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Electric Dada [Interview]

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Made up of German artists Jan de Vice and JP Silence, the Electric Dada alias was revealed to the world in 2020. The duo's progressive style was immediately recognized for its emotive qualities and strong dancefloor sensibility. A transcendent sound which would see them go on to release key projects via Clubsonica, Dopamine White, Massive Harmony and Univack, while also earning praise from the underground's premiere tastemakers. Having been paired together once previously for a release via Electronic Groove, Da Luka and Electric Dada combine their extensive forces once again, getting 2024 off to a strong start with ‘Rubicon’, alongside remixes from Subandrio and Forty Cats.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Electric Dada to learn more about the release of 'Rubicon', their background, working as a duo, nightlife in Germany, studio process, DJing, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Guys, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

JP: Thank you very much for the opportunity to tell you something about us here. We're doing well and we have new tracks planned for 2024. I started my day today with the track Enamour Remix by Rezident.

JAN DE VICE: I'm currently listening to tracks from the Drumcode label and co.!

How has the start to the year been for you and what are your plans for the coming week?

JP: We started the new year well and above all healthy. In the next few weeks we'll be sampling our DJ pool with the track Rubicon, finalizing the promo plan and offering a new song to a bigger label!

How did growing up in Germany influence your music taste and direction into the industry? Or did it all?

JP: We both come from Frankfurt am Main. This is the birthplace of techno music. We experienced the scene live in our youth.

JAN DE VICE: Yes, what JP says is true, and for me those times were very good learning years. At the beginning of 2000 I was already working as a producer and got to know Frank Ellrich (now A.S.Y.S.) through Intergroove (a former german independent music distributor). He had his recording studio at Logic Records, where the well-known label Eye Q Records was also based (founders: Sven Väth, Matthias Hoffmann, Heinz Roth). It was a studio paradise because there were so many brilliant producers there, really great. It was there that I really learned how to produce. Over the following years, I then taught myself how to DJ. I think it's a huge difference whether you only DJ with vinyl like you used to or nowadays you almost only use players like Pioneer, Denon or similar! You have endless possibilities these days, but for me personally, the true art of DJing lies with the good old Technics SL1200 MK2 or SL1210 MK2E! The sound of vinyl is also gigantic for me! It's not for nothing that various labels are releasing a lot more of their tracks on vinyl again!

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Germany, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

JP: There are some good clubs in Germany. The Boothaus in Cologne, the Watergate in Berlin and, of course, the Robert Johnson around the corner.

JAN DE VICE: There are also a lot of DJs and as tastes are very different, we prefer to leave this decision to everyone! 😉

How did you guys meet and eventually start collaborating? And what musical projects were involved in prior to ELECTRIC DADA?

JAN DE VICE: We got to know each other through my 80s tribute band at the time. I was looking for a new bass player and asked another friend if he knew anyone.

JP: Yes, exactly, that's how I joined the band and we were on tour for many years and became very good friends.

JAN DE VICE: I was the keyboard player and singer in the band. I originally come from the techno/trance genre and signed my first record deal in 1998. Man, that was a long time ago. That was with Talla 2XLC (Label Music Research), who also came from our former techno stronghold Frankfurt am Main. Besides ELECTRIC DADA I'm still active as a techno/trance DJ/producer (JAN DE VICE) and release my tracks on labels like: Black Hole Recordings, Suanda Music, ZYX Music and others. JP has always been a big fan of Anjunabeats/Anjunadeep. That's how he introduced me to the real taste of progressive house. We then sat down in my studio and finished the first track. Now we had to come up with a name. No sooner said than done, ELECTRIC DADA was born. Over the years we were inspired by other artists and developed our own sound.

A successful partnership is generally based around balance and compromise; how do you manage these things within your production dynamic? Do you have different roles in the production process?

JP: Jan is the producer and creative sound guy behind ELECTRIC DADA and I am responsible for our video production, social media and also for our music videos on YouTube.

 Working as a duo is an interesting dynamic. Do you guys share a studio where all the sessions are together or do you produce separately and pass files back and forth? And if you have done both, what do you prefer and why?

JAN DE VICE: As JP has already said, I am the producer for ELECTRIC DADA. All the ideas are created in my studio and I then send the finished track to JP for a cross-check.

JP: In the beginning we produced together, but we've been doing very well with this workflow for almost 2 years now.

You have a new single ‘Rubicon’ out now via roku. Tell us a bit about the track and how the collaboration with label boss Da Luka came to be.

JP: That's a very nice story, because Da Luka played a track that we released on Univack in his DJ set even before I had the chance to meet him in person. He linked us in a video on Instagram, which brought him to my attention. As luck would have it, I then met Da Luka in person at the "Anjunadeep Explorations Festival" in 2022. He was DJing there. I really celebrated his DJ set! When we met at the booth bar, we talked about our projects and the possibility of producing a track together. The basic idea for the track Rubicon came from Da Luka and I got in touch with Jan at the end of the day. Da Luka sent the stems to Jan, who immediately set about producing them.

JAN DE VICE: I had the track finished in just 2 days. We refined the details together via WhatsApp and email until Rubicon was finally finished. In 2023, we had already released a track with Da Luka called "Cadmium" on Electronic Groove. On this EP there are 2 more remixes of "Paul Deep" and "Freedo Mosho & Marway".

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically your roku single?

