Get Familiar: Modern Intimacy V/A Contributors (Part 1)
After United Identities' successful first vinyl release "Modern Intimacy Volume 1" in 2020, founder, DJ, producer and music curator, Carista decided it was time for round two. Named after her debut mixtape, United Identities are proud to present "Modern Intimacy Volume 2". This album is a blend of contemporary and futuristic sounds by 10 rising Dutch artists curated by the label head herself. The compilation intends to nurture and showcase contemporary Dutch homegrown artists and the range of their craft; Breaking the boundaries of sound and genre as we know it, with a refusal to be categorized or caged in. We caught up with the cast of the compilation so we could get familiar with what they get up to.
How did your contribution to the V/A come together?
Carista was one of the first people I started sending my music to. I have a friend who is deep into the Utrecht scene and he gives me suggestions of who to send my tracks to. After my initial release at 3024, I sent her the track 'On' which she liked and we linked up.
Your first release was in 2021, what were some earlier attempts of yours at making music?
I have been making music for some time now but it took a while before I was confident enough to release it. I started making beats when I was 14 listening to dj Chuckie and trying to emulate that sound. There was a long period where I was just messing around with fruity loops. After this period I switched up to Ableton and got more interested in actually finalizing tunes and the engineering side of things.
There is a certain haunting energy behind your track "On", what was the creative process behind this composition?
It always starts with a feeling and I build around that. It's an iterative process that really doesn't have a fixed structure. I add and remove things until I feel like there is a coherent "story".
What do you like most about the Utrecht scene?
I really like Orbit festival. They recently had their first edition and the energy there was something I had not experienced in Utrecht before. My favourite club night in Utrecht is WAS. Another club night which I feel is worth checking out is Freaky Dancing. They combine live shows, installations and electronic/dj acts in a seamless fashion. I also love what Uncloud is doing with their installations. I think they are involved in all the events I mentioned.
What can we expect in the future from you?
More DJ sets, more releases, and I will be developing my live set some more
You have had quite the year with multiple festival appearances and now you have this contribution to the V/A, how are you feeling about it all?
I’m feeling very blessed and thankful. I have been working on my music for some time and this just reminds me that my investments are worthy . It's a gentle reminder that I should keep myself focused and on track so I can keep moving forward in life.
What was the creation process for this track on Modern Intimacy 2 like for you?
It was fun! For the lead sound I modulated the oscillator frequency of a sine wave with a LFO and tweaked it until it sounded like I was trying to fuse atoms. This fusion occurs when two or multiple atoms slam together to form a heavier atom. A similar process happens within the sun and creates a lot of friction and energy. It felt like I was doing that in my room with a synthesizer. Once I made the lead the rest came naturally. I think a good track is something that occurs in the moment and doesn’t have to take hours.
What is next for you?
Only God knows. I’ll try my best to improve myself and my music every day.
How was it going to Kiosk Radio with the rest of the squad?
It is always a blessing to be able to travel because of music, it gets me excited. It was fun hanging out with everyone in Brussels and being able to talk about music and other interests. Also I didn’t meet everyone before this occasion so it was nice to meet some new talented makers!
What does community radio mean to you?
It is an important factor within the electronic music industry. I like to look at it as a part of a bigger ecosystem. Everything is in service of each other and everyone compliments one another with their hard work. So it means as much to me as any other part of this ‘ecosystem’. I love all of it! The radio’s, the clubs, the producers, the DJ’s, the dancers, the listeners, the record stores, the labels, the event organizers etc. And because community radio’s are volunteer based (a lot of times), I think it's a beautiful example of what can happen if you work together. Also when talking about Kiosk Radio specifically, they really provide a place that brings people together to experience music. Even when it’s raining super hard outside.
What do you like to get up to more, the live sets or the DJ sets?
Live sets to me are the most honest musical expression I can give to a crowd. I’ve done them before, but it can be tricky, so I try to figure out what works best for me. I’m working on improving my live set right now. I hope to bring the new audt98 live set to the clubs very soon! Apart from that I still really enjoy DJing. I hope to find a balance between the two so I can keep doing both.
What can we expect from you in 2023?
How did your contribution to the V/A come together?
We started producing in a time where we couldn’t go clubbing, so the music turned out to be something that was not necessarily club music. Well, we think it works on a dance floor, but we’ve made most of our music in isolation with just the three of us in a little studio booth. So in the search of a label to release our music, we struggled to find a label that does this combination of clubby sounds, but also experiments with others genres like jazz and soul, like we love to do our selves. We’ve sent our music to Carista and to our surprise she played one of the tracks on her BBC1 residency show the same week. After that we stayed in contact. We were really drawn by United Identies’ credo of equality above ego and the way they’re releasing new music.
You typically centre your expression around electronic dance music, how did your earlier experiences with music shape this?
