Dadub – a ruthless conveyor belt churning out prodigiously mastered records, innovative productions and indelible live performances.
The duo has established Artefacts Mastering Studio, contributed to the distinct, undeniable Stroboscopic Artefact sound and triggered a cult following through their inventive compositions in what seems like a blink of an eye. We spoke with Daniele Antezza and Giovanni Conti, in particular the latter, ahead of their live performance at our launch event next month.
Describe to us the machine that is Artefacts Mastering?
We started the studio almost by chance; Lucy from SA had just released the first vinyl of the label and was in search for a mastering studio with experience in dealing with techno and electronic tracks. Daniele had just moved to Berlin, we rented a studio together and then it all went crazy, almost three years went by in what felt like a week. We went from a purely digital setup to a hybrid digital/analogue combination of plug-ins and hardware. After mastering all the SA releases since then, many other labels began to notice us. We started to receive mountains of releases through a core group of producers from Europe, America and Asia. Our work almost exclusively takes place at night as the building we're in doesn't have adequate soundproofing, but that fits in well with the performing schedule we conjugate alongside the secluded studio life.
Describe to us the live show and the sound you deliver?
In essence, I control the arrangements and composition while Giovanni takes care of the surface and emotional intensity using a setup that is directly derived from the glorious dub tradition: real time audio processing through a chain of self oscillating delays, reverbs, distortion and feedback. The sound is decomposed in fragments and re-synthesized according to audio analysis and hands-on midi controllers. In this way each live set is unique and a direct representation of the environment we are playing in, everything is improvised. Reverb washes and self-regenerating feedback flows are the perfect body for immaterial energy to incarnate and diffuse through sound waves, reshaping trough resonance to the souls of our audience…or at least that is what we like to think (laughs).
How did you both come together and where would you be without each other?
I would probably be dealing with robbers and prima donnas in the art world. This personal outlook was consuming my nerves and self esteem back in Italy before my life its current path. But the universe has quite convoluted ways of guiding us, Daniele and I met precisely because of my asshole of a boss (in short he stole the software I had developed for my university master thesis, a Max/MSP patch for real time noise masking utilising psycho-acoustic analysis of urban sound and spectral re-synthesis of music. It left me without cause and a job, but having no idea of how the software worked, he started searching for people who could understand and use the program. Evidently, my old boss contacted Daniele for the work. We ended up meeting in Berlin through a mutual friend. Soon after Dadub was established, all of our dark moments and previous struggles now feed our inspiration and ambition.
What does Stroboscopic Artefacts mean to you and how do you see it evolving over time?
We often have no idea of how our work is taken into consideration by other musicians and music enthusiasts. We are working in the studio 80% of the time, the remaining 20% of the time we try to realize and limit the time spent at the computer. When we look back it is apparent that some giant steps were made in building our reputation and musical personality. It all originated from the coordinated work of Lucy, the people working behind the scenes and our mastering touch. This may sound pretentious but I like to think that now, not even the sky is the limit for us, we can go much further in time and space collecting fragments of beauty to share with other people. We hope that our music is able to transcend and venture outside the walls of a club or even electronic music as a genre. When we make a record, it is designed to resonate with people of all different musical tastes and be universal, timeless.
With all the talk regarding your influence on the imprints distinctive individuality and essence – do you feel pressure and responsibility with mastering for the label?
Of course we have the responsibility to give the final shape to the tracks we receive, but our recent success has proved we're on the right path; we approach mastering and sound production without any fears and preconceptions, sometimes doing much more than an experienced mastering engineer would out of respect for each producers creativity. The first step to mastering is attempting to decode and understand the driving elements of a track, the strong and weak points, and then work by continuously adapting and refining this initial interpretation to the mastered product. And it seems we're getting at least a part of this process right, or that our intimate perception of sound and musical trends is partly correct, however we feel there is still a long way to go in our development.
Teach us about the origin of your drive and motivation – how much does the current state of the world contribute?
When we compose a track or play live, the first step is to remove our mind and control from the equation, and try to be as transparent and receptive possible. It's the same tactic I apply to life, so obviously everything that I experience is reflected through my productions and performances. I feel we're in a moment of radical transformation, the results of the information age are getting scary, and we’re in a threshold moment where wrong decisions by our leaders can ultimately amount to the annihilation of human life on our planet. The majority of people in this world lack the motivation or intelligence to evolve, learn and ask questions. Failing to recognize threats disguised as commodities is a common mistake and many are contempt with being written off as mass consumers or materialistic members of society. The greed and violence that western civilization imposes over the eastern countries is worrying to me as is the lies and deception that the media instills in our unconsciousness. People are becoming oblivious to their contribution to capitalism through silence, isolation and ignorance. I try to voice my opinion and create awareness where possible but do not want to be too obvious; it would never be my intention to come across as continually screaming about my emotional inadequacy when facing reality. We prefer to let our music translate our passion and feelings.
Tell us about your upcoming projects – when will we see the album?
If everything works out as planned the album should be released before the end of this year, we're ironing out some details and putting the final touches on the mix downs, but the core is already well defined. The first time we sequenced all the tracks on a timeline was a wonderful experience, all the pieces fit together in such a natural and conscious way – a very pleasing result considering how cynical we are with our work.
What are we to expect for your live show at our launch event?
We're going to bring an evolved version of our live set, including some tracks from the upcoming album and some new aural tricks and fireworks, balancing between the physical and the etheric dimensions. We like to disguise this soul treatment under the surface of our music, and it seems to be working quite well…
Dadub will perform at the Dystopia launch event alongside Peter Van Hoesen on the 2nd of June in Shoreditch, London. Tickets are available from Ransom Note. Further information can be found via the Dystopia website