Pour la sortie de son nouvel EP « Play Again », l’artiste Soul Button a répondu à nos questions. De son label Steyoyoke à son identité secrète, en passant par son TOP10 de 2012 ou encore ses influences et sources d’inspiration, nous vous offrons un article assez dense qui devrait vous permettre d’en savoir un peu plus sur cet artiste mystérieux. Par la même occasion, il annonce l’organisation d’un évènement majeur avec la soirée d’anniversaire du label Steyoyoke en février 2013, soirée dont nous serons partenaires et qui conviera Oxia, Marc Poppcke, Aki Bergen, Mat.Joe et tous les artistes du label. Bonne lecture!
Electrocorp: Hello my friend, what’s up?
Soul Button: Hi. I’m very good. Enjoying the sun in Spain after weeks and weeks in Berlin.
E: It seems it’s been a successful first year for Steyoyoke. Launching a label is not an easy thing to do, especially in a city like Berlin where the scene is already overcrowded by labels representing almost every kind of genres of electronic music. What do you think Steyoyoke has brought to this electronic scene? What’s that special thing that makes the label different?
S.B: Yes. I can definitely say it was a successful year both for Steyoyoke and my Soul Button project. Actually, we started this new label without thinking about anything. We just met each other and we said « Why don’t we start something completely new? ». So, I would say it was a spontaneous project. We didn’t plan anything before. The main goal of Steyoyoke, from the beginning, is just focused on the music and the quality. We are not connected to any other labels, to any other big artist or other collectives or Berlin projects. It was funny after some months: lots of labels and people of the music scene was wondering who was behind this project… and yes, I like to call it a « project » better than « label » because it’s actually something different. There are so many things that distinguish this project from others: first of all, we are a big family made of professional people working hard for the same goal, we have a nice office and lots of friends coming to visit us every day. We are trying to completely mix graphic arts and music and that’s why our graphic designer Azuldecolbalt is considered the same as a DJ. Everyday we have new ideas and as it’s quite hard to live just by selling music, we are trying to find new solutions. Lots of new projects are coming. You will see this next year, I don’t want to say anything now. We all like surprises, right?
« The main goal of Steyoyoke, from the beginning, is just focused on the music and the quality »
E: You’re playing a key role in the label, right? What are you doing at Steyoyoke and how’d you get involved?
S.B: In every big Steyoyoke project, everyone has his own role and everyone is definitely important. We are 5-6 persons plus other external collaborators. I woudn’t say I have a key role because everyone has. Probably it looks like that because I oversee the whole work, since I already worked for labels and agencies. Steyoyoke is just made of people who wants to create.
E: Your real identity remains secretly kept. Some of my readers once asked me if you were Bob Sinclar, for real! So… are you Bob Sinclar?
S.B: Ah ah ah, fortunately not. I got lots of questions and I have heard lots of suppositions. Couple of days ago a guy wrote me: « I have enough info about you to be pretty sure you are Nick Devon! » Funny… it’s incredible how people spend time to try to guess who you are, instead of just listening to your music.
E: Lots of artists from different music scenes want to keep their real identity as secret. For most of them, it’s a way to create characters, it’s part of a marketing thing but for you… it just seems to be different. What’s the reason that pushes you to keep your identity as a secret?
S.B: Uff… we can talk for hours about that. And of course I’m forced to explain it in every interview. I don’t mind to keep being secret or not and that’s why I don’t hide my face when I go to play. My goal is not to hide myself. Everyone can come to my gigs and discover I’m not Bob Sinclar. I just completely hate all the marketing business there’s around the social media at the moment. I don’t think an artist has to be famous only because he’s good at writing on Twitter or because his posts on Facebook are catchy. I don’t think an artist is better than another one only because he’s beautiful or he has a great presskit, or he succeed with a great viral videoclip. I don’t think a producer is great only because he has pictures on Facebook with A-Track, Diplo or Steve Aoki (I have just named the worst names, hahaha).
