VC 15- Distorting my Picture w/ Hybakusha 16- No TO Drugs! --------- w/ Rigas Den Andre, Spinobi 17- Dunk (Jordan Rmx) ---- w/ Luy B, Motem 18- Hood is Good --------- w/ Motem 19- Camel Toe (Moller Rmx) w/ Ass Music 20- Physical Appearance -- w/ Slow Hand Motem 21- Slurpin Juice -------- w/ Moller, Ass Music 22- Drunk ---------------- w/ JHnSN 23- Dick Funeral --------- w/ Spartan Lover 24- Ass Music (VC Hype Rmx) W/ Assmusic 25- Pussinality ---------- w/ Joxaren 26- Average Rap Song ----- w/ Kid Logic 27- Humble --------------- w/ Daniel Savio
“Beem is the skweee producer the girls like” it’s often said. Beem has a new album, Peel, chock full of the sexy grooves, lush chords and well, killer hooks that the girls dig and the guys too. He has bypassed interest from multiple record labels to release it himself — for free.
What was the first music you heard that blew your mind?
We’re talking a long time ago… I loved sound. I recorded stuff on the radio and then cut the tape and played around with the record button. I loved when they sampled stuff in pop and funk and I tried to do the same thing with two tape recorders. I had children’s music tapes and there was one with a drum intro and I played it over and over. The rest of the song was crap but I loved the first two seconds.
What was your first keyboard?
I’ve had a lot. I had a Roland JX-3P, I think that was the first. Then I got a Yamaha QX5 sequencer. I did a lot on them. My first record was recorded with that. Then I bought the Juno 2. In the 90′s we had an acid jazz band and we were pretty bad. Then I heard Goldie and I started to experiment with a cheap Yamaha sampler and later an Akai 612.
I bought a little equipment from time to time and I reviewed records for a local newspaper. I got a record from Denmark that was sort of clean and had drum machines, and I loved it. I was hooked, so then I tried to make a track like that with 808 drums and it turned out pretty good. That was my first record as Electromagnetic Beem, in ’98.
So that was your start. And then?
I self-released two EPs in 1999, 2000. I think somewhere around there I first spoke to Pavan. He had just bought my record and we had been on the same compilation. He was working on a compilation for Flora and Fauna called The Night Shift. This is like 2003 or so. We kept in contact and then he came up with the plan to make this label for middle tempo music. His own record was number one (Punt Kick) and mine was the second (Mouth Everest/The Famous). Then I collaborated with a couple of rappers and made an album called Just Lit that I think was too diverse to hit home, but it was fun. The track “A Saab and a Gun” was on that.
Did you self-release that record?
I did, and I promised myself I would never do that again. It was a nightmare. I had released vinyl before and that was also a disaster. People liked the record but I never got any money for it. I sent it to Japan, Belgium, the U.S. and it sold, but I didn’t see a dime.
I’ve noticed that too.
It’s weird isn’t it? The story from New York was that someone stole the package. Then several months later they were selling it in their online store.
Then I tried to get something going with a vocalist because people were telling me that was the one thing my music lacked, and it seemed people can relate to music much easier if there’s a vocal. I worked with a lot of talented vocalists but it always sounded better to me when I removed the vocals.
Tell us about The Future album.
I had some new tracks and I just wanted to release something. I thought I had these tracks that fit together. I also wanted to expose The Famous and Mouth Everest that only existed on vinyl to a wider audience. I released it on the internet in 2008 and I think it still holds up.
Why did you choose to make the album available as a free download?
Flogsta hadn’t released any CDs or any full-lengths and weren’t ready to yet. I just wanted to put something out there. I felt I could sell maybe 500 copies, or I could give it away and get 5,000 or 10,000 out to people. That made more sense to me. And also it’s a nice thing to put up an album for free. It felt good. It has been downloaded a huge number of times, I think I have 70,000 downloads now. My earlier records exist in 300 or 500 copies. Probably a lot of people think it’s crap and delete it, but probably as many like it and share it with others. People get in touch all the time, so they’re listening somewhere obviously.
How did you distribute the album?
It’s a free download as mp3 on beem.se and I put it up as a torrent both as mp3 and lossless. I love lossless and I’m pretty tired of the mp3 format. There have been even more downloads in the FLAC version than the mp3.
What’s your feeling about genre and style? When you start a new track, do you think, ‘this will be a skweee tune’ or ‘this will be a downtempo track’?
Every time I’ve tried that I think the music sounded pretty bad. But I’ve also made stuff that was perhaps too free. I thought, “I can do whatever I want”. But when I look at my own music I think there’s some reason why people like it and there are some qualities, and it feels stupid to make music that aren’t in that quality box. If I tried to make something else it might lose the likeability. But of course when I’m starting a new track I don’t want to make the same track all over again. I think the best thing for me is to make my sort of song.
A year ago I bought a dulcimer and I sat for months and played on that. The first version of the first remix I did for you (Double Dog Dare) I thought, “this isn’t skweee at all!” and thought you were going to be disappointed…
I never got to hear that…
No, I threw it all out. I said, I can’t give him this, it’s too weird. That was dulcimer stuff and I don’t think it was bad but it was totally inappropriate. It’s like if you’re really hooked on singer-songwriter music from the 60′s, you can’t make 80′s sounding synth-pop.
We’re in New York and you’re laying down tracks for a new album. What’s the album about?
The plan is to make something that sounds a little new, a little different. Maybe step back from the more polished thing and “dry” it up a bit and work on the punchy feeling. I’m in a place where I’m not too excited about any weird music or weird instruments but just want to do straight-forward good music.
I’m trying with the new album to make it from another approach. I was caught in a trap where I’d make a drum and bass loop and try to make it perfect. This time I started with the chords and the form, so hopefully the tracks will be good when they’re finished instead of just funky. I work slowly because I want to make music that’s not just here for a short while but can last. There’s the British club idea where you make a track, press it on vinyl and play it out that night. That’s clearly not my thing. Even though that can be good when the music is that fresh.
You’re one day into three days of sessions at Wonderful Recording which has an amazing collection of vintage synthesizers from the 1970′s and 80′s like the OSCar, MemoryMoog, Prophet 10 and Jupiter 8. You came in with tracks recorded at your home studio and you’ve been substituting these classic and unique sounds into your tunes. How is it working out?
It’s working out great. It’s been a lot of fun to start to use these instruments, although overwhelming. People are satisfied with the soft synths and don’t realize the difference in sound.
If you could take one of those classic synths back with you to Stockholm which would it be?
Well the MemoryMoog is sounding really good, and it’s looking good too.