In Conversation with… System Of Survival
House legends and long-time Circoloco residents System of Survival will soon be releasing their new EP, ‘Nu Soul Era’, on Decet, a budding Spanish label. The four-tracker features two originals from System of Survival, as well as two remixes from Chi-town legends Ricardo Miranda and Boo Williams.
The release is coming ahead of a busy summer for the Italian duo, which will see them starting their new SOundScape party in London, with another Italian supremo Don Carlos joining them. We got the chance to talk to them about the new party, the current state of Ibiza, record labels and much more.
Let’s start by talking about the summer ahead. What are your plans for it? Will you be back at DC10 again?
Hi guys, a pleasure to meet you. Well, some good things are coming this summer. Spring starts with our performance this week at International Design Week in Milan. At the design week, we will see our friends Soulclap, Riva Starr, Stefano Fontana to name a few. It’s a big event and we are happy to collaborate every year with our brothers Antonio Ponti and Beppe Treccia from Killer Kiccen. We are very well connected to Milan because we used to live there and we have a lot of good friends there.
Then we will be in London to launch our SOundScape Party at Platform in Shoreditch. Joining us will be one of the legends of the Italo House and a pioneer of the intelligent dance music (and very good friend), Don Carlos
We are working to bring SOundScape to Amsterdam over the summer with the help of our collaborator Carlotta Borromeo. We are in touch with different promoters and organizations and hope to close the deals soon and start planning everything.
We are finishing our calendar for the summer with some good clubs around Europe. We’re also setting up a Tour in Asia between July and August. Of course, we will present in Ibiza playing for some new events and “maybe” back at Circoloco where we have been residents for almost 15 years.
As for Barcelona, we are thrilled about this new collaboration that sees us engaged in a series of events with the Italian Consul Gaia Danese.
So, Stay Tuned…
It’s a somewhat obvious question, but what’s your take on where the island is musically right now? Is it somewhere that still inspires you to make music?
The music in Ibiza is a mix of many “things” and whether you share it or not, it changes nothing. Ibiza is a reflection of everything that is happening in the international club scene.
There are, of course, scenes that offer a different musical program, such as the Nightmare on Wax Party, “Wax Da Jam” or The Garden in Tisno (Croatia)
But Ibiza is different now, now it is an “industry” and the promoters that before were party people themselves, they are inevitably now “real” managers. Always attentive and ready to take care of everything in order to satisfy the demanding customers of the white island…
As for us and for some other of our colleagues, we will be always like a skater at the next Olympic Games but that’s okay. The important thing is to make people dance and have fun.
You guys are based in Barcelona now, right? Why was it the right time to leave Ibiza? And what does a life in Barcelona offer that Italy and Ibiza cannot?
We left Ibiza due to logistical needs. When we lived there, in winter the flights were few and travel over the weekend had become quite complicated with devastating stopovers. At the end of the summer season 2012, when we decided to move from Ibiza, we took the winter months to test some of the European capitals that could be good for us. So we arranged to spend two months in each of the following cities: Berlin, London, Salerno (our hometown) and Barcelona.
In the end, we choose Barcelona for logistic purposes as we said but also the proximity with Ibiza, good weather. Above all, because it is a city with many smooth and flat roads that allowed us to easily go around with our skateboards.
We’re really digging this new EP! Can you tell us a bit about how it came about? What was the sound you were going for on this one?
Happy you like it guys! This EP reflecting perfectly the real sound of SOS. The sound that is more close to us, the one that we like to bring to the clubs when we are going around playing. A mix of 90’s Chicago and Detroit sound. As you may have noticed in the last years, we use to explore and produce different music, different sounds. We love to go through different genres, experimenting and then watching the people reaction. Fundamentally we believe that house music is exactly this.
You have two legends of electronic music delivering remixes on the release, Boo Williams and Ricardo Miranda. How did you settle on these guys for the remixes and what did you make of the remixes the first time you heard them?
We are talking about Chicago sound and as we said before, it’s a part of our roots. Gaetano (the label Boss) had the desire to make an ep with two original tracks with two remixes from artists close to our sound.
At that time the names of Boo and Ricardo came out clearly because we were in love with some of their tracks…
So we wrote to the two “youngsters” and the result is the promo you have listened to.
At first listen, the two remixes fully satisfied us. It was exactly what we expected from both, Ricardo and Boo. Two excellent remixes that complete an ep of great music. And of course, when we tested it in the clubs, the people reacted with enthusiasm, exactly as we expected.
We think we will hear a lot of things about this vinyl because is an excellent product, and it will give a lot of satisfaction to everyone involved.
With remixes, do you ever worry that you won’t like them? Did you give Ricardo and Boo free reign to do as they like or did you ask them to conform to a certain template?
We did not worry about it, no doubt at all! When we choose an artist to remix our tracks we do it because we trust them blindly. We believe that when a job is commissioned, no indications should be given. We think that you choose a remixer because you love his sound and therefore there should not be any form of “contamination” or pressure. So, just to ensure that the final product is exactly the artist’s vision, without any “indication”.