JAN DE VICE: I have to go into a little more detail here, as I've already had several studios! In 2015, I was in the fortunate position of being able to build my own house. I thought to myself, now I'm going to do it right and not make any more compromises. Right from the start, I planned to build a professional recording studio into my house. The acoustics in the studio were particularly important to me, which I was able to take into account perfectly when planning the house due to the new build. I planned/placed the walls and their composition in such a way that you can't hear anything outside the house. That was brilliant and I'm still very happy with it today. Here is an excerpt from my equipment: For vocal recordings I use the RODE K2 and AKG c214. I love the sound of the c214 because it sounds very neutral and honest to me. Before I go into my audio interface (RME Fireface 400), I enhance the vocal sound with my Focusrite pre amp (Isa One). I love this preamp because it passes on the signal without noise and I get a super clear vocal recording. My favorite software synths are: Diva, Vital, Serum, Sylenth1, Omnisphere, Spire, as well as the complete Arturia V Collection X. I also have other synths, but these synths are used in almost all my productions. In terms of analog synths, I have a Moog Subsequent 37 and a TD-3, which is a TB-303 replica. These are actually very few analog devices, but my Moog, which sounds bombastic, covers a lot of lead sounds and basses for progressive house. I have been using 2x ADAM p-33a (midfield monitor) and 1x ADAM Sub-10 as monitoring monitors for over 15 years. These speakers really raise the alarm and you can listen to your tracks very loud without any problems. My DAW is Cubase (currently Cubase Pro 13). I also have Ableton, but I usually only use it for collabs to be able to open other projects. My individual mixer channels always contain the following three plug-ins: FabFilter EQ3, Glue Compressor and then Soothe2 from oeksound. I use these to process all frequencies. I also used some of the tools mentioned above for the Rubicon track. For the very special ELECTRIC DADA sound, I always use the Valhalla Room. There is a preset that I use individually on different instruments. This reverb really adds atmosphere and great depth to the track.

You previously collaborated with Da Luka on a track which was released by Electronic Groove. How did this track find a home on roku and why was the label a good fit for this particular project?

JAN DE VICE: Roku got off to a brilliant start with their first single Mythical Creatures. Great advertising and a brilliant promo plan. What more could you want as an artist! Every label has its own approach and above all its own DJ pool, which is very important for us! All this was reason enough to release Rubicon on roku.

How would you say ‘Rubicon’ differs from something you would have made working on your own?

JAN DE VICE: There's no difference at all, because it's exactly the personal touch that characterizes Rubicon that we've created here! Life is a constant learning process and the basic idea that came from Da Luka ultimately completed the overall picture with the sound of ELECTRIC DADA! To put it a little poetically. 😊

JP: Every new collab brings knowledge and shared power! By power we mean shared fans through the different collabs we produce together! One has more fans, the other a little less. But together, we are strong enough to really push the project, or rather the track, forward.

JAN DE VICE: In a collab you also have the great opportunity to look into the other person's project. What does this other producer use and with which tools and in which order does he work? Maybe you've always done something wrong and can improve it! As long as you let them look at your cards, of course. I've also met producers who were afraid that you would steal their kick or something similar! I think that's totally wrong. But that's just the way life is sometimes. But the most important thing is that everyone likes the track in the end.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

JAN DE VICE: I think the whole process and the creation of a track is something very special. I can express my emotions and my feelings in music. I think that's brilliant and I love it. Sometimes I wish someone would come around the corner with a great idea when I can't think of anything for days. But it always varies from day to day. Luckily, otherwise I would have despaired from time to time! LOL. However, mastering has never really been my thing and I often thought a long time ago that I'd like to give it up forever!

JP: At the beginning of ELECTRIC DADA we had a track mastered by someone else. It was horrible what came back as a master! OMG, if a track sounds worse than the unmastered one, that's really bad! But here, too, we have found a very good partner who we can rely on 100% if Jan thinks it would be better not to master the track himself.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

1) Volen Sentir from 9pm to 10pm
2) Marsh from 10pm to 11pm
3) Yotto from 11:30pm to 1am
4) Above & Beyond from 1am to 2:30am
5) Anyma from 2:30am to 4am

If you are not DJing, producing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

JP: I am a passionate photographer and videographer. All the ELECTRIC DADA videos were produced by me. Apart from that, I love cooking and have two grown-up daughters.

JAN DE VICE: I love traveling. I love foreign cultures and exploring them. When I'm not producing, I relax in my garden lounge or do a few laps in my pool.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (ie something completely outside of the music industry)

JP: I would certainly travel the world to get to know foreign cultures and people. I could also imagine working as a photographer full-time.

JAN DE VICE: As I also work as a graphic designer and built the websites for my project and also for ELECTRIC DADA, I would certainly be in good hands in this area too.

Current top five tracks?

JP:

1) Howling - Ame Remix

2) Better in The Dark - Eli & Fur

3) Echoes - Rezident

4) White Flag - Roman Garcia

5) In my Darkness - Forty Cats

JAN DE VICE:

1) Adam Beyer - Desert Queen (Original Mix)

2) Eli Brown - Fading to Black (Bart Skils Remix)

3) Phased - Cosmic Strom (Original Mix)

4) Age Of Love - The Age Of Love (Charlotte de Witte & Enrico Sangiuliano Remix)

5) Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (2023 Remix)

What are some of your favourite TV series? All time and recent.

JP: Breaking Bad & Six Feet Under are some of my favorite TV shows.

JAN DE VICE: I love Star Wars as well as Horror and Marvel movies. As a series, I thought Stranger Things was very cool.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

JP: Spending time with family and friends. Travel.

JAN DE VICE: My children and my wife.

 What does this year hold for you in terms of releases and gigs? Anything you can share with us?

JAN DE VICE: We don't want to give too much away, but we have a great track ready that we produced with the singer Mawine. We will definitely release it in 2024! 😉

'Rubicon' is available now via roku: http://tinyurl.com/yrarw74a

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