Habersham is returning to Australia shortly, this time bringing his partner in crime for what promises to be one of the highlights of the clubbing year for fans of everything from breaks, tech and anything else that makes a crowd move.
RA spoke with the two not too long ago about the prospects of their Aussie shows, and what exactly they’ve been doing lately.
First off, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at RA, shall we start with a bit of the history of the two of you; where and why you got together etc?
Numinous: I met Damon (Habersham) working at Satellite Records in Atlanta. I would pull him records that I really liked, and from that could tell that he had a good ear for new sounds. Later he gave me a CD of the first few tracks he ever produced. I was so impressed that I just had to work with him in the studio and see if we could collaborate on some fresh music. Ever since then we have been really great friends. We have the same warped sense of humor.
Habersham: Yup, what Brett said. And we noticed such similar tastes in all kinds of music it was uncanny! Our views and outlooks on life are quite similar in so many ways and this really I think made us become good friends quickly. I know speaking for myself there wasn’t really anyone I had met that I could fully see eye-to-eye with in music in Atlanta, so it was a pretty quick connection that we made.
I guess recently tracks released with both the Habersham and Numinous monikers have become a little scarce, what has happened to your production as of late?
Numinous: I have been going back and learning more about solo production, while taking a step back from releasing any tracks. To be honest, I have been so busy with my other projects and companies I am involved with that I don’t have much time to put into it at the moment. I am the Store Manager and new Owner of the Atlanta branch of Satellite Records, head of Blueprint Recordings with Damon, Marketing Director of EDMdigital.com along with Damon, and Editor of LunarMagazine.com among other things. So my plate is quite full at the moment, but I am sure that production will be back in the mix pretty soon.
Habersham: Lately I’ve been finishing up a load of remixes, including Jake Todd – Book of Ghosts for Parabolic Records, Nukes – Seismographic on CPR, a new Pat Foosheen and Dennis Roseth record for Institution, and some others. I’ve also been finishing up some new stuff, including a new single for Audio Therapy as well as all sorts of music from downtempo to drum and bass. As Brett said though, lately we’ve been so busy in our lives outside of music that it’s been tough to maintain the focus in music that it needs, but regardless I’m really happy with the new directions of my music as well as technical levels I’m exploring in production.
So it seems you both find it hard to sit down and get some new tracks out, either together or individually?
Numinous: I don’t! See question two.
Habersham: Neither do I damnit! It’s been many many months since we’ve properly sat down and worked on some music!!! Right now Brett is so busy with a load of other things in his life, and the same goes for me plus I have so many solo production obligations that I’m always trying to play catch up so I can free up some time to work together. But all in due time, I definitely think all the work we’re putting in now is like an investment, and soon enough we’ll be able to kick back and truly embrace the artist role of getting together to work on music, and instead smoking up, watching tv, playing video games or just playing music for each other. LOL.
You’ve both been quite involved in different areas of music promotion, the traditional record store as well digital download sites, do you see a push towards digital sites?
Numinous: I have a strange situation in that I have two jobs that somewhat conflict with each other in theory. Running an all vinyl record store and then, in turn, heading up an all digital mp3 download site seems like it would be pushing polar opposites in the spectrum of dance music sales. My hope is that both forms can coexist, and that mp3s do not completely kill vinyl sales altogether in the coming years. Time will tell however, since the cost of producing and selling mp3s is virtually nothing compared to all of the ever-increasing costs of manufacturing and shipping vinyl.
At first with Blueprint we fought against the whole digital sharing thing, like many other labels. I remember logging onto Soulseek and searching for our tracks, just to write those people that were sharing and tell them to stop it immediately! But in time we realized that this was a battle that we could not win, and that file sharing was just too huge already. So instead, we embraced this new technology, and opted to offer consumers an honest way to support the artists and labels that they liked.
Habersham: I completely agree with Brett in that there is still a good enough market in vinyl, and in fact sales seem to somehow be increasing in vinyl, slowly but surely, despite the mass move toward digital downloads. Eventually vinyl will become obsolete, as digital download becomes the common form to purchase music in, but who’s to say when this will happen?