And what do you think constitutes a good remix?
Of course, the most interesting thing is the fact of having more visions of the same track. It is the most fascinating and interesting part when some remixes are added into an artist’s music project.
Can you also talk us through your relationship with Deset, a label that’s still relatively new to the scene?
Deset is a new label but managed by people who work in the music industry for almost 10 years. Gaetano is first of all a great friend, with a great music taste and a good background. Surely it will be a label that will be on the radar.
Can you tell us a bit about Ianus71 and Fventi? Will they be putting out music again or where are you at with them right now?
I71 is simply on standby, but only because we have regular releases on other labels, and we like to leave space between one release and another.
Fventi, on the other hand, is very productive and fairly regular. The latest release “Italian Job EP” by tree Italo-Swiss Artist: Juzz, Oniwax, Mauro Villareale which has just come out. And we are very proud of our Cover Art designer Aka_B. Every cover is hand drawn and unique, a piece of art!
You’ve put out music on a wide range of labels, such as BPitch Control, Get Physical, My Favourite Robot and many more, as well your own labels. What would you say are the main differences between releasing your music on someone else’s label versus releasing your music on your own label?
Obviously receiving requests from other labels is always a pleasure. Even better if these are managed by friends.
It is not in our style to chase the label of the moment, we believe that the important thing is to share and make good music so that the latter can support the market so that everything is always active, fresh and cutting edge.
This is why it is important for the producer to be focused, free from pressure, open-minded because regardless of the label the only reason why you choose a track should be for the music. The current market is a bit distorted, it should all be very fluid and free from preconceptions and above all the users or the industry people should always be stay updated. Those artists who are good at making music should be taken in consideration by labels and clubs regardless of their tastes because beyond that, there is an essential component that should be taken in consideration and it is about skill, technique, passion and the talent of an artist… not the hype.
These are the “rules” that: manager / booking agent / promoters etc… should observe in order to have more of a meritocracy and cleanliness in the scene and consequently make the world realize beyond all that this is a real profession, not a hobby as many still believe.
You’re going to be playing in London soon alongside another giant of house music, Don Carlos. I know you guys regularly play at events alongside such esteemed producers and DJs, but was it like to be sharing a bill with someone like Don?
We were very young when we started playing alongside these artists and the truth is that even today after more than 25 years and thousands of parties. it is always exciting to support these very special people.
As he’s Italian too, is he someone you’ve known a while? Do you remember the first time you heard ‘Alone’?
We met in person recently, but we have followed his work since the beginning.
We bought our copies of Alone at that time and we keep it as a relic. We would have loved to know Don at that time but we lived at the two opposite side of the Italian boot and we were not even old enough to be driving. Then growing up, we went away from Italy and we never had the chance to meet personally and spend time together. But we are regaining the lost time and soon we will certainly work together on some studio projects.
Stay tuned 2…
Italy enjoyed a classic deep house period around the time of that track’s release, yet it seems like techno is now the main sound in the country. Is that a fair presumption do you feel? And if so, what do you attribute this to?
We lived during that period (the 90s in Italy) since the beginning, despite our young age.
And it’s definitely hard not to be nostalgic, it is the same thing that someone would say who had participated at Woodstock in 1969.
Surely, the most beautiful moment in all things is when they start because in that moment there are various components that coexist and create the magic that existed at parties in those years.
We were like a tribe, we moved from one end to another to participate in parties where the DJ’s or the band’s (like the Orb, 808 State, Orbital, etc) performed that kind of music.
There are so many stories about that era that we would like to tell you, but we believe that reading them is reductive. You would lose the gestures and the expression in our faces…
Can you tell us a little bit about the event then and what’s in store?
SOundScape was born as a series of podcasts and then became a regular show on Ibiza Sonica Radio (since 3 years ago). Then, it landed as a party in various clubs like the Macarena in Barcelona. A project we want to grow up by trying to keep it off the mainstream circuits. It is important for us to be present in London and especially in the East and the Platform club seems to be the right place.
For us, London is a very important city for the European dance music scene.
Beautiful and multiracial, perfect for those who love music without borders, for those who want to explore and be overwhelmed and surrounded by a thousand of colours and thousands of different accents.
These words should suffice to make you understand how much we love this city, and how much we are tied to this style of life.
We are Punks first of all…
Finally, can you tell us a bit more about what you’ve been up to recently and what we can expect from you over the next while?
One of the things we did recently and that we are very proud of is our last vinyl release on RAWAX. One of the most important labels of the last years, they have done a very important job releasing music by the creators and by new generations with a special talent in producing this kind of music. With this EP we present our new project DistortionUnderControl that reflects our most dirty, acid, industrial, electronic side. We continue with our radio show regularly every Friday and we are focused on all the projects we talked about above and they take a lot of time. Busy, busy, busy life but we love it.
‘Nu Soul Era’ will be released soon on Decet. If you’re in London, don’t forget to pop down to Shoreditch Platform on the 28th April for System of Survival and Don Carlos. Get tickets here!