Ingrid and Nico Cabeza are both artists with Italian roots that have been making waves in the world of techno with their DJ sets and productions.
Individually they are both successful artists who have made solo releases on leading techno labels run by the likes of Christian Smith, Frankyeffe and Monika Kruse, but have also released successful collaborations on imprints like Miles From Mars.
Most recently, the guys have collaborated for a two track EP on Simina Grigoriu’s label Kuukou, so we decided to do this joint interview to find out more about that release plus their other projects…
Hi Guys, it is great to be talking with you today. Could you each start by giving people a little bit of info about your individual styles?
I: Hi guys, thanks for this interview! I can define my style as a psychedelic mix of sound that blends hypnotics with voices and effects that swirl round the head to create a kind of tunnel that each of us can hear and interpret without limits, in our own imaganitve way.
N: Hi! I come from a background of old school house and techno culture. I took my first steps listening to the recorded sets of people like Sasha, John Digweed, and Deep Dish etc, then digging deeper in to its roots, I discovered the Detroit artists who pioneered techno. This inspiration led me to start my career as a producer of tech house music and that evolved into the techno I make and play today. I particularly love melodic elements, which is something I can trace back to my love of people like Sasha.
Now we know about your individual sound, Ingrid could you tell us how you guys met, and Nico could you talk us through what makes your combined talents so complimentary?
I: I met Nico at Ipse in Berlin when I played at Hito presents OTO with a lot of other great artists, immediately a healthy friendship was born, and an explosion of musical ideas united us, as we share a passion for very similar music.
N: I met Ingrid a few years ago in Berlin (where I live), but after talking it turned out we were also from the same region of Italy. After we met and talked about music, we thought it would be fun to try and do something together, as it was clear we had similar creative ideas. Thus, our first collaboration was born with tracks that got released on a label called Miles From Mars!
Your next release is a collaboration on Simina Grigoriu’s label Kuukou, is this the first time each of you have worked with the label, and individually what other labels have you featured on?
I: This the first time either of us have released on Kuukou and the follow up of our Miles From Mars collaboration. I have also worked with RXC (Frankyeffe’s label), Protokol, Audiobloc and øpress Recordings.
N: I have released my techno tracks on labels like Terminal M, Tronic. Transmit plus a few others, and it’s great to be adding Kuukou to that list.
“Want A Rave” is a really great EP, Ingrid please can you talk us through the concept of the title track, and Nico please can you break down the second cut “Beirut 03”?
I: “Want A Rave” was created out of pent-up frustration after not being able to rave during the covid pandemic lockdown. It’s got a distorted kick with a nice metallic synth that has scratchy textures. We wanted to create a pause full of suspense just before the drop, and the result of this was stunning! On both tracks we decided to record samples of my voice to add a more original touch that wasn’t plucked from an over circulated sample pack.
N: Both tracks were done at Ingrid’s studio in Italy, and “Beirut 03” was a really fun track to do. It has the perfect mix of the sounds, using some from the current techno sector and blending in others that are more commonly associated with the rave era. The bassline is a Polysix arp and on top of that we decided to use an old school stab to replicate an old school rave. In my opinion the flow of this record leads to a very cool breakdown. Ingrid felt it would be a cool idea to drop the tempo so the breakbeat percussion felt like Drum&Bass for a moment… the result was CRAZY! I still remember our faces after first listening to the completed drop, as we were both thrilled, and very satisfied with the results of our creativity!
Individually could you give us your opinions on what it is like working in collaboration with another artist compared to producing solo music… does it change how you approach starting a new track?
I: I really like producing and experimenting with new stuff! When I produce alone, I try to channel all my emotion into the idea I want to create in the track, and sometimes I get lost in a single sound until I have reached what I had in my head. When I collaborate with another artist like Nico, it’s always interesting because he has a different way of working and we first discussed how to approach creating something that merges our different production techniques. The results speak for themselves when he mixes his style with mine, and we are always very happy with all our collaborations.
N: As far as I’m concerned, working together with other capable artists like Ingrid, is always a very interesting and profitable experience. You can always learn something new, and I’m a big supporter of sharing ideas to improve a skillset… especially in studio sessions. But in collaborations, the big difference in how the track starts, as this is often the part where peoples approach is most different. For example, with Ingrid we talked a lot before about what to do, soon we had a structured plan of what order we wanted to do things. Alone I put the blank page in front of me, and started writing what I felt at the moment, which is sometimes very chaotic before I get a nice groove going.
It’s always interesting to hear how an electronic music artist sees themself, individually do you guys see yourself as more of a DJ or a producer, as I know this can be something people find hard to balance?
I: I feel like it’s a full 360 degree circle, as DJing and producing music makes me happy in different ways, and one feeds the other. When I’m in a DJ booth I feel a crazy energy that I can transmit to people with the music I choose to play, and this makes me very happy. Being able to create my tracks and ideas is even more special, as that’s an opportunity for me to express myself in the sets of other DJ’s who decide to play my tracks.
N: I feel more like a producer, as I’ve have always found more satisfaction in what I do in the studio, despite my DJ career starting many years before making my first track. However, I do also love DJ’ing and have a good schedule of pencilled in dates for events that will be confirmed depending on the Covid situation at the time. I think making music is more creative, as you do whatever you want, and aren’t just manipulated by the music of someone else, which despite being a lot of fun does have its limitations!
Ingrid could you tell us if you have any plans to do and B2B DJ sets with Nico once clubs can open up again after Covid, and Nico do you and Ingrid already have more plans to collaborate in the studio?
I: Oh of course! I can’t wait to play with my friends and artists like Nico, and that’s something I plan do soon as the whole nightlife world starts again!
N: For now, I can’t say anything, but something else is coming… more will be anounced soon!
We thank you both for taking the time to run through this joint interview. Before we bring the conversation to a close, would you each like to tell our readers what’s coming up next in your individual schedules?
I: Thank you too! Soon as this pandemic ends, there will be many gigs around the world to reunite us, and I can’t wait to see people dance more happily and energetic than ever before. Thanks guys, and see you soon!
N: For now I can’t reveal anything, but in 2021 things will get really interesting at the discography level, and if events start again I hope to give good news from my base in Berlin 😉