We are definitely noticing that a majority of people are now embracing the choice of digital downloads, and we are proud to say that after all of our hard work and efforts, www.edmdigital.com is at the helm of this revolution. Between the 8 of us involved in EDM Digital, it’s been nothing but grass roots thinking from the get-go, and we have and are succeeding based solely on our dedication and passion for the artists and music we so wholeheartedly believe in. And let me say, this is infinitely more rewarding than just throwing a shitload of money behind a project in the hopes that it’s going to prosper!!
Back onto the production side of things, what kind of studio set-up do you have and how do approach writing? Is it a case of regimented duty or more of an organic process?
Numinous: I am just now building my own studio, so it’s quite basic currently. When I do make music, usually with Damon, it is definitely not a science. At times the ideas can flow really well and there can be a lot of progress made. Sometimes however, the creative juices are not flowing, and you just have to accept that and not try and force something.
Habersham: Exactly!! We have always worked well together, especially considering how much more limited our knowledge and experience was when writing say Mr. Cool or Rhetorical Question. As Brett said, you learn over time that there are some sessions that you will make 75% progress in, and others that you’ll have to completely dismiss even after hours of working at it. Music and art in general definitely is something that should not be forced if at all possible, you just have embrace those moments when the ideas pour right out of you. So our writing process is rarely planned, sometimes fluid and definitely involves some ‘green’ inspiration…
As far as my studio set-up goes, it’s nothing more than a computer and a couple of KRK V8 studio monitors. Who says you gotta spend $10,000 on some studio gear? Oh yeah, people that can’t come up with their own ideas ;-)
How about the actual producing of the track itself?
Numinous: Damon is definitely more on the engineering side of things. I have a lot of the conceptual ideas of the sounds and the vibe that I am thinking of for the track. I have to say that Damon has an incredible talent for turning a whacky sound I may hear in my head into an actual workable sound on the computer.
Habersham: When we work together, normally to save time I’m behind the computer and Brett is sitting next to me navigating ideas and directions of songs. And I have to say that Brett has this innate ability to reproduce that “whacky sound” he’s hearing in his head with his mouth, a talent that I strive for.
For us, it’s really just a case of manipulating audio in Logic, and in the past has included playing a few notes here and there on my Yamaha Motif 6 Synth.
How do you guys find DJing together, do you find enough freedom in style and track selection considering there are two of you?
Numinous: I love DJing with Damon. He pushes me to play new sounds that I might not immediately push in a live setting…maybe some twisted breaks or really minimal tech stuff. Overall we love many of the same tracks, but still find a way to play them our own way. It’s a nice balance when we play together I think, as I play a bit funkier and he plays a bit more twisted. I usually confident that whatever tangent I go off on, Damon will have the tunes that will fit in really well.
Habersham: Brett has always inspired me as a DJ. He’s truly in a league of his own and there isn’t a single gig that goes by that we play together where I’m not consistently blown away by his mixing and programming, which is the best thing I could ask for if I’m having an off night. I listen to Brett play a few records and I’m reinspired and back on track. As he said, we do play a lot of the same music but we each definitely bring our own flare to the table. At this point I think we are really comfortable feeding off each other when we play, and balancing out tangents and all kinds of mental headgames :-D
What can we expect from a set, considering the different sounds pushed by the labels you guys are involved with and production/ remix work?
Numinous: To be honest, we DJ with a sound that is quite different from our Blueprint productions. I would say in general that most of it always has some sort of techy eeriness combined with a dancefloor friendliness. I have always felt that as long as the music you play at the clubs has a nice groove in some way, you can get away with playing some really heady shit that people normally may not appreciate. So basically be prepared for something different!
Habersham: To sum it up, we play squelchy, throbbing, headfuck dancemusic...or at least we try.
Finally, Numinous, Habersham was down in Australia mid last year, has he been talking it up?
YES, YES and YES. Damon seems to have fallen in love with Australia on his last trip. He tells me that the Aussie people are more open-minded than Americans in general, not just about music. And almost everyone I have had any communication with down there has been super friendly. Plus Damon says that the Aussie crowds are great—really up for hearing some new sounds. So I just expect to have a blast venturing around a new country, meeting some great new friends, and playing some wicked parties!
Habersham & Numinous tour dates.
May 7th – Canberra - Deep Throat @ Red Gecko with Mikah Freeman, Shunji & Vance Musgrove
May 14th – Melbourne - Sunny @ Brown Alley
May 21st – Brisbane - Drop, Logic & Ampt with Jono Fernandez (live) @ Shamrock Hotel