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Feature: Pandhora [Interview + Premiere]

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Pandhora is the artistic and human symbiosis of two musicians metamorphosed into producers who wish to bring sounds that occupied their thoughts back alive. Their music is an open sky laboratory where experimentation is the keyword. Syncopated rhythms and psychedelic melodies mix with powerful techno’s bass while strengthening by throbbing guitar riffs inspired by 70’s progressive and psychedelic music. Their productions claim to give to the audience an alternative to nowadays electronic dance music by introducing shape and lyricism to it. With Pandhora, we are travelling through time with a delighted elegance. They are always seeking for new sonorities and o en invite other musicians to join them, whether they are vocalists or instrumentalists so they can create an original universe for each of their productions. Their latest EP «Divagations Cosmiques» released on french label Cepage Music is putting under the spotlights the jazzy voice of Lakmé, the former singer of Orme, a Neo-soul band from Marseille. Their new live act called «Deep Psychedelia» is a genuine condensed of all their experimentations.

Hello Pandhora! Can you tell us the story behind your new EP “Imaginary Crossroads”?

Subconsciousness, imagination and dreams are recurrent themes for us. Our latest EP is no exception as it explores the thin line between dreams and reality, and how they interact through memories. This 3-track mind travel ventures through colorful soundscapes, featuring hypnotic guitar riffs, psychedelic synthesizer melodies and growling basslines. It is a special release as it marks a new path we wish to follow: freeing ourselves from the conventions while shaping up a more progressive and club-oriented sound. The tracks have been composed and produced between Istanbul and Montpellier (France), in airports, home studios and coffee shops. This is probably the reason why this EP follows quite a unique path. 

How has the EP been produced? 

The three tracks of this EP have been fully produced in Ableton Live 10. The guitars have been recorded straight into our Focusrite audio interfaces. There are actually two different guitars used – a Fender Stratocaster and a Godin SD22. 

We used various virtual synthesizers to record the basslines, keys, and pads of the tracks: mostly from french manufacturer Arturia. They offer amazing emulations of vintage gear, including synthesizers. We also have a thing for Native Instruments’ Kontakt libraries that we extensively use for keys! 

For percussion and drums, we have been collecting samples for the past years and are now deciding on the fly which one to use depending on the atmosphere of the track. Most of the time, they are fully programmed and we use various randomization techniques to give them a special groove. 

For mixdown purposes, we use Ableton’s native tools as well as plugins from Arturia, Fab Filter, IK Multimedia, Izotope, and many others brands. 

 You decided to release this EP on your own label, Art Vibes. Can you tell us more about the label and your work as A&R? 

We decided to release on Art Vibes since we wanted to offer different formats and create something than wouldn’t usually fit other labels. In that sense, the remixers we collaborated with (Rapossa & Rasi Z) gave a really different approach. Since we do not have a strict music direction on Art Vibes, we feel it gave everyone the freedom to explore different ways of composing. Art Vibes Music is a free & creative place outside of the conventional realm, evolving through the year as the seasons cycle. Each season defines the music direction of the label. Instead of having the same music direction throughout the year, we made the choice to make the label an ever evolving entity thriving to share uniqueness in each release. We’re super proud of what we have achieved these past 5 years with our team : Eric (Beyond Physical), Justin (Veytik), Tome (9DEEP), Aziz and all the free-lancers who’ve been working with us during all these years. 

We noticed that this EP is in a different mood compared to your previous work, it’s very uplifting and closer to the progressive genre. Is it the start of a new direction for Pandhora?

Indeed, it is quite different from what we usually release. Regarding our new direction, it is not really defined. We tend to experiment in each song and produce without putting a label on what we do or choose a predefined path. We feel that’s the best way to create something different every single time! We just wrapped up another EP that takes a completely new turn. It has been remixed by Teenage Mutants, UNDERHER & Lauren Mia. We’re thrilled to share it with you during 2021. 

Reveries” opens the EP. It is also the track that you performed as a closing for your live act since you started touring in 2018. Why is it a perfect closing track in your opinion? 

Yes, we love playing this track live as a closing. It sounds uplifting and we both have interesting melodies to play on the guitar and the keyboard. It’s a good way for us to connect one last time with the audience and leave them on a positive, hopeful note. In the first phase of our live tour, Amine used to play guitar on it but he ended up switching to keyboard as a support instrument and left guitar for Rémi to give his own, personal touch. As we said earlier, both instruments are quite complementary and we feel the balance is there.

Memories” is a collaboration with jazz singer Sanguinello. How did this collaboration start and why is it so important for you to include other musicians in your projects? 

We have always been close to Morgane (Sanguinello) as we were roommates when we started Pandhora back in 2015. She has seen the birth of the project and understands our philosophy as well as our artistic direction. Collaborating with her is always easy as she adapts to any material we bring her. In the case of this track, we recorded her vocals in Montpellier (France) in a sunny afternoon of summer 2019. We were supposed to record vocals for two other songs and we thought she could give a shot at vocalizing on Memories. We’re happy to see how it turned out!   

We were intrigued by the last track “Castle in the sky” and its singular format. Can you tell us more about it? Should we expect more ambient, atmospheric and beatless tracks like this one in the future? 

Castle in the Sky was created around a sample we recorded in Istanbul. This sample captured the last breaths of Mobi – a golden retriever who abruptly passed away after only a year on Earth. It’s a way to engrave him into something eternal, at least as long as this digital file still floats somewhere.

We would love to make more ambient and beatless tracks if the occasion is right. It would fit well as an album intro or outro. Alternatively, we like composing ephemeral ambient parts for our livesets. 

Finally, can you let us know about your plans for the coming months and your next upcoming releases?

We are still working on putting up a new liveset together which will simplify our setup and workflow on stage. The goal is to focus even more on live elements: guitars, synthesizers, and at some point vocals.

Our next release is a remix of Alex Twin’s “Pandora”, out on Pipe & Pochet on January 5th along with a remix from Istanbul based Elif. Expect some deep ethnic house vibes!  

Pandhora new EP “Imaginary Crossroads” is out now via Art Vibes Music: https://avm058.fanlink.to/imaginary-crossroads

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