Artist To Artist: Glenn Astro & Hodini
Towards the tail end of last month an interesting release emerged on Apollo Records, a collaboration between Glenn Astro and Hodini which might not have been necessarily expected to land upon the R&S affiliated label. The pair first began collaborating online, exchanging files and samples with the hope that the project might one day come to fruition and an item of worth. However, they quickly began to realise that there would be more value in them formally collaborating and arranged to meet. The rest as they say is history…
Glenn explains the process as follows:
"'Turquoise Tortoise' can be seen as a metaphor. The turtle or tortoise is often used to describe processes that move forward at a slow pace. This was often the case for the album, to bring everything together the way we wanted, so we thought it symbolizes this really well.”
They discuss below:
Glenn Astro asks…
1. An easy one to start with. Which instrument do you dislike the most?
Haha, I was thinking about asking you the same one. It's definitely the Violin. But don't get me wrong, I love Violins when it comes to String Ensembles. For instance in Soul Music. But single Violins just remind me of Cotton Eye Joe.
2. What was the most immoral offer you have had in exchange for money. Any music related regrets?
Playing records on a promotional Event for a Big Automobile Company. I think i wouldn't do that one again. But otherwise, no regrets music related.
3. You are actively involved into two different scenes with your HulkHodn moniker and all the hip hop related stuff on one side, and as Hodini with a more dancefloor orientated approach on the other side. Although both areas definitely draw a lot of influences and inspiration from each other, I feel like the scenes themselves still remain completely different, especially in terms of dealing with political issues like gender inequality, racism or eurocentrism or dealing with the heritage of the music itself. What do you miss in the discussion or think the one could learn from the other?
I think that the Hip Hop Scene could learn a lot more on not accepting such things as Sexism, Homo/Transphobia & antisemitism in general…but unfortunately those 'izms' are always excused by “artistic freedom” and that really grinds my gears! In terms of the early hiphop days it was all about “peace, love and havin fun”, “Stop The Violence!” – but these values somehow started to change.
4. To what extent does money influence your music making process, do you have stuff like this in mind when you make music?
When making music I don ́t have money on mind. In that process it's all about getting it to sound right to myself. I sometimes question myself: “would I cop that, if I were to listen to it in a Record Store?!”
5. Do you see yourself in the musical categories people put you in?
No, not really… I guess many people think of me as the “boombap/ oldschool/ piano flippin ́type of Hip Hop guy”, which (to be honest) I don't see myself as. There's too much good music out there, to just get stuck in one genre, regardless of whether deejaying or producing.
6. I don’t mean specifically you, but generally speaking, do you think there’s a positive effect on making music while being stoned or a bit tipsy or whatever? Microdosing is a big thing now as well, so what’s your view on that? Does psychedelic music need drugs?
Oh, didn't know about microdosing as a new trend. I'm definitely OUT on that one. Smoking Weed while foolin' around on the MPC can be very inspiring, because unpredictable things can (and will) happen, which in my opinion is a cool thing. But I think, when it comes to Mixing and Arranging, it'll get you in a lot of trouble, haha! But no, music doesn't need drugs. (don't do drugs kids!)
Photo courtesy of Benedikt Bentler / dasfilter.com
1. Easy one to start with as well. What's your favourite piece of gear?
Not easy at all! It actually changes a lot, but at the moment my favorite piece of gear is the Syncussion SY-! Clone, it isn’t even my own, it belongs to DJ Neumann, but we borrow it from him a lot so it spends a lot of time at our studio and I actually use it in almost all of the tracks I have done in the studio. It’s amazing really! (I guess I should explain that I share a studio with Max Graef, IMYRMIND and the Torben Unit band, so we have put all our gear in one room so we are able to use a lot of different stuff when we feel like it)
2. When listening to your music i always wondered, how you come up with those complex arrangement ideas. For example switching tempos. Is there a certain approach within your workflow?
I never saw my music as being complex in any way, but I take that as a compliment haha. I tend to not do the obvious thing, but I also go for the most obvious things a lot… actually no idea, I have really no idea what I’m doing most of the time, maybe that helps?
3. Another one is for the nerds..haha. What ́s your opinion on the whole analog vs. digital thing and could you imagine working on a complete project without using a computer?
Honestly, I think it’s a pretty pointless discussion, both worlds obviously have their advantages and disadvantages, but that has been said a million times before and I don’t think I can add anything profoundly new to this discussion haha. In terms of finishing up a whole song without a computer, I could definitely do that. I guess the tricky part would be the actual recording and then editing of the recordings though, I could use a tape machine or something, but then you’d have to cut out the parts you don’t like from the actual tape and reattach it and rearrange stuff that way, which would be a bit annoying, but doable, I guess. Might also be a good opportunity to dig deeper into the song mode on the MPC and use more than 2 MIDI channels simultaneously…Quite honestly I don’t really see the point of leaving the computer comletely out of the process. You can do so much outside of the box already so you actiually don’t need the computer for much more than being a more powerful tapemachine with advanced editing functions haha, why not use it?
4. On your Throwback LP there ́s a Track called “One for Viktor” while our LP starts off with the Song “Viktor & the Quasar” I always wondered but never asked. Who is Viktor?
Easy and simple it’s my brother’s name. He was the one who got me into music I guess. I got my first cassette from him, he was always playing music at home as long as I remember and playing the guitar and also providing me with my first records, so yeah I think it’s a nice way to pay hommage. There also has been a Viktor related tracks on The Yardwork Simulator and Even LPs, didn’t realize there are four in this line already… nice.
5. Since I know you are sharing an external Studio i was wondering, if that changed the way on how you work on music in general?
I think it totally changed the way I make music. First thing is that I now have a lot more equipment to choose from since we have thrown all our equipment together in that room and everytime I come in there something is different, like a pedal is missing, but two others have appeared, or things are plugged in together weirdly like the drum microphone is now routed through a phaser pedal into the MPC. You just start to try out things that way and end up experimenting with different percussion or drum recordings for a few hours without finishing a track, but you can use those recordings for a project later on. A little downside is that it’s quite far away from the place where I live, so it’s a bit like driving to work, you start to take it a lot more serious and try to make the best out of the time when you’re there and be as productive as possible. Scheduling solo time in there is sometimes a bit difficult as well, if you want to finish up solo stuff for example. All in all the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
6. Now the last and most dull question. You ́ll have to live on a lonley island…now you have to choose: Which DVD Box would you take with you?
– The Simpsons – Friends
– Rick & Morty
No Bob’s Burgers and Fresh Prince in there? Ok, relying on my gut feeling here and picking Rick & Morty, although there are only three seasons at the moment…
Image courtesy of Benedikt Bentler. Buy the release HERE.