Romania isn't entirely the type of place you might associate with techno. However, for many years Andrew Red Hand has been responsible for pioneering the dark arts in the country. Since 2009 he has released on labels such as MOS, Land of Dance and more. Aaron carl notoriously called him 'the romanian Underground Resistance himself'', and living up to this name Andrew has delivered several mixes as part of the UR series. We caught up with him to talk cliches and the inspiration behind his name...
Please introduce yourself…
Hello, I am Andrew Red Hand, aka the man with the red hand.
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I am a dj and an electronic music producer hailing from the spiritual capital of Romania, the lovely city called Iasi. Oh and I am a human being, well partially, except for my red hand !?
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Hmm I think it's kind of mixed, as I do music based on my mood. The way I am feeling at that moment will reflect in the music, I can't fake it. I make different genres from electro to acid, some house, techno ... So sometimes it sounds happy, angry, bubbling with acid, or emotional, melancholic, sad, depressing and so on. I even made a track with tears dropping - Mourning My Mother, part of For My Mother Ep on M>O>S Recordings. I tried to recreate the darkest day of my life when I had to bury my beloved mom. It has church bells, angel like choirs, rain ... I think this would describe a little how my music sounds - http://joco.name/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/rgb_4096_4.png
Where does the name Red Hand come from?
I have been lucky enough to be born different, my entire left hand is red. It's a port-wine stain birthmark, as Gorbachev has on his forehead.
What led you into the world of making music?
I know it may sound as a cliche, but I've been obsessed with music since childhood and still am. My Soviet Union reel to reel Majak 203 had some hard days in the 80's haha, but it's still working. So one day I started to do my own music, I started with electro / techno bass and I had the honor to release it later straight in Detroit, to DJ Godfather's legendary Twilight 76 Records. That's how it all began.
Who were your early influences?
I think all the good music and genres I grew up listening to influenced me more or less, from the 70-80-90's and so on ... Though in those communist pre-1989 era it was extremely hard to get some foreign music, my dad had a friend who had some and he recorded lots of reel to reel tapes for him with his dope Akai gear. In terms of electronic music definetly the early history of Detroit and Chicago electronic music blew me away, though nowadays I am dissapointed by a lot of my former favorite artists. Some started to be crowd pleasers instead of breaking barriers, as they used to ! But fortunately there are new ones worldwide that are still pushing it.
What was electronic music like in the nineties in Romania?
There was any ? :) I had the chance to start my dj experience at our VIP Club, it was one of the 3 clubs or so in the country where you could hear playing varied electronic music, that was in the 97-98. And there was a noticable band called Suie Paparude who came to us some times and played some acid breaks, big beats with lots of influences ; today they're super commercial sadly. The rest of the clubs were playing ridiculous radio - money making music, as they still do today, except as for today everywhere you hear this failed hybrid called minimal-tech-house-whatever and his close friend junk, the electro-house. Yep, no high quality music clubs in Romania, except for some ultra rare parties. I can't express myself here anymore !
Where was the mix recorded?
At home, in my room, some call it studio :). My cactus heared it and they loved it apparentely.
I played some various stuff from real electro to some acid, techno, some jakbeat, EMB etc, tracks I really dig, as always.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
With this high temperatures here I think on the beach with a good soundsystem, enjoying the sunset while dancing and preparing to go to a good party afterwards.
What should we be wearing?
What you feeling comfortable with and you can add UR like mask, maybe an oldschool ski one, later grab a guitar for a bit and a microphone also to sing some nice lyrics.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Tresor Berlin, where I had the honor to play this year. In fact the mix was recorded but kind of vanished. Next time I'll personally take care of ! :) Downstairs in the ''jail'' if I would record a harder one, or up in Globus for the rest ! I never heard a kick sounding so hard as downstairs at the bars and such profound and full upstairs. The acoustics of the rooms is ace completed with those Void ! They have the perfect gear also. Or if not in a club, on an amazing beach, at dawn.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Well I only play what I like, no tracks to fill the gaps or something ... So they're all current favorite, though some are not new. It's kind of hard to compare as I see them like works of art, everyone with its own personality.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I think I have more favorites in different styles, that Liquid Room mix of Jeff Mills comes now to my mind. I have other electro, house ones and in other genres too ...
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
With Jeff Mills and Mike Banks playing over. Or on the electro side with DJ Stingray with the late James Stinson also doing some live tricks. Why ? Because they're genius and it's always good to learn from masters.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
I used an old Unitra turntable to listen to my few vinyls back in the days. Now I borrow from some mates what I need, I'm not such a gear addict :)
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
It depends, I think both but mostly the first one as it kind of starts the journey. And also the last one if you want to close it, but sometimes of time I let it open. But in this mix the last one is important too as it's one of mine :), I named it Mom's Spirit and it will be out on my second EP on M>O>S Recordings.
What were the first and last records you bought?
There were no vinyl shops here in my country, only in the last year few opened. So back in the days I had to search in the second-hand bookshops and I found some like a mixed compilation of some early Chicago acid tracks. And Run Dmc' Tougher Than Leather was everywhere, I used to scratch over the scratch in Mary Mary haha.
Tha last record ? I guess one of mine, a Detroit label didn't bother to send it to me !
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
As it is quite varied in styles I would say a fruit salad of golden apple with grapefruit and some yellow grapes and cantaloupe.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A peacock or a colorful parrot.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
''There will be people who say you don't mix this with that, and you will say Watch me!'' For those who know ;)
Upcoming in the world of…
I just finished working on my second EP for the Holland's finest M>O>S Recordings, it will be out this year. Also I have one acid EP coming up quite soon on a label of Lobster Theremin's empire called 1Ø Pills Mate. And another one on a great German label, now discussing it, tba.
Also soon to be released a bunch of remixes for some Detroit legends : I just did an electro one for Detroit Techno Militia's label for T.Linder, coming up a banging techno remix for Thomas Barnett's Lord Of The Sith on his label Visillusion, an electro remix for Sean Deason's The Shit, on his Matrix Records and an electro-funk remix for Niko Mark's Human Expansion, on his label U2X.
And I just released an electro EP - Inspiring Memories on Detroit Undeground with some cool remixes too.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Thanks much for having me Ransom Note !
Warm electronic greetings everyone from Iasi, Romania ! And beware of the Red Hand !! :)