5 Facts, 5 Tracks: Askel & Elere
Hailing from dark and snowy Finland, Juho Kavasto (Askel) and Sainey Gibba (Elere) have individually, and collectively, been providing the liquid side of the Drum & Bass scene with some seriously sublime sonics since 2018. Finding inspiration in the challenging landscape of their homeland, they conjure up melancholic melodies and curious compositions which have their own unique flavour. Quickly grabbing the attention of Soulvent Records, this prolific pairing have been blessing our eardrums with a run of releases on a variety of labels, including Fokuz, Delta9 and Hospital Records.
Both standalone musicians in their own right, Askel & Elere meld rich and diverse elements from a broad spectrum of genres. They draw from an arsenal of techniques to deliver their futuristic compositions too – Elere’s vocal prowess and bass playing roots give him a great understanding of low-end, while Askel has a deft and detailed demeanour in his approach to all things percussive as a drummer. With tastes ranging from West African folk to political hardcore punk, calming neo-soul to videogame soundtracks spanning the last 15 years, the result of their efforts always produces fresh sounding music which rarely rests on its laurels.
The pair have already achieved a number of childhood aspirations, including providing DJ support for loungecore D&B pioneer London Elektricity in Helsinki, releasing vinyl on Med School Music and receiving healthy airtime on a wealth of radio stations including BBC Radio 1, Rinse FM, Vision Radio and Finnish national station YleX. But this fact in no way, shape or form means they’re getting complacent; their continued drive and passion for the music shows no signs of slowing down, with them receiving regular DJ support from the likes of DJ Marky, René LaVice and Random Movement.
While 2021 promises so much for the world, these two bright young talents will ensure that whatever takes place will have a burgeoning soundtrack to pair whatever the weather. With their latest release ‘Get Up / Nothing More’ dropping on Soulvent last Friday (5th February) we thought it would be a good time to get to know the guys with our 5 Facts, 5 Tracks feature.
1) We’ve been friends since about age 12. Growing up in a town of about 8000 people it’s a miracle we ever even found Drum & Bass, haha!
2) Over the years we’ve collectively made music under (or as a part of) at least these monikers/acts: Askel & Elere, Puzzle & Casio, Allotropy, YENIAS, Cyril Awakens, Vaavi, and our beloved high school pop punk band called Cartwheels On A Pirate Plankwalk.
3) Askel has a background in punk music, and he plays the drums. Elere has some more formal musical training, and he can play at least the piano, guitars and bass. And sing. Show-off.
4) Askel is Askel’s favourite Finnish word – we don’t have many that end in an L – and it means “a step”. Elere, on the other hand, is a West African string instrument.
5) We both went to uni to study music production and sound design, so it’s not untrue to say we’ve been formally trained in making laser pistol noises and punching watermelons for sound design purposes.
Kohta Takahashi ‘Naked Glow’
We’ve both always been hugely influenced by video game music, and this one from Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998) is one of those tunes that has stuck with us throughout the years. Just listen to that juicy breakbeat, and the rhodes piano switch-up at 1:44!
Another video game related choice – this one we know from FIFA11. Caribou is masterful at combining organic instruments with electronic music techniques, and there’s also a sense of not taking himself or the music too seriously – for lack of a better word – that we appreciate. Really fun tune!
Little Dragon ‘After The Rain’
Hearing this for the first time around 2007-2008 was mind blowing – such an unexpected track. Actually this whole album has everything we love about neo-soul/neo-jazz, and Little Dragon continues to be one of our favourite bands. Collaborating with the singer Yukimi Nagano some day would be an absolute dream come true.
Bloc Party ‘Like Eating Glass’
The opening track of Bloc Party’s debut album ‘Silent Alarm’. Probably the album we’ve listened to most collectively, definitely shaped us quite a bit during our teens! Super glad we got to see them live once in 2012 before the original lineup fell apart. Askel took a swim in the Baltic Sea after the gig.
Helios ‘First Dream Called Ocean’
Many Drum & Bass heads probably know the Stray remix of this – which is fantastic – but the original is also beautiful. Both of us like to listen to a lot of ambient music and this is one of the staples for sure.