« I don’t mind to keep being secret or not (…) Everyone can come to my gigs and discover I’m not Bob Sinclar! »
I’m not so young and I’m producing music for at least 15 years. I’ve been working as a booker, label manager and artist manager. You know what I understood after all this? That the music is only 5% of the business. The rest is only connections, licking each others’ ass, being friends whis this guy or that one. Where’s the music? Where’s the soul? Where are the production skills? All of this to say that with this new project, I want to focus only on the music as a main product. I want to sit in front of my knobs, leave my mind flowing and produce music… not making a collage of samples, like most of the young guys think. If people wants to enjoy my music, I’ll be happy. If people think my choice is just a marketing thing, probably they should focus on the Skrillex’ tuft… hahaha!
E: Apart from being a huge fan of Bob Sinclar, Skrillex and Diplo, what are your main sources of inspirations, what are your influences? I’m not talking about music only: it can be an author, a director, some piece of art, a businessman or even a pornstar!
S.B: Hmmm, I’ll make you a short list of my legends: Kraftwerk, Vivienne Westwood (editor’s note: fashion designer), Tesla (e.n: inventor, scientist), Darren Aronofsky (e.n: movie director) and Joe Vitale. I’m pretty sure you don’t know the last one. It’s an american author who writes books about « attraction », about what and who every people attracts around him and why. It’s mainly all around the love of yourself and how to succeed in the life loving yourself. Have you ever watched the movie « The Secret »? You should…
E: Well… I never watched it but I’ll follow your advice. Your first EP was some sort of an introduction to your mysterious world. Now you’ve just released your second EP, featuring 3 brilliantly produced tracks that are really different from each other ones. Can you tell us a little bit more about these tracks and the EP?
S.B: Yes exactly. Three different tracks. So far I’ve made 2 EPs but a reviewer of Resident Advisor said I made 2 mini albums. It’s true, but this is my way to produce music. I will always do different stuff. I’m not stuck in a defined House sub-genre, as I told you before, I like to make exactly what I want in a perfect moment. At the same time, I think there are lots of common elements: for example, the beat is always groovy, the presence of the voice and the trippy atmosphere, etc. Also, I always try to give a message through my songs. « The Keepers » is a haunting song where the lyrics talk about what we build and how things are constantly changing. At the end we are always ready to « Play Again »… and again… until the day we meet someone who can make us feel comfortable and free. He will kidnap us with a simple sentence: « Come To Me ».
E: Can you describe what was your creative process during the making of this EP? How long did it take to produce it? Was there anybody else involved in this process, such as friends, producers, singers?
S.B: Ah yes I can tell you something about that. « The Keepers » is the oldest one. I made a loop of 1 minute and a half and then added the voice of one of my favourite singers, Kara Square. The loop was so nice and catchy for me that every time I was listening to it I was just dancing and I coudn’t work on the arrangement. I was just listening to this loop every 2-3 days and thinking « you have to definitely work on it ».
« Play Again » is the newest one. The singer is a friend of mine. She didnt want to put her name on the credits because she doesn’t like the song. We recorded her voice at my studio in Kreuzberg (Berlin). The song was born without voice though. That’s why I decided to release the dub version too, it works really good in the club and it’s easy to mix with other songs.
« Come To Me » is a spiritual song. There’s a special guy who’s working for Steyoyoke and he comes from South Africa. I don’t know if it’s true, but I think he really influenced me in some way. The first time I showed him my idea, when the song was just a short loop, he was pushing me saying « Wow! This reminds me of my African roots! It’s so great ». I think this song is connected to him in some way. Hello Joshua, hahaha!!
E: What can we expect from you and Steyoyoke for the next months? Upcoming EPs, collaborations, any new artists on the label?
S.B: I have lots of personal projects in mind: a new song with Stee Downes, a collaboration with Nick Devon, a remix for Marc Poppcke, an EP on Sincopat… but honestly, I think I’ll be really busy with the Steyoyoke project. Lots of things are quickly changing and there’s a lot of big projects coming next year. Again, I can’t tell you anything for the moment, but you will see if you come to visit us!
