In other words, they have a sense of humor. A little bit.
"Everybody can do what they like. But if I go to a club with friends and then I listen to someone playing with Traktor and I hear [makes noises emulating digital bleeps] I have to go out because I'll go crazy," Marieu laughs. You can see his point, in some respect. There are many DJs and producers around nowadays who simply don't know the difference—or even bother to find out. In a more complex world, it's more important than ever to know the difference, how to adjust and how to take advantage of both.
Marieu and his partner in Restoration, Domenico, are unlikely educators. They cut their teeth clubbing in the same town as Alex Picone. The Cadenza artist even introduced a young Domenico to DJing. In those formative years vocal house dominated the scene. "It was all around. You could listen to Masters at Work, Kenny Dope anytime," remember Domenico. But both were more fascinated by harder-edged techno. Indeed, as they both moved to Barcelona separately, they still reminisce over sets by Jeff Mills. "Every time he was there, we were there."
Nonetheless, the scene in Spain was closed off. Residents held tightly to their gigs. The music played there was largely the same thing every single weekend. "You had Derrick May, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, but nothing new. Not from the city. Because they [want to] keep their position and they don't want to lose their status," says Marieu. "Domenico had already moved to Berlin. And I had a girl that was living here, so I saved some money and decided to look for a job and see what happens. When I came, I was saying, 'If I come, we do a label.'"
Initially teaming up with the equally analogue-minded Eduardo De La Calle, the trio quickly put out their first release, the aptly titled First Mission EP. Influenced by their love of Mills—and far from the sound that they are perhaps known for today—the initial 12-inches were largely techno affairs. "It was very fast, like 156 BPM techno," says Marieu. One of the first people to play their music was James Pennington, AKA Suburban Knight, and Alan Oldham. Surprisingly, house head Tama Sumo was also an early supporter as well.
"The first record was very good; the second one was too fast for people so we had a lot of problems selling it to people," explains Marieu. "Then we thought, 'Maybe we have to change our style a little.' We started to do more house music, slower. It's not our music, but something slower. I think that the problem was that the music was very fast. Fast techno was going out of fashion. And also that our sound is without compression so it takes a little bit to get into it. The DJ or the people think 'Oh no, it's too quiet.'"
"People make analogue music," starts Domenico, "and then they squash it with compression. When you go to a mastering studio, you have to say to an engineer that you don't want compression. If you don't, they will go with the flow and compress it." It's been a gradual process, however, to their current all-analogue state. For the first six records on the label, all the outboard was analogue, but ProTools was employed. After that, however, a hardware sequencer was purchased and all the machines were "hooked up," Marieu proudly proclaims.
For many, though, it's less about the process and more about the result. Raw and repetitive, the 12-inches that Lucretio and Marieu have been offering up through Restoration over the past few years have caught the attention of jocks that treasure both vinyl and DJ tools. There is little home use for the sort of tunes that the duo favor; these are songs built expressly for the floor. As a result, they've come to find further allies in the Berghain/Panorama Bar crew. Steffi has come aboard as a collaborator in a project they call Third Side. "When we work [alone or together] we are very anti-structure. When we work with her we can be more structured," explains Marieu. "She's DJing more than us, so if she says something needs to be shorter or longer, we agree. She knows better than us." Recently, they've all teamed up with nd_baumecker for the latest EP on the label.
It was clear on a recent night at the club, celebrating the release, that baumecker and Steffi had more experience in the booth. Marieu was bookended by the two and couldn't quite find the groove that Steffi set out or baumecker brought back. But that's down to experience more than anything else. The duo rarely get booked as DJs. Increasingly, though, their Analogue Cops live act is in demand. It's likely that's due to the unique set-up they bring to each performance. "We have to do something new [each time] because it's boring," explains Marieu. "When you prepare your live set, you go to the stage, and you can do variations of course, but the basic [thing is set]. If the night has another mood or you have a different mood, you can't change."
Domenico and Marieu like to DJ. They also like to play live despite the aforementioned gripes. But, most of all, they simply like to make music. They've just recently started solo labels—Machines State for Lucretio, Enlightened Wax for Marieu—and they're looking to inaugurate a new name or two, simply to get all the music they're making out to the world as soon as they can. But even despite the increasing attention—Hessle Audio's Ben UFO and Blawan are fans, with the latter even collaborating with The Analogue Cops on music recently—there doesn't seem to be much money in all of this for them. Domenico claims that they haven't made anything off the label. Marieu explains that "it's better to press low numbers to sell the records quicker and then move on. If you don't, you start to have a lot of records lying about." With the appetite for their brand of lo-fi house music showing little sign of abating, it's only a matter of time before they begin to reap the rewards of their hard work.
Download: RA Label of the Month 1107 Mix: Restoration
(right click + save target as)
Filesize: 114.5 MB
Moodymann - I Can't Kick This Feeling When It Hits (Appointment Remix 1) (Decks Reworx)
Creative Swing Alliance - Now (Loving You) (MCDE)
Marieu - Light 1 (Enlightened Wax)
The Analogue Cops - CRC 09 (Restoration)
The Guy On The Couch - Time Stopping (Earth Mothern)
Lucretio - A Mountain (Machines State)
Third Side meets nd_baumecker - Retro Vogue (Restoration)
Roy Davis Jr. - Symphonic Days (Chord 44 Records)
Appointment - A1 on AP-004 (Appointment)
Lucretio - Thinking Right (Restoration)
Lucretio - Loveliness (Competence Dubplates)
Lucretio - Ion Storm (Competence Dubplates)
Third Side meets nd_baumecker - Burning (Restoration)
Marieu - Light 3 (Enlightened Wax)
Soul Providers feat. Michelle Shellers - Rise (Bini & Martini Vocal Mix) (Ocean Traxx)
Lucretio - The Peace (Machines State)
Steffi ft. Virginia - You Own My Mind (The Analogue Cops Remix) (Ostgut Ton)
Dwayne Jensen - I See the Sun Light (Soiree Records)
Appointment - B1 on App-002 (Appointment)
Michael Frosinone - No. 1 (side A) (Unpredictable Records)
Ballistiq Beats - Yardman Riddim (Instrumental) (Keysoundrecordings)