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A PERSONAL TAKE ON THE NEW HOUSE SOUNDS

MEETING ARKITECT FROM LA

19-02-2021

The exciting young artist Arkitect is joining the UNMUTE family and delivers the “All Night” track on our upcoming Various Artist Album “Amplify”. The incredibly talented upcoming producer also provided us with interesting takes on the new minimal house sound and his personal progress on his journey into this new style of music. The Doing the most with the least in the sounds is how he rolls. Let’s get to know him and his vision a bit better. Read below.

So first things first: Tell us more about Arkitect.
I am Jordan aka Arkitect, producer and DJ from Los Angeles, California. I haven’t been involved in music production for too long and this is actually my first release on a label. Two years ago, after a magical night out, I had decided to establish a name, produce and express my musical side of my personality and work every day to develop further. So, I am yet a bit under the radar. Actually, I am still quite underground.
I reside here in Long Beach, LA California and things are quite laid back in this part of the LA area. If you are wondering if it’s like in the movies? YES! Full of tourists, skaters, sunshine and surf minded people.
I think my first epiphany with house music was in Sound Nightclub in LA. It was such an inspiration seeing the likes of legends like Jamie Jones, Chris Liebing, Martinez Brothers and the way they put this music, I never had heard of, into people’s ears. I was instantly sold. From there on out I wanted to be more involved in the dance culture and got more interested in dealing with producing this magic music.
After that epiphany moment, I teamed up with a fellow mate, a Peruvian producer, and started exploring, discovering and experiencing all these new fields of music.

What’s your house scene like over there in LA, in your personal view? 
Well, LA is a big scene for a lot of different house music styles, but it tends to encompass mostly afro, latin and pop sounds. It’s not like Europe, where I think dance culture is more prominently embedded in the nightlife culture. However, we are catching up with a lot of stuff that is already out there. In general, there is a scene for everything here, so minimal and house are not out of the question, but it is a lot more underground over here.

I think that the LA crowds haven’t really met this new minimalistic house style yet. For me, the sound contains soulful and funky elements that could remind new listeners of previous old-school house, soul, disco, funk, and jazz styles. It does sound really new, energetic and raw. With the minimal element into the mix, I find it is the subtleties in the track that you’ll start to notice. And if you really listen to the tune, the repetition fades away and detailed intricacies will come forward to your ears. Maybe at first it doesn’t sound like a lot is going on, but I have never heard so many amazing breakdowns in a track with so many nuanced elements, since I have discovered this genre.

The genre isn’t for everyone and certainly not for the masses in particular in the mainstream. However, for the ones who do appreciate this niche and the art of it, we tend to just produce for the love of this music and eventually the music will speak for itself.

The minimal house scene here in LA is very niche, undiscovered and unknown. The underground club scene and art-minded people know about it, but there is a lot of room for discovery of the sound and the scene that comes with it. DJs here do play a couple of minimal or deep-tech tracks in their shows in some clubs, but it hasn’t fully taken on yet really. I have seen shows of a couple of artists, besides the more prominent artists out of the deep tech scene, but not more of what this scene really has to offer. I have seen more older artists from previous generations are also getting into it, but I think that there is still very much space for more artists to transfer this new sound to new crowds, because it fits here in the scenery of LA – art appreciation, laidback vibes and sunshine.

Gathering from what you said, you are into minimalistic house music but we’d like to also discuss more about your early and contemporary musical influences. Could you elaborate on that?
I am originally from Santa Barbara, CA. Growing up on the West Coast meant a lot of Hip Hop and RnB influences for me in my early days of life. My dad listened to all these 70s and 80s soul and disco bands, like the Gap Band for instance.  My Dad’s record collection was enormous. Besides all this timeless soul, jazz, disco and funk, for me in the 90s the most part, was listening to Hip Hop by the likes of Tupac and Biggie. 

Next to all these slower styles of music that I am listening to, I am first and foremost a huge fan of house music. The pioneers of house of the 80s and 90s fuel my inspiration, but I am also drawn to the modern new age sound of house. Record labels like PIV and NO Art and artists like Toman and Sidney Charles are a very decent inspiration for me. In general, it should be a blend: combining the soulful RnB elements of previous musical generations with the modern energetic new age sounds of house.

