MONKEY SAFARI – NOISY ARP SYNTH

Riding in with the power to deliver sunshine to world’s rainiest open-air events, Monkey Safari brings rays of light to whatever dance floors they cast their shimmering spell on. 2017 has been yet another impressive year for the duo to with releases on the likes of UNER’s Solar Distance and their own Hommage imprint. Their most recent release ‘Oxy’ featured as part of John Digweed’s ‘Bedrock Frequencies’ compilation which included 31 exclusive tracks from some of the labels favourite artists, reaching #2 in Beatport’s Progressive House chart. With a new album scheduled for the late months, expect the rest of the year to be equally as impressive as the duo aim to make it their biggest to date. The German outfit has been on an incredible run of form with promising developments in all of their endeavors and exciting news still to come. Be it a fresh remix or EP drop, DJ set or party, Monkey Safari will be sure to touch all scopes of dance culture with no signs of deceleration on the horizon. Their mandate remains the same, sending sunny vibes to make even the darkest dance floors smile.

For those who don’t know you are real life brothers so walk us through how Monkey Safari came to be? Were you guys producing solo at any time in your career?

We started djing around 15 years ago, when we bought two 1210s and a mixer. We never played together, because Sven was more into UK Garage/Big Beat and Electronic Music and I came from the Hip Hop and Soul music side of things. After a couple of years we founded our first label together with some friends and that was the starting point of Monkey Safari. The whole music production thing started at this point. We never produced any solo records alone.

The name Monkey Safari is something that you instantly remember when hearing it, how did you eventually settle on that as an artist moniker?

We’d tell you, but we’d have to kill you.

Do you have different roles in terms of who does what production wise?

I (Lars) do most of the creative production work in the studio. I create raw ideas of tracks and we listen to it together. We choose the ones we like best and then I create an rough arrangement. We test it during our sets and finish it together in the studio. That was also how the “Odyssey” album was created.

Your new album ‘Odyssey’ is out this week on your Hommage imprint. You must feel incredibly satisfied to finally see it released. Tell us about the process of putting it together. We understand it went through quite a few different paths before ending up where it is now.

It has come a really long and it’s taken about 3 years from its inception to finally being released. I think we produced 4 complete albums during this time. When we started, we were headed towards a “listening album”, but there was never a point we felt really happy with it. The idea of producing a club album was not interesting to us for a long time, but when we decided to focus more to the floor suddenly the flow was there.

https://soundcloud.com/monkeysafari/sets/monkey-safari-odyssey-album

How much road testing were done on the tracks before eventually settling on a final track list?

We played it for about a year in almost every set. During the week we changed certain things and tested it again on the next weekend. It’s safe to say we tested the tracks a lot!

The album artwork is stunning, it’s essentially a collage of your faces melted together. Tell how that came to be and is there a deeper meaning behind the concept?

I think it was the first time we worked together a lot in the studio. The whole thing is something that came from both of our minds, melted together in these 11 tracks. We thought it would be a perfect statement to put both of us on the cover but melted in one person. The reactions on the cover are totally different, and friends of ours who have known us for a long time are totally confused when they look at the picture. Even our mother doesn’t see which part of the picture shows which bits of her two sons.

We premiered the powerful ‘From The Purple Sky’ from the album and the reaction has been excellent. Walk us through the production process on that one.

The rough layout is from an old project I created 3 years ago. At the beginning it was more like an ambient track without a bass drum and just a few percussion elements. When we finished the album there was one track we were not sure about adding it to the album. I searched for some of the old projects and ideas and found this one after it was lost in our archives for a few years. I created a more dancefloor-oriented arrangement and built this noisy arp synth which brought much more drive in the track. We tested it and the reaction when we played it for the first time was awesome.

A lot of electronic music fans tend to relate emotion to melody but it can come from something much simpler and more indistinct. This album has a lot of those moments where just a kick drum or high hat dropping at the right moment can be quite impactful. Is this something you envisioned from the beginning?

Emotion is a native thing in every form of electronic music. When you have a melody in major it sounds mostly happy and in minor mostly sad. It’s sometimes easier to realize which emotion the creator of the track wanted to transport. Electronic music is influenced by pop music in this way. The more interesting way is to create an emotion without a melodic phrase. Minimal Techno is a good example of how monotony can cause an explosion of endorphins just with a hi-hat.

I remember this moment a few years ago at Melt Festival where there was a track that was only a bassdrum and really minimalistic percussions. For maybe 5 minutes there was only a bassdrum and thousands of people in front of a huge sound system were waiting for this one moment. There are a lot people who find this boring but when you let yourself fall into it and close your eyes and just wait for the right moment it can be something much more emotional than every melody you know. It’s the feeling that something will happen but you don’t know when. It is anticipation but you don’t know for what. You might feel lost because it’s not in your hands and you don’t know what is going to happen. At this moment you only have the bassdrum. Without white noise and without a low cut and with nothing that lets you expect something will happen. Then this hi-hat came in. I have never seen a floor exploding like it ever again. Timing is really important. And yes: we tried to create those moments.

https://soundcloud.com/progressiveastronaut/premiere-monkey-safari-from-the-purple-sky-original-mix-hommage

Is this album the greatest achievement of your career? and if not what is?

I don’t know if it is the greatest achievement but it’s a good display of the status quo of our musical development over the last few years.

Tell us a bit about your label Hommage, how long has it been running and what’s the vision behind it?

Hommage has been running for 4 years now. It was our aim to create our own platform for artists we like or want to support and ourselves. The vision lies in our musical point of view, to create music that sounds like us and not like any other label.

What advice would you have for artists hoping to get signed to the label?

Produce music that sounds inspiring and surprises. We love artists that dare to do something new with their music.

What artists are you seeing big things for in the future, who should we look out for?

Definitely the boys from ‘Avidus’, who will release an EP on Hommage in December. The record will feature a remix from ourselves and one from Marino Canal, who is also one to watch out for in the future!!

Let’s end with your current Top 5, what are you loving at the moment?

1. Roland JP-8000
2. Pizza Capricciosa from Salvatore
3. Netflix
4. Origins from Dan Brown
5. The list of remixers for the Odyssey Remix Album coming in 2018!

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