We are a mix of different musical backgrounds that found a shared passion in electronic music. With Lukas being a more classical trained producer, Hugo an electronic music geek from day one and, David coming more from the jazz/world side of things, it’s dance music that really brings the three of us together. So our studio sessions can sometimes be a bit chaotic, with Hugo throwing ideas around about how everything should sound like and David pitching dozens of free jazz or speech samples. Luckily, Lukas is there to makes sense out of all this and use his expertise to meditate it into something actually playable.
What is the scene in The Hague like and who gets you excited about this city?
The scene in The Hague is unique in its autonomous way of operating. There are a lot of people doing exciting stuff all the time, but there’s not one scene. Everybody knows each other, but there is rarely a clustering of ideas. This makes a highly diverse city with a lot of great initiatives popping up. Especially Future Intel serves as a backbone of the electronic scene in The Hague, actively giving every young or new artist a chance to express themselves through their platform.
Since you came together, what has the collaborative process been like?
We are all quite pragmatic, so the first year of our process was really consistent. We had just decided to meet every week, and consequently we sketched out quite a lot of tracks an ideas. This summer we had a little off-time, being busy with personal endeavors and our new collective and label Fish Tapes, where we released our first music. Its been fun, but our weekly schedule is back in place in our new and improved studio and music is flowing out again!
Where do your productions fit in with the music that you mix as DJs?
Hugo & David are the ones DJing as Conrad Soundsystem. Actually that’s where it all started, DJing in David’s house that we nicknamed ‘the Conrad’ after its street name (with house number 38A). We were mostly trying to find tracks that are well put together and have a certain groove, but still have this sense of musicality. We think it’s that combination that we are striving for when we started producing as well, we always wanted to make music that would fit in our DJ-sets.
What can we expect from you over the coming months?
Now that we’re back in the studio our focus will be on making new music again and looking out for places to showcase them. Then we have our label Fish Tapes that we have some really cool plans for. We will also be playing a few gigs this winter. We won’t sit still and you’ll hear from us.
How did your contribution to the V/A come together?
I stumbled upon Carista and United Identities in a period when I was subconsciously looking to find black-owned labels in The Netherlands. Naturally I wanted to link up.
I visited her working space and we just hung out and listened to music the whole day. After she asked me if I wanted to be part of the compilation. I agreed and I sent her a few songs I had laying around as potential candidates.
She really fucked with a track which I would later name ‘Awa’, which I’d made in 2016. Back then I thought my music would never make it out of my bedroom. I retouched the track a little bit but I minimized the alterations to keep it true to the original intention. That’s how it happened! Real shit.
Your music meets at the crossroads of many genres, how did your earlier experiences with music shape this?
First off I believe all genre influences you hear within my music are related and somewhat similar. I acknowledge genres but I try to approach music making without thinking in genres. This way of thinking liberates me in the process of consuming and creating sound. I can let my subconscious guide me without expectations. It’s all improvisation and intuition based just like most things in my life. My earlier experience with music is the ever-expanding cloud of information which I let my subconscious explore freely to eventually create my music.
How does your spirituality affect the music that you make?
The two are deeply intertwined. There wouldn’t be one without the other. So I wouldn’t say my spirituality affects the music I make. My spirituality IS the music I make and vice versa. That being said I wouldn’t label my music as spiritual per se. It is as spiritual as it is mundane or ratchet. It is comprehensive of my being.
Since your first release was in 2021, what are some other projects that you have been working on?
I have an entire EP finished which is coming up and another one which I need to make studio recordings for. Currently I’m looking for ways of sustainably funding these projects so they can be executed how they deserve to be executed. I am in no rush tho as I’m really trying to stray away from music industry fuckery. Oh yeah also I have a track coming out on a compilation album by this label called United Identities, maybe you heard about it.
Where does your visual art mix in your other expressions?
Visual art is just another medium I use to convey my visions and abstract thoughts into something tangible. It’s honestly the same way I use the medium of sound. The intention and energy I put into the art stays the same regardless of the medium.
Don’t be surprised if you see me switching to literature or dance or some shit. If I feel like that’s the best way to convey the message I received from my ancestors and nature, best believe I will.
You play a variety of instruments, what can we usually find you jamming on and how does this affect the studio process?
I love to play piano. I prefer to play by myself. Besides piano I really want to work on getting comfortable with using my voice, which I consider the purest of all instruments.
These days I nearly exclusively compose on the piano. So everything starts there. It’s only after I finish composing when I get the electronics and other instruments involved. I’m trying to reduce my time in the studio as I find inspiration mostly elsewhere, like in nature or my people.
Modern Intimacy Volume 2 is out now on all digital streaming platforms, on the United Identities bandcamp store and record dealers worldwide!