And how would you describe your sound?
To be quite honest, I would say I haven’t found it just yet when it comes to the specific sound of one label per se.
I feel my sound is still in its journey and I think All Night is just part of that. However, a big part of my sound is jazzy and soulful and tends to emphasize soft chords like pianos. Eventually, I think it comes down to learning to do more with these single elements with the lesser you add. Less is more, as they say.

What is/are the most important element(s) in your sound?
A lot of my sound contains groovy basslines. When I overthink a bassline, I try to emulate not a lot of minimal elements and heavy outspoken melodious notes into it. I find through this way a deeper melodious type of bassline comes to life. The trend is set by more plucky notes and elements and good vocals.

It’s more of the deep soulful analogue house versus the electronic deep minimal that defines my sound.

 

What’s an element of your sound that is very characteristic for Arkitect?
I think that this goes along with what we previously were talking about. In general, I have an idea where my sound and specific characteristics of it should go. Eventually, it comes with more time and more insight in where I want to go with this thing, but I would like to see more groovy RnB/Soul vocal things coming into my future work.

So, what about production? What is your approach? Tell us more about your process in the studio.
When I start my production work I start with the foundations like a drum track or bassline and work upon that. After the fundamentals I search for a melody. In general, the foundation of the feeling of the track comes from my bassline.
However, it could go the other way around when people use the chords first. Either way, I go back and forth between the two approaches. If I can play and tweak with the chords it should give some more feel to build the track, but it can also be an edge to start with the bassline, like I do in particular.
At last the vocals need to be added, but the approach is basically to start with a drum loop, the arrangement, and work on the bass and the chords.
I kind of stick to what works for me. I do not necessarily stick to one routine, and it’s working out great so far for my workflow and studio time. 

What are your go-to tools that really help you finish your tracks?
Yeah. Well. A big foundation for my track comes from the Artherea VST collection. There is so much to go from. The Mini V or Matrix are chord selections to pick. Or Boombase for basslines I tend to use a lot.
I would say I use Blue the most, that contains a lot of sounds to play with. Just playing with a lot of plugs and packs, really. Hardware is expensive but does open up a more personalized sound in a shorter amount of time, but if you put the hours in VST’s can get the desired results just as good. It boils down to doing quality studio time and using it well.

Time and hard work can deliver great results, but are not the only important aspects of becoming a successful artist. We met during a DeMarzo group session. What is your view on your music production communities with regard to mentors and support in your learning process?

Personally, I think it’s huge. If you want to find a mentor or a group class I would suggest for anybody starting, that you should take it, since for me, my learning vastly improved because of these groups. There is so much knowledge out there and the learning processes of all these new tools, routines and how to use it is so much faster. It boosts your creativity and it also is always helpful to surround yourself with people that are able to share and draw inspiration from.

Is this also something to stay with?
Not in particular the group but the concept of surrounding yourself and connecting with people that you can draw inspiration and boost creativity from is always good advice. Finding each of these new ways is by no means time wasted.

How do you allocate your time to music production?
I need to get a little bit more organized. Some days are different than others, but I do spend time working on getting more structure in my production. Maybe one day going through samples, getting to mixing on the other day. In a way I am still creating my own routine. Keeping a clean studio space can also go a long way with increasing your workflow and headspace to create.

Circling back to your upcoming release, what was your inspiration for this project?
For me, minimal sounds stand for doing the most with the least. I started off with the drums and I found this special vocal somewhere. All Night isn’t very minimal per se, but more of a dancefloor driving type track. I found that the sample really worked around everything on it. Again, the bassline is very straightforward. I just really wanted something pumping that was built around this vocal. I found that vocal some time ago and I really wanted to build something around it. I built the percussion and the arrangement for a solid foundation. The placement of the vocal was the last element of the track. The bass on the downbeat really continues to move in the ears and with the vocals this makes All Night a more driven deep pumping minimal house track.

And what is the element you prefer the most within your arrangement?
The organ. Smoothly driving the breaks and leading the listener back into the heavy hard hitting pumps of the bass. Organ sounds give me the chills and a feeling of nostalgia from an era that inspires me greatly even today.

Where would you see your track be played ideally?
In a nice venue on the floor. This is more of a peak hour club track. It contains energy and needs to be played in an underground nightclub.

All Night (Original Mix) is one of the tracks of the upcoming album AMPLIFY, released via all channels on 28th of February 2021. 

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