ITS TIME!!! Tonight is the show! Get hyped. I know I am. Need details? head over to the event page HERE to see the set times, line up, and admission details.
I end this special week of coverage with one of the darlings of the highly respected and innovative Tundra Dubs label out of California, FUNERALS are an act that need little introduction to many people throughout our city. In case, you don’t know these two musical juggernauts let me get you caught up. Funerals have been destroying everything in sight with every new release that comes out. Wielding the powers of a dark, driving sound that gives innovative new directions to the genre-blasting of the Witch House and various other dance music genre, Funerals characteristic sound is captured in their seminal release Marae. Luckily, we not only have the streaming audio, but a video to go with it.
Equal parts mysterious and disorienting, this video like the FUNERALS sound is meant to be evocative of the experience one gets as they enter the unknown locales of dark places all over the world. Beyond this, what I love about FUNERALS is their versatility. They are not bound to any one idea of what their sound is. This will become readily evident when you read the interview below, but there is always a different tenor to every release or mix they produce. Case in point take these two different mixes created within the last month.
Exhibit 1: FUNERALS Wander Drift Mix made for Vice Italy
Exhibit 2: FUNERALS This Blinding Place Mix for Textbeak
What do you notice in these two mixes? For one, each mix displays FUNERALS uncanny ability to hold a steady rhythm through out a set. Yet, more importantly it shows FUNERALS infectious music curiosity. They are never the same duo in any release. They are always evolving and transforming their sound in new directions. This is one of the big reasons why I love this group so much is that they always fall down in a different place on the continuum between their two sonic identities. Equal parts experimental and Rhythm centric, FUNERALS will always please you if you take the time to soak in their sound. Now if you are at all curious what has been coming out of their studio of late, check out this most recent remix of Lemme Ashton’s track “GETDOWNORDIE”.
If this track is an indication of the amazing work that will be revealed at the Newport then you would be a fool to miss FUNERALS Set. With more on their dual musical identity, the changes in their sound, and what they have in store for us read this incredibly illuminating interview below with Mollie & Casey:
LA: If someone who has never heard you spin, how would you describe your sound?
CASEY: Our DJ sets are a pretty solid amalgam of/war between our individual tastes in electronic music. Mollie brings a lot of faster, more sinister, tribal influenced stuff. Lots of Night Slugs type sounds, and a lot of fairly dramatic shifts and jumps. I bring in a lot more elongated minimal techno with longer builds. More Kompakt and B-Pitch Control type tracks. I think together in DJ sets that results in a pretty nice mix where the energy of sets goes between frenetic moments and deeper plateaus of rhythm and atmospherics. The two set each other up nicely. With our own productions and live sets, our tastes obviously are a lot more fused and the tracks contain a lot of elements of both sides of that equation. We’ve somewhat tongue in cheek taken to the term “midnight techno” (obviously a bit of a misnomer anyway since midnight is insanely early by techno standards, but people seem to naturally take it really to mean “6am afterparty techno”), but it does get something across. Our interest I think is in sounds that evoke the end of a long night where you’re completely immersed in a totally separate environment. We never want our music to sound like a completely definable place. We like the idea that you could be in Berlin or Kolkata or Columbus or Beruit and have the sounds fit in but seem outside of the place at the same time. We’re really inspired by travel and geography, and there’s a lot of room to mine that outside of the awkward Goa Trance and Putumayo fusion shit that it can often be.
MOLLIE: Yeah, talking about world music gets tricky, ‘cause it takes you automatically to this new-agey, NPR Echoes place, but I think we consider ourselves world-influenced in the sense that we gravitate toward sounds that feel inspired by place rather than person or thing. You know what I mean? With both DJ sets/mixes and our own productions, we’ve always been more concerned about creating an environment than, like, an event. I mean, sure, we like to bring a crowd to the brink, build and drop and compel people to dance, but ultimately we’ve always wanted the audience to come away from our stuff feeling like they’ve been somewhere else for awhile, dance event or no.
