Interview With: Know VA
Give us a little background into yourselves and the music scene growing up in Amsterdam
We’re two guys from Amsterdam. We’ve been friends for a long time, having the same interests and musical development in the years that we know each other. We kept pointing out new stuff to each other. These kinds of understandings confirmed multiple times that we have the same view in music. Eventually we decided to merge our efforts under one name. Amsterdam has been a great place for us getting involved into new stuff. The city offered us enough events to go to and to play at.
How has the culture there changed over years? What sort of scenes are currently bubbling away there / wherever you are now?
The culture keeps on changing here, same as in every city i assume. The spotlight shifts to some genres so now and then, but you could say that every genre or style has a representative in Amsterdam. The developments in Amsterdam is comparatively to what is happening in London & Berlin.
There are quite a lot of good producers around here. I think right now there’s really some talented artists here that try to find and create their own thing. I think there’s quite interesting development in sonic experiment. Some events here are focused on the experimental, noisy side of grime and club-music, which is very cool too see! Also the whole 80-85 bpm halftime thing is picked up a bit more and more. Would love to see more of that though. In the weekend there a few club nights/festivals who have the right idea such as Sonic Acts, Rewire, Progress Bar, Juxtapose and of course what we try to do with our night HOAX. But i would say that the most interesting things happen during the week. When promotors aren’t obliged to keep a crowd dancing. They tend to give place to interesting (live) acts who need to be heard. Subbacultcha! & Red Light Radio have a great part in this. We’re just observing everything that comes trough and we keep following what we like.
Talk us briefly through the new EP and what people can expect from it
When Hans asked us to send over some tunes for a vinyl-only release, we wanted to form a whole. We had just started working in studio of a friend, drum n bass producer Nymfo, who recently became father so the studio was empty once a week. We finished the EP in a couple of days actually. It’s very listener friendly as well as having a club-focus.
Talk us through some of the production process on the beats, it was based heavily around a custom made sample pack wasn’t it?
Well because this was going to be a vinyl only, we wanted to create something that would the fit the exclusivity a limited printed vinyl has. Instead of collecting a batch of tunes we already produced. We had an idea about how it should sound and we started with designing a sample/synth pack just for this release. From this pack we formed one coherent arrangement. We defined 3 parts in the sequence and after some adjustments it resulted in these three tracks. Normally we choose from a wider library and history of sounds and build up tracks one by one. Being confined to this pack forced us to be more creative with what we could use.
How does it work with a group dynamic? Do you always work together in the studio or independent of each other?
Most of the times we work independently, making rough sketches and frameworks. Then we come together to listen to the material we made and we decide which ideas work best. Then we finish them together or separately but there’s always a dialogue. Because we’re with two we produce a lot of material so it’s hard to keep track of everything we do. We never release material if we don’t both agree on it a 100%. It’s good to keep each other sharp, to prevent ear-fatigue.
What are the plans around the release and what else can we expect in the coming months from yourselves and Lowriders?
Know V.A.: We got a couple of things lined-up. Marijn is finishing the video for Clusters, and we’re throwing a release party this weekend over in Rotterdam. Also we’re doing some guest mixes on for NTS and others.
The rest of the year we’re doing some cool shows in the Netherlands and Belgium. Two remixes we did are coming out on Lowriders. And we’re doing multiple releases this year but can’t say anything specific about it yet. We’re also going to work with vocalist very soon, looking forward to that.
Hans (LowRiders headhoncho): Lowriders will be releasing an album with dutch electronics/IDM artist Marsman. The next one in the Dazzle series is from JL Sanders aka JLXSND7RS one of the upcoming grime producers who preciously released on Spooky’s Ghost House imprint and Slimzee’s new label. Next to that, expect a remix album of Kypski’s release and some new dutch producers like the amazing Holowave.