Heading into the second half of 2014 it’s safe to say that the ‘New York House’ revival is over & the city has re-cemented itself as an integral hub of emerging & established artists & labels alike. White Material, The Corner, Bunker & our latest contributors, Voodoo Down Records have all shared the role in continuing the solid foundations laid down by Jus Ed, Levon, Fred P & DJ Qu.
Each label has created their on unique imprint of what New York House & Techno can be interpreted as. In VDR’s case, it’s hints of stormy, metallic loops, eerie vocals & crisp, yet weighty basslines all blending eloquently with warm elements of dub. INCHMIX008 succinctly explains their chosen direction in sound with N’conduit (Alex Hamadey) recording just shy of an hours worth of hypnotic tracks for us.
BYTHEINCH: Voodoo Down Records is a three way split between 12 x 12, L’estasi Dell’oro & yourself (N’conduit). How did you guys meet & form the label?
ALEX HAMADEY: So VDR is Sean Phillips, Chris Ernst and me, Alex Hamadey, respectively. Sean and I first met at a Resolute party when we first moved to New York back in 2009. We hit it off immediately and started djing and making tracks together. A couple years later we all met at a Wolf+Lamb party at the Marcy Hotel. Sean and Chris began talking about starting a vinyl label with the first release being an STL track. Chris and I are both close with him because we have released ambient records off his Something Records imprint (under the aliases Penalune & SmallBroadcasts) so I eventually jumped on when I saw they were serious haha.
Aside from STL & VDR’s own production, you also have Anton Zap, October & Joey Anderson featured on your releases. Were these producers apart of the original concept & direction of the label?
As I mentioned STL kind of enabled us to smoothly start the label cause he’s a heavyweight in the vinyl/techno world but VDR was originally designed as vehicle to get our own music out there on wax. As we began to pickup steam though, we started asking producers we’ve been digging for tracks & remixes and most have been down so far. So they were not exactly part of the original concept, but they helped shape the direction of the label.
Are there many obstacles faced with having one member living abroad or does the living arrangement work in your favour?
With Sean living in Berlin, it’s been helping quite a bit. He’s been meeting crazy amounts of producers, DJs, record shop owners, vinyl distributors etc which helps considering that the majority of our records are sold in Germany.
RA featured a piece on the “NY underground revival” in 2009, citing Jus Ed, Anthony Parasole, Levon Vincent, Fred P & DJ Qu as integral artist of the movement. How is the scene in Brooklyn now?
The “NY underground revival” it’s still happening I guess, but Brooklyn is and always has been a very dynamic city; its sounds and scenes are always evolving. So I think the scene that Levon and Fred P helped ignite is still here, it’s just different. With that said, here are some producers who have kept that fire burning quite brightly: Goitia Deitz, No Regular Play, Michael Christopher, Greg Z, Shawn O’Sullivan and anything from Francis Harris’ Scissor & Thread imprint.
VD004 has just been released featuring three tracks from yourself & a remix from Chloe Harris, are you able to tell us a bit more about the release?
Yep. I work in a pretty nice studio near downtown Brooklyn called Lindbergh Palace Studios. They have a lot of nice outboard gear and synths, but the Memory Moog has always caught my ears more than any other synth there (including an ARP2600). It’s a very organic and mercurial synth; you’ll be playing a simple chord and all of the sudden two of the oscillators will shift down like a third and then go up a half step and just stay there. Anyway, I wanted to make a record just with that synth at first but decided to limit myself to a TR-808 as well. I thought it would compliment the Memory Moog well because it’s a very piercing and sharp drum machine, so I figured it would cut well through the thick, dusty sounds of the Moog (hence the name Memory08).
Chloe was my first choice for a remix because I knew she’d make a really tight, coherent dance track while maintaining an etherial, triply vibe, which she absolutely nailed.
What’s in store for VDR over the next few months?
12×12 is putting out his first solo 12″ soon (we’ve included a track in the mix) and October and the VDR crew are finishing up a collaborative 12″. We have some other stuff down the pipeline but its a little too soon to say for sure what it will be.