We did this mix for Vice Italy not long ago, and a really bad Google translation of the write-up said something about AFTERPARTY ABSOLUTE LORDS. We’ve taken to using that, kinda jokingly along with midnight techno, because we almost inadvertently create the stuff you hear when you’ve already been dancing all night, you’re sort of fucked up and sweaty and really prone to being swept up in some exotic environment that lives totally inside your head. I don’t know, or maybe that’s just what happens to me.
LA: What does being a part of the Ohio Electronic Music scene mean to you?
CASEY: Ohio has a long history in terms of Electronic Dance Music. Back in the 90s it was a pretty major regional center, especially with rave culture. And a lot of folks in Columbus, from Todd Sines to Ed Luna and the ele_mental crew did an amazing job of really not just making Ohio stand on equal footing with other places, but making it a really vital part of the overall scene. At some point, it felt like a lot of that dried up, and in the past few years (despite there definitely having been people doing great stuff and trying to keep things alive) it seemed like it was tough to get past the Trance/Big Room or Tech House stuff that catered heavily to crowds of frat kids. The past few years, through pretty intense efforts by a lot of DJs, producers, promoters, and fans, we’ve started to see things really get back to the point where Ohio has a real voice again. Just a few years ago I couldn’t imagine a context where I could spin Pantha Du Prince or Fairmont without completely clearing a dance floor. But now it seems like people are more interested in a wider range of dance music, even where tastes don’t necessarily overlap, and there’s a level of support that really makes things exciting. It’s easy to get cynical and complacent when you feel like you’re playing entirely to yourself, but when other people are doing amazing things, and going out of their way to encourage each other, it not only pushes you to do better and better things, but it also just makes everything a hell of a lot more fun.
LA: What do you think about the What Next Ohio Music Showcase?
MOLLIE: It’s amazing and totally necessary. Like Casey said, Columbus has always had this strong tie to electronic music of all sorts. Whether we choose to acknowledge it, or even notice it, it’s a deep cultural root of the city. I mean, culture as a whole always circles back to dance music as an escape, but it’s an especially prominent swing in Columbus, you just watch it happen over and over again. So to finally have an event that showcases what we are, who we have, how these disparate genres are overlapping into a state-wide identity…it’s just really fucking exciting. Like, I could argue that we don’t have much in common with Cassius Slay in terms of sound, or Shin Tower Music for that matter, but we feel connected to them in a really tangible way. It’s just Ohio blood. We all protect, respect, promote and adore our own, and I think it’ll always be that way by virtue of where we’ve come from. And it’s awesome that we all get to stand on a stage together and show this shit off.
Plus, any excuse to do something else with Scotty Niemet, you know? He’s such a force in Columbus and has been for so many years, be it hardcore or dance or whatever, and I feel like to some degree he’s the glue that holds a lot of us together. Casey and I both come from the hardcore scene to some degree, him more than me, but Scotty was at the fore of stuff that both of our old bands were doing. We had More Than Music. Now we have this. We just love him too much.
LA: What kinda set are you gonna play? Do you have any surprises in store for the crowd?
MOLLIE: Well, I think the very fact that we’re playing is sort of a surprise, ha! We haven’t been doing live events recently; we’re like the hermit Columbus duo who pops out of hiding every six months. So this set is sort of a new day for us. We’re doing mostly new material, modified live, stuff that’s almost 100% unheard and won’t be released for another several months. No one’s really heard a chunk of our original stuff since the MARAE release in April and we’ve really expanded since then, just dove into this new creative identity almost, so this is a major preview of what’s to come. It’s also our chance to test some things out, see how the ideas play. And we might throw some of our favorite tracks by other artists in there too…god knows I can’t get away from my beloved Night Slugs and Fade to Mind, so it almost wouldn’t be me if I didn’t sneak that in there somewhere. But no promises, Casey might cut me off at the pass. Like he said earlier, it’s totally the amalgam of/war between our personal affinities, so you can almost hear us metaphorically bitch-slapping each other when it comes to influences. That’s what makes it fun!