Constructing a live set from scratch is a daunting experience. In similar vein to slot car racing, live sets have a limited amount of freedom for the artist to be diverse & change direction. If the crowd takes a turn (for better or worse) the artist can be stuck in a ‘live limbo’ unable to adapt to the changing environment. That being said, it’s a chance for the artist to showcase their creativity whilst using limited resources. Magic Mountain High springs to mind off the back of their live show at Free Rotation.
In this case Italian born, Berlin based DJ/Producers Hinode who have been residing in Berlin since 2008 have produced a perfect example of what live should be. Their set effortlessly flirts between Detroit, Belgium Rave, Acid & Dub Techno with little to no hints that a new track is in transition.
The guys met at an after party in Berlin which resulted in them bouncing ideas off each other in the studio. Being in a city that has an over saturation of ex-pat DJ’s trying to ‘break through’ with an empty record bag & high hopes, Hinode has gone from strength to strength in the last eighteen months with releases on Enlightened Wax & Monkey Bar Records. ‘The Hustlers’ EP on Monkey Bar also features a track by Detroit legend, Patrice Scott. The raw analogue equipment that is sprawled all over their studio has been put to good use in ‘Preliminal Session’ & ‘Waiting for the Sun’. Scott’s imprint is quintessentially deep Detroit, layered with synths & hypnotic drums making it no surprise that all 250 copies sold out within a week.
Take us through the process behind your live show.
Mario: We started experimenting around with all the analogue equipment in the studio & tried to plan out about an hours worth of material.
Matteo: We managed to compose about ten songs & that was it. I really enjoy playing live, it has whole different feel to it. Our first set we played after Andrés & before Patrice. We were pretty nervous not only because it was our first show but it was between those two artists (laughs).
Mario: And of course we had those thoughts at the start of the show, like “what if this synth fails” or “if the power shuts down” but it’s all apart of the experience.
Is analogue equipment important for you to use?
Mario: No not really, we’re just really into old equipment & how they sound; like Roland drum machines, Casio, Yamaha synths, we love all that stuff.
What do you currently have in your studio?
Matteo: We have a couple of synths, a few Roland drum machines, an old mixer.
What’s the mixer?
Mario: It’s an old Allen mixer from the 70’s
Run us through a session in the studio, do you go in with a strong idea or is it improvised?
Matteo: We always have an idea of what we want from a song but it’s definitely dependant on how we feel at the time.
Mario: We would have a chat once we finished a small session then say, “maybe leave this in or change this bit”, you know?
Matteo: Then we record everything on tape.
Mario: We’ll try other ways of recording. Like we’ll finish a track using one method such as a cassette tape, then we would record using a reel-to-reel to compare the sound. We try different compression methods & other ways to make our music sound different.
Matteo: We try to do everything live & by feel so we don’t get unnecessarily stuck on a certain part, we just go from start to finish & then work on it from there.
What was Berlin like when you initially moved over here compared to Rome / Italy?
Matteo: Yeah both were completely different. In Italy, there isn’t much of an underground scene.
Mario: Of course there are clubs but they only have big DJ’s that play, you know?
Matteo: The clubs focus on commercial music & everyone goes there.
Mario: Even with the scene here in Berlin, when we moved over here it was very closed.
Matteo: It was just 90’s German techno, hardly any house compared to Italy, who had this massive influence from America.
So it was very locally driven, both production & at the clubs?
Mario: Exactly. I think the music scene has improved & opened up a whole lot more from what it was five or six years ago.
Matteo: Tourists have helped, they’ve made an impact on the clubbing scene, both for good & bad.
Do you have any preference on where you play in Berlin?
Mario: Definitely smaller clubs
Matteo: Like Farbfernseher or Golden Gate
Mario: With a club like Farbfernseher we develop & connect more with the crowd & also the DJ’s that play before & after us.
What’s the longest set you’ve played?
Mario: About 6 hours, it was great (laughs)
Matteo: Anything after three hours is perfect. Once you’ve reached that mark you fit everything perfectly into your set, you can really go on a proper journey & be versatile with the genres you play.
