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feeder insider w/ Livio & Roby [en]
Livio and Roby live and work in Bucharest, but their sounds are portable, and are travelling around the world. Being at the forefront of Romania’s underground scene for many years, you can easily say that they are one of the pioneers. Let’s find out more about them, SW, their music production and live performances.
keywords: DJ sets, portabil, duo, minimal, innovative
A secret place in Bucharest… is the one with a view.
On long flights… we have a special attraction for red wine.
If we wrote a book… it would be a Cormac McCarthy adaptation.
Habits we would like to drop… now would be cigarettes.
Applications that make our lives easier… are the flight tracker ones.
Pictures can… always recall memories.
A random thought… of a Buchla can be a precise sequence on a track.
Internet… can give you sometimes the wrong answers.
Thinking of the future… makes us buy old machines.
3 artists that inspire us… Miyazaki, Francis Bacon, Villalobos.
ubic: Hello, Livio, Roby, we’re really excited to talk to you again. You had a interesting performance at SW21, a place where you can hear some of the most talented djs, playing in an environment where they feel comfortable. What do you think are the main keys that keep the festival thriving?
Livio & Roby: As you were saying the festival somehow makes you feel comfortable and for this reason we believe that Dj’s can perform in a relaxed and confident environment and everyone can concentrate in delivering their best. In consequence artists hands over inspiring sets, quality being more significant than any other detail. In the same time it’s a great environment for the crowd, people are coming from all over the world creating a cosmopolite congregation that somehow feels really good within our native local atmosphere.
ubic: Your next EP, Portabil, will be released on Mulen Records, and has your signature sound all over it, with some rolling grooves, underneath a very smooth tech-house vibe. How do you transfer ideas and emotions, such as the concept of the travelling sound, into a final arrangement?
Livio & Roby: Sound comes and goes all the time, the idea is to catch it and record it.
This basically defines a certain state in time, a moment caught on a special occasion. The arrangement should be a definition of what you feel in that particular moment and defines the final product and for this reason we usually do that right away because we feel that we need to retain the magic. Of course sometimes you can do it later but many times you loose the magic and it’s difficult to recall, so u need to start something else or just get on a different course.
ubic: You just released Singular Reshape & Tidal Reshape, two marvellous tracks, on Vakant compilation, called Tenacity, that tries to sets the guideline of what to expect in 2017. Singular refers to individuality, while Tidal is telling a complex story about natural phenomena, colours, light and landscapes. What feelings, moods and thoughts do you think will be recurring this year?
Livio & Roby: There is always a great significance beyond music and suddenly you can easily associate it with images, feelings, memories or anything else that gets you inspired, a flavour or even a scent.
For example Bucharest has a certain perfume in the spring, an odour of flowers which immediately sends us back in the childhood.
It just triggers something and the other day had some powerful memories coming thru. So let’s say that I wish 2017 would have a childhood bouquet which is a very pleasant and comfortable feeling, maybe the best thought.
ubic: Your distinctive approach, collaborating with different artists on each track for Phantom Circle, while not revealing their identity initially, is very interesting. What was the incentive for this approach, and how did the listeners respond to the unsigned sounds?
Livio & Roby: Well, we thought it’s more interesting to involve the public because we like interactivity generally speaking. The presentation of the album had different stages. In one of the stage the audience didn’t know who’s behind the collaborations and of course they just had to share their thoughts about the music itself, which is, let’s say a very objective way of expressing your reflection upon the music. On a different stage the listeners knew the collaborators and they got involved trying to associate each track with one of the colleagues, to solve the puzzle. Overall it was a nice journey throughout the whole campaign and people had the chance to test their ability in correlating us with the right match.
ubic: Your studio equipment is impressive and you upgrade it constantly. How come you engage so much gear, like drum machines, synths, sequencers, and samplers, to create a minimal sequence?
Livio & Roby: You can definitely engage many machines in a minimal sequence. Making a minimal track doesn’t really mean that needs to have a minimal amount of sounds but more about the selection and the aesthetics of the tones. The complexity of it can for sure change its condition and should define its final character. Each machine, synth or module can do its own intervention on the piece, basically that’s the beauty of it.
ubic: The artworks for your LP/EPs are interesting and complete the sound very well. There are powerful connections between the arts, and evermore often, parties feature mesmerizing visuals. What are the methods you use to reach a shared vision, when working with visual artists and designers?
Livio & Roby: We totally believe that each artist should be free to express in the most authentic way. Triggering its own method to construct and create should be the main goal and for this reason we think art is a great inspiration, or can be so many things, actually can be anything out there, the same in making music. In the end the association of both is important. Let’s say the most essential aspect of it is the capacity of curating and making things work, fitting them in the right way, like in a gallery.
ubic: During your live performances or DJ sets, you establish a deep and essential connection between your sound and the public. How do you enhance that experience? When you test a new track, what kind of reactions you look for in the audience?
Livio & Roby: This connection is crucial and without it, things are not really working. You always need to have that, even though sometimes can be less contact but you get to learn out of it. Making new tracks it’s a very powerful weapon in terms of excitement. The reason is that you are in a constant search for that fresh feeling of testing on your own audience because there will be always a good occasion to fit in your new creations.
It’s a very sensitive moment when playing, to check out the new music and seek the reactions, then you know exactly what you did, or in a more advanced analysis – if it was the right time or place.
ubic: Santiago de Bucharest, which you released under your Monochrome alias in collaboration with Chilean artist Pier Bucci, seemed a little ahead of its time in 2009, anticipating the sounds of today. With so many new distractions out there, how can you stay focused on your work? Where does the inspiration come from, and what makes the new, new?
Livio & Roby: The aspect of having more room to dream sometimes can get you ahead of time. But this is risky and assuming that, you can definitely create more stir.
It’s like exploring the unknown and trying to be fresh, getting inspiration from memories that can be recalled in many ways makes it very appealing. Sometimes the essence of timeless can put things in the future, because they will always be green but that’s a different discussion and of course a different formula.
ubic: You are an important presence in the Romanian underground scene for over 10 years now and you were there for all the major changes and events. After the Colectiv tragedy, the regulations have tightened and many venues have closed their doors, and there is still a question mark about public safety at parties. What is your view on this? How did the changes impact you and your performance?
Livio & Roby: This was so wrong, such an unfortunate event and immeasurable loss, sadly it’s irreversible and again a tragedy needs to happen in order to get things right. You cannot think about it in a way of affecting dj performances because this aspect is secondary. First the venues needs to be legit and build up properly in order to protect people’s lives in case of abnormal events, quality over quantity. This has to be changed even though there will be less space for performers.
ubic: On the feeder insider series, remarkable artists like tiNI, Night Talk or Jon Rundell, spoke fondly of you. How do you manage to make a perfect blend between producing a lot of good music, while making new friends?
Livio & Roby: Really happy to hear that, well we think there is time for everything, making music, hobbies or even making new friends, it’s part of the journey. 🙂
Words by ubic and Vlad Dumitrescu
Photos by Aj Herrera, Flori Moreno, Daddy’s got sweets