About new artists on Steyoyoke, we are really happy to involve a great producer called Florian Rietze. His EP will be Steyoyoke #009, probably out in March. The EP is amazing but it’s different. I’m Fine and I tried his song 2 times in the same night and it was incredible. Both times someone came to us, asking about that song. It’s gonna be an anthem!
E: I heard you are now preparing a big Birthday party for the label in February? Can you tell us a little bit more about it? What’s the location, the line-up? Should we expect any surprises?
S.B: Yes yes yes! Steyoyoke First Year Anniversary! I just created the Facebook event page a couple of days ago. We are preparing lots of things for the event. There will be lots of art inside the club. We are trying to make something different with mapping animation, wooden sculptures, exhibition before the party, lots of funny gadgets, big projections and, off-course, a HUGE line-up: Oxia, Aki Bergen, Marc Poppcke, Mat.Joe, Nick Devon and all Steyoyoke artists on two floors. Everyone who will enjoy the exhibition before the party will pay half the entrance price and get a handmade gift from our great graphic designer Azuldecobalt. Something amazing for our first birthday party!
Oh! I was forgetting… all the guest artists made a remix for us and the vinyl with all remixes will be released the same day of the party. Oxia remixed my song « Shine » from my first EP. Amazing!
E: Wow! I definitely need to come in Berlin for the event! It’s been years that you’re in this business. First you were in the Hip-Hop production but then you came into the Electronic scene and set-up yourself in Berlin. I would like to know how do you see the Berlin-electronic scene for 2013? How do you think it’s going to evolve?
S.B: Berlin at the moment is like London 10 years ago with lots of motivations and motivated producers, except some assholes! People are really open-minded and this is the beautiful thing of this city. Techno is back again, Deep-House is everywhere, even Tresor does Deep-House nights now ! Lots of producers are moving to Berlin and lots of them already moved from London and every part of the world. There are new labels everyday. I only wish there will be more collaborations between producers and labels. I can’t stand those « completely closed » projects which don’t want any kind of contacts with others. Sometimes it looks like they think you want to steal something from them. I would like to say to these guys: « Nobody wants to steal you anything. We are just making music. If a club-promoter prefers the freshest project and not yours anymore, even if you are in Berlin for 15 years, it means that you are old… but not that the other project wants to steal something from you. »
« I can’t stand those completely closed projects (…) Sometimes it looks like they think you want to steal something from them! »
E: Any Berliner labels and artists we should keep an eye on?
S.B: I like Marc Poppcke, Mario Aureo and Dirty Doering at the moment. Labels? There are too many, so… I don’t know… but I wanna spend some good words on Get Physical. Even if Steyoyoke isn’t anybody at the moment, they have been totally open with us and I really appreciated it. They told me they totally love our project and this is really beautiful to me. They could have just ignored us, but they didn’t and they gently invited me to their office. I even drank a super tasty coffee there, hahaha!
E: Last question : it’s that time of the year where everybody is unleashing there « Best-Of 2012 » so… let’s do it! What are your TOP 5 dancefloor tracks for this year?
S.B: This is a nice question but it’s difficult to choose only 5 songs, so if you dont mind, I’ll do my TOP10 of 2012:
Stefan Obermaier – Traveler (Original Mix)
Catz ‘n Dogz feat. Monty Luke – They Frontin’ (Original Mix)
Dan Caster – Fell Into Piece (Original Mix)
Alejandro Mosso – Aconcagua (Original Mix)
Body Language – Falling Out (Fabø Remix)
Piek – Is Coming (Grosstone Remix)
F3 – Symphony (Marc Poppcke Remix)
Frank Wiedemann & Ry Cuming – Howling (Ame Remix)
Sante – Mothership (Original Mix)
Ben Grunnell – Amalia (Yapacc feat Flora Paar Remix)
E: For my post, can you take a picture of yourself and send it to me?
S.B: Ahahahah NEIN! This is the only word I know in german!
E: Cheers man, thanks for the good vibes.
S.B: Thanks a lot Antwan!