Mario: It’s fun & it’s easier to manage the crowd when you’re playing for that long.
Matteo: It’s more of a connection rather than a challenge playing that long which is why i prefer it.
Mario: Sometimes you can be pretty powerful within a two hour set but it’s a different attitude. Those times we’ll go in, assess the atmosphere & after two-three tracks we’ve already picked up the tempo.
I guess when you’re playing longer you wouldn’t party as much.
Matteo: Definitely. It’s harder to play fucked up, especially for those longer sets.
Mario: You lose touch & momentum with the party & from there you start to play selfish.
Digging is made slightly easier for Hinode since they helped open Recordloft near Kottbusser Tor with owner Christian Pannenburg mid last year. An impressive shop with plenty of space practically filled with thousands of records personally collected by Christian & the gang. 5% of the collection covers records from 2000 – current day, the rest are shelves filled with test pressings, promo copies & more often than not, some rare gems.
Mario: It’s funny because i used to go into this other shop, Power Park where Christian used to work. After a while i ended up working there & started helping Chris with his own business.
Matteo: He had his whole record collection with a few other crates & wanted to start a discogs project. It was more private selling rather than the big business way of selling records.
Mario: We started organising a database for discogs, sorting through records. Chris is very knowledgeable with old labels, especially with 70’s/80’s Disco.
Matteo: When it launched it was all online, private sales & then sometimes some local DJs would pop into his small office to buy in person.
Mario: Then after a few months it became too busy so we decided to look for a proper store.
What was the process from there?
Matteo: It was a long one (laughs) aside from spending most of the year driving all over Germany collecting records from retired DJs & collectors, it took us six months to finalise the place which includes the legalities of the venue.
Mario: It’s in a great location at Kottbusser Tor which was originally a ghetto in the 90’s. It still is somewhat of a ghetto but with new flats and different people moving in there so the area’s changing. Then we spent the Summer building the place; shelves, listening booths however we didn’t do too much promotion, it’s mostly word of mouth.
Matteo: Word spreads quickly around Berlin; parties, new stores, everyone tells every friend about something new that’s happening (laughs)
The first thing i noticed when i went there is that the collection is rich in history. Sections of 90’s New York house or piles of old Italo records that would never have seen the light of day, even on discogs.
Mario: The good thing about Christian is that he tries to help people discover & learn about good music or explain how different styles progressed in the 80’s to the 90’s. It’s important to know how different dance culture was fifteen/twenty years ago. Not many people were sharing as much as they are today & it wasn’t easy to find music compared to now.
Matteo: It’s an important part of history & even though it’s modern history, it’s still important for the history of electronic music.
Mario: It’s good for Berlin, like we said they developed a bit later discovering other artists & opening up outside of the locals. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago since the wall was taken down & it’s taken a long time for the city to rebuild which includes letting people in from the outside.
Matteo: Now there’s people from all over the world coming here & they’re creating their own scenes which is keeping music alive.
Plus there’s always the joy of digging, collecting & physically connecting with a vinyl.
Mario: Exactly, the more effort you put into your set during the week, the better your set will sound on the weekend.
INCHMIX005: Hinode ‘Science Fiction’
Fluid rhythmic migrations & hypnotic layering of the quintessential Detroit soundscapes.
MARIO’S TOP 5
1. Luomo – Synkro (Vocalcity Album) 2000
2. Claude Young – Changing Factors (Frictional Recordings) 1995
3. DJ Bone – Electronic Birth (Molecular Recordings) 1996
4. Aaron Carl – Tears (Subject Detroit) 2006
5. Innerspace Halflife – Stratosphere (Machining Dreams) 2012
MATTEO’S TOP 5
1.Three Chairs – Three Chairs 1997
2.Rise Of The Moon – Flash Factor – (Vigilante Records) 1996
3.Synchrojack – Cash Machines – (Ferox Records) 1995
4.Kenny Larkin – Ancient Beats / Seduce Her – (Peacefrog Records) 2004
5.Octave One – The Living Key – (430 West) 1997