Khidja: The Ransom Note Mix


Khidja are the Romanian duo making a whole lot of noise at the moment. The pair have released music for the likes of Emotional Especial, Love On The Rocks and Malka Tuti over the past couple of years and have been on our radar for quite some time now. They fuse samples from Central Asia and the Middle East alongside Electronic obscurities to create mixes of depth. Their knowledge is vast and their music has been supported heavily by those who have been following the crossover between Optimo, Mehmet Aslan and Huntleys & Palmers. This mix sees them delve deep into obscure samples, spoken word and wonderful electronics and the result is quite remarkable. Listen and read the pair's interview below: 

Who are you, where are you and what are you?

We are two guys who went to high school together, got into the same music, went through different musical phases together and ended up as djs and producers. We're based in Bucharest and London. We work over the internet. 

What does your music sound like? 

Eastern mindless boogie with jazz rock aesthetics and a industrial groove. Enforced by modern and not so modern electronics.  

Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us?

How did the Khidja project come about? 

Growing up in Romania there wasn't much dj culture that interested us at the time. We went to the same high school and we were pretty much the only ones that had turntables and an avid interest in vinyl.  When we realised we have the same taste in music we worked towards getting gigs at this super cool underground place called "The Web Club". One year later we made our dream come true.  It's been 12 years since.                                    

You seem to enjoy producing edits, what makes the perfect sample for an edit project and how do you pick them?

The track has to be screaming at you to edit it, and it should be reasonably unknown. The edit should flow natural, if the track is great already it doesn't need to be more pumped up in the edit. We add drums only if really necessary, and we try to do it discrete so that whoever hears it will think it's like a lost version. 

What hardware do you use? 

We use lots of software also, especially the Korg M1. Most of what gets recorded goes through an Eventide H3500 which is like a pumping heart in the studio, a Strymon El Capistan pedal, Boss KM60 distortion. Synths like: Roland Juno 60 and Jupiter 4, Mono Evolver, Waldorf Microwave 1, E-Mu Proteus, Micro Korg, Casio old school keyboards, Korg DW 8000, Yamaha DX 200, Novation Bass Station, Roland 2500, Ensoniq ESQ 1, Teisco mono synth and some russian synths (when they work), Omnichord. Drums: Roland TR8, Korg DDD1, Volca Sample, Roland R8, Medeli drum pad, Technics turntable and vinyl to sample. Currently using an amazing filter distortion, the Chippman Ebbe und Flut. Lots of this stuff goes through an 80s Ramsa mixing board. Doepfer Dark Time for sequencing. 

How did the Malka Kuti release come to fruition? 

The guys had us over to play in Tel Aviv. We played them some of the music from the release, it was very different sounding to what it became in the end. Almost one year later we were done with it. 

Where was the mix recorded?

In the studio, it was pieced together in Ableton and overdubbed with a turntable. 

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix? 

Before getting out of the house to a party. 

What should we be wearing? 

Whatever works for you. 

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?  

At a cool party having an amazing set with everyone screaming and sweating. One microphone on to catch the vibe.

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

We were really loving the Savant / K. Leimer stuff all year. Was very inspirational. 

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

We're too young to decide now. 

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

We've been lucky to host a big party with the most amazing djs on the planet in Bucharest, at clubs like Control or at our own parties. We've been spoiled. There are a lot of amazing djs nowadays with which it would be great to play. We hear Marc Pinol is great, Vladimir Ivkovic or Toulouse Low Traxx. 

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

Used to be two turntables and a microphone. Now we just have one turntable each, replaced the other turntable with more records and gear. 

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Both really, it's great to have a perfect set to get things going at the beginning but also good to end on a high note. 

What were the first and last records you bought?

An egyptian record with british voiceovers talking about egyptian gods and rituals, has some incantations also. A Mark Isham record, Companion's This is a test, some Revolting Cooks, Bill Conti, Die Schwarze Spinne by Carlos Peron. Lynch's OST "Wild at heart", Laurie Anderson, Zazou Bikaye, Eurythmics. – these are all recently bought. First records ever – Company Flow – Little Johnny from the Hospitul, Freundeskreiss, one of the first Andy Votel productions.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like? 

One minute steak in pita with tahina mixed with tomatoes and some herbs.    

If it was an animal what would it be?

Maybe a flying squirrel. 

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?  

There is no such thing for us, mixing is secondary.  

Upcoming in the world of…

We're working on new stuff as we speak, finished remixing In Flagranti and Plus Instruments, working on one for Karpov Not Kasparov and an another amazing project via Malka Tuti.  

Anything else we need to discuss?

The world needs more weird music. 

Follow Khidja on Facebook HERE.