We write about the EDM malady of our copy-and-paste era all the time. Mainstream radio stations, DJ Mag’s Top 100, and festival mainstages are chock-full of artists that use the same, effortless sounds over and over again. Fortunately, there is a massive wave of electronic musicians who are doing everything they can to bring back originality to our beloved, all-encompassing genre. French-native Andrea can easily be classified as one of them.
It’s been over three years since his first EP was released on SoundCloud, and he’s showed no signs of slowing down, highlighted by his most recent release on Jakarta Records: Black Magic.
Growing up in France, how did a producer like yourself stray from the permeating European influences of house?
When I was a kid, everybody grew up with Daft Punk. My parents also made me listen to UK bands, like Portishead, so I had a sort-of experimental, analog trip hop influence as well. Something more ‘deep.’ I had a teenage banger phase *laughs*, but I would always listen to downbeat, hazy and smoky stuff. So as soon as I got out of that shitty teenage phase, that’s all I wanted to make. As a result of this, it wasn’t that hard for me to be that different.
Which artists have given you the biggest inspiration?
I think I started producing for 6 years with releases of electronica, and ambient downbeat tracks. But as soon as I listened to Shlohmo – it was that Burial remix [Shell Of Light] – I wanted to make that kind of music right away. Burial can be included as well, although I didn’t know what [his style] really was at the time. Portishead, like I said, was also a huge influence because of my parents.
Your recent NASA EP featured a trio of gorgeously ominous tracks that showcased a unique exclusion of percussion-centered songs. What do you think was different about the production process of Black Magic?
NASA came about because I was bored and wanted to do something meaningful, and something that reflected how I felt at the time. I was kind of frustrated because I actually finished Black Magic before NASA, but it took some time to get released. I ended up using NASA to tell a story that was defined by pictures and ambiences, and that’s why there’s a music video included that I edited for one of the tracks. Black Magic is different because it’s not only a bit less ambient, but more dark and gloomy as well. There are five tracks on it, and I tried to make each one its own unique thing, doing as much as I possibly could to accentuate them.
You’ve collaborated with several talented artists including MISOGI and Andru. What have you learned from working with them?
A lot of different things actually. I learned a ton from Andru regarding how to make a sound come out super big, texture-y, and deep. He has a skill in audio engineering that is just mind-blowing; he can just make anything sound huge. With MISOGI, he could make anything simple sound cool. I always tend to do way too much with my music, like a lot of sound design and textures, but MISOGI will take something really simple and turn it into something interesting. I love it – and I’m not able to do that kind of thing – so working with him allowed me to try and learn about making sounds a bit more simple and effective.
If you could collaborate with any producer or singer, who would it be?
The two artists I would collaborate with are James Blake – although that’d mainly be for his production prowess as opposed to his vocals – and Lapalux. James has a knack to take anything and convert it to techno, and I’d have so much to learn. When you listen to his tracks, you can hear all the different things he can do to his voice, making his style so unique and rich. One thing that amazes me with Lapalux, is that he inspires me even though I’m very ‘Nazi-ish’ with that style of music. I always talk shit about genres I don’t keep up with, but his production quality is the most amazing thing I’ve heard every time he releases a track. He succeeds at exactly what I’m trying to do, but in a different style.
What can we expect from you in the second half of 2015?
I’ve been remixing a lot of rap, hip-hop, and R&B tracks lately, and I’m going to release a first volume of five or six remixes. It’s more of something that I can play during my DJ sets. I never get to play my own tracks, as I don’t have any bangers. I’m also working on a collab album – can’t say with who – and starting on a beat tape with a rap artist as well.