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Demi returns with Eyetone Records and his latest project Wood Drift

Electronic Groove: Hi Demi. It’s a real pleasure to have you back at EG. It’s been a long time since you did our first episode EG.001. What have you been up to?

Demi: I guess after an extended period of being dormant from the scene, I’m finding my Electronic Groove once more. The short of it??? Running a label, music writing, alias projects and starting to play out in some cool spots again. It’s great to reconnect with you guys. You have given me so much support and coverage since the beginning and for that I’ll always be grateful. And congratulations on how the whole EG project has evolved and expanded since those early innocent years.

Electronic Groove: Great to see that you are back in the music and club circuit. What’s the inspiration and influences behind Eyetone Records?

Demi: To simply and proudly exist, create and showcase. Eyetone has been the initial door unlocked to my creative juices once again these past few years. It felt like a necessity to have an outlet and platform for everything that excites me about music. From my own material to wonderful discoveries of other people’s work and art. And I’m working a second job to help supplement what is an honest labor of love and a body of work here. A body of work that I’m enjoying piecing together and that I hope can find some connection with whomever comes across the music from the label and be appreciated today, tomorrow and the next day.

Electronic Groove: Tell us about the artists involved on each release, how do you select them?

Demi: 001 had to be an introduction by myself. It couldn’t be any other way. Both tracks are very discerning sounds and styles that were written from the heart that needed to be put out to put some closure to a negative period of my life a few years back , both personally and professionally. In some ways it was also a goodbye as well as an introduction. A goodbye to the past and a hello to the future.

The second release 002 featured someone I’ve known for many years and have had huge respect for in terms of his production skills and his ear for music. Eyetone is about discovering and unearthing the past as well so it was a delight to showcase Leon Robert’s music to a more younger audience who are showing a deeper appreciation for house and techno music these days.

The man is such an under-rated producer whose music has shown to be timeless. He’s been out of the spotlight for almost ten years and I was sitting on some of his older works for that long. I managed to trace his whereabouts and we ended up putting a 3 track EP of music he had made over 10 years ago with a more recent submission he had finished up just for the EP. My favourite cut from that is ‘Fuck’Em if they Can’t take It’. It’s unadulterated session of tech driven beats and groove for the floor with the swing groove techniques of the old school sequencers which seem to give it that timeless quality. If the label can help thread the past, present and future all in one shot with talented folk like Leon then fantastic. We achieved this with 002. Laurent Garnier especially has been a phenomenal support on this release.

With the 003 NightlLight EP, I was introduced to the sounds of Dark Beat through a producer friend of mine Saso Recyd who sent me some of his demos. He had sent me 3 cuts and immediately I loved them all. They were a selection of raw club workouts spanning the spectrum of funk, tech and shades of jazz and middle eastern music. One of the tracks I was 95% sure on but not quite 100% there with. It sounded good it was just the 5% in me doubting the kind of kick that was used on this particular track. At the last minute just before I was about to have all 3 mastered by the brilliant Shane ‘ The Cutter’ at Finyl Tweek, Dark Beat sends me a revised version of this track. In listening to it for just 5 seconds I jumped out of my chair and knew straight away this would be a HIT. The kick was perfect now. That hit was ‘Beer Feeling’ and it has undoubtedly been Eyetone’s most successful release to date thanks to huge support from some of the higher profile DJ’s on the circuit that are still dropping this almost 12 months on from it’s release. DJ Sneak and Luciano in particular. And the joy it has brought to this family man from Macedonia now residing in Italy has made the investment worth it.

For 004, some may say it was label suicide to change what was becoming a consistent thread in the sounds and tempo of the first 3 releases. It’s a real curveball in the music direction which I didn’t expect but my heart ran with it. A girlfriend of mine whose music tastes I always had a keen ear on had shared a link to a song by a band from NYC her half brother was in called Folding Legs. I had the tune on repeat (and still do). Turns out the band had disbanded but the engineer of the band mentioned he had some other music from a side project he had kickstarted recently. This band was Pink Murder and the 3 tracks I was sent immediately won me over. Of the 3, ‘Fresh & Made’ was the standout track. A fine slice of electronic band music with soaring vocals from a very talented lady Jennifer Pague. My gut instinct told me to go with it and knowingly against the music trend the label appeared to be setting for itself. Financially it was a disaster. From the mastering to the design work for the sleeve and the test pressings that had to be recut. The love for wanting to put this out won and with 8 remixes spread over 2 volumes, it’s a mighty package I’m so proud of and again believe so much that they will be discovered, listened and enjoyed in years to come. In this release we were able to introduce to the stable the sounds of some of the most talented producers I’ve long admired and they all showed a willingness to help and contribute to the cause. Thank you Eric Volta, Mark E, Inkswel, SLF, Dorylus, Felkon and Will Konitzer.

