Ladies and gentlemen, Neodigital is back in business.
The sister joint to Phace & Misanthrop’s mighty Neosignal flagship label, Neodigital launched without fanfair in 2011 and has been responsible for three key things:
* The duo’s only dubstep single – Teufelswerk / Hammerfaust
* Mefjus’s agenda-setting Far Too Close / Distantia, the release that is widely regarded as the one that really elevated him to the global stage he now dominates
* Emperor’s career-making The Fire / Smokescreen
Then, as the duo began to invest all their energy and creativity in the Neosignal band project, Neodigital took a break.
Signs of its rebirth were clear earlier this year a Proxima EP. But now, as the label’s vibrantly displayed, humorously titled and savagely packed Eurofunk EP lands, it’s clear the label has become a key focus for Phace & Misanthrop.
Where are you both right now?
Misanthrop: Germany. I’m in the south, Florian is in the north. There’s about 800km between us.
Phace: We meet up when we’re local to each other so we can discuss ideas for the label but these days we’re mainly online. Especially since we have a label manager who has taken away a lot of pressure. He allows us to focus on the music and to come up with new ideas on the music we want to release on our labels. Short ways are cool, but with all the communication possibilities local distance to us doesn’t really matter…
M: Unless we’re making music together then we have to be in the same room but the way we run the label is perfect this way.
There seems to be a revitalised activity at Neodigital again. It’s great to see!
P: We can do way more now we have the manager I mentioned. We’re actively looking for more music and coming up with ideas. We can totally speed things up and make things more vital again. Yes, we did have had quite a long gap but it’s good to have that space sometimes. It’s not all about constant output – it’s about doing the right things at the right time. You can have the biggest gaps in the world and as long as it’s followed by good music then it’s fine.
This is the first various artist EP. There’s a sense of fun to the package… EuroFUNk?
M: Music should always be fun bottom line. We can have messages, we can get social and political but the ground level should be fun and enjoyment from both the artist and the listeners. And the whole package is just us about the music me and Flo have been really enjoying and want to support and ultimately celebrate.
P: We’d never done a various artist project before so we wanted to develop the concept so it’s strong enough to do more volumes and really stand out. Only we didn’t want to just call it ‘Various Artists EP’. I think that’s very boring. The whole Eurofunk idea came about because the mood in Europe right now is pretty bleak… We’re breaking up, it’s all doom and gloom. It’s like fuck that: Music has no borders! Let’s get together and have an entertaining platform for us to unite and share our love for the music.
Hell yeah! What’s the feeling about Brexit from your position?
M: Well it’s cheaper to buy stuff in the UK 😉
Ha! But anything that creates barriers is bad news…
P: Totally. It does show that not everyone is happy with his or her situation and many people simply do not feel represented properly by what is going on these days. We do need a change; or to put it or even more precise, the whole system needs a change. Just when you’re together you feel you can work things out. It’s sad, we love the UK!
We love y’all too. Back to the EP. Tell me about Stoner…
M: He came out of the blue with Bring The Noise. I played it to Florian and he was like ‘fuck that’s a cool track’. Stoner makes strange tunes… But in a very good way. So we’ve been chatting for a year and he’s developing really well. He’s from Palermo Italy and he isn’t buried deep in the D&B scene which is great – it’s very refreshing to have someone who’s got their own sound and life going on.
P: When we find guys like that it’s just nice to support them and give them that opportunity. Anyone who goes against the grain or does their own thing is really welcome. We put out one of Mefjus’s first bigger singles remember?
Of course. Emperor too!
P: If we like it we’re not afraid to put it out. It’s not about status, it’s about quality, individuality and about great musical ideas.
M: We’re really proactively searching as well – we’re not just waiting on demos, we’re looking for fresh and innovative stuff. When I play at shows I always ask ‘who’s the producer here? Who’s the guy making the tunes?’ I ask for them – I want to know the dons in the area to get the best beats from and I encourage them to send beats. So many people are like ‘I don’t know man… I’m not ready’ But trust us – we were talking to Mefjus for almost four years before we signed Far Too Close and Distantia. If we hear creativity then we’ll always be listening – the production can be learnt, the originality is much harder…
Is that the same for Signs?
P: I remember meeting them in Bikini Club, Toulouse. We clicked and I love their rebellious and somewhat gritty attitude in music. They’re really fun guys and in my opinion already managed to create their own standout sound.
Then of course Current Value & Hybris. I like the balance of freshmen and OGs here!
P: Tim is a machine! And a very a cool and fun dude. Same with Evan Hybris. He is an absolute top guy too. Both are coming a long way and have been shaping the sound of Drum & Bass for quite a while, so it is an absolute pleasure to have them on board for this EP.
It feels like a second part of the EP could be coming soon…
P: We are currently adding some music to Volume Two of the EP series. I think we are missing two tracks, so it actually might be happening sooner rather than later.
Any hints at who might appear on it?
P: As we love surprises we will keep this for our next chat!
So last time we spoke we discussed the strength of neuro / techy D&B. This year there’s been a lot of talk of a lot of newer artists coming with a sound that copies existing sounds rather than brings its own sound in. Would you agree?
M: I’m not following a lot of neurofunk. I’m concentrating on something else at the moment. I would say that quality needs to be adhered to, though. It’s not worth putting out a tune if you’re putting out a tune the week before. I want to see more quality. But in terms of popularity or innovation, this type of technical drum & bass has historically gone in waves. It’s cool for a few years then suddenly no one wants to play it any more, then suddenly it’s cool again. All I can say is I’m doing what I like and that’s it.
P: If something is tasty and there’s a big demand then people will usually jump on it and try and ride that. It’s unavoidable. It indeed was a very good year last year, it’s a good year this year, too. If the music is cool the music is cool – find the things you like but be original. Personally I’ve never felt as free as I do now. There’s an acceptance and encouragement for innovation and originality which hasn’t always been there.
M: There’s definitely a feeling you can do what the fuck you want to do right now. You always could but there’s more acceptance and appreciation for that right now.
Accept and appreciate Neodigital: Facebook
Eurofunk Volume 1 is out now: Buy / Stream