America’s Fresh New Import – Fine Cut Bodies – Interview and Mix

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Immigration.

Perhaps one of the greatest influences to a region’s music scene is the culture which existed there prior; the nation’s great composers who have influenced generations of composers, the live music scene and venues where the events are held, the countryside, daily activities which are most common, and of course the region’s pop culture.  This is what yields the “sound of _______”.  When a producer from one part of the world relocates, like a foreign exchange student, they share their upbringings and culture which challenges the ideals and “way”, and ultimately strengthens the region with knowledge and experience.  The exotic element becomes integrated and all-together, evolution takes place.

Earlier this year, Hungarian producer, Fine Cut Bodies migrated to Los Angeles, leaving behind a well established life in the region’s industry in hopes of personal growth and development.  Recently, he teamed up with Austin, Texas based bass heavyweight, Gravitas Recordings to release Paper Tales, a 5 track EP transcending genre, tempo, and sound; rivaling Tipper and Spoonbill as the most groundbreaking release of the year in psychedelic bass music.  This is something any region generally lacks — newness, and we’re excited for this opportunity to introduce you to the American psychedelic/experimental bass scene’s newest, hottest import.

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[LIS] Why did you decide to relocate?

[Fine Cut Bodies] I was playing almost every year in North America for a while now and most of my gigs brought me to California. I found a couple of friends here and so much creative talent is gravitating towards California in the music, film, game industry so we took this adventurous step with my family.

You seemed to have a well established life in Budapest with the label and music school.  Could you explain a bit about the school and what you did there?

A label is something what we can also do remote, but definitely I had a lucky position in Hungary with my radio show in Hungarian National Radio, easy travel to European gigs, teaching in imPro (a popular electronic music school ran by my good friend AMB). But I also had the feeling I spent 40 great years in Hungary, so now it’s time for new adventures. In the school I was responsible to make students understand the backgrounds of sampling, sound design and the main structures behind music business. I have strong computer science and coding background, so digital audio is something I can easily describe.

FCB_by_Janka_Tamas_1Do you have any plans to do similar things here?

I never intended to be a teacher, but I always was opened to share my experiences with people who are interested in the way how I work and how I think about music, sound or algorithms. If they like what you do as a creator, then you can be authentic and share your knowledge or at least you can help them to avoid those time consuming mistakes you made by learning by yourself. The bad news is nobody can skip the hard work and time we all have to put into our development. Sometimes students were surprised like “are you really sharing your tricks”? But they didn’t know most of us don’t really have secret tricks. We can give advice where not to waste time, what can be a great area worth to explore, quickly answer their questions and make their advancement faster. But even if I share all my “tricks” they won’t be able to make the same music that I make, as they never will have the same background, the same influences I was exposed to in my life. So even if they use the same plugins and editing techniques, their choices will be different to mine and as we make thousands of decisions while writing a track, their music will be totally different. And that’s a great thing!

What is your music background, and what inspired you to get into electronic music?

Since my childhood I was listening/collecting music and as I’ve spent most of my teenage years as a coder on the Commodore64 demo scene (under the alias Poacher/Triumwyrat) I had plenty of time listening to music while coding 12-15 hours a day. Even later when I was developing Playstation games I was listening music in full time and spent a lot of time in the company’s music studio. Also, I went out a lot to underground events at that time enjoying the booming electronic scene of the 90s. But I also was lucky as my parents not only pushed me into the direction of computer science, they forced me to learn playing piano for 6 years (obviously I wanted to play guitar as every boy). Then in the late 90s I spent a few weeks in London and went to The End Club for a Friction party where the lineup was something like Adam Freeland, Tayo, FreQ Nasty, Rennie Pilgrem and when I arrived home I was so inspired to write nuskool breaks all started back then…

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Your music has a heavy cinematic/orchestral element, generally. You do compose for film and TV. How much would you say composing scores has influenced your music?