On a more general note to cover all the releases, there has never been this family ethos with the label to stick to the same people and friends I know and love. As mentioned, when putting out vinyl, you need to go beyond just listening to the demo’s you receive from everyone including your closer circle of friends. Will it be relevant besides today in the years to come is really the main factor here.. And therein I think lies the x-factor I am always looking for. The mystery a track can hold where it can grow on you with each listen. Where it doesn’t necessarily slap you in the face first time round. It just begins to rub up the right way on you until you realise that song is a part of you and you can’t let go of it. And that connection and love for it will show when I play it out as well. The standards you set for your label especially if you are putting out vinyl have to be that high. I want the music to speak and the music to dictate my decision. And inevitably there is a deeper story to be told from the heart to the heart and that has remained consistent for each release.

Electronic Groove: Where did the idea of the art sleeves come from?

Demi: I wanted the visual aspect of the project to play an equal part int he presentation and this has involved collaborating with innovative visual designers I’ve long admired to create a series of 3-4 releases which can fully showcase their work and their style of design of how they interpret each piece of music from the label, as opposed to if they were working on just one or two releases. By spreading it over 3-4 releases it would allow for a theme to form that can allow a more coherent approach to the design work. And ultimately it would be presented as a more desirable collection to own and feel like a real piece of art for your home. It’s a thought process that unravels itself day by day.

I was fascinated by the work of BeatWoven who are an award winning textiles design company which visualises audio patterns and combines them with lifestyle applications. Nadia Ricketts who is the brainchild behind Beatwoven, utilises bespoke audio technology to create literal geometric patterning especially for weaving. Synthetic yarns are chosen to weave the patterns together using a digital loom and these could include polyesters, nylons and metallics. Every project is utterly unique and reflects the individuality of a track’s sound and harmonies and this seemed to marry perfectly with the ethos of the label. Luckily Nadia was in sync with the idea of producing woven designs that could be made into the size of a record sleeve. And so the first collaboration was born ; Vinyl couture you could say at it’s most extreme because I don’t think something like this has been attempted before.

It was a huge step into the unknown for us both but the result is a stunning work of art for the home; the 3 piece BeatWoven collection that brilliantly interprets the music selected from the first 3 Eyetone releases. They are now available to purchase and own through our record store where we sell direct to our fans and followers –

Electronic Groove: You also have a new project with Den Dennis named “Wood Drift”. What’s the musical concept or direction behind it?

Demi: Wood Drift is a loving work in progress between two best friends who have always been musically inspired by the other. We have adopted various approaches to the whole music making process and we are learning with each session how we can manifest those ideas out. It’s sounds that lead to the top end of comfort music as someone interestingly described it. Atmosphere plays a huge part in the overall sound through the layers of textures we create. We jam a lot, we drift a lot, we just need to finish the lot. We decided that the first step to accelerate this process was to present a Wood Drift showcase mix. A compilation of tracks we love from producers we admire and to couple that with a selection of original material we had been working on. I think ultimately that’s a solid way of measuring up the quality of your own work against music by others. We then took the unorthodox approach of finishing material as we were finishing the mix. In some ways it was like the DJ version of producing. Making sounds and mixing sounds to continue the flow created in the mix. It actually helped us massively and we have decided to share one of these ‘moments’ with EG and your audience. We hope you dig it.

Electronic Groove: So far what are the highlights for you as “Wood Drift” or as Eyetone Records head? Any particular experience or artists support you want to share with us?

Demi: I’m buzzing with the content amassed under the Wood Drift banner. It’s just having the discipline now to make sense of it all. There is one particular remix we are working on that is just immense on the emotional level and I will hopefully be able to have that finished in the next month. And it’s the right time looming now that a lot of people are enjoying the deeper shades of electronic music.

There are some original works to come which remind me so much of a vintage Laurent Garnier sound – Electric and emotionally charged. Watch this space.

Electronic Groove: Have you seen any musical acts that have drawn your attention and inspired you to produce new music ?

Demi: Musical acts old and new continue to inspire me. I’ve been going back to a lot of Prince’s material because he not only was the best of the best but he used the best of the best in terms of production techniques and with all the finest electronic instruments at his disposal.

As far as recent cats in the game, undoubtedly folk like Floating Points and Caribou.

Electronic Groove: What should we expect from Demi in the near future?

Demi: He’s going to be taking an extended vacation very soon and make way for some of his younger siblings…for now he leaves you with the last mix you’re likely to hear from him in a while but which sums his musical flavours up in a nutshell… this space… 😉 x

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