All the way from our favourite annex in the southern hemisphere, Albrecht La’Brooy of Analogue Attic Recordings share with us their mix of public square-inspired selections, inevitably containing releases from their wonderful label, both past and present. They’ve also been able to enlighten us about their roots in Australia, the scene that surrounds them, and the evolution of their sound as both producers and curators of a highly consistent label. Their gig set up involves morphing the bloops of analogue instruments into a live jam that represents their ear for patient, melodic, somber deep house and as such we’re very excited to have have them here.
Catch Alex Albrecht and our own Aaron L playing all night at Spiritland, London on 12th July. Albrecht La’Brooy recently celebrated 10 releases of Analogue Attic Recordings – listen back on their website.
So first off, I really want to know how you got to your sound. Obviously there’s a lot of analogue equipment involved and we’ll get to that, but I want to know what tastes and records have you gone through over the years to end up at this very pensive, very patient, very spacious palette you have made for yourselves? I suppose this means talking about what first got you into music, but also I’d love to know how similar your tastes are and what you listen to generally.
Alex: There isn’t actually a lot of analogue equipment involved in our productions – I use a digital Nord quite a bit and Sean until recently has used a TR8 and soft synths. Sean’s background has been lots of jazz and Australian folk whilst mine has been more grounded in electronic music – I listened to lots of ambient, house, hip hop, dub and IDM. I think aspiring to make music suited to lounge rooms more than clubs is a big factor.
Where did you both meet and how did this production relationship form? Before forming the label and releasing under Albrecht La’Brooy, what shape had your producing taken (if any)? When did you first start getting gear and what did the early set ups look like?
Alex: I was actually being taught Jazz lessons by Sean – after a while, we decided to try and make music together. I was already producing quite a lot of music and DJing but had never released anything. All of the steps that led to where we are now have been quite organic – we only decided to create our own label when we realised distributors were unlikely to take on unsigned artists. Our early setups consisted of some midi controllers and two computers with synced Ableton. It’s interesting that we’ve never started a new Ableton project from scratch since we started playing – the one we use today in our live sets is another organically developed version of the original one we started with 4 years ago!
Something that runs through your productions (via the use of field recordings) is a sense of space and geography. This really creates a strong theme and intent along with the graphics you use for the label art etc. What do you see as being the significance of relating one’s geography to the music being made?
Alex: In the label’s output we’ve always thought it was nice to capture a location or moment. I think that’s what we’re trying to do with the field recordings we use. It’s also a form of inspiration to respond to. Sometimes you need more than a blank canvas to start making music.
How does the Analogue Attic sound compare with the rest of Melbourne’s output? Do you sit somewhere in amongst like-minded “deep”-centric producers or would you say that you’re somewhat on the periphery? Has there been much in the way of “deep” dance music in Melbourne?
Alex: I think so, producers like Lewis Day, Mic Newman and Andy Hart were always making pretty deep music, The Melbourne Deepcast has always championed that sound and was pretty instrumental in pushing not only that style of music but the Australian take as a whole. We’ve been inspired by those guys and others like Andras and Sleep D, I think there’s some connection in a way.
From the other side of the world, you and your label paint a very lush, romanticised version of Melbourne/Australia. Is this something you’re deliberately trying to convey about where you’re based, or are these sounds escapist in how they relate to the landscape?
Alex: We often pick a theme or place as a concept for a release so I think we’re often drawn to areas of calm or beauty. For example the St Kilda foreshore in our Edgewater Towers (a large apartment building by the shore) or the Sherbrooke Forest in our “Good Morning Passengers” release.
From what I can tell, the label is a local affair, with releases from you guys and of friends etc. Is this the sort of intention behind the label, to be a very localised, place- based imprint?
Sean: I think it’s important to work closely with the people around you. You form better relationships with people you spend time with in person, and when you form little communities, everyone within them benefits more than they would without them. The majority of history’s great record labels have had the same approach, and that’s what gives them a unique sound, that’s sort of what is happening in Melbourne.
On that tangent, how was it stepping away from your own label and into foreign territory – quite literally – with the release on Berlin label Night Tide. How did you find it trying similar recording techniques in a unfamiliar pastures?
Sean: It was nice not needing to adhere to the values of Analogue Attic so much. Although we did have quite a similar approach. We used field recordings from around Berlin that the label owner, Eluize, sent us. I think at the end of the day that record has a pretty similar sound, but in the future, I’m sure we’ll experiment more like we have with our forthcoming Voyage Recordings release.
I suppose I have to ask the inevitable question of what analogue gear you like using in that attic of yours. Would you say your releases are 100% analogue?
Sean: We don’t actually have an attic and we don’t even use much analogue equipment at all. Some of our releases have featured analogue equipment, but not because it’s analogue. We just use whatever suits the sound we’re going for, and whatever we feel sounds best. The name Analogue Attic came from an event we ran before we started the label. It was in a small space that felt like an attic and had lots of old equipment stored in it.
I know that with your live sets you’re totally improvising, but how does that work out most of the time? Do you spend a lot of time practising, or is it always just going with the flow?
Sean: We practice improvising together and individually. We could certainly achieve something from preparing our live set, but we find improvising to be a more natural process. We also find that it’s a lot easier to respond to the particular environment we’re playing in.
The label is in its third year now, are there many forthcoming releases in the pipeline, and anything we should know? Are there be any visits to Europe planned?
Sean: Alex will be coming to Europe in the next couple of months and will be playing with fellow countryman Christian Vance as well as a guest feature on NTS Radio in London on the 11th. There are a few releases lined up, most notably our milestone 10th by UDMO. It’s called Luba Luft and is based on themes of industry and space, it will be out early July