Back in my teenage years I’ve listened mostly melodic electronic music like early Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream, and film soundtracks. So it’s something that’s really deeply graved into my mind and as creativity is mostly recombining and modifying your earlier influences, when I’ve started to write electronic music it was a hard time for me to write dancefloor tracks and to get rid of most of the melodic ideas that came naturally. But when I started to compose for media, I just decided I’ll try to incorporate this cinematic vibe in my own productions too. Furthermore, I always try to find a good balance of sound design and melodies, so most of the time you can have a feeling I try to hide music behind noise and sound design.

Are there any other producers who have inspired your direction along the way?

After the above mentioned legends the second wave came for me in the mid 90s with the likes of Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Future Sound Of London, Ninja Tune, Warp Records, Maurizio, Villalobos, Herbert, Perlon Records, Amon Tobin, Funkstorung; and the nuskool breaks producers like Tipper, Si Begg, Fuel Records, Botchit & Scarper, TCR, Lawgiverz, Adam Freeland, etc. I always was listening to a really broad range of genres so the list could be endless. From the 2000’s, I have to mention one really influential producer for me, Dave Taylor. I first met him back in 2004 when he started his new alter-ego “Switch”. His fidgety production style had a so fresh take on house music I just fell in love with his works. He has dozens of different artist alter-egos and maybe most of the people never heard his name, but heard Major Lazer or Diplo; I couldn’t make music if it weren’t for Switch – he and M.I.A. were my main influences, and he taught me how to make music and gave me my style 100 percent.  So although I never really was into his Major Lazer project (that he started with Diplo), his production skills are super crazy just check out his Solid Groove or Switch productions.

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So, what’s with the name, Fine Cut Bodies?

The name came from one of my best friends back in the 90s, when we were working on some more darker tracks somewhere in-between the no man’s land of nuskool breaks and drum’n’bass (somehow we thought it’s a good idea to write 150bpm brokenBeat bass music). It turned out to be a good memorable name, as it’s a bit confusing for people as they don’t know what this mean and why is it plural, so they will remember the name anyway.

You run a label with AMB, Chi Recordings, but this new EP was released through Gravitas Recordings. Why not release this through your own outlet?

Gravitas is a great label, releasing quality music constantly and I knew they can help me a lot with promoting the EP for the US music lovers. Also they handling my bookings so it made sense to release something with them. I wasn’t sure if this kind of cinematic electronica will fit their catalog, but they liked it so at the end everybody was happy.

 

What’s the meaning behind the name, “Paper Tales”?  Was there any particular concept or “vibe” you wanted to portray?

The whole EP is pretty much conceptional if you check out the art, listen to the music or read the song titles. But I like to leave it to the listener to reveal the dark secrets behind :)

What were some of your most-used tools for this EP? Is there any software that you developed yourself and will be releasing to the public?

I have some little tools made by me for sound design and yes, some of those will be released to public soon (I just released an exciter for free download on my site), but I love to use strange Kontakt libraries like mellotron, badly recorded instruments, 70’s dirty synths, HourGlass, the great Reaktor instruments from Twisted Tools or the sound mangler plugins from Glitchmachines; but there is so many great software for sound design out there nowadays you need a lot time to experiment…I have a Pinterest board for interesting audio/visual stuff I find and run a sound designer group on facebook, where I regularly share sound related links, plugins or sample libraries…

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Paper Tales contains the most tracks you’ve released at one time.  Why have you waited nearly 16 years to release more than a track or two at a time?  Do you have any plans to release a full-length LP any time in the future?

When I first started to produce music we still were releasing everything on vinyl and every time I had some new music there was releases scheduled so I didn’t have enough time in between records to finish a lot music. I thought (and still think) releasing an album doesn’t make too much sense as most of the tunes will go unrecognized and as back then it was electronic music made for DJs, released on vinyl only, most of the people only heard the tunes in recorded DJ-mixes. Sometimes I feel it would be a great to write 8-10 tunes for a full length album based on a specific concept so who knows, maybe that time also will come…

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Are there any plans to release this in a physical format?  Do you have any intentions on releasing your music physically as a collection CD or double Vinyl in the future?

Back in 2000 with AMB and some other friends we started Chi Recordings  and we released everything in physical format (vinyl, CD, DVD) as back then it was the only way. I didn’t want to collect vinyl but if I wanted to play DJ sets vinyl was the only way. I was so happy when about 2004 Beatport started and then Addictech and all the other shops. Carrying around 100 vinyls to gigs is not as much fun as it sounds. When we moved to Los Angeles, I left a couple of thousands of records with a friend of mine, so now the collection eats up space at his apartment (though digitized a huge amount of those in the last years). So, sure it can be a nice thing to make a limited run for collectors, but currently no plans to release anything physical for me.

FCB & AMB

AMB & FCB

What’s the deal with this underground techno project you have with AMB, Biscuit Reality? Anything forthcoming?

In August he stayed a couple of days at our place in LA and we were chatting about it as both of us sometimes feel the urge to write some new tunes, but no current forthcoming releases planned.

Do you have any intentions on writing more uptempo music as FCB?

I never really think about genres, so I’m sure I’ll continue to produce anything that moves me.

Could you explain a bit about the La Petite Mort project? Any plans to bring the experience to the US?

Though I enjoy to listen pretty crazy experimental music, when I’m producing, my tunes usually are some kind of mixture of strange sound design and conventional harmonic compositions. In the past 15 years, I’ve been working with lots of brilliant VJs who were delivering great abstract visuals for our parties, but when I was planning my visual show I tried to make something that is realtime and interactive, algorithm based but still figurative. So with a bunch of creative friends we started to construct a system in MaxMSP and MaxForLive where the audio sequencer feed the visual system with a huge amount of data and we focused on how we can connect musical events to it’s visual representation. We intended to do something, where technology works in the background to support the outcome with its invisible hand as a reflection to the music…

Could you tell us a bit about this mix you’re sharing with us? Does this differ from the types of mixes you normally post on your impressively large Mixcloud collection?

IMG_7724This mix will be pretty unusual from me as it will consist only FCB productions. I even wouldn’t consider it a DJ mix, but a showcase of my music, some kind of longer travel than my recent EP. This kind of distinction is important for me, as I think a good DJ set is not about the selector’s own music or his friends’ productions, but about his taste and knowledge in music. A DJ mix should take the listener on a journey into the unknown where the selection and the order of the tunes will make this travel unique. Although, nowadays I feel bad when telling people I’m a DJ, as most of the time they will think I’m the guy who is dancing on the table and playing the actual top10 EDM tunes. And to be honest this is my only concern regarding the current electronic music movements. I don’t care too much about vinyl or beat matching skills and I love that we have tools and technology to make a DJ set more interesting, but when selection is not number one on the list then the concept of a “DJ set” is devaluating. Digging crates for vinyl, listening to thousands of releases weekly is a huge work and those micro-decisions when you buy a track or save a promo will make your DJ sets interesting. I ran a fortnightly radio show for 10 years on an underground station in Hungary (Tilos), while hosting a weekly on the Hungarian National Radio (Petőfi) for 6 years so I have about 700 hours of radio shows in my archive. And if I count on that I very rarely played a tune 2 times that should be about 10,000 different tunes. You can guess how many music you have to listen to find 10,000 what you not only keep in your library but play in radio.

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What does this next year look like to you? Any releases, gigs, or opportunities otherwise that you’re excited about?

I like to speak about projects when they are done, but currently working on film projects and sure new Fine Cut Bodies material is coming next year. Also as a former game developer, I hope I’ll have opportunities to work in games, so if anybody has a good idea and feels my music would be a good fit into the project, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

We are honored to share this rare showcase, featuring just over an hour of Fine Cut Bodie’s finest tracks. Be sure to spread this wide and far with hopes of bringing these jaw dropping sounds to your city!

FCB Website | SoundCloud | Mixcloud | Facebook | Pinterest

 

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